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Folklore and Mythical Creatures with M. Allman

It’s a pleasure to be back at her at Manic Readers. I’m excited to discuss my latest writing project, “Mermaid’s Kiss.”

I have always loved books about mythical creatures and folklore, so in my newest young adult short story, I came up with a new twist on the mermaid premise.  I love mermaids and wanted to write a story that does not deal with a mermaid wishing to be human or falling in love with a human male.

Fantasy stories, especially those that incorporate folklore, give the readers a story that excites and stretches the imagination and removes readers from the real world into a place where anything can happen.  We all wish we could help loved ones in their time of need, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if the answer is right in front of us all along? If we are only brave enough to believe in something other than ourselves—something mystical.

In “Mermaid’s Kiss,”Eliseis a young teen mermaid who, while interested in the humans she watches from afar and eventually comes into contact with, does not wish to be anything other than what she is. She is intrigued by humans and unlike her friend Delpha, the seagull, she doesn’t think all humans are cruel fisherman who eat sea creatures and dissect mythical creatures, like herself.

Thomas is the human main character in the story. He reads about myth and folklore and believes that other creature exist and have mystical powers.  In the story, Thomas reads that a mermaid’s kiss can heal the sick, so he sets out to catch one to heal his grandfather who is terminally ill.  He is teased by his cousin for believing in mermaids, but that doesn’t stop Thomas from believing that the answer is out there, if he only reaches beyond what is real into the undefined and unknown.

Thomas and Elise’s story is one of friendship and trust, but not a love story or one of wishing to be something they aren’t and will never become.

“Mermaids Kiss” is scheduled for release in March 2013 as a Kindle short story.  I would also like to thank the talented to Su Halfwerk for creating the lovely cover. It brings to life the image I had in mind for Elise.

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Meet Holly Rozner and discover her TRADE SECRETS with giveaway

 

Thank you, Holly, for taking the time to visit Manic Readers.

I understand you were there, on the floor, during the financial crash of October, 19, 1987.  Did you realize at the time that you were an active participant in history?

Absolutely not. I was so busy swallowing Advil to stop the headache I got every time I made a trade that I hardly had time to eat. Exhausted and crazed all the time. It’s almost impossible to know you will be part of history until you are many years past an event. Even those who lived through 9/11 weren’t thinking about how it would be viewed years later. They were just trying to save their lives or the lives of others in the moment. 

How difficult was it for you, personally, to have the position you held at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange?

It was both challenging and very difficult. I was in an all-male world and they hated me. I wasn’t a big position trader and the guys, many of whom were fifteen years younger than I, thought I belonged in the kitchen or shopping at Saks. It was also a very physical job, so my back caved and I would come home wiped. The experience, however, taught me how to think on my feet and how not to take no for an answer.  

Do you ever miss it?

I missed it a lot when I left. I resigned as a trader because the markets became institutional and it was not smart for me to stay. The reward was not worth the risk, something that has stayed with me. That’s an important lesson in life and it keeps people from making stupid decisions. 

With all the scandals & scams we’ve seen in the past few years, in your professional opinion, can accountability, transparency, and law/regulation abiding trading be established while working within a capitalistic free enterprise system?

No. But I am still an advocate of free enterprise.  

Ditto…

 

Why did you feel it necessary to write TRADE SECRETS?

I was fascinated with the world of trading. The rush of adrenaline trying to catch a winning trade is probably close to taking a Broadway bow. Well, maybe not quite that sexy. After the crash of 1987 I knew I had a story. When the Feds came on the trading floor masquerading as traders, there was a full-fledged Hollywood script. I felt compelled to write it even though I was rejected by just about every New York agent in business.  

Not hard to imagine why…

Being witness to these events certainly gives veracity to TRADE SECRETS, making it more interesting for readers.  How difficult was it to get the financial aspects to a point outsiders could relate to and understand?

This did take some hard work. One of my very smart friends read the book before it went to print and she was specific about what she did not understand, so I reworked a lot of it and had her read it again and then again until she felt that a general audience would get it. Most people can enjoy the story without understanding all of the nuances, but I do know that it can be frustrating to think you are in the dark when you should not be.  I hope that in the process of making everything clearer I didn’t become too redundant. Many times, it was just a question of saying the same thing in a slightly different way.  

TRADE SECRETS has been described as Fifty Shades with a financial angle.  Plenty of people think money is sexy but those characters aren’t generally sympathetically portrayed. Was it hard to portray these characters in this setting and keep them (most of them) sympathetic?

I think that Jason becomes sympathetic because he has been used and because he finally cracks under the strain. He is not an arrogant man. Just rich and very lucky for a while. Sarna, one of the two women who are the lead characters, becomes sympathetic when she reaches out to save the day for everyone else. She is my favorite because she is soooo sexy and totally not like me. And Joey begets sympathy because he was always an underdog and even though he is driven by the dream of money, there is nothing in him that is bad.  

How do you balance the intelligence with the sex?  Was it difficult?

Not really hard to do because Sarna was never stupid, just greedy; her segue into the temptress was as natural for her as it would have been impossible for Remy, who is the heady one.  

Did you intend for your women characters to use sex as a weapon and be “the power behind the throne” so to speak?

Not at all. This story originally had the two women practically at each other’s throats fighting overJason. The end of this story, as it is written, came much later. I have no idea where it came from because the possibility of Sarna seducing the person she has to seduce is off the charts, I would have to say that that scene wrote itself. (though I do remember rewriting it about 80 times.)  

You started writing TRADE SECRETS not long after the real life event.  Why did it take so long?

It took a long time because the book was immediately picked up by a New York agent who thought it would be a best-seller. Instead there were problems getting it published because the big houses thought it was too complicated for women and therefore not a candidate for paperback, and not strong enough for hardcover. There were also questions about how Remy could have fallen in love with someone as stupid as Jason. Once the book was rejected and that agent gave up on it, I was so distressed I did nothing with it for many years. When I finally went back to it years later, I could see it required a complete rewrite. It required changing the love angle and someone else suggested the Harry Saks back story that gave it a whole new dimension. I think that worked well because the narrative is driven by the mystery.  

Were your women characters always strong or was that one of the elements that evolved over the years?  What about the unlikely friendship between Remy and Sarna?

Remy was always strong and serious. Sarna was originally very greedy and vacuous. She didn’t change much. I think her evolution in this version is very important and the relationship between the two women becomes a story of solidarity. It offers an arena for women to find friendship and success in unlikely places and very unlikely situations.  

How does the “solitary nature” of writing compare to your career in the financial world?

I think they are both internal solitary professions. You cannot have lunch over a trade. You just make up your mind to do it or not. No one can really tell you if you are going to be wrong. And writing is, of course, an internal process. Absolutely no one can do it for you or it is a forgery. Both are authentic careers, though worlds apart.   

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

The Great Gatsby. It’s perfectly constructed. Do you know that the characters enter and exit in the same order? Fitzgerald was simply amazing. 

Read it years ago but that never registered.

Movie?

Mildred Pierce. What an awful daughter. Can you imagine?

Would rather not, honestly…Sharper than a serpent’s tooth…

How do you relax?

I play an enormous amount of bridge and last week became a Life Master. I walk, even though I find it boring. I play occasional golf, but only in very good weather and only with people I really like. My favorite time is spent with my grandchildren. They are the best.  

Do you have a WIP and are you able to share any details?

It’s a story about mothers and daughters and is based on a Shakespearean tragedy. Wanna guess?  

Sounds promising….

Is there anything special we can look forward to from you in the near future?

Not so near. This will be a complex story. And the next book is not looking too sexy, but I guess I better add more of that because that seems to be the center of the universe right now. 

I hope so 

Thank you for taking the time to visit with Manic Readers,Holly.

Thank you!

Manic Readers is fortunate to have a print copy of TRADE SECRETS to give away to a lucky commenter.   Take a stab at guessing which Shakespeare tragedy Holly’s  WIP  is based on and you could be the lucky recipient. Giveaway ends @12am est 12-4-12. Winner randomly drawn & announced shortly thereafter.  Good luck!

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HELP MY FAMILY IS ON FACEBOOK with Lila Munro

I had to drag out my big old folder of blog ideas and get cracking as I have a few dozen to write between now and the first of the month. Not only am I going on blog tour for a few weeks beginning November 26 to promote my latest release, I want to catch up on my own blog as I’m getting company for the holidays and don’t want to be behind and have to post things while they’re here. In fact, I hope to be completely pre-posted long before the turkey thaws. And it was while thinking about that I stumbled across a topic jotted down about moms and social media outlets.

Now, I’ll tell you a little secret about my mom. She doesn’t have internet (by choice), she doesn’t have a smart phone instead opting for a simple flip-type model (she just learned to text a few weeks ago), and she refuses any and all attempts at any of use purchasing an e-reader for her. So, as you can probably guess, she’s not on Facebook. But, she did do an interview about me for my website once. That was pretty fun. 🙂 But, most of the rest of my family is on Facebook.

When I first began in this business I had a regular profile page over on Facebook under my pen name. I struggled with that for a very long time. How many people to friend, who to friend, and when to cut back. I never had a personal profile as the real me so it was only inevitable my real family and friends migrated to my pen name page which posed some challenges. First I had to worry what my relatives might think of all the erotica writers dropping by and chatting naughty talk and then I had to worry about my personal business being posted, not that anyone would have done anything purposefully, but it was hard keeping the two mes separated.

Early this summer I do believe the social media platform for writers took a nose dive. Granted that’s my personal opinion, but I do believe the etiquette some writers were migrating to spoke of less than professional behavior and quite frankly I’d seen enough. I also began to have a sneaking suspicion social media wasn’t doing it for me in the sales department. It’s my own personal belief sales aren’t driven by bombarding your followers with purchase links. I think word of mouth, professional reviews, and good quality writing drives sales. It’s a long hard road, but eventually if you work hard enough things start to fall into place. So, it was with all this in mind I made the executive decision to pull back from social media. I graduated from a “profile” to a “fan page.” I also built a real me page for my real family and friends, thereby separating the two mes.

What did that accomplish? Well, a few things actually. It made my life easier as I now have my fan page linked to my twitter and kill two birds with one stone each and every time I post. My real fans like my fan page. And real fans are where real sales come from. That’s not to say a few of my real family and friends and fellow authors aren’t there, they are, but they are also fans. I no longer have the drama floating by my news feed every few minutes. And it can be quite dramatic at times. A simple fan page avoids all that, at least for me. Not to mention, there are tons of cool apps and features you can use on the fan page you can’t with the regular profile, sales links and such. And my family and friends can now talk about my personal life because it’s hidden from professional me.

Life is easier, less stressful now, and I’m happier.

If you’re a writer feeling the pressure of the drama, I highly suggest the fan page alternative and keeping your personal life and professional life in separate realms.

Thanks so much for having me here today and readers have a realmantic day!

Lila Munro currently resides on the coast of North Carolina with her husband and their two four-legged kids. She’s a military wife with an empty nest and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fifteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance that spans everything from the sensual to BDSM and ménage. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her works include The Executive Officer’s WifeBound By TrustDestiny’s FireSalvationThree for Keeps, the Force Recon seriesthe Slower Lower series,and the Identity seriesShe’s a member in good standing of RWA and Passionate Ink. Currently she’s working on sequels to several series to be released throughout 2012-2013 and has a brand new line scheduled for winter 2012-13. Ms. Munro loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her Realmantics Blog

Meet the cast of SHADOW MAN with Tara Fox Hall

Thank you and hugs to Manic Readers for having me again at their site!

What better way to introduce my second book in the Lash Series than a paragraph of introduction by each of the central and supporting characters of Shadow Man, from their own POV? 

 

Lash a.k.a. Trystan Valeras

Weresnake Assassin

 

My name used to be Trystan Valeras. I left it behind, like my old life. Now there is just the careful maneuvering of the world of vampires, trying to help Abraham retain control of his city while not offending anyone above him. I never wanted this life, but I’m getting used to it. Hell, I’m good at it, so I might as well make the best of the easy money. My only gripe is having to deal with that whore Iso. But now that I’ve got Cassy, I’m in the gravy. She might be older than me, yeah, but so what? We understand each other. I’m tired of the party scene, and I’m ready to have a live in mistress. That wasn’t good enough for Nancy, but I can make it work with Cassy. And Abraham…he’s going to have to adapt, or lose me.

 

Abraham Hamilton

Reserved and hardworking Vampire ruler of New Orleans

 

I am Lash’s boss, and the master of New Orleans. Lash is right that it has become recently more difficult to stay off the radar of either Jacob, the state Ruler, or Dalcon, the Ruler of this country. Eli has put us all in an untenable position. I’m sure he seeks to overthrow the existing vampire hierarchy. While they may be corrupt to some extent, I don’t like to think what would happen to my city if Eli got his wish. Lash has taken the job to stop him, but I’m not sure he can handle the sheer numbers of Eli’s followers. And he’s also taken up with that Cassandra Nile. She’s bad news, and I’m sure she’s gotten him using drugs. Lash is not the man I used to trust. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to save him from a fate he’s bent on embracing.

 

Eli

 Vampire Preacher

 

The vampire elite are not to be trusted, no matter what terms they offer. They want to kill me, and enslave all of us to feed their loathsome appetites. We are better than that, or at least, we could be, if an effort were made. So many people’s world ended in the Crash. We have to fight to build something new, something that would be good for us all.

Lash is after me. He’s sworn to kill me, and he’s got the help of another deadly assassin, Burl. They are picking us off in twos and threes. Our last hope is to make a stand, and overwhelm him and his man. I do not like to kill, but the Good Book teaches that there is a season for everything. If Lash forces my hand, I’ll do what I must.

 

Spiderboy

Lash’s Half Faerie teen apprentice

 

Lash took me in when I was living on the streets, after my father died. He didn’t want to at first, but I showed him I could really help. Now he’s taught me practically everything he knows. I’m grateful for that, and for the job that Abraham gave to me. Like Abraham, I’m also worried about Lash. He’s never been serious about a girl…not even Nancy, who I was sure he would mate years ago. This Cassy seems to have him wrapped around her finger. But if Lash is happy, I’m not going to say anything. Besides, I can handle taking care of Hill House and Abraham for him.

 

Nancy

Loyal weresnake mistress of Lash

 

I took Lash’s offer of being his mistress, sure that I could change him and take off his rough edges with a little TLC. It’s obvious no woman had ever given him her affection, only her body. I hoped and dreamed of so many things when I answered his letter, and he asked me to come to him. But he doesn’t want me…or at least, me only. I’m not going to spend my life as someone’s mistress, even if I do care about him. He offered to marry me, but I knew it was because he’d had a close call with death, not because he loved me. If I stay, nothing will change. So I’m leaving, hoping that will galvanize him to come after me. Either way, it’s better than what I have now.

 

Cassandra Nile

Nightclub owner and singer

 

I have to admit, I knew Lash’s desires as soon as I saw him ogling me on the stage. I just had no idea they would be so exhausting. He’s a good guy, and we understand one another, especially our idea of recreation after work is done. He’s saved me from a beating—if not worse—several times already. But our age difference is weighing on me, especially his nightly demands on the weekends he visits me. Together with the club, I can’t keep up. To deal with that, I’ve devised a little plan that will take the pressure off. I just need to find a way to get it rolling.

 

Danial Racklan

 Vengeful Vampire Ruler of Colorado

I have never forgiven Lash for his part in Brianna’s death years ago. I acted the very spirit of cooperation with the Eli situation, as Devlin Dalcon instructed, but once it is over, my man has his orders. Lash will be dead, with no way to trace it back to me. For once, I’ll have gotten vengeance against a monster who sought to take my lover away from me.

 

 

Blurb from Shadow Man:

A renegade vampire begins amassing a flock of true believers, threatening America’s vampire hierarchy. Weresnake Lash partners with old enemy Danial and new allies Burl and Spiderboy to track down and annihilate them. Betrayed and left for dead, Lash reemerges the victor, edging ever upward in the Assassin’s Ranking, and catching the eye of the sultry nightclub singer Cassandra Nile. Drawn into drugs by Cassie, Lash begins to doubt himself, yearning to leave his life of violence, even as enemies close in from every side.

 

 

 

“What’s that smoke?” Spiderboy asked, changing back as he pulled on his clothes as fast as he could. “Something’s burning, and it’s huge!”

My gut clenched like a fist, and I hit the accelerator, swearing to myself.

***

            I drove up to the small town outside Lafayette at dusk. It was smoking, and the grocery store and the diner were partly burned. There was no one in their homes, and no pets to be seen. The old man I’d spoken to years ago was gone, his house empty, the lights on. But something made me curious. By the breakfast plates set out in the kitchen, it was clear that he’d been fixing breakfast this very morning. So how had the vampires come for him in daylight?

We checked the other houses, our guns out and ready. Everyone was gone, though some, by the blood and mess left in the houses, had not gone willingly. By the time we were done, it was full dark.

When we went to the church, we found that it was burned too, to the ground. Standing in the still-smoldering ashes was a three-foot-tall pole, the top covered with a black bag. Spiderboy’s eyes were very wide as he stood, staring, but I just walked up to the pole, and gently took the bag off. As soon as I did, Spiderboy threw up behind me, making mewling sounds.

Stuck on the end of the pole was Jeanna’s head, her mouth lolling open to reveal a tongue that had been split by a knife so it was forked. Her fangs had been pulled out, and her eyes burnt to cinders. The word ‘traitor’ had been deeply burned into the flesh of her forehead.

I stood for a moment, considering the message. The forked tongue meant Eli knew I was spying on him, or that I’d been working with her. The brand of ‘traitor’ and the pulled fangs meant he knew it was Jacob behind this, that Jeanna hadn’t been working just with me. She’d been covered to ensure that the sun wouldn’t be able to erase what she’d suffered before I got a chance to see it.

I didn’t know who’d killed her or tortured her, but someone had come for the humans here in the day, to take them. And there was only one group I knew of that worked for Eli who could walk in daylight: the members of the werecreature church.

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Thankful with Wendi Zwaduk

This time of year always makes me think of  the things I’m thankful for. There’s a lot to be grateful for, too. So I thought I’d share my list with you.

I have some of the best friends ever. If I’m down, they pick me up. I’ve got one who will willingly push me off a ledge, just to see what happens, laugh, then come help me limp to the hospital. Yes, she is my best friend and I’d do the same to her. We laugh, cry, and growl together. It’s great.

I’ve also got one of the best jobs in the whole wide world. I get to play with the characters in my head and unleash them on the public. Then I get to hear from the public how they enjoyed the characters. Even when they tell me what could be improved, I still know I’ve got a great job. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

In my household I’ve got four pets. Yes, I live in a zoo. Well, it feels like it sometimes. Especially when the dogs bark at the same time and the black cat runs like a maniac through my house. But I wouldn’t trade them. Nope. If possible, I’d add the two cats we had before that have passed, but that’s because I love them and miss them. But the four I’ve got are great, even when they do their best to give me extra gray hairs.

The one thing, although they aren’t things, that I’m the most thankful for is DH and the totlet. The totlet doesn’t know all about what Mommy writes. That doesn’t matter. He’s proud of me because I’m doing something I love. He told me he wanted to be a comic book author. Works for me. Then there’s DH. I couldn’t have asked for a better man. Really. Yes, we have our moments of frustration…who doesn’t? But we’ve also got this unbreakable bond. We can–although we don’t do it often out loud–finish each other’s sentences. When we realize we’re on the same brain wavelength, it’s scary. But like the totlet, DH supports me and my writing. He’s read almost all of it and tells everyone proudly, ‘my wife writes smut’. It was his idea to get the “dirty jeep girl” tire cover for my jeep. When I get frustrated with my work, he picks me up. If I’m feeling good about it, he grounds me while cheering me on. It’s fantastic. I couldn’t ask for a better man.

Those are the things I’m thankful for. What about you? I’d love to know!

 

Now a little bit about me: 

I always dreamt of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line. I earned a BA in education at Kent State University and currently hold a Masters in Education with Nova Southeastern University.

I love NASCAR, romance, books in general,Ohio farm land, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals.  I also write under the pen name of Megan Slayer. I’m published with Total-E-Bound, Changeling Press, Liquid Silver Books, Turquoise Morning Press, Decadent Publishing and The Wild Rose Press. Come join me for this fantastic journey!

If you like my work, tell your friends and email me. I love hearing from readers!

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And now a little bit about my latest work, Still the One:

 

She’ll be his salvation if he’s willing to switch.  

Being stressed out sucks, especially when you’re in charge of a team. Just ask Eric Trask. The pit crew of the Fifty-Four truck team depends on him. The stress of keeping things running smoothly is wearing Eric down. What’s a guy to do to get a little relief?

Janine Walters knows exactly what Eric’s up against. She’s the public relations face of the team. Pressure is all a part of the job. Her outlet for stress just happens to be wielding a crop.

Can Eric embrace her methods for stress relief or will her suggestion tear their fragile relationship apart?

Reader Advisory: This book contains the use of a crop, spanking, a little bondage, a little pegging, some toys and a woman who knows how to use a strap on to pleasure her man.

Publisher’s Note: This story has been previously released as part of the Switch anthology by Total-E-Bound

 

Stacy Green with INTO THE DARK charity raffle and gift card giveaway

Thank you so much to Ivy for inviting me to guest on her blog today. I’m excited to meet her followers and talk fiction with you all.

Strong female characters are so talked about in fiction and movies these days they are almost cliché. When I first created my heroine, Emilie, I wasn’t thinking about making her strong or resilient or tough. I just wanted to write a character I related with–a heroine I could cheer for.

There’s no magic formula for great characters. Something within us just clicks, and we form an attachment to the great ones.

So there’s Emilie, trapped in this horrible situation with a masked man who’s got a personal agenda that involves her. She’s a survivor, so she fights to stay alive, even if that means playing the bad guy’s game. Her bravery wins her a temporary respite from her stalker, but she’s got a big, red X on her back. And her past–the one she’s spent so many years running from–blindsides her. By the middle of the book, Emilie’s got every reason to crawl into shell and hide. But she doesn’t. She faces her tormentors head on and in the process realizes the key to her survival is in the past.

Emilie is a character that took a long time to truly take form. In early drafts of the book, she was an unlikeable, angry woman who didn’t trust anyone. I didn’t even like her, and there were times I seriously considered dropping the novel because I couldn’t get Emilie right.

But when I finally stopped trying to write her as the “perfect female character,” the real Emilie emerged. She took on a life of her own on the page and became someone I would support in the real world. She’s a loyal friend, a compassionate person, and wise enough to know what battles to pick and which ones to simply walk away from.

Emilie is a heroine I’m happy to call my own, and I hope you love her as much as I do.

 

A Gift From Stacy 

To celebrate the release of INTO THE DARK, Stacy is giving you TWO ways to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Both options will get your name into the drawing, which runs from November 5th until the end of my blog tour on January 30th.

Entry Option 1: Earns FIVE entries in the contest. Email Stacy your receipt of purchase (simply copy and paste proof of the order into the email, excluding personal information) of INTO THE DARK or the answer to this question: in what state was the Taker born and raised?

Entry Option 2: Earns TWO entries in the Contest. Donate to HELP of Southern Nevada and help the homeless. Readers can go to HELP of Southern Nevada, the organization that aids the homeless featured in INTO THE DARK, and donate. Email Stacy the receipt (personal information excluded). No donation is too small!

Enter the INTO THE DARK Charity Raffle!

The homeless living in the storm drains of Las Vegas played a vital part in INTO THE DARK, and I want to give back. From November 1st until February 28th, participants will have several options to enter the raffle, including donating to HELP of Southern Nevada. The grand prize will be a $100 donation from me in the winner’s name to the homeless shelter of their choice.

 

An Excerpt from INTO THE DARK:

“I’ll never escape him.” The taste of salty tears landed on her upper lip. This would be the rest of her life until he chose to end it. Emilie was nothing but a pawn in his sick game.

She caught sight of herself in the driver’s window: a pale, thin face with dark circles underneath wide, frightened eyes. Cheeks soaked with tears and lips trembling in defeat.

Why didn’t the Taker just get it over with? He could snatch her now if he wanted to. She was alone in the parking lot. But no, he would rather toy with her, manipulating her until he’d grown bored.

She couldn’t live like this anymore. Nathan was foolish to think there was any chance of catching the Taker, and Emilie was stupid to believe she and Nathan had any real shot at a future. That would be snatched away before they had a chance to begin.

Emilie glared at her reflection. Her face scrunched as a fresh onslaught of tears started. You weak bitch. She smacked her hands against the window. Standing out here crying like a goddamned, simpering damsel in distress. You’re just going to curl up in a ball and let the Taker win, just like you did with Evan. Nothing has changed. 

Not this time, little coward. She stepped back and mopped off her face. You’re going to stand up for yourself instead of letting the bad guy walk all over you. You’re not giving up. Not this time.

 

Pre-Order Into The Dark, and it will be available on all digital formats and in paperback via Amazon and Barnes and Noble on November 30th.

 

WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS, a short story featuring the perils of the Las Vegas storm drains. Contains an exclusive excerpt from INTO THE DARK.

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Stacy Green is fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind and explores true crime on her popular Thriller Thursday posts at her blog, Turning the Page.

After earning her degree in journalism, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote several articles for Women’s Edition Magazine of Cedar Rapids, profiling local businesses, before penning her first novel. Her debut novel, INTO THE DARK, is set in Las Vegas and features a heroine on the edge of disaster, a tormented villain, and the city’s infamous storm drains that house hundreds of homeless. INTO THE DARK is available on all digital formats and paperback November 30th.

www.stacygreen.net
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Eliza Daly is UNDER HER SPELL with giveaway

Thanks for taking the time to visit,Eliza.

Thanks so much for having me here today Ivy and for helping me celebrate the release of my debut novel Under Her Spell. And thank you for taking the time to check out the random facts about me on my website. They inspired some great interview questions.

Thank you, Eliza..:)

What got you started in genealogy?  

In 2007, I took a trip to Ireland with my parents and my cousin. My mom is almost 100% Irish. The only thing we knew about her ancestry was the town where her great-grandfather was raised. We visited there and found his brother’s grave. I said, Hey, wouldn’t it be nice to come back here and visit some “living” relatives? And so my research began.

Has any of your Irish family visited you here?

No, they haven’t. Hopefully, they can come for a visit someday. I’ve made contact with over a dozen rellies now.

What are some of the sites you’d recommend, or any tips at all, for people interested in tracing their family history?

Most of the sites I use are specific to Ireland. As an overall site, I would recommend Ancestry.com. But be warned, it’s addictive. I used to find myself on the site until 2 A.M.And don’t believe that if you merely click on a green leaf, voila, your entire family history will materialize. At least that hasn’t happened for me. It’s taken a lot of super sleuthing to put together my family trees.  

What exactly does an event planner do & does it really take you everywhere?

An event planner can plan a broad spectrum of events, from wedding planning to corporate event planning, such as meetings and incentive trips. I’m a corporate planner. I no longer plan the events, I merely go onsite and execute sales meetings and incentive trips. I travel about 100 days a year for my job, mainly domestic, but some international. 

What states have you NOT been to?

Alabama,Maine,New Hampshire,Oregon, and Vermont. 

Are any of the 40 countries you’ve visited considered “exotic”?

I guess it depends on what you consider exotic. The top exotic countries that come to mind would be China,Malaysia,Morocco,Singapore,Thailand, and Hong Kong. 

Other than speaking French poorly, is there any other language you speak?  No, pig latin & gibberish don’t count, I’ve tried that already..:)

Nope, just French. It was one of my majors in college, so it’s sad that I now speak it poorly.

Was any one person influential in your musical tastes?

No, I’m not sure what made me such a fan of the Rat Pack and swanky lounge music. Growing up I used to love watching old 50’s and 60’s movies. I would guess that played a role in my music tastes. I mainly listen to swing and big band music when I’m writing.

Have you ever taken rubbings of any interesting tombstones in your cemetery wanderings?  

I’ve never taken tombstone rubbings. I have some interesting tombstone photos though. 

For all those out there that swoon over Johnny Depp, please tell us more about “THE HUG’.

How about I show and tell? Johnny was filming Public Enemies in a small town two hours away from where I live and I went there to watch the production. After filming one day, around midnight, there was a crowd of fans across from P.E. Base Camp, which was the actors and crew’s headquarters. We were told that JD (the crew’s nickname for Johnny) would do a meet and greet. This was no surprise, since Johnny is consistently rated one of the most gracious actors and the top celebrity autograph signer. Just one more reason to love the guy. Johnny hugged me and said “Thanks for letting us bring the circus to town.” I nodded. Anytime JD, anytime…

 

Can you please share a bit about your debut, UNDER HER SPELL?

I won’t reiterate my book’s blurb, but rather I’ll give you the inside scoop on the book’s background and its evolution. The heroine Monica is an event planner like moi, but she plans unique romantic events. I wanted a character who could persevere despite the endless challenges thrown at her, and I immediately thought of my job. No matter how well you plan an event, so much is out of your control when it comes to executing it, such as weather, airline delays, unreliable vendors,Bud Light girls showing up at a Miller Brewing event, etc. I thought one of the ultimate challenges for Monica would be to have a divorce lawyer move in next door to her romantic event planning company.  

The book was originally a 400-page lighthearted women’s fiction book. When I finished the book, the women’s fiction market was saturated and it was a hard sell, so I rewrote it. I cut a couple hundred pages and added a hero and some steamy romance scenes. I decided it was too steamy for comedy, so I de-steamed it a bit. I sold the book as a 260-page lighthearted romance. Thankfully, not all my books have gone through such extensive rewrites.

Who’s in control, you or the characters?

I’m not sure if anyone is in control. My writing method is kind of mass chaos, which is interesting since I’m very organized in my event planning world. 

Does your muse require anything special?

She’s a total diva. I did an entire blog post about how she went missing for over two years, protesting her working conditions. So I now try to cater more to her needs, except for the writing cottage in Ireland, which we haven’t come to terms on yet.

What can we look forward to from you?

My next book for Crimson Romance, Identity Crisis, comes out in March 2013. It’s a romantic suspense and is completely different than my quirky lighthearted romances. I have always been intrigued by the witness protection program and art forgery, so when a story idea popped into my head one day, I ran with it. I also have a romantic comedy currently under consideration titled Thinking Outside the Box. It’s about an event planner who organizes themed funerals. Yep, another event planner heroine. Go figure.

Thanks so much for stopping by,Eliza.  I’ve enjoyed your visit.

Thanks again for having me here today Ivy. I would like to give away two e-copies of Under Her Spell. To be eligible to win one, please comment on my interview. I will announce the winners in the comment section on November 23. Thank you to everyone who stopped by today. Please check out future stops on my blog tour, ending November 27. I’ll be giving away a variety of gifts.

 

When a series of failed relationships and business ventures have Monica Jackson doubting her self-worth, she turns to spell casting to attract positive energy and the opportunities needed to achieve her goals.  But can Monica’s belief in spells restore her belief in herself?

Monica creates a spell to find her soul mate, and one to ensure the success of her new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance. Monica is confident she has found her niche until divorce lawyer Reed Walker opens a practice next door to her office.  The anti-marriage slogan plastered on his office window, and his down-on-love clients, quickly prove detrimental to Monica’s business.  When his arrival appears to trigger a string of bad luck,Monica fears one of her spells sent negative energy into the universe and it has returned to her threefold.  Although Reed is beyond sexy, and she admires his self-confidence, she’ll do whatever it takes to get the universe back on her side, and Reed out of her life. No way is she losing another business.

Reed finds himself attracted to Monica’s beauty and her optimism. His job and his parents’ divorce have made him a pessimist, especially when it comes to love. However, he soon finds that Monica’s pro-love attitude is rubbing off on him, causing him to lose his edge.  If Reed doesn’t distance himself from Monica, he’ll likely destroy his reputation as a pit bull divorce lawyer.

Can Monica and Reed look past what they might be losing to realize the love they have found?

Under Her Spell is available at Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Kobo, eBooks and Barnes & Noble (coming soon).

Eliza Daly’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, she’s still writing stories about beautiful women who always get their men. The journey from fourth grade script writer to published author wasn’t an easy one, but it was always an adventure and the final destination was well worth it.

When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Milwaukee working on her next novel, bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley and Frankie.

You can find Eliza on the web at WebsiteFacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

 

Can Secondary Characters make a story and giveaway with Bronwen Evans

Hi Ivy. Thanks for having me over to blog today. Please remember I live in New Zealand

I had a lovely comment from a reader about one of my secondary characters in my second Wicked Wagers book, To Wager the Marquis of Wolverstone. Here it is, (thanks Pam)…

I also wanted to tell you how refreshing it is to have such a wonderful “other woman” in Lady Amy Shipton.  Usually, in romance novels, that ‘other woman’ is horrible just to emphasize how wonderful the heroine of the novel is, but the reader is left scratching their heads as to how the hero felt any attraction with her to begin with aside from her looks.  I actually felt a little bad for Lady Shipton at the end there.  I really do hope she gets her own happy ending.  What an endearing character to put other people ahead of herself.  I’m looking forward to reading your other novels. Do you have a recommendation?  Anyway, thank you for a well-written and engaging romance novel.  You will now be on my autobuy list. (You can read Pam’s full email on my blog)

Wow – as an author how can I overlook comments like that. And I took great joy in emailing Pam to tell her that Amy Shipton would get her HEA in book three of the Wicked Wagers trilogy, my latest Regency historical romance release, TO CHALLENGE THE EARL OF CRAVENSWOOD.

To live happily ever after…

Henry St. Giles, the Earl of Cravenswood, longs to find his soul mate. Now that his two best friends, both reformed rakes, are happily married, the need becomes an obsession. When they challenge him to find a wife by the end of the season or marry his neighbor, the innocently alluring Lady Amy Shipton, he can’t believe his luck. He wins, either way. But a darkened garden, a case of mistaken identity, a drunken kiss, and a dropped emerald earring, leads Henry on a Cinderella hunt. He knows the woman he held in his arms could be the one he’s searched for all his life. He just has to find her.

Lady Amy Shipton is determined to marry for love instead of sharing her husband like her mother did. So why did she let her handsome neighbor and romantic fantasy, the Sinful Saint as he’s called for his bedroom prowess, seduce her in his garden? And what can she do when in the middle of their passionate encounter; he whispers another woman’s name. Now Henry is hunting the owner of the earring Amy left behind, and she’s determined to retrieve it before her identity is revealed. She’s not about to give her father the ammunition he desperately wants to force her down the aisle.

A great secondary character does several things for an author, it makes the hero and heroine stand out more, it gives the author the ability to create another book, one that readers want to read because it contains characters they liked in the previous book, and it makes the readers engagement with the story and series deeper.

When I’m writing a secondary character I always ensure I’m true to the plot of the story. Pam’s absolutely right. Why would my hero, Marcus Danvers, the Marquis of Wolverstone give up pursuing the woman he loves if there wasn’t a viable alternative in Amy? I had to make Amy likeable for my hero’s actions to be believable. To show Marcus had a serious choice to make. Just like in this final book in my Wicked Wagers trilogy, To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood, I had to have the secondary character, namely Marcus the hero from book two, behave in a certain way as well.

I hope that Pam likes who I paired Amy with, Henry St. Giles, the Earl of Cravenswood. I think they are perfectly matched. One kind soul finding the other kind soul. No wonder they’re soul mates.

Here’s a snippet:

“Do you ride, Lady Amy?”

Turning to look up at Henry, Any froze as she met his intense gaze. He stood looking at her in a manner he’d never used before. Like a starving man at a feast. Just like Marcus sometimes looked at Sabine. Her heart stuttered as did her mouth.

Today had altered the balance between them. They’d shared something special. Witnessed something personal and unique, and she was having difficulty keeping her feelings for him in check. She had to move their relationship back to formality in order to keep her distance. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust Henry, she didn’t trust herself.

“P-Pardon?”

“Ride…”

He looked utterly gorgeous. Speaking of starving… He looked good enough to eat. She put her hand on her chest and felt her heart begin to race wildly.

His tawny fringe was pushed to the side highlighting long sweeping lashes, which lowered slowly as his gaze swept down her figure, then lifted again so that his stare captured hers. One perfect eyebrow lifted.

Amy licked her lips in order to pry them open. Her mouth suddenly dry. “Yes, my lord. I do ride.”

“Then perhaps you’d like to accompany me on a ride in the morning. The Roman city ruins near Silchester are said to be worth investigating, and it’s only a half-hour’s ride from here.”

Breathe. “I’d like that, thank you.”

Amy found his continued perusal disconcerting. He’d never paid her this much attention before. From a distance he’d been enchanting, but up close he hummed with vibrancy, heat radiating from his body in waves.

“I haven’t had the occasion to formally thank you for helping Sabine. You’ve made my good friend, Lord Wolverstone, very happy.”

Her face began to heat. “It was nothing that anyone else would not have done. Marcus was the hero. He got to Sabine in time to save her.”

His smile momentarily slipped, why she was not sure.

“I’m not sure many young ladies would have helped as you did. Not when they could become Countess Wolverstone by remaining silent.”

There seemed to be some hidden meaning behind his words. His face was alert, searching for…what?

“Marcus did not love me.”

Henry laughed. “That has not stopped women before. The ranks of nobility are full of marriages void of any love or real affection.”

Amy promptly scolded herself. Of course he would laugh at her notion. Yet it hurt. After listening to his late night discussions with his dead brother, she thought Henry wanted what she did—love.

Perhaps not. He was looking for the owner of the earring even when he’d whispered another’s name. Men. They were all alike. Love was convenient when required to gain what they most desired. Trouble was love lasted only as long as the pleasure.

She rolled the stem of her empty glass between her fingers and wished Sabine would call them all into super.

She risked a glance at him. She wished she could think of something clever to say. Instead she burbled forth quite forcefully, “I will only ever marry for love.”

“Very wise,” he replied.

Was he teasing? She was saved from further conversation by a servant. Henry stepped aside to let the man refill her glass. As soon as he’d left, Henry took the seat beside her on the settee. She gulped back a moan. She should have invited him to sit, but his presence was throwing her off-kilter.

A gleam entered his eyes. He leaned close, his thigh touching her leg through the silk. “Did you have anyone in mind?”

Amy glanced at him uncertainly, wondering if he were making fun of her, but his countenance screamed seriousness. “I beg your pardon?”

“Are you in love? Come, it’s a simple enough question.”

Amy looked quickly around the room, was he serious? As if she would tell him such personal information. She looked across to Marcus and caught his eye, pleading for help. He simply lifted his glass and smiled back at her.

“Marcus is considered to be an extremely handsome man. He has broken many hearts in his time. Not intentionally, of course.”

She tried to repress her flush of embarrassment. “I’m sure you’re right, but I think of Marcus as purely a friend.” She had not meant to have her words come out so sharp but really! “Why are the secrets of my heart so important to you, Lord Cravenswood? Perhaps you’d like to share who your heart belongs to?”

There, that will put him in his place. Who is Millicent? But to her horror he picked up her hand and brought it to his lips. They scorched her skin even through her glove. Suddenly he gave her a slow, charming, devilish grin that seared all her nerve endings. “There are many secrets I’d like to share with you, my sweet.”

She opened her mouth to reply, then shut it again, deciding it wiser to halt this conversation before she got herself into real trouble.

At her muteness, the gleam in Henry’s eyes intensified. “For instance, did you know men find the thrill of the hunt very exciting?”

Hunt? Amy’s eyes flared and she stifled a gasp. Was he indicating his hunt for the owner of her earring? Did he know it was hers or was he simply ferreting for information?

At her confusion he leaned further toward her and whispered, “However, it’s what we do once we’ve caught our pray that is pleasurable.”

Scandalous. His words were scandalous.

Who is your favorite secondary character and why? What made that character stand out and did they get their own story? One lucky commenter will win an eBook copy of To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood.  Giveaway ends @12am est 11-23-12.  Winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

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Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at romance@bronwenevans.com
You can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her website.

About Bron:

New Zealander Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She’s always indulged her love for story-telling, and is constantly gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer?

She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin won the RomCon 2012 Readers Crown Best Historical and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield was a FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 2012. Look out for her first Entangled Publishing Indulgence release in late 2012, The Italian Conte’s Reluctant Bride.

If you want to enter the draw for the main Wicked Wagers Blog Tour prize giveaway of a $30 Gift Card from Amazon or B&N and all three of the eBooks then follow the raffle copter instructions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SWEET SURRENDER with Cheryl Holt and autographed giveaway

 

Check out the beautiful cover for my new book, SWEET SURRENDER.  This is novel #34 for me, and I’m so delighted to see how gorgeous it looks.

My hero and heroine are Jackson Scott and Grace Bennett, and the story takes place on an estate—Milton Abbey—in rural England in 1814.  This is the first historical romance I’ve written in nearly two years, since the release of my fun book,NICHOLAS.

 

Jackson fled home at age eighteen, and he’s spent the prior decade living in Egypt.  But his older brother, the earl of Milton, has died, and Jackson has been named guardian to the man’s young son who is now the earl.  So family responsibilities have lured him back, even though he swore he’d never return.  He doesn’t want to babysit his nephew or deal with his overbearing mother or scheming sister-in-law.  He plans to put the boy in a good boarding school, find some competent accountants to manage the boy’s estates, then return to Egypt as quickly as possible.

 

But Fate has always thrown wrenches into his best-laid plans.

 

Shortly after he arrives at Milton Abbey, he’s thrust into the path of Grace Bennett.  She comes to the estate with her ward, young Michael Scott.  She tells a fantastical tale about Jackson’s deceased brother.  She claims the man secretly married Michael’s mother who was a pretty and kind commoner.  She claims that he wed and sired Michael—his legitimate and first-born son—in the year before he married his aristocratic bride and sired the boy who everyone has already declared to be earl.

 

Is she telling the truth?  Is she a confidence artist?  How can Jackson find out?

 

If her story is true, it will create an enormous morass that Jackson will have to unravel.  He will be enmeshed in his family’s drama and trapped in England forever—all because of Grace Bennett and her wild tale.  It doesn’t help matters that she’s very pretty, very sexy, and he’s attracted to her against his will.

 

This is another of my fun and fast-paced love stories.  It’s jam-packed with numerous memorable characters and plenty of plot twists and turns.  There’s drama, laughter, big emotion, and—of course—two very wonderful, very heart-wrenching romances that will keep readers turning pages to the very end.  So don’t start it at bedtime, thinking you’ll fall asleep after reading a few chapters!  After you finish the first page, you’ll stay up all night, racing to the conclusion.

 

 

I am publishing this book myself, both as an e-book and a print book.  It will not be available in stores, but will be available through Amazon starting in December, 2012.

 

You can read the first chapter on my web page.  Also, I’m giving away ten autographed copies to ten lucky winners.  The contest runs until November, 30th, with the drawing on December 1st, 2012, so enter today to win a copy of this fun book!

 

Visit Cheryl

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The best and the worst with Shirley Wells and a giveaway

First, I must thank the lovely Ivy for inviting me. I love this blog and it’s always a thrill to be here! Thank you, Ivy.

Thank you for taking the time to visit..

Second, I’ll remind you to read on for the chance to win a book…

And now I want to tell you about the best and worst things about being an author. A couple of weeks ago, an aspiring novelist asked me about this. She followed up by saying somewhat wistfully, “I don’t suppose there is a bad part.”

Well, yes, there is. The worst part for me is having a deadline date scrawled in red ink in my diary and seeing it get ever closer. I’ve never yet been late turning a book in but I’ve spent many a sleepless night wondering how I’ll manage to get it written in time. The brilliant Douglas Adams, author of the wonderful The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, once said: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” That was Douglas Adams though. He sold millions of books and, therefore, his publishers could humour him. They had little choice. I have to meet my deadlines and it’s not easy with only the blank screen of a computer for company.

There are plenty of best parts, of course. There’s being able to bring a story to life, getting to know a new cast of characters, and seeing a wonderful, eye-catching cover put on the story. For me, though, the very best part is talking to readers. I’m a Brit and when I first started writing, my books were in print and most of my sales came from the UK. Sometimes, I’d talk at libraries or similar places and meet, on a good night if I didn’t clash with X-Factor, forty people. These days, I have a US as well as a UK publisher and my work is available digitally. If I want to talk to readers, I have my website, blogs, Facebook, Twitter – the options seem endless. When I take a break from writing, I can sit with a coffee and talk to readers and fellow writers. What’s more, I don’t even have to change out of my dog-walking clothes. I love it!

There’s no better feeling than seeing a letter from a reader who’s loved one of my books dropping into my Inbox. It makes all the panicking in front of that blank screen worthwhile.

So if you want to make a writer’s day, send them an email saying how much you’ve enjoyed their latest book! Believe me, they’ll love you for it.

I said there was a free book up for grabs, right? Well, there’s a choice. The winner can choose a digital copy of my latest Dylan Scott mystery, DYING ART, released November 12.

 

Portrait of a mystery

 

Dylan Scott vowed never to return to the dreary town of Dawson’s Clough. But one visit from a beautiful ex-lover and he’s back in Lancashire, investigating a possible murder. The police think Prue Murphy died during a burglary gone wrong, but her sister isn’t so sure–and neither is Dylan. After all, the killer overlooked the only valuable thing in Prue’s flat.

So who could have wanted the quirky young woman dead, and why? Dylan’s search for answers takes him to France, where he discovers Prue’s family didn’t know her as well as they thought they did. And the more he digs, the more secrets he unearths–secrets someone would kill to keep buried…

 

 

 

Or the winner can choose a print or digital copy of my 2013 EPIC’s eBook Award Finalist book, SILENT WITNESS, the third in my Dylan Scott series.

 

After his ex-wife bled to death in a bathtub covered in his fingerprints, the case against Aleksander Kaminski seemed open and shut. Though sentenced to life in prison, he swears he’s innocent, a claim supported by his current wife.

Private investigator Dylan Scott finds himself drawn back to dreary Lancashire in a search for justice. The evidence against Kaminski is damning, but having been unjustly jailed himself, Dylan is compelled to pursue the case; if there’s even a small chance the man is innocent, he has to help. The other obvious suspect–the victim’s second husband–has a watertight alibi. But Dylan has a strong hunch that as usual, there’s more going on than meets the eye in Dawson’s Clough.

The deeper Dylan digs, the more secrets he unearths. The question remains: If Kaminski didn’t murder his childhood sweetheart, who did?

 

 

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me the best and/or worst parts of your daily routine. I’m a writer, you see, which means I’m really, really nosy.

Thanks again for having me, Ivy!

Anytime!

Shirley was born and raised in the Cotswolds, where her headmaster wrote on her school report–Shirley is content to dream her life away. Years later–as an adult living in Cyprus–it dawned on her that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing and that fellow dreamers, in the guise of fiction writers, had been getting away with it for centuries. She’s now settled in Lancashire, where the Pennines provide the inspiration and setting for her popular mystery novels. And she’s still content to dream her life away.

You can chat to Shirley on her website, her blog , on Facebook  or Twitter .