Friday, November 29, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

It's time to Celebrate the Small Things! Check out Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author and join in the weekly Celebrations!

The day after Thanksgiving I'm stuffed full of family love and goodness!

And the Celebration continues today with a plate overflowing with delectable leftovers!

What are you celebrating this week?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Things the go bump for the Holidays

Coming December 14th from Black Opal Books: A Collection of Short Paranormal Stories for the Holidays
This Holiday Collection is loaded with short stories by gifted authors. Here are a few blurbs:
Wings of Change by John R. Beyer:
He believed there might be a second chance at a new beginning with the woman her loved. It took a tragic accident to test that belief to its limit and to shed light on the question" What future lies beyond the grave?

An Unexpected Blessing by Bonnie Vaughan:
Why should she help a hungry stranger? She didn't even want to celebrat the holidays now that her mother was gone.

Making Spirits Bright by Debbie Christiana:

Spookie Millane is a loner. Her only companions—the nearly departed—souls who seek her out before they die for help with one last request. But on a cold December day, a startling visit from the almost dead may change her life forever.

The magic of the holidays can be hell…
Celebrations abound during the holidays, but this Christmas an engagement celebration goes horrifically wrong.  What appears to be a simple murder/suicide hides a vicious surprise. The type of gift Raine and Gavin, elite member of the Kyn, didn’t want humans to unwrap, because revealing the monsters in the shadows isn’t the way to spread holiday cheer.
Palomino Man by Julia Joseph:

 Demons don’t scare Miriam Kazin.  Aggravatingly cute men do.

Young but tough, Miriam isn't afraid to be alone.  In fact, she prefers it.  Between her unorthodox job and raising her two younger sisters, her life is already all she can handle—until she stumbles across the path of a fellow demon fighter, Shadrach, while patrolling a remote area of New Mexico.

Suddenly, Shad is popping up everywhere—usually in Miriam’s way—and it’s all she can do to keep him from disrupting what little peace she’s got in life.  When she finds avoiding him impossible, Miriam discovers the one thing that truly scares her—love.  

The Ghost of Christmas Present by Melissa Groeling 
Some things always find their way back to you…
Colin’s girlfriend is expecting a ring this Christmas. While he has no known reason not to take the plunge, a small secret is threatening to blow his world clean apart. Something impossible, something he never believed in before is taking him down a path with no silver bells and no twinkling lights.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

Welcome to Celebrate the Small Things. I love this hop and thanks to Vikki for making it all possible. You can find her at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author. Join in the Celebration here.

I had my second book signing in the city at Talking Leaves Book Store. And I had a nice surprise waiting for me. A young journalist from The Buffalo Rising Blog was there to interview me. This was an impromptu interview so I was slightly taken aback. However, the young man did a brilliant job of making me look good, and the article was so long and wonderful!!

I'm happily venturing to Amish Country to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to spend the weekend with my son. I miss him terribly and I can't wait to see him. 

What are you Celebrating this week?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Touch of Winter

Coming December 14th by Black Opal Books:

A Touch of Winter
This Holiday Anthology is full of delightful short stories by gifted authors. Here are a few blurbs:

Christmas Lovin' by Nana Prah: Rantha has been in love with Craig since college, but he only sees her as a friend. In order to not risk losing their close friendship, she adores him only in her heart until he invites her to his company's legendary Christmas party as his fake fiance to help him get promoted. Will their play kisses under the mistletoe turn into something real?

Home for Christmas by Shannon Kennedy: Stewart Falls, Washington is where Nikkie Tiernan long to go. She's tired of being bounced around her dad's family since he's remarried and her mom is still oversear with the U.S. Army. All Nikki has to do is buy a bus ticket--or so she thinks. But when a mysterious stranger claims the seat next to her, Nikki begins to fear her adventure may not go as planned.

Three Men by E.A. Aymar: It's Christmas Eve in Baltimore and a contract killer nicknamed Switch has a job to do: before the night is over, she is going to kill a man. But tonight's job takes an unexpected turn, and forces Switch to confront something she never has--can she continue this life?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is taken out of her hands...

Bittersweet Blessings by Cathrina Constantine: The formidable Wisconsin winter of 1892 stifles Christmas spirit and the family's anticipation of a new baby. Life and death weighs in the balance during this bittersweet holiday.

We are all excited for the release of A Touch of Winter!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

E.A. Aymar: I'll Sleep When You're Dead

It is my honor to introduce one of my fellow author's from Black Opal Books: E.A. Aymar author of the newly released I'll Sleep When You're Dead!

I'll Sleep When You're Dead is a haunting tale of vengeance and its toll. It is both thrilling and tender. The domestic scenes are every bit as gripping as the action sequences. E.A. Armar weaves a touching tapestry loaded with surprises- Michael Sears, author of Black Fridays, winner of the Shamus Award for Best First Novel.

Read an Excerpt:
 CHAPTER 1: Just Fall
  I was going to kill someone later in the afternoon, so I canceled classes that Monday and spent the morning on the couch, watching crappy television judge shows and trying to keep calm.
I took a long shower at eleven then, at noon, drove my truck out of Baltimore and toward D.C. The sky grayed as I headed around the curves of the Beltway and, eventually, thick rain splashed against the windshield. You could never tell what November weather was going to do. Neither Baltimore nor D.C. had real seasons. It was always too hot or too cold, buried in snow or heat, running back and forth between extremes like rats or people who believe in politics or religion.
I finally reached my destination, a neighborhood in Falls Church, Virginia. I slumped down in my truck and slipped on sunglasses and a black baseball cap. It was probably obvious that I was trying to disguise myself—completely defeating the purpose—but I didn’t want to take the chance of getting spotted.
I waited.
An hour passed, then another, and my nervousness rushed ahead of my impatience. Light rain bounced off my windshield. I reached over to my small gym bag on the passenger seat and touched the edge of my Glock 30. I touched it every few minutes to calm myself down, even if petting a loaded gun wasn’t the smartest idea in the world.
Using it probably wasn’t too bright, either, but Chris Taylor was out of prison. Three years ago, he’d been sentenced for killing my wife, Renee Starks.
“I haven’t talked to her in years,” Chris Taylor protested after his arrest.
I, myself, in a daze, was one of several people who’d even told the police that, to my knowledge, Renee and Chris hadn’t spoken since their brief relationship in college—so brief that she barely ever mentioned him. But his initials were on the baseball bat found in the bushes near her naked body and so were his fingerprints. He was given a life sentence, but released in three years when a retrial cast enough doubt on his conviction to overturn it.
Renee was so palpable—even now, such a presence, that sometimes I lost myself in thoughts of her. Sometimes I felt her return, like she was sitting here in the passenger seat of my truck, looking at me with her wide brown eyes, one hand brushing bangs away from her face.
What are you doing, Tom?’ she asked.
“Trying to kill this guy.”
How are you going to do that?’
“I’m going to wait until he’s alone then shoot him.” I paused. “That’s not much of a plan, is it?”
Renee shook her head. ‘You were never good at planning things. That was one of my complaints about you.’
“You know,” I said, “you’re awfully critical for a dead chick.”
A door slam startled me. I peered out my window and, through the hedges, watched an elderly woman emerge from the house with a man I didn’t recognize. But I remembered the woman. Chris Taylor’s mother had been tall and delicate with long, black hair—which was now short and gray. Throughout the trial, she bore a constant expression of determination on her face. Now her face was old and pained, droopy as a melted candle, all signs of her previous determination gone. She looked like a shrunken version of herself.
Chris Taylor came out of the house behind them.

Buy links:

When did you decide to become a writer?
I failed out of college as a psychology major and was readmitted on the condition that, in addition to maintaining a high GPA or risking expulsion, I also had to change my field of study. English seemed like a natural, almost easy choice, and it was the choice I made. I had always liked writing and reading, but never really considered either as part of my professional future. But I found myself in these brutally intensive writing classes where the teacher and students just shredded your work…and I loved it. I loved what I was learning, and I loved being able to impress my fellow students or, on rare occasions, my professors. I graduated college and, after about a year, started writing on a regular basis.
This was in 1997, and it took me a long time to finish my first book. That path was long, arduous and, frankly, filled with failure. And I was incredibly selfish during that time, which I think is necessary for a young writer, but really unfortunate for anyone that young writer happens to be dating. I was so absorbed in learning to write that I became dramatically self-absorbed, and it took me a long time and several girlfriends to understand how to balance my interests with their own.
William T. Vollman said that no one should try to publish until they’ve been writing seriously for at least ten years. That’s really good advice, even if it comes across as outdated or unnecessary in the current publishing environment. Fortunately, I was writing in the old publishing environment, and self-publishing was limited to hack vanity presses, legitimate small presses were rare and the only path to being a respectable author was to get agented and published by the Big Six. Don’t get me wrong; I hated that system, and happily welcome the new world. But the harshness of that world made me a stronger writer, and maybe it’s good that I didn’t publish my first book until this year.
Do you find the editing process tedious?
I edit relentlessly. I sort of hate that, because I’m never really satisfied. You know when you write something, read it a little later and the writing is so bad that it makes you die inside and you don’t want anyone to ever see it so you burn your house down to destroy all the evidence that something so shitty once existed? That’s the point I try to get past. Once I’m past that, then I’m usually pretty happy. But even after that, editing never ends for me; I just don’t hate my writing anymore. That was really scary with I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. In addition to the editors’ comments, I made a bunch of changes during each round of editing, and I worried that I was being super-annoying. Nobody said I was being annoying, but still.
What types of genre do you like to read and write?
As a kid, it was thrillers. I read really gritty stuff, like old Mack Bolan stories, and then graduated to Alistair MacLean and his twisty plots. Then I found myself in college writing workshops and was introduced to and immersed in literary fiction. That type of writing had never done anything for me before, but my teachers pushed it onto me. And it clicked. I went through an Ibsen phrase, and then it was Fitzgerald and early twentieth century American writers, and experimental fiction, and then guys like Nabokov and Updike, who wrote so beautifully and perfectly that it makes you want to cry. If I had a week left to live, I’d find a quiet room and sit down and re-read Updike’s “Rabbit” novels. And then just die of happiness.
So, obviously, I’m still drawn to literary fiction, even though I found that my own writing style pulled toward thrillers. I try to always have a classic or “contemporary classic” on my reading list, and my goal is to combine elements of literary work into my thrillers – Anne Tyler meets Lawrence Block. If someone said that about a book I wrote, I’d die happy.
Speaking of dying, if I really had a week left to live, I’d probably spend a bunch of money, drag my wife to some weird drug slash orgy thing and spend most of my time feeling terrible for myself and weeping. But, you know, I like to think that I’d be more dignified.
How did the idea of this book come to you?
I’d written two books prior to I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, one literary and the other a thriller, and neither was published. The first one got zero attention from agents or editors. The second landed me an agent with one of the top houses in NY, and just missed getting picked up (the editor had purchased a similar concept from someone else). So I was milling around and writing short stories, and I wrote an erotic short story that got published and then, to my surprise, anthologized in one of those “Best Erotica of the Year” books. Something in that story – a widowed single dad who has an anonymous rendezvous – stuck with me, and I tamped down the erotica, and other elements of that story ended up working their way into I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead.
It was also a bit of a post 9/11 thing. Working in D.C. and hearing the echoing boom of a plane exploding into the Pentagon (where my father worked) affected my writing a lot; of course, 9/11 reverberated throughout American art and culture, and still does. But I noticed that revenge became a staple of my work, and forced its way into the plot. As a thriller writer, I welcome that, because it makes the characters more interesting. Revenge is obviously wrong, but also sympathetically understood. So when the hero of my book is seeking revenge for the murder of his wife, he inevitably stumbles into confusing moral areas. As a writer, that’s what you want.
What are your future goals?
That’s a good question, and one I wonder about. I think most of us want to break into that small group of writers that manage to write as a full-time job, but I’m not sure that’s the life for me. I’ve had the luxury to write what I want, with the only demands coming from myself. I suspect that people who write for a paycheck lose that luxury. I don’t want to ever sit down at my desk and write something I could care less about; truthfully, I’m not sure I could. Maybe I’ve spoiled myself. Plus, my wife is about to have a kid, and I need money, and I like my job, so abruptly changing my life to write more probably isn’t in my future.
My only future goal is to keep writing.
Oh, and lose ten pounds. Trying to be DILFy here.

E.A. Aymar’s debut thriller, I'll Sleep When You're Dead, is available now through Black Opal Books. He studied creative writing under some terrific professors at George Mason University (2006 Final Four!) and earned a Masters degree in Literature from some equally terrific professors at Marymount. He has lived throughout the United States and in Europe and was born in Panama, the country with the canal or bridge or something. In addition to writing, and his beloved GMU basketball team, he’s also into crafting third-person bios that run no longer than six sentences. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers and SinC, and he and his wife live with a relatively benign animal menagerie.

Prayers for Nick Wilford and Family. So Sorry for their Loss!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things & Moonless

It's time to Celebrate the Small Things. Thanks to Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author for this blog hop. Join in!

This week was kind of ordinary. Nothing special to report. But I guess that's life---and a small celebration.

I have a nice weekend planned. On Saturday I have a date with hubby to see War Horse at Shea's Performing Arts Theater and on Sunday I will be at Talking Leaves Book Store for my second book signing. Wish me Luck.

What are you Celebrating this week?

Welcome to the MOONLESS Blog tour:
Excerpt and Giveaway: MOONLESS by Crystal Collier:

 Title: Moonless
Author: Crystal Collier
Series: Maiden of Time #1
Publication Date: November 13, 2013
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance

Blurb:  In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night. 

Among the many things to change for her that evening are: her physical appearance—from ghastly to breathtaking, an epidemic of night terrors predicting the future, and the blue-eyed man’s unexpected infusion into her life. Not only do his appearances precede tragedies, but they’re echoed by the arrival of ravenous, black-robed wraiths on moonless nights.

Unable to decide whether he is one of these monsters or protecting her from them, she uncovers what her father has been concealing: truths about her own identity, about the blue-eyed man, and about love. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with the man of her dreams and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

Unravel the mystery of the Moonless night! Hidden in each of the 8 blog tour excepts is a single word. Gather all 8 and figure out the sentence to win a free copy of Moonless. Send your mystery sentence to crystal@ with the subjuect MYSTERY SENTENCE before    , and you will be entered to win one of 10 copies of Moonless---just in time for Christmas. Happy Hunting! 
Now for the Excerpt:
   A body dangled from the rafters, several inches above the dirt floor.
Alexia’s scream froze in her throat.
Soft honeydew tresses spilled loosely over thin shoulders, the child’s eyes heavily-lashed and downturned. Her cheeks were blotched, wide, and white, contrasting with vibrant crimson lips. Scarlet skirts hung about the girl, like the bleeding petals of a rose, still as death.
Alexia swallowed. A child. She couldn’t be more than thirteen. Great wide irons looped her wrists, cutting wicked lines in the little one’s skin.
It wasn’t right. Disgust bubbled through her chest. She covered her mouth and hurried down the steps, anxious to rescue the body, or at least lay it to rest.
The girl’s eyes turned up. Brown, chocolate, swirling.
Alexia tumbled back. She thunked into the stairs and landed on her rump. Hard. She sucked in a breath. The little face watched her, expressionless, innocent, beautiful. Her stomach twisted. No one should be that perfect—not even in death.


Author Bio: Crystal, author of MOONLESS, is a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunshine Blogger Award

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is a way for bloggers to get to know each other and also get other bloggers to link to their website. It's a chance for me to choose some of my friends who brighten my day with their blogs.
First of all, I'd like to thank Deanie Humphrys-Dunne for honoring me with this award. Deanie is a prolific children's author. Stop by her wonderful blog to learn more about her.

I've been very busy and have now found the time to accept Deanie's award.
To accept the Sunshine Award, I have to:
  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger with a link to the website. 
  2. Share 11 random facts about myself by answering the questions the nominating blogger has created for me.
  3. List 11 bloggers I believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love! (I can’t nominate the blogger who nominated me.)
  4. Let the 11 bloggers know I nominated them.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers I nominate to answer.
Deanie's Questions:
1. What is your favorite vacation place? Crystal Beach. It's not an exciting destination, but holds thousands of great family memories.

2. What's your favorite dessert? I like all dessert, but I guess my very fave is cheesecake.

3.If you could travel anywhere, where would you like to go? Prague

4. What's your favorite thing to do in your spare time? Walk my dogs

5.What's your favorite holiday? Easter

6. What's your favorite restaurant? Russell's

7. What's your favorite season of the year? Autumn

8. What was the most you this year exciting thing that happened to? My debut novel, Wickedly They Come was released

9. What's your favorite kind of music? I love all music, hard to pick one.

10. If you've visited any foreign countries, which one did you like most? Prague

11.Tell us something about yourself that we probably don't know. I'm allergic to cats, that's why I only have two

Questions for my Nominee's are:

1.  Favorite Color:
2.  Favorite Animal:
3.  Favorite Time of Day:
4.  Favorite Food:
5.  Favorite Writing Time:
6.  Favorite Song:
7.  Are You a Dancer or a Watcher:
8.  Favorite Cookie:
9.  Favorite Movie or Television Show:
10.Favorite Genre:
11.Are You a Day Person or a Night Person

My Nominees are:
Kathleen Bosman
Misha Gericke
Lexa Cain
Nana Prah
Elizabeth Seckman
Aneta Cruz
 Congratulations to all of my awesome nominees and thank you for writing such amazing blogs that lift our spirits.
If any of you are too busy to participate, I understand.

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Celebrate the Small Things

    It's time to Celebrate the Small Things! Press here to join in this short & sweet weekly blog. And thanks to Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author.

    This week I'm celebrating:

    1. Completed my second round of edits for my second book and still have some hair left.

    2. Been keeping up with my walking schedule of 1-2 miles a day.

    4. Won a book from Yolanda Renee. Have lots of reading.

    5. Have a fantastic support group with the IWSG.

    4. Going to dinner tonight with the family!

    I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! What are you celebrating this week?

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Resurrection Blogfest II

    Thanks to Mina Lobo for this Resurrection Blogfest II! Every blogger has to Resurrection a post somewhere between November 12, 2012-November 13, 2013. I started blogging on January 12, 2013, and I had to laugh when I went back to look at it. And how far I've come since writing those first words. I remember being so hesitate, and wondered what in the world should I write. I've gained some confidence since then.

    Here is my very first post from January 12, 2013:

    Hello, I'm Cathrina Constantine. 

    And I've flipped my world upside down by becoming a writer and soon a published author. My debut novel, Wickedly They Come, will be released by Black Opal Books in 2013. 

    For me, this didn't come easy. As a matter of fact, my story began years ago, and has endured considerable transformations. 

    When I sat down at my son's desk with pen and paper and started scribbling a story, my family laughed, wondering what I was doing. I am a wife, a mother, and my life revolves around my family and friends. 

    It took a while, and through light-hearted heckling from my family and with determination, I've reached for the stars and I'm holding on to a dream!

    (Looks like that dream is coming true!!)

    You can link back to the original post here.

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Insecure Writer's Support Group

    Thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh, and many others that help with this terrific group! Please join the support group, it meets every first Wednesday of every month! This month Alex's co-hosts are CD Coffelt, Tina Downey, Isis Rushdan, and Michelle Wallace.  Remember our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG.

    It's close to the 3 month mark since my debut novel has been released, and I've been busier than ever trying to improved my writing, but some days I flub, big time.

    I just finished with my second round of edits for my second novel being released by Black Opal Books and my head is spinning. I can't believe the errors and misuse of words that I ran across, and the POV's were pretty messed up. Since I penned this novel 2 years ago, I can only hope that my writing is somewhat improving. (*Hope*)

    My doubts as a writer came into play when I started reading a novel that I really, really loved. I devoured the book in a matter of days, wanting more. What threw me for a loop in my writing process was my own brain. I began to ponder (not good)---lots of doubts---I will never be able to write like this---or---tell a story like this---I feel totally like an inept writer. I need to shake this feeling off!

    There---my neurotic insecurities have come back to haunt me!

    Monday, November 4, 2013

    Prah & Constantine Review: The Body Dwellers

    It's time for the Prah & Constantine Review.

    The first book I've read by the author J.A.Kazimer was Shank and was thrilled when Nana chose The Body Dwellers this month.

    Julie Kazimer is a prolific and gifted author who knows how to keep the reader on the edge. In The Body Dwellers, Julie takes us on a wild, fast paced rollercoaster ride. You barely have time to inhale before the protagonist, Indeara, who is half-mutant, five-foot-six, dressed in a skullcap, black cargo pants, and pink combat boots kicks some butt. A Stannum is a term Indeara hates, it's a genetic mutation of metals which protects her cells and heals like lightning, however, she feels pain like any human. But humans fear her more than any other mutations because she's harder to kill and more willing to die.

    The world of mutants is being infiltrated by a deadly plague, the harsh, hard hitting community barely thrives as humans have sequestered them behind a walled barrier. Humans are scared of a mutant apocalypse, motivated by prejudice and lies.

    Indeara believes her wealthy, human grandfather has devised a drug to make mutants into humans. The scientist thinks nothing of butchering mutants for his gain. Indeara wishes to join the Resistance to fight against their human killers.

    In the beginning of the novel you read that Quinn, the love of Indeara's life has plugged three bullets into her before defecting to the human side of the wall. Needless to say there is a cool, love interest twist to this novel that I enjoyed. 

    The Body Dwellers is a pistol whipping, kick butt, hard assed, love 'em and kill 'em novel that will leave you gasping. 

    Now let's go over to Nana Prah's blog and read her review!

    Here is the Blurb:

    Beating down deadbeat gnomes are just part of the job for Indeara Adair. Working for a long-time family friend, Ivan Daniels, a mutant mob boss, its Indeara’s job to collect overdue debts by whatever means necessary. But her "normal" day is interrupted when two cops from the human world stop by Ivan’s Bar in search of Ivan’s black sheep of a son, Quinn, the one man who’d broken Indear’s heart, literally, after he shot her three times in the chest and left her for dead three years before. 

    Indeara would love nothing more than to see Quinn imprisoned for the rest of his days, good riddance to bad-boy-body-dwelling rubbish. But she made Ivan a promise, and now, with the help of a ragtag group of friends including the very sexy and mysterious, Jake McClain, she must slip into the human world to protect the man responsible for betraying her, thereby saving the entire mutant society.

    Friday, November 1, 2013

    Celebrate the Small Things

    Thank you to Vikki at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author for starting this blog hop. Join the fun!! I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to post, but I love these short and sweet posts of Celebrations!

    Well I did it-I wrote those two magical words on my wip---
                                   **THE END** 

    After writing a brief descriptive email to my agent, I pressed send. And guess what? I forgot to attach the manuscript. *Duh*

    What are you celebrating this week?