Friday, December 28, 2012

Naughty New Year JustRomance.Me Blog Hop

12/30/12 Addendum to my original post: There's a new naughty boy in my life! He's just six weeks old and cute as the dickens. Naughty Neo who loves to nibble on Mommy's toes -- hey stop that kid!  The sharp-toothed little bundle of joy came to live with us just last night. We managed three whole hours of sleep in one go!

Thanks for joining the Naughty New Year Blog Hop! If at anytime you get lost, just return to

I'm at somewhat of a loss about what to blog about. Resolutions? Nah, I don't do them. 

Plans for the New Year? Get my writing room organized at last! For those who haven't followed my adventures this past year, we moved! Into our forever, and ever, amen, home. I don't know why the last dozen boxes are kicking my rear, but they are. I think it's because they're all paperwork. Evil, hated, dreaded paperwork! Does it need to be kept? Shredded? Simply tossed? Oh the decisions!

Pretty much like my latest hero, Brennan Shaughnessy, of the Sexy Shaughnessys in my Open Window Series. It's New Year's Eve and he's taking his number one lady to lunch, making plans for the big night out. He has tickets to the biggest party in town, one where he's also a guest of honor. He also has a room at the hotel where the party is. All he needs is the social worker he's hot for to finally agree to go with him...

Scene from "Changing Directions" 
Book Four of the Open Window series

Brennan held out the folder with tickets and room reservations. He fully expected Whitney to smile and tease him with description of her dress. 

"I'll pick you up at seven. Bring an overnight bag and we'll do the night up right. Room service for breakfast if you like."

Whitney patted her lips with the white linen napkin, her eyes on her bowl of soup rather than him. "Brenn, I've been trying to tell you..." Warm brown eyes filled with sadness finally met his. "I can't. I'm leaving town as soon as we finish lunch."

Brenn sat back in his half of the booth. "What? Why?"

"My father--" she choked and reached for her water glass. "My mother called an hour ago. He had a heart attack. The first flight out I could get leaves at five. From here I'll go back to my apartment to pack and then catch a cab to the airport. I have to go."

Brenn deflated as if he'd been punched in the gut. The wound felt as mortal as if she'd shot him point-blank. "Wh--"

The chime of Whitney's phone announcing a text interrupted and she grabbed for it. "My mother," she said as her eyes scanned the message. "He's at the hospital and stable, but they're talking triple bypass in the morning. Just a sec, let me text Mom my flight details.  I'll get in around two in the afternoon."

Brenn shook his head. "You'll have a long layover somewhere, can't you take a red eye from here? One with less of a layover in Seattle or wherever. You could still catch part of the party."

Whitney hit the final button on her phone and looked up. The aristocratic lines of her face all drooped with sadness like he'd never seen before. He'd seen her upset, angry, depressed, even writhing in ecstasy that he'd given her, but he'd never seen her looking so utterly desolate. "I can't, Brenn. Look, I know tonight is a big deal for you. You should take someone who could relax and enjoy themselves. Someone like..." she looked around the dining room and Brenn knew who she was going to suggest before her eyes lightened, "... there, take your favorite waitress. Didn't you meet her at a similar event last fall? She goes to these things regularly. She'll fit in and be good for your networking. You know you get more clients when she hands out your cards." 

Shaking his head he held back the panic in his heart. "No, that's not fair asking a woman at the last minute. We've planned this for months now." Or rather he had. Fresh back from the double wedding of his twin siblings Cassidy and Cayden, he was ready to pour all his energy into pursuing Whitney. Tonight was to be the launch of his new campaign to get her focused on him as much as she focused on the kids she saved through Social Services. 

"Brenn, I can't believe you! I'm sorry this ruins your plans for tonight, but my parents need me. Mom's a mess and Dad can't pick up the pieces for her this time. I need to be there. Even if I went for a few hours, I just can't pretend nothing is wrong and act like I'm having fun. I'm not wired that way. Look, I know she'd love to go with you. I've seen the way she looks at you. I've seen the way you flirt with her. She's got a piece of your heart no matter how much you want to pretend otherwise."

And that was how he came to find himself asking Blaire to the Chamber of Commerce New Year's bash at the Sheraton. Even that didn't go as planned.

Big green eyes sparkled back at him. "Thanks, but I'm already going. But tell you what, why  not use that spare ticket for my Grandmother? I've been trying to talk her into going, but my dad can't get another ticket. You have a spare. We'll meet you there at eight." Red curls bouncing as she nodded decisively, she set the tray with the bill down in front of him.

"Oh no. I'll pick the two of you up."

Dirty plates in one hand, she plopped the other on her hip. "But if she gets tired early..."

"I'll make sure she gets home safe and sound. Or she can use the room at the hotel and we'll take her out to breakfast before taking her home." Brenn handed back the tray with his credit card on it.

"Oh, okay." Blaire sighed. "Let me go give her a call and see what she says.  She'll have time to take a nap if I call her now. I'll be right back."

Whitney patted the hand he had lying on the table top. "There you go. All set. Now, I have to get home and get packed. I've got work notified. Have fun tonight."

"Call me when you get in?"

The nod she gave him was distracted as she pulled on gloves and settled a kit scarf around her swan-like neck. She was everything a woman should look like. Tall, slender with subtle curves. A model of breeding, raised in a cultured environment. She was polished, sophisticated and dedicated to the children in the system, safe from abuse and neglect. She had goals and drive. She even managed to wear Sorel boots in an elegant manner. Ready for the cold waiting outside, she began to slide from the booth. Brenn got to his feet and offered her a hand. 

"Take care, Brenn. This may very well be good-bye for us." She laid a gloved hand on his cheek. "If Father is so very ill I may move back to be nearby. They need social workers in New York, too. I know how you feel about me. I wish I could return your feelings. Please, find another woman who deserves you more than I do." 

"You're cutting me loose?" The words came out strangled from a throat too tight to speak.

"It's for the best." She rose up and kissed his cheek. "You're a special man. More special than you know. Find the woman just as special as you."


Whitney whirled away, her short brown hair swinging out like carnival ride. Before he could summon the energy to go after her, she was gone and Blaire stood at his elbow.

"I'm so sorry, Brenn," she said quietly. "You didn't deserve that."

Drawing in a deep breath, he bit back the retort he wanted to spew. "Yeah, well..."

"Look on the bright side," she said with forced cheeriness. "You're now taking the two feistiest women in town. We won't let you brood. Grandma says you better have your dancing shoes on."

"I don't suppose I can back out now, can I?"

"Nope, you're not only double-booked for dates, you're one of the award recipients. You have to go." She shoved the tray with the receipts and his credit card into his hand. "Sign the paperwork and I'll bring a cheesecake--on the house--and fresh coffee."

By the time he left, his mood had lifted. How could it not when Blaire led the parade to cheer him up? Everybody in the kitchen made their way out one by one to slap him on the shoulder and sing Blaire's praises until she blushed the way only a red head could, deep red from her creamy cleavage to the roots of her hair. It was so endearing he couldn't help but chuckle, and even, a little, begin to look forward to the evening. Dancing with petite and perky Blaire, Blaire who knew everyone in the business community, with twinkly green eyes and generous, soft, curves that would make a saint cry. Yeah, he had something to look forward to after all.

Win one of these three books by commenting below and following the instructions for chances to win the Grand Prize, a 7" Kindle Fire HD!

Continue on with the hop!!  You have until December 30th to enter by commenting on blogs and registering!  

* Live chat and grand prize drawing at 7PM EST on Dec 30th *

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Thanks Boone Brux for Picking Me to Carry Onward!

It's the day after Christmas. Are you hitting the sales? I might later today. Or are you laying around feeling fat enough to hibernate for a month at least? We're celebrating the fact that we're nearly a week beyond Solstice and the sun is coming back! Slowly but surely from here until June the hours of returning daylight will slowly start increasing. And that is truly an awesome thing to celebrate!

My dear friend Boone sent me the list below and asked me to jump in on the day after Christmas, no less. But, hey, I'm game! Be sure to check out her blog for the other authors she invited to play. This Next Big Thing Blog Hop is HUGE. So much to look forward to in the coming year, including a big supply of great new books! I love books and I always want more! So here's what you can look forward to from me:

What is your working title of your book?
~ Changing Directions, but I may change it. We'll see when the book is done.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
~ It's Book Four in the Open Window series featuring those sexy Shaughnessys. It's Brennan's turn to drive me crazy. He's not as cooperative as his sister or brothers.

What genre does your book fall under?
~ Contemporary Romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
~ I really have no idea. These characters are all red heads and there is a dismaying lack of red headed actors out there. Particularly really attractive men. I'd love to see more red heads on the big screen!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
~ Brennan must make up his mind, then convince his heroine she really is his fist choice.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
~ The first part of the series was contracted by Lyrical Press. We'll have to see if they like this one when it's done.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
~ Still working on it, so I can't answer that question. Fastest book from concept to publication was That Olde Christmas Magic. From start to pub was about three weeks. That one practically wrote itself like a Christmas miracle!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
~ It will go with the other Shaughnessy books like a double blind dovetail joint.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
~ Brennan has been around since Cassidy's book. So far he's featured in every story. It's his turn. But he's been so indecisive that he's been something of a challenge.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
~ It's set in Alaska! And we'll get a peek at how the other Shaughnessy's are doing: Cassidy and Niall (Til Death Undo Us), Cayden and Candace (Courage to Live), Aiden and Azzette (Weathering the Storm - 2012 royalties go to flood relief!). We'll also see the introduction of at least one of the younger brothers, but whether it's Ethan, Declan or Finn remains a mystery.

Look for more next week. I've asked a few friends to play along by posting the same questions (with answers even!) on their blogs next week. Look for:

J. Morgan

Adriana Kraft

Gail Delaney

Doreen Orsini

Piper Denna

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season and the celebrations are all you wished them to be.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Winter Solstice!

Winter Solstice is one of two very special days in the year to me. Not something I particularly noticed until I moved to Alaska as wee lass. That's when I learned how important the sun is, especially to places on the extreme ends of the earth. By that I mean North and South. 

Alaska is as far north as you can get and still stay in the USA. Barrow is at the very top top of the state. Barrow hasn't seen the sun above the horizon since 1:44PM on November 17, 2012. It won't peek above the horizon again until 1:11PM on January 23, 2013. 67 days without seeing a single ray of shining golden sun. I must give thanks to Carmen Bydalek for this information she posted on the AKRWA blog. Check it out. Lots of interesting facts there!

Here in Anchorage the sun will rise at 10:14 AM and set at 3:42 PM for a total of 5h 27m 40s of possible sunlight. I say possible because clouds could interfere. When we look into the sky to see the sun, we will look due south. 

My brother, an avid fisherman, has his birthday on Dec 22, a day he calls "Salmon Return Day." He insists that the salmon far out at sea can sense that very slight change as the daylight increases by a few seconds. It is then they begin their journey back to the streams of their origin. Just he can catch them and fill his freezer. He likes living in his world. The rest doesn't matter to him.

Although the sun is returning, bare seconds and minutes at a time, we're still in the deep long dark of winter. December, for all its darkness outside is bright with Christmas lights and the excitement of the holidays. The secret to making it through to the end of winter and avoiding cabin fever is to keep busy. Many ski, or take to the back country on snow machines (what the rest of you call snow mobiles. Some villagers call them snow-gos.) or the lakes for ice fishing. Others dig in, take Vitamin D supplements and read while avoiding the influx of the Christmas bills and tax forms hitting the mail boxes. 

But now is not the time for dark contemplation. Today is for celebration! We're done losing light! From here to June we gain it!

Until then, read a Sci-Fi Romance that also celebrates the Solstices. FROZEN may be found at a variety of ebook retailers and is hot enough to keep the long, long nights warm indeed! However you choose to celebrate, I wish you all the best.

Get Some Tonight
Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Goodreads  

Links to FROZEN:  Amazon  *  Barnes&Noble  *  Sony eReader  *  YouTube Trailer

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Caroline Clemmons Visits The Morgan Diaries

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Mosey on up to the blog. Have we got a dog-gone treat in store for you cowpokes today. We've got the rooting tootingest Western Author sitting a spell with us today. I dun near yipped my kaiyaaa when she agreed to come on The Diaries.

J. Mo, I think you've overdone the Western Channel. Sorry, about that folks. You know how he gets when he gets a burr under his saddle. Great, now, he's got me doing it.

Come on, Morgan O. Let that inner cowgirl out.

Don't think so. Before he goes off and puts his Lone Ranger outfit on again, let me welcome the amazing Caroline Clemmons to our blog.

Caroline: Thanks you for letting me share your blog. Thanks also for the lovely introduction.

J. Morgan: I just finished The Texan's Irish Bride. Let me just say I was floored. You can see your love for the old west shine through with your writing. When did you first discover you wanted to write during that era in American History?

Morgan O: Perhaps, we should begin with what first sparked your love of the genre. For the record, I read The Most Unsuitable Wife and The Most Unsuitable Husband. They seemed like a matched pair, so I read them as such. I was right, they link together nicely.

Caroline: I do love reading and writing about the old west between 1870 and 1895, especially Texas settings. I think my fascination began as a child listening to my father talk about his ancestors coming from Georgia to Texas. When I studied Texas history in school, his stories made what I read come alive. I enjoy history of many eras, but the one just mentioned is by far my favorite.

Morgan O: The details in your books are so rich. How much research do you do for your books?

Caroline: I do a lot of research, even though I've read and written this time period for a decade. Each book requires particular research. For instance, The Texan’s Irish Bride required learning about Irish Travelers, Irish blessings, Irish history, and Central Texas. My daughter and I drove through Lost Maples State Natural Area on a trip from San Antonio. No, it’s not on the way, but it was a lot of fun to see the park first hand. We’d been to Bandera years ago, but went through again and also to Medina. The trip gave me a fresh idea of the land in the story.

J. Morgan: You've got a few series out at the moment. I know this is one of those questions all authors hate, but which one is closest to your heart?

Caroline: The book I’m writing is always my favorite, and currently that’s Bluebonnet Bride, book 3 of the Men of Stone Mountain trilogy. I have to admit that The Most Unsuitable Wife, Book 1 of the Kincaids, is probably my all-time favorite. In 2013, I plan to add another couple of books to the Kincaid series, one about Storm Kincaid and one about the attorney cousin, Gabe Kincaid.

Morgan O: Oh good, I like both Storm and Gabe. But which book presented the most challenges?

Caroline: The most difficult book I've written was Brazos Bride. The three Stone brothers are very close knit, so they look and act alike. Giving them distinct personalities and speech was impossible, but I tried. They develop more in the two following books, High Stakes Bride and Bluebonnet Bride. I’m still writing Bluebonnet Bride, but hope to have it completed soon.

J. Morgan: In Irish Bride, you can really get a feel for the characters, especially Cenora and her family. Do you have anything, or anyone, you draw inspiration from to craft such rich characters?

Morgan O: Also, the settings in your books have an authentic feel to them. Do you base them on actual places?

Caroline: My characters are real to me when I’m writing a book. I see them and hear the sound of their voices. I’m pleased you call them rich because I work very hard to create believable characters for readers, but they are not modeled after anyone. But we are a composite of all our experiences, so I use this bit I've heard and that. For instance, hearing about my neighbor’s dislocated shoulder helped me write a scene in High Stakes Bride where the heroine has dislocated her shoulder falling from a tree. My neighbor’s bull lovingly nudged her into a round hay bale, so the experiences are different, but hearing her helped me make the scene realistic. I prefer writing about  fictional towns near real towns. Occasionally, such as with Lost Maples State Natural Area, I use a real place. Using fictional towns gives me the leeway to create whatever I need for the story. No one can say “That street doesn't go there” or “That building was two streets over.”
J. Morgan: You also dabble in Mystery. Which comes easier to you when writing? Suspense or Westerns?

Caroline: Most of my westerns have mystery in them. I enjoy both mystery and romance, so combining them is perfect. I do enjoy writing contemporary mysteries, but right now I’m concentrating on western romance with mystery included, particularly historical romance.

J. Morgan: Before we allow you to saunter off into the sunset, it's a tradition here on The Diaries to hit you with one off-the-wall question before we let you scurry out the door. If you could be transported back to the Old West for one day, would you rob a stagecoach or…

Morgan O: Strap on the tin star and single handedly ride down desperadoes  Good looking ones in tight chaps of course.

Caroline: I’d love to be a deputy and ride with the sheriff after those desperadoes  which is what I dreamed of when I was a kid. I wanted to ride with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans to rid the west of bank robbers and rustlers. No single-handed captures for me, though. I love reading and writing the Old West, but I’m glad I live now instead of then, aren't you?

Morgan O: Thanks, for stopping by today, but before you ride off into that sunset, we'd love for you to dazzle our readers with an excerpt from one of your books.

CarolineI thought I would give you an excerpt from High Stakes Bride, book 2 of the Men of Stone Mountain trilogy where Alice Price shows up at Zach Stone’s campsite with a dislocated shoulder.

~ Excerpt ~

Zach slipped into the bedroll and waited, pistol in hand. He feigned sleep, wondering what kind of man tarried nearby. Whoever it was could have picked Zach off, so the sidewinder must not have murder on his mind.
Probably up to no good hiding out like that, though, because any Westerner would share his campfire and vittles with anyone who rode into camp. Zach wriggled into a comfortable spot and lay motionless. Anger at recent events helped him remain awake.
The footfalls came so softly he almost missed them. He opened his eyes a slit, but enough to see a thin shadow move toward the fire. About then heavy clouds overhead parted and the moonlight revealed a boy who scooped up a slice of bacon and slid it into his mouth.
The culprit set Zach’s tin plate on the ground near the fire, ladled beans into it, and picked up a fork. He squatted down and balanced the plate on his knees before he commenced eating. Zach noticed he kept his left hand in his pocket the whole time.
Something must be wrong with the thief’s left arm.  Looked too young for it to have been a casualty of the War. Lots of other ways to get hurt out here. Whatever had happened to his left arm, his right one worked well enough. He forked food into his mouth like he hadn’t eaten in a week.
Zach let him shovel beans for a few minutes. Crook or not, anyone that hungry deserved a meal. When the kid stopped eating, Zach couldn’t figure out what he was doing.  It looked as if he used the fork to scratch around on the ground, so he must have eaten his fill. Zach slipped his hand from beneath the cover and cocked the pistol.
“Hold it right there, son. I’d like to know why you’re eating without at least a howdy to the man who provided the food.”
The boy paused, then set the plate down slowly. “I left money here on a rock to pay for it.”
Odd sounding voice, but the kid was probably scared. Zach slipped from his bedroll and stood, but kept his gun pointed at the food robber. “Maybe.”
Zach walked toward the kid, careful to train his gaze so the firelight didn’t dim his eyesight. Sure enough, he spotted a couple of coins on the rock beside his pot of beans, or what remained of them, and his empty plate.
He faced the intruder. “Why not just come into camp earlier instead of sneaking in after you thought I was asleep?”
“I—I was afraid you weren’t friendly.”
Zach thought he also heard the kid mutter what sounded like “...or maybe too friendly.” Must be the wind, he thought, as he neared the boy.
Zach motioned with his free hand. “I don’t begrudge anyone food, but I hate dishonesty and sneaking around. Stand up so I can see you.”
The kid stood, hat low over his face and his good hand clenched.
Zach reached to push the brim back. “What’s your name?”
The kid stepped forward. “None of your business, mister.”
A fistful of sand hit Zach’s face. He heard his assailant run. Mad as the devil, Zach brushed grit from his eyes and set out in pursuit. The kid was fast, he’d give him that, but so was Zach. His longer legs narrowed the distance between them. With a running lunge, he tackled the kid.
“Oof. Let me go.” The lad was all wriggles and kicking feet as he squirmed trying to escape.
Zach wasn’t about to let that happen. They rolled in the dirt. In one move Zach pinned the boy’s good arm. The hat fell aside and a mass of curls spilled around the kid’s face.
His jacket parted and unmistakable curves pushed upward where Zach’s other hand rested. Zach stared in disbelief. Registering his hand pressed against a heavenly mound shocked him and he jerked his paw away.
“Well, I’ll be damned. You’re not a boy.”
The woman glared at him. “Right, and you’re not exactly a feather. Get off me.”
Zach stood and bent to help her but she curled into a ball where she lay. “Ma’am, you okay?”
“Just dandy.” She sat up, moving like a hundred-year-old. She glared at him while holding her stomach with her good hand. The other arm dangled uselessly. “You’ve likely broken the few uninjured bones I had left.”
His temper flared. “Hey, lady, don’t try to put the blame on me. If you’d been honest and come into camp like any other traveler, I’d have shared my food with you.”
“Yeah, well a woman on her own can’t be too careful and I don’t know you or anything about you.”
Zach saw her point. Though most Western men would respect a woman, it wouldn’t help if she ran into one of the exceptions.
“What’s wrong with your arm?”
She glared at him and appeared to debate with herself before she said, “Fell out of a tree. My arm caught in the fork of a branch. Pulled it out of socket and I can’t get it back.”
Well hell. As if he didn’t have enough on his mind. Now that he’d decided not to speak to another woman unrelated to him, this bundle of trouble showed up needing a keeper.
Resigning himself to one more stroke of bad luck, he said, “Take off your coat and come over here to my bedroll.”
The campfire sparked less than her eyes. “I’ll do no such of a thing. Don’t be thinking you can take liberties because I ate your food and I’m injured. I paid for the food.”
Zach exhaled and planted his fists on his hips. “Ma’am, there’s not enough money in Texas to pay me to take liberties with you. If you’ll move to my bedroll and lie down, I’ll put your arm back in place. You’ll likely have to take off your, um, your shirt.”
She looked him up and down as if she weighed him and found him lacking. “I figured you for a rancher. You a doctor then?”
“Ranchers have to know a good bit about patching people.”
She straightened herself and swished past him as if she wore a ball gown instead of a man’s torn britches. Watching the feminine sway of her hips as she sashayed to the other side of the campfire, he wondered how he ever mistook her for male. He followed her and tried not to appreciate her long legs or the way the fabric molded to them like a second skin.
When she reached the blasted bedroll he’d been stuck with, she slid out of her jacket. A grimace of pain flashed across her face as the weight of the light coat slipped down her injured arm. In one graceful move she plopped down on the bedroll.
“You’re sure you can do this?” she asked and looked up at him.
Flickering firelight placed her features in shadow. Moving closer, he figured the poor light played tricks on him, for he couldn't tell the color of her hair. He decided she had light brown or dark blonde curls. Whatever color her eyes were, maybe blue or green, they were big and watched him with suspicion.
“Yes. Sorry, I don’t have any spirits with me to deaden the pain.”
“I never touch alcohol. If you’re sure you can do this, just get on with it.” She unbuttoned her shirt and winced as she slid the injured shoulder and arm free, and then stuck her chin up as if she dared him to make an improper comment or gesture.
He knelt beside her, keenly aware of the differences that proved her womanhood. A chemise of fabric worn so thin as to be almost transparent pulled taut across her breasts. He swallowed and willed himself to ignore the dark circles surrounding the pearly peaks thrusting at the flimsy material. The memory of the lush mound he’d touched briefly wouldn’t leave him. He’d been alone too long and had better concentrate on the job at hand.
“Stretch out and try to relax. I’ll be as gentle as I can, but this will hurt.”
“Hurts already, but I better put my bandana in my mouth so I don’t scream. I’m not a whiner, mind, but wouldn’t want to draw attention if there’s others nearby.” She slipped the cloth knotted around her neck up to her mouth like a gag, then laid down.
She moaned but didn’t fight him. Zach had seen this done numerous times over the years and had performed it twice. He probed her shoulder gently, then rotated her arm to slip it back into place.
He listened for the snick of the bone reseating itself in the socket. When he finished, he massaged the muscles of her upper arm and shoulder. She’d likely be sore for weeks, but the harm she had done wasn’t permanent.
“Have to give it to you, ma’am. You were the quietest patient I’ve ever seen.”
She lay with her face turned away from him. When he leaned over, he realized she’d passed out.


 J. Morgan: And, don't forget to tell our readers where all we can find you on the internet and some buy links. Okay, Morgan, can I put my ranger mask back on now?

Morgan O: Oh, go ahead. Hi-ho Silver!

Here are buy links for High Stakes Bride:

Print or Ebook at Amazon:

(Yes, I’m everywhere!) Here are my links:
Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Goodreads  ~  Pinterest  

View her BLOG posts Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and find book reviews, giveaways, interview, and miscellany.

Thanks again for having me as your guest. I’ve enjoyed myself. Yours is a fun place to visit!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Giddy Up! Here comes Paisley Kirkpatrick.

I know by reading my books you might not believe this, but I love a good western. Grew up reading, and watching them. Don't know what happened to me, though. I guess that bite of the radioactive vampire is the reason I write paranormal romance instead of westerns. So when I got the chance to sit down with debut Western Romance author Paisley Kirkpatrick, I jumped at the chance.

Well, I put on my Lone Ranger outfit from the third grade costume contest and jumped on my trusty steed, Mr. Horsey, and headed down to saloon to kick back and pick this amazing author's brain about her new release, Paradise Pines: Night Angel and what inspired her to throw on a pair of chaps and write off into the sunset.

Jmo: Belly on up to the bar and have a shot of rockgut, Paisley. Watch your step, that spittoon looks a bit dodgy.

PK: Evenin'. The place is a bit crowded, isn't it? Let's mosey on over to that quiet table in the back.

Jmo: So, while you wipe that bit of ick off your shoe, tell the readers about Night Angel? Man, this rock gut has a kick to it.

PK: I chose the fictional gold rush community of Paradise Pines to set Night Angel. The story occurs after the boom, when down-and-out miners searched for a way to make money. Instead of returning home, they stayed in towns that sprung up during the gold rush.

Hero Declan Grainger owns a high-class hotel in Paradise Pines. He loses his heart to a high-spirited poker player when she arrives in town searching for a new life. Amalie Renard, who also performs as saloon singer Lily Fox, turns the town upside down with her vibrancy. She is looking for a way to have a stage of her own, not a box to stand on in one of the town's saloons. Declan provides jobs for the townsfolk by building Amalie's music hall while he continues his nightly jaunts through abandoned tunnels anonymously leaving the downtrodden food and supplies. Amalie is puzzled why the Night Angel gives to others, but takes from her. She draws Declan into her scheme to discover the identity of the mysterious man. Declan has enough on his hands finding workers for the building renovation after the town's self-righteous preacher demands his congregation not support the music hall, but goes along with her scheme to protect his identity.

The challenges they face take them from the California Sierra Mountains to the hustle of a booming San Francisco. Could Amalie's lack of trust in herself and Declan steal her dream? If she faces the mistakes she made in her past and relies on a new self-confidence through the love Declan offers, she can have all she desires.

Jmo: What first drew you to the Old West? Even though, you've probably been asked this a thousand times already, who were some of your influences?

PK: I grew up watching the television show Gunsmoke. Gathering in front of the TV on Saturday night became a family ritual. My favorite character was Festus who referred to his earlobe has a hangy-down part of his ear. Ever since then we've always done the same. Isn't it fun to remember those days when life seemed simpler? Heroes were easy to define. Who didn't admire the Long Branch Saloon owner, Miss Kitty? Saturday mornings gave us Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, and so on. We had an array of cowboys to worship. I guess the seed was planted deep because writing about the western hero seemed to always be the right thing for me.

Jmo: Do you mentally cast your books when you're writing? I know I do it while writing, and a lot of other authors do it too. Once we establish you're as crazy as the rest of us, tell us who would be playing who in the Night Angel movie.

PK: I did have a certain hero in mind when I developed Declan Grainger. My hero is a Scot and nobody but Gerard Butler could fill this hero's rather large boots. Honestly, Gerry was my guiding light in developing this character who stole my heart from the beginning.

Jmo: With Paranormal Romance pretty much dominating the Romance world, why do you believe readers still have a love for Westerns?

PK: Westerns seem a staple in most personal libraries. As you know, paranormal is a bit over my head, but since several friends who are great writers work in this category I am reading more of this genre. It's a mystery to me why people choose a particular genre. Personal taste I suppose.

Jmo: A lot of people consider Westerns just Westerns, but they're really closer to Historicals. Even though the genre is deeply ingrained in our society's view of itself, a lot of history has passed since the late 1800's and today. That said, how much research do you put into your books? How hard is it to dig up information about the Old West?

PK: There is an abundance of history and research books with articles about the Old West. I am so fortunate to live where the 1849 gold rush happened. Placerville, which was referred to as Old Diggins and Hangtown, is a showcase for the Victorian style houses, a couple of gold rush saloons, tunnels zigzagging under the town, a gold mine to explore, and a hotel built in 1857. We have an interesting character who drives an old Wells Fargo stagecoach around town at Christmastime. He ties a tree on top and carries passengers through town so they can experience a slice of the past. We also have a re-enactment of a wagon train coming over the mountain from the Lake Tahoe area every summer and for several years the Pony Express rider came through our community.

Jmo: From a personal standpoint, what is the most interesting part about this time in America history? What jumps out and grabs you and refuses to let you go?

PK: It's the adventure of pursuing a dream, finding those shiny gold nuggets at the bottom of a gold pan. Of course, disappointment came with the excitement. More walked away without the riches, but they tried. They took a chance. Isn't that what life should be about? We take a chance with our writing. When we succeed, I'd say it was like finding that first nugget.

Jmo: Every author has their favorite type of character to write. So what is yours? The White Hat? The Black Hat? Or Bob Hope in "The Son of Paleface"? I'm partial to Don Knots in "The Shakiest Gun in the West" myself.

PK: Honorable heroes are my favorite. They have to have grit, but treat a lady with respect and give an honest day's work.

Jmo: I couldn't let you go without asking the ultimate question when it comes to Westerns. John Wayne or Clint Eastwood? Know our friendship hinges on your answer.
PK: Ummmmmmm (rolling eyes) let me think - J Of course, the King I mean the Duke. He should have been called the king of cowboys but I suppose that belong to another cowboy who sang.

Jmo: Paisley, one last question and I promise to unhogtie you from that spittoon. If at this very moment one man could come riding up on a white stallion to ride you off into the sunset, who would it be? Know your marriage hinges on your answer.

PK: Hubby Ken and I have been married almost 44 years, and since it was love at first sight, I would always choose him to ride up on a white stallion. He'd probably prefer walking, but a large horse would be nice.

Jmo: Thanks for stopping in and jawing with me a spell. I hope you have had as much fun as I have. Don't worry. I'm sure that chew juice will come out with a little vinegar and warm water. But, before you take off for the hills, be sure to let our readers know where to find you on the internet and a buy link for Night Angel.

Sweethearts of the West
Scandalous Victorians
Voices from the Heart

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall is Here, and It's Very Wet in the North

Summer is long gone. There's snow on the mountain tops, the trees have been changing color for weeks and many are nearly bare of their leaves. Alaska has been battered by storm after storm after storm and many communities are dealing with floods. Homes have been washed away, flooded, roads have become rivers before being swept away, and even the railroad has a stretch of track hovering in mid air, its supporting soil and gravel washed out from underneath.

It's enough to slightly dent the intrepid Alaskan spirit.

In these clouds of rain there's a silver lining that the hurricane force gusts of winds can't blast away. Everyone is safe. No deaths have been reported due to the high water or falling trees, although there have been several accidents recently.

And yet, here we remain. An earthquake or two didn't set us back, so a few storm clouds won't either.

Now, I admit, I'm sitting pretty and cozy in my new house. No power outages, no flooding, no downed trees. I do have a camp robber carelessly tossing about the seeds I put out. He's too small to eat, so I may let him have his fun for a while longer.

But I'm watching the news, especially for Talkeetna, one of those communities pumping out the flood waters. In a weird stroke of irony, at the beginning of September, I had a new release. Weathering the Storm, Book Three of the Open Windows series featuring those red headed Shaughnessys, is set in Talkeetna, Alaska. During which, there's of course, a big storm.

In no way did I predict the catastrophe actually taking place. In fact, my story is rather mild in the face of the recent devastation that got the governor to declare it a disaster. With luck, that will open up some Federal money to help with cleanup and repair. Rebuilding where necessary.

In the coming weeks we'll get a deeper analysis. I know that this weekend was to have been the Talkeetna Book Festival to benefit the library. I wonder just how damaged the library and the elementary school are, but when people are being advised to boil their tap water and their homes are a foot deep in water, the library is way down the priority list. The school is, of course, higher on the list, but after clean water I'm guessing.

I did hear a report of one Walmart donating food and toiletries for those evacuated to various locations. I'm sure there are a lot of untold stories right now and in the coming days they'll start filtering through FB and the news sources. If you want to help, The American Red Cross is working with flood victims and will happily take donations. Cash donations are especially welcome to help buy the specific items needed. The link goes to the Alaska organization.

Or, buy a copy of Weathering the Storm and I'll donate the royalties to the Red Cross and/or whatever fund is set up to help the individual communities. Buy the book directly from my publisher this month, September 2012, and I'll be able to make the donation in mid-October.  I'll post the total results here and over at The Morgan Diaries Blog when I get next month's statement.

Let me be perfectly clear:
Purchase a copy of Weathering the Storm between now and the end of this month, and next month the royalties will go to help the communities affected by the recent flooding. Ah, what the heck, same for any sales of this book made now through the end of the year, whether through Lyrical Press, Amazon, Nook or any other outlet. I'll make monthly reports of the totals, good or bad.  I'll be totally embarrassed if my royalties drop to $10. $100 would be better, $1000 would totally floor me and actually do some major good. Anything beyond that and I'll probably faint after I put the check in the mail.

Help me spread the word. You'll be getting a darn good read, and those picking up the threads of their lives after devastating floods will get a little more help. It's a win-win situation.

Many Thanks, and Happy Reading!

Morgan Q. O'Reilly

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Comics and Romance: The Final Bam!

When I started this blog series, I wasn't sure where it was headed. I just wanted to talk about one of my favorite topics and make it as enjoyable as possible for those of you reading it. I hope I succeeded in some of that. But, as I starting writing about the connection between comics and romance, I began to notice how strong that connection truly is. For me, at least it is. For some of you too, from the comments it has gotten.

This is what I hope you've gotten from all this. Comics are the beginning of wonderment for a lot of kids, boys and girls alike. Why wonderment? It's very simple. Until we get our first dose of Superman, Spider-man, or you can insert your own favorite hero, we have no idea what it feels like to imagine to fly, or run faster than a speeding bullet. We simply have no concept that those things are possible. They aren't, but in our burgeoning imaginations they become possible. Comics teaches us to dream. For some of us, those dreams become stories. Those stories go on to make us writers or readers. We want to escape as authors, as much as you do as readers.

Our escape enables you to find whole new worlds beyond this one we live in. That's a very good form of release in my book. Better than sitting in front of a TV or playing video games. Though, I have nothing against either of those. I do it quite a bit myself, but reading enables you to open your mind and visualize for yourself the wonders an author places before you. How many of us has seen a movie or TV show based on a book, and just shook our heads saying to yourself, 'that's not how I saw' and felt a little disappointment over the fact. Why does that seem to happen? Because, our imagination is greater than anything someone else can come up with.

Romance does the same thing at a different stage of our mental development. Most of us read our first book in our teens. Talk about putting an unfair level for our boyfriend or girlfriend to measure up to. Tough, it's that level that tells us what we truly want. We might settle for second best, but most of the time second best is better than what our minds dream up thanks to those books. I hate to knock my genre but it's true. We as authors paint unfair expectations on those who read our books. Why? Because, we visualize what we want. Hey, what can I say? We're delusional and write about it.

The thing is Comics and Romance are learning tools. Believe me. I've learned some things in a Romance Novel that would make a hooker blush. Despite that, we read and absorb knowledge both directly and indirectly through others. Some of it makes us who we are today, and some of it makes us the people we want to be. Not bad, for a few hours of escapism.

How does this all tie into J. Morgan? If you've read any of my books, you know I start with a definite line between good and evil. Why? Because Stan Lee did it that away. More than that, in a world where there's more grey than black and white, I wish we could tell right away who wore the black hat and the white hat. As a result, I love my heroes. They are bigger than life and most of the time, the men I want to be. Subconsciously, I guess they are a part of me, like what any writer does when crafting a character. The heroine? I wish I could say they're the women I would want to fall in love with. For the most part, they're the only woman I've ever truly fallen in love with. My wife, Jenn. I couldn't think of a better role model for my heroines. That doesn't mean they're a hundred percent her. I have the greatest honor to know and have known some amazing women. They've found their way into my heroines. So, we're talking fifty to seventy percent Jenn, and the rest I steal from my friends and family. Still, not a bad ratio. My villains, I owe to Stan Lee, and any other comic author who made it plain, the bad guy is the bad guy. You'll know him or her by the evil oozing off them. And, I guess I do have a dark side that comes out on the computer screen, instead of me going postal on the rest of the world.

Authors are the result of their environment and experiences. That being said, I guess that makes me a costume wearing superhero behind a keyboard. So what should my superhero name be? The Amazing Spider-Jmo? Uh no. Shooting stuff out of my wrists sounds narsty for some reason. The Mighty Jmo? Mmmmm… I do like big hammers and lightning bolts? No, I think for now, I'll just be Jmo and let you guys be the superheroes and superheroines. After all, to me you already are.

Hope you enjoyed this series. Now, jump into your phone booths and up, up and away. I got a deadline to not be too late on. Join me next week on The Writer Limits as we kick off SciFi September. On the Diaries, we've got something special planned. I just have to track down Morgan O. and find out what it is. Bye, for now.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stop looking at my boobs when I'm kicking yo butt

Comic book heroines have got it rough. I'll be the first to admit that. They work in a male dominated field. They've got over 75 years of sexist stereotyping to overcome. Lastly, they're written mostly by men. Still, they've come a long way since the only role model girls had was Lois Lane screaming for Superman to save her month after month.

Wonder Woman became one of the first strong powerful heroines unleashed on the comic world. Unfortunately, there's some back story and issues to go along with Princess Diana's early days. I'm not going into all that, because it has no bearing on this discourse. The important thing is that she is still going strong. DC Comics came out with a string of super heroines to compliment WW. Unfortunately, they were all knockoffs of established characters like Superman and Batman. So, we end up with Supergirl and Batgirl. Even though both were grown women, they got tagged 'girl' for their troubles. I'm not saying they didn't kick butt, because they did, just in a Fifties and Sixties type of way. It would take almost another twenty years before these great characters would evolve past the 'Girl' moniker and become truly strong women in their own right.

When Marvel broke onto the scene in the Sixties, they were no better. Sue Storm spent most of the decade calling on Reed and the rest of the FF to save her. The Avengers had the Wasp, who seemed more interested in shopping than actually fighting crime. Jean Grey from the X-Men appeared to be around for the guys to moon over. I could go on, but you get the point. The heroines were nothing more than window dressing to draw in female readership without much in the way of substance.

The Seventies changed that. Marvel amped up the X-Men with Giant Sized X-Men #1. Jean Grey slowly started her evolution into Phoenix. Storm became an aloof powerhouse. We also saw the birth of Spider-Woman who would later become quite important to the new millennium of the Marvel universe. The Eighties brought us The Savage She-Hulk. While both were Marvel attempts to protect copyrights, both characters showed that inner and outer strength could work in comics. Then Frank Miller introduced one of the most important female characters of all time, Elektra. A woman out for vengeance over the murder of her father, she proved the perfect embodiment of a powerful woman who didn't take crap and could stand on her own two feet without a man coming to the rescue. That Daredevil was hopelessly in love with her only heightened Miller's run with the character. He proved that you could have a romantic twist in comics without making the woman some damsel in distress.

That didn't mean female super heroes weren't still the subject of boob-ogling costumes, not to mention impossibly large and perky boobs to begin with. We are still talking about comics. The Eighties did give us some amazing female writers to begin the revolution of women coming into their own. Louise Simonson started off as an editor on several Marvel titles before becoming a writer on New Mutants, X-Factor and a host of other titles.  Ann Nocenti became the acclaimed and often controversial writer of Daredevil, introducing another strong female antagonist for Matt Murdock in the form of Typhoid Mary. She also created fan favorite, Longshot. Wendy Pini introduced the wonderful world of Elfquest to an eager comic audience. They aren't the only female creators to make a difference but as personal favorites I couldn't pass up going on and on about them.

Some others I'd like to briefly touch on. Gail Simone went to work on DC's beleaguered female characters and breathed new life into Wonder Woman, and the Birds of Prey, a series combining the talents of Oracle (the original Batgirl), Black Canary and Huntress, Batman's daughter?--not sure who she is now with DC's constant revamping of their comics. Colleen Doran has worked on creator owned series as well as DC and Marvel titles. Amanda Connor, Jill Thompson, Nancy Collins, Elaine Lee, these are all women who have taken the reins of comics and made them their own.  Serena Valentino's utterly delightful Gloom Cookie is among some of my favorite guilty pleasures of all time. In case you're asking yourself, if Jmo is hinting for you to check some of these writers and artists out, the answer is yes. Comics aren't just superheroes anymore. It's science fiction, horror, and yes, romance. These women have taken comics in directions you wouldn't believe.

Now, how does all that tie into Romance? Simply put, our mother's and grandmother's Romance novels painted women as wilting violets in need of men swinging in to save them, just like early comics did. Now, we have heroines that stand toe to toe with their heroes and refuse to be put in a corner until the dust settles. Why do we love these new heroines? Because, women weren't made to sit back and let men handle things. They were made as equals to complete men, and with the ability to surpass them. To portray them as anything but equals is a disservice to both sexes. With male readership, and writership--yeah it's a word, I just made it up--on the rise, men must feel the same way.

Okay, that's my soapbox moment for the week. I hope you enjoyed my comics and women history lesson as much as I did actually researching it. If you knew me, you'd know how much I hate research. Join me next week on The Writer Limits, as I examine creating the perfect story thanks to reading way too many comics with a cautionary tale I like to call Stan Lee rotted my brain. While you're there you can catch up on this series by reading my views on the Spandex Conspiracy.

The Writer Limits



Monday, July 30, 2012

Peter Parker is a Man Ho!

Peter Parker is a man ho! Some people might call that statement outrageous, but if you look at his track record you can see two very important things. One, he has no clue when it comes to women. Secondly and the most important, he has done untold damage to the sex lives of geeks for over 35 years. Hey don't give me that shocked look. I know from which I speak. I was once one of those geeks. Sure, when you read a comic and see him juggling hot blondes and redheads like nobody's business, you can't help but think that this guy has it going on. Forget about the whole superpowers thing. Who wants the proportionate strength of a spider, be able to stick to walls, and shoot webs out of your wrists? Let's not even go into what that stuff really looks like. What we need to do is see if old Pete's palms are hairy like a spider's. That's what we need to be doing. Seriously!

But, I digress into the realm of a Kevin Smith movie. I'm here to talk about Peter's love life.  Let's go back to the very beginning. Peter Parker was a nerd. That's the only way to describe it. Nothing wrong with that. All of my friends started off in the throws of nerdom. Then, bam! He get's super powers and everything changes. If we can trust Tobey McGuire, he also gets six pack abs. I believe those were CGIed, in case you were wondering. That's when the problems with this story really begin.

Instead of Unc Ben telling Peter with great power comes great responsibility, he should have told him that he needed to keep it in his pants. So where does all this man hoing start. If we trace it back to his high school days, we have to say it began with Liz Allen, his high school crush. Sure, it really didn't lead anywhere, but she was just a practice run for him. An aside, Liz would go on to marry Harry Osborn, Peter's best friend and just would justso happen to go on to become the second Green Goblin. From there he would have flirty run-ins with Betty Bryant, J. Jonah Jameson's secretary at the Daily Bugle. Being a bit older than our teenage photographer, Betty didn't succumb to his spidery ways but she did dip in the well a couple of times. Once she came to her senses, she married Ned Leeds, who goes on to become Hobgoblin.  That's two ladies in the Parker harem. Anyone find it strange that one taste of spider-love makes them go running into the arms of super villains? I'm not saying he's a menace, but J. Jonah might be on the right track.

They were just a couple minor setbacks on his rollercoaster of love. One fateful day, his life would be irrevocably changed. Face it, tigers. He hit the jackpot. Well, as close as he could come in the form of Mary Jane Watson. I'm a bit partial to redheads as a result of this one. She presented the perfect foil to Peter. Ms. Watson saw through the fa├žade. For one thing, she was smart enough to realize he was Spider-man, while everyone else wondered where Peter got off to every time Spidey showed up. Come on, people. Buy a clue. She was also able to resist the Parker charm for close to 200 issues of continuity. If she had gone on to give in to his nerdish advances way back around issue 42 the rest of this rambling missive might not have clogged up your mental passages.

Another result of Mary Jane playing hard to get was Gwen Stacy. If anyone knows anything about comics you know what happens. If you don't, stay tuned for more exciting revelations! Gwen might be considered Peter's first true love. The love of his life. But, really aren't all first loves the love of your life? For awhile, the women of New York were safe from this shameless lothario. Love swept him up in its embrace and with all the tenderness of a Greek tragedy ran him over like a freight train with only one casualty. The one thing Peter had always feared came true. One of his arch villains took the life of someone he cared for. Issues 121-122 of The Amazing Spider-man, the Green Goblin, after remembering Spider-man's secret identity goes after Gwen to prove to Peter that no one is untouchable. Faced with the choice of saving Gwen or a bunch of kids, he tries to do both. Unlike the movie, the comic Spidey wasn't up to the challenge.

How does he deal with his loss? For twenty issues or so, he locks his heart away. For non comic readers twenty issues or so equals three weeks in real time. Real time? I'm a comic geek, so real time applies. Then he was off chasing anything with a ponytail and silk underwear. College gave him the perfect opportunity to search out his next victims. Deb Whitman, another go with the married Betty, a couple run-ins with MJ, and I refuse to go into the new continuum started because of Marvel feeling the need to rewrite his past.

Okay, this is the point we reach Peter's second love, unless you count MJ, who hung around through all this. Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, appears first as a villain then as a love interest who keeps him on his toes for a nice long time. There's a lot of does she, will she, but the break up finally happens because sweet little Peter Parker can't take the fact that she loves Spidey more than him. Well, duh! Who wouldn't? This of course results in another chorus of poor unfortunates skipping through his web of love.

Finally, Peter convinces Mary Jane that he is her one true love. She already knew this of course but her common sense had saved her up until this point. In Annual 21, the deed was done, and Mr. and Mrs. Peter Parker were born. If this had been a novel of the romance variety, we could have inserted a tidy happily ever after in at this point, but comics like soap operas seldom give you what you want. Instead we ended up with almost twenty years of angst, super villain attacks and a costume becoming a super villain, not to mention clones out the ying yang. It's enough to make ya stop reading comics, which I did. Well, not comics but Spider-man, so I avoided the whole clone thing, even though it keeps popping back up. Whether I want it to or not.

Now, I promised not to mention the continuum thing but let's touch on it briefly. Aunt May is dying because Peter revealed his secret identity to the world. To save her life Mary Jane trades her and Pete's love to the devil for a do over. Now, none of the above stuff ever happened, and he's free to sleaze his way through the Marvel Universe all over again. Shesh. And, you think romance novels have got the market cornered on angst and tragic happily ever afters.

What's the point of all this? Besides Peter Parker is a man whore? Partly. Mainly, it's that comics and romance novels have a lot in common. Both throw a hero and heroine into impossible situations that naturally bring them closer together in such a way that the reader can't help but stick around to the bitter end. With comics, it just takes a little longer. Now, I have to go. The new Spider-man just came in, and Morbius, the living vampire, the Lizard and Peter Parker have all planned dates with Carly, the hot CSI detective. I can't wait to see how Pete is going to wow her by taking her to Burger King before swinging away without paying.

Join me next week, as I examine more comic connections to romance with a little story I like to call, So, how do they fit all that in that little spandex?  It'll be at my shared blog The Writer Limits so make sure to stay tuned to that same Bat channel.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Things that go bump in the night – Horror vs Paranormal

When I was a little girl I was convinced there was a vampire under the bed.  No joke. The darned thing used to poke me through the mattress. I was six years old and used to pull the covers up over my neck thinking that would keep the darn little creature away from my neck. Silly me. Mom wouldn't let me use garlic.

What convinced me I had a vampire under the bed was watching a show called Creature Double Feature.  That show had it all – vampires, werewolves, zombies, mummies, and even Godzilla. Creature Double Feature was all about horror. The creatures were out to scare you. I got the chills watching those little nasties in action. And that's what horror is all about – giving you the chills. The Spooks. The Shivers.

You know what gives me the spooks? Bugs.  Spiders. Little Creepy things. They inspire horror. You can find some of my horror tales at my port on at:
My favorite stories are Grave of the Devil, the Secret Pyramid, and The Scorpion Temple.

Paranormal Romance? That's a different "beast" altogether. Sure there are vampires, werewolves, zombies, shifters, etc… but there's no intent to give you shivers – it's all about giving you the warm and fuzzies and making you believe in the power of love.

Our hero (or heroine) may suffer from lycanthropy or deal with a lust for blood, but their desire to control their condition and seek love is the crux of their journey. Romance is about HEA. Horror has no HEA.

My paranormal romance, Danube in Candlelight, which released in NOV 2011 is now a finalist in the 2012 Reader's Favorite Contest in the Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy category. What would you do if you found out your father was a werewolf? Morgan Duma has her world turned upside down when she discovers her father's secret. She explores the lupine elements of heritage, growing reckless, but will her recklessness driver her to become a wolf herself?

5 Stars, Reader's Favorite:
This story is the closest I have ever come to reading a book that feels like a movie!

4 Hearts, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews:
Once again, Stephanie Burkhart has touched my imagination and with her writing brings 1922 Hungary to life. Danube in Candlelight is a very romantic, yet spicy read. This is a must read if you enjoy the paranormal werewolf stories or even if you merely enjoy a great romance.

3.5 Stars, The Hope Chest Reviews:
Danube in Candlelight was a pleasant, easy read. Ms. Burkhart has created an interesting world with a mythology that is a little different than any other werewolf stories I've read to date, and the historical settings make them more intriguing to me than many contemporary paranormal stories.
5 Lips, Two Lips Reviews
I found the setting for Danube in Candlelight intriguing. The 1920 period Ms. Burkhart chose for this story lends it a wonderfully dynamic tempo.   The discerning reader will not want to miss reading Danube in Candlelight; I highly recommend it.
Enjoy this Excerpt:

"Morgan, our fathers' condition has a host of positive traits -- heightened senses, for example, but the best trait is the healing factor."
"I understand, Adam. That healing factor will help my mother recover from her awful injuries, but it comes with a tradeoff -- she's going to become a werewolf."
"Is it better she become addicted to morphine? That addiction is a beast in itself. Which would you prefer she'd become? The soldiers hooked on morphine have vacant eyes, and their hands tremble for their next fix. Do you want that for your mother? Fighting something she can't win against, or do you want her dealing with a manageable condition? Both our fathers are good men. They've managed it."
Morgan pursed her lips. Adam's tone was laced in objectivity and confidence, offering her a plausible reason for her father's actions. Morgan didn't want a shell of skin and bones that resembled her mother -- she wanted her mother well, both emotionally and physically. Why had she been so selfish not to see that?
"It doesn't bother you that you have these traits?"
"I'm comfortable with who I am."
Morgan spun around, pressing the length of her body against Adam, curving her hand around the nape of his neck, and bringing his lips to hers. Their mouths met in a searing kiss full of desire. Want. Warmth. Pleasure replaced Morgan's emotional pain, and she deepened the kiss between them by sweeping her tongue into his mouth.
Adam groaned, wrapped his hands around her waist, and tugged her closer. Morgan continued the kiss, nipping his lower lip with her teeth. A blast of heat from his body washed over her like an ocean wave, sending pleasure spiraling through her. God, she had never felt so wonderful.
He threaded his hand through her hair and then yanked her head back. His mouth fell to her neck. Shivers of delight followed the hard, demanding kisses he placed on her skin.
"Adam, God, don't stop..."
He did just that. He withdrew his hand from her hair, sliding it down the side of her body to rest at her waist. She looked into his golden eyes blazing with the flames of desire. Adam drew in a deep breath.
"Damn, Morgan, I am a man, and I have more control than that."
She placed her hand over his heart. "You enjoyed it. Don't deny it."