Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two Ways to Pick Up a Copy of "Chains of Silver" -- Wednesday Only

When my OCC/RWA chaptermate Lex Valentine said she was planning a "30 Days of Christmas" Giveaway, I knew I had to get in on the fun! Today, she's offering chances to win one of three books. In addition to The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: Chains of Silver, Lex is featuring her book Hot Water – Tales of the Darkworld Book Two, and Ari Thatcher's M/F/M BDSM Romance, Fighting for Control.

To enter, visit Lex Valentine's Blog.

The Romance Studio's Book-A-Day Giveaway

When I signed up for The Romance Studio's Book-A-Day Giveaway, I had no idea it would be scheduled for the same day. So now, readers have not one, but two chances to win a copy of Chains of Silver ... today.  To enter, visit The Romance Studio, and on the right-hand side click on Book-A-Day.

Good luck! And stay tuned for more during Chains of Silver Virtual Book Tour!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Unleashed! Chains of Silver Video Trailer Premiere

Chills. When Lex Valentine of Winterheart Design sent me the link to The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: Chains of Silver video, the hairs on my arm stood up.

Valentine captured the heart of the story through the two-minute video. And let me tell you, this representation of Nick rings true. Do those dynamic eyes pierce or what?

Enough talking. Let the video speak for itself:

So what do you think? 

Chains of Silver is available via Amazon and ARe.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday BlogHop & 5 Items to Snack On!

Top 5 Items to Bring to Snack On!

Going shopping, online or in-person? Or, staying home to avoid the crowds and doing some reading this marketing-infused Black Friday? Well, one thing that I’ve learned over the years is that it’s vital to bring snacks during those long shopping trips.

Snacks? What is this crazy writer talking about? Yes, food. When the kids or husband get grumpy, I’ve got treats to distract them, and hold off grump-fests, and they keep me in a good mood, too.

So here are my top 5 ideas for a purse stash!

1)    Granola bars – I tend to keep energy bars stashed in my car, work bag, purse, etc. It’s always a good little mini-meal.

2)    Packaged nuts – Have you seen the 100-calorie bags of almonds? Healthy & handy. Items that need to be shelled aren’t the best in stores, but if you’re doing a long drive, I like pistachios and pumpkin seeds.

3)    Mini carrots – Yes, same as above. I’m thinking healthy here. While grocery stores sell pre-packaged bags of carrots, you could stuff our own. More time, but less money.

4)    Hard candy/Lifesavers – While they are not considered “food” per say, surprisingly a piece of hard candy or a Wint-O-Green Lifesaver can stave off a meltdown.

5)    Crackers/Cookies – I’m a fan of those 100-calorie Wheat Thins, Oreos, etc. Usually, I pack them in my daughters’ lunches, but they also tuck into a purse quite nicely.

Of course, make sure to include a small bottled water, because you know … shopping is thirsty work!

What’s your tip for a quick snack while hitting the stores? Remember to respond below, and leave your email address to be entered into the contest.

Welcome to our Black Friday blog hop! See below for the huge list of prizes!

One random commenter (can be on any of the blogs) will win a Kindle Fire, along with all the prizes below! That's the easiest kind of shopping I can think of...


Cassandra Carr: copy of either of my two current releases, Talk to Me or Head Games

Kristabel Reed: back list copy of one of her stories and then on her own blog a $10 GC plus a copy of her newest release, Risque, a Regency Menage Tale

Lucy Felthouse: back list copy of any of her single-title books

Cari Quinn: back list copy of one of her books

Leigh Elwood: two back list copies of her books

Natasha Blackthorne: copies of her two Regency era novellas: Grey's Lady and Waltz of Seduction

- KT Grant: a print copy of Sweet and Sinful and an ebook copy of my next release, Xavier's Loving Arms
Amber Kallyn: e-copy of Dragos 1

- Camryn Rhys: Kindle copies of The Barn Dance and Off the Record - Foodie Erotic Romances

Lissa Matthews: two of her back list books

Misa Buckley: an e-copy of Ironhaven and To Reach the Dawn

Lacey Wolfe: a copy of Ambers Muse

Courtney Sheets: a $25 GC to Ravenous Romance and a copy of Kona Warrior - PDF

Sara Brookes: an e-copy of one of my back list books

Cynthia Arsuaga: a copy of an e-book, and on her own blog five book charm book tethers

Louisa Bacio: .pdf copy of the first book in The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf series, and on her own blog a $10 certificate to Ravenous Romance, and each commenter will also be entered to win a Goody Bag of New Orleans treats

Malia Mallory: one copy each of The ABC's of Erotica and Santa's Back Door Baby

- Cynthia Eden: a copy of Angel of Darkness (either print or digital)

Carrie Ann Ryan: an e-copy of The Alpha's Path

Jacquie Rogers: a Smashwords coupon for Faery Merry Christmas, plus on her own blog, a free copy of Much Ado About Marshals

So what are the rules? Simple: visit as many of the blogs as you can and leave a comment for the blog owner. For every comment, you'll get one entry into the grand-prize drawing. Be sure to leave your e-mail address with every comment so we can find you if you win! And don't forget that several blog owners are giving away prizes specific to their blog, too!

One winner will be chosen on Saturday morning using Cassandra Car  will contact that person about the Kindle Fire and then each blog owner with a prize will contact the winner themselves to arrange delivery of said prize.
Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

And, if you have time ... my guest blogger Victoria Blisse (right below this one) is offering giveaways of her own! 

Victoria Blisse interviews her Character, Joe, from Naughty Rendezvous

Victoria Blisse channels her Naughty Rendezvous character Joe, and grilles him on a few naughty questions. A little later, she treats readers to an excerpt and a contest! We all love to win!

I am merely the author of my books, the people who know it best are my characters so below is an interview with the sexy and dominant Joe from Naughty Rendezvous, here’s the blurb:

First title in the Rendezvous trilogy, part of Xcite Books' Ultimate Curves Rubenesque Range.

Joe likes to tease and single mum Leanna loves it too. When they meet up for their first official date, the sparks fly but who's going to crack first? Will Joe's intimate questions and kiss and run tactics bring Leanna to her knees or will Leanna’s curves, flashed in moments of exhibition drive Joe to rip off all her clothes and indulge his urges?

How will she react to Joe's domination and will she be turned on by his spankings? She's going to be a naughty girl, so she's bound to find out.

Hi Joe, can you tell us what first attracted you to Leanna.

Well, as you know we met online and I was blown away by her generous spirit and her brilliant sense of humour. As I got to know her more I was just amazed by how she held her life together, being a single mom has got to be hard work. I soon found my days lacking if I didn't chat with her. She became an essential part of my day because she's just one in a million and I really wanted to know her more.

Do you ever have problems understanding her?

Oh, all the damn time. Our language barrier is huge even though we're meant to speak the exact same one. Her English is completely foreign to me. She knows when she's said something I've not understood as I pull my 'bemused American' face. I am not sure what it looks like but I use it a lot, Leanna thinks it is cute.

What did you think when you first met Leanna?

I'm not sure I was thinking at the time, I know it is crude but all my blood was pooling elsewhere at the time. She's a beautiful lady. Her eyes are just mesmerising.  I was instantly smitten and I don't mind admitting it.

Do you have a bit of your story that you'd like to share with us?

Yes, indeed I do. It illustrates the intricacies of inter-language relations too! (Ed. note -- The censorship comes purely through me. While I use all sorts of naughty language in my own writing, I've been trying to keep the blog from going "adult content." For some reason when that feature gets turned on, the traffic statistics disappear. So, please forgive me ...)
“So, this is soccer.” He says, his tone intending to tease.
“No, my love, this is football. The real stuff where there’s a round ball and people actually kick it.”
“You strange Brits with your weirdly shaped balls.” He sighs.
“You Americans with your sissy rugby. There’s so many pads you don’t know where the player stops and where his protection begins.”
“I suppose real men do this, do they?”
I look at the television properly and notice a reply of a particularly fine tackle that ends in a guy rolling around in imagined pain.
“Oh, and I suppose American footballer’s never pull such tricks.”
“No ma’am.” He smiles. I love it when he calls me ma’am. It makes my stomach turn to jelly and my insides run like caramel.
“That’s because they’re so constricted by their protective gear they’re incapable of it.”
We continue along the same theme, him singing the praises of the football he knows and me telling him all about proper football.  It’s not a real argument, we’re still snuggled close together and there’s no sting in our words. It’s just a play fight, a pretend duel, an excuse for conversation. It’s fun between two friends who like to play with words.
“We’ll have to watch the Superbowl together, I’ll show you what the real stuff’s like.”
“Sure, that’d be good. I can prove to you once and for all that my football is more entertaining then.” I gently goad as I hide my pleasure at those words. He has plans for us in the future, he’s thinking of us together not just now but later too. I find a thrill in that. It’s one of those things I worry about (my mum will tell you I am a born worrier) that if Joe and I f**k now we’ll bugger up our friendship. I enjoy our friendship, of course I do and I don’t want a consummation of lust to spoil that.
“You just like the nice arse,” he says, pointing at the one in focus on the screen.
“Well yes, you do have a nice arse but it’s not your only good point.” I wink cheekily.
“What other good points do I have?” he asks, fixing me with his intense gaze.
“Oh, no, no, I’ll give you a big head if I list them.” I can feel the heat in my cheeks as I think about how much of him I do indeed love.
“Oh, baby, believe me, you can give me any kind of head you like any time you like,” he purrs the words, his nose almost touching mine, our gazes locked. I am sure he can feel the heat radiating from my cheeks as I try my hardest not to look away from him, to give him the pleasure of winning even though all I can picture is Joe with his c**k in my mouth, f**king forward as I give him just the kind of head I desire to give him.
I love my football, but Giggs, Ronaldo and Rooney are all but ignored as I concentrate on the sexual tension building between Joe and me. I just wonder what will break it, what will push us over the flirting line?
A goal is scored and I raise my hands in the air. "Goooooaaaaaalllllll!" I yell and then turn to plant a kiss upon Joe's cheek. (Any excuse, right?) However, his face is pointing directly at me and so the kiss lands upon his plump, pink, sexy lips instead.
It's the first pebble of a rock slide, the impact of lip to lip shakes our bodies and throws them together and causes them to bump and writhe against each other. I nibble that lower lip. He runs his hand down over my shoulders, down my spine to the hollow just before the curve down to my bottom. A hand of mine strays onto his chest and wiggles its way between buttons before roaming across warm flesh.
My legs uncurl and I am propelled onto my back. His heavy body is on top of me, my hand is trapped between us, his crotch is in my crotch, his legs are between my own and I am trapped, deliciously trapped. Held down and held still, I savour the moment, the sensation of being controlled, knowing that I am not in charge right now, That I am not the responsible one here. I am the controlled not the controller.
God, it feels good.
If you'd like to read more of Joes story pick up Naughty Rendezvous from Xcite now. Sensual Rendezvous, the second book in the series is also available and the third story, Wild Rendezvous will be available December 15. 

Tempting Rendezvous, the print version that comprises all the above novellas is also available now, so lots of ways to get more of Joe!

Joe gives Leanna her perfect punishment.

Joe likes to tease and single mum Leanna loves it too. When they meet up for their first official date, the sparks fly but who's going to crack first? Will Joe's intimate questions and kiss and run tactics bring Leanna to her knees or will Leanna's curves, flashed in moments of exhibition drive Joe to rip off all her clothes and indulge his urges?

How will she react to Joe's domination and will she be turned on by his spankings? She's going to be a naughty girl, so she's bound to find out.

Buy links:


Victoria Blisse is a Mother, Wife, Christian, Manchester United Fan and Award Winning Erotica Authoress.

She is equally at home behind a laptop or a cooker and she loves to create stories, poems, cakes and biscuits that make people happy. She was born near Manchester, England and her northern English quirkiness shows through in all of her stories. Passion, love and laughter fill her works, just as they fill her busy life.

If you want to keep up to date with what’s going on in the world of Blisse check me out at My website:


Comment on this post or any in the Naughty Rendezvous Blog Tour and you will be in with a chance to win one of these prizes:

A  Print novel, Tempting Rendezvous.
All three eBooks in the Getting Together trilogy.
A copy of the eBook Restoration.

All you need to do is comment on this post and make sure your email address is included there somewhere (feel free to type as  myname AT myemailprovider DOT com to avoid attracting spam!) and your comment will be counted in the draw.

One comment per blog will be counted, but there are 10 blogs in the Naughty Rendezvous blog tour and if you comment on all of them that gives you 10 chances to win!

Victoria Blisse will choose the three winners on the December 4th and will announce them on Good Luck!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5 Tips to Building Your Author’s Website & Redesign!

Putting together a website as an author, a business or for personal reasons, can be a daunting task. I have such a hard time answering questions about brand and identity. And, at the same time, my writing crosses boundaries from the traditional mainstream m/f to same-sex f/f tales to the erotic paranormal. How can one possibly group them altogether?

When my first book Sex University: Physical Education came out in June 2010, I opened this blog as a stopping point for information. At the same time, I purchased the URL We’ve all heard horror stories about individuals trying to get their name as an address, and not having any luck. For a mere $11.99 or less (on, you can register your site and worry about putting something up later. Or, there’s always the option of pointing the address in the direction of your blog.

After spending too much time attempting to organize and create my own site, I turned to the professionals this year. My agent, Saritza Hernandez of the L. Perkins Agency, recommended Purple Ink Graphics & Design.   

Earlier this year, Tuesday at Purple Ink created the video trailer for The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: A New Orleans Threesome. Then with the time constraints of balancing life and writing, I never finished the design comp document for the website redesign. Well, I’m finally happy to say that the project is completed!

For direction, I requested the color purple, and also made the suggestion to the above-ground tombstones found in Louisiana as a header graphic to go along with the style of my erotic paranormal books. Didn’t she do a fabulous job?

 So here’s my five tips to keep in mind while creating a website:

1)   Cost – Certainly you need to decide what’s in your budget. If I would’ve hired someone to begin with, then I’d have saved time through the labor cost of trying to make one myself. How much is your time worth? I know just enough PhotoShop to get myself in trouble. I made my own Romance Trading Cards, and I think they turned out quite well, but the time it took to complete the project would have been better spent doing something else.

2)   Work in Progress – My mother, who is an artist, recently hired someone to create a site for her, and while it looks great she spent way more than I did. Her problem? She kept wanting bigger and better technology. She showed me a friend’s site and said that he paid $10,000 for it. What?! The thing is, it wasn’t his first site … it was probably his third or fourth, so he’d evolved to the flashiness. Right now, my site feels pretty complete. Is there more I could add, such as a page on where I’m doing guest blogs? Sure … but those can wait for the future.

3)   Design Theme – I can hear readers groaning now. Brand. Identity. Marketing. Oh, my. There are plenty of workshops offered to help the individual create their own persona. I recommend Invest some time in the design process, and the final result will come all that much better. Right now, my site definitely embraces the erotic paranormal realm.

4)   Content – You’re a writer, right? Well, you need to write the content for your site! Use a flow chart of pages. What’s going to go where, and what type of material will you need to fill those pages? At the same time, images also play a vital role. In addition to providing information on my books, I wanted a place to showcase the upcoming workshops that I’m teaching … so all that information was collected.

5)   Updates – To keep the page from looking stale, we chose to place widgets from Twitter and Goodreads on the front page. This way, at least some of the material stays fresh.  With a new pretty site, I also need to commit to updating the content and adding in new material. Now, if I only knew how to do that … help Tuesday! ;-)

So that’s my advice to creating a better website. What other tips have you found? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? And … what do you think of my new site?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting ready for Black Friday Tips & Bloghop

On Black Friday myself and 22 other authors will be joining together for an AWESOME blog hop! The theme? Why, holiday shopping tips & deals, of course!

AND we’ve got a deal for you! One random commenter (can be on any of the blogs) will win a Kindle Fire, along with the prizes below! That’s the easiest kind of shopping I can think of!

 Cassandra Carr kicks the hop off, and you’ll travel through from there.


- Cassandra Carr: copy of either of my two current releases, Talk to Me or Head Games

- Kristabel Reed: back list copy of one of her stories and then on her own blog a $10 GC plus a copy of her newest release, Risque, a Regency Menage Tale

- Lucy Felthouse: backlist copy of any of her single-title books

- Cari Quinn: backlist copy of one of her books

- Leigh Elwood: two backlist copies of her books

- Natasha Blackthorne: copies of her two Regency era novellas: Greyís Lady and Waltz of Seduction

- Amber Kallyn: e-copy of Dragos 1

- Camryn Rhys: Kindle copies of The Barn Dance and Off the Record ñ Foodie Erotic Romances

- Lissa Matthews: two of her back list books

- Misa Buckley: an e-copy of Ironhaven and To Reach the Dawn

- Lacey Wolfe: a copy of Ambers Muse

- Courtney Sheets: a $25 GC to Ravenous Romance and a copy of Kona Warrior ñ PDF

- Sara Brookes: an e-copy of one of my back list books

- Cynthia Arsuaga: a copy of an e-book, and on her own blog five book charm book tethers

- Louisa Bacio: .pdf copy of my first book in The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf series, and on her own blog a $10 certificate to Ravenous Romance, and each commenter will also be entered to win a Goody Bag of new Orleans treats

- Malia Mallory: one copy each of The ABCís of Erotica and Santaís Back Door Baby

- Cynthia Eden: a copy of Angel of Darkness (either print or digital)

- Carrie Ann Ryan:  a free ecopy of An Alpha's Path

WHAT a list of prizes!!! Be sure to come back on Friday!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chestnuts Roasting on a … Your Traditions?

This past week I went shopping at the 99 Ranch Market, which is a “Chinese supermarket chain.” I stand out a bit in the store (I’m Italian-American), but my family likes products such as roasted seaweed and Little Prince snacks. As I cruised through the fresh fruit & veggies aisle, what did I spy?


Hanging at The Romance Studio's Thanksgiving party. Come check out our traditions, and share yours.

Partying at The Romance Studio: Nick the Vampire Hunter

For months I’ve been looking for images that capture the hero from my latest release,
The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: Chains of Silver. Nick seems to defy reality.

The read a description of the love interest, stop by the happenings at The Romance Studio Thanksgiving Party.

Plus, you can enter to win some goodies, and who doesn't want that!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Celebrating Chains of Silver Release & New Orleans Goodies

Thanks for celebrating the release of The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: Chains of Silver with me. This book is particularly special since the story of Silver resonated since writing the first book in the series, A New Orleans Threesome. A few months ago, I wrote a post about her love interest Nick, and what a man! The book took a few twists, and hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

Giveaway info below, but first here’s a teaser:

The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: Chains of Silver

Adopted at birth, Silver Ashe discovers her blood-brother Trevor Pack is a werewolf, with a vampire and witch for lovers. All her teachings about the evils of the paranormal Others come into question. She runs to a family friend, Nick, for help.

Nick Stake takes his hobby as a vampire hunter personally. He strives to rid the world of evil bloodsuckers. When his best friend’s “kid” sister comes to him for advice, Nick discovers Silver’s more than grown up. He battles his growing desire for Silver and blindly holds true to his convictions.

Once Silver reaches her sexual maturity, she’ll inherit her full genetic heritage and turn into a werewolf. When death comes calling, Silver and Nick must face their darkest fears in order to break free from the chains that bind.

Available now via Ravenous Romance

If you’re an Amazon-only reader … you’ll have to wait a few days.

In October, I visited New Orleans for the GayRomLit Retreat, and picked up a few goodies with this day in mind! Check out the edible yum-ness!

The Bag of Goodies
What's Inside the Bag! 
Contest Information: Over the next week, I’ll be taking part in The Romance Studio’s Thanksgiving Party (Nov. 19-22), and a Black Friday Blog Hop (Nov. 25). Leave a comment (and your email address) on my post today, or any of those and you’ll be entered into to win my Grand Prize, which is that New Orleans Goody Bag. The Black Friday Blog Hop is hosting a giveaway of an electronic reader ... so it's worthwhile! (I’ll also be giving away some other prizes, too, so stay tuned!) 

Price equivalent of the New Orleans Goody Bag is around $30 (and I’ll pay for U.S. shipping). (International entries are eligible for the gift certificates and electronic book giveaways, but after filling out custom forms the last week I don’t think I can ship food legally!)

For the next 24 hours, I’m offering up a $10 Ravenous Romance gift certificate for one commenter. (I’ll choose the winner at 5 p.m. PST on Saturday. I’ll be at an RWA board meeting in the morning, and will draw when I get back home.) The winner of my contests will be chosen via Random. org.

Goodreads: Finally, if you’re on Goodreads, I’d appreciate if you’d add Chains of Silver to your TBR list … pretty please!

So tell me, what do you think of when you think New Orleans?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cover Reveal – The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: Chains of Silver

As an author, the publishing process happens in little steps. After the acceptance, there comes the contract, edits and copy edits. One of the most-exciting milestones has to be seeing the cover for the first time.

Finally, here’s a sneak peak at The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: Chains of Silver.

Ravenous Romance design guru Allan possesses a flair for capturing the feel of a novel, and offering up some enticing subjects. Wait until you read how that roller coaster in the background ties into the storyline!  

And, don’t you think that the hunky male looks a little bit like a certain, um, teen werewolf? Oh, yes, that’s where my imagination keeps going.

The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: Chains of Silver releases on Friday, November 18, via Ravenous Romance, and will be available on Amazon and ARe soon after.

Been riding this high all day long. Thanks for letting me celebrate! Now back to writing my Christmas novella … 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nominated for Best Erotic Paranormal – Wizard or Witch

Good news travels through “innocent” Tweets!

Here I was, minding my own business and right before I went to turn into bed, I checked onto Twitter. Oooh, I had a few “mentions.”

Shay MacLean musing on a series title to encompass her novella “Shooting Stars” and upcoming full-length release, “Falling Star.” (Don’t you think “Wish Upon a Star” sounds like a great series title?)

Wait? What’s that one from @RachelFirasek?

@Louisabacio Hey, congrats on your TRR nom. […] Goodluck!

(And Rachel’s up for an award, too, for her book Piper’s Fury!)

The Romance Reviews nomination? I was nominated? Whoo-hoo! Thrilled to announce that The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: A New Orleans Threesome is up for Best Erotic Paranormal Romance in the category of Wizard & Witch.

Voting runs through Nov. 30, and now comes the plea! Please go vote! (Big puppy-dog eyes …) Please!

Here’s the magic link:

The Romance Review

Now for a little tease! Got a glimpse of my cover for the upcoming sequel Chains of Silver. The art designer/magician at Ravenous Romance is not holding back at all! Yes, it’ll be coming soon!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Courtney Sheets Unveils "The Hooded Man"

First let me say Thank You to Louisa for having me! I’m very excited to be here today.  As some of you know, I normally write Hawaiian Paranormal and Paranormal short stories but my newest book, The Hooded Man, takes us into Medieval England and is a new twist on the traditional Robin Hood tale. It will be available from Decadent Publishing.

I thought the best way to share my excitement for Robin Hood and The Hooded Man is to tell a bit about the stories my book is based on.

Who was Robin Hood? Was he a mere man made into myth by constant oral storytelling or a symbol of a much simpler time? One could say that he is an exciting mixture of both, a unique melding of myth, hero, and man. While the legend of Robin Hood is rooted in history, it is also a combination of human interest and pagan mythology. So once again we can ask who was that hooded man? 'Was he man, or spirit of the forest, like Robin Goodfellow or the Green Man?"
In many intellectual circles, Robin Hood has been thought to have been a real man named Robert Fiztooth, the Earl of Huntingdon. While the true identity of the legendary outlaw has been highly debated throughout academia, history and Hollywood, Fiztooth probably is the most widely accepted character for the mythical woodsman. Another alter-ego belonging to the English Rogue is Robin of Loxley, a Yorkshire fugitive. Yet another identity is that of a humble forester who was outlawed for killing a deer in the Royal forest. Perhaps Robin Hood was a composite of all the mediaeval forest outlaws of England. Never the less, Robert Fitztooth's grave at Kirklees is considered to be the burial place of Robin Hood. It is visited many times over by tourist every year, searching for Robin Hood.

If Robin was not a human, perhaps he was a "God." From the pagan standpoint, Robin of the Hood is connected to the Green Man. The Green man, according to the Celtic Pantheon of Gods, is Cernunnos, the God of Vegetation and fertility. Cernunnos is also the Lord of the Trees. The oak tree is sacred to Cernunnos. "The Green Man represents the male aspect of nature." Robin is consistently described as wearing Lincoln green and living in the forest. In Sherwood Forest there stands a mighty oak tree simply called The Major Oak. The tree is believed to be the meeting place for Robin Hood and his merry men. "The gargoyle-like carvings of the Green Man show a human face almost completely camouflaged by leaves." Robin has an uncanny ability to blend in with his surroundings, becoming part of the forest, much like the Green man.

The Green Man has two personas, the Holly Lord and the Oak Lord. The Holly Lord, or "old man winter", dies at Beltane and is reborn as the Oak Lord, or "baby new year". He then marries the May Queen. The horned God aspect of the Green Man is just another form of Herne. Herne is the Celtic hunter god. He is most often portrayed with stag's horns sprouting from his head. In many of the original gestes, or tales, Robin is referred to as Herne's son. This approach is taken many centuries later in the popular British television show, Robin of Sherwood. "It seems likely that Llew's [a Celtic sun god] mediaeval successor, Red Robin Hood was once also worshiped as a stag."

Kona Warrior
Courtney Sheets
Another legend that Robin Hood may be associated with is that of Puck. William Shakespeare used the character of Puck, giving him the name Robin Goodfellow as well, in his play A Midsummer Night's Dream. Although Shakespeare, who may have been influenced by the Welsh Pwca, refers to Puck using both names, Robin Goodfellow and Puck are in all actually two separate creatures. Now however, they are considered the same character. Puck was a shape-shifter. Robin Goodfellow was a master of disguise. Both had an uncanny ability to give travelers a hard time, much like Robin Hood. Shakespeare's drinking buddy and fellow writer Ben Johnson even used the Robin Goodfellow character in his unfinished Robin Hood play, The Sad Shepherd. "Since the Robin Goodfellow ballads appear later then the Robin Hood ones, it's possible that the faerie may have taken his name from the outlaw-not the other way around."

Mythology is not the only place that manifests different types of "Robin Hoods." Literature has several versions of the tales under different names. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy is yet another re-telling of the Robin Hood stories. Sir Percival Blakeney even wears "Blakeney Green." While he does not rob from the rich and give to the poor, he does save several poor souls from the guillotine. The Pimpernel acts almost in a reverse of Robin Hood. Sir Percy "steals" the rich aristocrats out from under the noses of the poor French mob. He is an eighteenth century Robin Hood. He must win the love of his wife, Marguerite, whose name happens to be the French variation of Marian or Mary. Marguerite is just as spirited as Maid Marian, maybe even more so. And the villainous Chauvelin is constantly trying to seduce her, much like the Sheriff in several Hollywood versions of Robin Hood.

Who was that hooded man? Great debate has continued throughout the ages looking for historical basis as well as mythical proof as to the existence of Robin Hood. Did a single man live to take on the tyranny of injustice or was he something more?

Robin Hood is a hero for all ages. He and his legend have enthralled us for centuries and it will continue to do so for many more to come. 

For more interesting tidbits on history please feel free to check out my blog, History’s Mistress at

My first book, Kona Warrior, is currently available from Ravenous Romance. The Hooded Man will be released by Decedent Publishing this winter. 

Courtney -- Love that mixture of retelling mythology. What a fantastic set-up and background for your novel. I look forward to reading more from you. Please let us know when you have a release date!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Holiday Gift to Readers from Paty Jager

What do you like about the holiday season? For some it's that wonderful sharing spirit that simply infuses the air. But, you know what ... gifts are nice, too! Paty Jager's visiting today, and she's offering readers a very special present.

My love of the west and the area where I grew up, led me to write the Christmas Novella I’m giving away free. Christmas Redemption came about from my reading a story about a man from Joseph, OR who robbed a bank as a young man and twenty-seven years later became the vice president of the same bank. 

Christmas Redeption
Paty Jager
Van Donovan doesn’t become the bank president but I used the premise as the catalyst for the story.  I also gave him an occupation you don’t see much in westerns. He’s a boot maker. I spent several hours in the shot of Bootmaker DW Frommer II learning the process of making boots in the 1800s. While I spent all the time learning about the pine pitch that is boiled down and rubbed like wax into the threads that sew the boots together, hair from the back of a boar’s neck that can be split and used like a needle, and how the hole patterns the bootmaker makes with an awl can distinguish his work. I ended up using very little of this information but hope the authenticity shows through in what I do have in the story.

Christmas Redemption Blurb
Van Donovan returns to Pleasant Valley, Oregon where twelve years earlier as a boy of fifteen he left in handcuffs after standing guard for a bank robbery. He's learned a trade and excelled at it and is ready to prove to his father and the town he can amount to something.

Upon his return he learns the fate of the daughter of an innocent man who died in the robbery crossfire. To make amends he takes her out of the saloon and gives her a job, not realizing she'd been squatting in the very building he'd purchased for his business.

Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives?

Van worked hard to wash away the images of the men handling Tessa like she was a whore.  He'd witnessed the fear and humiliation in her large green eyes. Now fear widened those same eyes. Only this fear was almost frantic.
"What's wrong?" He stepped closer.
"I-I…" She glanced at the building in front of them and then at her feet.
The calico cat slinked around the corner of the building, set its yellow eyes on Tessa, and trotted over, lacing back and forth around her ankles.
"You and the cat seem to be friends."  The minute he spit the words out it dawned on him- Tessa was his squatter.
She bent, scooped the cat into her arms, and buried her face in the animal's thick fur. Van's heart squeezed.
"I have a feeling it's your pallet in my storeroom." He motioned to the cat when her face and wide eyes appeared over its back.  "The cat and I met before. In the back room."
She sucked in air then coughed. The cat launched out of her arms. Tears streamed down her rosy cheeks.
Van slipped an arm around her and maneuvered her into the building, away from the prying eyes peering through the saloon doors and from the street around them. Inside, he closed the door and moved to add wood to the potbelly stove he'd started before heading to the saloon.
She stood just inside the door, huddled in his coat, the whole time he added two sticks of wood and placed a chair beside the stove.
"Sit and get warm." He maneuvered her to the chair and she sat.
"W-why are you doing this?" she asked, gazing up at him, searching his face. He could stare into her spring green eyes—round and wondering like an innocent child—all day.
"You didn’t look like you wanted those men pawing you, and I need help setting up and running my shop."  And I can't let your life be awful because of me.
"Who are you? Why are you here? In Pleasant Valley?"
Van swallowed the wad of shame strangling his throat and studied the stove. She deserved the truth but would she understand his part in her father's death? He wouldn't know until he told her. He looked her square in the eyes.

You can download Christmas Redemption Free at all ebook outlets.

Also available at Apple iBooks

Paty Jager

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"See Me" – Ashlynn Monroe’s Templar Vampire Series

Ashlynn Monroe is a creative, inspiring and prolific writer. I've had the pleasure of working as an editor with Ashlynn at Keith Publications. Today, Ashlynn's talking about her second book in the Templar Vampire Series, See Me. And for those readers who are already hooked on this new mythic take on vampires, there will be more. I already have book 3 in my hot little hands! If you haven't started, catch up with Book 1, Pray for Me. Now, to meet 

I’m so excited about my Templar Vampire Series from Wicked Ink press.  As a special surprise, I want to give away a copy of book one Pray for Me, to two lucky commenters today!  Just reply to this post with your comment and email address.

Friday the thirteenth is considered a very unlucky date due to one infamous event in history. On Friday, October 13, 1307, the Templar Knights were rounded up and arrested in the early morning hours. What most people don‘t know is the majority of these men escaped into hiding.

Accused of terrible crimes such as blasphemy and idolatry, these men of God went to sleep as men of the cloth and woke up as criminals. Although the charges had no merit, Pope Clement V at the Council of Vienne officially dissolved the Templar Knights, for the reputation of the order was completely shattered. Warriors without a war now found themselves outlaws. They‘d devoted themselves to the Holy Wars, to the Pope, and to their God. Lost and confused, they tried to find a new path. Hundreds of strong and brave men, most from noble families, suddenly faded from history.

March 18, 1314, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake after recanting his earlier confessions of guilt. As the man burned in agony, he was said to curse King Philip and Pope Clement, asking both men to join him in the cold embrace of death within a year, and they did.

This is the story of how the dark forces, of which de Molay called upon in his curse, reverberated among the innocent men trying to rebuild their lives. A story of how his curse has come down through the centuries and how the Knights Templar still walk among us after dark…

The Templar Knights were powerful warrior monks who faded from history in the blink of an eye.  Here’s my version of what happened to them.  Book one and two tell the tale of two brothers who die and awake as vampires, and the women who give them a reason to live instead of just exist.  If you like vampires, history, and passion you’ll love my tormented but sexy Templar Vampires.

See Me excerpt:

As he sat in the cold, dank prison cell, Michael pondered the terrible events. He felt foolish. That foolishness had killed his father and Uriel. He was numb. It felt like he should cry or rail at God and the townspeople, but he was too numb. Thank God Cassiel, Tyne, and the children had escaped. Michael could see his neighbors building a bonfire in the center of town. He had a feeling it was for him. 

Somehow, he felt no fear. Numbness left no room for any emotion. He would never see his family again. Cassiel would never return to France. There was nothing for him, as the family’s property had been confiscated as punishment for harboring him. He should have gone with Gabriel to the Swiss or with the other men to Scotland. Everything that mattered to him was gone. Michael hung his head waiting patiently for his death. He deserved death. He’d killed his father and brother by seeking out love, he never should’ve returned home. Whatever was ailing Desirae, he knew his leaving to join the order had caused it. Her broken heart had festered and poisoned her mind.

Strangely, he was a little surprised when the men actually came for him. He knew they would burn him, yet he had hoped they would come to their senses. When they’d captured him earlier, Desirae’s father had been shouting his witchery had caused his daughter’s illness. Claude had demanded they burn him. Whatever was wrong with Desirae, his death wouldn’t save her. They had sent their man with provisions and money to tell Gabriel of the family’s plight. Now Michael wished they hadn’t sent the man. Hopefully, Gabriel would stay safe with the Swiss.

Weeks turned into months. After the sham of a trial, he knew they would burn him, even as he hoped they would come to their senses. He didn’t struggle. He willingly walked to his execution. He shook but faced them bravely. Desirae and her family stood near the front of the mob. It seemed the whole town had come to see him burned at the stake.

He knew the men who tied him to the wood pole. As a boy Michael had often swam and hunted with one of them. How could they do this? The man he knew well spoke in a flat voice.
“Do you have anything to say, any last words?”

Michael scoffed. During his trial, none had believed his innocence, but he decided to declare it once again.

“I’m innocent of any crime against God or France.”

Someone threw something at him. He closed his eyes. Praying quietly to himself, he waited for the lick of the flame, for his terrible death.

When the pain came, he tried not to scream. Michael lost the battle after a few moments; horrendous agony took over the right side of his body. The flame caught his clothing and quickly climbed up his leg and arm to his face. He could smell his own flesh burning: it was horrific. Through his agony, he looked down to see Desirae screaming. He saw her regret. Even in his agony, it proved to be a strange comfort. Then he felt something else. Even where the flames hadn’t touched him, he felt the fire. Intense pain shocked his body, and he felt it begin to shut down. Mercifully, he died before the fire finished consuming his body.

Chapter 5: Present Day-Los Angeles, California

Desire finished putting on her costume. Tonight she was a naughty nurse. In the past the costume earned her a good deal of money. She was twenty-seven and she knew her career as a stripper was winding down. In the last year she had noticed the amount of money she took home was not as good as it had been. Even with a bad economy men tipped well if a performer turned them on enough. It was obvious she needed to find a different occupation. Sadly, with no skills, she knew what happened to old strippers: they became old prostitutes. She didn’t want to turn tricks. Her roommate did and Desire saw how horrible it was. Sure, Candy made money, more than either of them had made stripping, but the abuse was not worth any amount of money. Desire liked sex, a lot, but she was very selective in the partners that she took. Candy teased her about being the only stripper in the world with a nun’s sex life.

Recently, Candy seemed to be involved in trouble. She’d received threatening phone messages even after changing her number several times. She looked over her shoulder when they were out, afraid someone was watching her. She jumped everything there was a knock at the door. Her happy-go-lucky personality had changed. Desire hoped the woman had the sense not to bring it home. They’d been roommates a long time, but they were very different people. Sighing, she focused on the task. She was up.

Her music started. The song was perfect for the costume. An oldie but a goodie, Robert Palmer’s “Doctor, Doctor Give Me the News” played softly until the DJ finished her introduction. She blinked some of the smoke out if her eyes. The bar was dark, even if it were only late afternoon, as red and blue lights illuminated the stage. Stepping out in her stilettos, she felt the heat of the lights. Her routine was new and she hoped it was going to bring in extra cash. Swirling and twisting on the pole, she focused her mind on the artful moves. She let herself go and felt the freedom of dancing. Later, she would circulate and give a few lap dances. Now she just let herself experience the beauty of her body’s movements. Desire knew she was a great dancer. Other dancers tried to copy her moves, but they lacked her passion. She made them special.

As she twirled, she felt the eyes of the crowd on her while she moved to the music. The bright light blinded her each time she tried to look at the men watching her dance. It bothered her slightly she couldn’t gage their reaction to her routine. When the music ended, she heard the whistles and cheers. Several men tucked bills into to her g-string as she left the stage.

She circulated among the men and even a few women who had come out to see her dance, and she made a nice amount of money. She was so pleased with the money she was making she could feel her radiant smile. A tall man in a brown suit approached her. He wore a pinched expression on his face, and she pasted on her brightest smile.

“Hi Honey, can I give you a little private dance?” Desire spoke to him in a silky voice.

When he spoke, he had a heavy French accent, and his words startled her.

“Are you Ms. Kirsten Du Lac?”

She’d not heard her name since moving to LA. No one knew her name.

“Who are you? How do you know my name?” she asked, speaking faster than she could think. “What do you want with me; am I in some kind of trouble?”

“I am lawyer from France. My name is Marc Archambeau; I am with Lyon Law Firm. I have had a very hard time finding you Ms. Du Lac,” he said. “I am to tell you of an inheritance from your father’s family in France. You have an estate in Europe…how you say… is there some place private we can talk?”

Desire wanted to punch the jerk. When she spoke, her words sparked angrily. “What kind of a fool do you think I am? As if you’re the first jackass who tried to get me alone, hoping I do more than take my clothing off. I might be a dancer, but I’m not a whore…jerk!”

She spun away ready to leave. He grabbed her arm. Mac, the bouncer rushed over. “Don’t touch the lady.” He moved to remove the hand, and probably the man, from the bar but she stopped him.
“It’s okay Mac, he only wants to talk.” Mac stepped back, his eyes trained intently on the stranger. She rounded at lawyer angrily.

“Ms. Du Lac, I do not want to be alone with you for those reasons you assume. Here, this is my card and a detailing of your inheritance. If you want to come to France, I will have everything ready for you at the hotel,” he said. “I will speak to you in very public lobby; you will be safe. The name and address of hotel is written on the back of card. Please find me if you decide to accept inheritance. You can verify its legitimacy and call me when you are ready. I will await you until Friday.”

He paused, emphasizing his words. “If I do not hear from you, I will assume you do not want your inheritance. I will then return to France to find the next legitimate heir.”

He left. Desire stood looking after him, speechless. Glancing at his card, she noticed it was in French. It looked professional, but for all she knew it was a coupon for french fries.. She didn’t speak French. She tucked the card safely with her cash. One of the other girls spoke French; she would have her translate the card later.

 On her ride home, Desire was still amazed the card was as legitimate as she could prove.  Google found multiple references to Mr. Archambeau and the Lyon Law Firm. She decided to call him in the morning. There had to be a catch. Desire had never heard of any rich French relatives. Her parents had died when she was in her early teens, and no relatives had showed up to claim her. She spent some terrible years in foster care. A foster home was where she had met Candy. Candy was the person who helped her move to Los Angeles and start stripping when she turned eighteen. Lost in thought, she almost didn’t notice that the door to the apartment was unlocked. They lived in a rough neighborhood. Even when they were home, they locked the door. Frowning, Desire slowly opened the door. Everything looked ransacked. Oh Candy, what have you gotten us into now?

See Me is available via Amazon 

Also check out Ashlynn’s first book in the series, Pray for Me, available via D’Ink Well and Amazon.