Just Imagine

Just Imagine

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Welcome to my blog! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and read what's on my mind. I've a vicious sense of humor, an apprecation for romance and a mad addiction to writing.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Celts & More. Nancy Lee Badger's Dragon's Curse. Scotland Time!!!

Welcome! We’re halfway through my Celts and More Blog Event and it’s been a super ride all the way. For those of you popping in for the first time, this blog event was designed to not only reintroduce you to some of your favorite Celtic romance authors but to familiarize you with some of their non-Celtic work.

As an added bonus, each and every author invited to participate has graciously decided to share a never-before-read skit from the main story they’ll be featuring. Either this is a scene they wrote especially for this blog post or it was a deleted scene they felt you’d enjoy reading.

This week I’m thrilled to welcome talented author, Nancy Lee Badger. I’m particularly pleased to make Nancy’s acquaintance as she formerly lived here in New Hampshire. And, as it turns out, we both frequent the Highland Games. Well, she’s volunteered at the games for many years and I’ve only been once. Hopefully that’ll change this year and Nancy and I will be able to meet at the games. It’s bound to be a blast, Lassie! I can already hear the bagpipes echoing off the mountains.

Okay, time to talk shop and have some fun. From Nancy’s lips to my blog…

I want to thank Sky for inviting me here this week and for getting my mind back inside my first Scottish-flavored paranormal romance, DRAGON’S CURSE. You see, I was lucky to have four very different stories published in 2010, a banner year for me, as a new author!

From contemporary romance to romantic suspense, and all the way from a contemporary military romance to this historical paranormal, I am truly blessed. As a reader, I love historicals, which made DRAGON’S CURSE, set in 1592 on the real Scottish island of Staffa, a journey into something new. The characters rose up from my love for all things Scottish, cultivated as my years as a volunteer at the annual New Hampshire Highland Games. Research, and my hubby’s knowledge, helped me base my story around real occurrences, some of them horrific.

Brianna is a young woman trying to find herself while under the thumb of a guardian who uses her gift of sight for his own uses. Draco, the lone survivor of a massacre, and who was wrongly accused of the crime, finds himself alone on an island, cursed to shift into a dragon at inopportune times.

Sky threw down a challenge. “Share a ‘never before scene’ from the story,” she asked. She knows what editors do. At times, they chop, rearrange, and squeeze the life out of our stories. Sometimes a plot line does not seem to make sense, or they feel the scene is too similar to another part of the story. Whatever the reason, these cut-out words—so easily deleted by a stranger—can feel like they have cut off a limb.

I had best not speak of body parts, since my dragon hero makes mincemeat out of a very nasty guy. So read my book blurb and then my added ‘skit’, then you decide. (and don’t forget to comment so you can win a prize!)

DRAGON’S CURSE, by Whispers Publishing

Sometimes a special gift and an unwanted curse cannot keep destined lovers apart.

Brianna Macleod has accompanied a shipload of her guardian’s friends to a remote island off the coast of Scotland. She eludes these Highland hunters to keep her innocence…and her gift of sight. Her attitude against falling for womanly desires changes when she nearly drowns. Saved by the talons of a terrifying winged beast, she awakens—naked—in a cave, beside an unusual man.

Cursed by a vengeful witch to transform into a dragon at inopportune times, Draco MacDonald hides on this deserted island to live alone: until he plucks a servant girl from certain death. Fueled by jealousy, and tempered by fear for her safety, he succumbs to an unfamiliar desire to mate. Her kisses propel him to dare to make her his own.

Set in 1592 Scotland on the Scottish island of Staffa, the cursed hero battles a ghostly witch, a hunter set on rape, and his own growing desire for a young woman with premonitions of his death.

Skit for story

“Do not touch me, sir. I will no’ endure another man’s hands upon me this day,” Brianna said. Her words appeared to shake him from his mood, but he did not release his hold. She had told him how the hunter had taken liberties and tried to take her to his bed. She had shared this information to let Draco understand how the man’s actions made her feel. Cheap. Worthless. Unloved. Did he not understand?

“I understand, sweeting.” His fingers held tight, as if they had sprung claws to bring her down as his prey. She wriggled, trying to escape, as terror built. He had read her mind, again. His hold seemed too familiar to Ranald’s, and the pain the hunter had caused during her escape.

“I would not harm ye, lass.” His fingers relaxed, but he did not move away.

The power in his grip held her tight even as the waves crashed closer. She trembled, remembering her near drowning. She had told Draco, while in the cave, that a creature had saved her from the water’s fury. She had shared her terror with him. How could he forget? She must get away, and out of the rising tide.

“Please, Draco. I...I am cold. I must get back to camp before—”

“No.” His eyes glanced toward the rock-strewn earth of the path that led toward the top of the cliffs, and to the hunting party’s camp. He sighed as if a decision caused him regret.

“I meant you no harm. I planned ne’er to touch ye without your consent, but I canno’ bear to have ye so close, and no’ taste ye.”

Before Brianna could question his choice of words, his mouth plundered her lips and stole all breath from her lungs. Surprised, she opened her mouth to scream, inadvertently issuing a misconstrued welcome. He took advantage of her naïveté to stroke the inside of her mouth with the tip of his tongue. Her whole body vibrated when urgent thrusts turned her muscles to jelly before Draco swept her off her feet.

She was flying.

“Ye mean too much to me to let ye out of my sight,” he said, and she whimpered at the loss of his mouth on hers. He lurched through the deepening water of the ravine and followed it inside the cave. Frosty winds, pushed by increasingly large breakers, snarled her hair and dragged wet strands across her face. She could not brush it away because she had unwittingly thrown her arms around his neck, and still held tight.

“Ye will no’ let me drown?” she cried above the crash of fast-approaching waves.

“Nay, sweeting. You are mine, all mine, and we shall warm each other, this night. I shall dry your feet and warm your body with mine own.”

“Nay! Put me down!” As panic at what he planned speared through her, Brianna kicked and pushed away. Draco, surprised and thrown off-balance, slipped on a slime-covered rock. He landed in the shallow ravine with a splash. Brianna rolled loose, only to be caught up by a rolling wave. Thrown end over end, she somersaulted inside the dark cave and finally came up for air. Terrified, and dreading spending another minute in the black, brackish water, screamed, “Draco!”

He did not answer.

So, what do you think?

One lucky commenter will win a beautiful 3 inch by 11 ½ inch bright yellow bumper sticker decorated with a Celtic knot and the words CELTIC WARRIOR.

Click the Whispers Publishing buy link to read an excerpt.

Also available from Amazon

Read a Review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Lee Badger writes fulltime and lives with her husband in North Carolina. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, and Sisters in Crime.

DRAGON’S CURSE is her first paranormal romance based on Scottish history, with more on the way. She also writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Nancy Lennea

What’s next?

LOVE TO THE RESCUE, a contemporary romance, will be released by Red Rose Publishing later this year. Another Scottish paranormal, with a time traveling witch, is making the rounds. Nancy is looking for an agent to help her sell SPELLBOUND HIGHLANDER and other Celtic tales.

Nancy’s Website.

Nancy’s Blog.

Nancy is on Facebook as Nancy Lee Badger.

Sky here. Nancy, I loved that skit! Well done! And oh, doesn’t your husband look dashing in his Highland Regalia. That’s it…I’ve got to put my hands on my husband’s Lamont plaid and do him up right for the games! Nothing quite like a man in a kilt. *winks* Maybe I'll even wrap my Brown (Broun) plaid over a shoulder as well.

Congratulations on such a successful run of releases thus far, Nancy. You must be beyond thrilled! I hope you don't mind me sharing the cover for Holiday Whispers ~ Unwrapping Chris. Holy yum!

Don’t forget everyone, be sure to comment for a chance to win a beautiful 3 inch by 11 ½ inch bright yellow bumper sticker decorated with a Celtic knot and the words CELTIC WARRIOR!

Interested in meeting another fantastic author? Swing over to The Write Life now and possibly enter to win another fabulous prize!

Cheers
~Sky

Monday, February 21, 2011

Celt and More. Skhye Moncrief's, Feral Flaw. Sexy Highlanders Alert!!!

Welcome. It’s week four of my Celts and More Blog Event and so far it’s been a blast!

For those of you joining me for the first time, this blog event was designed to not only reintroduce you to some of your favorite Celtic romance authors but to familiarize you with some of their non-Celtic work. As an added bonus, each and every author invited to participate has graciously decided to share a never-before-read skit from the main story they’ll be featuring. Either this is a scene they wrote especially for this blog post or it was a deleted scene they felt you’d enjoy reading.

This week it’s a pleasure to welcome back multi-published and very talented romance author, Skhye Moncrief. She’ll be sharing her hot off the press romantica release, Feral Flaw. According to Skhye, this particular scene leads right into the opening chapter of Feral Flaw!

The floor’s all yours, Skhye…

FERAL FLAW

Sexual espionage never got any deadlier!

As the Blood Wars between psychic werewolves and vampires continue, Commander Goro’s deepest desire, his love, his promised mate, is taken from him in the worst possible manner. He learns she’s given birth to his arch enemy’s child, a deadly rumor for both his honor and her life. If he discovers she’s a sex spy, he’ll have to kill her. Now they must mate to disprove the rumor of sexual espionage. Although he’d postponed that moment of divine completion bonding their bodies through mystic sex and blood exchange to safeguard her from the treacherous game of manipulation—a game he and his intended play with everyone aboard his starship, he has no choice but to mate. Just one problem stands in his way…

Psychokinetic earthling Crazy Darla, manipulator extraordinaire unequaled by none other than Goro, realizes the only way to survive the rumored lie is to run for her life. But there was always something more in her motives than fantasies of delicious sex with the man she’s craved for years. Even though those motives felt carnal. Something else, pure and, perhaps, metaphysical haunted her. Perhaps in his goddess, Destiny? She had to believe in those feelings of love. But to trust is to show weakness in handing over one’s fate to another who just might ritually disembowel you.

Who is playing whom in the battle of masterminds? Sexual espionage never got any deadlier. With the secret baby, bounty hunters, an entrancing crystal, and a space opera between werewolves and vampires forcing Goro and Darla into dark secluded corners, pushing them into carnal sexual interludes and dangerous blood exchanges fueled by the frenzied blood lust of were-mates, the future holds both promises and lies in the psychic war. And one wrong move means you’ve succumbed to the deadliest thing in the universe,

Skit for story:

“Every time I chance a secret rendezvous with you, it’s like walking a gauntlet ,” Commander Goro chuckled, pulling one of his betrothed’s clingy hands off his ass where they hid, trapped in a clench inside the Chamber’s dense foliage aboard starship, The Seeker.

The hand stuck to the seat of my leather pants like I wore iron body armor and she wielded a magnetic glove.

She thrust her bulging breasts into my heart and tilted her tempting parted lips toward mine. “You know you want to be done with this game we play with people. Let me just peel off your clothes with my teeth, lick you until your skin warms, and then we’ll mate. Create the blood bond. I’ve got a knife.” She grinned, batting her long brown eyelashes. “It’ll only take a second.” She buried her soft lips against my neck and sucked my pounding heart into a thrashing beat that pushed every drop of my blood down to my already rock-hard arousal.

Gods to lie her down and run my hands through her long brown mane.

But we’d be dead if someone found us. Even worse, I’d have to kill the crewmember who chanced through the forest. Although, easing the tension coursing through every cell of my body would make my existence unbelievably bearable.

I could die after that pivotal moment in life. Even if the Blood Wars hadn’t ended.

She groaned, shoving away, releasing her handhold, and turned her back to me.

My promised heart. The killer cloaked in black mercenary leather. Her shoulders almost hung in defeat.

She thrust her profile my direction over her shoulder. “Go away. I’ve had enough for tonight.”

“Darla, you know we can’t risk being separated. If we our blood mates and run out of each other’s blood libations, we shift. We die. And Voldon knows you and I mated. I can’t allow him to hold that against you because of my lack of self-control.”

She waved a dismissive hand at me. “I’ve heard it all before. Don’t bother coming back for a little kiss and rub until you have something new to share. And you know what I mean by new and share.”

Blessed Devros, when would the time present itself to allow us to quench the thirst choking the life out of us?

Sky here. Nice excerpt! Super steamy. *Grins*

Interested in reading Chapter One from FERAL FLAW? Click HERE.

Purchase FERAL FLAW at New Concepts Publishing.

Reviews: For Book 1: FERAL FASCINATIONS… *romantica*

“FERAL FASCINATIONS ...a surprise and an exciting read. It's not an easy novel to summarize but take my word for it…a summary can't do it justice any way. You have to read—and enjoy it—for yourself!... 5 stars” ~Tony-Paul

"This isn’t one of your brother’s Sci-Fi Books – it’s Rebel Mercenary meets Paranormal Alien Chick. The storyline is complex and well written, Ms. Moncrief seamlessly blended earth religion, new-age mysticism, paranormal events, shape-shifting rogue spies, and a who-done-it twist." ~ LynnMarie, HEA Reviews

"Feral Fascinations is one of those werewolf science fiction novels that captures the imagination. Skhye Moncrief has done an amazing job of bringing a new world out and showing it to the reader with such amazing clarity. Feral Fascinations is an original novel many will enjoy as it combines both modern and futuristic elements twinned with horror... True horror and science fiction fans will take to this novel really well as the characters are fascinating and well worth reading about.” ~Sandra, Romance at the Heart Magazine

SWORDSONG

He'd give her his hand. If only she'd take it... Spicy/sensual Highland romance

He’s stuck in present-day Scotland with a bent time-travel key only she can repair. Duty requires he return to his time. His ticket home relies on a lonely woman haunted by more than apparitions. Her track record with men keeps her at a distance. And ghostly events keep pushing them closer together. Earning her trust will require the kind of patience only a valiant time guardian learns during his twenty years of apprenticeship. If time-travel duty, romance, and a bit of magic don’t help them realize their destiny resonates in mysterious fairy SWORDSONG, all known history could change.

Read Chapter One HERE.

"His forbearance, pure love, and finally his and Katie's "hand fasting" create an enchanting love story with a touch of magic... destiny sends them to a time and a life far removed from the lives they have known... a tale of future, present, and past with each of the time periods nurturing Katie and Murdo until the time is right for their union—their destiny. Skhye Moncrief creates a unique culture from which Murdo comes. She weaves it in with present culture, making a compelling, sparkling love story with a unique twist near the end." ~Camilla, Long and Short Reviews

"Murdo requires the special skills of swordsmith Katie Innis to complete his duties as a time guardian. But Katie's past makes her distant around the man's charms. Who doesn't love a noble Scotsman that can quote Robert Burns? Murdo's wooing of Katie requires a bit of magic only a true soul-mate can deliver." ~Victoria, posted at Amazon

Available in e-format at: Amazon and Fictionwise. In Print at Amazon.

Find Skhye on Facebook.

Visit Skhye's Website, Blog and Newsletter

Don't forget to pop over to The Write Life to learn more about another author and perhaps enter for a chance to win a prize!

Wishing you all a fabulous week!

~Sky

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Interview with the Vampires!

To celebrate Valentine’s this month, I’ve interviewed my vampires! We covered everything from romance to future plans. Pop over to Black Rose of The Wild Rose Press blog to learn more about what Gabriel (Tale I- Darkest Memory) and Salvator (Tale II- Heart of Vesuvius) had to say.

~Sky

Sharon Donovan's, Charade of Hearts. First Contest Winner Drawn!

What a spectacular Valentine’s week! Again, I’d like to thank Sharon Donovan for visiting and sharing a never-before-read skit from her latest tale, Charade of Hearts. Absolutely wonderful work m’dear!

As you know, there were a couple of contests running this past week. The first was held by Sharon. This contest is still running. To refresh you, here are the details…

Now for my Valentines Day surprise. See the picture in the previous post showcasing the beautiful sterling silver heart blue diamond earrings, estimated to be approximately 1/8 of a ct. Aren’t they gorgeous? They can be yours and here’s how.

Simply race to your computer and download your hot off the press copy of Charade of Hearts and answer the following question to me in a private email.

QUESTION

What emblem is tattooed on the ring leader to designate power?

Remember to email answers to me in a private email to sharonad@comcast.net

Please put Valentines contest in the subject line. This contest will run until the end of the month. Oliver will draw the lucky winner on my blog on February 28th.

http://sharondonovan.blogspot.com/

Thank you, ladies and good luck!

I hosted the SECOND contest which closed yesterday. Time to announce a winner. Drum roll please…Congratulations Maeve!!! Please contact me at Skypurington@live.com to collect your prize.

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend all. Be sure to pop in Monday morn as I welcome author Skhye Moncrief to my Celts and More Blog Event!

~Sky

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oliver's Pregnant...Sort Of! Sharon A. Donovan's Charade of Hearts. Chance to Win Blue Diamond Earrings and a $20 Gift Certificate!

Welcome to my Celts and More Blog Event. Happy Valentines Day! For those of you unfamiliar, the purpose of this particular event is to not only introduce you to some fabulous Celtic romance writers but to also familiarize you with their non-Celtic work. What really sets this event apart? Each and every week, you’ll be able to read a never-before-seen excerpt from the main story being featured. That’s right, a one of a kind, meant for your eyes only skit the author either wrote especially for this event or a deleted scene the author simply had to share!

This week I’m totally thrilled to welcome back wonderfully talented, award-winning author, Sharon A. Donovan. When it comes to romantic tales of inspiration and suspense, Sharon’s stories are simply untouchable. The never before read excerpt Sharon’s sharing is from her recent release, Charade of Hearts. And whoa! Guess what? Oliver’s part of this! Not familiar with Oliver? Then you haven’t lived yet. At the end of this post I’ll be sharing a special place on the internet you can go every Friday to spend time with both the lovely Sharon and her hotter than hot side-kick, Oliver. (This guy is such a blast and…did I mention how drop dead gorgeous he is? *Smiles*)

Time to get back to business. Be sure to pay extra close attention. Sharon has a special message for you after her excerpt. Okay, the floor is yours, Sharon!

From Sharon to You…never before read…

Nighttime had fallen over the Emerald Isle on this most romantic of nights. Oliver linked his fingers through the lovely Dominique’s as they walked.

Bringing her hand to his mouth, he brushed it with a feathery kiss, a smile teasing his lips. “You’ll love it here at the Bunratty, my sweet. This gorgeous Georgian castle was once home to Earls and now boasts an impressive menu of fine food and wine. When you hear the music, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven, and the theatrics are performed by the Bunratty Singers.”

“I can’t wait, my darling. And what better way to celebrate our first wedding anniversary than to bring me to Ireland. You have to be the most romantic husband in the world, and you are mine all mine!”

Oliver winked, a mischievous twinkle coming into his eye. “I dare say you like your Valentine gift, my pet?”

“Oh, my darling,” she purred, her voice laced with seduction. “I most definitely like, and I’ll show you just how much when I get you between those satin sheets in that big brass bed in our room!”

Oliver’s liquid brown eyes darken with passion. Grazing her bottom lip with his teeth, he growled. “My sweet, is that a promise or a threat?”

“My darling Valentine, just you wait!”

Slipping his arm around Dominique’s slender waist, he stole a kiss. “Get ready for a night of being treated like a queen, my queen.”

Greeted at the door with a tune of welcome by a kilted piper, the banquet was off to a lovely start.

“Welcome me lord and me lady!” the Earl’s butler shouted with gusto. “If you will please follow me right this way.”

He led Oliver and Dominique up the castle steps and across the draw bridge before going onward to the upper Great Hall where the ladies greeted them with a goblet of Mead.

One of the maidens beamed. “According to legend, if you drink of the sweet wine, the marriage is said to be blessed with the wee ones.”

Dominique’s crystal blue eyes glistened with tears. Their glasses clinked in a toast. The draft whistling through the hall carried the scent of her lavender perfume. She smiled a knowing smile.

The Earl’s butler welcomed guests, toasting an era with wine and a four-course meal.

“Before you are served,” he proclaimed with great ceremony. “A taster will sample each course in the unlikely event that someone might wish to bring harm to the Earl -- or one of his guests on this most glorious night.”

While Oliver and Dominique enjoyed Tomato Bisque, brought to their lips in typical fifteenth century etiquette, the Bunratty Singers entertained them with harp and fiddle. For the next two hours, from soup and salad to roasted chicken, the blissful couple dined in old world style.

Back in their room, the fire in the hearth crackled and hissed, the brilliant orange spears as bright as a sorcerer’s flame. Pulling his wife into his lap, Oliver gazed into her eyes.

“Do you have any idea how beautiful you look tonight, my love? Your skin is positively glowing.”

“Oh, Oliver,” Dominique moved a little closer, her voice thick with desire. “Our first wedding anniversary was perfect. My darling, you have to be the most romantic husband in the world, and I love you so.”

My sweet pet,” Oliver reached into his pocket and pulled out a jeweler’s box. Brushing his sensual lips to hers, he flipped up the lid. “Happy Valentines Day, my pet.”


A pair of heart-shaped blue diamond earrings twinkled in the firelight, the sterling silver reflecting like shining stars.

Dominique sighed. “Oh, Oliver, such a hopeless romantic!”

Oliver winked. “I aim to please.”

“Now for my Valentines surprise,” Dominique kissed her husband. “Remember what that lady at the castle said about drinking the mead and the marriage being blessed with the wee ones? My love, I’m pregnant, we’re having a baby!”

Oliver’s face lit up with joy. “A baby, my sweet darling girl. I love you with all my heart. You are and always will be my one true love.”

Dear Reader,

Wishing you and your one true love a Happy Valentines Day. May it be blessed with joy and happiness, now and forever!

I hope you enjoyed the skit I wrote for your pleasure. Based on the hero and heroine of Charade of Hearts, my latest romantic suspense by The Wild Rose Press as part of the Jewel of the Night series, this excerpt is not part of the published book. Hats off to Sky for giving birth to this ingenious idea as part of her Celts and More blog tour. Thank you, m’dear!

Now for my Valentines Day surprise. See the picture above showcasing the beautiful sterling silver heart blue diamond earrings, estimated to be approximately 1/8 of a ct. Aren’t they gorgeous? They can be yours and here’s how.

Simply race to your computer and download your hot off the press copy of Charade of Hearts and answer the following question to me in a private email.

QUESTION

What emblem is tattooed on the ring leader to designate power?

Remember to email answers to me in a private email to sharonad@comcast.net

Please put Valentines contest in the subject line. This contest will run until the end of the month. Oliver will draw the lucky winner on my blog on February 28th.

http://sharondonovan.blogspot.com/

Thank you, ladies and good luck!

BUY LINK. Click HERE.

Sky here! WOW, Sharon, that was incredible. I absolutely LOVED it! Thank you so much for sharing and another huge thank you for offering such a wonderful prize. Look at those earrings! And...big news, Dominique is pregnant! What a spectacular Valentine's gift for Oliver! To Oliver…what can I say? First of all, congratulations!!! Then Sky sighs and swoons because Oliver's standing so close. I think actions speak louder than words. In fact, I can't help myself. I'm such a fan that I've decided to spinkle this post not only with Sharon's book covers but Oliver himself.

And naturally, I want to share a little bit more about this story so again…the floor’s yours, Sharon!

IT’S SHEER MAGIC!

IT’S SHEER SUSPENSE!

IT’S SHEER ROMANCE!

IT’S CHARADE OF HEARTS!

STARRING THE ONE AND ONLY OLIVER!

IN A JEWEL OF THE NIGHT MYSTERY!

I am thrilled to announce the release of Charade of Hearts, the book you’ve all been waiting for. In my latest romantic suspense by The Wild Rose Press, our very own Oliver fights off the villain to save his lady love from harm’s way. Welcome to gorgeous Hawaii. Why Hawaii you ask? Because the tropical paradise is the setting for Charade of Hearts, and as one of the books in the Jewel of the Night series, it packs a lot of heat! And now it’s time to get a sneak preview!

While scuba diving off the coast of Diamond Head with her diving partner on a quest to find a family heirloom, underwater photographer Dominique St. John witnesses his brutal murder and photographs it, ensnaring her in a deadly jewel ring. And when the investigating officer turns out to be her partner’s identical twin, a man she knew nothing about, her life becomes a Charade of Hearts.

Welcome to the world of greed, intrigue, deception and murder. And at its core is a blue diamond worth millions.

As honest as his twin was corrupt, Honolulu Homicide Detective Oliver Carvalho must convince Dominique that her diving partner and best friend was a crook. In a race against time, Oliver must rescue Dominique from a ruthless killer. But his biggest challenge proves to be mending a broken heart torn by betrayal that can only be redeemed by love.

EXCERPT

The fog in her head slowly cleared. She was on assignment in Hawaii, photographing the shipwreck that had taken her mother’s life. And while she’d been shooting pictures, Roberto had been scouring the ocean floor for her mother’s blue diamond. Her stomach tightened and cramped. It was all coming back. By some miracle, Roberto had managed to find the necklace. And just as they were about to surface, a diver came out of nowhere and stabbed him. Her eyelids flew open in shocked horror. Her heartbeat tripled, causing the soft beeping to crescendo to an ear-splitting shriek.

“Easy, Ms. St. John,” a nurse was at her side checking her vitals while a younger nurse adjusted the monitor.

“Roberto!” Dominique screamed, her voice a nasally squeak. Frustrated and annoyed, she yanked the tubing out of her nose and tried again. “My diving partner? Is he here? Roberto Carvalho?”

The woman’s expression softened. “I’m sorry, Ms. St. John. I really don’t know anything about your partner. You were the only patient brought in by emergency helicopter. You’re at the Queens clinic. You have the bends from ascending too quickly.”

She needed to find out about Roberto. Who would know? The owner of the charter boat. He would know. Dominique recalled him hoisting her onto the charter, removing her wet suit and then what? She remembered hearing a helicopter a split second before passing out. And she vaguely recalled telling him Roberto had been stabbed by a diver. Dear God. Killer sharks had been thrashing toward Roberto, jaws chomping. The words came out in a strangled moan. “The owner of the charter? Is he here?”

The nurse shook her head. “He stayed for a while to make sure you were all right. But he had to leave. But there is someone anxious to speak to you when you feel up to it.”

And that’s when Dominique spotted him, big as life, framing the doorway to the small room. He was fine; he’d survived the shark attack. His name caught in her throat. “Roberto! You’re alive! How…”

He strutted toward her, his narrow hips swaggering as he closed in on her, stirring her blood with a primal lust she had never felt. And those dark, broody eyes, so alive with passion, like fiery comets. She reached for him with her free hand. “Dear Lord, you’re safe! Thank God.”

He loomed above her, his lips pinched into a thin line. “I’m sorry, Ms. St. John, but I am not Roberto. He flashed a badge. “I am Detective Oliver Carvalho, Honolulu PD, Homicide. Roberto Carvalho was my identical twin brother.”

What they're saying about CHARADE OF HEARTS...

Mystery, suspense and romance all in a beautiful tropical Hawaiian setting, what more can you ask for? Maybe, a hunk of a hero? Charade of Hearts has all that and more. This great read covers many genres in one book. Go grab your copy of Ms. Donovan’s latest read today.

~ Matilda, Coffee Time Romance & More

Charade of Hearts is a fast paced, edge of your seat romance laced with twists and turns along the way. The action scenes throughout this book will literally find you catching your breath. Ms. Donovan has a gift when it comes to writing a very descriptive novel which pulls me in every time. I get lost in her work and look forward to each new book. As for Charade of Hearts, you don't want to miss this book. Ms. Donovan has written a tantalizing read that will keep you on your toes. If you love tropical locations, good vs. evil and a sweet romantic suspense, Charade of Hearts is the book for you.

~Val, You Gotta Read

A little about Oliver!

For those of you who follow my blog... http://sharondonovan.blogspot.com/

You’ve already met my sexy cyber butler and know that he serves your favorite drink with a wink and a smile. What you may not know is that Oliver serves as my butler to amuse himself on his days off from his real job (as he points out to me on a daily basis) as a secret agent man for the FBI. It’s true, Oliver has put his life on the line countless times to save the women and children, traveling undercover to remote corners of the world as Mozambique, Egypt and Bangladesh.

I created the character of Oliver shortly after creating my blog. Knowing I wanted to promote fellow authors once a week, Wednesday Spotlight was born. The interviews were fun, and while I tried to ask questions that hadn’t been asked a million times over, I soon realized blog interviews were quickly becoming yesterday’s news. Something fresh needed to be done and it came to me at the bar and grill I go to once a month with my writers group after the meetings.

The bistro has a warm and friendly atmosphere. This group of talented writers have become some of my best friends, and sharing ideas and challenges over a glass of wine and scrumptious appetizers is very rewarding.

Our waiter, an outgoing man with the gift of gab and a memory like a steel trap to boot, inspired the character of Oliver. He knew us all by name and impressed us by never forgetting our favorite drink and choice in cuisine. The entire scenario was rather reminiscent of one of my all time favorite television shows of the 80s Cheers—a place where everybody knows your name!

One night after returning home from a meeting and jaunt to our favorite watering hole, I turned on my computer and began doing my feature for Wednesday Spotlight. That’s when the idea of Oliver Butler for my blog hit me like a bolt of thunder. I got a sexy male model and ran with it. Oliver is a butler, bar tender, gourmet chef, lady killer and secret agent man. This man of many talents knows everybody’s name and will serve favorite drinks with a wink and a smile!

With the dawning of a new year came the launching of a new endeavor, featuring the man who wears many hats. Every Wednesday, those who have something to rant and rave about are invited to come into Oliver’s bar, order your favorite drink and vent to your heart’s content. Oliver promises to lend an ear and offer up a heaping portion of sound advice. But you know what they say about being forewarned and forearmed. Take his advice to heart or take it with a grain of salt. But whatever the case, take it in the spirit with which it was given and roll with it.

Dear Oliver can be read every Wednesday on my blog... http://sharondonovan.blogspot.com/

If you would like to be a guest, contact me at Sharonad@comcast.net

Sky again! So good to learn more about Oliver! And, I can’t wait to dive into Charade of Hearts, Sharon. I love your writing style. Let’s check out the other story Sharon would like to share, HER BIGGEST FAN…

From the shadows of the woods, he keeps vigil. The stage is set to drive the pretty little princess insane. He’s coming for her. And when he catches her, he’ll pounce on her like the big bad wolf.

After receiving a disturbing fan letter, New York Times best-selling author Tess Kincaid flees to the New England home she’s inherited following her father’s suicide. The manor has been tainted with, every room staged to resemble the way it was in its glory days. But when Tess calls the police, the chilling props vanish into thin air.

Ruggedly handsome Sheriff Mike Andretti is called to investigate the reported burning candles, dancing gargoyles and otherworldly. When he discovers no trace of the eerie setting, he finds himself caught between duty and desire. Is the woman with the bewitching green eyes delusional--or is this a trap of twisted wit set by a demented fan?
From the grand ballroom, the soft floating of piano keys drifted, louder and louder, faster and faster, reaching a spiking crescendo that shook the chandelier. And then all was quiet as the manor settled from the riveting climax that rattled the windows.

An eerie twine hummed through the corridor. Shocked by the scaling spike of piano keys, Tess’s knees wobbled. Floundering, she leaned against the wall for support.

She gasped for breath, her heartbeat escalating. In barely more than a whisper, she called out. “Daddy?”

Her mind raced. Could her dad be alive? Did he stage his own death? Tears stung her eyes. She had to find out. But still, she proceeded with caution. She sensed evil from deep in her soul.
Camouflaged in the dim lighting, Tess scaled along the walls of the barrel corridor, blending into the dark wood paneling.

Inching her way a bit deeper, she crept, her heart pounding. Beads of sweat trickled down her spine. A door banged, sounding like shutters smacking the house. Then she felt a rush of cool air coming from the grand ballroom, dank with the smell of rain and something else. Burning candles.

Fear clutched her from deep within. As she got closer, the scent of jasmine grew stronger. The sweet smell permeated the air. It was as if her father were still alive, entertaining in the grand ballroom. Just as Tess reached the arched column to the massive hall, a bolt of thunder exploded in the sky, followed by an illuminating flash of lightning. Then all went dark.

Tess stood at the entrance, polarized. Goose bumps prickled her flesh. When the icy instrumental of Moonlight Sonata started all over again, she took a step back and gasped. Peering into the massive hall, she stared in disbelief.

On either side of the mahogany bar, standing candelabras gleamed, long white tapers flickering in the dark. Open terrace doors banged in the wind, bringing in the pouring rain. The air carried the mingled scent of jasmine and stale tobacco. Pleated silk drapes billowed out like wings.

Rain puddled the cherry wood floor that once sparkled beneath the mirrored ceiling and crystal chandelier. The ghostly sound of piano keys escalated as Moonlight Sonata played on the old Victrola. And in the center of the room, looking for all the world like guests of honor at a grand masquerade, two wax gargoyles danced cheek to cheek, costumed in feather masks as bizarre as the setting.

HER BIGGEST FAN

ISBN: 1-60154-813-3

AVAILABLE NOW

The Wild Rose Press

Purchase HERE.

Visit Sharon at her Website.

Sharon's blog...Where the one and only Oliver will mix your favorite cocktail with a wink and a smile!

SIGN UP FOR SHARON'S NEWSLETTER HERE.

What reviewers are saying about Her Biggest Fan

An edge of your seat chilling suspense, I couldn‘t wait to see what would happen next. Her Biggest Fan really was a book I couldn‘t put down. This book was an addicting, pulse-pounding read with an explosive climax. The drama was intense and I loved every minute of it.

Read full review HERE.

Rating: You Gotta Read!

Reviewed by Val

This was a great mixture of psychological thriller, Classic Gothic and old Hollywood glamor.

 I loved the setting of this story and could practically smell the salt water in the air and hear the soothing sounds of the ocean--mix that in with a desolate manor house—it begs for a thrilling tale to be told. Fans of this well-written genre will definitely enjoy this story.

The Romance Studio

Rating: 4 hearts

And one last time…Sky here! How fantastic do Sharon’s stories sound? I’ve really enjoyed featuring her this week. As I mentioned earlier in the post, there’s another spot you can find Sharon’s, Oliver. Every Friday three wonderful authors come together…Sharon Donovan, Mary Ricksen and Hywela Lyn (AKA-Lyn) and of course, Oliver to ‘Roast’ various authors. It’s always such an absolute blast that I highly recommend you pop over to the ‘Author Roast and Toast’ if you have a chance.

Also, as an added bonus, because it’s Valentines Day week I’ll be offering a second prize. For a chance to win a $20 dollar gift certificate to Digi Books Café, list the following in a comment at this blog…

Name all seven of Sharon’s publications as well as which of her titles is first on your, “I can’t wait to read this!” list and why based on the blurb. Click HERE to locate what you’re looking for.

So here’s a recap of all the fantastic ways you can win.

#1- See the picture above showcasing the beautiful sterling silver heart blue diamond earrings, estimated to be approximately 1/8 of a ct. Aren’t they gorgeous? They can be yours and here’s how.

Simply race to your computer and download your hot off the press copy of Charade of Hearts and answer the following question to me in a private email.

QUESTION

What emblem is tattooed on the ring leader to designate power?

Remember to email answers to Sharon in a private email to sharonad@comcast.net

Please put Valentines contest in the subject line. This contest will run until the end of the month. Oliver will draw the lucky winner on Sharon's blog on FEBRUARY 28th.

Click HERE to purchase.

#2- For a chance to win a $20 dollar gift certificate to Digi Books Café, list the following in a comment at this blog…

Name all seven of Sharon’s publications, which is first on your, “I can’t wait to read this!” list based on the blurb and why. Click HERE to locate what you’re looking for.

Second Contest ends FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18th, 12 PM EST.

I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know Sharon Donovan better. Remember, she loves to hear from her readers so feel free to contact her at sharonad@comcast.net

Sharon will be popping in and out this week so be sure to comment with praise or questions about her work whether or not you decide to enter the contests.

Interested in learning more about another great author? Perhaps enter for a chance to win another prize? Pop over to The Write Life now!

Cheers

~Sky

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I Won't Beg...But I Will Grovel!



Hi Everyone!

Sylvan Mist (Book III in my Highlander Trilogy) is up for Book of the Year in 2010 at Long and Short Reviews and I sure could use your vote! If this is something you might be able to do, here's the link...http://www.longandshortreviews.com/promo.htm

Thank you so VERY much!

~Sky

Monday, February 7, 2011

Celts and More Blog Event. Suzanne Barrett's In Love and War.

Welcome to my Celts and More Blog Event! For those of you joining me for the first time, this event is all about bringing forth your favorite Celtic writers and sharing not only their Celtic story but another one of their tales from a different genre. As an added bonus each author provided a never-before-seen excerpt from the main story they will be promoting.

This week it’s my pleasure to introduce author Suzanne Barrett who will be sharing In Love and War.

Irish dairy farmer, Meaghann Power, struggling to make ends meet and rents her converted castle keep to an embittered war correspondent wounded in Bosnia.

Quinn Lawlor has come to his ancestral homeland to heal and to be left alone. However, pragmatic Meaghann discovers much more than just her attractive-but-surly tenant's body is in need of healing. What begins as indifference turns to fascination, and later, desire. But can their passion survive Meaghann's own dark secrets?

Never-before-seen excerpt…

By the time Quinn finished work on the old Volvo, the sun had sunk low on he horizon. But at last he’d managed to replace the faulty ignition wiring and once again the engine started. He knew Meaghann’s cash supply had dwindled, and this would at least eliminate one garage service charge.

Lying under the dash hadn’t done his leg any favors, and now the effect of hobbling over rough ground made his thigh burn as if a thousand needles stabbed into his flesh. He knocked at the cottage door.

No answer.

"Meaghann." Still no answer. He knew she was inside. Never mind, he'd leave the car key on the kitchen table where he'd found it an hour earlier.

Pushing the door open, he stepped into the kitchen and stopped in his tracks.

Meaghann stood next to the sink, her eyes puffy from crying. She snapped around as he made his way across the floor, then turned away.

"Hey. What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Everything.” She kept her back to him. "I'll be fine. Just go away."

"I’m just returning your key.” He dropped it on the table. “Figured you’d be in the cheese barn. Can I help?” Damned if he knew why he said that. He could barely help himself these days, but something in her expression tore at him. Meaghann did not cry, rarely showed any emotion.

"Just bloody go away, ” she sobbed.

"You're the most unflappable person I've known. So, maybe if you tell me–” He spotted the broken jam jar on the floor and stopped mid-sentence. Shards of glass poked out from the sticky red mess.

"Hell, you're not this bothered by a bit of broken glass."

“No.” Her voice was barely audible. “That was just the straw that–” she began, sobbing anew.

He closed the gap between them, pulling her into his arms. She clung to him momentarily, then drew away. “I'll be fine. Really. It's just...” Her voice trailed off.

He remembered their argument about her brother. “You're worried about Declan, is that it?” He led her to a chair, and she slumped onto the hard seat.

He settled in another chair and took her hand. Christ, he’d never seen her like this. A fist closed around his heart. “Look, I know you're a strong woman, but, dammit, don't hold things in. Maybe if I knew the problem, I could help.”

She turned out of his grasp. “It’s not that simple. How I wish it were, but it's not. You’d not understand.”

“Try me,” he said through gritted teeth.

She stared at the floor, twin frown lines deepening above her nose. “I've tried to manage here all these years. Even when Da was not himself and Declan was after leaving. But even though I tried to do things right, I've made a mess of it. Now Declan may be in trouble, and what do I do but turn him against me.”

He exhaled a long breath. Now they were getting somewhere. “Start at the beginning. About your father...”

"Da became...simple the last years of his life,” she said, embarrassment turning her cheeks a deep crimson. “It was as if he were the child and I the parent. And–and Declan wanted no part of the farm, so I had to run it all.” She drew in a shuddering breath and swiped at her eyes. “And now,” she said in a voice so low he had to strain to hear, “Declan’s probably got himself into a trouble I can’t get him out of.”

Quinn closed his hands into fists. “So all this is coalescing into an even bigger problem, and I, by opening my big mouth last night about the rally at the Poet and Patriot, just made it worse.”

The silence lengthened before she spoke. “It was bound to happen, considering what you think of me.”

His mouth thinned. “What I think of you has nothing to do with what I think of your politics, as I suspect you know.”

She raised huge eyes to him and he felt his chest constrict. “I don’t want to talk or think about politics. I’ll just clean up the floor.... She stopped and stared at him. “Just— Let's just forget this conversation.”

“Do you want to forget?” The look in her eyes made his heart pound. “Let me help. Together we can make short work of it.”

“No, I’ll do it. But later. Right now I want....” She let the words trail off. Then she slipped the top button loose from her blouse. Then another. Her eyes turned dusky, the pupils dilated.

“Make love to me, Quinn. I need you now.”

“You said this place was off-limits.”

Her eyes held his and sent spiraling need straight to his gut.

She rimmed her lower lip with her tongue. “That was yesterday. ”

*Sky here. Fantastic excerpt, Suzanne! I really enjoyed it. Thanks so much for sharing!*

Interested in reading more from this story? Click here.

Can't wait to read In Love and War? Purchase now!

What they’re saying about In Love and War

"It's been a long time since a book so caught my heart that I skip doing my taxes, practicing my harp, and doing the dishes just to read another chapter. It's one of those great, old-fashioned love stories, delicious but not overdone, and very, very real, with interesting characters and lots of "sparks."

The setting is a small village in beautiful, green Ireland, complete with unique people, church, pub, and Meaghann's dairy farm. And injured journalist Quinn Lawlor, who is heart-wrenching and gorgeous.

This novel is a fine example of the "wish-they-still-published-books-like this" variety: unput-downable and unforgettable. "

As promised, Suzanne will be sharing a second title. Read on to learn more about Late Harvest..

Kurt von Daniken wants only one thing from Glenna Ryan: The key to making Eiswein—Ice Wine. Five years ago, while working at his family's California winery, she'd begun developing the method to simulate wine made from grapes gathered after a freeze. Now, when the winery desperately needs it, the only person who might be able to duplicate Glenna's process, Kurt's tyrannical Uncle Otto, lies paralyzed by a stroke and near death.

Glenna wants only one thing from the von Danikens: To be left in peace to raise her son, Robbie, who suffers from a birth defect and needs an expensive surgery to repair it. When Kurt suddenly appears at her home, demanding she return to Cresthaven and complete the process, Glenna knows the money she'll earn by doing so will provide Robbie the treatment he needs. She also knows she'll risk having her heart broken, again, by Kurt, the only man she's ever loved.

But, what if he discovers the real reason she left Cresthaven?

Read an excerpt here.

What they’re saying about Late Harvest ...

Really fine writing, attractive (honest!) characters, even the secondary characters feel like "real" people, and an interesting and amusing 5-year-old. (Interestingly, two of the secondary characters are gypsies!) Also great sexual tension and, sigh, a setting (Cresthaven winery) to die for and fantasize about. And, well, um, there's the hero, too.

Don't miss this book!

A deliciously romantic love story (just the way I enjoy them - full of melting emotional scenes that tied my heart in knots)... but by the wine-making expertise shown in this novel. Much, much solid knowledge is presented very subtly, but the expertise here will appeal to those interested in fine wine, wine-making and the vintners' world.

I love coming away from a book with a genuine soft spot for the hero and heroine AND a lot of fascinating new information.

This one's a real keeper!

Purchase Late Harvest here.

Learn more about Suzanne Barrett. Visit her Author Website or Jewelry Website

Enjoy blogging? Visit Suzanne's blog!

Head over to The Write Life to learn about another great author and perhaps be entered to win a prize!

Best Regards,
~Sky

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Upcoming Cyber-Romps. Chance to Win a Set of Ebook Vamp Tales!

Hi Everyone! While my Celts and More Blog Event will continue here at A Writer's Mind this coming week, I'll be romping around the internet sharing more about my latest release, Heart of Vesuvius (sequel to Darkest Memory). Hope a few of you will join me. Here's where I'll be...

Katie O'Sullivan's Blog ~ Wednesday, February 9th and Thursday, February 10th. Discussing vampires and talking about both Heart of Vesuvius and Darkest Memory. Comment for a chance to win an Ecopy set of my vamp tales. 

Skhye's Ramblings ~ Friday, February 11th. Chatting about the research behind the book. Contest involved.

Enjoy your weekend!
~Sky

Kat Duncan's Contest Winners!

What a fabulous kick-off to my Celts and More Blog Event! I'd like to once more thank Kat Duncan for joining me this past week and sharing Without a Lord and 58 Faces. They sound wonderful!

I'm sure you're all eager to find out who Kat's contest winners were so I won't keep you waiting a minute longer. Congratulations....

Draw 1 - Caroline (DVD set, etc.)

Draw 2 - Hywela Lyn (Celts book, etc.)

Draw 3 - Bea (copies of 2 ebooks)

Please contact Kat at katduncanclc@yahoo.com 

Be sure to swing back in Monday morn as I welcome author Suzanne Barrett!

~Sky