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Monthly Archives: February 2012
3

Welcome Author Charlene Wilson

Today, I'm hosting talented author, and sister blogger on Ravencraft Romance Realm,  Charlene Wilson, who is celebrating the release of her new book, in a followup to her Cornerstone Deep series, Cornerstone Deep Echoes. Welcome, Charlene!
Tell me how you got started?
Back when I began writing as a teen, I never would have dreamed my stories would ever make it to publication.  Well, I might have dreamed about it.  But, never believed or expected to see it happen.  From the time I was little, my imagination carried me to wherever I wanted to go, gave me everything I wanted to have, and became any kind of friend I wanted.  
I was born in Florida, and with a father that loved to wander the states, I’ve lived all over this country. We finally settled in a small community in Arkansas where nature sings all around me, from the birds in the countless trees to the cows in the fields across the way. (Yeah, they call it lowing. I call it singing). I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters, a fuzzy dog named KooJo, and a gray cat, Chester. I still imagine friends in far-away places.  Now, though, I write them down and share them with others.
Sounds idyllic. Yes, cows do sing. But then, so do chickens. They tell you when they're happy, or when they're stressed. When did you learn you were destined to be a writer?
I was labelled a writer when I was 16.  I would write short stories about dreams I had and shared them with my friends.  For a time there I even wrote short plays that my youth group acted out for family and friends.  I guess I’ll never know what everyone really thought about the productions, but we had so much fun and I’m sure our parents were just happy to have something to keep their kids occupied and out of trouble.  Lol. 
Tell us about one of your first stories, or favorites? 
One of the short story favourites was called Misty Moon.  I was shocked when a few years ago I ran into an acquaintance I hadn’t seen since my youth.  Honestly, I didn’t remember her until she reminded me that she was a friend of a friend.  She had been invited to a church youth function and evidently on the way (it was an hour drive to the dance), I shared my stories…as usual.  Well, she was all smiles and told me she remembered Misty Moon and actually told the story to her children at story time before bed.  I was floored and a little shy about it all.  She asked if I still wrote and, of course, I had to tell her about my published work.
Awesome, Charlene. Compelling enough for her to tell her children. That's the best kind of comment a writer can have. Do all your stories come from dreams?
Several of my stories come from dreams I’ve had:  Scenes, settings, plots…  And many of the attitudes and personalities woven into the characters are taken from those I worked with while serving as a Deputy at a large detention center.  You can find it all in those places.  Kindness, bigotry, spirituality, opportunism; the variety of personal outlooks is amazing.
I agree. I heard stories from my BIL who was a probation officer. Where did you get the idea for Lord Dressen?  
Lord Dressen’s character from Cornerstone Deep Echoes was very easy for me to write..  He’s the villain of the story.  
Forcing his gaze to view the broad city of Shilo, he anchored his chosen destiny. Terra runs through my blood. Nobility courses through my veins. I am Lord Kyle Dressen. And I’m one step away from having Anna…Mianna at my side. Tension eased as he focused on his domain. No one held a higher position, more respect, or more power.
He peered back at the bluff and greed curled his lips. But what of beyond? Realms. Rich with possibility.
His baritone voice rasped as he spoke. “Soon.” He nodded in agreement with his thoughts. “Craft and deed will take me to you.”
Though, he does have his reasons for doing the things he does.   Then, don’t we all.  Life is just complicated.  I don’t believe anyone is all good or completely bad. 
So perhaps he'll have a turning? A next book? Someone to redeem him? What about your hero, Cole? 
Cole, the hero of the story, is pretty tarnished himself.  He’s led by his heart, and with that trait, he makes some decisions that really should have been made with a level head.  But he’s such a romantic soul.  And when Mianna speaks in her unique poetic way, he’s just gone.
Tell us about the excerpt your leaving today.   
In this excerpt, Cole is troubled by something that came to light.  I can’t share what it was or it would give away too much.  But it effected how he viewed the love he and Mianna shared so long ago.  Nothing could dim his love for her, but the information weighed heavy on him.  
~ * ~
Adoration flowed from behind him, touching his senses. Slender hands smoothed his shirt to his waist and a soft form leaned to his back. His heart melted and he closed his eyes. Mianna. Unrest fled. Doubt disappeared. Once again, Mianna’s soul spoke to his as none other had or would. He lifted an arm to turn and hold her in his embrace.
Her brow wrinkled with worry. “You’ve been distant.”
Her soul’s call washed through him and he brushed her long hair with a gentle stroke. “I’m sorry, my love.”
She caressed his forehead with her fingertips, erasing the tension there.
“Hush thy worries. Still thy mind.
For within my arms,
love’s sweet bliss will heal thy soul.
Cares of life be gone.”
Cole rested his cheek on her soft locks, allowing her poetic tongue to sooth him.
“Whispers, wings of love’s caress,
light upon thy heart.
Gazes, speak of my soul’s want.
Body, sing their praise.”
She gently placed a hand to his cheek, guiding him to look into her eyes.
“I long. I pray thee touch me.
Carry forth my will.
Leave behind the world, my love.
Be this moment mine.”
Cole’s heart wrapped around her plea and the reality of her return filled his being. She was his. Now and forever. “This moment, my life, my existence is yours.” He cradled her face with his hands. “Every breath you take is a song to my soul.”
Her words fell to his lips in a hush. “Make love to me, Cole. I need to feel you still love me.”
The breath of Zephyr flowed freely and licorice and cream rode his whisper. “How could you ever doubt.”
He loves Mianna with his whole being.  Would do anything to keep her safe…and his. But Lord Dressen is determined to win her over one way or the other…to the point of obsession.
Really, these characters made it clear how they wanted their stories told.  Comments, quirks, personalities, they all came to light as the scenes unfolded.  I hope you fall in love with them as much as I have.
Cornerstone Deep Echoes is available is paperback and e-formats.  Here’s where you can get them:
And I would love you to join me on the web!  
The Chronicles of Shilo Manor series also has its own site where you can catch up on all things Shilo!  Fan Fare, Extras, downloadables—it’s all there.  Come on by!   http://ShiloManor.com 
Charlene Wilson Bio
A writer of paranormal romance, Charlene loves what magic can add to relationships.  She currently lives in a small rural town in Arkansas and enjoys close family ties with her two beautiful daughters.  
Charlene’s interest in writing began in her early teens and she took any creative writing courses available.  As she married and started a family, she had to set aside her writing and focus on the more pressing matters of job and family.  
Many of the attitudes and personalities woven into her characters were taken from those she worked with while serving as a Deputy at a large detention center.  From kindness to bigotry, the variety of personal outlook was amazing.  As time now affords her, she is able to pursue her love of writing and incorporates those experiences into some of her work. 
Her first novel, Cornerstone Deep, was published in November 2010 by Class Act Books.  Her second, Cornerstone Deep Echoes, was released February 2012, also by Class Act Books.  The stories keep coming and she keeps typing.  On to the next!

Thanks so much for joining us today, Charlene. Yummy characters, excerpt. I'm sure Cornerstone Deep Echoes will be on everyone's TBR list soon!
Sharon
9

Can I Get Some Reality In My Romance?

Welcome author J.D. Brown! We are celebrating the new release of her second book, Trace of Passion.



Movies, TV shows, and fiction are entertaining because they stretch reality.
We're willing to suspend belief for a while to go on an adventure in a place
where magic can happen, where the hero always gets the girl, where true,
unconditional love exists.

Wikipedia calls Love
at First Sight
“one of the most powerful tropes in Western
fiction”. Its popularity spans the ages, back to Classical Greek and Roman
poetry.

How many of you believe in love at first sight in real life? Or in soul
mates? You might like to think it's possible. You might even know someone who
seemed to find true love with the first person they ever dated. I know a couple
people like that. My uncle proposed to his wife on their second date. One of my
close friends from high school married a boy she met in kindergarten. They
remained close through the years despite him moving to a different country with
his family when he was young. They got married soon after she graduated and
have four beautiful daughters now. And my uncle? He and my aunt are still
together.

So I know it's possible. And I know we all love to believe it can be
possible for us too, even if only in a book.

But how realistic is it, really, for two strangers to meet and fall
instantly, deeply, and unconditionally in love to the point that they would
sacrifice themselves without question for the others' happiness? We don't
really think about it because fans of romance want to read about that kind of
devotion. But in truth, most of you probably put aside some amount of
believability to allow yourself to be satisfied by the hero and heroine's
passion. Because really, you could think “Oh my god, that is so FAKE.
Real men don't act like THAT. If this was a reality show, he'd probably only be
dating her for her money.
” But we don't think like that when we read a
romance. Instead we think “Awww! I wish men really did THAT, that is so
sweet!

Like the movie Titanic.
Woman watched that movie over and over when it first came out and it was all
because of Leo's character. Meanwhile, our boyfriends and husbands wished ill
things on the movie's producer.

In real life, most of us experience “lust” at first sight, which
sometimes then grows into passion. But it's almost never perfect. It's almost
always difficult. Sometimes it ends badly. Few times it ends really well.
Authors are often told to write what we know, to write believable stories with
believable characters and believable motivation. Which is what prompted this
post. As a romance writer, I have a difficult time making two strangers fall in
love. I don't think it's believable. It's definitely not very realistic. And I
refuse to write a story that I don't believe in. So, I make my characters work
on their relationship.
And you know what? It works for me. It's like the novel The Notebook. Allie rejects
Noah over and over until he is forced to trick her into going out with him.
Allie didn't instantly love Noah. He had to work for his chance with her, and
their relationship grew from there. Noah's character scores points with the
audience for being so deliciously clever in his attempts. We even like it when
Noah and Allie fight because it's real.

In my first erotic romance story, A Trace of Love, I poke fun at my
own beliefs in romance. Trace Curtis, the hero, is convinced his feelings for
Ophelia are true, but she doesn’t think it’s possible after only one night. The
story ends with Trace and his band leaving for their next gig and Ophelia’s
missed out on a second shot at love.

In the newly released sequel, A Trace of Passion, Trace is back in town and demands an explanation from the only
woman to ever reject him. What he thinks was payback is actually the cover for
a darker truth and neither Trace nor Ophelia are sure their love for one
another can survive Ophelia’s reality.



And now for a special treat! Excerpt from A Trace of Passion (book 2)


Warning:
Contains some spoilers from book 1, and contains some light graphic content.
Trace exited the bathroom smelling of mouth rinse. He had the
decency to put his jeans on before he sat on the couch. God, please put your
shirt on too before I do something stupid.
She wanted to ask why he slept
on her couch, but she knew questions would only prolong his stay and lead to
trouble.
Trace nodded at her mug. “Aren’t you going to offer me some
coffee?”
“No.”
“That’s not very hospitable. I carried you up two flights of
stairs and stayed on your couch to make sure you didn’t have a concussion or
choke on your own vomit.”
Ophelia narrowed her gaze. “I didn’t vomit.”
“But you could have.”
“Get out of my apartment, Trace.”
“Well now you’re just being rude.”
She pressed her fingers to her temple and sipped the coffee.
This cannot be happening.
“Trace, I don’t have time, I have to go to work in an hour.”
“So go to work,” he shrugged. “I’ll be here when you get
back.”
Her jaw dropped. “You wouldn’t…you can’t…don’t you have band
practice or something you have to do?”
He grinned and leaned back while spreading his arms over the
back of the couch. “They won’t miss me for a day.”
Ophelia gulped the last sip of coffee while weighing her
options. She moved to the breakfast bar near the mounted telephone and slammed
the cup against the counter. “All right, I get it.
You’re pissed that I gave you a fake phone number last year.
But if you don’t take a hint and leave now, I’ll call the cops, Trace.
I’m not kidding.”
He stood and cocked his brow. “And tell them what, exactly?
That I helped you into bed after you passed out drunk? That I stayed on the couch
to make sure you’d be okay?”
She bit her lip and glanced at the floor. “Trace, you’re
seriously freaking me out.”
“All I want, Ophelia, are answers. Honest answers.”
Tears welled in her eyes. She blinked them way and tried to
draw up courage that wasn’t there. “Jesus Christ, do you ask every woman why
they slept with you?”
Trace pursed his lips. He sat on the edge of the couch and
ran all ten fingers through his hair.
She saw the agitated wrinkle in his brow before the black
curls fell over his eyes again. “I didn’t mean to scare you, okay? I only
wanted to confront you last night. Call you a bitch or something like that,” he
scoffed. “But now I feel like a dick. I owe you an apology, Ophelia. I’m sorry
I hurt your feelings when you asked me to the Sadie Hawkins’s Day dance.”
Ophelia raised her brow. “The…the what?”
“You know, the dance you asked me to. I shouldn’t have told
you to grow a pair of breasts in front of the whole cafeteria. But damn it
Ophelia, you didn’t have to rip my heart out.”
“Wait,” she stood there blinking. She remembered that day
and was pretty sure he had used the word tits. It stung, but when she
thought about Trace, she always remembered the good things. His smile or the
little tunes he played at lunch despite the rule against musical instruments
being in the cafeteria. “Trace…that was eleven years ago. You really think I’m
the type to hold a grudge over something so juvenile?”
Trace wet his lips. “You mean you weren’t trying to get
revenge for that?”
“No. Jesus!”
“Then…why did you sleep with me?”
Ophelia rolled her eyes. This was tiring. “Trace, I think
your melodramatic song lyrics went to your head. It was just a one-night screw.
As for why I did it, I don’t know, maybe just because you’re you.
You’re…you know…famous and rich and incredibly sexy.” And why am I inflating
his already huge ego? “Why do my reasons have to be any different from
any other woman’s?”
“Because…because I fell in love with you that night. That’s
never happened before.” He glanced at her. “Believe me, I know what a screw
feels like and that was not just a screw.” He stood and Ophelia couldn’t help
but watch his torso muscles flex in the movement. “And I don’t think it was
just sex for you either because you wouldn’t have run away.” She swallowed hard
as he slowly stepped toward her. “You wouldn’t have given me a fake number and
gone through so much trouble to avoid me last night.” He took two more steps. Her
hand slid across the counter looking for anything to hold on to. The closer he
came the dizzier she got. “You wouldn’t have been mad to see me on your couch
this morning.” He whispered as he stepped up to her, his nose mere inches from
hers. Ophelia gasped, her hand landing on the phone. She clutched it to her chest.
He pried it from her grip and tossed it on the couch behind them. “You are mad
because you love me too.” His hands rose to cup her face. “What I can’t figure
out, Ophelia, is why you’re so afraid to admit you love me.”
His lips pressed hot against hers. She tried to resist, but
her body defied her. Her back arched off the wall, pushing her breast against
the planes of his chest as his hands came around her waist. She couldn’t lie to
herself; she missed the feel of him, the heat of his skin burning trails
wherever they touched. And yes, she thought of him every single day for the
past eleven months, twenty-four days, six hours and elven minutes. Still, she
had hoped to fool Trace. What were they doing? If he thought she had ripped his
heart out last year, repeating the experience would truly crush him.
She whimpered between him and the wall. “Trace…”
His whole body pressed against hers, his breath hot against
her cheek. “Don’t say anything and for God’s sake, don’t fight me anymore,
Ophelia.” He sealed her lips with his and gripped her tighter around the waist.
She cursed under her breath as her body melted against him. Her hands flew
around his neck and tangled in his black curls. Her eyes closed tight as their
tongues glided against each other in furious passion.

So not fair, Danielle. Whew! This book sounds hot and I can't wait to read more about Trace and Ophelia. No. She shouldn't fight him anymore.


Sharon

Author Bio
Danielle Ravencraft graduated from the International Academy of Design and Technology with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her two Pomeranians. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, her writing is influenced by the multicultural urban society of her youth which she continues to visit each summer. Danielle enjoys writing sensual romance exclusively for a female audience. She also writes mainstream paranormal romance and urban fantasy under the nameJ. D. Brown.
Contact Danielle Ravencraft vial email at danielle_ravencraft@yahoo.com
You can also follow Danielle Ravencraft around the web via:


Order Trace of Love here.
Order Trace of Passion here.



Welcome Regency Author Grace Callaway

I am interviewing Grace Callaway today over at Ravencraft Romance Realm. Grace was nominated for a Golden Heart in 2010 for Her Husband's Harlot. Although she didn't win, she has garnered avid fans and the respect of many experienced and successful authors. Her writing is stunning. Her attention to detail absolutely amazing. But don't take it from me. Here are the Amazon stats:

Are you seeing this? #1 in Regency Romance as of last night. #7 in Historical Romance, and #9 on the Kindle Store for Historical Romance.
At a time when authors are relying on their backlists and recently re-acquired rights from long out of print titles to re-launch their careers, Grace comes up with her debut novel, and knocks it out of the park the first time around. Do you know how hard this is to do? How rare it is?
Come read her interview and see why she has hit the ground running. She has just released her second novel, Abigail Jones. 
One lucky commenter today will receive a free copy of Her Husband's Harlot. Love to see you over at the Realm!
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The Case For Love (Not that it needed it)

A close family member had been grieving at the loss of a relationship. He asked me, “How do you find another partner? How do you find someone to love?”

I told him, “It's like catching a butterfly.”
“Excuse me?” he asked.
“You go out in the yard and wait for one to land on you.”
I was serious. Used to do that as a small child. With head back and arms outstretched to the sides, standing in the sunlight with my eyes closed, butterflies would come and land on my fingers, or on my head. I made myself a beacon for those beautiful winged creatures in my mother's flower garden.
Love isn't about trying to find anything. It finds you. You can't hold onto it, you receive it. Open hand to receive, not clutching in a fist. My relative was trying too hard. Wanted desperately to fill the big God-shaped hole in his chest.
I used that theme when I wrote Heavenly Lover. I liked the image of Guardian Angels dispatching their duties to save humans from throwing away their souls. And then the Guardians get snagged by love unexpectedly. All of a sudden, they notice the gap in their own chest. If love is universal, possessing great healing powers, why wouldn't an angel stumble upon this, not knowing before that he/she needed it? Meeting the “other” changes their angelic lives, for the good.
One of the most wonderful things about being a romance writer is living in the possibility of love 24/7. Okay, maybe that was a lie. Not always 24/7, but enough of my waking day as possible.
Because living in the possibility is where all the miracles are located.
I hope this Valentine's Day is filled with miracles and the possibility of miracles. And know that you are loved beyond what you can manage to believe.

2

First Love 7-Day Valentine’s Blog

Announcing Ravencraft’s Romance Realm’s “First Love” 7-Day Valentine’s Blog Fest!!!
February 8th – 14thThis year, we’re making Valentine’s Day last a full week with a 7-Day Blog Fest! Join us and blog for a week straight about romance, love, lust, sex, and all things sensual. ~ Each day of the week (starting Wed. 8th and ending Tue. 14th) has a theme that relates to “First Love”. You can interpret the theme and blog about it any way you want to, but the more creative you are, the better your chance of winning RRR's “Sexy Little Valentine Blog of the Year”!

Daily Themes:

Wednesday, Feb. 8th – “First Sight”

Thursday, Feb. 9th – “First Touch”
Friday, Feb. 10th – “First Date”
Saturday, Feb 11th – “First Dance”
Sunday, Feb 12th – “First Kiss”
Monday, Feb 13th – “First Breakup or Makeup”
Tuesday, Feb 14th – “Best ‘First Love’ of 2011” (This can be anything from prop culture – celebrity couples, book characters, movie characters, a new personal love for mint cookies, etc….!)

Rules:  

  • All posts must be PG-13 or as close as possible. 
  • Each post must relate to the corresponding themes listed above in order to be eligible for winning. 
  • Skipping or being late to post will disqualify your blog from the contest – but NOT from the blog fest itself! (*Late* is after 6p.m. Eastern/ 5p.m. Central time).
  • Include the Blog Fest logo on all 7 posts (the pink image above).
  • Include the Blog Fest Linky embedded at the bottom of all 7 posts so that readers can easily “hop” to all the participating blogs. (To get the code, click on “Get the Code Here” at the bottom of this post).
  • Giving away prizes to your readers is optional but encouraged for more fun!
Each participating blog is automatically entered into the “Sexy Little Valentine Blog of the Year” contest and posts will be read and judged by the RRR authors.
The winner of the RRR “Sexy Little Valentine Blog of the Year” award will be announced Sunday. February 19th.

To sign up, click on the “You're Next” link below and add your blog's information.

Don't have a blog? – RRR will also be giving away daily prizes to our commenters during the blog fest! So make sure you stop and see us during Valentine’s week. We’ll leave the bar open for you. *wink*