31 December 2010

Find out what happens when Cupid is involved with Pepper O'Neal's characters

Today, I’m talking with white witch Kole Trillion, the heroine of my novella, Love Potion No. 2-14, coming out on February 2, 2011 from eTreasures Publishing.

Pepper: I understand that you’re a white witch. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Kole: White or black magic is how we differentiate between good and bad magic. White magic is what we call good magic, and a white witch is governed by one main law: ‘And it harm none.’ This basically means that the white witch will not create any harmful spells or potions, or use magic in a way that could harm another being. Of course, there really isn’t good and bad magic, there’s just magic. A white witch has access to the same power and knowledge that a black witch has and could choose to use magic to do evil, just as a black witch could choose to use magic to do good. The only difference between the two types of witches is how they choose to use their gift.

Pepper: I see. But surely, there must have been times when you were sorely tempted to use your magic to get back at someone who hurt you, wasn’t there? 
Kole: Of course, there was. I’m human after all. But I also realize that if I abuse the gift I’ve been given, I could lose my ability to use that gift for good. The power to hurt someone who has offended or betrayed you can be very addictive. Or so I’ve been told. I’ve known some witches who have turned to the darker side of magic and, as a result, have lost everything dear to them in their quest for more and more power. I don’t want that to happen to me. 

Pepper: Now in Love Potion No. 2-14, you’re in love with Detective Gage Corwin, and you’re also his prime suspect. How do you feel about that? 
Kole: Obviously, I’m not very happy about it. Like most women, I’d prefer to love someone who loves me back. I’m not a glutton for punishment, after all. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching my customers who come to me for love spells and potions, it’s that you can’t choose who you love. And you also can force someone to love you. So like any woman with an unrequited love, I just have to make the best of it. 

Pepper: But surely as a witch, there must be something you can do about the situation. 
Kole: I suppose I could fix myself a forgetfulness potion, but that seems like a coward’s way out to me. Or I could do what psychologists advise and imagine Gage as being fat, bald, and ugly, with dirty hair and offensive body odor. That might help a little. But even though I can picture him in my mind that way, with someone as good looking as him, it’s a bit hard to for me to make myself believe it. 

Pepper: I know from personal experience that running a business is hard. So there must have been times when you were struggling and worried about how to pay the bills. Were you ever tempted to use your magic to influence the outcome of the lottery?
Kole: I won’t deny there were times I was tempted. But again, the law that governs my use of magic is ‘And it harm none.’ If I were to use a spell to win the lottery, that would harm the person who would have won the lottery if I hadn’t interfered. So, as tempted as I may have been, it’s not something I could do with a clean conscious. After all, every action has a reaction. And if I use my magic to unnaturally twist things for my benefit, someone else could suffer, and the person suffering probably wouldn’t be a witch with magic to help them overcome it. So, I’d have to be pretty selfish to do something like that. 

Pepper: That makes sense. But are there spells that you can use to help yourself that don’t hurt others? 
Kole: Oh, yes. Of course, there are. For an example—since we’re talking about money—I could use a spell to attract wealth to myself. This is the same kind of spell that I would use to attract riches to one of my customers. Magic is flexible, and Nature is very giving. So I can easily use magic to attract wealth and prosperity to myself or to a customer without taking any wealth and prosperity away from someone else. But I can’t change the outcome of something ruled by fate, such as the lottery, without harming the person fate would have given it to. 

Pepper: Is there any time you would use your magic to change the outcome of fate? 
Kole: Absolutely. For self-defense or for the defense of others. Or if a black witch had screwed up the outcome to begin with, and I was trying to restore the balance. 

Pepper: What can you tell us about Gage, your co-star in Love Potion No. 2-14? 
Kole: Gage is…complicated. He’s gruff, but gentle, brash, but a little shy. He’s stubborn, and he can be a tad unreasonable, especially when he thinks he’s right. But under it all, he has a good heart. Gage doesn’t hate me just because he doesn’t believe in magic. It’s because he thinks I’m cheating the people who come to me for help. He sees me as the worst kind of fraud and con artist—the kind that trades false hope for hard-earned cash. Gage believes that if a sick person buys a health potion from me, that customer may believe that the potion can make them well. And because they believe it, they either won’t go to a doctor and get the real help they need, or they won’t be able to afford to go to the doctor because I took their money. Of course, the fact that my spells and potions do work and my customers won’t help him in his investigation only makes the whole thing that much more frustrating for him. But Gage is a good man, and sooner or later, he’ll have to admit there are things his cold, hard logic just can’t explain. When that happens, he’ll come to his senses and change his mind about me. I hope.

Pepper: Thank you very much for talking with me, Kole. 

Be watching for Kole and Gage in the romantic comedy Love Potion No. 2-14 to be released on February 2, 2011 as part of eTreasure’s Valentine’s Day Anthology, Cupid Gone Wild. The anthology will be released as a set on February 1, 2011, and the individual books separately between February 2-14, 2011, beginning with Love Potion No. 2-14 on February 2, 2011. 

If you’d like to read the blurb, go to http://pepperoneal.com/non-series-books

You can also read an excerpt at http://pepperoneal.com/non-series-books/excerpt-love-potion-2-14

And you can contact me at http://www.pepperoneal.com/contact

Thank you Pepper for sharing your adventures your writing and your characters with us over the last five days.
I have been fascinated by your adventures, loved your photographs, and wish I coud meet your characters for real.
May 2011 be a wonderful year for you.

Pepper O'Neal is a new author who deserves to be at the top of your tbr books.

30 December 2010

Meet Roman ~ Pepper O'Neal's hero in Chasing Destiny

Today I’m interviewing Roman Fernwood, the half vampire-half Lycan hero from my upcoming novel, Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny, scheduled to be released on March 17, 2011 by Black Opal Books—www.blackopalbooks.com

Pepper: So Roman, you’re half Lycan and half vampire. How does that work? Were you bitten by both creatures? 
Roman: (chuckling): No, I wasn’t bitten at all. I was born this way. My mother was a vampire and my father was the Lycan alpha who fell in love with her. Becoming a vampire or a werewolf from an infection you get by being bitten is just a myth. An infection can’t really change your basic DNA. While vampires and shifters have been known to take humans for mates, they can’t change the humans into a vampire or a shifter. But if you read the book, you’ll see there are some really nice perks for the human mates.   

Pepper: What about your diet? Is that a myth as well? Can vampires eat real food or just blood?
Roman: Well, vampires aren’t able to process solid food, so they’re stuck with a liquid diet, which does consist of mostly blood. They can also drink alcohol, tea, and fruit and vegetable juice. However, because I’m half Lycan, I am able to eat solid food. And being a wolf, I mostly hunt for my dinner, although I still require human blood for my vampire half.

Pepper: Human blood? Eewww, do I even want to know how that works? 
Roman: Well, it’s not as bad as it sounds, but you’ll have to read the book if you want to know more. Your publisher won’t let me give away too many secrets. 

Pepper: So can you tell us what some of the other myths about vampires are and which ones are true?
Roman: Sure. Sunshine is very uncomfortable for us, but it’s not fatal. It hurts our eyes and is painful to our exposed skin. It feels rather like a severe allergy. But it just makes us miserable, it doesn’t kill us. Garlic has no effect on us at all. In fact, I love the taste of garlic. Crosses are another thing that has no effect. But silver will harm me because I’m half Lycan. It would take a lot of silver to kill me as I’m also half vampire, but silver is one of the few things that could do me serious damage. 

Pepper: If silver kills a werewolf, how do you kill a vampire? 
Roman: The only way is to kill them to decapitate them or destroy them by fire. For centuries decapitation has been the accepted method of killing vampires sentenced to death by The Council. Now, I know what you’re going to ask, and yes, we do police our own. We have only two laws, but the penalty for breaking either one is death. The two laws are 1) don’t reveal the presence of vampires, shifters, or other so-called paranormal creatures. And 2) don’t kill innocent humans. 

Pepper: And how do you determine what is an innocent human and what isn’t?  Roman: Well, that’s very complicated, and I’m afraid we don’t really have time for me to answer it here. I can tell you that auras play a part in it. But for more than that I guess you’ll just have to read the book. 

Pepper: Can you tell us how you deal with the two sides of your nature? How do you feel about being such a unique work of nature? 
Roman: (a wicked grin): “A unique work of nature, huh?” That’s an interesting way to phrase it. I like your style. But to be perfectly honest, I love being paranormal. I can’t imagine life without the enhanced senses and abilities I have as a result of my genetic makeup. My vision and hearing are far superior to that of humans, and my reflexes are much faster. Then there’s the freedom that comes from being able to turn into a wolf and run through the forests on four legs instead of two. It’s an absolutely incredible feeling. I’d have to say, I don’t see much of a downside, at least as far as my nature is concerned. And you’d think that with being half vampire and half Lycan, I’d be weaker than the full bloods of either species. But strangely, I’m not. My Lycan senses and abilities enhance my vampire traits, so my hearing, sight, and sense of smell is better than they would be if I was a full blood of either species. I also have the unique vampire abilities such as a heightened sixth sense, hypnotic eyes, and veiling, which most Lycans don’t have. And I have increased physical strength due to my Lycan genes, so I am stronger than normal vampires. I guess you could say I got the best of both worlds.

Pepper: We’re almost out of time here, but before we go, can you give us a brief rundown of a couple of your co-stars in Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny? 
Roman: Sure, I’d be glad to. First, there’s Chase Alcott. Chase is a handful. She’s smart, clever, and stubborn. Boy, is she stubborn! She’s also half human and half Tigris (tiger shifter). When I first meet Chase, she’s unaware of her paranormal nature, or the fact that she’s coming into her first heat. Which means I have to tell her. And you can just imagine how well that goes over. Then there’s Drake. Now, Drake’s a hell of a guy. He’s a full blood Siberian Tigris, and he looks it. He’s tall, muscular, handsome, and he’s the alpha leader of the local Tigris pride. He’s also my biggest competition for Chase’s affection. But believe me, I’m bloody well not giving her up without a fight.

Pepper: Thank you, Roman.

Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny sounds like a fascinating story. We’ll be watching for it on March 17, 2011 from Black Opal Books at

If you’d like to read the blurb, go to http://pepperoneal.com/blood-fest-series 

And you can contact me at http://www.pepperoneal.com/contact

All photos provided by Pepper O'Neal

29 December 2010

Pepper talks about enjoying your adventures without paying a fortune

Today I’m talking about how to have some adventures yourself without paying a fortune. I’m not talking about going first class here. That’s a vacation, folks, not an adventure. Now, I’m not saying you can’t have an adventure on vacation. Of course, you can. But from my own experiences, I can promise you, the ones where you don’t go first class are the ones you’re going to remember for the rest of your life. So take a chance and live a little. You’ll save your funds and have some experiences money could never buy.

Now, how do you start? The easiest way is to work your way around the world. That’s not as easy as it used to be even a decade ago, but it is still possible to do and/or to find other inexpensive ways to travel. If you like boats, or think you might, contact the marinas along the closest coast to where you are. And join the local yacht club. Both will put you in contact with boat owners. You’ll usually find at least one or two privately owned pleasure cruisers that are looking for crew. Sometimes, a single person sailing to someplace specific may just want some company for the trip as sailing by yourself is a lonely proposition. If you’re a male, handy with your hands, and willing to work it’s fairly easy to snag a ride to almost anywhere in the world. If you’re female, it’s a bit harder, but it’s still a possibility. Especially if you can cook. While I was working as a researcher in Mexico and the Caribbean, I met a number of people who had hitched a ride on a yacht as a cook or crew member. Something to remember: some yacht owners can’t afford to keep their boats as pleasure yachts all year round. So they hire the boat out to couples or groups and provide the crew, including the cook. And some of them pay you fairly decent salaries. So you would live aboard on the yacht, crew, or cook for the paying customers, and get well paid for it. And see some really beautiful places.        

Don’t want to get on a yacht? No problem. Check ads in the backs of adventure magazines for other jobs in foreign countries. And don’t forget the internet. But check the jobs out carefully before you commit. And if you’re visiting in a foreign country, go for the cheaper modes of travel to get around, like trains and buses. One of the most memorable adventures I had was when a friend and I took a train trip across Mexico. We paid for first class, which costs us about $10 for the whole three-day trip, but we spent most of our time in second class, fascinated by the people and the things they had brought with them on the train: live chickens and pigs, baskets and barrels of exotic fruits, and whatever they’d bought at the market wherever they’d been and were dragging home with them. I remember one guy had a porcelain toilet he was taking home. It was quite the attention getter. I think the guy felt like a hero with all the compliments he got on the silly thing from the other passengers. My friend spoke excellent Spanish (I didn’t) but she translated for me, and we got to know some of our fellow passengers and heard some amazing stories of survival. In one place where the train stopped for dinner, my friend and I got to help the restaurant owner prepare our meals as she was overwhelmed with all the customers and two of her cooks were out sick. While it’s not really the kind of thing you might equate with an adventure, it was a fascinating experience, one I would have been unlikely to have any other way. And it was certainly one I never forgot. As a writer, I gleaned a wealth of characters and story material for my novels.   

In the years I lived and worked in third world countries, I found the local people were generally very friendly and willing to help a stranger as long as I didn’t act like I thought I was better than they were. My team members and I got caught in storms, stranded when our vehicles broke down in the middle of nowhere, and faced a dozen other misadventures, but the natives were always willing to help us and shared what little they had if we needed it. I have found that in any adventure, it’s the people you meet and the friends you make that cause the adventure to be special.

Now whether your idea of an adventure is the same or different than mine, I’ll share the following tips with you that I believe apply to all adventures:

DON’T GO ALONE. Whether you’re male or female, but especially if you’re female, don’t go off alone. Bad things can happen to people in that situation, and I’m not talking just about getting mugged. But that can happen, too. Plan to take a friend or two with you when you go if at all possible. If not, make some friends going your way and tag along. That way if something happens, you have some help.

MAKE SURE SOMEONE KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE. People can disappear in third world countries, so make sure that someone knows where you going when you leave Point A and when you’re expected to arrive at Point B. That way, there’s a chance if you get hurt or stranded, that someone will look for you and, hopefully, find you.

DON’T PUT ALL YOUR MONEY IN YOUR WALLET. Wallets can get lost or stolen. So have a money belt or pouch to keep your money in and transfer it in small bits to your wallet as you need it. Then if your wallet goes missing, you aren’t stranded without any funds. I always carried any credit cards I had and most of my money in a money belt and only kept a few dollars in my wallet. Nothing ever happened, but if it had, I would have been prepared. And I always figured it was because I was prepared that nothing ever happened.

LEAVE YOUR PREJUDICES AT HOME. Strive to have an open mind about the people and places you encounter during your adventure. Yes, they’re going to be different than what you’re used to. And they may well seem primitive and crude by your standards. But hey, folks, if you hadn’t wanted to experience something different, why did you go on the adventure in the first place? If all you were willing to experience is what you already know and are comfortable with, you might as well have stayed at home. Give the people and the experiences a chance. You won’t regret it.

KNOW WHERE THE NEAREST CONSULATE IS. Whatever your nationality, know where your nation’s consulates are located in whatever country you’re visiting or working in. Shit happens, folks. Believe me, I know. So before you leave, get on the internet and find out what cities have one of your nation’s consulate’s offices. Another helpful thing to know is where the marinas are if you’re on or near the coast. Marinas can collect mail for you and put you in touch with people who can help you in an emergency. Make a list of this important information and keep it with you. You may never need it, but at least you have it if you do. It may not be possible to access the internet if you need the information later. So be prepared. 

MIX WITH THE NATIVES. The beauty of immersing yourself in the culture you’re visiting is that you truly get to experience what life is like wherever you’re at. If you’re friendly, most people will respond, and when they do, they’ll not only tell you where the real bargains in lodging, food, and entertainment are, they’ll take you to some of the private places that tourists never get to see or experience. 

If you any of you have questions about any of this, you can contact me through my website at www.pepperoneal.com and I’ll try to answer them for you.

Tomorrow, I’ll be interviewing Roman, a werewolf/vampire cross breed shifter, from my upcoming novel, Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny. Hope to see you there.

I know that Ms O'Neal has included some of her experiences in her stories, so with adventures like these, you know her books are packed full of action, adventure and tons of atmosphere and emotion.  All the ingredients for 'must read' books, if ever I saw them.

Don't forget to come back  and discover more about Pepper O'Neal's hero Roman in Chasing Destiny tomorrow.

28 December 2010

Enjoy discovering some of Pepper's Adventures today

As I said in my interview yesterday, I’m an adrenalin junkie. Even as a child, I’ve always had the urge to move on and see what’s around the next bend in the river or down a lonely country road. I blame that on my nomad Cherokee ancestors. Thankfully, I also have the luck of my Irish ancestors, so not only have I had to opportunity to have adventures, few of them have cost me much financially.

Before I got my doctorate in education, I was working as a paralegal and unhappy with the boring nine-to-five lifestyle. One night I was standing in the checkout counter at the grocery store, and I overheard the man ahead of me bemoaning the fact that he’d spent almost two weeks looking for a writer for a position he was trying to fill for an educational resource company—a cooperative US/Spanish (Spain, not Mexico) firm based out of Mexico City. Almost before I realized what I was doing, since I’m normally a little shy, I’d tapped this guy on the shoulder and offered my services. I went for an interview the next day and landed the job of a lifetime.

Three weeks later, I’d quit my job, put most of my stuff in storage, purchased a camera and two duffel bags (I wasn’t allowed any hard-sided luggage), and I was on my way to a boat in the Virgin Islands. 
Why weren't you allowed hard-sided

The company I worked for made documentaries and designed education programs for third world countries. They had a fleet of boats that sailed the waters off the east coast of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean, as well as a number of inland teams operating in rural Mexico. During the years I worked for them, I was exposed to fascinating cultures and traveled to exotic places.

 I learned to scuba dive in tropical lagoons, explored ancient ruins, became an Able-Bodied Seaman (it’s not really as impressive as it sounds), and best of all, I made some wonderful and interesting friends. 

The company also paid for me to get my doctorate, which was an adventure in itself.

Of course, I also had some experiences I hadn’t really counted on. I nearly got mugged in St. Thomas, spent a night in an abandoned motel in the middle of nowhere in southern Mexico, cowered in a hotel bathroom during a fierce tropical storm in St. Martin, broke my leg in Cozumel and my ribs in Tecamachalco, had to climb a mast—at sea in the middle of a hurricane—to repair the misen boom on a boat, took more than one shower with cockroaches the size of a Pekingese, and was medevac’d by helicopter during a gale on the Pacific Ocean after being creamed in the head by flying debris.  


As a friend once told me, if most people knew what was in store for them when they set off on an adventure, they’d never have the courage to start out on one. 

In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll give you some tips on how to take your own adventures on a shoestring—and survive them.

All photos copyright of Pepper O'Neal and friends

Pepper's website: http://www.pepperoneal.com

27 December 2010

Please give a warm welcome to Pepper O'Neal

Hi Pepper,
I’d like to give a warm welcome to my friend, crit group member and fellow Black Opal Books author Pepper O’Neal today. Thank you for visiting The Heart of Romance this week. I hope you’ve had a great Christmas and that Santa filled your stocking with everything you asked for.

Please will you tell us a little bit about yourself?
You know, I’ve always hated that question because I never know what to say. Like most people I could probably talk about my life experiences for hours, but when someone asks me that particular question, my mind just goes blank. Okay, so a little about me? Well, I’m a full-time researcher, writer, and adrenalin junkie. I like my life and my fiction fast-paced and exciting. Having a doctorate in education has given me the opportunity to work in many interesting places, like Mexico and the Caribbean, where I’ve had some thrilling experiences, as well as made some wonderful friends, all of which have played a big part in my writing.

Why writing? What compelled you to write, and what is your favorite genre?
From the moment I began to recognize words on paper, I’ve been a voracious reader. Books have always been friends, especially during those awkward years we all go through. So it was a natural progression to writing. Also, with my Irish/Cherokee heritage, storytelling is in my blood. As to my favorite genre, I’m not sure I have one. I like novels that are fast-paced, exciting, and have strong romantic elements. At the present time, I have three books that will be coming out in 2011: Love Potion Two-fourteen, a romantic comedy; Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny, a paranormal romantic suspense; and Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Run, a thriller with strong romantic elements. So as you can see, I write across several genres.

I know you have been placed in several competitions you’ve entered, so please will you share your take on the value of competitions with us? I know you have won at least one of those competitions. Has winning had a major impact on your publishing prospects?
Contests can definitely help with both your writing skills and your chances of getting published. BUT you have to be careful. Contests can be expensive. Even though each contest only costs $15 or $20, those fees can add up. So if you’re going to enter a contest, read the criteria and make sure it fits your book. This gives you a much better chance of placing in the contest. Most contests give you feedback from the judges, so you get an unbiased critique of your writing. And if you’re lucky enough to be a finalist, putting that in your query letter can definitely get you more requests for your manuscript. Winning a contest isn’t a guarantee you’ll get published, but it does tell editors and agents that you’re doing something right.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
That’s a tough one. There are so many beautiful places in the world, it’s hard to choose. But wherever it is, it would have to have forests. I need the trees around me. I must have been a Druid in a previous life. I don’t do well in flat open spaces.

What is your favorite color, and why?
Rust. Because it’s earthy and peaceful, and it’s one of the few colors that looks really good on me. Of course, I was born in Oregon, and sooner or later just about everything rusts there anyway. 

I know you’ve had a busy writing year this year. Do you have a particular character who has influenced you more than any other?
In my novel Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Run, which is about a woman from a Mormon crime family, my four main characters are based on friends I made while working in Mexico and the Caribbean. Of those four, I’d have to say that Levi, a former CIA agent, probably influenced me more than any of the others. And he was a major factor in my writing the book, even though he’s not the hero of the story, and he doesn’t get the girl. He’s still bitching about that, too.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a plotter? 
Oh, I’m definitely a pantser. In fact, once I get the characters and the story idea in my head, I sit down at the keyboard and just let it come as it will. My characters pretty much dictate the first draft, while I just type. Unfortunately, since none of my characters has ever taken a writing class or read a craft book, none of them know how to write. Which means once the first draft is done, I have to go back and fill plot holes big enough to drive a semi-truck through. 

How much research do you have to do for your stories?
As much as it takes. Nothing makes me more frustrated than reading a novel and seeing information that I know is wrong. So I try not to do that to my readers.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yes. Never give up. You have to keep trying, no matter how long it takes. If you don't have faith in yourself, your story will never be told.

You have a novella coming out in a Valentine Anthology with eTreasures in 2011, can you tell us where we can buy it and when it will be available?
Love Potion Two-Fourteen is a romantic comedy I did for eTreasures’s Cupid Gone Wild Valentine Anthology which will include five or six novellas. These novellas will be released the first two weeks in February, but I don’t have an exact release date for mine yet. Later in the week, I’ll be doing a character interview with the heroine of the story Kole, who’s a white witch in love with the cop who suspects her of fraud. I’ll try to include the cover art as well as a link to the publisher, but I’m told it will be available at all the usual outlets as well.

You also have a full length novel coming out with Black Opal Books in March 2011, please will you tell us a little bit about it? And please will you tell us where we can go to buy it? 

The book for BOB is Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny. It’s a paranormal(shifters) romantic suspense and has a release date of March 17, 2011. This book is a finalist in the Stiletto Contest. I’m doing a character interview with Roman, the hero, who’s half Lycan shifter and half Vampire. I’ll be posting the links with that one as well.

Do you have any more books in the publishing pipeline? And if so what, and when may we expect them/it? 
Yes, one of the books I mentioned before, Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Run. I’ve been negotiating a contract with a publisher on it, but we haven’t come to an agreement yet, so I don’t have a release date. The publisher who’s interested wants some revisions first. But I’m hoping it will come out sometime in 2011.

Thank you Pepper, for telling about yourself, your books and your writing. 

You can visit me at my website:  http://www.pepperoneal.com

Don't miss the opportunity to meet some of Pepper O'Neal's heros and heroines when she interviews them later in the week.


26 December 2010

Meet Katie Salidas - Immortalis: Hunters & Prey Virtual Book Tour

The youngest of four children, Katie has always had a desire to entertain. Since, early childhood, she's dreamed fantastical characters and scribbled them into pages of various journals and notebooks. Taking an interest in vampires, she devoured every book, featuring those blood sucking creatures, in any genre she could find.

Author of the hot new Urban Fantasy series, Immortalis, Katie has always had a desire to entertain. Since, early childhood, she's dreamed up fantastical characters and scribbled them into pages of various journals and notebooks. Taking an interest in vampires at an early age, she devoured every book, featuring those mysterious, blood sucking creatures, in any genre she could find. She claims that, of all the monsters out there, vampires had always been the most interesting.
It was only natural that a love of reading about vampires, and a love of writing, turned into a desire to write her own stories.
A Las Vegas native, having grown up in the famed City of Sin, Katie loves to feature it as a recurring setting for many of her stories.

Katie: I will be pulling a winner from those who leave a comment or question and they will receive one of my ebooks from Smashwords, winners choice. They will receive a coupon for the book that is good until Jan 31st.
Sherry: Readers, leave a comment or question to be entered in the drawing. Good luck!

Blurb:Explore the emotional upheaval that is the transformation from human to vampire.
Bleeding to death after brutal mugging on the campus of UNLV, Twenty-five year old Alyssa, is rescued by the cold and aloof, vampire, Lysander. Taking pity on her, he shares the gift-and curse-of immortality. She awakens as a vampire and is soon devastated by harsh realities of her new way of life: An unyielding thirst for blood as well as the loss of her friends, her independence, and her humanity. 
As if having her humanity stripped away was not enough to make life interesting, Alyssa finds out her "turning", did not go unnoticed by the rest of undead society. Old enemies; an ancient sect of vampire hunters, known as the Acta Sanctorum, as well as a powerful Vampire mistress, each set plans in motion to destroy both Alyssa and Lysander. 
Only by accepting her new-found immortality, seizing the night, will Alyssa hope to survive. She and Lysander must fight together against two sets of enemies bent on destroying them both.

I stormed into the master bedroom, slamming the door behind me. I needed some alone time, and a hot shower to help wash away the stress of the day. 
The shower had always been a place where I could relax and be at peace with my thoughts—something I desperately needed at that moment. Between the near-death experience with Quentin and Lysander’s stubborn anger about Fallon, my nerves were on edge.
Why does he have to hate my best friend? 
I walked into the bathroom and found my reflection in the vanity mirror. Mimicking Lysander’s monotone voice I repeated, “Then accept that your friendship is over. Our two worlds cannot co-exist.” 
I rolled my eyes and turned away to start the shower. A high-pressure cascade of water shot out of the showerhead as I twisted the brushed nickel knob.
“Just because it hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean that it can’t. Who’s to say we can’t remain good friends? I mean, she already knows about us.” I shrugged off my coat and unbuttoned my jeans.
“Thank goodness for Rozaline. At least she seems to be on my side.” 
I slid the jeans down around my ankles and stepped out, and then made quick work of my top and bra.
“How do I get him to understand? We’re not that different, Fallon and I. We can remain friends when this mess is all over.” 
Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, naked, I studied myself. 
“Okay, maybe we are a little different.” 
No sign of the previous fights marked my perfect, smooth skin. Amazed, I fingered the spots where I remembered the bullets tearing though me. I noticed how closely my skin matched the vanilla ice cream-colored walls. I almost blended in like camouflage. Only the pink of my nipples, the blue of my eyes, and the red of my hair made me stand out. It still surprised me, even after months of life as a vampire, how different I was. As a human, I should have been dead, or at the very least, scarred and mutilated from all of the action I had seen. But my immortal body always returned to its original state of perfection, healing with no trace of injuries.
"Well.” I turned away from my reflection. “Even if we are a little different, I’m not losing my best friend again.” 
Steam flowed from the shower, telling me the water had reached the perfect scalding temperature. I loved the heat. My poor circulation and slow beating heart left me in a constant state of chill—especially in places like my toes and fingertips. I loved to be around any form of warmth.
I stepped into the shower, enjoying the momentary shock, the initial hot sting from the temperature change. It quickly turned into a sensual, full, heat that warmed my entire body. I felt some of my stress melt and slide away, disappearing down the drain. Facing the water, I let it hit my face and run down my neck and breasts, washing away whatever grime might be left from the day.
The door opened, and from the corner of my eye I saw the dark hair and athletic figure of Lysander. There went my relaxing shower.
“I don’t want to talk to you right now,” I shouted. 
I turned around and let the water run down my back and busied myself by opening a bottle of citrus-scented shampoo. I didn’t feel like being lectured by him anymore and hoped he’d take the not-so-subtle hint to go away. 
“I do not wish to fight with you. But you must understand my position.” His voice carried that annoying hit of authority he used when he wanted things done his way. 
I ignored him, spreading the shampoo into my long hair, massaging it into my scalp, creating a foamy mountain of lather on top of my head. 
“Alyssa, stop acting childish and listen to me.” 
His choice of words were far from endearing and had the opposite effect on me. I turned my back, facing the water, letting it wash away the bubbles. The rushing cascade muffled Lysander’s words.  
The shower door opened and Lysander stepped inside. His hand grasped mine, pulling it from my hair. With one twirling motion, he forced me around to look at him. 
“You will not ignore me,” he said, a note of frustration in his voice. He stood naked before me, holding me, crushing me against his hard body. 
“I have nothing to say to you.”  
I didn’t need another lecture. I had done what I thought best at the time, for better or worse. There was no way to go back and change those actions. Harping on me wasn’t going to solve anything. I tried wedging my hands between our bodies, but he wouldn’t allow it. 
“You endangered us all. Don’t you see that?” 
“No. I endangered myself,” I snapped at him. “Do you think I would have willingly done things to hurt the clan?” I pushed again at his body, trying to free myself from his grasp. “You think I’m so naive, that I have no sense at all, don’t you?”
He looked down, locking his eyes on mine. I felt the odd press of his mind, trying to delve into my own. I knew he was trying to use his power to subdue my anger, and I didn’t want that. I had every reason to be angry with him, and that anger helped me focus enough to break his stare. I turned my head away from him—the only real defense I had. I was no match to play mental games with a two-thousand year old vampire, and I knew it.
A low growl rumbled in his throat. I could feel the rage like an electric current, vibrating inside of him. A small voice in the back of my head told me to just be quiet and let him say his piece, but anger consumed my better judgment. 
“I left you at the hotel. I went after Fallon, alone. I never once involved you or the clan in my attempt to save her. When we escaped, I brought Santino to a neutral spot. Never once did I contact you or give you or the clan’s location away. So you tell me, how the fuck I endangered anyone but myself?” I slammed my fist into his chest, punctuating the anger in my words.
He stood silent for a moment. Against my better judgment, I looked up, intending to demand his answers and apology. Our eyes met, but I didn’t see anger there. Pain was etched across his face. My rage faltered. The hypnotic pull of his twilight eyes caught me in my momentary weakness. His voice whispered in my mind. I thought I had lost you.
My head began to swim, feeling heavy as his power invaded. Fear crept into my mind—not a fear of Lysander or of death, but of the all-consuming emptiness of a broken heart.
I never want to lose you, Alyssa. He whispered in my head. I was so afraid for you. You are my reason to continue living. You ended my loneliness. Be angry with me for acting as a leader and reprimanding you, but please do not endanger yourself. I could not bear that loss. I need you at my side.
He wanted me to feel everything: the fear, the pain, the sadness, the loss. He wanted me to feel how hurt he had been when I left him there in the hotel. And I did. The crushing weight of those devastating emotions enveloped me. For a brief moment my own heart ached as if it were being slowly ripped from my chest. A lump formed in my throat, and tears welled in my eyes. It felt like my world had fallen apart.
He released me from his mental hold, and I collapsed into him.
“Please do not make me worry like that again.” His tone gave away the emotions he felt. He sounded so wounded. So lonely.
My head cleared and the tidal wave of heartache receded. I understood his anger and pain, and felt terrible for causing him to feel that way; but he needed to understand my motivations. “I’m sorry, but I had to. You wouldn’t have let me save my friend.” “Alyssa, you will always bring trouble, won’t you?” He reached a hand up and stroked my hair.
I buried my head into his hard, muscular chest, unsure how to take his words. Did that mean he understood? It certainly didn’t refute the fact that he wouldn’t have saved her. “I don’t know,” I whispered. “Probably. Trouble loves me, right?”
Lysander wrapped his arms around me. “It seems you live only to attract danger. You are my heart, Alyssa. You allowed me to feel for someone again. You could have been killed. I don’t know that I could survive that.”
“It was my life at risk, and it was a risk I was willing to take. I couldn’t let them harm my friend.”
“Your life is not something I want to risk. You are young, and though immortal, you are not invincible. I do not want to lose you.”
“But I brought her into this. I had to save her.” I felt like I would have to drill the point into his head to get him to understand. 
“You did not have to bring her into this.” 
“What’s done is done. I can’t change what’s already happened, and you have harped on me long enough for this.”
“You are right. I know your intentions were good. As the leader of this clan, I cannot condone your actions, but as your mate, I’m glad that you did what you felt you had to in order to survive, even if that meant bringing a mortal into this.”
I smiled, my face still buried in his chest.
He’s never called me his mate before. “You consider me your mate?”
His hand trailed up my back. Long soft fingers twisted into the hair at the base of my neck. I breathed a deep sigh, enjoying the gentle caress of his touch.
He slowly pulled me away from his chest, urging me to look up at him.
“Yes, Alyssa, how could you think we were anything less? I love you. I want us to share immortality as mates, like Crystal and Drew, or Nicholas and Rozaline. You are my heart.”
I melted as his words sunk in. He loved me. He cherished me. Underneath that hard, aloof exterior his heart beat for me. 
“I love you too, Lysander,” my voice was barely a whisper, but I saw the acknowledgement in his eyes. 

Blog: http://myimmortalstories.blogspot.com/  
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ksalidas?ref=profile
Facebook Author Fansite: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Katie-Salidas-Author/214780936916 
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/katelv 
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Thank you Katie for joining us today and sharing your book with us. 
And readers, don't foget to comment to win a copy of Katie's book. 
Good luck :-)

25 December 2010

A Happy Cristmas from Anne Greene

Like many other Christians, Christmas is the most moving, meaningful, and magnificent time of the year for me. 

First, just saying Merry Christmas these days provides an open door to tell people we meet in stores and on the streets that we want to keep Christ in Christmas. Depending upon the situation, when I receive a smile in return and an openness to talk via the person’s body language, I can discuss why keeping Christ in Christmas is so meaningful to me. Plus, all the awesome Christmas programs in churches provide so many opportunities to bring friends in to hear the gospel. Even school Christmas programs provide opportunities to talk about our Savior. After we applaud their cute program about Santa and giving gifts, we can bring the Perfect Gift God gave to each of us into the conversation with teachers and students. We parents are not prohibited from talking about Jesus on school grounds. In my neighborhood a home sits on a hill right next to an elementary school. Each year the lovely people in that home drape a huge banner across their fence for all the students to see—Christ is the Reason For The Season. All the cars passing by on that very busy street enjoy the sign as well. 

carol‑singers.jpg290 × 218 - CHRISTMAS CAROLING SINGER !!!
Posted by malaysiaevillage in Nov 18, 2009, ...


I sing in a two hundred person Sanctuary choir and it is my pleasure each year to spend many extra hours rehearsing songs that worship our Lord. Then on performance night I offer my sacrifice of praise to my Lord. And I love to sing Christmas songs and carols from Elvis and Dolly Parton to The Messiah. Music flows in our home during the Christmas season. It does my heart good to see the boxes to collect toys for kids in need in every grocery store, drug store, and almost any place where people gather. And don’t you love the smiling Salvation Army bell ringers. One I saw last night was singing carols in front of Walgreens. And, of course, in our home Christmas is a warm family time. My whole family, small though it is, twelve people ranging in age from six to seventy-three gather for good food and gifts. Before the bountiful dinner, my dear husband always reads the Christmas story about the greatest gift ever given.

267 × 274 - Christmas Day

I love the story of Mary, so young probably only about fifteen, telling the man she loves that she is pregnant. And young Joseph, probably not more than twenty himself, loving her so much and believing the angel that yes, his betrothed though with child, is still a virgin. How both may have been shunned by their families, but Joseph stepped up like a man and took his beloved Mary for his wife. How they walked to Bethlehem together. Despite tradition, I’m sure young Joseph couldn’t afford a donkey. How Joseph lay down his tunic for his bride-to-be and there on the dirty floor of a manure-stinking barn delivered God’s own son. Can you think of a more lowly birth for the King of heaven and earth? What a picture to show that He came not to be served but to serve. Only the Creator God could imagine such a birth.

Christmas is our time to rejoice, worship, and give. Let us make the most of the time until The One born so lowly comes again—only this time as King of Kings and Lord of Lords in all His splendor and glory.
* * *

May I too, take this opportunity to wish everyone
a wonderful Christmas
and a very happy 2011

24 December 2010

Some more things you may not know about Anne Greene

Anne, Thank you for joining The Heart of Romance all this week. Please will you share a little bit more about yourself, today?

If you didn’t write, what would you do? 
I’d like to be an archaeologist. I’d love to spend time on a dig and unearth treasures of the past. I like the camping out with like-minded people who get their hands dirty and keep their minds agile. I’d like to sit around at night after a profitable day in the field and discuss larger than life characters who made a mark in time. 
That sounds fascinating.  There's I programme here in the UK I love to wach called Time Team.  A group of archeologists share their digs with us and the sites cross all sorts of time and culture spans.  I try never to miss it. 

Why do you write in your specific genres?
I love history—and mystery. These are the types of books I enjoy, both to learn something new and to exercise my puzzle-solving bent. All my books include suspense and mystery, even the Historical Romances like Masquerade Marriage. My books always include adventure, romance and suspense with a large dose of characters learning their most important lessons.

You have talked about the many countries you've lived in, if you had to live somewhere else in the world, where would it be? And why? 
I’ve visited twenty-four foreign countries and though I love some of them, there is no place like the good old USA. However, if I had to live somewhere else, I think it would be the United Kingdom. My roots go back to Scotland and Ireland, and I feel right at home there. The landscape is beautiful, the customs delightful and just enough different to make them unique experiences. And I have no problem with the language. I also love Italy. Love the singing, the countryside and the food! 
Italy is such a romantic country and the singers are to die for.  Scotland, too, is a special place for me and littered with my ancestors too :-) 

Do you base your characters on real people? 
I’ve had two real heroes in my life and each offer some traits to my written heroes. My heroines are usually women who are totally opposite from me. Where I am cautious, she is not. Where I am hesitant, she jumps right in. Where I am timid, she is fearless. And so it goes. So, my answer is yes and no.

What car would you buy if money was no object?
I’m not that interested in cars. What I’d rather buy with that money would be a tropical island, and a summer place in Alaska. 
LOL that's quite a contrast! 

Do you have a favourite colour?
My favourite colours run in phases. I’ve had phases of yellow, then red, now it is green. I like green because that colour brings out the green in my eyes.

What is you least favourite aspect of writing?
I love it all. I love the initial meeting the characters and finding out what they want to do. I love fleshing out backgrounds and settings. I love watching the characters and transcribing their actions to the page. I love rewrites and working with words to express exact meanings. I love polishing to see if I can make the story even better. My least favourite aspect of writing is the publicity part. It’s not enough these days for a writer to tell an awesome story, the writer must also sell that story to readers, and get her name known. That means book signings and making public appearances. That’s hard for most writers who would prefer to be sitting quietly at home rather than being the center of attention at some store or library. 

If you could meet any two people in the world, who would they be, and why?
That’s a really hard question. I’ve already met the people in the world that mean the most to me, my husband and family. I love meeting new people who become my friends. I’m not star struck, so there are no famous movie, media, or sports figures I’d love to meet. I’m not avidly political, so there’s no president or politician I’d like to meet. I’ve already met many of the wonderful authors I read. I think I’d travel way into the future and want to meet my great-great-grandson and daughter to see if my Christian legacy remains with them—that is if the Lord doesn’t come first.
What a fabulous concept. meeting great-great-grandchildren.  Pperhaps that's an idea for a new book?

Please tell us something about the other books you’ve written and I particularly like the sound of your sassy detective, please will you give us some teasers about these books? 
My sassy detective is a bit like the Janet Evanovich character, Stephanie Plum, except Holly Gardens is a Christian with a Christian world view, and she has two men deeply in love with her. She rescues both of them, but having been dumped at the altar by a third, is unwilling to risk her heart again. This is a first book in a series of mysteries that she and the two male detectives solve. Each contains the growing tension of which man will ultimately win Holly. Holly’s overriding passion is to be a light in the dark underbelly of society as she solves mysteries. She’s also out to find the culprit who murdered her detective father and painted him as a drug dealer. Each mystery she solves brings her a little closer to finding her father’s killer and taking the detective agency out of the red.
I also have several other books you might find interesting on my website, http://www.annegreeneauthor.com/
Anne, Holly sounds a very strong lady.  Earlier you said you are a 'panster' and yet you have the basis for a whole series of books set out here, and they sound compelling.

Anne thank you for spending all this week at The Heart of Romance, I hope you have a happy and joyful Christmas and that 2011 is kind to you and yours..

23 December 2010

Masquerade Marriage Blurb and Excerpt from Anne Greene


To avoid marrying a sadistic English Lord, Lady Megan MacMurry weds a Highland warrior with a price on his head, whose name she chose from a secret list provided by her pastor.
To protect his widowed mother and younger sister from murderous English soldiers, and to avoid being hung, Brody MacCauley marries Megan and takes on the identity of a Scottish Laird. The two high-spirited people clash as Brody adjusts to the very alien world of the gentry.
When English soldiers discover Brody’s real identity, he must sacrifice his life to protect his wife. Will she love him enough to come up with a risky plan to save him?

Like a determined hero, the fugitive warrior strode through the door at the far end of the tiny stone kirk.
Megan’s eyes widened. Her clenched jaw relaxed. Some of her dread dissolved.
“Impressive.” Molly, Megan’s Irish maid, whispered from where they stood together in the vestibule.
He stopped in front of the hand-carved altar and half-turned toward her. Megan pulled in an uneven breath. This Highlander, wearing formal kilts, was no scrawny lad grown older, nor was he a big, hairy Scot with a bushy beard. The tall, strapping soldier stood with legs braced as if about to do battle.
Her heart skipped. Though she’d known Brody when she wore short skirts, this blond warrior was far more than she expected. Her pulse throbbed in her temples. Doubt niggled her brain. Brody was too tall, too obviously a Highlander. How could she hope to pass him off as a Lowland Laird? He appeared to have too big a chip on his shoulder to let her command him.
Brody’s thick sandy hair swept the collar of his linen shirt. Lace-trimmed cuffs matched the white jabot at his muscular throat. A silver broach clapsed his crimson and black tartan to his wide right shoulder. His Claymore, dirk, and thick sword belt startled her. Megan suppressed a shudder. The English outlawed kilts. With his dress, Brody spat in the face of the English and further imperiled his life. Why?
His intense sapphire stare blazed a trail across the empty wooden pews toward her. His eyes made her feel dizzy as if she just danced a fast reel with a lively partner.

Molly grinned and handed Megan the bridal flowers.
What had she gotten herself into?

Read a review of Masquerade Marriage at -->
Masquerade Marriage 2010 available at WhiteRosePublishing.com 
My webiste: http://www.annegreeneauthor.com/
Characters You'll Always Remember2009
Genesis Finalist Suspense2010
Genesis Finalist Historical

Come back tomorrow and join Anne for her author interview.
On Christmas Day Anne shares her thoughts
on the meaning of Christmas. 

22 December 2010

Today Anne Greene Talks about the process of writing Masquerade Marriage

Today Anne talks about her writing, her favourite authors and other topics.

During a long visit to the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland I became intrigued with why Highland Clans no longer occupied the Highlands. You’ll find the surprising answer in my book Masquerade Marriage. I’m of Scottish ancestry as are so many Americans, and bagpipes music makes my heart sing. I fell in love with the awesome country and the friendly, complex people. So, being a writer, of course I had to write of what I knew. I love the clear fresh air, the handsome people, the amazing openness of the country, the castles, and the Scots violent, adventurous history. In the next few years I plan to add Cailin and Fiona’s love stories to Megan’s legendary love.

* * *
I also write contemporary suspense novels. I have a sassy detective novel, a modern day cowboy suspense, and a Coast Guard mystery, all set in my home state of Texas in the works. Did you know parts of the Civil War were fought in the west? I have a novel in the pipes that is a second book of a family saga which occurred in Talaquah, Oklahoma. I also have a World War 11 Women Pilots love story. I’d love to know if you prefer historical novels to contemporary novels. I’m taking a poll, so could you leave a comment?

* * *
My favorite authors: If a book doesn’t hold my interest I throw it across the room and never read it again. Still, my favorite author list is fairly long. First, I love all the books I write. They are all books of my heart. My passion. So, I’d have to vote for myself as my favorite author. That sounds vain, but it’s not. A writer really lives the books she writes. She goes deep into her own emotions to discover the emotions of her characters. She lives every minute of their lives. Often her characters take her down strange, unexpected paths that open startling new truths. The problems the characters struggle with are many times the questions and events the author faces or has faced in her own life.
That said, I like Philippa Gergory and her books about historic Queens, Janet Evanovich and her Stephan Plum mysteries because they are so funny. I like Sophie Kinsella and her laugh-out loud Twenties Girl. I like Suzanne Brockman and her wounded warrior heroes. I like books that put me in a different dimension than my daily living one. I like books that make me laugh and make me cry. I like books that teach me—subtly. I like books that are surprising. I have favorite inspirational authors, but I know so many of those lovely ladies I don’t want to offend any by forgetting to name them. I have a huge library of books, and the ones I’ve kept I love.

My Website: http://www.annegreeneauthor.com/
Masquerade Marriage 2010 available at WhiteRosePublishing.com

Characters You'll Always Remember2009
Genesis Finalist Suspense2010
Genesis Finalist Historical

Please come back tomorrow to read Anne's blurb and excerpt of
Masquerade Marriage

21 December 2010

Today Anne Greene talks about her writing schedule

Thank for for joining me again. Today I want to share a little bit about my approach to writing.
I am a pantser. I have tried plotting out a book in advance, including storyboarding, and that just doesn’t work for me. I start with a general idea, a setting, and a general idea of what characters I’m using. But very soon into the first draft the characters take over and direct the book. It’s a bit like watching a movie and just writing down what is happening. It’s quite exciting to see where the book will go. 

I write in the  Romantic Suspense, Historical Romance, and Historical genres. As a girl, I didn’t like history—until I read my first Historical. Then I was hooked. So, I know many people today don’t enjoy history, and my goal is to open up the glories of the past to them. History was modern life lived with all its heartache, joy, and excitement in a world very different from our own. I bring these different worlds into vivid, living color, and give a painless dose of history along the way. I write Romantic Suspense because I like to see good win over evil with fast action, surprises, and some who did it and why. 

The character I love writing about the most—is the one I’m currently working on. I love all my characters. However, I do think I like being in the male point of view slightly more than the female. I like being macho and looking at life from a different perspective. I like being strong enough to handle a couple of thugs. Of course my detective knows martial arts, but she doesn’t use her fists. I like looking at a woman I’m interested in and being totally confused as to what makes her do the crazy things she does. But, on the other hand, I love having a woman use her wiles and smarts when that’s all she has going for her. But Megan and Brody from Masquerade Marriage are probably closest to my heart. 

Masquerade Marriage is a book of my heart. My paternal ancestors are Scots of Clan Gunn, which was located in the far north of Scotland in the Caithness area where Vikings intermarried with the Scots. 

I visited Scotland with the purpose of setting one or more historicals there, and fell in love with the country. The final battle between the English and the Scottish Highlanders changed the Highlands forever. A way of life ended. The drama in this story appealed to me, and so I wrote Masquerade Marriage. I love this time in history and so enjoyed living it as I wrote the book. I hope the reader finds a new world to love as he reads my book. 

I do a great deal of research for all my books, including the contemporary ones. I always visit the setting and get some good pictures. Then I find books about the history and time. Small details I research on the internet, but the important ones come from non-fiction books. I am extremely careful in my research because if a reader discovers one error, then I lose credibility.

If I’m writing detective, I have a detective look over the manuscript before I send it out.

If I’m writing WW11 stories, I find someone who has been there. I always find a person who has done the job I’m writing about to look over the finished manuscript.

Of course, when I go further back into history I have to rely solely on the non-fiction books. But I enjoy research and often do far more than I ever use in any one book.

If I’m under deadline I can write an 85,000 word novel in six months or less.

My website is at http://www.http/AnneGreeneAuthor.com
Readers can buy my book at http://amazon.com and http://WhiteRosePublishing.com.

Please join Anne Green tomorrow when she talks about hethe process of writing
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