Sunday, January 27, 2013

Welcome Author Alicia Dean

Today I am pleased to introduce Alicia Dean. Many fellow authors know Alicia as the force behind a wonderful support group called Authors Helping Authors. But she is first and foremost an author, and she's here to tell us about her Valentine's Day release.
AD: Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. I’m thrilled to be here, and thrilled to share a little about my Valentine story, Cupid’s Beau.

PK: It's an honor to have you here! Let's start with a few questions about you. What do you do when you're not writing?
            AD: Edit, watch television, hang out with my kids, family, and/or friends.
What would your fans be surprised to know about you?
            Hmmm. Maybe that in spite of the dark, creepiness of many of my books, I've never actually killed anyone. Well, not on purpose. J
What's your idea of an ideal vacation?
            An ideal vacation would be one where I share it with the people I love and where I see things I haven't seen before and do touristy things, yet I also have some down time to write and relax. It seems to help my creativity to work in a different setting.
Sounds like the perfect vacation! Let's talk about your writing. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
            That people dislike my heroine in Soul Seducer. I really enjoyed writing Audra, and I thought I made her sympathetic and likeable, but many reviewers liked my Grim Reaper hero and understood him MUCH better than my nurse heroine.
What has been the best compliment?
            There isn't one particular compliment that sticks out in my mind, but when readers say they couldn't put my book down and when they finished, they wanted to read something else I've written, I'm thrilled beyond words. (Beyond words, get it—I'm an author)
Clever! Do you have any advice to give to aspiring authors?
            It sounds cliché, and I know they've heard it a million times, but keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. The only way you can fail is to give up.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
            I think it would be developing my characters. I'm a plot driven writer and sometimes readers have trouble relating to my characters. Well, other than the villains. That seems to come pretty easily to me. Scary, right?

Cupid's Beau is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
Alicia can be found at her website and on twitter: @Alicia_Dean_
Ivy Pierce is a Cupid who prides herself on doing her job well. Except when it comes to a certain human male, Grant Crawford. Although she doesn’t understand why, each time she’s supposed to shoot her arrow into his heart, her stomach hurts, her chest hurts, and she feels…sad. Cupids are never sad.
Humans who are not looking for love only get three chances to find it. And after Ivy sabotages Grant’s last chance, her boss, Aphrodite, sends her to earth to right her wrong. She has until Valentine’s Day to help him find his soul mate.
But the more she’s around him, the more she wants him for herself, even though she knows that can never be. A Cupid and a human? Unheard of.
As V-Day draws closer, can she sacrifice her own happiness to help the man she loves find his?

The young girl at the hostess stand favored Ivy with a friendly smile. “One for lunch?”
“No, no thank you. I’m here to see Grant Crawford.”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No. But he’ll want to see me. I’m sure of it. Tell him Ivy Pierce is here to make his dreams come true.”
The girl’s smile faltered. “To make his—”
“Yes, that’s right. Dreams come true.”
The girl quickly schooled her features. “One moment please.”
Ivy tapped her foot as she waited. What had she been thinking? Where she came up with that line, she had no idea. It had just occurred to her out of the blue. The likelihood of Grant Crawford being enticed by such a sentiment was doubtful. He was a practical, down to Earth man with no time for love, let alone flights of fancy.
That’s why her chin almost hit the ground when Grant Crawford came through the door from the restaurant into the foyer. If she thought he looked good from the clouds, oh my. He wore black slacks and a dove gray shirt and black tie without a jacket. His eyes were even darker brown up close. Her stomach quivered, and her fingers went numb.
“Make my dreams come true?” he barked, shattering her fantasy. His sensual lips were bracketed by lines of annoyance instead of his adorable dimple. “What kind of nonsense is this?”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Welcome Author Nell Dixon

Today I am pleased to host fellow Astraea Press author Nell Dixon. She's here to tell us about her newest release, Lights, Camera, Poltergeist!

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog to talk about my latest release from Astraea Press. Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! will be my 21st title release! So a kind of coming of age.
For those who haven’t met me before my name is Nell Dixon and I’m a UK author based in the Black Country, a small region which is more or less dab bang in the middle of the UK. I write for a number of publishers in the US and the UK and have been fortunate enough to twice win the UK’s prestigious romance prize for category length fiction. I’m the only person to have won twice.
Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! is set in Scotland, and yes there is a man in a kilt in the story, but I’m not going to spoil the surprise!
Scotland is renowned for its whisky so here are a few whisky facts for you:
The word "whisky" comes from the Gaelic "uisgebeatha" which means "water of life".
Pure malt whisky is produced only from malted barley (barley which has started to germinate and then been dried to stop its germination).
Single malt whisky is identified by the particular distillery from which it comes.
Blended or vatted whisky is produced from various distilleries.
It is possible to get a malt whisky blended with other malt whiskies - but they are then not "single" malts.
There is archaeological evidence that an alcoholic drink was made in Scotland 6,000 years ago.
Taken from

There is a bit of whisky in Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! But not enough to explain away the ghostly goings on.

Here’s the blurb:
Things don’t just go bump in the night, sometimes they throw tea cups!

As the presenter for Ghost UK, the leading TV show investigating paranormal activity, Fae thought she’d seen it all. Until a Valentine’s Eve live show from Scotland’s Fingelly Manor upsets both her preconceptions and her love life.

And a wee taster!
John watched as she headed out of the room. Lately, it seemed he couldn't say or do the right thing, where Fae was concerned. He wasn't looking forward to the evening ahead of them any more than she was. Until Tim had sprung his hare-brained scheme for a live Valentine's show on them, John had planned a very different kind of evening with Fae.
Tonight he should have been enjoying an intimate dinner with her at their favourite restaurant, hoping he could put some romance back into their relationship. Instead they were to freeze to death in a cavernous and dingy dining room with the rest of the production team. Worse still, that lecherous creep, Giles, would be ogling Fae at every opportunity.
The room seemed to be growing colder by the minute. The elderly woman finished her ministrations by the fireplace, and a dull orange glow filled the hearth, accompanied by lots of smoke.
The tech staff had gone from the corridor as John crossed the room to stand closer to the meagre fire. No doubt they had slipped off to the kitchen in an attempt to scrounge up more mugs of tea.
He was tempted to go join them, but he really wanted to finish setting up the lighting and placing the motion sensors first.
Silence hugged him like a shroud as he concentrated on tightening the final connection. His breath formed ghostly clouds in the chill air. The fire next to him offered no more heat than a candle.
A growing sense of unease forced its way into his senses, raising goosebumps on his skin. John lifted his head, certain he was no longer alone in the room. At first he couldn't see the cause of the sensation.
A change in the shadows in the far corner of the room, next to a dusty case containing a long-dead fox, caught his gaze. A soft snicking sound followed, like a door being closed quietly. He blinked, unsure if he had imagined the momentary distortion in the oak panelling.
© Nell Dixon 2013

Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! is available from all good etailers, including: Amazon and Amazon UK (click the links to purchase your copy!)

And why not try Cue Me In, which also features Fae, John and the Ghost UK team? Find it HERE

Monday, January 21, 2013

Buy the Book Blog Tour: Crazy in Paradise by Deborah Brown

Today I am pleased to participate in a Buy the Book Tour for author Deborah Brown and her recent release, Crazy in Paradise. First, I'll let Deborah tell us a little about herself:
Crazy in Paradise is my debut novel, a Florida Keys mystery, which makes the reader laugh, cry and cheer...
My personal ad would read: Since all great journeys start with a single step, I'll have on a cute pair of shoes.
Crazy. Ice cream loving. Redhead. 5'2", long legs. As an avid exerciser, I get to the gym every five years or so. I hate being tricked by that stinking raisin in the oatmeal cookie when my heart was set on chocolate. And it's totally acceptable for me to be mildly annoying when it makes me laugh. South Florida is my home, with my ungrateful rescue animals, where Mother Nature takes out her bad attitude in the form of hurricanes.

For a Michigander like me, South Florida sounds like a great place to be in January! Now, let's learn a little bit about her book:

Dying in the middle of the summer in the Florida Keys is sweaty business.
Welcome to Tarpon Cove. Madison Westin has inherited her aunt's beachfront motel in the Florida Keys. Trouble is she's also inherited a slew of colorful tenants - drunks, ex-cons, and fugitives.
Only one problem: First, she has to wrestle control from a conniving lawyer and shady motel manager. With the help of her new best friend, whose motto is never leave home without your Glock, they dive into a world of blackmail, murder, and drugs.

Here's an excerpt from Crazy in Paradise:
I tried to speak to Dickie about the arrangements when I first arrived in town. He told me firmly that he only took instructions from Tucker Davis and he wasn’t allowed to discuss any of the final details. I wondered why the secrecy, but he was so nervous I didn’t ask any more questions. He told me not to worry; he had worked hard to make everything memorable.
I appealed to him, “Don’t family members usually participate in the planning?"
But he was very clear; Tucker Davis’ approval was the most important thing to him.
I took a deep breath. Later, our family would create a lasting tribute to Elizabeth showing how much we had loved and respected her, and how we would deeply miss her. But for now, this would have to do, I guess.
I glanced up and saw a man who looked to be in his 60’s walking to the podium. He was well-worn, beer-gutted with dirty looking grey hair, and dressed in jean shorts and a tropical shirt that looked as though he’d worn them for several days.
“Hey, everyone,” he said into the microphone. “My name is…” he paused, “well, all my friends call me Quattro.” He held up both of his hands in a two-handed friendly wave.
He was missing his middle finger on his right hand and his thumb on his left hand. Brad and I glanced at one another and laughed. I mouthed “Quattro” at him and waved four fingers. He turned away, biting his lip.
“I told Dickie I’d speak first because he worried no one would come up and say anything and it wouldn’t look right. I told him don’t worry so much.” Quattro slowly scanned the crowd. “I reassured him there were a few people here who could think of something nice to say.” He ran his fingers through his hair and scratched his scalp.
“Elizabeth was a great old broad. Too damn bad, she died so young. She seemed young to me. Hell, I’m only a few years younger. You know she checked out in her sleep, and in her own bed. How much better does it get than that?”
I looked around. A few people were nodding their heads in agreement.
“Now that she’s kicked the bucket…” He paused. “Well, everyone knows there’s no bucket involved.” He laughed at his own humor. “Have you ever wondered what the reward is?” He waited as though he expected an answer. “Hmm, I’ve no idea either. Damn, it’s hot in here. You’d think a funeral place would turn on the air conditioning.”
“Yeah, I’ve got sweat in my shorts,” I heard someone say. A few others voiced their agreement.
“Keeps the smell down and all,” Quattro continued. “I know when it was a drive-thru the air worked good and sometimes the place was downright freezing.”
I saw a few people sniffing at the air. Were they sad? Or were they disappointed they couldn’t smell hotdogs and fries?
Dickie Vanderbilt stood off to the side, staring at his shoes, and picking at his rather large tie tack in the shape of a flamingo.
“But back to Elizabeth. I called her Betty once and, boy, she got mad.”
Mother sobbed loudly, which I knew was actually laughter. People turned to stare. 
I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. “Mother, please. This funeral is bad enough.”
Her body shook with laughter. I gripped her tightly. “Oww,” she whispered.
“Behave yourself, or I’ll keep squeezing.” I shifted again on the bench, having a hard time sitting still when my legs kept sticking to the wood.
“Elizabeth was good to a lot of people,” Quattro continued. “Too bad she won’t be around to do any of us any more favors.” He looked around and rubbed the end of his nose.
I stared wide-eyed at him wondering if he was about to pick his nose.
“The truth is, I’ve run out of stuff to say. I know she wouldn’t have wanted to die so soon, but the problem is we all think we’re going to live forever, and we don’t. So, ‘God Bless’.” He waved and walked away from the podium.
Crazy in Paradise is available only at Amazon.

Deborah Brown can be found at her website, facebook, twitter, and Goodreads.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

On the Road Again

I'm traveling the virtual highway, anyway. This time I'm promoting The Calico Heart, and fellow MMRWA (Mid-Michigan Romance Writers) author Diane Burton is hosting me at her blog. I'm discussing the real-life quilt group that provided the inspiration for the Stitching Post series. Come and visit! Here's the link:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Please Welcome Author Wendy Ely

            Today I'm pleased to welcome author Wendy Ely. She has brought along the main characters from her recent release, Confessions. So let's see what Jordan and Chelsea have to say about their experiences  in the book:

From Jordan:

What are your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?

            How many people are going to read this? I’m just checking because I don’t want some dude to pull my man card… know what I mean? Honestly… my favorite parts of the book were the romance with Chelsea. You see, I’d missed her every day that she’d been gone. Hell, I even missed her when she came back and I couldn’t wrap my arms around her. Getting to know her again turned my insides to jelly.

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

            You’ll be surprised to know that when I’m not being read I’m a super hero… to my wonderful kids and gorgeous wife! I still own my construction company, have built up the housing development in Wilson, Arizona (maybe the occupants will provide some new stories to the Desert Secrets series), but I also enjoy my days off… a lazy Sunday morning with Chelsea and the kids. A dip in the pool or a jog through Wilson always makes me happy.

Did you have a pet as a child? What happened to it?  How did you feel about that?

            Can I share a secret with you? I wanted a dog so badly. I guess I was about nine when I noticed the Basset Hound in the pet shop’s window. For the entire week I couldn’t think of anything other than that dog. On Friday I went back to the pet shop. He was still there. Later that day I snuck some money out of my mother’s purse and bought the dog. His name was Humphrey. My mother was so angry. Not for stealing the money but for bringing a dog home. “Dogs are dirty and this family doesn’t allow dirt in our home,” she said. She drove us out to the desert and made me open the door, so she could push my dog. I cried as we drove away.

            I never even asked for a pet ever again.

From Chelsea:

How did you first meet your writer?

            I popped into her thoughts one day while she was doing dishes. She had just finished writing her first book and I picked her because her ability to show my story how I wanted her to. She started Confessions right away.

Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?

            We didn’t have any issues with the scenes. Ms. Ely is great at listening to her characters. Well, she was for my story anyway. The problem I had was the title. My name should’ve been in there somewhere. I wanted the book named: The Confessions of Chelsea Montgomery. Ms. Ely said that title was too long… and she won. Afterall, she is the author.

What do you wear when you go to sleep?

            What I’d like to wear is much more interesting than what I actually sleep in. With two children (one who still crawls into bed with us on occasion) it’s hard to wear anything sexy. Yes, I’d love to wear naughty lingerie to help keep Jordan’s motor going but my current wardrobe consists of pajama shorts and baggy t-shirts. No sexiness here.

From Wendy:

Thank you for letting us stop by your blog, Patricia! We had a great time here.

Teaser from Confessions:

As soon as her knuckles hit the wood, the door swung open. Dark eyes widened with surprise. He stepped into the door frame. Dressed in a pair of jeans, shirtless, and his curly hair still wet from a shower, she couldn’t help but admire him as a man and not the boy he’d been when she left. The scent of aftershave and soap wafted out. No cologne. Just deliciously clean. 

You can find Wendy:

Amazon author page:
Twitter: @wendyelyauthor

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sweet Saturday

Welcome back to Sweet Saturday Samples! Today I'm thrilled to share a bit of my brand-new release from Astraea Press. The Calico Heart is my first collaboration with my wonderful friend and critique partner, Stephanie Michels. It's a bit different from a traditional romance. The hero and heroine are an older couple (mid-50s) who suddenly experience a few snags in their marriage. The book was just released on Thursday, and AP's fabulously talented cover artist, Elaina Lee, once again came up with a great design to capture the flavor of the story.

Here's the opening scene:

"Bye, Mom! Bye, Dad! Love you!"
"Bye, honey. Love you, too,” Sylvia Miller called back then laughed as a shower of iridescent bubbles surrounded her daughter Lynne and new son-in-law.
The tiny orbs floated around the couple, blending with the sparkling beadwork on Lynne’s sweeping wedding gown and adding gemlike twinkles to her veil. The newlyweds laughed with delight as they raced, hand-in-hand, through the bubbles blown at them by the wedding guests. Her daughter looked like Cinderella rushing down the castle steps to her carriage. Only this time, it was a gaily decorated, red Mustang convertible, and her handsome prince was right at her side.
Wasn’t it just yesterday that Lynne and her older brothers had been playing make-believe in the big sandbox in the backyard?
The time had flown by so quickly. The kids’ mud pies and toy cars had quickly given way to rock posters and laptop computers when they’d reached their teens. Now, her babies had grown up and left the nest. The boys both had thriving careers in Chicago, and Lynne was moving on to a new life with Ron.
As always, Dave seemed to read her mood. His arm tightened around her waist. She leaned into him, grateful for his unspoken comfort, as she continued to wave to the newlyweds until their convertible disappeared from sight. Their guests returned to the air-conditioned comfort of the church’s family center, but Sylvia remained outside with her family, blinking back the nostalgic tears that clouded her vision. It wouldn’t do to be caught crying on such a joyous occasion.
Too late.
"Waterworks alert." Dave Junior’s cheeky warning told Sylvia she’d been busted. "Mom’s about to cry," he added with a grin.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to leave a comment, and please check out other great authors at Sweet Saturday Samples. We have several new authors participating this time—you may find a new favorite!

The Calico Heart is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and other ebook outlets.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Please Welcome Author JF Jenkins

Today I am pleased to welcome fellow Astraea Press author JF Jenkins. JF writes Young Adult books that are full of fantasy and mystical creatures. She's a prolific author, and her books have received wonderful reviews and are loved by readers young and old.

But her new book, The Corruption of Mila, seems to have regular people in it! At least that's all that's on the cover. I guess I'm going to have to read it to see if they stay that way. She's been under the weather lately, so she wasn't up to answering a lot of questions, but maybe if you leave a comment asking her, she'll answer!
Here's the blurb:
Mila takes a hands off approach to dating. She's independent and picky and thinks she knows it all. When her best friend decides to set her up on a blind date with a guy who answers to the name of Jax, Mila decides to take a leap of faith. After all, with a name like Jax, how can he not be a dreamboat?
Like most blind dates, however, Jax doesn't meet the expectations that Mila created in her imagination. With how badly she's struck out in her past relationships, is that really such a bad thing?

The Corruption of Mila is available at Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook outlets.
JF can be found at her blog, on facebook, or on twitter (@jfjenkinstweets). You can find all of her books at her Amazon Author Page. Check them out!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Going Viral

I get most of my news online, and often find myself watching videos of interesting news items, cute kids, and amazing stunts. And now authors are promoting their books using book trailers. Some of my computer savvy author friends do their own, and I suppose if I spent enough time at it, I could probably figure out how to produce a very plain, basic one. Fortunately, my publisher, Astraea Press, has a fabulous review coordinator who not only stays on top of sending out our books to reviewers and then notifying us when the reviews come out, she also creates wonderful book trailers for us if we ask. So I asked her to make one for The Samurai's Garden. I just got the finished version today, and I am so thrilled! Here it is—hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Image credit: sellingpix / 123RF Stock Photo

I haven't blogged in almost three weeks. Part of me is disappointed in myself - I haven't been absent this long since I started Creative Hodgepodge. But apparently I needed this time to recharge. It's been a very, very busy writing year for me, and while I'm excited about that, I am also ready for some changes. Some of them are necessary for my health, and some are for my own need to set goals so that I can feel like I've accomplished something. It's kind of like my need to write out a "to do" list every morning so that I can cross things off and see what I've done by the end of the day.

So here are my writing goals for 2013:
1. Complete at least two more books for the Stitching Post Quilting Guild series
2. Complete the sequel to Samurai's Garden
3. Write another Christmas story

Here are my crafting goals for 2013:
1. Complete at least two quilt tops a month for the Helping Hands Quilt group
2. Organize scrapbooking supplies
3. Organize and use up enough crafting supplies so that I can store my "stuff" in one room of the house

Now comes the hard part: how can I make all this happen?

Part of my problem is that I waste a lot of time online. Between my laptop, my phone, and my ipad, I'm "hooked up" for a large part of each day. It's great for looking things up and keeping up on the news from my kids and grandkids and friends - but it's also a huge time drain. So I need to take a tip from Margaret Yang - when I start in on social media, I need to set a timer. When the timer goes off, the internet turns off too. I love to play online Boggle and Words with Friends, and Sudoku is addicting. But I don't NEED to play each one twenty times a day. So that has to be cut back.

Work also tends to take up a lot of my energy, if not my time. Fortunately, things get slower in retail during the first part of the year so I'm hoping my hours at the bakery will decrease. And this semester I'm scheduled to teach only one section of my course instead of two, so that will help. Fewer papers to grade, and four hours a week less at school. More time to write. I've also got to limit my "down" time. When I get home from work I tend to flop down in a chair and not get up until it's time to go to bed. I need to stop pampering myself like that. Maybe the timer thing will work there, too. Get home from work, jump in the shower to loosen up the muscles, and maybe allow myself an hour to catch up on correspondence. Then I need to get up off my duff and get something done - like laundry, or crafting.

This is a big change for me. Very optimistic goals. It's going to take a whole new mind set. I really don't think I'm lazy, but I do tend to waste a lot of time. So the deal is I need to cut down on the unproductive time. Maybe then my kids will stop threatening to put me on the Hoarders show on television.

So what have you got planned for this year?