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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Burning Seal, Book One of The Elements Series by Jenna Storm...

Don't open the door. 

Danni ignored the warning. Her life changed that night. Now, she must gather the remnants of her shattered confidence and discover why she's hunted by demonic forces, envisioning a killer's crimes and dreaming about a woman who lived and battled a demon centuries ago. 

I'm over at Mary Waibel's blog today spotlighting The Burning Seal, Book One in my paranormal series. Leave a comment on Mary's blog for a chance to win an ebook copy of The Burning Seal.

Stop by and let's talk paranormal...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Susan A. Royal talks writing, family and her May release IN MY OWN SHADOW (Fantasy Adventure/Romance)!

I'm happy to welcome fellow MuseItUp Author Susan A. Royal to my blog! Thanks Susan for giving us a glimpse into your family, thoughts on writing and your upcoming release, In My Own Shadow, a Fantasy Adventure/Romance. Readers, please leave a comment with your email address to win an ecopy of In My Own Shadow...

 Hi Jenna! Thanks so much for having me. I’m delighted to be a guest on your blog. I signed with MuseItUp for the first time in June 2011, and what a journey it’s been. My life is filled with things I only used to dream about. In short, it’s been a wonderful experience. Along the way, I’ve met some wonderful people. Some of them live on the other side of the world, some on the other side of the country and some in my own little part of the world, but we all have one thing in common. We are wordsmiths. We write about worlds that exist only in our own minds. The voices of our characters speak to us, and we feel compelled to tell their stories.                                                       
I live in a 100-year-old farmhouse in a small east Texas town that comes complete with a female ghost who harmonizes from time to time with my youngest son when he plays guitar.  I’ve never heard her, but at sometimes on a cold winter night, I’ve felt the covers moving across the end of the bed as though she’s making sure my feet stay warm. Sounds like a story, right? Some day…
I’m married, with three children and four grandchildren who have been wonderful support in my efforts to be a writer. I couldn’t have done it without them. My family is rich with characters, both past and present. I spent my childhood listening to my grandmother’s stories of living on a farm in Oklahoma Territory with three sisters and three brothers and working as a telephone operator in the early 20th century.  My father shared stories of growing up in San Antonio in the depression, and through her mother’s eyes I was able to experience how it felt to be a teenager during WWII. 
My current book, In My Own Shadow, is a Fantasy adventure/romance and will debut May 10, 2013. My first book, Not Long Ago, is a time travel adventure/romance. Both ebooks are available through MuseItUp/Amazon/B&N.  I am currently working on a sequel to Not Long Ago, because my daughter insisted there was still more of Erin and Griffin’s story to tell. She was right.

     Let me tell you a little about In My Own Shadow.

     Talk about the worst day ever! Lara lets her friend Carrie talk her into a blind date, only it turns out the handsome stranger waiting for Lara after work isn’t Carrie’s cousin after all. And, when they’re chased through a portal to another world, Lara realizes Rhys really is out of this world.

     Lyra, her alternate in another dimension, has left clues to the whereabouts of the Book of Secrets that explains the mystery of time travel in Lara’s subconscious.  Or so Rhys thinks. Power-hungry telepaths pursuing them will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means breaking Lara’s mind. To complicate matters, Lara gets tangled up in her feelings for Rhys while exploring her connection with Lyra.
     With Rhys as her guardian, a bear of a man named Azle to guide her, and the spirit of Lyra haunting her dreams, Lara must find the Book of Secrets before it falls into the hands of those who want its power.  Only then can she return to her world safely.
I had fun writing scenes between Rhys and Lyra. At first she’s furious with him for ripping her away from a perfectly ordinary existence. Never mind that Rhys has saved her from the crazies in the parking lot and the nut job that appeared at her front door. Everything he says sets her teeth on edge, and sometimes he acts like he can barely stand to be around her. Every time it looks like they’re going to come to an understanding, something happens and it’s back to square one. Your typical love-hate relationship.

Here’s a little sample:
     Rhys seemed to have a hard time answering a simple question. “This is all too
bizarre for words. You can’t…I don’t…” With an unsteady breath, I threw my
hands up, fingers splayed. “You’re out of your mind, and so am I for trying to
make any sense out of this.”
Rhys rubbed his hand across the back of his neck. “I know someone who might
be able to explain things to you better than me. And he can be trusted. I know
where to find him, but it’s a long, hard journey.”
     I raised my eyes to the sky. “Sure, why not? I’ll just cancel my dental appointment this afternoon. No biggie.” Above the trees, the constellations
glittered in the evening sky, but the moon was ringed like Jupiter, and the stars
were spinning. “What’s wrong with the moon…and the stars…?”
     He stared up into the darkness. “We’ve stepped through a portal into an
alternate universe—”
     I snorted laughter. “Sorry, I didn’t bring my passport. I wasn’t planning on
leaving the country, let alone the damn planet!” His blank expression told me
either he didn’t get my joke or else he didn’t think it was funny.

Please comment and don’t forget to leave your email address to be entered in a drawing to win an ecopy of In My Own Shadow. Thanks so much for having me. I have enjoyed it!

Buy link for In My Own Shadow:
Buy link for Not Long Ago:
Web Site:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

On Jenna Storm's blog today...Author V.S. Nelson chat's with the intriguing ladies of her Eternal Series

I'm pleased to welcome Author V. S. Nelson to my blog today! She's joined by the ladies of Eternal Lovers, Book One in her series. The room's getting crowded so I'm going to bow out and leave them to entice you with glimpses of the (intriguing and oh so sexy) men and the ladies in the Eternal series. Please leave a comment for a chance to win a free Kindle copy of book two.

V: Jenna I want to thank you for the warm welcome. Like always you are such a lady of grace. So many others would have thrown us out for the unannounced intrusion. I’d like to start by introducing the ladies from Eternal Lovers, Book One of the series. Jennifer, would you come forward so I don’t have to shout across the room?

Jennifer, Eternal Lovers
 (A petite brunette who couldn’t weigh more than a hundred pounds soaking wet gets up and sits down beside me. Her smile is warm and friendly but she remains quiet and waits for me to speak.)

V: Jennifer, I thought I would start with you since Eternal Lovers is really your story. What can you tell Jenna’s readers about you and the book?

Jennifer: I guess it all started when I went to visit my best friend Alice, who was in the Chicago area.

(A blond with red streaks in her hair stand, waves her right arm and announces, “That’s me!”
 V and Jennifer both give her a look and she sits back down.

Jennifer: Anyway as I was saying, I was visiting her at a Lake Michigan estate when everything started happening. You see, I’d gone to see her to ask her for her help. I was convinced something was wrong with me. I won’t go into details but I will tell you every man I can into contact with seemed … well, just edible… anyway to make a long story short, I became seriously attracted to Gabriel, the leader of Guardians Inc. Being the big chicken I use to be, rather than act on my feelings I ran. He along with Alice and Raphael followed me back to California and it’s a good thing they did or I wouldn’t be alive today. Everything worked out in the long run and I ended up meeting my real father for the first time. By the way, does Jenna know I’m half Selkie?

V: Guess she does now.

Jennifer: Woops, guess I’ve been hanging around Alice too long.

Alice: Hey, wait a minute! What is that suppose to mean?

V: Ladies, please take it down a notch.

V: I think Jenna’sreaders are getting a good idea of what I have to put up with on a daily basis but I can assure you each woman here and in the series is unique and special in their own way. Alice as you can see is the most out spoken one. She’s known for her love of shopping and sex – the two things that are always on her mind. Sadly the others tease her relentlessly about it. Alice plays a major role throughout the series and keeps us on our toes. She’s lifemated to Mick, the one time lead singer of the Immortals. She met Marie, that red head sitting on your love seat in England. Marie is married to the bands lead singer came over to the states a couple of days after Jennifer arrived. She’s doesn’t look it but she’s been around for over three hundred years. No she’s not an immortal but her mate is so as long as she samples his blood from time to time she will continue to remain as she is.

(Marie smiles and give me a little wave. The blond next to her elbows her and speaks up,)

Kathleen: She may not be, but I am.

V: That you are Kathleen. Meet Kathleen, the first immortal woman we introduce in the series. She’s mated to Bryan the band’s drummer. Sadly when Set’s Legions attacked the band during their last concert at Yankee Stadium she was kidnapped. Thankfully we got her back before the end of book one.
The dark headed Middle Eastern looking lady on the far end of the couch is Jasmine. Like you and me, Jasmine is human. She is introduced to the reader just before Jennifer and Gabe’s wedding and becomes a major player in the series with the introduction of book two Eternal Nights. She now lives on the estate with Ronan, Jennifer’s father.

Not to scare you, but the dog we walked in with is no dog at all. That’s Nowaki, Jennifer’s wolf, who she has had since she was a small child. Nowaki also plays a big part in the series. See that young looking platinum haired woman holding the leash? Well that’s Jessica, Jennifer’s baby sister. Sadly Jessica was forced to share Nowaki’s body for twenty years until everyone discovered she existed. I’m happy to say, with the outcome of Book two, Eternal Nights; Jessica is now mated to Raphael, Gabe’s best friend.

The other two blonds in the room are Allison, a blood born immortal who found herself involved with one of Set’s Legions and Tshering Snow, a dancer from the Himalayas. Both are introduced and play a major role in Eternal Nights.  Book three, Eternal Blades is actually Tshering and Lance’s book so you’ll be see a lot more of her and of course the other women.

I know we’ve taken up a lot of your time so I say good bye to you and your readers for now. I can tell Alice is getting antsy as I promised her we would stop at one more mall before returning to the estate.
On another note, I’d like to mention, since today is release day for book two, Eternal Nights, I’ll be giving a Kindle version of the book away to some lucky person. All you have to do is leave a comment below.

If you would like to know more about the series please visit me and all the characters from the Guardians at any of the following places.

Book Trailer   Amazon  Website  Blog  Twitter  Goodreads Facebook   Authorsdb  BookB 

All of my books are available for purchase in Kindle format, regular print and large print for those with less than perfect eye sight through my Amazon author page. Amazon

Jenna, it’s been fun and I hope you’ll consider having us back again.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Author Heather Greenis chats about writing and her June release, Natasha's Dream...

I'd like to welcome Author Heather Greenis to my blog today. I love having guest authors visit and share their thoughts on writing, book blurbs and excerpts from their latest work. The cover for Heather's release is still with the art department, so I'm unable to post it here. Instead the author has included curiosity piquing blurbs for us to read and an excerpt to whet our appetite.

Natasha's Dream
Growing up, her only friends were her brothers and Nanny. In her parent’s mind, she was a mistake. As a result of an innocent swim, she discovered life existed beyond the walls of her home. Families, peers, underprivileged children. Can a dream turn into reality? Anything is possible, but dreams come with consequences that not only affect her, but those she loves. What is Natasha willing to risk to persevere?    


First, I’d like to thank Jenna for allowing me to be a guest on her blog. It’s an honour. Writing is a dream come true, but I can’t say it was a childhood dream.  I’ve always enjoyed reading.  

I love reading a good drama that leaves me thinking at the end and perhaps with a tear or two along the way.  

My husband has been known to walk into the room and see me sobbing as I read.  He’ll say, “Ah, you’re enjoying it” and leave me be. 

I’ve been known to have some rather weird dreams, and have since childhood. Like my character Keeghan, I remember most of my dreams in detail.  My husband suggested I begin writing. Smart guy.  I took his advice.  

It was a long, slow, but enjoyable process. I wrote and he read, giving me suggestions and feedback I think the toughest part is getting honest criticism when you’re not certain where to go for help. Friends and family would read the book and not comment. That was the toughest. I had to assume they didn’t like it.  The lack of comments sent me back to the computer for intense rewrites and edits. Finally, I received the comment ‘It’s a really good story,’ so I sent it off to a few publishers, and I was accepted.

My biggest complement came from my MuseitUp editor. In an email she sent to me she wrote.  ‘I made a note a while ago in our database that I want first dibs on all your manuscripts in the future.’

As a first time published author Teale made my day. 
My husband has been my biggest supporter. I consider writing a hobby and a passion, and am thankful for the support I’ve been given from everyone. 

Natasha’s Dream is the first book of a 4 part saga. 

The official back cover for Natasha's Dream...(June 2013 release date)

Fifteen difficult years and then a chance encounter that changed life as she knew it. Gave her a reason and hope to dream. Alone and seeking refuge, an orphanage becomes her only salvation for those dreadful weekdays. The only thing that gave her life a purpose. Ironic the underprivileged giving such pleasure to a girl born into such privilege.   A secret life. The truth hidden from everyone. It was imperative she keep her secret. What would he do when he found out? How many lives would be affected? Father’s approval was all she needed, but was that possible or simply a dream? Natasha’s Dream

The young man was skipping pebbles across the surface of the water. Terrified he would recognize her, she turned, dropping the blossoms. It was a mistake leaving the comfort and familiarity of the castle grounds. A foolish mistake.
“Hello. Hello.” 
She heard him speak but tried to ignore him. 
“Hello,” he repeated in a louder voice. “I have admired you as I sat under the tree and studied.” 
Embarrassed, Natasha was mortified at her stupidity. She hadn’t attempted to hide, but sat out in the open. The heat burned her face, but she couldn’t be rude and ignore him. She turned toward him shyly, tilting her head down. 
“My humble apologies. I have embarrassed you. Allow me to introduce myself. Stewart—Stewart Donovan.” 
She was afraid he would recognize her if she showed her face. But good manners insisted she acknowledge his presence. Perhaps she could tell him hello, and then leave swiftly and return home. She lifted her head. He was handsome, more so than she realized from a distance. He was her brother’s height, five feet-eleven inches with dark brown hair, a medium complexion on his face and a slight build. He appeared to be her age. His extraordinary blue eyes dominated his face. The colour was unlike anything she had ever seen before. Mesmerizing. Then he smiled. Her heart began to pound, so she shifted her attention away from his face. Nervous, she reached under her dark, wavy pony tail to scratch the back of her neck. When she looked up, their eyes locked.
“Natasha,” she responded. Panic rose as she realized he had introduced himself using his formal name and would expect the same from her. Mind racing, she tried to think of a fictitious name. He wouldn’t question it, and, she could return to the castle and never see him again. But, for the first time in her life, her mind was blank. 
Think, Natasha. Think. Names. I need names. Think of your studies. Only two came to mind: William Shakespeare and his wife, Anne Hathaway. Terrified of using the surname Shakespeare, she prayed Stewart would not make the connection. 
“Natasha Hathaway,” she stammered. 

Find Heather:

Friday, April 26, 2013

Get the scoop on devious Princess Arabella from Author Mary Waibel's debut novel, Quest of the Hart!

I'm pleased to welcome author Mary Waibel to my blog today. She's interviewing two characters from her release Quest of the Hart and giving away a copy to one lucky winner (details at the end of post). Join her and get the inside scoop on Princess Arabella and her devious plans for Prince Devlin and the kingdom! 

Me: Oh, look! I've managed to find Ladies Maeryn and Deirdre, Princess Arabella's close friends, here in the library. Excuse me, ladies, but would you care to share a bit about the princess?

Maeryn: Princess Arabella? Certainly. She's beautiful, talented.

Deirdre: Oh, y-yes. (She bobs her head.) Tell about the tournament.

Me: Oh, a tournament? Did she give her favor to the winning knight?

M: (Snorts) No, the princess faced off against the best of the realm, defeating knights with swords and bow. If only her father would have allowed her to do hand-to-hand combat, she would have been champion. Instead, Prince Devlin was.

D: Hmm. Pr-Prince D-Devlin. (Her face takes on a dreamy look.)

M: I tell you, King Gareth should reconsider his heir. Breniera would do much better with Arabella ruling.

D: I d-don't know, M-Maeryn. She's so bl-blood thirsty. We'd pr-probably be at w-war all the t-time.

M: True, she can be quite determined to get her way. Sometimes I wonder why I spend time with her. I mean, I know we're the only noble girls close to her age, but she can be quite mean when she wants to. Of course, without her, we'd be quite lonely.

D: Y-Yes, we w-would. (She looks outside and gasps.) Oh, m-my! W-we're l-late!

M: (Jumps to her feet and grabs hold of her sister.) Sorry, but we have to leave. The princess is expecting us to help with her latest plans to take the throne from her brother. This one's a special spell.

Me: Wait! I don't want you to be late, but what kind of spell are you talking about?

M: I can't say, really. Don't want to spoil it. I'm sure you'll hear all about it soon! (They hurry from the room.)

Me: I guess we'll just have to read Quest of the Hart to see what that was all about!

Quest of the Hart

A reverse Sleeping Beauty tale where the princess goes on the quest to save the prince.

Princess Kaylee has never had to fight for anything. Her entire life has been arranged, even her marriage. But when Prince Devlin falls under an enchantment, she finds she is willing to do anything to save him, even if it means fighting a dragon.

Devlin's own sister, Princess Arabella, is behind the deadly plot. She wants the throne and will use any means necessary to gain it. Her perfect plan unravels, leaving Devlin caught in a magical sleep that is slowly spreading through the kingdom of Breniera. All Arabella needs to finish her spell and claim the crown is a drop of Kaylee's blood, but obtaining the single drop is proving more difficult than expected.

To save her betrothed, Kaylee embarks on a quest to find an ancient sword and gather a drop of dragon's blood, while trying to stay out of Arabella's traps. But Arabella's traps aren't the only danger. Time is everything. For once the last inhabitant of the kingdom falls asleep, the spell will be sealed, and not even true love's kiss will break it.

Mary lives with her husband, son and two cats. When she isn't twisting fairytales, she enjoys reading, playing games, watching hockey, and camping. Her debut novel, Quest of the Hart, will be available from MuseItUp Publishing April 19, 2013. Charmed Memories, a companion novel, will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in August 2013.

You can find Mary Waibel at:

Twitter: @mewtweety14

Buy Link (Quest):

Book Trailers (Quest):

For a chance to win a copy of Quest of the Hart please follow the link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Guest Author Kristina Knight blogs about writing & what/who influenced her to become a writer...

I'm pleased to welcome Author Kristina Knight to my blog. Kristina looks back on her childhood and shares with us the most important influences in her writing career. Comments are welcome! You can check out the blurb for her novel, What a Texas Girl Needs and read an excerpt below.

My mom likes to tell everyone she meets that I was born reading a book. I think I actually learned to read when I was four, that is the earliest memory I have of sitting down with a book to actually read the words - not just look at the pictures and imagine. I like to credit that early reading compulsion with turning me into not only a lifetime reader but an author, too.

I've had a ton of influences in my life. My mom and elementary-school-teacher grandmother (who got me hooked on non-Seuss books) pushed me not just to read for work but for fun. I had this teacher in high school (didn't we all?) who always pushed me to do more...and nearly every creative writing assignment I turned in, she wrote, "I can see this as a novel". Then she would give me a B (sometimes a B+) because she wanted more. But those comments, oh, they were inspiring. Listening to my talented husband on the radio inspires me to really work hard and pay attention. Watching my daughter grow and expand her knowledge every day is inspiring, especially since her first days were such a struggle. The list goes on.

One of my biggest influences? The Choose Your Own Adventure books. I remember vividly staying up late, reading by flashlight under the covers to see where those Adventure books would take me next...and thinking about where I might take them. When I discovered those books, I realized that I could control the book. I could 'write' the book, at least a version of it, by deciding what should happen next. I discovered my first Adventure book just after I turned 7 - yeah, way too young for them and I had to look up a LOT of words. But I couldn't stop reading them. I made different decisions and read and re-read the books until pages started falling out. It was soon after that that I started seriously writing stories - some of them still live in a basement somewhere. Most have been destroyed over the years.

When I think about my writing career, I give a lot of the credit to Mom, Big Mommy (my grandmother) and the Adventure books...because they all had a hand in making me a reader. And that turned me into a writer.

Were you (and are you) an avid reader? Who was your influence?


What a Texas Girl Needs


Vanessa Witte is ready to finally claim her life. The middle of three daughters born into the Witte family - a powerful Texas name - she’s been content to float through life. Being dumped by her shady ex? A blessing in disguise. Having a one-night-stand with Matias Barnes? Not one of her more stellar moments. But she’s back in Lockhardt with a secret and a reason to start fresh: A baby.
Matias Barnes knows all about society women - it’s part of the reason he left his wealthy family behind and took a job on a ranch. He doesn’t like the endless string of parties, the inane conversation, or the gold-digging tricks those women have perfected. But that doesn’t stop him from wanting Vanessa Witte. Mat knows she’s so not right for him, but with her back in Lockhardt, can he resist her charms long enough to really let her go?


"I'll take the bill, Vern," she said, holding out her hand. It was about time she started paying her own way. One tank of gas wouldn't exactly repay the family, but it was a start. Added bonus, paying her own bills might help overhaul the character she'd found so seriously lacking in the last few months.
            "It's easier for ol' Mitch to keep his records if I just add it to the ranch total."
            "I'm not a ranch employee. This isn't a ranch vehicle. I'll take the bill." Vanessa couldn't remember ever paying for a tank of gas here. Come to think of it, unless she was trying to impress someone, she had rarely paid for anything to this point in her life.
            Vern handed her the receipt. Fifty bucks? Holy crap, how much did gas cost? Stupid question, Van, obviously it costs fifty dollars. She reached into her bag for her credit card and then remembered that was part and parcel of the Witte upbringing. Paying with Grandfather's credit card? Not character building. She pawed through the baby blue Coach bag but only came up with two twenties and some loose change.
            "Just charge it to the ranch, Vern." Mat Barnes's voice echoed under the station's overhang, chilling Vanessa. "The Double Diamond will cover it." We always cover her bills, his tone implied.
            Vanessa squeezed her eyes closed and swallowed. Her fingers closed over another bill. Please let it be a twenty. Or a ten. She opened her eyes.
            Three twenties. Triumph!
            "I've got it Mr. Barnes, thank you," she said, chilling her voice as she handed the cash to Vern. He looked from Mat to Vanessa, obviously confused over what was going on between them. Vanessa held his gaze for a moment. Vern took the cash and hurried inside.
            "I think we're past the 'Mr. Barnes' stage, don't you?" Mat watched her from beneath the tipped-low brim on his cowboy hat, his coal-black eyes boring straight to her soul. Yes, they were past the Mr. or Miss stage, technically, but not calling him Mat helped her keep her distance.
            The way her heart raced at the mere sight of him she desperately needed that space.
            She looked away, crossing her arms over her chest. Her gaze caught on the frayed edge of his jeans—which were worn in all the right places, she noted—and today's tee, tight across his shoulders, read, 'Chicks Dig Scars' over his well-muscled chest.
            Who was she kidding? Calling him Mr. Barnes didn't keep her from noticing just how delectable Mat was. Nothing could do that. Not in broad daylight. Certainly not the twinkling fairy lights during Kathleen's wedding reception.
            "I don't think a night spent in my grandfather's hayloft makes us best buddies," she said, hoping against hope he would just leave her alone.
            "Ahh, but what we did in that hayloft is another matter." He lounged against the side of her Porsche as if he might stay there forever.

Buy Links:



Author Bio:

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police--no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. When the opportunity to focus a bit of energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she's never looked back. Now she writes magazine articles by day and romance novels with spice by night. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and three-year-old daughter. Happily ever after.

Find Kristina online:


Friday, April 12, 2013

The Evolution of an Idea--How I came up with my paranormal series, by Jenna Storm

I'm over at Babette James' blog, talking about the development of my Elements series (paranormal romantic suspense). Come by and chat about writing process and how you come up with your ideas. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Drive Blind...Discover how authors Heather Fraser Brainerd & David Fraser decided to co-write their book.

Welcome to my blog Heather and David! I'm happy to have you visiting today. I enjoyed your post very much. It's always interesting to find out how other writers come up with a story or in your case, decide to co-author a book!

Readers, feel free to leave a comment or question for Heather and David.

How To Drive Blind

By Heather Fraser Brainerd and David Fraser

We love to co-write, emailing the manuscript back and forth, adding, deleting, and changing as we each see fit. And trying to crack each other up as much as possible. It's an interesting and entertaining method of writing. We never quite know where it will take us, so we refer to this method as "driving blind." Take, for instance, this article. Heather started writing it to explain the process. Partway through, it started bouncing back and forth between the two of us…

How does one start down an unseen path? It can start in any number of ways. In the case of our first co-authored release, Deception Al Dente, it started while I was walking my dog. One beautiful autumn day, I was strolling with Desi, my crazy little terrier/pug mix, along our usual route. We walked past the horse farm, around the corner where the stately old cobblestone house sits, beside a wooded area that must have been ripe with the scent of deer from Desi's reaction, when I suddenly spotted something different in the distance.

It looked to be a "For Sale" sign. I squinted, trying to read the small sign with my middle-aged eyes. It was indeed a realty sign, and the realtor's name was José Picada. "Huh," I said aloud. This was quite an exotic name for our rural area. My mind instantly conjured up someone with dark, flashing eyes and a suave little mustache. As we drew closer to the sign, however, I realized that my aging eyes had played a trick on me. It wasn't José Picada at all, but a much more typical name for our town. To protect the innocent, I won't tell you the realtor's real name, but I laughed right out loud at my mistake.

I started thinking about how funny it would have been if the sign really had been misprinted with the more exotic moniker. And then it happened. My mind started whirling with the possibilities of such a mix-up, and before I knew it, the character of detective Josie P. Cates had been born. I rushed home to call Dave with my latest inspiration.

“What?” He sounded exasperated as he answered the phone. In the background, I could faintly make out what sounded like a wood chipper grinding away.

“Um,” I said, “Is everything okay?”

“Yes, why wouldn’t it be?”

“I don’t know. It’s just that you sound exasperated. And I can faintly make out the sound of a wood chipper grinding away.”

“That’s just the food processor. I’m crushing graham crackers for a pie crust.”

“Oh, that sounds—”

Before I could finish my sentence, there was a knock at the back door, the one in the kitchen leading out to the deck. That was strange, as Desi usually barks up a storm the second anyone gets within three miles of our house. I glanced down to see her lying on her back, staring up at me with a goofy grin on her face. Or maybe it was a silent growl. In either case, she didn’t seem to be getting up to answer the door, so I figured that I would have to. “Hang on a second,” I told my brother, “someone’s at the door.”

“Not a problem. I’ve got you on speaker phone right now, since I need my hands to…” His voice trailed off as I lowered the phone and set it down on the kitchen table. I didn’t need to hear the longwinded description of his pie crust.

I grabbed my can of wasp spray from an upper cupboard and headed for the door. I’d read that wasp spray is just as effective as pepper spray, but less illegal. A knock on the back door was cause for caution; it could be an intruder. Or a giant wasp.

Peeking through the window beside the door, I saw a short, slim man in old-fashioned clothes holding a green butterfly net. He didn’t look to be at all threatening, which was probably why Desi wasn’t freaking out. I held the wasp spray behind my back, just in case, and opened the door.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

“Why, yes,” he said in a British accented voice. “I was following a Danaus plexippus through the woods in back of your cottage and seem to have lost my way.”

“Huh,” I replied.

“Could you point me back towards the moor?”

“More what?”

“No, my good lady, not ‘more’ as in quantity. ‘Moor’ as in the vast expanse of rolling land on the far side of the wood.”

As far as I knew, there was no moor this side of the Atlantic. And there certainly wasn’t one in my own back yard. I made sure my finger was on the spray can’s trigger, though I didn’t press it yet. “Would you excuse me for just a moment?” I said politely to the delusional and oddly attired man on my deck.

“Certainly, madam,” he replied.

I closed the door and locked it, hurrying back to the phone. Before I could reach it, however, there was another knock on the back door. I sighed and fingered the trigger button of the spray can. Maybe I’d squirt the British guy just on principle. One interruption, I can forgive. Two is just plain rude. He’d better be suffering from an iliac artery dissection, or something similarly gruesome sounding but non-lethal. Nothing ruins your day like a dead British guy on your deck.

It wasn’t, however, the British guy. It was a giant wasp. Acting on pure instinct, my hand came up and pointed the spray directly at him. I didn’t have a chance to spray him, though. He (at least, I assumed it was a “he”) dropped to his knees (or whatever the leg joints of an insect are called) and grabbed at his abdomen. “Grunt,” he grunted, “I think I’m having an iliac artery dissection.”

(This is the part of the story where we’d have a two-hour phone conversation regarding whether the giant wasp was sprayed or not.)

I closed the door and locked it again. When I picked up the phone, Dave was still talking.

“…but, you know, I never did care much for Thomas Jefferson. Anyway, what was it that you wanted to tell me?”

I awoke with a start, realizing I’d fallen asleep at the kitchen table during Dave’s longwinded description of his pie crust. Relieved that the whole British guy/giant wasp thing was just a dream, I gave a slight chuckle. “Oh, nothing much. Just an idea for a story. It’s kind of dumb, though. I’m sure it won’t go anywhere.”

“Are you kidding? This could be our first co-authored published work.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Just type something up and send it to me.”

“Maybe I will.” And later that day, I did.

Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly how Deception Al Dente came to exist.

Or maybe it is.

José Picada, P.I.: Deception Al Dente

By Heather Fraser Brainerd and David Fraser
“Hey, doll, is José around?”
It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but I didn’t hear the speaker enter. I sat with my back to the door, looking out the big window behind my desk, absorbed in people watching while pedestrians passed on the sidewalk below. It wasn’t very stimulating stuff, but it beat sitting there twiddling my thumbs.
Still, I should have heard a prospective client come through my office door. A good private investigator is supposed to have nerves of steel, the reflexes of a cat, and the senses of… I don’t know, something with really good senses. To make matters worse, the guy must have weighed in at two hundred fifty pounds, easy. There’s no way he made a stealthy entrance.
“Um, no, he’s not here right now. Is there something I can help you with?”
He plopped down into the seat across the desk from me. I held my breath, waiting to see if the old wood would hold together under his weight. Like everything else in the office suite, I’d bought it second-hand. The suite wasn’t very big, consisting merely of a small reception room with my office off to the left and a walk-in storage closet to the right. I didn’t have much of a budget for decorating, so the place had been completely outfitted via Craigslist. Well, almost completely. I’d also picked up a few things off the curb.
The chair held, at least for now. For its sake, I’d try to keep the meeting short.
“I’m Marco Augustino,” he said as if the name should mean something to me. My face must have been a blank stare, because when he continued, he sounded a little hurt. “Marco Augustino. Chef Marco. I own Bistro Italiano.”
Still, nothing. A glance at my garbage can showed wrappers from all my regular fast food joints. Just the name of it told me that Bistro Italiano was way out of my price range these days. If business picked up, maybe someday. Or, if I did a good job on his case, maybe this Chef Marco would float me some free food. But I’d prefer cash.
“Anyway,” he said with a chuckle, “I need to hire a private dick.”
It wasn’t the first time I heard this particular line, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. Usually, it didn’t merit a response, but something about Chef Marco annoyed me. I slipped into my best intellectual accent, the one used by all the talking heads on the Sunday morning political talk shows. The one that normal people like me use to try to sound smart.
“For what reason, sir, do you require a private investigator?”
“I need…hang on a second.” Marco picked up the name plate from my desk, the one I brought with me when I left the Charles Harrison Insurance Company. “You’re Josie?”
“Yes. I’m Josie.”
He let out a loud laugh. My eyes went to the chair to see if it would tolerate his shaking. It gave one little creak, but held. Thirty seconds or so later, he stopped laughing while wiping tears from his eyes.
“Did I miss something, sir?”
“No, it’s just… José… Josie. Anyone ever mix you two up?”
No, never, since José didn’t exist. But I couldn’t explain the whole thing right then and there. It would take too long and I had a chair in danger. 
“Okay, so anyway, I’m doing okay with my restaurant, right? It’s, like, packed with people all night. My kitchen is busy as hell. But for some reason, I’m not making any money. I think someone’s stealing from me.”
“Have you consulted a financial professional?”
“I got me an accountant, yeah. Thing is, since money’s involved, he might be in on it, you know? Plus there’s more to it than just missing money.”
“Such as?”
“Such as someone slashed my tires a couple nights ago. Such as someone leaving hundreds of dollars of meat on a counter overnight so it spoiled. Such as at least once a week someone squashes my cannoli.  There’s a bunch of other little things, too many to list. I’m telling you, someone’s messing with me, and I want to know who.”
“Do you have any known enemies, sir?”
“What? No! Of course not!”
I gave him a measured, knowing look, just to see what kind of reaction I would get. He began to fidget in the endangered chair. Interesting.
“Well, maybe. I mean, a man in my position… Us chefs are the new rock stars, you know? There might be a lady or two out there who thinks I owe her something.”
Taking a pen and notepad from a drawer, I slid them across the desk to my potential client. “Write down their names, addresses, cell phone numbers, and dates of birth. E-mail addresses, too.” This last was an afterthought, but I thought it sounded good.
Chef Marco muttered something about ladies not giving out their birthdays and then hunkered down over the pad, occasionally consulting his phone, scribbling away in what was sure to be almost illegible handwriting. After a couple of minutes, he straightened up and slid the pad back to me. “What’s next?”
“I do a little recon, see what I can see.”
He looked a bit skeptical at this. “You’re doin’ the recon? What about your boss?”
It took all the self-control I could muster to keep from rolling my eyes. “I do the initial legwork, and then pass my findings over to him.”
He nodded, apparently satisfied for the time being. “And if you don’t find anything?”
I gave him a flat gaze, though my mind raced to come up with an appropriate response. “If the research doesn’t turn anything up, then we take it to the next level.”
“What’s the next level?”
“Well, then we…” I paused dramatically, giving myself time to think. The answer occurred to me a beat later. “…go covert.”
“You mean, like a spy?”

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

INSPECTOR OF THE CROSS by John B. Rosenman--Guest Author at Jenna Storm's blog

I'm pleased to welcome author John B. Rosenman to my blog where he is giving readers the chance to meet Turtan, an Inspector of the Cross and main character in his SF Action-Adventure Romance, Inspector of the Cross

Thank you John for stopping by and sharing an excerpt of your novel. 

Readers, John and I would be happy to read your comments!

Coming Soon to a Star System Near You!

Inspector of the Cross (the first in a SF Action-Adventure Romance series)  

My name is Turtan, and I am an Inspector of the Cross.

I may be nearly four thousand years old, but I’m the only chance humanity has to survive.  For all that time and longer, the human empire (the Cross) has done battle against their seemingly invincible alien enemy, the heartless Cen, who have crushed us in battle after battle.  My job, as an Inspector, is to travel on freeze ships in suspended animation to distant parts of the galaxy to investigate reports of weapons that might turn the tide against our remorseless foe, who have brought us to the brink of ruin.

And now, at long, long last, I have finally found a device that can span the stars and defeat them!  Save us! 

There’s only one problem.  A beautiful, dangerous woman has betrayed me.

Ah, women.  Over the centuries, no, over the millennia, I have loved many of them and fathered many children.  Usually I have left them, but this one has left me and taken what I have discovered and given it to the enemy.  

Let me be clear: I am the best of the best, and I will do anything to save humanity.

But this time I have made a tragic mistake, and it appears I am too late.

“Here.”  Yori placed a glass of rare Zontenian wine in his hand.  “Drink this and maybe you can get some rest.  So tomorrow…”
“So tomorrow I’ll be in shape to resume my Flying Dutchman chase amid the stars?” he finished.  “You think getting drunk is what I need?”
“What do you need, Tan?”  Her dark eyes implored him.  “Tell me.”
He raised the glass, his throat tight with terror.  “Make me young again, Yori.  As when I started.”  He managed to find his mouth with the glass, only he was shaking so hard, half of the wine sloshed down his body.  He dropped the glass.
“Oh, Tan, I’ll make you young again.  Take away all your pain.”  She dropped wet-eyed to her knees and kissed the wine from his belly, licking him dry.  Gradually she worked lower and despite the way he was shaking, he felt himself respond.  Respond as he always did with her.  He closed his eyes as she clasped him in a frenzy, hearing her words muffled by his flesh.  “I’ll make you new again, Tan.  Take away all your pain.”  She rose and led him to bed, where he knew she would bring him love and warmth but no youth or Lethe of forgetfulness.  All he knew was for this moment, he must try to find them.

You can find out more about author John B. Rosenman by clicking the link to his website.

John B. Rosenman’s website:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Check out Jenna Storm's Fantastic Forty Interview on Jane Wakely's blog

I'm over at Author Jane Wakely's blog today participating in a fun Fantastic Forty interview. 

Stop by and let me know how you would answer some of the's all about your favorite things.

Click the link to visit!

The Burning Seal, Paranormal Romantic Suspense,