As spring slowly creeps in, so excruciatingly slowly, I’ve got my own recommendation for a little warm weather reading. I’ve started to shy away from doing book reviews for many reasons, but every so often, I’ll fall in love with an author or title and can’t stop myself. For this hop, I’d like to recommend The Others series by Anne Bishop.
The first book in this series, Written in Red, stole my heart. The story is set in an alternate universe, which is surprisingly like the world we know at times, where everything is controlled and owned by shifters, also known as the Others. The humans and the Others have had a long history of clashes and misunderstandings. When Meg enters the scene, we get to experience how she starts to integrate into their closed society and it’s absolutely captivating.
These books have everything I personally love in a story. They are dark fantasy, my favorite genre, with a slow progressing romantic relationship. They do tend to be a bit slow going, but the writing is so beautiful and charming that it didn’t bother me at all. If you are looking for a good read for a sunny day at the park, I highly suggest these.
The lovely hosts of this hop are offering up some great grand prizes.
1st Grand Prize: (1) $Paperwhite Kindle
2nd Grand Prize: (1) $25 Amazon Gift Card
For entries to the grand prizes, leave your name and email in the comments section of the various blogs participating. Each blog will be hosting their own individual giveaway as well, so there are a lot of prizes to win!
I’m happy to be able to share the cover for Redemption, which will be on sale later this month.
I’ve done everything wrong, until now. Feeling more alone than ever, I need to lead my people in this new barbaric world, defend them against the power hungry senator, and shield them even from themselves.
Sometimes redemption is found in your darkest moments.
1. Could you tell us a little bit about your book?
Josie and Ethan have a happy life together, but debilitating headaches and nightmares begin to destroy it. While Ethan wants to find out the cause, Josie is terrified to delve into her past. But startling information makes Josie realize she must find out the truth.
2. What about your process? Did you have a well formulated plot when you began or did you start writing with a basic idea?
I start writing with a basic idea of what I want and where I want it to go and then I sit down and write and take it from there. Sometimes it flows easily and other days, there are a lot of rewrites!
3. Was there a particular catalyst that inspired you to start writing novels?
Not really, I’ve always wanted to write from as far back as I can remember; but ambivalent parents made me push it to the back burner. Then life gets in the way so I promised myself I would write as soon as I took myself out of the work force.
4. What is your favorite type of leading male?
My favorite leading male is the male who always considers a woman his equal and wants to share everything with her no matter what obstacles get in the way.
5. Can you give us an excerpt of what you consider your best work?
This is from my first book, In a Heartbeat:
“Josie didn’t answer, just did what he wanted. She needed him just as much and he knew it. He pushed her against the wall and slid himself inside her slowly but forcefully. She was wet and warm and felt like velvet. He growled in her ear and said, ‘We’re one, Jo, tied together by desire, love…need and we’ll always be just one heartbeat away from each other.’”
6. What about a single line?
“Throughout the night, she felt him all around her, his smell, his warmth, his touch and knew she was safe.”
7. What would you say is the thing you do best in your writing?
I like conversation, the verbal banter that goes on throughout the storyline. This is what keeps the emotions flowing and touches our souls.
8. Is there anything you would like to share with us? Maybe upcoming book plans or releases?
I’m working on my second novel now which is a romantic suspense/crime story about a woman trying to find her way to a new life after a major tragedy occurs.
IN A HEARTBEAT
Author: Josie Cara
Genre: Woman’s Fiction, Romance
Publication Date: December 13, 2013
When debilitating headaches and strange nightmares start wreaking havoc on budding artist Josie Bryant’s life, she begins a downward spiral into depression and helplessness. Her once heavenly relationship with her fiancé – gallery owner Ethan Donnelly – starts to fall apart, and everything Josie held dear starts to systematically fall away.
After startling information is received about Josie’s past, she and Ethan embark on a quest to gather as much information as possible in a last ditch effort to save their relationship, and possibly Josie’s life.
Unfortunately, sometimes things are better left alone. Will Josie be able to handle the truth? Will her lifelong need for a loving family be realized, and if so, is it worth the cost? Can Josie and Ethan’s love really conquer all, or will it all come crashing down in a New York minute?
Josie Cara lives in NYC with her family and two King Charles Cavalier dogs, Zak and Zoe. Her love of books has always been a big part of her life but she never had the time, between working and caring for her children, to concentrate on writing. Now she has the time to take all the stories she’s been writing in her head and put them down on paper; something her family and friends have been encouraging her to do for some time. A whole new world has opened up to her and she is enjoying every minute of it.
The first vampire fiction I fell in love with was The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. Why? What about a creature of the night that killed people by sucking the blood out of their veins made me want more? I wish I knew exactly, but I’m going to try and break down some of the things that might be appealing. To make it fair, I’m going to list the cons as well.
Pros to Dating a Vampire
1. They don’t age. Immortality is pretty intriguing.
2. They are beautiful, at least in majority of books I’ve read. Young and hot? I think this mystery is starting to unravel.
3. Nocturnal creatures are very appealing to night owls, such as myself.
4. I’ve always had a thing for a guy kissing or nibbling my neck. It’s one of the top erogenous zones. Okay, maybe not to suck out my blood, but it looks so hot in the movies.
5. They’re strong. Superhuman strength is just plain cool!
6. A lot of them can fly. If I could have a super power, my first choice would be flying! Plus, it’s got to beat taking coach.
Vampire Dating Cons
1. Sleeping in a coffin? No way. I don’t care how cute the vampire is.
2. Always the chance of accidental murder. He might be the nicest vampire in the world but when you’re sucking on a jugular, things can go bad quick.
3. Awkward moment when he won’t eat or drink at a dinner party and your friends think you’re dating a freak.
4. Having to keep a fire extinguisher handy when you go to your friend’s church wedding.
Life Sized Needle Felted Bat Giveaway
I decided to felt a bat for this giveaway. Here is a mini tutorial on how I made him.
1. As usual, I start with a fluff of wool that I use a felting needle on to start working a shape. In this case, I added a length of pipe cleaner to the end so that I’d be able to hang him.
2. Rough shape of body and head.
3. Cover in dark wool.
4. Make ears.
5. Felt on ears and sew on black beads for eyes. Add black wool for beginning of wings.
6. Add layer of lighter wool to add depth and texture to his fur.
7. Build wings in black wool.
Finished bat. I added a polymer nose I sculpted. You can find that tutorial here.
Shown hanging from a pen. You could hang him from almost anywhere. I thought he might be cute hanging from a rear view mirror.
Today I’m pleased to have Charlene A. Wilson, author of One for Kami, stop by for an interview.
Could you tell us a little bit about the books you write?
My books are on the sensual side and introduce new worlds and ways. While I do have some Contemporary and Urban Fantasy stories waiting for their moment in the spotlight, the one out now take you to other dimensions.
One for Kami begins in dimension Two-Eight-Five, where the Elite men are required to have three wives to eliminate poverty through inheritance. Kami didn’t realize Ian was an Elite when she fell in love with him and now that she knows, she can’t bear the thought of sharing him with two other women. She travels to Three-Two-Three—which happens to be our very own dimension—and begins her search for one true love near Chicago. But Ian has his own agenda.
The other two books I have out are in the Cornerstone Deep series and take you to a world where true love endures beyond death and soul mates are reunited…albeit unexpected and in the most inconvenient way. Cole, head of the Sentinel family has pined for Mianna for centuries after her death. How could he expect to find her when he harvested a lawbreaker for service to a Grand Marshal? This series is filled with magic, gods, and very determined souls when it comes to keeping their loves!
Aumelan is about to be up and coming! A totally new world and set of amazing characters in search of love, deep secrets, and freedom. *smile*
What about your process? Are you a plotter, pantser or something of a hybrid?
I have a loose outline when I start a book. I find if I get too tight with plotting it stifles the spirit of the story. But I do need a bit of a guideline or things would veer too far off course. lol
Was there a particular catalyst that inspired you to start writing novels?
I don’t think it was a catalyst, really, just the need to get things down on paper and let them live. I have vivid dreams and in them are amazing people. These people are so strong that the writing just seems a natural way to share them with others.
What is your favorite type of leading male?
The broken hero who finds his strength again through the one he loves. Who finds he is more than he thought he was and fights huge obstacles to have her in his life. I like them to grow.
Can you give us a single paragraph excerpt of what you consider your best work? (Please list the book title underneath.)
My best work? Wow. Well, I don’t know about the best, that’s kind of hard to pin down. Lol. But I like this one. *smile*
He tasted like the innocence of Juicy Fruit and the heat of a starved man. Memories flooded her of their walks along the river, late nights at the Haven meets, and his kindness to the smallest creature. Tears welled in her eyes, and she basked in the pleasures of having the only man she would ever love.
(One for Kami)
What about a single line?
“My life is a mirage of endless time, but you engulf me, rivet my mind, encompass my soul.”
(The Transformation of Anna, Cornerstone Deep)
What would you say is the thing you do best in your writing?
I think the best part of my writing is the thing I can’t really take credit for. It’s the character’s personalities and dialogue. They become very real in my mind as they let me know how their stories play out.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us? Maybe upcoming book plans or releases?
Aside from writing a follow-up to One for Kami, I’m working on book three in the Cornerstone Deep series. I’m feeling a bit pressured from the fans of the Shilo brothers and can hardly wait to dive back into Destiny. But first my Aumelan series needs to get submitted. I’ve just finished putting the final touches on the first book and once it’s mailed off, I’ll get going on the others. So, a teaser for Aumelan, since it’s next? Sure…
Chad is in love, but the world isn’t right—not when you’re forbidden to have the one you desire just because she’s your slave. His vitality host, Dee, has held his heart in her caring hands since they were children. He must find a way to set her free, and that means finding a way to live without her aid. Chad believes the answer lies in the World of the Sun where they originated, not the world of his cavernous home. Fate will guide him, he knows it.
When Salana, Daughter of the Sun Nation, meets Chad, she’s faced with the unbelievable; a man who must take energy from a host to survive. He’s not the only one. The entire Tsosey Nation is plagued with this unusual need. The strong yet meek Chamber people submitted to serve them through the centuries. Can Salana help this young man whose dreams of freedom could change the course of both nations? And can she do it without falling for him and turning her back on the marriage arranged by her parents?
Before I was a writer, I was a reader. One of my favorite authors is Karen Moning. So for this blog hop, I’ve decided to highlight my favorite romance from her, The Dark Highlander. I think this is the first book in which she really starts to write a darker hero. This trend in her writing carries forward into her next book and also her Fever Series, another absolute favorite of mine.
From his penthouse lair high above Manhattan, Dageus looks out over a glittering city that calls to the darkness within him. A sixteenth-century Scot trapped between worlds, he is fighting a losing battle with the thirteen Druids who possess his soul, dooming him to an eternity of sexual pursuit. When Chloe Zanders, student of antiquities, is drawn into his world, she finds the insatiable alpha male an irresistible lure.Before long, she is caught up in an ancient prophecy that will sweep her back into time to medieval Scotland. Plunged into a world of timeless magic and dark seduction, she will soon face the challenge of a lifetime: fighting thirteen evil spirits for the heart of one irresistible man….
To help you on your way to reading this great series, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card.
Black Clay Nose (You can find tutorial under Needle Felting. This is optional. You can substitute black wool. )
I never know exactly how I’m going to make something when I start. There is a lot of trial and error. This craft is very forgiving. Too little wool, add more. Too much? Just snip a chunk off with your scissors. Don’t be afraid to play around with it.
Here is my starting point. One chunk of batting and a barbed needle (38 gauge).
Now, start randomly poking the wool until you start to form a rough shape. That’s the beginning of the head, torso and back legs.
A little further along.
I need to get some front legs on!
I made a flat piece of felted wool that I’m attaching for ears. Will cut off excess wool after it’s secured. Start forming face.
Forming face. Now I need to sew in some black beads before I get any further. I stick a needle in through the back of the head and poke out near the eye socket. I push the needle back in and tie it in the back of the head. I cover the thread in the back with a light layer of wool.
I added some colored fur and eyelids. I glued on a clay nose and poked in the mouth and wrinkles more. I also added a few strands of grew wool to accent the mouth. To make wrinkles, just poke in a line repeatedly.
I’ve got great news! I’ve contracted with a producer to have The Keepers made into and audiobook with the rest of the series to follow shortly after.
The narrator, Laurel Schroeder, nailed the essence of Jo right from the very first audition. She’s an extremely talented actress and has agreed to sign on to do the entire series. I can’t wait to hear what she does with the rest of the books. I’ll post a link to an audition sample as soon as it’s available.
The Keepers should be available sometime in March to coincide with the next book in the series.
I’ve recieved a lot of questions lately about needle felting, also known as soft sculpture. When I first started, all my information came from free online sources, so I’ve decided to return the favor by posting some tutorials of my own.
I’ve decided to start with how I make my noses.
All you need is a cuticle stick and a bar of polymer clay. Most craft stores sell small packages of polymer clay. Warning, don’t let the clay touch your finished wood surfaces. Whatever oils they use for this clay can be damaging.
Make a three dinmensional triangle but round all the edges. Make a line down the center.
With the point of the stick, make two holes.
Make lines from the holes, to the sides.
Check the package of your clay for baking temps and times. I baked mine at 265 degrees for twenty minutes.
After it cools, glue the nose onto your needle felted critter. I will sometimes make several noses in one batch for ease if I’m going to be doing a lot of felting. Also, it helps to have several size increments available.
My example below is a bulldog WIP. If you like him, check back in the next week or so. I’ll be posting a tutorial on how I made him and be giving him away.
I haven’t sculpted anything in a long while. I decided to break out the polymer clay for a New Year’s Day Giveaway over at www.ismellsheep.com
If you want to enter to win it, swing over there Jan 1st. They’ll have some pictures posted on how I made it. I’ll load up a more extensive tutorial over here at some point in the future for anyone interested.