#MedievalMonday16 ~ Conflict in the Joust from Jenna Jaxon

In her book, Time Enough to Love, Jenna Jaxon brings us a classic and well researched example of the joust, a stylized but very deadly form of combat. Please leave a comment for Jenna to let her know what you think of her excerpt.

JENNAjaxonEXCERPT:  Both knights had broken two lances on the torso—their scores were even. In order to win, one would need to either break a lance on the helm or unhorse their opponent. Either feat was possible, but highly improbable, given the lateness of the day and the weariness of the jousters. The best outcome would be for one lance to miss, giving the knight to break a lance victory. Another possibility was a draw if both men broke their lances on the torso. A draw would mean no victor; the debt of honor satisfied without a forfeit. That outcome might be best, but she could not help thinking in that case there would have been a great deal of effort wasted for nothing.

Geoffrey nodded slightly within his helm, as though acknowledging a strategy confirmed. Though the decision was unknown to her, she prayed it would make him the clear winner of the match.

In an instant, Geoffrey streaked down the lists. Alyse gasped at the ferocity with which Saracen raced toward his adversary. Lord Braeton drove his horse fiercely as well, but did not seem to reach the black steed’s breakneck speed.

Moments before the collision, Geoffrey angled his weapon upward slightly, aiming again for the helm and its additional points. Her heart flew into her throat. Should his lance glance off, as it had earlier, she would certainly be leading the first dance with Lord Braeton this evening. That prospect no longer held any delight for her, not after the physical pain this match must have cost Geoffrey—and Lord Braeton—and the mental anguish it had cost her. Had she not seemed so enthralled with the earl, mayhap the challenge would never have been issued. Or would not have been so avidly pursued by Geoffrey. If one of them were injured, it could surely be laid at her feet.

Geoffrey must win. He must.

The impact devastated both knights. Thomas’s lance splintered dramatically along Geoffrey’s right shoulder, twisting him around in the saddle and almost unseating him.

Geoffrey’s lance found its mark in the dead center of Thomas’s helm, snapping his head back with the force of the blow. An immediate cry of pain erupted from his helmet. Alyse bolted from her seat, raced out of the berfrois and onto the field.

*

Thomas managed to pull his horse to a stop, and his squires ran to assist him as he dropped to the ground. Almost as quickly, Geoffrey leaped from his horse, cursing as he ran toward his friend.

’Tis my fault if he dies. I was angered at him. Christ, why did I not aim elsewhere and try to unseat him? Geoffrey could barely hold still as his squire removed his helmet. “Thomas! Thomas!”

Men had lowered his friend to the ground, where he lay motionless.

Dear God! The splinters—

He stared in horror at the long wooden slivers poking out of Thomas’s visor.

Sweet Jesu, have mercy. Holy Mary, mother of God, have mercy.

He fell to his knees beside him, afraid to touch him lest he drive the fragments deeper.

“Fetch the surgeon!” Geoffrey threw the command over his shoulder, his attention fixed on the still body. “Thomas.” He couldn’t be dead.

Blurb: When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.

From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.

As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?

Buy link: Amazon  

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DOWN UNDER SIDE TRIP

Please welcome fellow author, Iris Blobel visiting from Melbourne Austrailia to tell us about her book, Fresh Beginnings. Iris is very well traveled, as her bio indicates, so ask her lots of questions, please.

Fresh Beginnings Cover ArtFRESH BEGINNINGS

By Iris Blobel

The small town of Hobart in Tasmania has witnessed many beginnings in recent years. At yet one more beginning, the wedding of a friend, Jared Fraser decides it’s time for some fresh beginnings to come his way… And he sets out for a holiday to the US to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome.

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on holiday.

Then the arrival of family friend Mia Levesque and her boyfriend, Josh, turns Jared’s holidays upside-down when he’s forced to play arbitrator between the two teenagers.

Scroll down to find an excerpt.

 

About Iris Blobel: Iris Blobel 2013BIOpic

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she actually had met her future husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only recently emerged, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as her dog. Next to her job at a private school she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Buy Links:

Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1y0N4bo, Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1s7xTiq, Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1pBrpEY

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1nqaT6t

Where to Find Me:

My Blog: www.iris-b.blogspot.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/irisblobel, Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel, Twitter: @_iris_b,

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/iblobel/, Google+:  https://plus.google.com/107759085454255573026/posts

Excerpt:

“G’day!” He stared at her and for some reason something tugged at his heart. Not that he wanted that. He had no room for women, let alone American ones. They all were on earth to make life complicated. Mark was constantly running around for Sophie or Hope, even though Mark’s wife was one in a million and little Hope was simply adorable, especially when she was asleep.

“Ya know it’s dangerous to hitch a ride,” he finally said when she was still quiet.

She stared at him for a moment, but then replied with the typical American twang in her voice. “I know you said something, but I have no idea what.”

He chuckled. “It is dangerous to hitchhike,” he repeated with exaggerated pronunciation.

The woman stepped a bit closer to the window. “Are you from Austria?”

He laughed aloud.

“Australia, I meant,” she added, seemingly embarrassed by the mistake.

“I am indeed.” He watched her looking ahead towards the horizon. “So you wanna hitch a ride?”

Jared had a feeling she didn’t want to, but her current situation didn’t give her many choices. There they were in the middle of nowhere, with the next place a fair few miles away.

“Name’s Jared,” he said and then he opened the door and walked around the motorhome. Leaning against the vehicle, he looked at her. She was pretty. Thin, but pretty. When her brown eyes met his, he experienced another one of those heart tugs and wasn’t impressed at all. He tried to look right past her. It wasn’t happening though. They were like magnets.

“Jared,” he repeated and held out his hand.

Her look went right past him into the distance, and he assumed she was fighting with herself, part of her wanting to get off the road, the other part being worried.

“Anybody else travelling with you?” she asked quietly.

He shook his head. “Nope.”

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and, after a brief moment, reached for his hand. “Nice meeting you.”

Acknowledging that she wasn’t much into sharing details like her name, he opened the door for her. “Where are ya headin’?” he asked.

A smile started in her eyes and played with the corner of her lips. He felt himself smiling back. There was an appreciation in her smile.

“Could you drop me off at the next stop?” she asked hesitantly.

“Most certainly, but where are ya headin?”

She shrugged. “Kingman?”

“Is that on this road?”

Nodding, she said. “Yes, it is. It should be less than a hundred miles along this highway.”

“Then hop in.”

She turned to get into the motorhome, and he took in her small stature and the narrow shoulders which seemed even smaller in her tight, red T-shirt. Jared noticed her cargoes were just hanging onto her hips. A nice steak wouldn’t go astray on these hips. Suddenly she stopped and moved to look at him. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“No worries mate.”

Jared held her gaze and wasn’t sure what to say or do. She simply stood in front of him like frozen.

“My name is Ivy,” she said after a long moment.

“Hedera. An evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plant in the family Araliaceae.”

With a frown, she stared at him. “I really didn’t understand that one.”

He laughed. “Sorry, mate. I got carried away. I’m a landscaper. Ivy is a climbing plant.” Scratching the back of his head, he added, slightly self-conscious, “And, of course, a beautiful name.”

There was a small laugh as she stepped into the motorhome. He went around and slid behind the wheel before driving back onto the road. There was a long silence, and Jared wasn’t really sure what to do or say. Usually, he was good with silence. Actually, he loved it. But at that moment, the silence made him uncomfortable.

“So, what brings ya out into the middle of the sticks?”

When there was no reply, he turned and looked at her. There was a big frown on her face, and he sighed.

“I thought you all speak English as well?”

“We do,” she said with a slight giggle. “But I’m not so sure about you Australians.”

With a grin he replied, “Now, don’t be cheeky, Ivy.”

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, my mom always said.” She laughed. “No way would I make fun of you.”

“So, you’re expectin’ a meal as well?”

There was a moment of silence again, and he glanced over. The smile was gone and panic was written all over her face.

“I… I didn’t—”

Quickly he reached out for her hand. “I’m pulling your leg.” And when she didn’t reply again, he muttered, “This thing with you Americans not understanding English is turning into a problem. I was kiddin’.”

“Pulling your leg?” She shook her head. “Never heard of it.”

A bark of laughter filled the small space. “Anyway. Talkin’ about food. There’s a small place ahead. Want some lunch?”

The Stuff in My Office—5

BKSHELF1Yep, I’ve got even more stuff to tell you about now that our short pause is over. The four pictures in this blog are of the wall length bookshelves opposite the corner where my desk sits (desk stuff in a later installment). There are six shelves (I couldn’t fit the top self into the camera frame, each roughly 10 feet in length and completely filled with paperback romance novels (and yes, those novels absolutely get included on the list of stuff I like that makes me happy). I won’t describe any of the books, but I will mention some of the other items.

In the foreground of the picture at the left you can see a couple of the items I discussed in the 4th installment of this series. You can also see part of the floor lamp that stands between the table (see installment 4) and my reading chair (also installment 4). I love that shade because it turns this lovely glowing gold color when the bulb is on, and it gives terrific light for reading.

Moving on to the next picture (below right) you see the rest of the lamp. The small needlework pillow peeking out from behind the lamp is another gift from my mother in law. That pillow was sitting on her royal blue sofa in her living room the first time my sweetheart brought me to their home for dinnerBKSHELF2 and to meet his folks. I was scared spitless because I knew about her upper crust Boston background. Mom was everything that is gracious. Nonetheless it took me several years to get over being intimidated, mostly because of my personal fears. I like to think that we now have a very friendly relationship. She certainly remembered that first visit, because one of the few things I managed to say was how lovely the pillow was. Who wouldn’t like a pillow with irises (Mom used to grow award winning Iris blooms) in varying shades of blue, including cobalt. On the shelf above the pillow are four framed covers from my books. Below those is yet another gift from my mother in law. This gift is more recent (just this past Christmas), yet I treasure it almost as much as the pillow. The seascape set into the tray is one of my favorites, and since I love the sea (add that to the list too) I keep the tray where I can see it.

The third picture (at left) shows the enBKSHELF3tire tray, and above that the remaining four covers from my books. If you look closely you can see a small two-tone brown box at the end of one of the shelves. That is a recipe box that my own mother gave me. It holds my grandmother’s recipes for Swedish coffee bread, dream cookies, and depression era frosting (made with flour, milk, butter and granulated sugar). The confectioner’s type of sugar that is usually used in frostings was nearly impossible to get during the depression, so flour was substituted. Even granulated sugar was expensive, so frosting on cakes was a real treat. The Dream Cookies are another depression era recipe, requiring only flour, granulated sugar and butter. Preparing Dream Cookies requires careful attention because the butter must be melted and browned to a point just shy of burning. The caramelized bits in the melted butter create the delicate flavor of these cookies. Once baked they have a very crumbly texture. My grandmother called them dream cookies because they practically melt in your mouth and disappear so fast that you feel as if you imagined eating them. Dream Cookies (along with homemade pecan sandies) are my favorite cookies, so they go on the list too. I’ve made the Swedish coffee bread—which is an all day project. Grandma used to fill hers with citron (candied dry fruit). I prefer un-candied dry fruit and more nuts—especially pecans. The bread was a daily item in my life while I was in school during the years when my grandparents lived with us (they moved into a small apartment in our house once neither of them could drive). I would come home from school and Grandma and my mother would be sitting at Grandma’s kitchen table having coffee and buttered coffee bread. They always had at least one piece waiting for me. I’d savor the bread and listed to Grandma and Mother share memories of their early lives. That’s how I learned about depression frosting and the origin of Dream Cookies.BKSHELF4

The last image (at right) shows the end of two more shelves, one of the two windows in my office and the stuff that sits below the window. I’ll write about the window stuff next time. Right now, I want to mention that the elephant bookends were a gift from me to my own mother and probably one of the first purchases I made with money I earned. I got elephants for her overflowing bookshelves so she would never forget where they came from and how much we both loved reading. The elephants came back to me when Mother passed away. Below those sits a small basket containing old checkbooks. I don’t know where the basket came from, but I like open containers. I tend to forget things when they are out of sight. I want the checkbooks in plain sight so I remember to throw them out when I no longer need them as tax records.

So those bookshelves contain a lot of stuff ranging from the treasured to the mundane, and as always a host of memories. Do you have memories of your parents and grandparents; stories and/or recipes that have been handed down and treasured for generations; little knick knacks that hold meaning only for you? Please share with a comment.

Kathleen Jabs Brings Mystery to Friendship Friday

Kathleen Jabs at the beachMy guest today is Kathleen Jabs, author of the military mystery Black Wings and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. She holds an MFA from George Mason University. Her stories have been published in a number of literary journals and received several prizes, including selection in the NPR Selected Shorts program. She lives with her husband and two children in Virginia. I’ve asked Kathleen to tell us more about herself, her book, and of course, to answer her selection of my weird questions–my favorite is her answer about her worst enemy. Now, here’s Kathleen.

I’m a writer, wife, mother of two teenagers, daughter, sister, friend, public affairs officer, Navy reservist and insatiable reader. I grew up in Boston, left for the Naval Academy in 1984 and have lived around the world – in Japan; Hawaii; Panama; Washington, DC; Miami and New Hampshire. I live in Virginia now, but I love to travel. I served 6 years on active duty and have been a Navy reservist for the last 15 years.

My mystery novel, Black Wings, was published in December 2011. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year! It was published by Fuze Publishing, a small Cover art for the novel Black Wingspress, www.fuzepublishing.com and I’ve had a wonderful experience with them. Fuze is co-owned by Molly Tinsley who was my advisor at the US Naval Academy. It was very inspiring to reconnect with her and work with her to get my novel ready for publication.

1. What’s the color of your toothbrush? Orange.

2. What cd is in your cd-player right now? I’ve got Celtic Women Christmas Carols – it reminds me of my Irish heritage and gets me in the spirit.

3. How much do you use ketchup? (1 – not at all, 5 – on all foods)I hate ketchup! 1!

4. What’s the model of your mobile phone? I have an old Samsung – it embarrasses my kids because it is not “smart” and I need them to look up maps and phone numbers for me.

5. What’s the size of your shoes? 8 ½.

6. Is your middle finger longer than your ring finger? Yes.

7. What time do you normally go to bed on a working day? 10:30.

8. What is the most distant place you’ve visited (from your home)? I’ve been to the DMZ on the border between North and South Korea.

9. How often do you brush your teeth? 2-3 times a day.

10. Do you like carrots? Yes.

11. The size of your hard-disc? I don’t know…

12. What’s your favourite word? Serendipity.

13. If you were a tree, what tree would you be? A Birch!

14. What’s a word that rhymes with TEST? Best.

15. Name the brand of shoes you’ve recently worn. Dansko clogs – I live in them.

16. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping.

17. Who told you they loved you last? My daughter.

18. Your worst enemy? Time! There is never enough.

19. What is your favorite cheese? Machengo.

20. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. “Be brand-specific” it says. Man! What are you gonna say about that? Even if you don’t drink booze there’s something you can figure out… so what’s it gonna be? Acacia Pinot Noir.

Friendship Friday~~Please Welcome Author, Nancy Gideon

Cover Art for Betrayed by Shadows by Nancy Gideon

I’ve known Nancy Gideon for. . .well not long enough. She is generous to a fault and one of the most kindly honest people I know. It is an honor and a pleasure to have her as my guest this week. She’ll tell us a little about herself and her latest book then follow up with hilarious answer to a few of those weird questions I like to ask my guests. Read all the way to the end of Nancy’s interview and you’ll find a short treat (I”m not telling). If you don’t know Nancy or haven’t read her books, you’ve got some terrific times ahead of you when you do. If you already know Nancy and/or her books, I don’t have to tell you how much fun she is to be around. Now, here’s Nancy.

Hi! I’m Nancy Gideon. I’m a writer.  I’m a Gemini. That pretty much says everything.  I can’t NOT write.  I love words and I love brainstorming plot ideas.  I was always trying to guess the end of books and movies growing up –  and in many cases came up with a better twist ending. I’m the ultimate multi-tasker (it’s that Gemini thing), thrive on chaos, but admit to control issues (ADD with OCD rising!). I was first published back in the ‘80s (yes, I’m an ‘80s lady!) and have sold over 54 books (and recently 4 more in reissues!) including historicals, contemporary suspense, dark paranormal and even a horror novelization as Dana Ransom, Rosalyn West and now under my own name.  Because writing doesn’t provide health insurance, I’ve worked as a legal assistant for the past 12 years in the same small firm going back to the 9-to-5 after a 15 year ‘real job’ hiatus to raise two boys.  I have a Netflix addiction and feed a menagerie of creature feathered and furred off my 4th floor apartment balcony. For more about me and my books, visit http://nancygideon.com or my blog at http://nancygideon.blogspot.com

I’ve got lots of launch party giveaways going on.

Please tell us about your most recent release.

Gladly!  BETRAYED BY SHADOWS, the 7th book in my “By Moonlight” dark paranormal series with Pocket Books is available on 12-17-12! That’s NEXT week!!  This is my first e-exclusive as part of Pocket’s new Star program and it’s tastily priced at $1.99 for the first four weeks before going up to the regular price of $5.99. You can pre-order at Amazon or Barnes & Noble  What’s it about? I’ll tell you in pictures and music in my book trailer.

 

I just turned in the next book in the series. PRINCE OF SHADOWS will be available on 5-27-13 – my birthday!

1. What would you want to be written on your tombstone?

“Here lies Nancy Gideon, skin and bones at last!”

2. Explain relativity.

What’s in it for me?

3. Who is the person you trust most?

Its persons.  My critique group. These fabulous ladies have seen me through all my major life dramas, both ups and downs.  They’re more than friends . . . they’re family.

4. What’s your favorite word?

If you’ve ever ridden in a car with me or bought me a drink (I’m not a big drinker!), you already know what it is. How ‘bout that drink and I’ll tell you all about it.

5. Who told you they loved you last?

My five-year-old grandson. I never get tired of hearing it.

6. Last furry thing you touched?

Thank goodness it wasn’t something in the back of the refrigerator!  It was Jasper.  He’s my new $800-in-dental-bills free cat. He’ll be working off his debt by being snugly for the next 8 to 10 years!

7. If you had to choose between a million bucks and being able to fly, which would you choose?

I’d take the money and pay someone else to do the flying so I could ride first class.  It’s all about those hot towels.

8. What is your guilty pleasure Disney movie?

“The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band” from 1968.  I fell madly in love with Kurt Russell’s singing and dancing! Still very fond of him to this day! Who knew a Disney boy would become such a badass?! Kurt, you aged well.

9. Do you have a secret talent and what is it?

I have a photographic memory that helps me be uber organized (which I have to have since I have ADD! Ooo, shiny!). I know where every file and piece of paper is in the office at any given time.  I’m the go-to person for setting up meal reservations and daytrips on vacations and conferences. I live to make lists! And check them twice.

10. What is one unique thing are you afraid of?

Things that aren’t in their proper order (see above!). . . you know, cupboard doors half open, spoons and forks co-mingling, patterned towels hung wrong side out, mail or money not all facing the same direction, M&Ms not sorted by color and number, anything on my desk that’s been moved since I last sat there. Freaks me right out.  OCD much?

11. You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?

I would do Jeremy Renner in a heartbeat! Poor guy is probably hiring extra security right now! I can hear my son – “No, Mom, they don’t have a life-sized Hawkeye figure with removal clothing!” Too bad. That’d be on my couch watching Netflix with me and son would be out the door!

12. What is your favorite expletive?

Didn’t I already answer this f-ing question? Oh, sorry, that was favorite word. My bad.

13. Your house is on fire! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno?

My laptop . . . duh!  My entire life is on that hard drive. Stuff can be replaced. Ideas and memories can’t be.

14. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what’s even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What’s it gonna be?

It’s always good to get some benefit from vegetables . . . I’d like the ability to clone myself so part of me could sleep in instead of getting up at 5:00 a.m. to write. And so I could send the clone to work for me on those icy winter mornings in Michigan.

Extra Treat for all who read this far, the blurb for Nancy’s newest release, Betrayed by Shadows.

BETRAYED BY SHADOWS

“By Moonlight” Book 7

By Nancy Gideon

Pocket Star * 12-17-12

 

Balancing a criminal empire and a preternatural clan war, reluctant front man Giles St. Clair doesn’t need a problem like Brigit MacCreedy . . . How much trouble can the head-strong and manipulative Shifter beauty get into in two weeks? Plenty when her schemes range from kidnapping to fleeing the retribution of her dead lover’s clan.

With her family’s lives on the line, Brigit is willing to do whatever it takes to save them. The only thing standing in her way is an immovable stone wall of a man she can’t bully or beguile . . . a human, no less, who has promised to protect her from the secrets and dangers she conceals.

Risking her own safety gets complicated when an honorable and annoyingly desirable man puts himself between her and her powerful enemies in a battle he can’t win in this Taming of the Shrew meets Shifter Goodfellas on the Bayou tale of consequences, redemption and finding love in all the wrong places.

 

Please Welcome Ella Quinn to Friendship Friday

US ARMY LOGO

US Army logo

Author, Ella Quinn

Ella Quinn is one of my favorite people whom I’ve never met in person. She is a fellow veteran–although Ella chose the US Army, while I chose the USN. That link, shared service, has been the foundation for a friendship that has lasted more than ten years. In addition to being one of my favorite people, she is a talented author and a fascinating person. But I’ll let her tell you about herself, so you’ll see how fascinating she is. Please welcome, Ella Quinn.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: I had several lives before deciding to be a writer. I dropped out of college and to tend bar and play in a rock band. Enlisted in the Army for five years. Got out and went back to college. After getting an MS in International Relations, I attended law school and went back in the Army for several years. I’ve lived all over the world and now reside in the Caribbean. About a year and a half ago, I decided to write Regency romances. I have an agent and am currently on submission, but not yet published.

Please share with us your current project (does not need to be a writing project) I’m writing my 6th book which is the second of my second series. It’s about a very politically conservative, priggish, young marquis who falls in love with a reformer who is the daughter of a country baronet.

1. Please answer at least five of the following questions.  Your answers may be but do not need to be ‘true.’  I highly recommend using no names or changing names to protect both the innocent and yourself.

2. What’s the color of your toothbrush? Blue and white, because I could find a different color.

3. What cd is in your cd-player right now? It’s a Beautiful Day.

4. How much do you use ketchup? (1 – not at all, 5 – on all foods) 1

5. Are you a “dogperson” or a “catperson”? Both. I have a Great Dane and a Chartreux cat I picked up in Belgium after our old cat died. Americans were not allowed to adopt from the pound.

6. What’s the meaning of life? Love.

7. What’s the model of your mobile phone? I have an iPhone.

8. What time do you normally go to bed on a working day? 10:00 PM

9. What is the most distant place you’ve visited (from your home)? Home is wherever I am.

10. In scale from 1-5, how afraid of dark are you? 1

11. The person you would never want to meet? Georgette Heyer.

12. How much cash do you have on you? $7.00 and 50 Euros.

13. What’s a word that rhymes with TEST? Best

14. What shirt are you wearing? Tank top.

15. What do you label yourself as? I don’t.

16. Name the brand of shoes you’ve recently worn. Teva flip-flops.

17. Bright room or dark room? Bright

18. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping.

19. Where is your nearest 7-11? Probably about 1500 miles away.

20. What’s a saying you say a lot? Spit in one hand and wish in the other, see which one gets full faster.

21. Who told you they loved you last? My husband.

22. Last furry thing you touched? The dog.

23. Favorite age you’ve been so far? The age I am now.

24. What is your current desktop picture? Palm trees and water.

25. What was the last thing you said to someone? Actually talking to a person? I love you.

26. If you had to choose between a millions bucks and being able to fly, which would you choose? The million bucks.

27. What is your favorite cheese? Smoked Gouda.

28. What’s the longest you’ve gone without taking a bath? I was in the Army in the woods for a week.

29. What is your best physical attribute? (Then, you can dare the person to show you their best physical attribute.) My smile.

30. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go? Austria. The ski lifts are open.

31. Upon arrival to the aforementioned location, you get off the plane and discover another hundred-dollar bill. Cripes! Now that you are in the new location, where are you gonna go to spend that? Lift tickets.

32. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. “Be brand-specific” it says. Man! What are you gonna say about that? Even if you don’t drink booze there’s something you can figure out… so what’s it gonna be? Châteauneuf-du-Pape

33. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there? I’m going to Regency England to study the culture.

34. What is your favorite expletive? Shit.

35. Your house is on fire! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno? My laptop.

36. The Angel Of Death has descended upon you. Fortunately, the Angel Of Death is pretty cool and in a good mood, and it offers you a half-hour to do whatever you want before you bite it. Whatcha gonna do in that half-hour? Make love to my husband.

37. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what’s even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What’s it gonna be? Wiggle my nose like Samantha.

38. This question still counts, even for those of you who are under age. Check it out. You have been eternally banned from every single bar in the world except for ONE. Which one is it gonna be? That’s hard. Either The bistro in the bistro on the corner of Avenue de la Motte Picquet  and Avenue Bosquet in the 7th arrondissement Paris or La Chevre d’Or in Eze, France.

39. The Celestial Gates Of Beyond have opened, much to your surprise because you didn’t think such a thing existed. Death appears. As it turns out, Death is actually a pretty cool entity, and happens to be in a fantastic mood. Death offers to return the friend/family-member/person/etc. of your choice to the living world. Who will you bring back? My mother.

Friendship Friday–Please Welcome Mystery Writer, Extraordinaire, Maris Soule

Author, Maris Soule, Mystery, Writer, Romance, Friend, friendshipI’ve known Maris since before I started writing professionally.  You might say she was an inspiration and helped get me going.  I know she told me about RWA (Romance Writers of America), although she might not remember.  When we met I was a ‘fan’ and I’m delighted that we’ve become friends.  She gives some clever answers to my ‘weird’ questions.  Please leave a comment and let us know what you think on those topics.  Now I’ll turn things over to Maris.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m a California gal who was talked into moving to Michigan for “Just two years,” he said. That was 42 years ago. And yes, we’re still married. In fact we have two grown children and two granddaughters…and a Rhodesian Ridgeback who’s as big as a person. After having 25 romances published, I switched to writing mysteries (right after my husband retired. Anyone who lives with a man who is always around will understand why murder appeals to me). We now head for Florida in the winter, and as the temperature drops that’s sounding more and more appealing.

My two mysteries—THE CROWS and AS THE CROW FLIES—take place in southwestern Michigan, and, of course, include a Rhodesian Ridgeback and have a romance subplot. Both are available on-line, and I’m working on a third in the series.

 1. Have you ever had an imaginary friend? Definitely. I think I started making up stories in my head where Joey was my friend when I was around 6. He was my buddy into my early teens. Did I know he was make believe? Sure, but once I closed my eyes, he was real.

 2. Are you a “dogperson” or a “catperson”? I like both and have had both cats and dogs most of my life. I love Siamese cats and have owned a half dozen over the years. They have so much personality. As for dogs, I prefer the larger breeds, and maybe I love the Rhodesian Ridgeback because, in a way, they remind me of cats. Aloof is one word used to describe the breed standard.

Mystery Maris Soule, Author, Book, Novel, Writer, Story, Romance, Friend, Friendship, Rue Allyn,Mystery, Book, Novel, Story, Author, Writer, Romance, Maris Soule, Rue Allyn, Friend, Friendship3. What’s the model of your mobile phone? I have the 4S iPhone. Now does that mean I know how to use all the bells and whistles on that phone? No way, but it certainly makes life easier and I’d be lost without it.

4. What time do you normally go to bed on a working day? I’ve always been a night owl, even when I had to get up early in the morning. When my children were young and I was under contract for a romance, I’d often stay up until 2 a.m. writing and then be up at 6:30 a.m. to get them off to school. And no, I don’t usually take naps.

5. Who is the person you trust most? My husband. He’s my best friend. (And even though I have all of these books on poisons and weapons, I believe he trusts me. At least he still lets me cook dinner.)

6. How much cash do you have on you? $11. I need to go to the bank.

Friendship Friday~~Welcome Patti Shenberger

Patti Shenberger, Author, Novelist, Writer, Romance, erotica, friend, friendship, Friday

My good friend and author Patti Shenberger joins us today for Friendship Friday.  Her answers to the ‘weird questions’ are very interesting so make sure you scroll through all of them.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself:  I’m married to a wonderful guy for over 30 years, have two great kids (on most days), and a great son-in-law an daughter-in-law.  My four legged kids are Sophie and Ace.  I love to travel, read, spend time with family and friends.  When I’m not writing, I’m reading.  I’m also the current President of the Greater Detroit RWA chapter.Patti Shenberger, Author, Novelist, Writer, Friend,<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
friendship, Friday, Novel, Novella, Romance, Erotica, Love

2. Please tell us about your most recent release:  My most recent release will be this coming November 15th from eXtasy Romance.  Flavorful Seductions is book six in The Zodiac Club series. Kate Carlisle needs every ounce of courage she can muster if she has any hope of keeping her catering business Sinful Sweets afloat.  But when business mogul Adam Belfour is in desperate need of her culinary skills, it’s all Kate can do to keep her mind off his sexy physique and on whipping up decadent desserts in order to seal the deal.

3. What cd is in your cd-player right now?  Carrie Underwood Blown Away

4. How much do you use ketchup? (1 – not at all, 5 – on all foods)  That’s a ‘5’.  I love ketchup on pretty much everything.

5. Are you a “dogperson” or a “catperson”?  Definitely a dog person (she says looking at her sleeping little cockapoo-westie mix Sophie Bean.)  But we also have a cat who believe he’s a dog in the house.  Good old Ace.

6. What’s the size of your shoes?   8.5

7. What would you want to be written on your tombstone?  That I loved well and lived well.

8. Is your middle finger longer than your ring finger?  Nope, not even close

9. The person you would never want to meet?   Freddy Kruger!  I hate scary movies.

10. Do you like carrots?  Ha, this is a good one.  I love raw carrots, but loathe cooked ones.  How weird is that?

11. What’s your favorite word?  Poopy-squats.  I have no idea where it came from, but it’s my word of choice instead of saying a swear word when things don’t go right.

12. When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?  Crap, I look like my mother (G).

13. The last song you listened to?  On The Pontoon by Little Big Town on Dancing With The Stars

14. What is your guilty pleasure Disney movie?  Eight Below or Snow Dogs.

15. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?   I would go to Hawaii. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

16. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. “Be brand-specific” it says. Man! What are you gonna say about that? Even if you don’t drink booze there’s something you can figure out… so what’s it gonna be?  That’s easy, being a non-drinker, I’m picking Pepsi

17. Your house is on fire! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno?  I have an afghan that I made when I first learned how to crochet.  It’s pretty raggy, but I’ve had it for over 30 years, so that’s what I’m grabbing.

18. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?  My gut instinct is to say my adventure with colon cancer.  But after thinking about it for a minute, there are so many things I learned during that time, that I don’t think I would erase what I went through.

Please welcome Kristi Knight to Friendship Friday

My friend Kristi Knight is the author of scintillating romances.  I love her books, so I’m thrilled to have her on the blog this week.  I’ve asked Kristi to tell us a little bit about herself and her latest release.  After that, she’ll run the weird question gauntlet, so make sure you scroll down.  Who knows, if you meet Kristi, you may be the only one who knows her toothbrush secret.  Now, here’s Kristi.

Romance, Author, Kristi Knight, Friend, Rue Allyn, Novel, book, writer

Author, Kristi Knight

Hi, everyone! I’m Kristina. I’m a Midwestern girl, married to The Best Husband Evah for the past 13 years; we have a daughter (she’s 4 and is the Queen Bee most days). I write contemporary romances about finding acceptance and home – because I think we all deserve those things.  If you want to know more about me and my books please visit me on facebook, or read this short 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 trouble-maker she was a journalist. When the opportunity to write what she wanted – business and family/parenting articles – and to focus more energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it. And she’s never looked back. Now she writes articles for magazines and such by day and writes romance novels with spice by night and during any toddler-free, five minute break she has. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and 4 year old daughter. Happily ever after.Saint, Devilish, Deal, Mexico, Romance, Novel, Book, Writer, Friend, Kristie Knight, Rue Allyn

My latest release The Saint’s Devilish Dealis a contemporary, reunion romance set in Puerto Vallarta – one of my favorite places in the world. Saint and Esme have a past they need to deal with to begin building the present they both want. And there’s sex.

Esmerelda Quinn has been looking for a place to belong since her parents were killed in a car crash when she was young. The closest thing to home has always been Aunt Constance’s villa in Puerto Vallarta, so after a string of dead-end hotellier jobs, she’s coming home to run the villa.

Santiago Cruz has called the villa home for as long as he can remember. In between surfing events, Constance has always had a room for him. Color him surprised when Constance decides to retire – and leaves a joint interest in the villa to both Santiago and Esme.

Esme isn’t thrilled to share ownership of the villa with the the youngest Cruz brother – especially when she learns Santiago’s brother has been after the villa for years. But Santiago has grown up while she’s been away at school and soon she finds herself falling for the rich boy down the hall.

This book is too yummy for words.  If you want a copy click here: Amazon, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble.

Kristi’s Answers to Some Weird Questions

1. What’s the color of your toothbrush? – It’s purple with automatic pulsating action. My teeth love it…but it’s almost time for a new one. Who knows what the next color will be.

2. Are you left or right eyed? – Left. Which is weird because I’m right-handed.

3. What cd is in your cd-player right now? – I just searched my house. We’re officially CD-Player-Less. I did find about 12 boxes of CDs in my husband’s closet, though. If it counts, my iPod is playing Lady Antebellum.

4. What does a light year mean? – a year in which my pants size goes down. J

5. What’s the meaning of life? – Good friends, good food, good books, good experiences.

Friendship Friday–Will last all week!

Romance, Erotica, and Suspense Author Shay Lacy

Shay Lacy

Color me excited.  One of my favorite people, author Shay Lacy is visiting with me all week in honor of friendship and the release of her thrilling romantic suspense novel, Hero Needed. I know you’ll love Shay as much as I do, so I’ve asked her to tell us a little bit about herself and her books.  Then she gives us some hilarious answers to a few ‘weird’ questions.  Please leave a comment and give her plenty of feedback.  Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful week with us.  Now, here’s Shay.

I live in northwest Ohio with my photographer/graphic designer husband. I love following the man of my dreams with a camera in hand and a pen and notebook in my backpack. Sensible secretary by day, romance author by night, when not lost in my imagination, or reading a good book, I’m likely researching my next book with a SWAT team ride-along or a visit to a DNA lab. I’m a multi-published author in erotic fantasy romance, futuristic romance and romantic suspense. Nearly anything can trip my imagination. Writing is something I’ve done on and off since I was a teenager, and it’s the only thing I’ve stuck to, other than my husband. One of the things I ask strangers, somewhere in the conversation, is “Do you want to write a book?”

Hero Needed, Romance, Romantic Suspense, book, novel, Shay Lacy, author, writer,My latest novel, Hero Needed, a romantic suspense, will be released by Crimson Romance on October 22nd.

Some heroes are born and some are forged by events. Marisa’s best friend Carolyn was killed by a train, but then Carolyn’s husband claims she committed suicide. Proving he’s wrong will be a heroic feat. EMT Nick Stark seems a natural for the job. Yet the truths Marisa and Nick uncover spark unexpected danger. Does the secret of Marisa’s parentage tie in with Carolyn’s death? And is Marisa prepared to face the truth in order to identify whoever now wants her dead? You can find pre-order links for Hero Needed at the end of this post.

 Rue insisted I answer some rather odd interview questions.  Because we’re friends, I’ve given those answers here.

1. How much do you use ketchup? (1 – not at all, 5 – on all foods). 3.5. I draw the line at eggs. Ketchup on eggs is icky. And not all potato products go well with ketchup.

2. What time do you normally go to bed on a working day? 10:45 pm

3. Explain relativity. Um, I wasn’t aware there would be a test. Lemme think. I know this one. Gimme a minute…

4. How often do you brush your teeth? Twice a day.

5. Do you like carrots? Love them! Cooked, though. I like all my veggies cooked. Well done. Limp.

6. If you were a tree, what tree would you be? White Birch or Sycamore. They look cool. The birches stand out.

7. When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? My hair looks great! Do I really have to wash it? I wonder what the back looks like. Probably bed head back there.

8. What’s a word that rhymes with TEST? Messed. I’m a poet. I know all about making words rhyme.

9. What is your guilty pleasure Disney movie? Can I have more than one? Mulan, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast. I had a reason to watch them when my daughter was growing up. Now I have to sneak to watch them.

10. For the girls: have you ever worn a jockstrap. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!

11. Your house is on fire! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno? I’m going to stay and fight the fire! I write by hand on paper. I have a file cabinet full of unfinished hand-written stories that aren’t typed. People have told me to scan them. It would take months to scan all of them.

12. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. “Be brand-specific” it says. Man! What are you gonna say about that? Even if you don’t drink booze there’s something you can figure out… so what’s it gonna be? Ice wine from northern Michigan. I can’t recall the winery, but OMG! Gimme the expensive stuff.

13. What is your current desktop picture? Sunrise over the Maumee River, Maumee, OH. I took it myself last Saturday morning. I’m an amateur photographer.

14. You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist off the earth? Any rap band that glorifies violence against women and other people.

15. What is one unique thing are you afraid of? Pool filters.

 Thanks for visiting.  We’re looking forward to your comments.

 You can preorder Shay Lacy’s Hero Needed at  Amazon or iTunes now!