Spring Blogfest: Jere’ M. Fishiback

Spring blogfest banner 2 copy
 Win a digital copy of Becoming Andy Hunsinger (a zip file containing the book in both .pdf and MOBI formats) by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

Easter plays a featured role in my newly released novel, Becoming Andy Hunsinger. It’s on Easter Sunday 1977, at the dinner table, that college senior Andy informs his parents and brother he’s gay. This was a pretty shocking thing to do in the mid-1970’s, especially in conservative Pensacola, Florida.

Here’s how Andy describes the moment:

***

lover boys _21Halfway through our meal, my mother turned to me with her forehead furrowed. “Andy, you’re only picking at your food. What’s wrong? Are you not feeling well?”

I looked down at the barely touched meal on my plate, and then the room seemed to shrink. My vision blurred and I felt tightness in my chest. I drew a breath. Then I looked up at my mother and spoke.

“Mom, I’m gay.”

My mother’s face slacked while her eyes blinked.

My father dropped his fork; it tap-danced on his plate while his face turned as white as an egg. He looked as though he’d just witnessed a fatal car accident.

I continued.

“I know Easter dinner might not be the best time to tell you this, but I feel you should know about my private life. I don’t want to hide it any longer.”

“Are you sure you’re gay?” my mom asked. “Are you positive?”

Before I answered her question, I looked at Jake. He stared into his plate, his face expressionless. He looked as though he’d been stomach-punched.

I said, “I’ve known I was gay since I was twelve or so. I never liked girls, not in a sexual way.”

My dad spoke up. “Son, have you actually been with another man?”

I looked at him and nodded. “It’s what’s right for me.”

Dad lowered his chin; he drew circles on his plate with the fork he’d dropped.

“I don’t wish to be indelicate,” my mother said, “especially at the table. But exactly what do you and your lovers do when you’re in the bedroom?”

Jake leapt to his feet; his face grew beet red. “For Christ’s sake, Mom, you don’t ask a guy something like that.” Jake threw his napkin on the table. Then he strode from the room, heading for the hallway that led to our bedrooms.

***

This novel is not autobiographical, although I did attend law school at Florida State University in Tallahassee at the time the events in Becoming Andy Hunsinger unfold. 1976 was a tough time to be a young gay man in the Florida Panhandle, with Anita Bryant’s homophobic “Save Our Children” campaign raging through the state.

In the winter of 1977, several friends and I organized FSU’s first gay student organization; we obtained the university’s official recognition, and we were granted office space in the student union building. It was all pretty daring stuff at the time, and looking back I sometimes wonder how I summoned to the courage to live my life as an openly gay man. But I’m sure glad I did.

Becoming Andy Hunsinger final front coverIt’s 1976, and Anita Bryant’s homophobic “”Save Our Children”” crusade rages through Florida. When Andy Hunsinger, a closeted gay college student, joins in a demonstration protesting Bryant’s appearance in Tallahassee, his straight boy image is shattered when he’s “outed” by a TV news reporter. In the months following, Andy discovers just what it means to be openly gay in a society that condemns love between two men. Can Andy’s friendship with Travis, a devout Christian who’s fighting his own sexual urges, develop into something deeper?

About the Author: I’m Jere’ M. Fishback, a former journalist and trial lawyer, and now a full-time writer of short fiction, novels and memoirs. My Young Adult novel, Josef Jaeger, won multiple awards after its release by Prizm Books in 2009.

In late 2013, Prizm published my YA novel, Tyler Buckspan. The American Library Association’s Rainbow Project placed Tyler Buckspan on its recommended reading list for LGBTQ teens, one of twenty-one novels selected for this honor. As of November 2014, Tyler Buckpsan was on the shelves of ten public libraries throughout out the country and in Canada, including the Seattle and Toronto Public Libraries.

In December 2014, Prizm published my Edgy Young Adult novel titled Becoming Andy Hunsinger. The story takes place in 1976, in the Florida Panhandle. It’s all about becoming yourself and discovering who you are, even if your needs clash with society’s norms.

I live on a barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, west of St. Petersburg. Besides writing, I enjoy surfing, walking the beach near my home, working out and swimming laps at the YMCA, cooking for friends, and watching sunsets with a glass of wine in my hand. You can read more about my writing, and my life as a writer, by visiting my website.

I also offer free fiction at my website, so you can sample a taste of my writing style.

Website | Facebook

Spring Blogfest: Palessa

Spring blogfest banner 2 copy
Win a kindle copy of Tobey Fine, the author’s newest release by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

Spring of Love…for Food – Palessa

PALESSA mini-DSCI0417I think it was the poet Tennyson who made that definitive link between spring and love a long time ago. For me, spring has a slightly different meaning. Anybody who knows me knows I have a thing for food. And since it’s now spring, we have some of our native food-bearing trees gearing up to provide some delicious dishes. Here, we have foods such as breadfruit and ackee, which are two of Jamaica’s native foods that many of us love together or separately. Our apple trees are done for now but promise to give us a new crop later this year, probably at the same time the avocados would be getting ready to mature. Here in Jamaica there is one thing that we look forward to every year: Easter Bun and Cheese. When I was a little girl, I would just eat the cheese and leave the bun because I love cheese that much. Still love cheese but now my palate appreciates the sweet and salty flavor combination. Needless to say, spring, Easter and food go hand-in-hand with me.

Now, why am I going on and on about food? Because like me, my characters love food. In my new series Sacked & Tackled, Tobey Fine is a really good cook, in addition to living up to his last name. In fact, there are Asian, Latin (Italian with Spanish), and Greek dishes that play vital roles in the story. Niveah and Tobey’s first meeting was at a Thai restaurant that was similar to one of my favorite “date eateries” back in Miami. Then, there’s his love of Greek food and the impression he makes when shares he makes some Alfredo pasta with yogurt, like his Mama Marina taught him. That particular dish was inspired by a recipe I found online that showed me that there’s no reason why healthy can’t be delicious. Then there’s Blake’s addition of chorizo in lasagna that makes Niveah’s mouth water. And for dessert? I’ll leave that one for when you read the book; another one of my great eating experiences in Miami, by far.

When it comes to love and food, to me and my characters they are one and the same. Food is love in the best sense.

So, tell me, what’s your favorite spring or Easter Food?

PALESSA TobeyFineTobey Fine, the ‘Blasian Sensation’ is at the top of his game as the face of the Miami Medusas, a Steinger Football League team. When he’s introduced to his teammate’s best friend, the Blasian Sensation comes face-to-face with his reckoning.

Niveah Wallace is the founder of Carmicon Technologies, a software development company contracted to do a pilot game app featuring the Miami Medusas and team rivals, the Atlanta Mercury. If this project goes well, it will put CarmTech on the map.

Still smarting from Tobey’s rejection years ago, Niveah is presented with her chance to get back at him—but forgets that revenge can be a double-edged sword.

Despite their initial fallout, Tobey and Niveah grow close in a way neither expected. But inside the SFL there’s trouble brewing as a piece of Tobey’s past threatens to upend his present and jeopardize his future. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep his love no matter who he has to fight to do it.

About the Author:Palessa started reading her first romance novel, at the age of 11. Then she got introduced to V.C. Andrews, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Anne Rice and many more notable contemporary authors as well as some of the classics, A Tale of Two Cities, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Great Gatsby and others. It was during her teenage years that she dabbled in writing. First, it was in her diaries, then she started creating characters, stories about romance, the supernatural and much more.

It would take almost 20 years, a radical move from the city she grew up in, Miami, FL back to her Caribbean birthplace, and a chance Facebook meeting with Sable Hunter to start the juices flowing again.

After some fits and starts, the Baxter Family Saga was born. Unchained Hearts is Palessa’s first published fiction book with Beau Coup Publishing. She considers herself just a storyteller that sees no reason to shy away from the juicier romantic elements. She currently lives in the mountains of Jamaica with her crazy, cracker-munching-mutt Ivy and a farm, primarily managed by agribusiness partner, also known as Dad.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

Spring Blogfest: Dena Garson

Spring blogfest banner 2 copy
Win an ebook copy of my book Loss of Control by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

Spring is here! Spring is here! It’s in the air!
*sneeze* *sniffle, sniffle* *dabs eyes with tissue*
Well… something is in the air.

I really do love spring. The pollen doesn’t always agree with me. But I love, love, love the budding flowers and return of warm weather.

Years ago I lived in Macon, Georgia with my family and every March I think of the cherry blossom festival. The city gets covered in little pink and white petals when the trees are in full bloom. According to the Cherry Blossom Festival website, there are now over 300,000 Yoshino Cherry Trees in Macon now. Can you imagine that?? It’s absolutely beautiful.

DENA blossoms-1366734549IH6And azaleas. My grandmother grew them by the dozen. I have a deeply rooted love of that bush because of her. Wish I could get them to grow half as well as she did. But I suspect it had something to do with all the tall pine trees she had in her yard and the TLC she gave her plants. Then again, grandma may have had the magic touch and it just didn’t get passed down to me.

Out here in Oklahoma we have a few cherry trees but the pear trees far outweigh them. They’re pretty also but I don’t think the blooming season is quite as long. And of course we have quite a few redbuds here (after all, it is the state tree).

So what’s your favorite springtime flower, tree or shrub? Leave a comment and let me know where you’re from and why you picked that plant. One lucky commenter will receive an electronic copy of my book, Loss of Control.

Like an annual bursting into color at the start of the growing season, one of my earliest books is now back out on the shelf for all to see. Risky Business has a few tweaks and a hot new cover so it’s ready to hop onto your tablet or reading device! Check it out:

DENA RiskyBusinessEbookFinal-FJM_Thumbnail_200x300 Mia Sanford has admired Jake Hudson from afar ever since she transferred to Marketing. She might be comfortable tangling with the company playboy in meeting rooms but not in private. Facts and figures she can handle, but that blue-eyed devil is out of her league.

Jake was impressed with Mia, the sexy analyst who provides his monthly Marketing data, the first day he met her. Not only is she smart and reliable, she has legs that have inspired a few sizzling hot workplace fantasies. However, her girl-next-door demeanor and the company’s no fraternization rules force Jake to keep things strictly professional.

When Mia becomes the target of an embarrassing betting pool at the annual office party, Jake alerts her to the danger. But since he never expressed an interest in her until now Mia isn’t certain if he’s really looking out for her, or just trying to win the pool himself. If she trusts him, it might place both her reputation and her heart on the line.

About the Author: Dena Garson loves to read romance—the hotter the better. When one of her BFFs said “one of us should be writing this stuff”, she took up the challenge. If she isn’t writing, she’s designing jewelry but somehow she still manages to make it into the office on a regular basis.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

Spring Blogfest: C.E. Kilgore

Spring blogfest banner 2 copy
Win one Reader’s Choice of one ebook from the author’s catalogue by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

I am so happy winter is over and spring is here!

The snow is melting, the sun is out, birds are singing and flowers are in bloom. What’s not to love about spring? Allergies aside, of course!

Spring is also about love. It’s the perfect time to read a good, uplifting romance book while at the park, enjoying the warming temperatures or taking a break from spring cleaning.

kilgore spring2012 039What I love most about spring are the colors. Green grass, red robins and blue birds. Yellow tulips, purple irises and red roses. Blue skies full of white fluffy clouds. It makes me smile every time I step outside.

In my latest book, Colors of Love, it’s spring time and color themes play an important role. It’s also a science fiction romance, so it has the unique love story between a crash-landed alien named Amber and an unsuspecting human named Kyle. I had so much fun incorporating colors into the book.

I also like to think of spring as being the great time of year to try new things, start a new project or restart something I may have put aside over the long, cold winter. I call it a Spring Resolution, and they seem to work better than New Year’s resolutions.

This year, my spring resolution is to start a vegetable garden. I plan to start easy with pumpkins, corn and other low-care veggies. I think it will be fun to plant them, watch them grow, and then hopefully eat them.

What would your spring resolution be?

kilgore Amber-Cover400Kyle’s never been one for conformity. He loves color. He loves being himself. And, he’s in love with Amber. After three months of serious dating, he thinks he has a brilliant plan to take their relationship to the next level. All he needs is a little ink, some nerve, and a cake with magenta frosting.

After crash-landing on Earth, Amber thought she’d never find love. Now, Amber’s whole world is turning magenta, and it’s not a good thing. It’s also supposed to be impossible. Despite Kyle being human, her own Cleodyte biology has initiated the Oosan – a biochemical reaction that could tether them together permanently. She knows Kyle loves both his freedom and the idea of having kids some day – two things he’d have to give up if she allows the Oosan to continue.

Then there’s the whole ‘growing old before he does’ issue… As if her life wasn’t complicated enough, now her hair has turned traitor, and magenta. She loves him, so perhaps it would be best to let him go. Kyle, however, won’t let her go so easy. He’s seeing magenta, too. And to him, it’s just one of the many colors of love.

About the Author: C.E. Kilgore (1981 – ) is an author without genre, who likes to dabble in several genres from romance to science fiction. She also enjoys pushing the boundaries of those genres, trying new things, venturing outside formulas and turning tropes on their heads.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

Spring Blogfest: J.R. Gray

Spring blogfest banner 2 copy
Win one of the author’s released ebooks or one of her upcoming eBooks by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

GREY EasterSpecial & DI

One

“It was way too damn cold for it to be Easter,” Zac growled as he stuck an Easter egg on the steps leading up to Kennedy’s front door.

“It was your idea,” Chase, his assistant, said.

Zac glanced over at him and nearly lost himself to a giggling fit again. He’d made Chase dress up as a bunny to help him hide eggs at five in the morning.

“I know it was. One of the best ones I’ve ever had.” He climbed the stairs to put an egg in her gutter. He had to stretch on his tip toes but it was the perfect excuse to have to lift Kennedy to get the egg later. He’d mostly filled the eggs with condoms and candy but there were a few meaningful ones too.

“Remind me again why I needed to be dressed as a damn bunny in the freezing cold when she’s not even here to see me hiding the eggs.” Chase rolled his eyes.

“Other than because you’re my bitch and I said so?” Zac turned on him and flashed a grin. “Because what if tiny children look out their windows early in the morning?”

“Kids don’t get up this early do they?” Chase was setting eggs in the snow.

“Of course they do. It’s a holiday. Sometimes I wonder if you were ever a child, Chase.”

“My parents didn’t tell me about mythical creatures who brought us gifts. They claimed it was lying.” He shrugged.

“Damn. That explains so much about you.”

He nodded. “But why do you care if kids see me?”

“I’m guessing parents are less likely to call the cops if we look like we are being cute and also it’s good to get used to wearing shit you’re not comfortable in. Take it as a lesson for the job.” He leaned over and bopped Chase’s pink nose. He’d hand painted it and the whiskers him-self and he couldn’t help but admire his own work.

Chase held up his basket. “I’m all done. Can I go now?”

Zac looked at his watch. “No!” He was starting to get giddy. “She’s going to be home any minute and part of it is her seeing you in this.”

Chase groaned. “Come on man, she is hot and this shit is embarrassing.”

“Life lessons. There was a time where I had to dress up in full furry fetish wear to spy on someone.” He remembered it fondly.

“You enjoyed it. Don’t compare.” Chase rolled his eyes.

The kid had a point, but Zac would never admit it. “Go stand on her porch while I hide. She’ll be here any minute.”

“I hate you.” He mumbled obscenities as he walked over to do as he was told.

Zac was starting to understand the draw of slaves for George. He stepped behind a tree as he heard the distant rumble of Kennedy’s jeep approaching. She slammed the door and started laughing.

“Hey, Chase.” She came around her car and Zac peeked around her face. She wore a slight smile. “Your boss is a tyrant.”

“Tell me about it,” he muttered and then held out the basket. “He hid eggs for you.”

Kennedy accepted the basket from him then slowly turned around to see the splotches of bright colors hidden all over her snow covered yard. A grin spread over her face and she looked like a little kid again.

“I swear to God, Zac, if you’re hiding some place with only an egg covering your dick I’m going to kick your balls.” She took the steps two at a time coming into the yard.

Zac ducked back behind the tree. “I don’t believe you. I can hear the giddy school girl in your voice.” As soon as he spoke she jumped around the tree and tackled him into the snow. Girl was barely five four and didn’t weigh a whole lot compared to him but she took his ass down like the trained cop she was.

He wrapped his arms around her. “Hey there beautiful.”

She sat back on his knees allowing him to get up. “Why are you so adorable?” She pushed her hair out of her face and picked up one of the eggs in reach and shook it. Narrowing her eyes she opened it and burst out laughing. “Only you would fill Easter eggs with condoms.”

He shrugged and looked her right in the eyes. “Don’t go.”

“I have to, Zac.” She pushed to her feet and turned away.

“I know. I’m going…” Zac trailed off & wrapped his arms around her from behind. He wrapped his arms around her from behind.

Kennedy wriggled in his grip. “I have to go find the rest, I’m holding out for at least one piece of candy.” Before she pulled away from him she turned in his grasp and dug a bunny out of her bag. He was bight pink with a little purple star on his belly. He held an even tinier pink, purple and blue stripped flag. When Zac narrowed his eyes she laughed. “His name is Billie and he’s a pride bunny.”

Zac grabbed the bunny and laughed. “This is payback for what I got you isn’t it?”

She nodded.

“If this scares off chicks…” He trailed off when she glared. “Well good riddance!” He laughed.

GREY legallybound1sThe last thing Daniel, a hard-working public defender, expected to see the morning after a one night stand was his hook up staring back at him from the wrong side of the law. Assigned to work his case, Daniel vows to keep things professional with Rafael but has a hard time controlling his craving for dominance, the control and the connection they shared. Rafael, a paid dominant in the Chicago underworld, has been dealing with a cop problem for far too long. Used to sex with no emotion, he’s entranced with Daniel’s submission, his innocence, and…could there be something more? Can Daniel clear Rafael’s name, keeping him out of jail and in his life, with the odds, a cop, and the mounting evidence against them?

About the Author:When not staying up all night writing, J.R Gray can be found basking in the warm glow of the Miami sun, or at the gym where it’s half assumed Gray is a permanent resident. A dominant, pilot, and sword fighting enthusiast, Gray finds it hard to be in the passenger seat of any car. Gray frequently interrupts real life, including normal sleep patterns, to jot down nonsense. The bane of Gray’s existence are commas, and even though it’s been fully acknowledged they are necessary, they continue to baffle and bewilder.

If Gray wasn’t writing…well, that’s not possible. The buildup of untold stories would haunt Gray into an early grave or possibly a mental institution where the tales would end up on the walls in crayon and finger paint.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

Spring Blogfest: Jonathan Gould

Spring blogfest banner 2 copy
Win an ecopy of Magnus Opum, and as a bonus also ecopies of the author’s three Neville Lansdowne novellas – Doodling, Scribbling and Scrawling by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

Did somebody say it’s spring? That’s news to me

Hooray. Spring is here. Everybody is so happy. Everyone is singing happy songs and dancing in the street. It’s all wonderful and joyful and ever so bright and shiny.

Well it is for some people. But not for everybody.

It’s all right for you people in the northern hemisphere to be so happy about it. But what about us poor folk south of the equator?

There’s no spring here as far as I can tell. In fact, what we’ve got is the total opposite. As you settle into spring, we’re sinking into autumn (okay, fall, for all you northern hemisphere types). While your days are getting longer and your sunshine is getting brighter and your flowers are opening up to fill your world with life and colour, our days are getting shorter and gloomier as the warmth of the sun subsides and the dreary dark clouds of winter start to roll in.

You folk up north have so much to look forward to. Soon it will be summer. Out will come the sunglasses and the swimming costumes, and you’ll all be parading at the beach, drinking daiquiris or Long Island iced teas, or whatever summer beverage happens to be the latest fashion. While you’re sipping away, spare a thought for us poor southern souls. We’ll be pulling out our raincoats, sticking beanies on our heads and gloves on our hands as we brace ourselves for the cold. Oh no, life for us is definitely not looking so promising.

Not that I want to complain or anything. Well, that’s not really true. Actually, I love to complain. There’s nothing that makes me happier than a good whinge. If it really was spring down here, I’d probably be moaning about how I can’t stand the heat of the summer, and I always end up getting sunburnt, and the air-conditioning never works properly and…But that’s another story. For now, I’m more than happy to complain about the fact that autumn is setting in, the days are getting shorter, and soon I won’t be able to go on a nice after-dinner stroll around the neighbourhood, which kind of sucks in my book.

Oh well, I better try and look on the bright side. Less sun means I don’t feel so guilty about hiding inside and getting on with my writing – which is my favourite thing to do, regardless of the weather. And I can get some cold-hearted pleasure from the fact that your summer will fly by before you know it, and then you too will find autumn bearing down upon you. And by that time, I’m sure I’ll have found a bunch of other things to complain about.

jgould Magnus-opum-booktrope-coverMagnus Mandalora never planned to go out into the big, wide world. He thought he’d live out his life in his homely little village, happily cooking and eating pflugberry pies. But fate had other ideas.

Before he knows it, Magnus has embarked on an incredible adventure. He discovers a world full of marvels and wonder, surprises and delights. But it’s also a world of perils and danger. As Magnus finds himself right in the middle of a long-running war between the fair and noble Cherines and the vile and despicable Glurgs, he faces challenges beyond anything he could have imagined.

About the Author: jgouldJonathan Gould has lived in Melbourne, Australia all his life, except when he hasn’t. He has written comedy sketches for both the theatre and radio, as well as several published children’s books for the educational market.

He likes to refer to his stories as dag-lit because they don’t easily fit into recognisable genres (dag is Australian slang for a person who is unfashionable and doesn’t follow the crowd – but in an amusing and fun way). You might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.

Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons, Dr Seuss, Terry Pratchett, and even Enid Blyton (in a good way).

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

Spring Blogfest: Katherine Halle

Spring blogfest banner 2 copy
Win one digital copy of my novella Cast The First Stone by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

Spring. Easter. Equinox. April showers. May flowers. Easter baskets. Easter egg hunts. Spring dresses. NEW LOVE. So many things come to mind when I think of Spring, and all of them make me happy.

Winter is a hard season for me. I grew up in the Midwest where it felt like we didn’t see the sun from October until April. And this winter, even though I’m not in the Midwest anymore, felt like that a lot. Cold temperatures, lots of snow, too many snow days, but today was beautiful. The sun was out, the temperature was in the seventies and it was just an all around gorgeous day. Of course it’s going to rain tomorrow, but today was gorgeous.

I remember growing up our church always had an Easter egg hunt and my mom (the Easter Bunny) ALWAYS hid baskets for me around the house. Now that I’m an adult, we’ve moved a lot so my kid hasn’t gotten quite as many Easter egg hunts and we spent one Easter in a Navy Lodge in Italy and since nothing was open we had our Easter meal at the food court – I think we had hamburgers. Alone. Because we were literally the only people there that weren’t actually working. Who knew, that in Italy, on Easter Sunday, pretty much everything would be closed. *sigh*

I don’t know if there will be an Easter egg hunt this year, the community puts one on at the local cemetery (yes, the cemetery) so we’ll see if the child is interested. Might be too old, I don’t know. There will be baskets though, or rather buckets, because Walmart had these really cool Avengers/Frozen/Minion buckets on sale, so I bought one of each.

While growing up we always had a baked ham, scalloped potatoes and other accoutrements. I would kind of like to do that this year, it would be one of the few times we’re actually in town on Easter and can do something like that. It will probably be a Honey Baked Ham if we do it, because you just can’t beat one of their hams.

What about all of you? I want to hear YOUR Spring/Easter/Equinox/Whatever joys, traditions, fun things you do. Because I’m ALWAYS looking for new ideas! And because one lucky commenter will win an ebook copy of my novella, Cast The First Stone, about a hunter and an Alpha werewolf that reluctantly join forces to go after the same enemy and might just fall in love along the way.

Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY SPRING *tosses flowers*

KATHERINE castthefirststoneJulian Hart is a werewolf hunter. The murder of his parents at the claws of a pair of rogue werewolves left him as guardian to his younger sister, Zoe. Grief and rage drove him to become a hunter and prevent other families from suffering the same fate. His latest hunt leads him right into Alpha Stone’s territory, where his sister was turned against her will.

Werewolf protocol demands that he ask for permission before entering Stone’s territory and continuing his hunt. That leaves Julian with an unwanted entourage and fighting an attraction to a man he shouldn’t crave.

With Alpha Stone’s people dogging his every step and Julian resisting his desire for the very man he’s supposed to hate, his hunt uncovers secrets hidden within lies and a plot for vengeance that no one saw coming.

When the smoke clears, what Julian finds at the end of the trail will forever change his life and the lives of everyone he holds dear.

About the Author: The nickname “Queen of Happy Endings” is an apt one for Katherine Halle. She firmly believes that no matter what the obstacles, what the struggles, or how much angst is involved in the journey that the ending should always be a happy one.

Katherine’s love of the written word started at a very early age with repeated demands of “read to me” to any who would listen. It was only natural that writing would follow. As a child, she could often be found daydreaming, thinking up fanciful stories and writing them down. Now she does it on a laptop. Much faster.

Katherine’s favorite animal is her dog. She likes books, movies, and quirky tv shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She is a closet foodie. She has lived in both Europe and the United States and loved both. When she’s not writing or plotting, Katherine enjoys spending her time listening to music, reading books by OTHER people, and being with her family.

Blog

Buy the book at the publisher.

Spring Blogfest: Shereen Vedam

Spring blogfest banner 2 copy
Win a kindle copy of A Beastly Scandal by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

Dog On The Loose Causes Mayhem on High Street, Cheshire, UK

[Note: All animals, persons and newspaper businesses mentioned in this article are works of fiction by Shereen Vedam]

This is Godfrey Plowright from The Chronicle News, the best news team in all of Cheshire, UK. Today, we are privileged to have Earnest visiting us. He is a six month old, large, fawn-colored, Irish Wolfhound puppy. He’s come a long way, time traveled 201 years in fact, to discuss his most troublesome experience during 1812. With him is his handler, um…author, Shereen Vedam. Let’s give them both a hearty Cheshire welcome.

[Shereen nods and Earnest lays down and rolls over for a belly rub.]

GP: Good Morning, Earnest!

E: [Sits up] Woof!

GP: I see you’re a gent of few words. Much like your master, I hear. Though, I hope you’re more approachable than Lord Terrance is reputed to be?

E: Woof, Woof!

S: He says, “Yes.”

GP: A terse lot, you two are. I have my work cut out, but I came prepared. [shuffles some papers] First question to you, Earnest. I have a report here from Felton, your master’s butler that says what began the troubles in Clearview Manor was a spot of, shall we say, “spillage,” on a gentleman’s greatcoat. How do you respond to that charge, sir?

E: Ghost.   Ghost Ghost.   Ghost Ghost Ghost.

GP: A ghost you say. I shall take it that the spillage wasn’t ghostly ectoplasm, but rather your reaction to the alleged presence of otherworldly phenomenon in your home. Accepted. Might be my exact reaction if I had your excellent sense of smell and audible range and detected an inexplicable intrusion into the upper reaches of my home. But it’s reported, Earnest, that after you notified your master of your findings with said spillage, you then ran away into a fierce winter storm. A dangerous turn of events indeed. Felton reports that your master was so worried about you that he came looking for you and was run down by a carriage. Do you have any remorse for putting your master through such a trial that fearful night?

E: Frightened. Cold. Found friend. Smelled bird. Want to eat bird but friend says, NO. Wants to return to bad house. [Earnest lays down, covers his head with his paws and whines]

GP: I completely understand. I wouldn’t want to return to Clearview. But speaking ghosts and Christmas, was it the spirit of Christmas past, present or future?

E: Friend’s past. Earnest’s Present. Master’s Future.

GP: Very cryptic indeed. Shereen, would you care to elaborate on Earnest’s statement?

S: Well, you see it all began the night Lord Terrance’s father was murdered in London. His lordship believed that his future with Lady Belle depended on discovering what took place the previous spring in Richmond Park.

E: Play. Woof. Woof Woof. [Earnest runs away].

GP: But we’re not finished! It was just getting interesting.

S: I’m terrible sorry. Despite his large size, he’s still a pup…[Shereen dashes out the door in Earnest’s wake.]

GP: Well, friends, that must be the shortest interview on record. Perhaps we will be able to convince Earnest to return for a longer spell soon. [Shakes head and makes note to bring a doggy bone for the next interview with the wolfhound.]

A Beastly Scandal 450In November 1812, after a disastrous Season when Lady Annabelle (Belle) Marchant’s unusual talent for sensing what’s unseen lets her down and results in a man’s death, a chance to atone for her past mistake sends her dashing to a haunted manor in the wilds of Cheshire, England, in the middle of a snowstorm. There, she meets the beastly Lord of the Manor and becomes embroiled in a mystery to unmask a killer. Lady Belle struggles to use her uncanny, yet oft-times unreliable perceptions to uncover the truth about a man that everyone believes is guilty of high crimes, but whom her heart insists is innocent.

About the Author: Once upon a time, Shereen Vedam read fantasy and romance novels to entertain herself. Now she writes heartwarming tales braided with threads of magic and love and mystery elements woven in for good measure. She’s a fan of resourceful women, intriguing men, and happily-ever-after endings. If her stories whisk you away to a different realm for a few hours, then Shereen will have achieved one of her life goals.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

Spring Blogfest: Erin M. Leaf

Spring blogfest banner 2 copy

Win a $25 Amazon gift card by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

I wrote my latest novel, Rock Star Baby, in the dead of winter. When I looked outside my office window, leafless trees and snow mocked my wishes for spring and I couldn’t help wishing for sunny days and warmth. The nights were long and dark. My space heater was my favorite possession (right after my slowly diminishing hoard of chocolate covered blueberries). Wearing an undershirt beneath my undershirt just plain sucked. What does a writer do when she can’t take it anymore? She writes the hottest, most scorching love story she can! And because I am obsessed with rock stars and werewolves, I began a whole new series featuring some seriously sexy rockers and wild werewolves: Bad Oak Boys.

I’m a defiant and bitter individual, so of course I made my heroes suffer the very beginning of spring… you know, when the nights are still pretty cold and the wind cuts like frost across the back of your neck. Some days are sunny and warm, and some nights are still freezing. Bardulf, Alpha-Heir to Forst Pack, doesn’t mind the cold so much. He can easily shift to furry form. Ryan Oakley, lead singer of Bad Oak and heartthrob to millions of love-struck fans isn’t so lucky… or is he? When my two heroes meet, the heat they generate is enough to steam up the coldest spring night! Sizzling!

For me, the change in seasons is a fabulous opportunity for storytelling. Sometimes, in the summer, I like to write winter scenes, just to see if I can remember what it’s like to melt frost on the window with my finger. In the winter, I like to write about a summer so hot that clothes become optional. Without fail, though, my favorite seasonal story is when spring finally arrives. The way the world turns pretty and bright reminds me of what it’s like to fall in love. Sometimes there are cold nights. Sometimes it can even snow in April. But sometimes, when the conditions are just right, two people fall strong and hard for each other and their love burns all the dreary winter blues away. Love is the steamiest time of year!

rockstarbaby1lRyan Oakley, lead singer of Bad Oak and heartthrob extraordinaire, isn’t looking for a girlfriend. He’s definitely not looking for a boyfriend, but after the explosive encounter he has with a guy he meets backstage, he realizes he’s more flexisexual than he’d thought. Of course, suddenly being able to shift into a wolf is an unexpected side effect he didn’t expect and can barely control.

Bardulf Forst is Alpha-Heir to his pack, but he can’t resist his little sister when she begs him to meet Ryan Oakley. When he realizes the sexy singer is his mate, he can’t deny instinct. He claims the famous rock star even though he knows his father won’t approve: heirs are supposed to have children and two males can’t reproduce.

Little do they know that they’re about to experience an ancient shifter biological imperative: when two male Alphas mate, unexpected miracles sometimes happen.

About the Author: Erin M. Leaf is a bestselling romance novelist (the steamier the better) with a specialty in edgy erotic tension. She loves sci-fi, suspense, rubenesque, new adult, paranormal, menage, alternative romance, and all the flavors in between. She also writes romance as Marie E. Blossom.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Spring Blogfest: Sydell Voeller

Spring blogfest banner 2 copy
Win a $25 gift certificate for Amazon by commenting on this post. Also click on the banner to enter the rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC, one of four book packs, or one of four swag packs (US only on book and swag packs).

New Beginnings—a Symbol of Spring

Many years ago my husband, two small sons, and I moved to a neighboring state away from my hometown where my parents still lived. Our two-generational family remained close, despite the increased distance now separating us. Yet despite the miles, we spent major holidays together, and I cherished the fact that my sons had this opportunity to build and store memories of special times spent with their grandparents.

Easter was one of those special times. My mother always made Hungarian nut roll to complement our assortment of Easter breads on Sunday morning, a tradition that had been passed down in her family for generations. There were also family Easter egg hunts in the backyard if the weather cooperated, and if it didn’t, then the family room became the temporary “backyard.” And oh yes, the annual egg hunt on the sprawling lawns of the college campus in our town, sponsored by the Kiwanis club for nearly 100 years, also rated high on our list of weekend activities. Finally—the highlight of all—joyous Easter morning celebrations the next day.

One year in particular as my folks drove the Interstate on their way to our home to celebrate Easter with us, they stopped at one of the busy rest stops that dotted the route. The rest stops were often located in rural, wooded waysides, and such was the case where they had parked their car. While Dad waited for my mom to visit the coffee cart, an added bonus provided by volunteers during busy travel times, he meandered down a sidewalk that bordered the parking lot. He’d wanted not only stretch his legs but stretch the horizons of his soul–for indeed my father had been dealing with a number of chronic illnesses that had caused him discouragement and depression. Suddenly, off to the side of the pathway, Dad spotted a young brown rabbit sitting very still in the knee-high, spring-green grass, whiskers twitching as it eyed Dad with liquid dark eyes. Ah, an Easter message, my father had decided. An epiphany, of sorts. A sign from above.

Yes, Dad later told me how seeing the young rabbit in the new spring grass had given him new hope, new courage, new strength to carry on, in spite of his many health challenges. Now every time I see a wild rabbit, I can’t help but remember that conversation with my father. I reflect on the beauty of all things new—and weave them into the tapestry of my own ever evolving life.

The Heart Leads HomeSarah Pendleton, a first grade teacher in Portland, Oregon, feels duty-bound as she returns to her hometown of Mistletoe Valley–and to her conflicted past. While growing up in her small, rural community Sarah lived with her grandparents, who served their community well–especially her grandfather, a pastor. Yet Sarah despised being the “perfect preacher’s kid” in a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business. Rebellious, she fell for a stereotypical “bad boy” during high school and after graduation, they married. When they learned she was pregnant, he left her for parts unknown. Unable to support the baby, Sarah gave her up for adoption, yet ever since, guilt has consumed her. She believes she doesn’t deserve to have a second chance at being a mother again.

Now a decade later, she is the sole inheritor of her grandparents’ estate. She must decide whether to sell the property, or make the painful choice of staying in a town where folks remember her rebellious past.

She meets the strikingly handsome real estate agent Rich Stevens. He also works as a youth pastor at the church where her grandfather had served. Her attraction to Rich is immediate and powerful, but she’s faced with not one, but two prickly thorns: He is a grieving widower, and his 8-year-old daughter, Carly, is grieving too. He believes that there can never be another woman in his life, and he can succeed in raising his daughter alone.

Sarah grapples with her own push-pull feelings for Rich. Should she hire him to sell her grandparents’ property, knowing full well he’s more than just a business acquaintance to her? Should she stay in Mistletoe Valley, or go back to her job in Portland? The truth is, if she were to fall in love with him, a man of the collar, she’d be right back to where she started as a child—struggling in vain to live up to others’ expectations. Worse, Rich’s daughter, Carly, is the embodiment of the baby she left behind, and if Sarah allows herself to get too close to Carly, that would only complicate her feelings for Rich.

Can Sarah and Rich overcome their personal demons and making a lasting commitment to each other? Can the two of them—plus Carly–become a forever family?

About the Author:Sydell Voeller grew up in Washington State, but has lived in Oregon for over thirty years. Throughout her twenty-plus-year writing career, her published novels for teens and adults have reflected her love for the Pacific Northwest’s ocean beaches, inlets and waterways, evergreen forests, and mountains. Sydell resides in Oregon with her husband. They married in 1972 and have two grown sons and five grandchildren.

Pet lovers, the Voellers have provided a home for several cats, a dog, gerbils, hamsters, and a turtle–especially when their sons were growing up. (A small rodent cemetery still occupies one corner of their backyard.) She and her husband enjoy camping, reading, playing Scrabble, day trips to the Oregon coast, and spending time with their two pampered feline.

When Sydell isn’t writing, she enjoys camping, walking, amateur astronomy, reading, and surfing the web. In 1987 after the publication of her first novel, she was named by the Washington County Mushaw Center, Woman of the Year in Communications.

Formerly a registered nurse, Sydell now teaches long distance learning writing courses, sponsored by the Long Ridge Writer’s Institute. Visit Sydell on her website to view her book lists, bio, and photos.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.