Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Monday, August 31, 2015

#Do It! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

The title says it all here: Do It!!  Lately, I've been hearing a lot of people talking about things they'd like to do "someday" and about the doubts and fears that have prevented them from doing those things already.  Well, it's kind of got me down.  I mean, everyone has doubts and fears and, if we let them, they'll always keep us from doing the things we dream of.  There's always an excuse, always something else to do.  Everyone is busy, and that's not going to change.

So, in case you haven't realized it yet, I'd just like to point out that "someday" is the day that comes right after "never."  If you want to do something, DO IT!  Yes, it will mean that there's something else that didn't get done.  Maybe that something else was time you would have spent on Facebook or in front of the television, or maybe it means giving up some sleep or rearranging your schedule to be more efficient.  Maybe you'll have to tell your family and friends that they'll have to figure out a way to survive without you for an hour, but that time is your time, and you'll guard it jealously.  Maybe it means putting pennies in a jar until you have enough cash saved up.

The sacrifice will depend on you, and what it is you want to do.  But it's worth it, if that's your dream.  Whatever the sacrifice you have to make, if it's something important to you then figure out a way to make it!  It won't be easy.  When's the last time anything worth doing was easy?  Easy isn't the point. The point is how you'll feel once you've done it.  And don't let difficulties dissuade you, either!

For example, as an author I participate in several author groups.  One thing that every group has in common is authors who are discouraged.  Sometimes they're discouraged because they don't think their writing is any good.  Well, how many people here were experts at something the first time they did it?  *crickets chirping*  Hmm...how about the second time?  Still no one?  Wow, imagine that, it takes practice and dedication to perfect a skill!  Who'd a thunk it?  Face it folks, human beings are born knowing how to do exactly two things: grasp and suck.  Everything else is an acquired skill, and it takes time and patience to acquire most of those skills.  Why should writing be any different?

If you think your skill at any given occupation (including writing) needs improvement, then practice!  You know another way to say practice?  Do It!  Whatever it is, do it, see how it turns out, identify areas that need improvement, and do it again!  That's how you learn anything, and that's how you become good at anything.  From time to time, it's also a good idea to solicit other people's opinions so you don't end up just spinning your wheels. But you have to have done something for them to opine on first!

If you're a writer, then there are a myriad of authors' groups, clubs, beta reading groups, writing classes, etc, etc. Both in the real world and on the internet.  Find one or more and join them!  A lot of them are free, so not having money isn't an obstacle.  If your passion is something other than writing, do a little research.  I can almost guarantee someone, somewhere has created a group or club about it.  Find them and ask if you can play in their sandbox too.  Most people like hanging out with other people who enjoy the same things, so they'll probably say yes.  If not, or if you really and truly can't find such a group, then make your own group!! Facebook is great for that, and it's free, easy to use, and available most places where you have an internet connection.

Some of the complaints I've heard from other writers are about not having ideas or not knowing how to organize those ideas.  Well, I can tell you one thing: that pot is never going to boil if you don't turn on the heat!  So sit down with your pad and pencil, in front of your keyboard, or with your cuneiform tablet...you know, whatever your media of choice is ;-) ...and start putting something down!  It doesn't have to be good, it doesn't even have to make sense, it just has to be there!!  How long do you think it will be before you have something that you can at least clean up, expand on, or play with in some other way to make it what you want it to be?  The same principle applies to any other creative endeavor: Get Started And DO IT!

I've also heard some authors complain that they are having a hard time getting people to buy and read their books.  This one is harder.  After all, it doesn't matter how good your writing is or how engaging your story is, if no one knows about it.  And getting people to know about it involves at least one of two things:  luck or marketing.  Luck, as many poets have pondered, is a fickle mistress, not to be counted on.  Marketing works, and there's a whole branch of psychology that focuses on how it works, what works best, and how to use the first two pieces of information to create effective marketing strategies.  Rather dry reading, but useful if you want to sell something.  Unfortunately, marketing also takes time and money.  Either of which may be hard for you to justify spending since marketing isn't your passion, creating is.

So you've got to ask yourself a question: how important are sales to you?  Don't misunderstand, I'm absolutely not knocking the profit motive here.  I'll be over-the-moon thrilled, turning cartwheels, and screaming it out to the world if I ever reach a point where I can make a living from my stories.  It think it's almost every writer's dream to have their work sell, and for people to enjoy it.  But the fact remains, you can still write even if no one buys what you wrote.  There's no law limiting creative works to those that have proven themselves of commercial value.

This post isn't meant for those who only want to do something in order to earn money.  There's nothing wrong with that, obviously, most of us have to perform some kind of labor or task in exchange for cash in order to survive.  That's called being an adult.  If you are doing something with the sole purpose of being able to live on the proceeds, and the proceeds aren't forthcoming, then stop doing it.  Only you can decide why you're doing whatever it is your doing.

But I'm not writing about adulting here, I'm writing about dreams.  If it's your dream to write, then DO IT!  If it's your dream to make money writing, then you'll have to put in the work.  Just like with any goal, there are steps you have to follow to achieve it.  When it comes to selling books, part of that work is marketing.  Your success probably won't happen overnight, success in anything rarely happens quickly, but eventually you'll probably see some improvement.  Will it be the kind of improvement you're dreaming of? Eh, maybe, maybe not.  You know what they say:  "Aim for the stars, even if you miss you'll climb high."  But I can guarantee you'll never get there if you don't try.

I know a lot of the specific examples I used here had to do with writing, duh I'm a writer ;-) , but the same principles can be applied to just about anything.  If you want to do something, put aside the excuses, give yourself a kick in the pants, and DO IT!  No one else is going to make your dreams come true, only you can make them happen.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

#Sunday #Tease

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Just wanted to let you know I'm still working on the third book in the series that started with Taken By The Huntsman.  It's coming along well, and with any luck I'll be able to have it out to you in time for the holidays.  In the meantime, here's a little tease for you. ;-)

The gentle butterfly kisses she gave him progressed to soft nips and firmer contact between their mouths. After some hesitation, she eased her tongue between his lips and he met it with his own. As their kissing deepened, she began to run her hands experimentally over his body. He mirrored her actions; careful only to follow where she led. In time, his patience was rewarded as she moaned in satisfaction and shifted so that the contact between their bodies increased.

Changing the angle at which his thigh lay, he pressed it between her legs and was delighted when she rubbed herself against it. She slid her hands under his tunic, and he shivered as her slender fingers teased his nipples.

Don't know what series this is?  You can find books 1, 2, and novella 2.5 on my Amazon page here:

If you'd like, you can even follow me by clicking the little yellow button under the cute kitten picture, and Amazon will automatically send you an email as soon as this newest story is out! :-)  It's a good thing to do even if Amazon isn't your preferred merchant, because it should appear on all of the other merchant sites at about the same time.  That way, you can get it as soon as possible, and I know that's what you want, right? ;-)

Thanks for stopping by today, and please stay tuned for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's musings.  After all, you never know when I might let a little more show! ;-)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

#RRBC's #SPOTLIGHT #Author #BlogTour: Larry Hyatt!

Excerpt From Beauregawd
By: Larry Hyatt
Beauregawd is Louisiana’s oldest politician. He was born 1901, has been a State Senator since the 30’s. He remembers it all, his way. He is being interviewed in his office below the Louisiana State Capitol by a college student television reporter. He’s at his desk. The cameras have been rolling:

Sherman: What are you? Twenty years old? Son, I go way back.
Jay: How far is “way back?”
Sherman: Well. Let’s see. I remember Bobby Jindal when he believed in Kris Kringle. I remember Lindy Boggs when they called her Windy Lindy. Why, I can remember Huey Long… when he was short.
Jay: What did you think of Huey Long?
Sherman: Huey Long? Why, you could say he was the “muther” of all Louisiana politics. But, you’d be wrong. Being the good looking, dapper man he was I bet he was the father of a great many.
Jay: What are you trying to say, sir?
Sherman: Oh, he was a pistol. He fired from the hip. Share the wealth, “Every man a king.” He was gonna give everyone in the state a pension and a radio. Why, that’s good stumpin’ son. The majority of people back then didn’t have a pot, much less something to pee in.
Jay: But he built this building.
Sherman: He sure did, In the middle of a depression. The tallest state capitol, some say built as a shrine to himself and he walked these halls like he owned them. Funny how he built em’ and this is where they shot ‘em.
Jay: You said “they”. Do you believe it was a conspiracy?
Sherman: Him, they. That was such a long time ago, son. How do they say, the legend has taken a life of its own. I guess we’ll never know the truth. Of course today, everybody at the scene of the crime would have had a cell phone, and took a bunch of pictures. Why, I remember when the cell phone first came out. I thought everybody was running around here all surprised. They were putting their hands upside their faces. I was thinking, “Why is everybody always surprised around here? What in tar nation is going on?” Then, I realized, everyone was speaking on a dog gone telephone.”
Jay: Did you get along with Huey Long?
Sherman: With Huey you either did or you didn’t. He did spark me as a young man into helping the good people of Louisiana, but I was naive and uninformed, didn’t understand how the Louisiana political machine worked and now it’s changed so much.
Jay: And how is that sir?
Sherman: Well, son, there was a time you boys let us be politicians, good or bad. We served the people. Sometimes we got it right. Sometimes we didn’t but we made decisions. We weren’t always looking over our shoulder trying to get reelected. “Don’t say this, it could tick off the baby boomers.” “Don’t say that. The majority will be up in arms, “Sway the Democrats.” “Please the Republicans.” Whatever happen to voting for what’s right, for freedom, the right to live and raise your children, give them more than what you had. That seemed to be more important back then. The 21st century is so much more stressful. That should be how they say…alleviated.
Jay: Alleviated how?
Sherman: Well first, elect politicians who rightly serve the people. It’s become so expensive to run that the people who are born to serve, the folks who have the need, the deep feeling inside themselves, that yearning to help, like the doctors need to heal the sick. Those people who want to serve need to get others to give them money, plenty money. Why does a man have to spend millions of dollars to lead his fellow man to better things? Of course today it has to be done. I just wish it wasn’t so.
Jay: You said lead his fellow man.
Sherman: That’s right. If you want to serve your fellow man, find me a parking spot that’s close to the state capitol. This state needs politicians who can lead, men and women who can grab the bull by the horns, the tiger by the tail, the bear by the- (Sherman looks at the camera) … Well for mixed company I’ll say, by the fur, Heh, Heh, Heh.
Jay: How many children do you have, sir?
Sherman: Why in that department, I’d like to think I was a busy man. I have eleven children from five marriages. So far I’ve been a widower, a divorcee, and estranged. Right now I’d saw I’m inclined.
Jay: You mean engaged.
Sherman: No. I’m inclined, to never be married again.
Jay: So you’re single?
Sherman: That’s right, forever and ever amen.
Jay: Could you tell us about your marriages, sir.
Sherman: Well, I will tell you this. I fell in love with the most beautiful woman in world back in 1923. I was 22, right out of the Centenary College of Louisiana, up there in Shreveport. One of my great grandsons is a professor there. He’s a Methodist minister. I guess you can say, finally, religion took. Anyway, I remember the day I met the love of my life, a most beautiful girl… It was a 4th of July picnic. (Sherman starts to look off and reminisce.) It was nice and sunny that day. For some reason it wasn’t hot. There I was, on campus, standing nervously by a large shade tree waiting for a friend. That’s when Abigail Renfro, sashayed up to me in a white linen dress…She had the colors red, and blue tied around her waist…Her long, blonde hair tied back in a pretty blue ribbon…She said to me, “You’re Sherman Beauregawd. I heard of you. You want to be a politician one day.” I said, ‘Not only that pretty lady, I’m gonna be famous, and I’m gonna do things in this part of the country that no one has ever seen. I’m going to do it for this here state, and the people of Louisiana.’ She said, ‘Well, Mister Beauregawd, what makes you think you’re any better than anybody else?’ I said, ‘Cause I’m gonna have you by my side.’ The corners of her mouth turned up. Then, she smiled at me. It went through to my soul. The prettiest smile I had ever seen.
Jay: What happen?
Sherman: Oh, I married her, son. The prettiest girl in the world was in red, white, and blue, and on the 4th of July. With the fireworks going off that night, I couldn’t compete. I was gone’a come the goodnight kiss.
Jay: That sounds like a romantic first date.
Sherman: I loved her more than life itself, son... Twelve months later she died in child birth.
Jay: I’m very sorry to hear that.
Sherman: Yeah, it was sad. They didn’t have hospitals like they do now, and all those things doctors can do today. It was such a very long time ago… yet, it seems like yesterday.
Jay: Wait a minute. In Shreveport there is a huge woman’s hospital, The Beauregawd Women’s Clinic. It’s named after you?
Sherman: Yeah… Abigail, sure was pretty that day.
Jay: Now, you’ve also been divorced, haven’t you?
Sherman: Aww hell son, I’m a politician. I’ve made mistakes in my love life. I’ll tell you right now. You need a devoted woman to put up with her husband being away from home, a woman who believes in her husband serving for the better good, over one’s self. Politicians and their wives need thick skins. It’s hard putting up with lies from your opponents and people who want to trash your good family name. Remember son, when people trash your husband’s name, they’re trashing your children’s name. Not to mention, when people get a hold of lies and falsehoods, they mash it all up. Put it in a Cuisenaire and set that thing a going, round and round, till it mixes together and creates a perceived truth. The truth son, can set you free. An untruth can bring your family to its knees.

Author Bio:
Larry Hyatt has written radio comedy, sketch comedy and plays, produced television and radio, worked as a creative director for an arts and entertainment magazine, and published numerous humorous articles and essays. Originally from New Orleans he’s a former graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and attended Loyola University’s School of Music as a vocalist, went into radio broadcasting, has been a nightclub in house entertainer (Where he did theatre in a bar), produced and hosted television shows for LCN-TV, and started an entertainment magazine called the “The Tri-Parish Navi-Gator,” featuring theatre, music, dinning and the arts in South Louisiana. He hosts “Larry Hyatt is the Morning” on C-96.7 KCIL Radio in Houma, La.

Book Blurb:
How to Reach for the American Dream… (And not get it), is the fictional, comedic account of the life of an entertainer who from childhood had what it took to “make it.” You’ll laugh, cry, and cheer him on as he struggles to achieve what only a select few can through his television kid show debut, glee clubs, remedial college studies, gaining weight as a “starving” artist, dating women out of his league, nightclub entertainer, and romps through radio, television, and publishing.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-Reach-American-Dream-Not-ebook/dp/B00FSKCGTU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439568159&sr=8-1&keywords=larry+hyatt

Find Larry Online!
Twitter: @hyhattlarry
Facebook: www.facebook.com/larry.hyatt.967
Website: www.hyhatt.blogspot.com

Friday, August 28, 2015

#TRR #Review Of #Bound By The #Summer #Prince!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I just wanted to share a couple of things with you today. :-)  First, LiaL from The Romance Reviews thinks that Bound By The Summer Prince is "a good choice for those wanting to explore a world with different boundaries"! :-)  Would you like to see what else she said about it?  Check out the full review here:

Second, I've made a new book trailer, and I'd love it if you'd all check it out and maybe even give it a like! ;-)

Thank you all for stopping by, and I hope to see you all at the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

#Change Is In The #Wind! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

As the title says, there are some changes in the wind. :-)  First, at the end of the month the 99 cent introductory price for Intrigue In The Summer Court will end and I'll be raising the price.  So if you want a deal, hurry up and get it!! ;-)

Second, starting in September, I'll be offering Bound By The Summer Prince through Kindle Unlimited, which means I'll be obligated to pull it from all retailers other than Amazon.  I'm letting you know now so that if you haven't gotten it yet, and you'd prefer to get it from a retailer other than Amazon, you can still do so.  Any copy that you purchase before it is removed from the other retailers will remain yours, and you will still have full access to it after I enroll it in Kindle Unlimited.  You just won't be able to make a new purchase of it from any retailer other than Amazon.  I'll also be enrolling Intrigue In The Summer Court in Kindle Unlimited in the not too distant future, but not as soon as Bound By The Summer Prince.

I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.  I'm doing this because my sales for Taken By The Huntsman have greatly improved since I enrolled it in Kindle Unlimited.  If you think this is a mistake and would prefer to see my stories offered through all the online book retailers, please let me know. I'm extremely willing to listen to feedback, so by all means leave a comment or shoot me an email.

So anyway, that's what's new today.  You still have one more weekend to get Intrigue in The Summer Court for 99 cents, and to get Bound By The Summer Prince from your preferred retailers. :-)  I'm also busy plugging away at getting the third book in the series out to you as soon as possible.  At this time, I still plan to initially release it to all the online book retailers, not just Amazon.  :-)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thursday!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My #Interview With KM McFarland!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

KM McFarland is with us today.  KM, will you tell us about yourself and how many books you have written? :-)

KM:  I live in New Orleans, and my love for New Orleans history, legends and folklore is what inspired me to write about vampires and ghosts set in the French Quarter and the Garden District. I have always wanted to write a vampire novel without the help of every other element of the supernatural but soon discovered that’s easier said than done. I do feature ghosts, voodoo, and black magic, but the story revolves around the vampires. It actually began as an item on my bucket list that I intended to scratch off when the first novel was finished, but instead it became a writing project that resulted in three self-published novels with more to come. 

Me:  Sounds like a great Halloween read!! :-)  What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it? 

KM:  I just released Vampyr: The Complete Trilogy. It’s a collection of all three books: Song of the Vampire, Under a Bourbon Street Moon, and Masquerade. This one is available in paperback only. People kept telling me they prefer the feel of a real book as opposed to ebooks, so now all three are available in one bundle for less cost and, of course, you can still get the ebooks individually for Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, etc. 

Me:  Cool! :-)  What are you working on now? 

KM:  I have two works in progress right now. Vampyr 4, the next vampire installment which remains untitled at this time and another paranormal novel that involves reincarnation and possibly ghosts or witches but no vampires ... I don’t think ... Maybe ... I don’t know. I never know until I start the writing process where it’s going to end up.

Me:  Sounds like fun! :-)  What authors, or books, have influenced you?

KM:  I love vampires. My favorite author is Anne Rice. I’m a huge fan. It all started when I picked up a copy of The Vampire Lestat back in the late eighties when it was first published. I fell in love with Lestat and the conception of the modern day vampire. I still have it on my shelf along with her other novels, mostly first editions because I would buy them as fast as they were published. Another favorite is Charlaine Harris’ True Blood series. I’d say my protagonist, Quinn, is a little bit of Lestat, Louis, Eric, Bill, Stefan, Damon, and (a non-sparkly) Edward among other famous modern day vampires all rolled into one with his own personality and story.

Me:  I confess to having my own Anne Rice collection sitting on my bookshelves. ;-)  What are you reading now?

KM:  The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden. She’s an indie author from New Orleans who built a huge following by publishing on Wattpad. It’s a paranormal story set in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I’ve started reading and been successfully pulled into Demon Within by Julie Nicholls, so that’s next on the TBR list.

Me:  I've read Julie's books, and they're a lot of fun!! You're in for a great read. :-)  I'll have to check out The Casquette Girls, it sounds interesting.  For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

KM:  Expect to get into the mind, heart and soul of the vampire. Expect to get to know the vampires as genuine beings as opposed to monsters. Expect Intrigue, suspense, love, sex, romance with a lot of twists and turns. Expect the unexpected. When you think you know where it’s going, you can expect it to take a turn.

Me:  Ha! Sounds like a fun read! :-)   What is your favorite part of being an author?

KM:  Not having to be anywhere. I can work when I want to on my laptop while sipping on a glass of wine if I feel like it.

Me:  I have to agree, that is a great way to work! :-)  Do you have a day job as well?

KM:  No. I wouldn’t be writing if I did. A day job stood in the way of writing for too many years. After several unsuccessful attempts at writing a novel, I came to the conclusion the outside world was too full of distractions. Finally, I got to a place where I’m able to spend my time doing what I love.

Me:  That's awesome!! :-)  What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

KM:  Writing is the easy part. The downside of being Indie is promoting your work. It’s extremely time-consuming. It’s always a good feeling when someone tells me they liked my books or leaves a nice review, but I honestly don’t worry about making money off of my books. Of course, I want to, but my main purpose for writing is to entertain, and if I can do that, my job is done. I probably give away as many as I sell.

Me:  Yeah, I think most indies would agree with you about promotion. :-) What genre do you place your book in?

KM:  Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Me:  Wonderful! :-)  Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

KM:  Thanks for reading my books. Please feel free to contact me via my website, facebook or twitter. I love hearing from readers and reading their comments about what they liked and didn’t like about my stories. When you’re writing a series, it’s good to know what readers want from the story. Positive or negative, I find it all quite helpful.

Me:  I completely agree!  I've found a lot of useful information in both good and bad reviews. :-)  And so these lovely people can find your books, are there any links you'd like me to post?

KM:  Yes. Thanks for having me today, and I can be hunted down at any of these links. 

Website: http://www.kmmcfarland.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kmmcfarland?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KMMcFarland
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/K-M-McFarland/e/B00DR0KLC2/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

You're welcome, KM, and thank you for coming! :-)  Everyone else, thank you for joining us and I hope to see you at the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

An #Interview With Azzurra Nox!! :-)

Hey Everyone!!! :-)

Azzurra Nox is joining us today.  Azzurra, can you please tell us what the name of your latest book is and what inspired it?

Azzurra:  My latest book is CUT HERE, a YA Paranormal Urban Fantasy about a group of teenagers that get hold of a cult Japanese novel that brings death to those that read it. The book was inspired by a nightmare I had a few years ago where a book called CUT HERE was behind some deaths.

Me:  Huh, sounds interesting. :-)  What are you working on now?

Azzurra:  I'm currently working on the sequel to CUT HERE, entitled CUT IN TWO. I'm also putting together a short story collection, and working on a YA Thriller entitled Poison Girl.

Me:  Cool!! Sounds like you like your fiction dark. ;-)  What authors, or books have influenced you?

Azzurra:  Anne Rice's writing has greatly influenced my own in the way of how I describe incidents or characters. Growing up though, I devoured a lot of R.L. Stine Fear Street series novels. My dad enrolled me in a Thriller Book Club, so every month I got about 5-6 books of his, and I think those novels have influenced me in many ways, such as they taught me how to make a reader feel uneasy or paranoid. To this day I refuse to put my hand down the disposal drain, even if it's turned off, because a ghost in a R.L. Stine novel turned it on and had the protagonist's fingers be sliced off!

Me:  HA! Yes, those are definitely two very talented authors. :-)  What are you reading now?

Azzurra:  I'm constantly reading a new book. At the moment I'm reading a truly intriguing thriller called The Silent Wife.

Me:  Wonderful! :-) For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

Azzurra:  If you were a huge fan of Hemlock Grove (both the book or the TV series), then you will love my book. It's got the same paranormal appeal and multiple character POV's. So if you're into that and creepy scenes, then you're in for a treat.

Me:  I bet you're popular around Halloween. ;-)  What is your favorite part of being an author?

Azzurra:  Creating characters that become as close and real to you as your own friends. Having the power to manipulate the outcome of events.

Me:  Ha! I think a lot of authors enjoy those things. :-)  Do you have a day job as well?

Azzurra:  Yes, I work as a graphic designer.

Me:  Great! :-)  What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

Azzura:  Hardest part is when the words in your head sound better than when you put them down on paper, and all the massive editing one needs to do to polish the final outcome. Easiest part, or at least the most fun part for me is doing the research for a project. Reading up on whatever it is that I'm going to be writing about, be it about a location or tradition. Or getting experience some things, such as I went to see a ballet production of Phantom of the Opera, so that I could write about a ballet recital in the book, or hanging out with surfers at Zuma Beach so that I could know more about that sport, since I had no clue about the technicality about it.

Me:  I agree, research is a lot of fun! :-)  What genre do you place your book in?

Azzurra:  YA Paranormal Urban Fantasy.

Me:  Awesome! :-)  Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

Azzurra:  I'm a huge lover of music and throughout the years have interviewed various artists on my site: www.plasticvenus.com . I'm also a big fan of horror movies, so if you ever have a movie suggestion for me, hit me up! I'd love to hear it as I'm always on the lookout for a good horror movie.

Me:  Scary movies can be great! :-)  Are there any links you'd like me to post?


Monday, August 24, 2015

A #News #Update!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

You may have noticed there have been a lot of guest posts recently.  There's a couple of reasons for that.  First, the people who have been gracious enough to guest post here are awesome and I love showcasing their thoughts. :-)  But the second reason is that I've been a bit busy and haven't had as much time to write blog posts.  What have I been busy with?  I'm glad you asked!! ;-)
I've started working on the third full-length novel in the series (those of you who have read Intrigue In The Summer Court know it is a novella and is really 2.5 in the series) I started with Taken By The Huntsman.  Now I'm going to try to get this book out by the end of the year, but a lot of things are going on right now so I can't promise.  In the meantime, I've posted the first chapter down below so you'll have an opportunity to get to know the heroine a bit.  Please keep in mind that this is unedited and subject to change. ;-)

***A note of warning:  The following excerpt contains material that may upset some people.  There are descriptions of domestic violence with both verbal and physical abuse.  Please keep that in mind before reading.  Thank you.

Chapter One

Rain poured from the sky making a steady drumming sound against the car. Kate listened as the patter of the raindrops harmonized with the swish-swish of the windshield wipers as they fought a valiant battle to keep the glass clear enough to see through. The white noise the combination made was a perfect accompaniment to the static that filled her mind. She wasn't sure, but she thought she might be in shock and she pondered that possibility in a desultory manner.

The air outside was hot and humid, but Kate had turned the air conditioning in the car up all the way, causing everything to feel cool and clammy. She shivered. It wasn't even the honest chill of winter, but instead a sticky, moist dankness that seemed to settle into her bones yet still left her skin and throat dry. But she was grateful that the junker of a car at least had a functioning air conditioner. Kate hated hot weather.

She had never wanted to leave the northeast to spend the winter in Florida. That was Erik's idea. Predictably, her mother had agreed with him and pressured Kate into making the trip. Agatha Graham was always in favor of anything that might move Kate and Erik closer to matrimony.

Tears filled Kate's pale gray eyes as she thought about her now ex-fiance. He was a beautiful man, who seemed to have been painted in shades of gold. Even at thirty-seven, his hair remained a lovely dark blonde. His hairline started just a few inches above his eyebrows and showed no signs of thinning. He wore his short, yellow tresses slicked back in a shiny business-appropriate style that created the illusion that he wore a golden helmet. A large man, with a powerful build, there wasn't an ounce of fat on his frame. At six feet and two inches tall, his height topped even her own impressive five feet, eleven inches. His eyes were a warm chocolate brown, but it had been quite some time since she had seen him look at her with anything but coldness in them.

For years, she had tried to make things work between them. Not because she loved him or thought he loved her, but because her mother was so determined to see them together. She could hear Agatha's voice in her head even now. "Smile, dear, and think about how comfortable your life will be with him. He's a good provider, and will give you a position in society. A woman can put up with a lot to gain that."

Fighting back both the moisture in her eyes and the echoes of her mother's words, Kate tried to figure out where she should go and what she was going to do for money. She would be okay for a while, her Nana had left her an inheritance when she died and Kate had kept that money safe in a bank account that Erik didn't know about. But it wouldn't be long before she would need to find a job, and she had no idea how to go about doing that.

Her mother had pushed Kate at Erik since just after she graduated from high school. Kate had managed to evade her mother's match-making efforts long enough to start college, but by the time she finished her Junior year the combined pressure from Erik and Agatha had convinced her to drop out of school and focus her attention on pleasing her fiancé. Not that she had ever succeeded in that endeavor. She never started her Senior year, and had failed to earn a degree.

With no degree or work experience, she was at a loss as to how to find a job that would pay enough for her to live on. Going back to school might be an option, but she had no idea how to find out if any of the classes she had already completed could be used in a new program or how long it might take to finish a degree. Kate knew her situation wasn't unique, lots of women had been abused by their husbands or boyfriends, and most didn’t have a safety net like what her Nana left to her. But she had never before realized how dependant she was on Erik and her mother.

At thirty-two years old, Kate had never lived on her own. She had never needed to find an apartment, arrange for utility service, find or hold a job, or do any of the other things most adults took for granted. Even during her brief stint in college, she had stayed close to home and lived first with her mother, and then with Erik. One of her ex-fiance's favorite things to berate her with was her utter uselessness. And, to her eternal shame, she couldn't argue with him.

Oh, she had done charity work, served on various committees for different organizations, decorated and kept the homes that Erik had provided for them, and spent her time doing all of the other things the women who belonged to rich, important men did. But, as her ex-fiance was fond of pointing out to her, none of that was worth a whole lot.

In all honesty, her biggest accomplishment in life was knowing how to shop. Even her mother, ever ready to aid her only daughter with well-directed criticism, admitted that Kate always had impeccable taste and an infallible eye for aesthetics. In spite of her impossible figure, and the frizzy, orange-red hair that defied hair color and styling products, Kate always looked well-groomed and elegant. With an uncanny nose for classic style and timeless beauty, Kate could make even flea market finds fashionable. It was that saving grace that had allowed her to decorate a man like Erik's arm for the last twelve years.

But a talent for shopping, dressing, and decorating wouldn't put money in the bank or food on her table. At least, she couldn't see how it would, and she didn't have anyone to turn to for advice. Her mother wasn't an option. Agatha had made it clear on more than one occasion that if Kate didn't make things work with Erik, she would wash her hands of her.

It had been the older woman's life-long goal to improve her position within society, and secure one for her daughter, and she had long ago decided that marrying Kate to Erik was the way to do it. After all, Erik's family connections were beyond reproach, coming as he did from old money. And the man himself was a successful, respected attorney who was a partner in a large, prestigious law firm. He was exactly what Agatha had been training Kate to attract and marry from the time the girl was a toddler.

Her mother meant well, Kate knew that, and she did what she did out of love. But sometimes her words cut deeper than any knife could reach. Kate was never pretty enough, demure enough, or feminine enough to please her mother. She had always been tall and slender for her age, and when she hit puberty things had only gotten worse. Taller than all of the girls and most of the boys in her age group, Kate had been gawky and socially awkward as a teenager. Her mother would mock her, calling her beanpole and Olive Oil when she became frustrated with her daughter's angular frame. Agatha was forever trying to get Kate to pad her clothing, and had even tried to convince her daughter to have surgery to enhance her figure. But it was Kate's height that was the final straw that caused her mother to give up changing her appearance as an impossible task.

Agatha considered Kate's looks mannish and beyond redemption, so instead she channeled her energy into molding her daughter's behavior. She insisted her only child's education focus on art, music, and deportment, and refused to allow Kate to study subjects like math or science in school, except the bare minimum required by law. As a result, Kate's skill at balancing a checkbook was far below her ability to arrange form and color to produce a final product that was pleasing to the eye.

No, her mother would not be at all sympathetic to Kate's plight, and could not be counted upon to provide assistance. As for friends, Kate had them once, but somehow they all seemed to drift away over the years. She knew why that was, and it was her own fault for allowing it. Erik had always been jealous of Kate's time. He worked long hours under stressful conditions, and expected her to always be available to cater to his needs when he wanted her. That made keeping in touch with friends almost impossible. Of course that suited him just fine; he never liked any of her friends anyway. It had always been his argument that he was devoted to her, and so should be enough to satisfy all of her needs.

To prove his commitment, he had proposed to her in lavish style a few years into their relationship; even though they had been living together for several years. She would never forget their engagement; it had warmed her many times when the realities of their life together left her cold. On her twenty-fifth birthday, he had surprised her with a date of fairy tale splendor. The evening began with him picking her up from their apartment in a horse-drawn carriage and taking her to the fanciest restaurant in town. There he ordered expensive wine and extravagant meals for both of them, and spent the entire time making her feel as if she were the only person in his universe.

They had talked for hours, and he had complimented her both on her looks and on her opinions. She had never felt as beautiful, articulate, or special as she did on that night. After dessert, he pulled a black velvet box out of his coat pocket and got down on one knee before her. Every eye in the restaurant was on them as he explained how much he loved and cherished her and that it was his greatest wish that she would allow him the privilege of doing so for the rest of their lives. Then he had opened the box and revealed a flawless, emerald-cut diamond ring. He had slipped the jewelry onto the ring finger of her left hand as she sat before him speechless, and the stone had covered her entire first knuckle.

The people in the ritzy establishment had applauded and even whistled as she forced her stunned muscles to work and nodded her head in an affirmative answer to his question. He stood, pulling her up with him, and gave her the most tender and passionate kiss she had ever experienced. They rode home together in the back of a luxurious limousine, necking and carrying on like two teenagers on their way home from the prom, and he had actually carried her through the front door of their apartment building and into the elevator.

That night he made love to her as if she were the most precious thing on earth. She actually achieved orgasm, something she had never done with him before or since, and awoke convinced she had found the Prince Charming she would spend the rest of her life with. After he had left for work that morning, she called her mother and told her all about it. Agatha, of course, had been ecstatic, and had pushed for a quick wedding date. But after seven years, one had never materialized.

After that one magical night, Erik had gone back to treating her as he always had. Except that over time his barbs got a little sharper and his demeanor a little chillier. There always seemed to be some condition she needed to meet before he would agree to set a wedding date. No matter what she did, it was never good enough. She was never good enough.

She had bowed to his pressure and followed her mother's advice for years, and things just kept getting worse and worse. With her friends long-gone, it had been easy for him to convince her to give up her charity endeavors one after another. After all, if she wanted to be his wife, she would need to keep her schedule open so that she would be available to meet his needs. Any time she left their apartment, she would first need to gain approval from him for the errand and give him a precise timetable for when she would return. This was, of course, so that he would know where to reach her if he needed her.

Then there was sex. She grimaced just thinking about it. Sex was always to be available to Erik upon demand. If she even thought about refusing or making an excuse, he would treat her coldly for days afterward and threaten to find someone else to meet his needs. It might have been bearable had she enjoyed the sex she had with him, but after the night of their proposal he had never taken any trouble to see to her pleasure. As a result, sex became a chore, something she needed to endure long enough for him to slake his lust on her body. Even that might not have been so bad if he had just wanted a convenient hole to pump himself into, but he began insisting on things that she didn't want to do.

It started with him getting rougher and rougher with her. If she cried out in pain, it just excited him and spurred him to hurt her more. She was afraid to find out what would happen if she complained or told him to stop. But when he suggested asking another woman to join them, she had put her foot down and flatly refused. The result had terrified her.

That was the first time she had told him 'no' in a long time. A look of maniacal fury had filled his eyes, and he flew across the room to grab her. The first blow had surprised her, but she saw it when he drew his fist back to punch her again. She had tried to raise her arms to protect herself, but for all her height, Erik was much stronger than her. He spent several minutes pummeling her, and when he let her go she fell at his feet like a rag doll, sobbing out her fear and horror.

He had stood there looking at her for a few minutes, and then stormed from the room and out of the apartment. After a while, she had collected herself and made her painful way home to her mother. Agatha had taken one look at the bruises that covered her daughter's face and made an immediate trip to the nearest high-end department store. She returned with half the store's inventory of foundation and cover-up cosmetics, and proceeded to instruct Kate on how to conceal the evidence of that and any future beatings her fiancé administered. Not once had her mother entertained the suggestion that Kate should leave Erik, and she had insisted her daughter return to her home with the man immediately.

Hurt and not knowing what else to do, Kate had complied and returned to the apartment she shared with Erik. She never asked her mother for help again. Erik had been waiting for her when she arrived home, and he met her with a gorgeous bouquet of roses, an expensive diamond tennis bracelet, and a sincere-sounding apology. He begged her forgiveness and vowed he would never lay a hand on her in anger again.

Kate knew that wasn't true. She had seen the after-school specials and knew that men who abused their partners didn't stop unless they participated in serious therapy, and even that was no guarantee. Not that she would dare suggest that Erik see a shrink, she could just imagine his reaction and it sent chills down her spine. But she had nowhere else to go. Not believing him, but feeling that she had no choice, Kate had forgiven him.

Of course, that was only the first of many beatings. For a while afterward, Erik had treated her better. He seemed to make an effort to restrain his temper, and had acted as though her happiness mattered to him. Things were good, for a while, and she almost convinced herself that she was wrong. For a while, she thought that maybe, just maybe, he would be the exception. That he really was sorry and would never hit her again. For a while.

But it wasn't all that long before she said something that again made him angry. Just like all the textbooks said, a cycle of him beating her and then apologizing and promising not to do it again repeated over and over. Each iteration of the cycle had a shorter cooling-off period, with the beatings coming more and more frequently. Each time he blamed stress and pressure from work, and each time she forgave him because she didn't know what else to do.

In fact, one of the reasons for their trip to Florida had been so that he would have the opportunity to relax and feel less stressed out. He had told her he needed a vacation, and that the snow and dark skies of a northeast winter made him feel anxious and depressed. Some time off and fun in the sun was all he needed, he insisted, to recharge and get a better handle on his temper.

They had been in Florida for a little over a month, and he had beaten her three times. She had achieved an almost academic detachment, and found it interesting that his apologies had changed. In the past, when he apologized he had taken the blame and promised to change. Now, he was blaming her and suggesting ways for her to change. She became pretty sure it wouldn't be long before he killed her, and had found it quite difficult to muster up any concern over the matter. Until the last beating.

The two of them were staying in a small cottage on the beach. Erik loved the sand and the surf, and the sun just gave his golden skin a little darker tone. Kate had the delicate, fair complexion that matched her fiery red hair, and her skin turned a shade to rival her hair when she spent any time in the sun.

Kate had stayed behind while Erik went out to give his new boogie board a try. Her refusal to come and cheer him on had annoyed him, and she had thought it might be a good idea to do something to mitigate his anger. It occurred to her that if she made him his favorite dinner of scallops and linguini he might be appeased enough to let her lack of enthusiasm for sun worshiping go.

Leaving him a note about where she was going, just in case it took longer than she thought it would, Kate hurried to the market. She figured a quick trip to get the supplies she would need for such a meal, and she might, with luck, be back before he realized she had left. But she hadn't accounted for southern Florida traffic.

By the time she returned, he had been waiting for her for quite some time. As she entered the kitchen to put the groceries away, she noted the stiff, still way he sat in the living room. The television was on and he appeared to be watching some kind of sports game, but his jaw was clenched tight and a tick had started at the corner of his left eye. She knew she was in trouble, but had forged ahead with making the meal. Maybe the smell of the food cooking would help him calm down.

With the garlic, scallions, and mushrooms sizzling in a skillet with butter and olive oil, she set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. The scallops themselves would cook in almost no time, and the pasta was fresh and would take only a couple of minutes. If she timed it perfectly, everything would be done at just about the same time, and would be piping hot and delicious when she served it to him.

Just as she laid the scallops in the pan, he had come up behind her. She jumped when she turned to find him there, but quickly looked away from the icy rage in his eyes. "I'm making your favorite tonight," she had mumbled. "Scallops and linguini in a cream and butter sauce. If you go sit down, it should be ready in just a few minutes and I'll bring it to you."

He had moved closer, caging her against the counter with his body, and she shrank into herself and refused to meet his eyes. He raised one hand and held it, trembling, by her face. As if he intended to cup her cheek. But she knew better.

"Where were you, Kate?" he asked, his voice shaking with suppressed fury. "You weren't here when I got back. I thought you weren't feeling well enough to go out?"

"I-I-I," she stuttered. Swallowing, she forced herself to form coherent words. "I wanted to surprise you. I thought you would like it if I made your favorite dinner."

"You know how upset it makes me when I don't know where you are, Kate. You know I worry when I don't know how to find you." The volume of his voice increased with each sentence. "You know you're supposed to ask me before you go anywhere." He was almost yelling.

Gulping, Kate pointed to where the note still sat on the counter. "I left you a note. I just wanted to do something special for you."

In two strides he went to snatch the note off of the counter and was back, forcing her to huddle against the counter. He crushed the paper in his fist. "You're so fucking stupid, Kate! I don't want a fucking note telling me where you are! I want you to have the fucking guts to tell me yourself!" he screamed into her face.

She had grimaced at the insult and the crude language. "I know, Erik, I'm sorry," she said, trying to pacify him. "I'll try to do better." A weak smile flashed across her face and she pointed at the pan that was still on the stove. "I need to turn the scallops over now, or they'll burn. You don't want your lovely dinner to burn. Why don't you go sit down and let me bring you something nice to eat?" she pleaded.

With a roar he had flung the hot pan and boiling water across the room. Kate had screamed and tried to duck around him to run, but he had grabbed her and slung her to the floor. He kicked her in the ribs. "You stupid, fucking, cunt!" he screamed as he dragged her up and threw her against a wall.

Her head had bounced off of the wall when she hit it, and she had seen stars. She watched as his fist descended, and she had thought that he was finally going to do it. That this was the time when he would finally kill her. She didn't remember much after that until she woke up.

It was unusual for him to knock her out when he beat her, he preferred when she was aware and terrified, so she was a bit disoriented when she came to. She hadn't moved at first, she had only lain there on the floor and listened. Her whole body throbbed in a symphony of pain. She had breathed though her mouth, trying not to whimper, desperate to remain still and silent.

But Erik wasn't there. As she continued to strain her ears for any hint as to his location and mood, she became aware of a rushing sound. It took her a while, but she finally figured out it was just the sound of her own blood moving through her head. It was so still and quiet, that's all there was to hear.

Kate had realized that she had an opportunity, and she needed to take it. For some reason, this beating had shaken loose the apathy that had possessed her for years. She had truly believed that she was going to die, and had realized that she didn't want to. She wasn't ready to die yet. With a new determination, she forced herself to get up off of the floor. It involved a lot of pain and suppressed cries, but eventually she made it to her feet.

She went to the bathroom and washed the blood from her face. Her features were distorted where the contusions Erik had inflicted were already swelling. She decided just to let the wounds show. She felt broken inside, it seemed appropriate for her appearance to match. Moving to the bedroom, she had dug a large suitcase out of the back of the closet.

For years Kate had kept this suitcase packed, and she took it with her whenever she and Erik traveled. She had never opened it before, and he had never asked her about it. A fact for which she was grateful. In the suitcase were all of the clothes she still had from before she moved in with Erik. Ever since she and Erik had started living together, he had paid for all of her expenses, including her clothes. But the clothes in the suitcase were hers. She supposed, on some level, she must have been planning this for a long time.

One of the things that Erik liked to threaten her with any time he thought she might leave, was that if she took any of the things he bought for her, he would have her arrested on charges of theft. With his connections in the legal community, she had little doubt he could follow through on his threat. But the contents of the suitcase hadn't been bought by him.

She had removed her torn, bloody clothing, and changed into some of the clothes that were in the suitcase. For the first time, she was glad she hadn't gained any weight since college. Her preference for classic, timeless garments also stood her in good stead. In spite of the fact that the clothing in the suitcase was over a decade old, it fit her perfectly and wouldn't stand out if she wore it in public.

Removing the engagement ring she had worn for seven years, she left it on the top of the bureau in the bedroom. Then she had gathered up a few other personal items that hadn't been purchased by Erik and called a cab. When the taxi arrived, she had the driver take her to an ATM where she withdrew $500 of the money that her Nana had left for her. It wasn't much to start a life on, but it was too late for the banks to be open and the ATM had a limit. She figured it would be enough to pay for the cab and rent a car so she could get as far away from Erik as possible.

The driver kept throwing furtive looks in rearview mirror at the bruises that decorated her face, but he didn't say anything as he drove her to the car rental agency. The only such business in town that was still open at that late hour had a limited selection of available vehicles. In fact, there was only one, and there was little doubt as to why that particular car had yet to be rented out.

The gentleman who waited on her apologized for the lack of quality, and offered to at least have their service mechanic go over the car when he arrived in the morning. Kate had informed him that she was in a hurry, and would take whatever they had. Casting a quick glance at the wounds on her face and then letting his eyes slide away, the man hadn't argued.

Which was how, she reflected, she had come to be driving in the pouring rain, on a deserted country road, at night, by herself. She had been afraid to take any of the main interstate highways. Not knowing where Erik had gone or when he might return, she didn't know how much time she had before he realized she was gone. Once he did, it seemed likely he would use his connections in law enforcement to have her detained. She didn't want to risk being found.

Before leaving town, she had stopped at an all-night convenience store to fill up the car's gas tank and buy some portable food and beverages. She had also purchased a map, and found the road she was currently on. In theory, it would take her all the way to Georgia. It seemed like a serviceable enough road. Her only real problem with it was that the storm and the lack of streetlights resulted in a stygian effect that created the surreal illusion that she was the only person in the world.

It was funny because she had felt that way for quite some time, but it took a drive through the dark to make her realize it. Oh, Kate had read all of the books. She knew the psychological theories behind domestic abuse. She knew that being able to isolate their victims was one of the key elements that abusers depended on. The texts always made it seem so cut and dried, with clean lines and clear edges, something easily defined, identified, and avoided. But the reality wasn't that simple.

The advice was always the same: leave. But it wasn't that easy to just pick up and leave one's whole life behind. To have nowhere to go, and no idea how to get started with a plan. Even now, Kate didn't have a clue where she was heading. The only thought in her head when she had left was to get away. But get away to where? At the moment, all she knew was that she was heading north. She wanted to see the snow, she was tired of hot, sticky weather.

But she knew she couldn't go home, couldn’t go to the apartment she had shared with Erik. Couldn't even risk going back to the same town. She didn't want him to find her. Seeking help from her mother was also out of the question. So she had followed the advice that all the experts gave to domestic abuse victims, she had left. But she had nowhere to go.

There were supposed to be agencies that would help women who were fleeing from abusers, but where were they? How did one go about making contact with such an agency? Who would she even ask? She couldn't go to the police. If she did, Erik would use that to track her down.

There had been many times when Kate had listened to other women sneer that they would never allow a man to hit them. That if any man ever tried, they would leave. That any woman who put up with such behavior was a fool. She might be a fool, she had certainly been told she was often enough, but Kate also knew it wasn't that simple. Being beaten for so many years had been terrible; it had been awful to always be afraid and have to tiptoe around Erik's moods. But at least it was the devil she knew. Now she was faced with the fear of the unknown.

Even with all of that, Kate knew she was lucky. She had the money Nana had left her, and she didn't have any children. She couldn't even imagine trying to make this trip with kids in tow. Women who managed to escape domestic abuse with their children were amazing, and true heroes. She had no idea how they did it. That kind of strength was beyond her.

The thoughts running around and around through her head were driving her crazy. It was like having a rat in her brain that was gnawing to get out, and she couldn't bear to be alone with them anymore. She reached a trembling hand out to turn on the radio, hoping for something soft and soothing. Feeling lost in the darkness, she needed a message of hope.

Instead, the station the radio was tuned to was playing something loud and jarring. Dangerous sounding. She couldn't take it, and looked away from the road to change the channel. As she fiddled with the radio trying to find music that would help calm her, she kept flicking her eyes up to keep track of where she was going.

All of a sudden, a cat appeared in the cone of illumination thrown out by the headlights. Kate had barely a second to register the half-drowned animal's presence before slamming on the brakes and praying that the car would stop in time. As she skidded across the wet road, one of the tires on the car blew and she lost control. The car careened off the edge of the pavement, and down an embankment into a patch of forest along the side of the road. Kate fought for control and tried steer enough to avoid the trees, but the momentum of the car and gravity carried her deeper and deeper into the woods.

An enormous tree loomed large right in front of the car, and Kate knew she would never avoid it. She threw her arms up over her face to protect her head, and braced herself for the impact and the sound of shattering glass and shearing metal. It never came. Instead, the light from the headlights seemed to be swallowed up into a well of darkness, and the car started spinning. The vehicle spiraled faster and faster, making Kate dizzy and disorienting her even more. Pressure began to build in her head, and just when she thought her eyes were going to explode out of their sockets, her world seemed to shatter and everything went dark.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

An #Interview With Scott Borgman!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Scott Borgman is joining us today.  Scott, please tell us about yourself and how many books you have written. :-)

Scott:  I live in the exact center of Wisconsin (no joke, the town’s sign even says it!) with my wife and our three teenage kids *gulp!*, along with a kitten and our lovable, bed hogging dog (who is the reason I’m usually up all night because she steals my spot!) I’ve written six books so far, along with a small collection of poetry. Three of those books make up the Exiled trilogy, which are PNR books, while the other three are in my Tal’Avern Chronicles series, which is epic fantasy – my main genre focus.

Me:  Ha! Sounds like you have a full house! :-) What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Scott:  I actually just finished overhauling my entire Exiled trilogy recently, which consists of The Exiled, The Exiled: Continuation, and The Exiled: Infinity. When I first wrote them about four years ago, they were done shortly after my youngest son Cameron had tragically passed away at the age of 3. In a way, they were my way to try and come to grips with the loss, and as a way to pass on some real life lessons that it took his loss for me to see. I had actually considered unpublishing them, but the overwhelming support I got from my fellow Indies to keep them active made the decision to go back through them and get them to the higher expectations I have for myself now that back then I didn't. Cami was my inspiration for the trilogy, in the hopes that I could pass on some real life lessons interwoven between an interesting story.

Me:  I'm very sorry for your loss.  It's wonderful that you were able to find some solace in your writing. What are you working on now?

Scott:  With the trilogy overhauled, I’m heading back into Tal’Avern to finish up the Chronicles series with a fourth book. I imagine by this time the characters are getting restless for me to get back into the world so we can continue on our way. I’ve missed them, but you know how it is, one thing comes up and then something else… I’m sure the dwarf doesn’t mind waiting though… he’s probably sitting in a tavern with a mug of ale right now!*laugh*

Me:  I've heard that about dwarves. ;-) What authors, or books, have influenced you?

Scott:  Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman were the first epic fantasy authors I read. R.A. Salvatore is another influence. I spent a lot of my childhood in the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms worlds, and when I wanted something a bit more macabre, I snuck into the Ravenloft world to hang with the vampires, werewolves, and other things that inhabit that realm. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a group of close friends who I played AD&D with every night during the summer when I was 18. Good times with good friends… and a LOT of soda. I’ve used things from AD&D and made some of my own changes to them (I actually have the AD&D Monster Manual) like turning an orc from an unintelligent creature to making them a smart, war-like, clan-based society. Things like that. But that’s what we do, borrow a common idea and alter it to our own unique flavor.

Me:  And its truly amazing how many flavors fantasy comes in! :-) What are you reading now?

Scott:  I just finished reading Jen Winter’s book Kissing Demons (Awesome book! ((sneaky promo for her but ssshhh! She doesn’t know I wrote that!)) ) and have literally just started Bloodmarked by Lu J. Whitley. Looking forward to reading that one too! I actually enjoy pretty much every genre. I think it’s good to not limit oneself to one or two genres, simply because there are so many great books out there, and one may find their next favorite in a genre they don’t typically read.

Me:  I've read Kissing Demons, and Bloodmarked is definitely on my list! :-) Both books and authors have been featured on this blog before. ;-)  You're right, there are a LOT of really amazing tales just waiting to be discovered! :-)  For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

Scott:  Well, the Exiled trilogy blends modern day with angels, Greek mythology, some fantasy elements, a touch of horror, a bit of steamy romance (steamy, not explicit!), tosses them all in a blender and mixes them together. As for the Tal’Avern Chronicles – I’ve broken the rules of ‘traditional’ epic fantasy. I’ve been reading the genre for over 25 years, and one thing that always seemed to be commonplace was that the heroes and villains were typically male. You know, the big warrior Conan type. Or the characters from the Lord of the Rings – all nine Fellowshippers were male, and the two main villains as well. So in the most pleasant way possible… screw the rules sideways. The genre needed female characters in lead roles, not cowering behind the guys or playing minor roles. And they’re certainly not the old ‘knight in shining armor’ type. So that's what I did when I first created the world several years ago - screwed the rules sideways. *grin* I hope readers will like something apart from the old traditions. They might end up falling in love with a thief or a Shadow Walker… I certainly have while I’ve been writing about them. They’re not superheroes - they have flaws and they don’t always come out of their struggles victorious. But that’s why I love them - they’re believable. That doesn’t mean they can’t kick some ass right along with the guys though! ;)

Me:  My little feminist heart is going pitter pat! ;-)  It sounds like I'll have to add the Tal'Avern Chronicles to my TBR! :-)  What is your favorite part of being an author?

Scott:  The focus of the job. I used to work in the grocery industry… for about 20 years actually. I worked in every department, mostly in lead roles. I was good at it, but I was never truly happy doing it. It was a job, a paycheck… working my ass off so someone else could make a profit. Being an author, the focus is on the reader, giving them a world they can enjoy and travel through along with characters that I hope they feel connected with. I hope they’ll love some, despise some, hope some succeed and others get their due justice. It’s a selfless profession that focuses outward to others, not inward at myself. It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. It’s for that reason, through the long hours of writing, the editing, the editing… the editing… it makes it all worthwhile to me. Every. Single. Minute.

Me:  I couldn't agree more! :-)  Do you have a day job as well?

Scott:  Right now, writing and promoting my work is my job. When my wife and I first got married, I worked and she stayed home with the kids. We’d always wanted to switch roles, even back then. Her mother always stayed home, and she didn’t want to turn out like that. My father was always working when I was growing up, and I didn’t want to be like that. But we never went ahead and did it because of hearing the constant ‘advice’ from the 1950s idea that the man will always make more than the woman. It took the loss of someone close to us to see that life isn’t about how much you make or what you can get, but what you can give. That’s why I’m so passionate about focusing outwards. I’d love to be able to live comfortably through my work, I won’t lie. But not at the expense of giving up that focus to others. I do what I do both in honor of my Cami, and because I think it’s what he would have wanted me to do.

Me:  Amen!! And I'm so glad you and your wife have found a lifestyle that works for you.  Everyone else's opinion is irrelevant, as long as you're happy. :-)  What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

Scott:  The easiest part of being a writer is the writing itself. I typically work overnight, because I need complete silence in order to concentrate. Having three teenagers in the house (2 girls and a boy) you can imagine absolutely nothing would get done during the day. The hardest part for me is the promoting aspect. In all honesty, I suck at it. Bones from Star Trek would say ‘Dammit, Jim! I’m a writer, not a car salesman!’ I’m learning that aspect of the job slowly, I think… but it’s tough. It’s like swimming upstream for me, because that aspect of the job is focused on me and not on readers - if that makes any sense.

Me:  It makes perfect sense, and I think most authors would agree with you. :-)  What genre do you place your books in?

Scott:  The Exiled trilogy of books fall under the Paranormal Romance (PNR) genre, and the Tal’Avern Chronicles series of books fall under epic fantasy (100k+ words is considered epic fantasy, I believe).

Me:  Cool!!  Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

Scott:  I’d like to give my most heartfelt thanks to those who read not only my books, but every author, who write reviews on them, who choose to give us their time out of their lives and allow us to be their storytellers. I’m sure I speak for every one of us when I say we truly appreciate it. And I hope that everyone takes time each and every day to do something for someone else… helping someone put their groceries in their car may seem an insignificant thing, but even a small act of kindness brightens our world. For those small acts of kindness, I cannot thank you enough. <3

Me:  I love it! :-)  And so these fine folks can find your work, are there any links you'd like me to post?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/saborgman
Twitter: www.twitter.com/scottborgman
Amazon Author page: www.amazon.com/author/scottborgman
Author Blog:  http://scottborgman.blogspot.com/

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My #Interview With Allison Cosgrove!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Allison Cosgrove was kind enough to invite me on her blog today for an interview!! Please take a moment to check it out and see what we found to chat about! :-)

Also, I'll be doing a couple of take overs tomorrow for Facebook Parties, and I would love it if you could all join me!! :-)  

From Noon to 1pm EDT I'll be taking over at Kristine McGinnis's Dreaming Of A Book Boyfriend Author Event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1469222280055954/1484202941891221/

And from Noon to 12:30pm EDT I'll also be taking over at Mitsy Princell's Unearthed Release Party:  https://www.facebook.com/events/872030369547649/875794415837911/

So, if nothing else, drop by and see how well I multitask!!! ;-)

Thank you all so much for tuning in, and I hope to see you all at the parties!!! :-)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Find Your "#Heart #Place" & #Never #Regret! :-)

Hey Everyone!!! :-)

Barbara Chioffi has some thoughts she'd like to share with us today.  Barbara, take it away! :-)

Today, for the first time in ages, I have been singing all day and I am smiling. I have missed this.  Some days are hard and we all have our share, but if you let it dominate your life, you are missing out on the joys that surround you.

Bringing up my playlist of favorites had me remembering the times my sisters and I sat around the piano, singing our hearts out, definitely with plenty of wine, and also were the days my father and I sang together. Elation, the kind that lights your face and brightens your heart, is the best way I can describe it.

Years ago, my mother told me that I would only be good at one thing, music. She was right but I found other things I was good at. She meant well, guiding me toward my life's work with a wisdom I only recognized when I was much older. We are very fortunate if we find something in life that we can go to when we need rejuvenation, and more fortunate if it is our livelihood. I thank her every day.

No matter what brings you joy, whether it be singing, listening to good music, gardening, reading, writing, or simply enjoying nature in all its glory, use it. Let it be your solace, your ‘heart’ place. You'll never regret a moment.

One of my favorite songs is Over the Rainbow, so as I leave you, I am singing and happy. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I'm Being #Honored!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

A couple of people have been really kind to me this week, and have honored me on their beautiful blogs!  I'd really appreciate it if you wouldn't mind taking a moment to check out these posts, and maybe leave a comment thanking them for their hospitality!! :-)

First, Allison Cosgrove featured Intrigue In The Summer Court for her Teaser Tuesday post:  Allison Cosgrove's Teaser Tuesday!

Also, Kim Cox highlighted me as part of her #RRBC's Pay It Forward Week:  Kim Cox's Pay It Forward Week For #RRBC #Authors!! :-)

 Thank you all so much, you're the best!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#BlogTour & #Author #Interview: #Corporal #Domination by Cassandre Dayne!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Cassandre Dayne is joining us today to tell us all about her new book. Now, I don't know about you guys, but I think it looks mega hot!! :-)  Cassandre, will you please tell us about yourself and how many books you have written?

Cassandre:  I’ve written well over two hundred books. I’m an author who enjoys writing in several genres including horror, thriller, paranormal, BDSM, D/s and DD. I’ve written stories since I was five years old and my original stories were science fiction. I also dabble in poetry, mostly in the D/s realm. I’ve worked with several publishers, currently with Booktrope, and I’m also the Managing Director of the Edge and Entice Imprints with Booktrope.

Me:  Wow!! Sounds like you've been quite busy!! :-) What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

Cassandre:  Corporal Domination is the latest and this is a m/m BDSM book that gives you a taste of a kink club. My inspiration was based on a challenge from another author, who knew creating an exclusive club catering to men craving elements of BDSM would allow a different look inside the alternative lifestyle.

Me:  Sound intriguing. ;-)  What are you working on now?

Cassandre:  I’m working on several horror stories, a D/s series and a continuation of a thriller collection I am writing as DH Black.

Me:  Ha! Never a dull moment, huh? ;-) What authors, or books have influenced you?

Cassandre:  Peter Straub was a horror author who intrigued me the most initially given his sensuous horror realm. When I read The Association by Peter Bentley, combining horror with the elements of my day job as a community association manager, I knew I had to pen stories of true horror in humanity.

Me:  I've not read anything by Peter Straub, but it sounds like he's worth a look. :-)  What are you reading now?

Cassandre:  Sadly, I’m so busy I haven’t read a book in several months.

Me:  Well, it sounds like you've had lots of stuff to keep you occupied. :-)  For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

Cassandre:  Expect the unexpected. Whether you’re reading a paranormal to a domestic discipline book, I try and instill elements that bring their very fantasies to an extreme.

Me:  Books like that are usually a delicious kind of fun. ;-)  What is your favorite part of being an author?

Cassandre:  Allowing my mind to go to very dark places and being able to pen stories recreating my intense desires.

Me:  I agree, allowing your imagination free reign is always a blast! :-)  What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

Cassandre:  The hardest is marketing by far. There is no tried and true way of getting out to readers. The easiest is enjoying the conclusion of an intense story.

Me:  I think most authors would agree with you there. :-)  Thank you so much for joining us here today, Cassandre.  Everyone else, please take a moment to check out the blurb below and see if this is a fantasy you might like to indulge in. ;-)  Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to stay tuned for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

About The Book:
Dominating a powerful man isn’t easy…
Sometimes corporal punishment is needed
Kade Thompson is sick and tired of working sixty-plus hours a week. After all, he’s only an accountant, not a surgeon. For many he’s considered powerful and a sought-after catch, yet he hasn’t obtained all he hungers for. However, earning a six-figure income has allowed him to indulge in his every desire, including toys and rather kinky bouts of sin. He also enjoys an on-again, off-again push-and-shove relationship with his boss, Trevor Willis. While the sex is passionate, he craves being dominated by the six foot six god, but Trevor doesn’t seem interested. Tired of playing games, he’s ready to break off their relationship until an invitation to meet for a drink at The Peeping Hole—a mysterious and very exclusive club—has him more than curious.
When he finds out the club offers every aspect of kink, he’s breathless with excitement. As Kade waits for Trevor’s arrival, he’s given an offer he can’t refuse and one that might sate his every craving—if he will submit to the man behind the mask. Unfortunately what goes on behind the hallowed doors is required to stay a sensuous mystery. But can they keep up their end of the bargain and one forged in a touch of black magic? Only Alexander knows. Ssshhh… No peeping.
I am Alexander—a teacher, a scoundrel, a voyeur and a true entrepreneur. In my world there’s little left to the imagination. That is if you dare to taste what only I can offer. Welcome to The Peeping Hole, where every fantasy you’ve ever desired will come true. Leave your inhibitions at the door and join us. But you must remember, whatever happens here stays here, and trust me, I will know…

Purchase Links
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B0106VPARA
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/corporal-domination-cassandre-dayne/1119637080?ean=2940151108584
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/corporal-domination/id1010788788?mt=11

About The Author
About the author: Cassandre writes highly erotic romance stories and novels in the contemporary, science fiction and paranormal flavors.

Find Cassandre at:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#August #IndieBooksBeSeen #Monthly #Indie #BookReviews!! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

It's the 18th again, so I'm back with my latest reviews of indie books!! :-)

Dragon's Lair by Savannah Morgan:

"Naked Dragons! Naked Dragons!" As Sheridan might say. ;-) Candice is a lady going through a string of bad luck. Drake is the last dragon in the world. Together, they might just solve both of their problems.
Dragon's Lair is a fun short story with lots of heat and a touch of sweet. :-) I really enjoyed this story, and am definitely looking forward to part two: Wolfe's Heart.

You can find Dragon's Lair here:  Dragon's Lair On Amazon

Wolfe's Heart by Savannah Morgan:

As Sheridan put it, shifters and humans seem to like to be nekkid a alot!. ;-) Another victim of Eros' drunken spree of lead arrow loosing, Samantha Porter is dying. Sheriff Aidan Wolfe has problems of his own. His pack is restless due to the lack of available mates, his sister seems determined to be a PITA, and now this crazy, human woman, who he can't seem to keep his hands off of, changes her mind from one second to the next about whether she wants to kiss or kill him. Now he's got a hyperactive pixie insisting he needs to stay close to this nutcase! What's a self-respecting werewolf to do?
I really enjoyed this story, and I can wait to read the next installment. After all, someone has to keep an eye on that silly pixie! ;-)

You can find Wolfe's Heart here:  Wolfe's Heart On Amazon

Ice by Jessica Wren:

Something is rotten in the state of Georgia, or at least in the little corner of it called Minterville. A quiet, sleepy town with an innocent secret that makes the residents a little...different...than the residents of most of small-town America, Minterville seems an unlikely place for unexplained disappearances to occur. But that's just what happens: twenty of the women in the town suddenly vanish! It's up to the town sheriff, the mayor, and the rest of the town to find the missing women, and save them if they can. Unfortunately, doing so may just mean having to face the past, and revealing secrets that aren't quite as innocent as the one that makes the town unique. Will they have the courage to face up to past mistakes? Will they get to the women in time? You'll have to read to find out! ;-) I enjoyed this story very much. At first, I thought it was a supernatural thriller, but after a while it became clear that it's more of a mystery/crime drama with supernatural overtones. The supernatural elements are important to the story of the town, but not central to the drama that unfolds in this tale. In this way the book is almost as unusual as the townspeople, which makes for an interesting read. Five stars, and I'm very much looking forward to what Ms. Wren comes up with next! :-)

You can find Ice here:  Ice On Amazon

Captured By The Alien Lord by Mina Carter:

Sergeant Cat Moore is used to taking orders, but not from an over-sized sexy alien, and not of such an intimate nature. When she's captured by a race of aliens who is seeking compatible females from other species due to a dearth of women of their own, and then claimed by their leader, she has to decide what she's willing to trade to keep the other women from her base safe. And how much will she enjoy having the beautiful male all to herself? Captured By The Alien Lord was a fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm looking forward to the next installment in the series! :-)

You can find Captured By The Alien Lord here:  Captured By The Alien Lord On Amazon

Wanting A Mate by Mina Carter and Celia Kyle:

Chloe Hall has given up on dating, but to appease her pushy mother she agrees to go to a speed dating event that caters to both humans and shifters. The night doesn't start out well, and she's forced to flee from a shifter male who doesn't seem to understand the word "no." During her flight, she bumps into the most luscious specimen of masculinity she's ever seen, but doesn't think anything of it because he's way out of her league. Holt Moore, a werecougar, needs to find his mate before his animal drives him crazy. Not holding out much hope for success, he attends a speed dating event where he encounters a human female who smells delectable. Sparks fly as these two lonely people find the one they are destined to be with! This was another fun read from Mina Carter, and the first I've read that she's written with her writing partner Celia Kyle. I'm looking forward to more in the series! :-)

You can find Wanting a Mate here:  Wanting A Mate On Amazon

Summer Solstice Sinemony by Cinnamon Sin:

Three witches, Sarah, Rory, and Tanya get more than they bargained for when they try a new twist on an old ceremony. When twin brothers who know just how to fix their problems show up, things really get hot! A very fun story. :-)

You can find Summer Solstice Sinemony here:  Summer Solstice Sinemony On Amazon

Sinsual Delights by Cinnamon Sin:

Ever wonder about that cute, shy geek in the back of the room?  Ever thought their quiet exterior might be hiding a wild man just waiting to be set free?  Nolan will put all your daydreams to shame.  Another scorcher by Cinnamon Sin! :-)

You can find Sinsual Delights here:  Sinsual Delights On Amazon

And that's all for this installment of #IndieBooksBeSeen Monthly Book Review!! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you've found some new reads to enjoy!! :-)