Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

by Stephanie Beck
Did you know that it is officially Christmas eve eve eve? Well, it is and my kids told me first thing this morning. 3 more little days until Christmas morning is upon us and we celebrate what we've been waiting for during advent.


In Minnesota, our plans rely on the weather cooperating. This year, it looks like the roads might be okay, or they might be complete crap. Tis the season to not take the weatherman's predictions as truth. For this reason Christmas celebrations tend to be very fluid and changeable. On any given Sunday in December, chances are you'll find a family celebrating Christmas, because so and so has to work, or will be with the in-laws on Christmas Day.


My family's traditions are pretty mild. We spend most of December in church or with our church family and friends. On Christmas morning my kids wake me up at the crack of dawn to see what Santa brought and to see what their dad and I got them. Then we eat breakfast, monkey brains (monkey bread), sausage, and fruit. Due to the weather, we rarely make plans the day of Christmas. We stay home, watch movies, play with new toys, and snack all day. If we feel like it, we go to the movies and watch one we haven't seen with the kids.


It's a low stress day where we enjoy each other, and savor the day that we waited for during advent. We celebrate the true gifts in life, and it's pretty fantastic.


Merry Christmas!
Stephanie Beck
www.stephaniebeck.net
www.facebook.com/StephanieBeckAuthor
www.twitter.com/StephBeck123

Saturday, December 13, 2014

How Star Wars Hit My Family



And not for the first time. I fell in love with Star Wars when it first came out. Actually, John Williams’ music captured me and never let go. That movie (plus Star Trek) led to my writing science fiction romance. My son became enamored with the movie. When he was five, I took him and his best friend (6) to see The Empire Strikes Back. There’s nothing like sitting between two boys—in the first row, no less—with one (the friend) leaning over me and asking who’s that? His single mother never took him to see A New Hope. So it was up to me (her best friend) to take him to the movie all the kids talked about.

For Christmas that year and subsequent years, my son begged for the Millennium Falcon. I think it cost $30+ and at the time that seemed like a lot of money for a kid’s Christmas gift. Eventually, Hubs and I broke down and got it for him. He had all the action figures and even a Darth Vader carrying case. When Hubs wanted me to sell off the toys at a garage sale, I resisted. “He’ll want them for his kids someday.” Yeah, right. After schlepping those toys through five moves, last year we finally took the box of Star Wars (and Buck Rogers, too) toys out to our son in Arizona. He’d better not sell them now. LOL

Enter the next generation. Our five-year-old grandson (daughter’s child) is obsessed with Star Wars. He builds LEGO starships, plays SW games on Wii, knows all the characters, and insists we watch one of the movies every time he spends the night. For research—not because I love Star Wars ;)—I bought several Star Wars pictorial books. For a rough and tumble boy, he is surprisingly careful with them. Not so my dusters. He and sister used them as light sabers until they broke and their mother made them new ones out of pool noodles and duct tape. And what does he want for Christmas? A LEGO Star Wars spaceship that costs a heck of a lot more than $30. Inflation???


I’m not sure who is more excited about the upcoming Star Wars movie—my grandson or me?

Back to my son. He and his wife are expecting a girl in the spring. Who do you think will encourage her interest in Star Wars? Hehehe.


Diane Burton once knew the name of every Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronaut. After watching the first Star Wars movie, she knew she wanted to write about space adventure. Her Outer Rim series (The Pilot, The Chameleon) are about strong women on the frontier of space. Read about her books at www.dianeburton.com

Monday, December 8, 2014

More Than Just Dragons

The Fox household has been occupied by Dragon Age: Inquisition since it arrived on our doorstep in November. Evenings and weekends—and in the case of my partner, the occasional vacation day—have been dedicated to healing rifts and fighting rogue magisters.

The best part about the game, though, is the best part of any media (in my opinion): story.

As I move through the game, I get to make choices about what I’ll say, what I’ll do...and who I’ll forge a romance with.

At the moment, I’m trying to romance a grey warden by the name of Blackwall. He’s a bit of the strong, silent type, which is very appealing to a romance reader like me. And he seems to admire my character quite a lot—even before I started flirting with him.


Do any of you play video games? And, if so, is it the romance potential that draws you in?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Naughty and Nice - A Holiday Giveaway

My Russian leather demon Belphagor is very excited to announce that the first Demons of Elysium book, Prince of Tricks, is coming out in print on January 6, 2015, just in time for Russian Orthodox Christmas.

What could be more perfect as an Orthodox Christmas gift than your own autographed copy, plus a 2015 Orthodox Calendar with naughty naked priests? (No need to be Orthodox or even Christian to win this gift. Belphagor isn’t. He just appreciates an exceptional male posterior. Personally, he's torn between February and December as his favorite "boy.")


When desire rises, angels will fall. One, by one, by one…

 

Over the past century, Belphagor has made a name for himself in Heaven’s Demon District as a cardsharp, thief, and charming rogue.

Though the airspirit is content with his own company, he enjoys applying the sweet sting of discipline to a willing backside. Angel, demon, even the occasional human. He’s not particular. Until a hotheaded young firespirit steals his purse—and his heart. Now he’s not sure who owns whom.

A former rent boy and cutpurse from the streets of Raqia, Vasily has never felt safer than in the arms—and at the feet—of the Prince of Tricks. He’s just not sure if Belphagor returns those feelings. There’s only one way to find out, but using a handsome, angelic duke to stir Belphagor’s jealousy backfires on them both.

When the duke frames Vasily for an attempted assassination as part of a revolutionary conspiracy, Belphagor will do whatever it takes to clear his boy’s name and expose the real traitor. Because for the first time in his life, the Prince of Tricks has something to lose.

Warning: Contains erotic sex: m/m, m/m/m, m/m/m/m…oh hell. Let’s just say “mmmmmm!” and be done with it. Also one m/f scene. Smart discipline meted out with a great deal of love and charm. Erotic sex acts requiring copious amounts of elbow grease.


Enter via the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win your autographed print copy of Prince of Tricks, one of Library Journal's Best Books of 2014, and a copy of the 2015 Orthodox Calendar.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Clause for the Holiday


Breaking Bad with Santa is so damn good!

Santa's Clause is coming...is here! Available at Changeling Press

Lacey Dalton gave up on Santa Claus a long time ago. Every Christmas Eve she waited like a good girl to see what Santa would bring. He never came. Now she's in her late twenties and he shows up with a contract! If Lacey signs on the dotted line, anything she wants is hers... if she lets Santa have her for one night.

Excerpt:
“Look out!”
Lacey turned just in time to jump back and avoid a crazed bicyclist barreling in her direction. The bike veered into a snow bank and tossed the squealing cyclist into the air. She hurried over and extended her hand in assistance. “Jesus, are you okay?” Pulling hard, Lacey helped the person up.
Green eyes peered at her from a gap in the scarf and a feminine voice exclaimed, “What a wild ride.” Pulling the wool from her face, laughter bubbled from her mouth. “Thanks.”
“Do you have a death wish or what?”
“Well, no, but my head hurts.”
Lord, Lacey had to invite her inside. Damn it, she did not come out in the cold to help a stranger stupid enough to be cycling in snow and ice. “Come with me and let’s make sure you’re okay.” Peering into the woman’s green eyes reminded her why she’d come out and it made Lacey sadder than hell.
Nick was gone.
“Where’s my bag?”
“Wait here.” Lacey didn’t see it at first and almost gave up when she spotted a rolled garment bag buried beneath the handlebars of the bike. “I’ll get the bike up to the porch later.” In spite of a hurting head, the woman spryly climbed the steps and waited patiently for Lacey to open the door. After getting the woman out of her short, red jacket, which was far too light for this weather, Lacey settled her on the sofa, covered her with a throw, and offered a cup of tea. “It’ll help warm you up.” The long sleeve, white shirt she wore had remained dry.
“Call me Merry, spelled like Merry Christmas.” She removed the scarf and dark hair tumbled down around her shoulders. God, she was beautiful! “My, you’re such a sweet girl.”
Girl. It’d been a long time since someone referred to her as a girl. “My name’s Lacey and I’m older than I look.”
“Me too. Would you mind if I had ice tea; it’s so hot.”
Okay, Merry -- spelled like Christmas -- was a nut job or she had bumped her head much harder than initially thought. She didn’t appear much older than Lacey but she was certainly confused if she thought it was hot. “Ice tea it is.” The woman had a great figure and she wore corduroy leggings tucked in calf-length black boots now filled with snow. “You might want to take those boots off before your feet freeze.”
Kicking the shoes off, Merry stood them neatly beneath the coffee table. “I’m used to much colder weather.” She twisted her head and looked out the window. “Still dark, so we have time.”
“Huh?”
“You get that tea while I rest a bit.”
“Uhh, sure.”
“At least you won’t spend Christmas alone.”
“Excuse me?”
“I’m really parched.” Her green eyes twinkled. “I could use that tea.”
I'm stuck with an addle-minded, crazy woman.

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Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-J. Hali Steele

Thursday, December 4, 2014

All I want for Christmas is my Destiny Calling

by Maureen L. Bonatch

Christmas is coming a little early for me this year with the release of my novel, Destiny Calling, on December 22, 2014! 


Many writers compare the process of writing, editing and publishing a story to that of having a baby. While it's true that the love a writer feels for thier book is often equivalent to that of a child, my 'pregnancy' for Destiny Calling was much longer. I'd compare it more like that of an elephant and after all the editing and rewriting the amount of paper I went through may have weighed as much.
But we all do the little extra things to make sure our 'baby' is perfect. Although instead of giving up caffeine as I did with my human children, I loaded up on caffeine to give birth to my paperback one. 
So look...here's Destiny Calling's 'baby picture' and 'birth announcement'. I may have a mother's bias, but I think she's beautiful. 

Hope doesn't know if the man she can touch is a dream come true, or a nightmare just beginning.


Hope only wants to find out if her ability to infuse euphoria or despair with her touch makes her the devil's spawn, or his exterminator. But when the woman who raised her is murdered by something not human, she loses the only family she knew and discovers one she might wish she hadn’t.
Drawn to the city she vowed never to return, her ability is seen as an asset to everyone but Hope, and she doesn’t know who to trust. Her family wants her to help them overcome an enemy oppressing the human population, while the man of her dreams is courting her for the Underworld. Time is running out, and Hope’s choice may be made for her, as she discovers she’s a pawn in a bigger game played by a merciless ruler who doesn’t lose.

Excerpt: 

I strained to release my arm from Griffith’s vise-like grip while scanning the surrounding trees, trying to determine which was less of a threat, the beast of a man holding me or those who might be waiting for me in the woods.
“You will come inside, now.” Griffith spoke slowly and deliberately as if I were a small child.
I batted at the hand Griffith placed on my head. “I’m not a puppy, quit petting me.”
“I will protect you.” Griffith’s warm breath caressed my ear. “If for no other reason, to find out what I’m giving up and why she wants you so badly.”
I inhaled his masculine scent, like musky earth. It washed over my face, and the tension in my jaw released. I stopped struggling. “Are you the devil?” My tongue was thick and heavy so the words came out slurred.
“Not even close.” His words soothed and comforted, like having a weighted blanket cocoon me. Each movement was an effort. It wasn’t the same as the thing in the woods. This was more like the feeling after a long massage or bubble bath.
“It’s not safe.” Griffith wrapped his arms around me, and I rested against his broad chest.
“It’s not safe.” I nodded. My muscles relaxed and my eyelids grew heavy.
“It’s cold. We’re going inside.” Griffith kept his arm supporting me as he steered me toward the house.
“We’re going inside.” I parroted and walked up the steps, leaning heavily on him.
Out of the corner of my eye, something was cautiously moving at the edge of the woods. Branches snapped as whatever was observing us crept closer.




So tell me...what is Santa bringing you for Christmas this year? 

Please help me spread the word on release day with a 'social media flashmob': Click to Thunderclap it
(You know how moms love to brag about their kids--you don't even want to see all the things I've been yapping about it and all the pics I've already put up on my Facebook page..or maybe you do...)


Growing up with four siblings had Maureen familiar with escaping into a good book, or the recesses of her mind. She realized later in life everyone didn’t have characters telling stories in their heads, or weren’t envisioning magic and mayhem within the everyday. This, and long walks in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania spawned a love of writing.
Since her desire to become a Solid Gold Dancer was thwarted when the show was discontinued, Maureen opted to pursue other paths. Attempting to conquer new endeavors proved fruitful with her first novella, while other attempts, such as challenging a fear of heights with parasailing, were unsuccessful. Therefore she’s chased other interests, though none-the-less-daring, but closer to the ground, such as belly-dancing, becoming a self-proclaimed tequila connoisseur, fulfilling her role as biker babe to her alpha hubby and surviving motherhood to twins (so far).

Penning stories boasting laughter, light suspense and something magical in the hope of sharing her love of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary world.

Visit me: www.maureenbonatch.com

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