Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eternity by Tmonique Stephens

Eternity is a paranormal romance from first time author Tmonique Stephens.  It has a fascinating premise.  An immortal man is cursed to follow the lifetimes of his soul mate, knowing they cannot be together.  It's a powerful story beautifully told.

It sizzles with sexual tension which Ms. Stephens blends skillfully throughout the book.  Spiced with a dangerous entity who stalks the heroine, it is a read-in-one-sitting story.  You won't want to put it down.

This is a must read for fans of the paranormal.  The author has created an impressive universe surrounding a cast of strong well-drawn characters, each with the potential for his or her own story.

The next book in this series, Everlasting is projected to be published in May.  I, for one, can't wait to read it.

Enjoy this good read from a wonderful new author!


Cursed for 2000 years, Roman Nicolis has tracked his lovers’ soul through each reincarnation only to lose her horribly every time. Reclaiming their love is his only salvation. He’s been her friend, her father, her neighbor, but never again her lover . . . until now.
A late night walk home throws Stella Walker into the path of a killer. The last thing she remembers are the deep blue eyes of the man trying to kill her—and the first things she sees after a seven day coma are the same blue eyes in the handsome face of the man hired to protect her. Is he truly the owner of a security firm assigned to protect her or the man who wants to finish her off? Is it fears she feels when Roman touches her or the memory of something sweeter? She will have to push past her fears and reclaim a love that has lasted two millennia.

Past secrets haunt them. An angry demon stalks them. 
Roman will do anything to recover what they had. Though Stella’s ruined childhood has made her close her heart and body to any man, he must get past the walls around her to gain her love and trust, for it will take their union to defeat an unexpected enemy sent from the Egyptian Gods. A man Romans respects, and Stella trusts.



Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Pop" Culture - a word on Eldercare

My father is in his 90s and in very good health for his age.  But he has some of the typical physical signs of advanced age.  For example, his skin is very thin.

Last night, while moving around his den in his socks, he slipped, grabbed onto his recliner, and slid his arm down it trying to steady himself.  As a result, he opened a gash in his paper-thin skin a good four inches long.

I live nearby so he called me to come look at it.  We discussed whether or not to go to a walk-in clinic or the ER.  I called my niece, a RN, and discussed it with her.  After all, he would not get stitches with such thin skin, so the trip to the clinic didn't seem necessary.  He has had bouts with skin cancer and things removed leaving open wounds.  I have cared for him with those wounds, so we used the same procedure.

Today we found a pharmacy that had Telfa pads and tape for sale.  Try finding that at the chain drug stores...most of their non-pharmacist staff never heard of Telfa pads.  So we were able to get a large pad that would cover the whole wound.  I don't like pieced together band aids on an open wound.  It makes removing it more traumatic than it has to be.

Okay, so I am going to be doing the daily dressing change (i.e. cleaning, medicating, and recovering the wound.)  I'm getting better at it, though I could be neater I guess.

When I was a little girl, I was Daddy's girl.  He was strong and brave and clever, my hero.  As life does, it has aged us.  We lost my mother almost ten years ago now.  He was wonderful with her in her last illness.  He wore himself out so much I worried he'd follow her soon after she left.  But he has enjoyed mostly good health.

He was a navigator in the Army Air Corps (former name of the Air Force) who served in World War II.  He fought in the south Pacific taking off from little islands he'd never heard of before.  He was with the group that went back to the Philippines with General MacArthur.  To this day, he doesn't talk much about the war.  Although since I've been living near him, he has started telling me some of the tales of his wartime experience.  He was more of a hero than I ever knew as a child.  To think of the young man he was, little more than a child himself, facing the things he saw.  He still has PTSD to a degree.

He was a high school quarterback on the state champion team.  The pictures of him scowling for the camera as he pulled back to throw a pass, wearing the old-style uniform and leather helmet, are priceless.  He weighed about 135 lbs in those days, but he says his trim legs were "fast!"  He told me sometimes he'd sneak into the defensive line for a play or two in a game.  Then the coach would yell for him to get out of there, fearing the much bigger players would hurt him.

These days he's not so fast, nor is he so sure on his feet.  But he's still my dad and I love him.  So I'll change his dressing everyday, take him out to lunch, and take drives around the area.  He likes that.

Caring for the elderly is not easy, not pretty, and sometimes messy.  But he cared for me while I was growing up, like when I was bedridden after a bad collarbone break.  He wanted to go with me when we put Sparky down, but I said no.  He's still trying his best to take care of me.

Like I said, he's my dad and I love him.  I'm blessed to have him still with me.

Take care, everybody.  Enjoy a good book, some music, a movie, or a great television show when you can.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Forever Fall by Elizabeth Sinclair

Bestselling author, Elizabeth Sinclair, has written her third novel for her Hawks Mountain sweet romance series.  

Forever Fall, which was released late in 2012, continues the story of the citizens of Carson, West Virginia.  The story revolves around a social worker, Amantha James, and the attractive but troublesome high school principal, Lucas Michaels.  Mandy wants to purchase a number of infant simulators or robo babies as teaching tools.  She wants to curb teenage pregnancy.  The robo babies, programmed to cry intermittently, will teach the high school students how hard it is to care for an infant.

When the school board members balk at Mandy's plan, one of the most prominent members, Catherine Daniels, suggests a compromise.  Her teen aged granddaughter, Shannon, wants to have a baby.  Catherine has a remote vacation home.  She suggests that Mandy and Lucas share the home with Shannon and grade her performance as a mother to the robo baby.

They reluctantly accept.  It is a plan fraught with peril, but one through which they all learn important life lessons with surprising results.  Add in other characters with their own agendas and the search to solve a decades old mystery and you have a lively story.

As in the two previous books in this series, Hawks Mountain and Summer Rose, Ms. Sinclair has created warm and vivid characters in the small town.  The people are exceptionally drawn with a wide variety of personalities.  They read as real people with problems, solutions, and true to life relationships.

The stories are all linked in the diary of Granny Jo, the most memorable in a cast of wonderful characters.  Each of the novels has been excellent and Forever Fall is no exception.

I for one cannot wait to see what Granny Jo says in her diary in the upcoming Winter Magic

You will enjoy these terrific books.  They are wonderful reading.

Below is a blurb about the upcoming book, Winter Magic.  Enjoy!!!

WINTER MAGIC – Book #4 in the Hawks Mountain series will be released by Bell Bridge Books in November 2013
Kindergarten teacher, Andrea Cameron, would love to spice up her humdrum life with some excitement . . . and maybe even a special man. However, when her identical twin sister ends up in the hospital and asks Andrea to pose as her to close a deal with the most eligible bachelor in Carson, it’s a bit more excitement and a bit more man than she had in mind. But all hope of ever having a relationship with him hangs from the thin thread of what he’ll do when her true identity is revealed.
Since his beloved mother died on Christmas Day, Jonathan Prince hates Christmas, but it seems to be coming at him from all sides. As an added aggravation, he has to plan and pull off a profitable charity event or watch his dead mother’s foundation collapse. When the normal event planner retires weeks before the event, he’s forced to hire an unknown company, but in doing so finds a woman who takes up residence in his mind and claims his heart.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cry the Beloved Sparky

I lost one of my dogs today to cancer.  He'd battled lymphoma for nine months.  A brave little soul, he never complained, never caused problems.  He went out as he had lived, with a calm acceptance, and a look of peace on his sweet face.

Twelve years ago, I had lost one of my elderly pair of dogs, and the other was grieving herself to death.  So I got on the internet and started researching dog breeders.  I knew I wanted shih tzus, sweet lap dogs, affectionate and loving.

In April of that year, I lost my little elderly female.  So I contacted some of the breeders and found one who had a litter due that month.  Sure enough, the litter was born on April 21st - San Jacinto Day in Texas.  I reserved a pair - one male and one female.  The litter had four pups, 2 males and 2 females.

I watched them grow on the website until they were three months old and ready to come home with me.  The other little male, named "Godzilla" by the breeder's young daughter, was odd-looking, not as pretty as the other pups.  When it came time to pick up my two beautiful Tzus, the breeder contacted me and asked me if I knew of anyone who might want the other male.  Nobody wanted him.  She couldn't give him away because of the way  he looked.  He won my heart and I said I'd take him.

They were in Baton Rouge, La.  I was in Austin, TX.  So with a friend along as puppy wrangler, I drove to Louisiana and picked up my crew.

I had already named them, according to my pop culture leanings.  The pretty black male I named "Ming the Merciless" from the villain in "Flash Gordon."  The beautiful blonde female I named "Miss Myrna Loy" after a movie star from the golden age of Hollywood.  And believe me, you'd better call her "Miss Myrna" or you get attitude!  The second male I named "Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog" from a childhood favorite cartoon of mine.  He was to be called "Sparky" after Peanuts' creator Charles Schulz, who went by that nickname.

The trip home was hilarious...I was ever thankful my friend had come with me.  I don't think I could have made that trip without her.  They were a handful.  It got worse when they got home.  Ming immediately began stripping the leaves off any plants he could reach.  Myrna ran hysterically all over inspecting everything.  And Sparky immediately fled behind the washer.  I was in for an incredible adventure.  The Mod Squad, one white, one black, one blond - was born.

Sparky always knew he was different.  At times it made him sad, at times he was angry.  When they got groomed and Ming and Myrna got bows in their little topknots, Sparky would pull the bows off within thirty minutes of coming home.

But Sparky had compassion, often a result of feeling the pain of being different.  One time when we were out walking, a mother walked by with her little girl.  The child was about three years old.  She did not talk and had a problem walking.  She squealed and petted Ming and Myrna.  They accepted her adoration as their due and trotted off on their leashes to explore.

The little girl wobbled on her unsteady legs and sat down abruptly on the hard sidewalk.  She began to cry.  Sparky walked to her and put one of his forelegs on her leg, looking her right in the eye.  The mother's eyes filled with tears.  "That's a special dog," she said, watching the pair's silent communication.

"He knows what it is to be different," I said.  "He understands."

But he had the last laugh.  When they were about three years old, the breeder contacted me and told me she had learned something from a more experienced shih tzu breeder.  Apparently when a smooth faced shih tzu was born in imperial China, the dog was given to the Emperor as his special pet.  It was seen as a most auspicious omen.  Sparky was a smooth faced shih tzu.  The breeder asked if he had been neutered, which he had.  Apparently, a smooth faced shih tzu could fetch very high prices due to the history.  A pop star had recently paid $4,000. for one.  I got a bargain.

Sparky was my lap dog, my sweetest companion.  Oh don't get me wrong, Ming and Myrna like a bit of lap time too, but they are ready to get down in a few minutes.  Ming goes about his business of being the vigilant alpha.  Myrna goes about her business of being full of herself and knowing she's the smartest dog in the place.

There's a beautiful poem about the Rainbow Bridge, where all the passed pets wait in fields of flowers until their owners come along to claim them.  I like to think of Sparky sleeping peacefully there lying in the sun.

To those of you who think animals have no souls, I challenge you to look into the eyes of a dog.  You'll see their soul shining forth.  If you don't, you are not looking with your heart.

Sparky looked at me with those eyes today and I knew it was time.  It was hard, but I cannot regret doing it.  He's soaring free now, free of pain, unhampered by his failing body.

Thank you, little one, for nearly twelve years of love and companionship.  I will miss you.

"Goodnight Sweet Prince and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

A friend of mine recommended that I read Stephenie Meyer's novel, The Host.  I downloaded it to my e-reader and left it sitting for awhile until I decided to read it.  I read the entire Twilight series previously and liked it well enough.

The Host is a much different story.  The basic premise reminds me of the film, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", whichever version you, I like the original black and white one better.  Be that as it may, this novel bears little resemblance to the old movies. 

Yes, it's about an alien race that gradually takes over the Earth by capturing the humans and implanting themselves into the humans' bodies...Yuck, right?  Seen it before? Well, no you haven't seen this before...It's the story of Wanderer, a female alien with a long past of becoming other species on other worlds.  She is implanted in the body of a young woman named Melanie.  Only problem is Melanie refuses to go away.  There is a running inner dialogue between Wanderer and Melanie as they first fight for control and then develop quite a relationship.  They are surrounded by other characters just as fully drawn as they are.

I won't spoil this wonderful story by telling you much more about it.  Both Wanderer and Melanie are vivid characters, believable in their strange circumstances.  That's what the best writers of science-fiction, fantasy, or the paranormal genres do.  They create believable characters with whom their readers can easily relate, no matter the sci-fi, or fantasy, or paranormal world they inhabit.  They create beings who touch your heart.

Ms. Meyer has created a universe of sapient lifeforms whose actions and motivations will surprise you as the story progresses.  Wanderer is not adverse to sharing tales of her many lives as many species, some of them gloriously beautiful, some of them not so much.

I'm not ashamed to admit The Host made me cry, not just tears, but audible sinus clearing boo-hoos and multiple tissues, the full gamut.  It also made me laugh.  More importantly, it made me care about these beings, alien and otherwise.

This is a more mature work than the Twilight series.  It is a great read and hard to put down.  It's one of those stories that stays with you, long after you've finished it.

Please read this great novel.  You will enjoy it.

My only problem with any of this is if this story is optioned by Hollywood, I hope they bring a truer version of the book to the screen than they have with the Twilight series.  I know a film is a different medium from the written word.  There has to be visual stimulation, not just spoken lines.

Just don't ruin the lovely quality of this story, okay?  I promise I'll go to see it...I went to see most of the Twilight movies even though I was well past the target age and endured the sighs and whispers of a legion of young girls whenever Edward looked soulfully at Bella or Jacob took off his shirt. Actually Jacob took off his shirt a lot...not that I minded, of course.

That was a rough experience for me.  I haven't been a teen-ager since the days of rotary dial telephones...what's that?  If you have to ask, don't worry, it's not relevant to you...

I just found out they did option this book for a film and it is completed. It's due out in the spring of this year. I am looking forward to seeing it.

Happy reading and viewing and listening!  Until next time, take care.

By the way, yea Adele for winning the Golden Globe for best song for the movie "Skyfall" - lucky girl, not only did she win, she was sitting with Daniel Craig.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Blog Hop The Next Big Thing



Welcome to the NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop.


What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way for readers to discover authors new to them.  I hope you'll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy.  On this stop on the blog hop, you'll find a bit of information on me and one of my books and links to other authors you can explore!

My gratitude to fellow author Vicki Hinze for inviting me to participate in this event.  You can click the following links to learn more about Vicki and her book.  



In this blog hop, I and my fellow authors, in their respective blogs, have answered ten questions about our book or work-in--progress (giving you a sneak peek).  We've also included some behind-the-scenes information about how and why we write what we write--the characters, inspirations, plotting and other choices we make. I hope you enjoy it!


Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!


1: What is the working title of your book?  Touch The Sky

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?  It popped into my head about 25 years ago and stayed there patiently until I was ready to write fiction.

3: What genre does your book come under? Regency Romance

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  For my hero, Sheridan St. John, Aaron Eckhart is the model.  He's been in several films such as "Battle: Los Angeles".  He played rugged Staff Sgt. Nance. ("Who the heck is John Wayne?")

For my heroine, Celeste Hargreaves, 21 year-old Elizabeth Taylor is the model.  (That's the REAL one not the actress who portrayed her recently in the infamous made-for-cable movie.)

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Three years after her innocent father's execution for treason, Celeste Hargreaves must join forces with his accuser, the man she still loves, to find the real traitors who threaten her family and bring them to ultimate justice.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? The manuscript was pitched to an editor at the Ancient City Romance Authors annual writers' conference last October.  She requested the manuscript.  It is currently with the publisher along with the first chapter of the sequel, Swept Away, a work in progress.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Four months for a very rough draft.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Anything historical by Catherine Anderson.  She writes of couples who go through tremendous struggle and are healed through the power of their love.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?  When I devised the plot I was a great reader of Regency Romance.  Also in my early career I worked in the field of social work and saw many people in horrible situations.  I found that even the most awful circumstances could be overcome with the love and help of a partner.  I want my work to reflect that, to give women hope they can have a much brighter future, no matter what they faced in the past.  Don't give up!

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  It has a lively set of characters who use humor as a means to heal.  The hero is a wounded veteran of the Napoleonic War and is tormented that his accusations caused the execution of an innocent man.  Sheridan covers his pain with humor which helps him work through it.  Ultimately, even Celeste softens to him through his gentle jokes with her.

Listed below are two fabulous authors who are sharing the blog hop with me today.

Skye Taylor, Author

Kellie Sharpe, Author

Thank you for coming by...Look for my next post soon - a review of The Host by Stephanie Meyer.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Killing Lincoln

Well, I'm off to an auspicious start.  Two of my posts have "Killing" somebody in the title...
After reading Killing Kennedy recently, I downloaded the recent bestseller by the writing team of Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, Killing Lincoln.  It is a wonderful read.

Unlike the Kennedy assassination, the killing of President Abraham Lincoln was the result of  historically documented conspiracy.  Makes you wonder what they would have publicized had he been murdered in the days of need-to-know basis or national security...oh well, that's another discussion, so I won't go there this time.

This book, like their latter one on Kennedy, reads like a good novel.  Nobody needs to worry that it reads like a history textbook.  The characters are vividly alive.  There is a good bit of battle information leading to the surrender of Robert E. Lee to U.S. Grant.  The background is necessary to illustrate the bitterness of some Confederates at their defeat.  Also, it helps the reader understand why some of those who supported the Union were so intent on punishing the rebels.

As Mr. O'Reilly wrote, when Confederate agent John Wilkes Booth pulled the trigger in Ford's Theater, he made the reconstruction more brutal on the South than it would have been.  Lincoln wanted to end all the rancor and bring the former Confederacy back into the Union.  The post-war economy needed the South's farms and plantations to produce in order to pay off the huge wartime debt.

Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's vice-president and successor, believed the Confederate states should be punished for rebelling against the Union in the first place.  When he assumed the presidency, Johnson got his wish.  The South took many years to rebound from the costly war.

One of the best things about Killing Lincoln is the additional information the authors included about the main characters and their lives after the assassination.  I don't know about anybody else, but I appreciate learning what happened to everyone for the rest of their lives. 

Mr. O'Reilly wrote of his fascination about the similarities and parallels between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.  He is correct.  I knew some of the things he cited, but much of it was new to me.

Bravo Mr. O'Reilly and Mr. Dugard, this is a well-written book, worthy to be read.

The National Geographic Channel purchased the film rights to Killing Lincoln.  They have produced a film which will air on their channel beginning next month.  They announced recently that they have also purchased the film rights to Killing Kennedy.

I look forward to seeing the films.

Until next time, read, listen to music, go see a movie, or watch a good series...creativity on a grand scale separates we humans from the rest of the beings who inhabit our world.

Friday, January 4, 2013


I have to admit when I'm not writing or doing other things on my computer, the television is turned on in my place.  I like the background noise.

But honestly, I don't watch much on the major networks.  I like the series on cable channels.

I originally got hooked watching "True Blood" because I am a great fan of the wonderful Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris.  I get each book the day it's released, always have.  When HBO announced a few seasons ago they were doing a series based on the books, I was concerned I wouldn't like it.  When the series started, it differed in some plotlines from the books but took on a great life of its own.  I've watched every season faithfully.

That led me to other cable series primarily on HBO, such as the short-lived Number One Ladies Detective Agency, as well as Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, Dramaville (on BBCAmerica), and Homeland (on Showtime).

Homeland concluded its second season last month.  It's a fascinating premise for a story.  An American Marine is captured in Afghanistan and held for eight years by Al Qaeda operatives.  When he is "rescued", a female CIA analyst hears from one of her sources that an American soldier held captive has been turned and will return to the US to commit acts of terrorism.

The first season is about his return to his family, who believed he was dead.  They all moved on with their lives.  His wife is involved with his best friend.  His kids depend on "Uncle Mike" as much as their mother does.  Sgt. Brody's return is a shock for all of them.  He has a difficult time adjusting to life back home.  In flashbacks, we learned that he was tortured and left in a hole for years, barely alive.

Meantime, Carrie, the CIA analyst, doesn't trust Brody and is sure he's the prisoner her source meant.  While he does some things to indicate he was indeed turned, he doesn't go through with the one major thing he was asked to do.

Throw into the mix that Carrie and Brody are highly attracted to each other and you have an intricate plot.

By the second season, Brody is a congressman, elected to cover the term of another.  He is paraded as an American hero.  But the viewers are still not sure where his loyalty lies, even after the second season conclusion. 

The end of each episode leaves you craving the next one.  It's a fascinating web of subplots and intrigue.  The scripts are well-written and portrayed by a talented cast.  Damien Lewis plays Sgt. Brody.  Claire Danes plays Carrie.  Mandy Patinkin plays Carrie's superior at the CIA.

It has won Emmy Awards and is nominated for several Golden Globes.  It has also been hilariously spoofed on Saturday Night Live.  It's on the episode with Anne Hathaway that originally aired right before Les Miserables premiered.  Catch it when it's repeated.  The Homeland spoof was wonderful.

The first season is out on dvd.  Check it out if you like a good drama with action on the side.

Warning, the program is for adults, with a few realistic sex scenes, flashbacks on torture, and some violence.

Do you like Homeland, already watch it?  Let me know...

In the meantime, get ready, Game of Thrones is coming back!  I have to see what's going on with the Mother of Dragons.

Until next time, take care.