CHILLED TO THE BONE

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Do you guys remember Stephen King’s psychological thriller Misery with the awesome Kathy Bates and a tied to the bed James Caan?

Did it scare the bejeezus out of you too?

It terrified me let me tell you. In fact all of Mr King’s books terrify me – especially Salem’s Lot.

I still can’t watch that one alone. I need a big strong man snoring on the couch next to me.

H simply doesn’t get Vampires.

But, back to Misery.

How would you like to meet the next Stephen King who just happens to be a woman? You would? Then let me introduce you to a certain August McLaughlin’s incredible debut In her Shadow 

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Fans of this blog *waving atcha* might have spotted that August occasionally drops by to comment if something catches her eye. And she sneakily quietly released her book  just before Christmas but it didn’t take long for her work to make my radar twitch.

I began hearing good things about this book, like how it terrified a certain children’s author Lynn Kelley for example. So I bought it. And I’ll be honest, I’m nervous of psychological thrillers because they tend to remain in my overactive imagination, which is why I write romance. And just as I’d expected, this one lingered for far too long. Think sleepless nights. Thanks for that, August.

I left this review on Goodreads.

“Fans of Mr King and Mr Koontz will love In Her Shadow.

Psychological thrillers are not my usual reading candy but once I was immersed in the story, I couldn’t stop reading until the bitter end. The author’s main characters are well developed and linger in the mind – the sign of a good author.

This is an edge of the seat read with parts that made me wince. Eating disorders are always heartbreaking and the author doesn’t pull her punches in tackling the psychological fall out either.

I can’t wait to read August McLaughlin’s next work.”

And here’s August, she looks perfectly normal doesn’t she? Just goes to show how looks can be deceptive. The woman has a gruesome imagination.

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According to her bio, the stunningly beautiful (physically and in her heart) August McLaughlin is a Journalist & author of psychological thriller, IN HER SHADOW. Former model/actress, dream-seeking lifer. Compulsive blogger,#GirlBoner founder. Rep’d by @DGLM Los Angeles, CA.

Here’s the blurb:

One woman locked in a basement, nearing death and longing for escape. Another baffled by the inexplicable symptoms wreaking havoc on her life. Both are lost and alone, yet somehow connected. And time is running out…

Near the tenth anniversary of her parents’ unexpected death, Claire Fiksen, a lovely young Harvard-grad and gifted psychologist in Minnesota, develops bizarre symptoms of an eating disorder that threaten her fledgling career, her relationship with a handsome young medical student, her grasp on reality and, soon, her life.
When her beloved grandfather reveals that there may be more to her parents’ death than she’s realized, Claire’s pursuit of healing becomes a desperate search for answers as she delves into her family’s sordid past. Meanwhile, someone is watching her every move, plotting to draw her into her own twisted web of misery.
Claire has something he needs, and he’ll stop at nothing to obtain it. Every step Claire takes brings her closer to the truth and danger. And her life, she discovers, isn’t the only one at stake.
Find August here:

https://twitter.com/AugstMcLaughlin

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6575761.August_McLaughlin

http://www.facebook.com/pages/August-McLaughlin/105914826113271

http://augustmclaughlin.wordpress.com/

So what books have lingered too long in your mind?

Have any kept you awake at night worrying about what happens next?

Or have any scared you so bad you’ve left the light on?

Come and share them with us!

Christine x

NAUGHTY

Well, well, well.

Is there something in the water? Something in the air?

Women, dear readers, are behaving badly.

Just look at that Darcey Bussell on Strictly Come Dancing.

Who’d have thought a Prima ballerina from The Royal Ballet who for years lived in a world of rigid discipline, devotion to her craft, with her hair pulled back in a vicious bun and tortured her feet would morph from this  imgres-1

into this!

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a woman with a sexy growly purr, flirting and drooling over the, ‘Wonderful leg muscles, yah!’  of Lewis Smith.

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Yes, the man has amazing, er, leg muscles, Darcey.

Darcey recently confessed that the show had brought out ‘Her naughty side.’

And she’s not alone. There’s a global tsunami of women in their middle years discovering that age does not hold them back from being naughty. We’re a new breed – setting up businesses, self-publishing romance novels (shameless plug) taking up white water rafting, going on girlie weekends to the Bellagio in Vegas getting up to all sorts of naughty things (probably a tattoo – I’m looking at you, Mags, btw – good job your H doesn’t read this blog.) Check out your nearest Agent Provocateur  store on a quiet afternoon if you don’t believe me; it’s filled to the brim with ladies of a certain age trying on corsets and talking about rampant rabbits and love eggs (you don’t want to know, guys, trust me.) We’re drooling over Joe Manganiello  the werewolf in True Blood and enjoying our empty nests.

Most commenters are putting it down to THAT BOOK, which has become a bit of a clichè and seems to be responsible for everything from global warming to the trend of men in tight black leather trousers showing off their considerable, er … assets.

And look at that Hilary Boyd’s Thursday’s In The Park  the tale of a sixty plus granny who encounters the man of her dreams in the park while she’s looking after her grandchildren. The runaway best seller of what The Times in London said, ‘Move over Mummy porn, it’s time for Granny lit.’ Isn’t it just fabulous? Go Hilary, I say!

But I don’t believe all this naughtyness begins in middle age. Nope. I believe it begins a lot earlier in life and just to prove it I give you one Naomi Wainwright in the Hamley’s toy store in London, messing about with Lego statues of the Royal Wedding. Naomi is a family friend and gave me full permission to use her photo in my blog – you’re infamous now, babe.

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Look at that face and that hand! Can you just imagine what she’ll be like in her middle years?

God help us!

So, what have you done that’s naughty?

Please share your stories with us because we demand to know.

Hugs,

Christine xx

SHE’S INCOGNITO!

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Doesn’t that look cute?

It’s one side of my business card. Hugo designed it and there’s a reason why I’m telling you this.

My first book was published at the beginning May 2012. And although it was an event that thrilled, it also terrified the bejesus out of me. It was a leap into the unknown, a bit like giving birth to my first child.

My immediate family obviously know I’m a romance writer but they tend to keep it quiet and that’s fine.

My youngest daughter mentioned it to her pals and they laughed and said, ‘Are the books like that Fifty Shades of Grey woman?’ As I’ve said before, I get that all the time. And she said, ‘No. They’re better.’ Bless her little heart, how’s that for mother love?

My son just gives me the look which says, ‘As if!’ when I ask him if he’s told his pals.

Fair enough, boys are sensitive, I get it.

Anyway, No 1 daughter has kept the fact her mother is a romance author a carefully guarded secret.

Until recently.

Why she’s suddenly found the need to spread the word in our town I’ve no idea – might have something to do with the fact that her mother’s books were all in the top 100 in iTunes over the festive period. I know, it stunned me too.

So the Thursday before Christmas I was doing the usual female thing of having my hair done at Toni & Guy (shameless plug – Sumin is THE best) and Sumin told me about the fabulous deal for Christmas toilet paper in Marks & Spencer (upmarket supermarket) three packs for the price of two.

Well, I had to have it! I mean, who could resist?

But here’s the thing, it was raining (no surprises there, this is the UK and the way things are going the country is going to float into the Atlantic) and since I’m always prepared, I wore a waxed peak cap to protect the ‘doo (a sleek blonde bob, which comes just above my shoulders for anyone who’s remotely interested).

So, grabbing a basket I surfed through the food section of Marks & Spencer, picked up a few luxury items, including the toilet paper and headed for the check-out. I absolutely refuse to use the self-service check-outs because I prefer dealing with a human. Although after the trauma of what happened next I might change my mind.

Now working at the check-out was a girl I hadn’t seen in ages. She’s lovely and always chats to me, and my daughters when they go in for the odd thing.

As she finished serving the lady in front of me, she looked up and her eyes went really big.

‘Well, helloooooooo you!’ she cried in a very high voice.

I grinned.

What a sweetie.

‘Hello to you too,’ I said. ‘Merry Christmas.’

She stood, leaned over the till and grabbed my hand and squeezed tight. ‘It’s sooooo amazing to see you!! You look fabulous.’

I do? Gosh, I thought, I must come in here more often.

‘Your daughter’s told me all about you!’

‘Did she? Which one?’

‘I can never tell them apart, they’re so gorgeous!’

I grinned again flushed with maternal pride.

By this time there were about six ladies behind me. I glanced at them and gave a nervous laugh.

After all it’s Christmas and like most women they all looked in a hurry and a bit wild-eyed.

‘Thank you,’ I said and tried to take my hand from hers.

She clung on like a limpet and there was a sort of crazy gleam in her eye.

She smiled at the ladies in the queue. ‘This!’ she announced and held up my hand, ‘Is a best-selling author.’

I swear my heart stopped.

A hot flash burned up my neck into my cheeks.

Omigod!

Every woman within twenty yards all turned to stare. I’m telling you I PRAYED for the floor to open up and take me.

‘No, no, I’m not a best seller,’ I whimpered.

‘What do you write?’ piped up a very smart lady in her sixties.

‘Romance,’ I said in a voice that didn’t sound anything like me.

‘Ahh,’ said another woman. ‘Like Fifty Shades of Grey?’

‘Noooo,’ cried the girl serving me. ‘She’s much better.’

Omigod!

‘I do like a good sex scene,’ the lady in her sixties informed the entire store without a blush.

‘So do I,’ said another check-out girl behind mine. She didn’t turn round, she just kept serving a man who looked as if he’d rather be anywhere else except in Marks & Spencer listening to a group of over-sexed women.

During all this my toilet paper was winging its way through the scanner.

Still beaming at me, my check-out girl looked at the queue who were all watching me.

I nodded, gave them big eyes and smiled.

‘We have quite a lot of authors in this town,’ the woman in her sixties cocked her head to watch me hand over my bank card. I keyed in my pin. Her mouth kept flapping, ‘You should do a talk at the library.’

No chance.

‘Good idea. I’d come to that,’ another woman said.

By this time I was trying really hard not to laugh like a lunatic and was putting the card in my purse.

‘Do you have a business card?’ The woman in her sixties asked.

‘I do,’ I said. And handed her one.

‘Please will you autograph one for me,’ my check-out girl begged.

Omigod!

By this time I was pledging never, ever to set foot in the store for as long as I live.

‘Sure.’ I signed it, grabbed my bags.

‘Oh look, she’s wearing a hat! She’s travelling incognito!’ the check-out girl from hell cried.

‘No, no. I’ve had my hair done and it’s raining. Seriously. Can I just say that you’re totally insane?’ I told her.

She just laughed, stood up and grabbed me in a big hug.

‘I’m going to spread the word, tell all my family and my friends.’

I bit down really hard on my bottom lip. ‘You’re very kind,’ I said.

As I hightailed it through the store towards the exit, I couldn’t help it. I cried laughing.

And do you know that three people stopped me to ask if I was alright?

Who says kindness is dead?

I haven’t been back. Not yet. But when I do its dark glasses and a ski cap with a muffler for me, or maybe I’ll use the self-service check-out. Might be safer.

Have you ever been mortified by someone in your life?

Come and share it with us, knowing you lot there’ll be lots of good ones!

Big Hug,

Christine x

DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE ROMANCE AUTHOR IN TIME MAGAZINE?

Thought that might grab you.

A few weeks ago a certain Laird Sapir asked her friends if they’d like to host a romance author on their blog who was being interviewed for Time Magazine.

As you might imagine my ears pricked and I raised my hand and said, ‘Hell, yes!’

Princess-Sheryl

So began a dialogue with the lovely Sheryl Hoyt who writes as Saralynn Hoyt who has set the indie world on fire with her historical and contemporary romances.

Here’s the interview with Time Magazine HERE.

Now Sheryl is a blogging virgin and gave us a few subjects she was excited about and one of those was how she tackles her historical research. Since I’ve recently had the lovely historical author Katherine Bone on here talking about pirates and undead monkey’s I figured Sheryl’s post on historical research would fit right in.

So, take it away, Sheryl!!!

Historical Research 101

By Sheryl Hoyt, writing as SaraLynn Hoyt

I was interviewed just the other day by Indie Author Land and one of the questions they asked me was about how much research I do and whether or not it’s important to me. My answer was a ton and yes!

I don’t know about the rest of you but there is nothing that bugs me more than reading a book that provides wrong information, unless it’s on purpose. That is a very important distinction. If you are writing an alternate history or building your own world, then the reader expects you to mess with the facts. However, the reader also expects you to know the facts first.

So where and how do find and verify your information? Well, I can tell for sure it isn’t on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a useful tool in your search for facts, but the disclaimer clearly states that Wiki makes no guarantee of validity!  Don’t get me wrong I use it all the time, but mainly to find resources. The other no-no in fact gathering is relying on works of fiction for your facts. Artists of all kinds are really good at making stuff up. So again, things like the movie The Duchess, can be a resource to further research, but it is not validation.

So where do you begin?

How about the library! I normally begin my research by checking out a bunch of library books around place, time period, culture or historical event. Grab as many as you can. My library only allows for 20 books checked out at one time, so I start with 20. I don’t necessarily read them all, but I will peruse all of them. Check the table of contents, the pictures, scan the index, looking for anything that sparks my interest or sounds like what I have in mind for my story. I usually have a bunch of stickies I use to bookmark and by the time I’m done going through all the books, there are a handful that I want to read more of. The rest go back to the library and then based on my discoveries, I check out some more. I repeat until I feel confident that I have a good understanding of where and what period I want to write my book in.

I also read diaries and letters from the period to better understand how people thought and spoke in that period. But, you have to be careful here. I don’t live in 1838 or 1905, and neither do my readers. So I use the historical data to add authenticity to my book, sprinkling it in with a light touch so as not to bore my readeAnother great thing about the library are the librarians. They love to research! Go figure. At the time I was writing Dangerous Heart

Dangerous Heart FinalI had never been to Philadelphia and only had access to a limited amount of books on the period and place I wanted to write about. In 1999 there wasn’t much content on available on the internet yet, but I was able to find an email for the Philadelphia library system. I sent off a quick message asking for some specific information about what various parts of the city looked like in the 1830’s. A week or so later I received a packet of photo’s, maps and copies of pages from books that were only available in that library.

The internet is a fantastic resource as well, but just be skeptical of what you find and try to validate over multiple websites. I find that the best internet resources are usually created by people who are passionate about their topic. And the nice thing about these experts is they are more than willing to share with you. Feel free to email them with questions and they will enthusiastically respond.

Now although I said at the beginning not to use fiction for research, I do use television and movies for inspiration and ambiance when I write. So, for example, when I was editing Heaven Made,Heaven Made-Final which takes place in England in 1905, I had Downton Abbey Downton Abbyand The Buccaneers

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playing on the TV nonstop. I immersed myself in the time period, listening to the vocal inflections and absorbing the costumes and sets. This also helps me keep the tone of the book on track and ensure that the reader’s expectations are met. After all, if someone picks up a book that takes place in 1905 England, they probably already saw Downton Abbey and have that picture in the back of their mind as they are reading.

A few other things that can help are maps and travel guides. You are going to want to know how long it will take your characters to get around by horse and buggy. You wouldn’t want them on the wrong side of a river or lake without a bridge or a ferry nearby, or walking through terrain where no road could possible exist.

And last but not least, your critique partner or beta reader will point out when something is ‘off’ or ‘too modern’ or they found something that threw them out of the story because it doesn’t seem plausible. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it should be in the story. After all, in the end you’ve created a work of fiction and not a history book.

Bio: Sheryl Hoyt was born and lives in the Seattle, WA area. She resides in the beautiful Cascade foothills with her high school sweetheart and their cats. A business professional by day, Sheryl has been writing novels in her free time for over 20 years. A lover of all things historical, she enjoys research and travel in order to expand her knowledge and add authenticity to her stories.

Thank you very much, Sheryl!

Here are the links to Sheryl’s books and her author facebook page and her blog:

The Scoundrel and the SaintHeaven Made & Dangerous Heartby SaraLynn Hoyt (aka Sheryl Hoyt)
@saralynnhoyt

A BIG BANG

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

What a great night!

And it didn’t rain!!!

To all of you who are insane enough to follow this blog I wish you and your family health, wealth and happiness for 2013. You guys have been amazing, funny, cheeky, supportive and awesome and I adore each and every one of you!

And I hereby promise to give you more of the same for 2013!

Just received this from lovely reader, Denise Bush on facebook.

Reckless Nights In Rome No 2 in the HOT list for iTunes for 2013! Woot!

iTunes HOT list for 2013

And it’s FREE! Must send them a gentle reminder to change the cover.

It’s been a wonderful year and I’m raising a glass tonight from me to you!

Happy Hogmany!

Christine x 

I’M IN MALTA!

Okay, so I’m not actually in Malta.

I’m a guest on the wonderful blog of writer Natalie G. Owens and she lives in Malta, so it’s the next best thing.

But before I chat about what I’m doing in Malta, I wanted to share with you guys something a lovely reader sent me on Christmas Eve.

by reader, Jane Aschtgen Bowen

by reader, Jane Aschtgen Bowen

Isn’t the pic fabulous?

About a month ago Natalie asked if she could interview me on my writing process for her blog and quite innocently I said yes.

What popped into my inbox was an interrogation interview the length of War & Peace.

When Natalie read it she decided to spread the interview over two days. So if you’re interested in how, why and where I write and how I come up with characters and story lines then get yourselves over to Natalie’s blog HERE.

The lovely Natalie is also offering a Rafflecopter on her site where (since it’s season for giving) ten lucky winners will win all three of The Ludlow Hall series and book one in my Vampyre Legal Chronicles series, Big Trouble in China.

Christine x

 

THE END IS NIGH?

Hello my darlings,

When my friend author Stacy Green came with the idea of a blog hop to highlight those of us who write apocalyptic fiction I jumped at the chance.

Well, it might not be the end of the world quite yet.

But those Mayans thought they knew a thing or two didn’t they?

I don’t think it’ll end in a big bang. Of course I could be wrong and a meteor with our name on it is even now winging it’s lethal way towards us. As long as it’s quick and painless I’m okay with that, she says.

But what if the end is not quick and is very far from painless?

What if there’s a virulent outbreak of a swine/avian flu strain?

What if the outbreak of that flu is not a mistake but a deliberate act upon humanity?

What if the earth’s polarity is switching from north to south? When that happens we experience increased seismic activity, birds drop from the sky, thousands of fish are washed upon the shore, mammals all over the world are beached, lost and die a slow agonising death. Even worse are the changes in our climate, biblical floods, drought, supercell hurricanes meeting supercell tornadoes. Sound familiar to you?

But what if all of the above is caused by Evil crossing through portals into our reality. Don’t believe in alternative realities of our world? Then check out the recent experiments by scientists at the Haldron Collider in Berne, Switzerland who have developed the knack for producing tangible evidence of theoretical particles. Read more about it here

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So do I have your attention now? Thought so.

Against this background is set my paranormal Vampyre Legal Chronicles series. In this series I’m destroying the world – always a fun thing for an author to do – before I invite readers into ‘New Manhattan’ in 2049 in my Untouchable series, which is set in an urban future. In this future our hero is a scientist who owns a global pharmaceutical company and develops a vaccine just in the nick of time before mankind is wiped from the earth. He also just happens to be a Vampyre Precedential Elder. And that’s all I’m going to say about it because I’m launching the series late in 2013 and it’s going to be a doozy 🙂 You’ll love the heroine too. She has a thing for high heels and is that rare thing an Untouchable Witch who just happens to be a Commander in The World Health Protectorate. Can you see where I’m going with this?

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Anyway, back to the present and uncovering The Big Bad Guy! Big Trouble in China (available on Amazon and Smashwords) is book one of the Vampyre Legal Chronicles and is out now, book two, Dirty Little Secrets is out very soon and book three, Gia’s Song, is out in January. It’s going to take twelve episodes but these Vampyre lawyers need to join forces with their mortal enemy the Vampyre Witch, Ezekiel, to uncover a dastardly plot of conspiracy and revenge against them and humanity. The stories are pure paranormal romance with adventure, heartbreak, thrills and spills. And so far my readers are having a good time and some romance readers have crossed genres, which has been a big thrill!

Since it’s Chrimbo want a chance to win an iTunes gift card for $35.00?????

To enter use the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Some of my author friends from the WG2E Street Team have banded together for the Last Weekend on Earth to give you some great reads and a chance to win! Check out their blogs for more info on their books.

Anna Erishkigal’s Blog 

Catie Rhodes’s Full-Tilt Backwoods Boogie (Catie’s post will be up on Saturday.)

Rhonda Hopkins Where Reality and Fiction Collide

Dale Amidei’s Vae Obscurum

PJ Sharon’s Extraordinary Stories of an Average Teenage Life

Stacy Green’s Turning The Page 

What would you do if you had four days to go before THE END?

You know I love to hear from you and these should be good!

BIG HUG

Christine X

And I also just want to say please stay tuned for December the 21st because do I have an extra special Chrimbo gift for you which is going to BLOW you all away. Seriously. For those of you with brand spanking new Ereaders for your honey, then make a date in your diary to be here because you are not going to get this chance again. You’re gonna love me for this.

Christmas pranks and poo

Unless you’re one of the Bah Humbug brigade, you might have noticed Chrimbo (Christmas) is coming!

And I promised you faithfully that once Rosie was out there normal service would be resumed on this blog.

Come closer because do I have a Chrimbo treat for you.

Meet the beautiful, the talented, the wonderful award winning author Tamara Ward who has come along to talk about Christmas poo. Yes, poo. Tamara’s one of those people who looks perfectly normal, sounds perfectly normal… Until… you read her books. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read one of her heroines and shook my head at the situations she gets them into and howled with laughter. And that’s the thing about Tamara she makes us laugh. If you’ve never read her then you are in for a treat!

Take it away, Tamara!

Tamara Ward

Tamara Ward

I’ve always loved a good prank. Perhaps it was bred into me as I come from a family of pranksters. Having a prank pulled on you meant you were loved.

My prankster training began when I was young; my mom encouraged me to put toothpaste and tape on my father’s face as he napped on the couch. That was before I whipped mud into a glass of water and presented it to my dad as chocolate milk. I remember the moment, my dad outside in the dry New Mexico heat, his face sweaty, the look he gave me when he thought I cared so much for him that I mixed up a cool treat especially for him, his eyes surprised at my thoughtfulness and full of love. (That look made me abort the prank before he tasted the beverage, so instead of getting a spanking I escaped with a glare, my gut twisting with guilt.)

No, I’m not sweet. And it was good that my dad learned this early in my childhood so I could get the disappointment over with sooner, rather than later.

As a teen, my dad and brother ganged up on my boyfriends, feeding them plastic burgers and asking them how they liked them, pulling the boys in a tube behind our boat, promising they’d give the boys a fun ride when really they had the boys clinging to the tube handles while they were hurled around at breakneck speeds. They boys would call me to complain of whiplash when they woke up the next morning! And of course I played along.

After I moved out of my parents’ house, my history of pranks continued and expanded beyond those involving family members. I met a friend who liked pulling pranks as much as me. Once, we taped paper over a cute boy’s apartment door and filled up the space between the door and the paper with popcorn. When he opened the door the following morning all the popcorn cascaded into his living room. Nothing says “I like you” like a mess on the carpet as you’re hurrying out of your apartment late for a class.

As for Christmas pranks, my brother began our family’s tradition of passing the Christmas poo along with a prank holiday gift. Actually, that was his gift to me one year, a Christmas poo on a keychain. That is, South Park’s Mr. Hankey, THE Christmas Poo, on a keychain. According to South Park, Mr. Hankey, the Christmas poo, “comes out of the toilet every year,” visiting girls and boys who have fiber in their diets.

At the time my brother gifted me Mr. Hankey on a keychain, I found that particular episode of the crude, politically incorrect South Park pretty funny. So did my brother. But a plastic turd on a keychain – what was my brother thinking? How could he possibly think I’d want something like that for Christmas? So the next year I returned his gift to him, along with another prank gift. And back and forth it went. One year, my brother gave me a shirt with his photo on it. The poo keychain had been wrapped inside the shirt. The next year I gave him a shirt with a photo of me wearing the shirt with his photo on it, as well as Mr. Hankey.

Another year, I recorded my cat meowing on one of those handheld recorders. (Pepper used to be my brother’s cat, but the cat ultimately chose me over my bro as I didn’t throw it down the stairs and see if he stuck the landing repeatedly.) It took days of following my cat around and working up to about 30 minutes of cat noise. I taped the recorder in a sizable cardboard box and hit the “play button” when I was about to reach my folks’ house. Then I turned on one of those battery-operated balls that rolls around randomly. I sealed the box and pretended nothing was up, stuck the box under my folks’ tree, and watched my brother freak out as he heard the meows and saw the box moving. He really thought I was returning his cat to him! Nope. It was just the Christmas poo.

Another year, my brother returned Mr. Hankey to me by placing him inside my baby’s diaper and having my mom tell me my baby smelled like he needed a change. I opened the diaper, and there was Mr. Hankey! This year, it’s my turn to give Mr. Hankey back to my bro. He and his wife are expecting their firstborn, and in anticipation of this event I kept some flyers I found particularly helpful from when I was figuring out how to handle a baby. One of those flyers is entitled “Poops of the Breastfed Baby” and is a glossy, full-color flyer showing photographs of baby poops. Each photo has a caption explaining what you’re seeing. So there’s, “Sometimes baby’s first poop is black and tarry.” And “Breastfed babies’ poop is often yellow and runny.” There’s at least a dozen photographs. I framed the flyer and taped Mr. Hankey to the glass on the front. 😀 Hope my bro appreciates all the poo that will be coming his way, and soon.

Speaking of Christmas pranks, my latest release features just that (though nothing nearly as disgusting as Christmas poo). In Jade O’Reilly and the 12 Days of Christmas, private investigator Jade O’Reilly thought her worst Christmas dilemma involved finding the perfect gift for her significant other. That was before she agreed to help Agnes Sturgis, the crankiest old biddy in all of Sweetwater, NC. Every day, for the twelve days leading up to Christmas, Agnes wakes up to a yard filled with Christmas decorations. But in Agnes’s opinion, “they’re not decorations; they’re property damage!”

Finding the person responsible for the scenes of yuletide merriment that Agnes demolishes every morning is not easy. With stealth and skill that rival Santa’s elves, the decorator strikes Agnes’s yard and eludes Jade and her surveillance equipment. Will Jade catch the decorator before Christmas morning?

The ebook is available in all formats for $0.99! AmazonB&NSmashwords, Kobo

 

jade_christmas_final

 

So, do you have any good pranks, Christmas or otherwise, to share? Let me know! I’ll be dropping by before and after my Sisters in Crime meeting today, and I can’t wait to hear any naughty or nice pranks that have made an impact on those around you!

Drum roll, foot stomp for Tamara Ward, ladies and gentlemen!

Thank you for coming on my blog today. Please come back, we’re a lovely bunch!

SHE’S HERE AND SHE’S BAD

 

A wise man once said,

 ‘Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it…..’ 

Pastry chef Rosemary Gordon had worked hard her whole life to be successful… Now the wedding cake business she runs with best friend Bronte was winning awards life should be perfect…

But Rosie has a deep, dark secret…

And the steadily bubbling chemistry with Bronte’s brother, Alexander Ludlow, has suddenly become way too hot to ignore…

 

009 Rosie

 

On Amazon & Smashwords

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, most of you will know that I’ve been sweating slaving away editing, revising, editing, revising Run Rosie Run.

Well as of about three hours ago, she’s gone out into the sticky fingers of my readers.

Strangely enough you might think this is a time for euphoric joy and relief. But not for me. I’m feeling sort of sad and bereft, even though I’ll be working on her and the other characters in the first three books over the rest of the series.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is to explore the relationships in Reckless Nights In Rome,  A Stormy Spring and Rosie as they progress. In Run Rosie Run I return to Bronte and Nico from the first book in the series and see how their relationship is coping with life’s little challenges.

So it’s not as if I’ll never see Rosie again. But gosh, I’m going to miss her crazy, zany personality.

Do you guys have fictional characters you’d like to meet again?

If so, who are they?

Share them with us, you know I adore hearing from you.

And going forward we’re celebrating Christmas on this blog!

Christine X

 

 

What do undead monkeys and Nelson’s Tea have in common?

Today I have a guest blogger – the  historical author, the wonderful, the awesome, Katherine Bone!

KatherineBoneWebPhoto20075089

I’m so grateful to Christine for inviting me to post on her blog today. Thanks, girl!!  😉

Ahoy, me hearties! I’m Katherine Bone and my tagline is Rogues, Rebels & Rakes. I write about adventure, passion and romance, and alpha heroes who’ll do anything to protect the ones they love. Regency romance is my favorite genre, but I write a bit of contemporary too. Because of that, I happened to meet Christine via the 2011 HQN Mills & Boon New Voices Contest. (Boom goes the undead monkey!)

Pirates used the sea to pilfer treasure ripe for the taking. Thankfully, I don’t have to board a ship to find a treasure like Christine. Modern technology enables me to make friends and forge long distance friendships without the long voyage, undead monkeys, or dangerous seas. The world is a small place, me hearties. As a military brat, wife and mother, I’ve had great opportunities and made friends all over the world. And so— as Christine and I both entered the HQN M&BNVC, it wasn’t a surprise that we discovered a shared passion for romance books.

I actually blogged about this 9/28/11 at Okay, Listen Here, Finding the Positive

By the time I met Christine, my book Pirate by Night had been sitting with HQN Mills & Boon Historicals for a year and I’d written the first chapter of my first contemporary Lost Treasure, Captive Princess for the HQN Presents line. My entry didn’t place, but I finished the book, which will release March 4th, via Crimson Romance.  (12 gun salute!)  And, I rewrote Pirate by Night to fit the single title market, submitted it to Crimson Romance as Duke by Day, Rogue by Night and got The Call on June 11, 2011. The first book in my Nelson’s Tea Series, Duke by Day, Rogue by Night released October 29th.

The idea for Duke by Day, Rogue by Night began when Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, brought pirates back into fashion, along with romance authors Katharine Ashe, Shana Galen, Jennifer Ashley, Shannon Drake, and Michelle Beattie. (Thanks for paving the way, mates!)

I absolutely love historical research as much as I love pirates! Savvy. You can check out my passionate discoveries on my Pinterest boards here: http://pinterest.com/katlbone/ (When in research mode, it’s like being stuck in Davy Jones’ Locker at Worlds End. 😉

Research, however, offers interesting discoveries. For instance, did you know that piracy didn’t end with the Golden Age? Most everyone knows about the action along the Barbary Coast. But Benito Del Soto pirated along the European Coastline until 1833 when he was caught and hanged. Smuggling persisted along the Cornish Coast for many years afterward.

Discoveries are EPIC! They’re like a map that guides you to buried treasure. So I held my compass and pointed it to what I wanted most, and set my looking glass on a Regency series set between 1804-1805, leading up to the battle at Trafalgar. Twenty men, first sons from every tier of life, trained mercenaries above suspicion, serve Admiral Nelson and his subordinate, Simon Danbury.

Another interesting fact: Nelson never went without his tea, even during battle. So it was fitting to name his mercenary group Nelson’s Tea, the word tea being code for any mission involving his inconspicuous men, primarily one Marques in line to a dukedom, a naval officer eager to move up the ranks, and a smuggler with ties to the Cornish Coast.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you a blurb for Duke by Day, Rogue by Night:

Constance Danbury is fleeing an arranged marriage to lecherous Lord Burton, a man who has blackmailed her father and is nearly twice her age. Her escape takes her aboard a merchantman bound for Spain, where she hopes an aunt will help her procure funds to save her father’s dwindling reputation. But fate intervenes. Constance is captured by a pirate with a wit and stubbornness to match her own, and a secret he’ll do anything to keep.

Nobleman Percival Avery is a member of Nelson’s Tea, an elite group whose members are first sons from every tier in society. Undercover, he disguises himself as a pirate to infiltrate the gang of cutthroats responsible for his sister’s death. But when his vessel attacks a merchantman with valuable cargo, Percy is forced to choose between vengeance and saving the life of his commander’s niece, Constance Danbury. Mutiny is sure to obliterate his well-laid plans. It also aligns him with the one woman sure to see through his disguise. Forced to play the fop by day to outwit his enemies, he masquerades as a rogue by night in order to avenge his sister’s death – and to win his true love’s heart.

Duke by Day, Rogue by Night is a rollicking romp of a pirate romance in the classic style. From ship deck to London ballroom, Katherine Bone’s story is packed with intrigue, and the disguise of her rough and dangerous hero as a town popinjay positively delights.” – Katharine Ashe, author of Captured by a Rogue Lord

“Katherine Bone is an author after my own heart! Duke by Day, Rogue by Night is a sexy, adventurous romp guaranteed to keep you reading into the wee hours of the night.” – Shana Galen, author of The Rogue’s Pirate Bride

Bio: Katherine Bone lives in the south where she dreams of rogues, rebels, and rakes and the happily ever afters every Alpha male deserves. 

Here’s an excerpt:

“Where are my clothes?”

“You’ll not be needing them,” he said.

She struggled to breathe. “What do you mean I’ll not be needing my clothes?”

Even before the question came out of her mouth, his meaning was clear. An abysmal vulnerability unlike any she’d ever experienced forced a heated blush into her cheeks. He stepped closer, looming above her like a hawk stalking prey. She shrank back, scurrying on her hands and feet until her back braced against the wall, intent on putting as much space between herself and the deplorable scoundrel as possible.

“Nothing can come between us, Constance, including clothes.”

His alarming grin proved he meant to ensure every word. Beads of sweat broke out on her brow as her mind labored for a response. Something wicked churned in her stomach as her mind labored over a memory, the sensation of the two of them without clothes, their bodies scandalously intertwined, his warm fingers, comforting touch, and his heart pounding underneath her ear.

“How do you know my name?” she squeaked, trying desperately to block out the condemning images.

“Did you honestly expect me to believe your lies about being Admiral Duncan’s daughter? The man died quite seasoned. His daughters most assuredly wed and bedded before you were born.” His penetrating gaze darted over her body. “How old are you?” he asked. “I wager nineteen — at most.”

He moved closer, his knee resting on the edge of the bunk. Reaching out to grab a lock of her hair, he added, “Too young to be Duncan’s daughter,” he continued, “and far prettier.”

Unsettled, she snatched back her hair. Indignantly, she spat, “You irritating simpleton! My age is of no consequence to you.”

“Yet you claim to be one of Admiral Duncan’s daughters. Who is the simpleton?”

“Are you calling me a liar?”

“If I must,” he said with a wave of his hand, acting as if the effort drained him. But it was the look in his eye that warned her not to insult him again.

She quivered. He stood and crossed the room until he was positioned by the door again. He leaned against it and crossed his arms over his chest, once again causing her eyes to feast on his toned, lean body. The black shirt he wore accentuated his weathered skin. His dark hair, mustache, beard, and eye patch emphasized the reticent set of his jaw. His hair flowed loosely about his shoulders. The red scarf around his forehead stood out like the blush of a cardinal attracting a mate. For the first time, she noticed a gold hoop in his left ear as he dropped his head to the side to observe her with disdain.

“Where am I?” Her voice cracked. She hated being vulnerable, hated herself for thinking the man slightly handsome.

His mustached lip curled upward as if he’d been waiting for such a cue. He stepped away from the door.

“You’re aboard the Striker. Don’t you remember?”

She turned away from him and gazed out the spacious window to replay the previous night’s events in her mind. Her heart raced as bone-chilling images proved she had much to be grateful for where he was concerned. She averted his gaze, hoping to hide the fear listing her heart. Indeed, she remembered all too well that pirates had stormed through her cabin door. She recalled the first time she’d set eyes upon him. She remembered Captain Collins and that heartless brigand, Frink, tearing at her clothes. A tear slipped out of the corner of her eye. Light and moist, it tickled her skin, reminding her of being weighted down by water. She remembered nearly drowning. She remembered hearing her mother’s voice. She remembered him.

“I remember … ,” she admitted, “you saved me from drowning.”

“And I brought you to my cabin,” he finished for her.

“Where’s Captain Frink? Is this his ship?”

“Do not worry your pretty little head about him. He’ll do you no more harm.”

“And Mrs. Mortimer?” Fear took hold when he did not answer. She only vaguely remembered her dearest governess being carried out of the cabin. What had happened to her? Had she been passed from one man to the next like a communal jug of rum?

He approached her slowly, sat down on the edge of the bed and leaned closer, making her heart flutter. “Mrs. Mortimer?”

“Yes,” she replied. “My traveling companion. Is she all right? Is she alive?”

“That crafty old witch is fine. She’s in another cabin.” He held up his hand when she began to ask another question. “Rest assured she is well.” He placed his finger on her lips to silence her when she tried to speak.

Constance brushed his finger away. “Why are we separated? Why aren’t you keeping us together?”

“What joy would there be in that for me?”

What do you think of undead monkeys, Captain Jack Sparrow or pirates who won’t give you back your clothes?

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Duke by Day, Rogue by Night, eBook copy for Kindle or Nook. Good luck, me hearties!

By Katherine Bone
By Katherine Bone

Here’s the link for Amazon

Here’s the link for Nook

Wow! The pinterest boards you have for research are seriously amazing, Katherine!

And I finished Duke by Day and Rogue by Night, in the early hours of this morning!

It’s fast paced with thrills and spills, wonderful love scenes. And incredible research. I loved it!

Excellent read!

You remind me of Georgette Heyer. Take a bow!

Thank you very much for being on my blog today, Katherine, and please come back soon!

Perhaps when your new book is out?

Do you guys love historicals? What’s your favourite?

Mine is The Grand Sophy by Ms Heyer. Still makes me laugh out loud!

Christine X