Black Friday Blog Hop

Words are in my bones. As a child I spent many wonderful recesses hiding out in the school library reading. And I started writing from an early age too. I published my first poem in third grade. So a career involving words was a natural choice. However, I was too afraid to commit to my creative side wholeheartedly and so went into journalism.

As a cub reporter, I landed the late night and weekend shifts, and some of the dreariest of assignments, including writing about the shopping frenzy that occurs annually on Black Friday for several years in a row. That meant: I had to be at work by 6 a.m. interviewing shoppers at various retail stores -- from big box stores to the local specialized stores. Yes, I had   to interrupt people focused on getting the best deal to ask annoying questions. And I had to be in the middle of the mad crush of the crowd. Shudder.

Needless to say, I'm glad those days are behind me. Not only do I avoid the crowds, but I'm thankful that I finally got the courage to embrace my creative side and spread my fiction wings, I'm thankful for everyone who supported my creative endeavors and evolution, and I'm thankful that I have three stories published.

Since everyone loves good deals and to express my thanks to my readers and the universe, here are some great deals for you!

My most recent release, Dead: A Ghost Story is FREE on Amazon today.

Dead: A Ghost Story, a multicultural short about Nasreen, an Indian immigrant woman, who struggles with life & death in West Texas.

“Dead” was inspired by the many immigrant wives I met during my time as a business reporter in West Texas. For the most part these women are invisible to the mainstream society for various reasons – language barriers, isolation, and unfamiliarity with their adopted country’s laws and social mores etc. So this story was written to recognize them and to highlight a usually silent part of the immigrant story.

Here’s the link for you to download your free copy:

I'm also thankful to be celebrating the book birthday of my first published story, The Djinn's Dilemma.

#DjinnsDilemmaBirthdayBash giveaway:

I'm celebrating with an awesome birthday bash with all kinds of surPrizes (check it out here psst, there's a special Sherrilyn Kenyon package & more)! 


Get critique from top agent/editor AND help #SandyRelief. Auction starts Monday. Check out the schedule.

So, what are you thankful for? Leave a comment (with your email) and you could be randomly chosen (open to U.S. residents only) to win this lovely Christmas ornament from moi!

And, if you leave a comment & hop around the other BlackFridayBlogHop blogs, you could also have a chance to win:

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $75 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

So what are you waiting for? Make like a bunny & have fun hopping!

 Woot! We have the overall Black Friday Blog Hop winners! Check it out here. Congrats everyone! Thanks for hopping along & making the hop so much fun!

As for the Ornament winner...I'll mention her name in the comments! :) Have a great weekend!

Finding Inspiration in Cemeteries

Hi y'all! It's my great pleasure to introduce Katie Reus, awesome author and friend, who spins some great paranormal romance and romantic suspense stories. She's going to take you on a virtual tour of cemeteries. Woot!

Don't forget to check out the giveaways (from Katie) and from moi at the bottom of the post!

Thanks so much to Mina for having me here today!

I don’t know if it’s weird but I totally have a fascination with old cemeteries. In fact, I even live behind one. It’s not intentional, but when we were looking at rentals, this house had everything we needed. Say what you will, but since I work from home, it’s very nice to have quiet ‘neighbors’. And it’s a gorgeous place to take a stroll through (ahem, in the day time only, I’m not that brave). 

(Mina: Thought I'd plug one of my favorites :)...and you can BUY the book!)

Living in the South I’ve never been at a loss for cool cemeteries to visit. In fact, I love the St. Louis cemetery #1 (there are a total of three) in New Orleans. The first time I visited I was surprised by how small it actually is.

It’s not like I celebrate death or anything, I just think it’s cool to see how people revere and take care of their dead. In some countries women are buried with no headstones or markers, as if they never existed. To me, that’s incredibly depressing. In New Orleans, most graves are in above ground vaults and some are more ornate than others. Supposedly the voodoo queen Marie Laveau was buried in above mentioned St. Louis Cemetery #1 but according to my husband (and many others) it’s not true. It certainly doesn’t stop people from flocking to see her tomb. And all around it there are markings of three XXXs in a row from people hoping she’ll grant them a wish. If you ever make it to New Orleans it’s well worth seeing and almost impossible to get lost in. Even though the cemetery houses close to 100,000 it only covers one square block! Talk about crowded.

So what about you? Do you have any weird pastimes or hobbies? Please share! One commenter will win a bundle of my three Harlequin Nocturne Cravings novellas: Destined Mate, Protector’s Mate and A Jaguar’s Kiss to one commenter! Open until Friday, November 16 at Noon Central. Winner will be announced in the comments section. 

Thanks again, Mina for having me ;)

A little about Katie: I’ve been reading romance since a young age—ever since I discovered my mom’s hidden stash. Luckily the addiction stayed with me into adulthood. I’m the author of the Moon Shifter series for NAL/Signet Eclipse and I also write paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense for Carina Press and Harlequin Nocturne. To learn more about me please visit my website, my blog, facebook or find me on twitter @katiereus.

ALSO, the #DjinnsDilemmaBirthdayBash giveaway is still going on and we've added a special SHERRILYN KENYON package, a CYNTHIA EDEN giveaway, exotic art and more! So check it out!

Creation of a Quirky Sleuth & Series: L. j. Charles Writes

Happy Monday everyone! It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to L.j. Charles and her character Everly, a redhead with ESP fingers that lead to trouble and hot guys. Leave a comment at the end of the post (with your email for contact) and you could be randomly chosen to win a boxed set of Everly Gray adventures (for B&N users...but if you happen to have some other e-reader, Lucie will give you any ONE book you choose from the series)!

Lucie and I are critique partners. Without her honest feedback, her willingness to kick my butt, and letting me know what works, what doesn't and why...none of my stories would have been shared with readers. I certainly wouldn't be here celebrating The Djinn's Dilemma's birthday bash with awesome giveaways.

And because she's my CP, I have enjoyed her fabulous stories and wonderful worlds -- from YA priestess adventures set in Tartania (the netherworld where demons dwell) and our world to Paranormal Mysteries that made me chuckle, stay awake reading until the wee hours and swoon. 

However, I love mysteries and even better if they come with sexy hunks and romance on the side. So, the Everly Gray series is one of my favorites. Everly is a fresh, quirky character who makes you smile and want her for a best friend (she loves baking pies!) and her adventures are fun, dangerous and intriguing. So how did Ms. Charles come up with Everly & the series?

Here's Lucie....

How Everly Came to Be…

Years ago my husband asked me what my five-year goals were. He's a goal-oriented sort of person. Me, not so much, but I told him that I wanted to write and publish a book. He would mention it every so often, asking me how it was coming along, but as the years passed, he stopped asking and I stopped thinking about it. My life in the corporate world was demanding enough without adding more stress.

And then I was laid off. But did I write? Nope. I became a yoga instructor and mind/body health professional, and then built my own personal coaching business. But I read all the time. And in my heart I wanted to write, so I began stocking up on writing books to study the craft. One of those books was Janet Evanovich's How I Write. Somehow in the middle of reading that book I knew I could do it.

And then it happened. One morning at approximately 3:30AM, Everly popped into my head. And she wouldn't shut up. I had to get out of bed and start writing. Well, actually I stayed in bed but dragged my Mac onto my lap and the words just kept coming. Like I said, Everly wouldn't shut up. For days.

That first book was a Touch of Ice (which by the way is free now...), and I wrote all day long every day for weeks. Well, other than when I was teaching a yoga class or working with a coaching client.
It was a terrible book. But I didn't learn that until several years, many rejections, and many books later. The first book I published was Lifethread, a young adult fantasy. And then I started to wonder about the Everly book that I had tucked away in an obscure file on my computer. Safe where no one would ever find it.

I dug it out and Everly rejoiced. Loudly. We started on the rewrite. Tossed out the book and started again. And the real Touch of Ice was born. But was Everly satisfied? No. She insisted on several more books, and just a week or so ago made me put aside the third book in the Lifethread Trilogy to start her next adventure. The woman is a persistent piece of work and gets terribly unhappy if I ignore her for any length of time whatsoever.

But I do love her. And fortunately for both of us, I love writing her stories. Don't tell her, but it's really a lot of fun to see how badly I can mess up her plans. 

For more about Lucie and her books, check out her website! Don't forget to leave a comment!

#SixSunday ~ A Kiss to Remember #DjinnsDilemma

Happy Six Sentence Sunday y'all! November happens to be the book birthday for my debut story, The Djinn's Dilemma, and I'm celebrating with an awesome birthday bash with all kinds of surPrizes (check it out here psst, there's a special Sherrilyn Kenyon package & more)! And I'm thrilled to share a special moment from The Djinn's Dilemma with you...

This is the story of a djinn/genie assassin, Rukh, falling for his human target, Texas journalist Sarah Jasmine White. When two human bad guys surprise her in an empty parking lot, Rukh ends up saving her. Sarah rewards him with an unexpected kiss. Then things get complicated. :D
"What a kiss. 
For a moment, all barriers between them melted and her mind lay open like a book waiting to be read. One look at her raw desire for him and all his other thoughts fled. She ceased to be Sarah and became Jasmine to him. He'd gawked, frozen like a virgin, and then almost lost himself in her. 
Damn, it had been too long, and it felt good....better than good."

Buy at Amazon or B&N
Add on Goodreads

So what do you think? Don't forget to check out the other Sixers' posts & follow the hashtag #SixSunday on twitter to make sure you don't miss any of the fun! Thanks for visiting! 

Wishes, gifts & books: Cynthia Eden is in the house!

Woot! I have the great pleasure to introduce you to one of my favorite authors ever: CYNTHIA EDEN

She writes sexy, intelligent paranormal stories. It was love at first read as soon as I picked up my first Cynthia Eden story (HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT). 

Then when I got to know her as a sister author, I was floored. I'd been all set to be intimidated by this awesome author, but instead I met a friendly, generous person with a wacky sense of humor. She's Yoda in my writing world.

What We Wish For…

(Thanks so much to my incredible hostess for having me over today!)

It’s starting to become *that* time of the year. The time when we all seem to dream a little bit more. We hope a little bit more. We wish more.

When we were younger, the holidays were a time of magic. A time of glancing up at the stars to see if you could catch a magical sleigh sliding across the dark sky. 

Sadly, as we get older,  people often seem to lose that magic. They get lost in the hustle and the bustle, in the cooking and the crowds, and the wonder just fades away.

I don’t ever want to lose my wonder. 

I think that’s one of the reasons why I love my job so very much. Every day, I get to dream. I get to make up stories. I get to have magic and fantasy. 

In my upcoming release from Kensington Brava, ANGEL IN CHAINS (out 11/27/12—right after that wild Black Friday rush), my hero is a fallen angel—a creature of incredible power and magic. But, like any other man, there is one thing that he wants most of all. Even fallen angels have wishes…

In order to make some wishes come true, you have to be willing to sacrifice, to fight—and that is exactly what my hero will do. He will face the darkness around him—face any challenge that comes his way—if he can win the greatest gift…love.

So as the holiday season approaches, I’m curious…what are you wishing for?  And do you still feel the wonder at this time of the year?  Please leave me a comment. One person will be randomly selected to win a copy of ANGEL IN CHAINS.

And here’s the ANGEL IN CHAINS blurb (so the winner will know what he/she is getting!):

As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters.  No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain death.

Only Jade Pierce is no delicate flower.  She’s spent years learning to survive and fight the evil forces sent by her ex-lover who refuses to let her go. But after seeing Az in action, she figures she could use a little supernatural help. And so she plans a course of seduction guaranteed to arouse his interest and his angelic passions…

Thanks for checking out my post!

Cynthia Eden
ANGEL IN CHAINS—Available 11/27/12 from Kensington Brava
Some angels were meant to fall


Cynthia  also donated HOWL FOR IT

& it's part of the #DjinnsDilemma Birthday Bash giveaways. Don't forget to check it out before you leave!

Laura Bickle Shares her Inspiration Behind her Chilling YA (1 copy up for grabs)!

Being I'm an avid reader and that one of my favorite genres is urban fantasy, I discovered Laura Bickle and her alter ego Alayna Williams long before I started writing fiction. I devoured her books, loved her writing.

So when Laura found me on Twitter, my first reaction was to gush like a rabid fan-girl. SQUEEEE!!!! She handled it/me most graciously.

 And then, I found out she had a scary YA release, THE HALLOWED ONES, and invited her to the I could introduce y'all to a fabulous writer and her new story. In Publishers Marketplace The Hallowed Ones is described as “Witness” meets “28 Days Later” in which an Amish girl must protect her family from a violent contagion, even as fear and denial threaten to erode her community from within.

Wow, original and cool. Check out the cover!

I'm giving away a Kindle edition of THE HALLOWED ONES to one lucky blog reader...but, you'll have to read to the bottom of the post to find out how to enter. :D

 Thanks for being here Laura! What inspired you to write an Amish YA? 

 Laura: I live not too far from a large Amish settlement. When I was a child, my parents would take me to visit, and I was fascinated by a world very different than the one I lived in. I’d see Amish girls my age over the fence and wonder what their lives were like.

 For THE HALLOWED ONES, I was thinking about doing a dystopian book. I was wondering who would be best-equipped to survive a large-scale disaster, and occurred to me that the Amish would be uniquely equipped to survive. They are incredibly self-sufficient and are not dependent upon things we take for granted in our world, things like electricity and cars.

As an adult, it was fun to go back there and see how my perceptions of that world changed and how they stayed the same.

So what's the story about?

Temptation happens to all of us, in large and small ways.

The heroine of THE HALLOWED ONES is Katie, a young woman who has grown up in a peaceful Amish settlement. She lives with her parents and sister in the house where she was born. Church services take place in members’ backyards. She knows every other person in the settlement and expects to marry the boy next door. Her home has been a safe nest, familiar and comforting.

Maybe just a bit too safe.

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the Amish church. Katie has every intention of being baptized in her church and assuming her responsibilities as an adult Amish woman. She simply wants to see a bit of the world Outside before she makes her choice and commits to the Amish lifestyle forever. She looks forward to testing the rules -- going to the city to see movies, perhaps wearing jeans, experimenting with makeup.

 Before she can explore in earnest, Katie’s safe world starts to disintegrate. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields near her house, followed by rumors of violence and the disappearance of large numbers of people Outside. Unsure why they haven’t been attacked and fearing contamination, the Amish Elders make a rule: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in.

When Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of Amish land, she refuses to leave him to die. She defies the Elders’ decree, secretly bringing the stranger in to her community and hiding him. But what else is she bringing in with him?

Author Bio: Laura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science, and when she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams). Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and a herd of mostly-reformed feral cats. THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Get the latest updates on her work at

TO WIN LAURA'S BOOK: Share who is your favorite YA heroine and why in the comments section, and leave your email (so I can contact you if you win!).

Oh! Don't forget to check out my The #DjinnsDilemma Birthday Bash post for more fantabulous surPrizes!
Thanks for visiting!