Friday, November 30, 2012

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem - My Brother's Keeper

I am out of pocket currently, but I know last night's episode must have you ready to chat! So hop to the comments and share your thoughts. I will post mine once I've caught up!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Last Chance to Register for Self-Editing Workshop

Don't miss out on the self-editing workshop which kicks off December 3rd. This workshop is designed to help you polish those NaNoWriMo projects, but works for anyone with a completed manuscript. This is exactly what I do to every book before I feel it is ready to submit. We'll go through the process together so you can those books all nice and shiny. Registration will close Sunday, December 2nd. Invitations will begin being issued, Saturday evening, December 1st for the Yahoo Loop! Hope to see you there.

Class Cost: $20
Length: 5 Days
Dates: 12/3-12/7
Where: Via Yahoo Loop 

NaNoWriMo is over, but let's get that manuscript whipped into shape. You should have spent all of November focused on completing your manuscript, now lets polish it. This workshop will provide you with key tips on editing out passive writing, identifying flaws, finding overuse of words or phrases – and filling in any blanks that you may have left due to research.

Sign up below.  Workshops provide you with essential tips and tools to make your writing faster and smoother. An author of over twenty-five books, Heather uses these methods religiously to develop tighter, more focused manuscripts from start to finish. These workshops also provide you with an excellent networking resource and a support group.

Email for Class Subscription

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop: Always a Marine and the Gift of Recovery

Black Friday, that day when the sales go crazy and customers go crazier to find the best deal, the best price, and the perfect gift for someone they love. I think sometimes in the shopping madness, we forget it is about the gift--not the deal, not the price, and certainly not the long lines. As part of our Black Friday Blog Hop for Decadent Publishing, we sat down with James Westwood, a licensed psychologist at Mike's Place located in Allen, Texas. Mr. Westwood, a retired Marine, specializes in trauma recovery and works with recovering veterans and active duty personnel.

Mr. Westwood, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us today about survival and the gift of recovery.

Westwood: Thank you for having me, Heather. It's an important topic and one that I am passionate about.

Can you tell us a little about your work at Mike's Place? And what exactly is Mike's Place?

Westwood: Mike's Place is a combination medical center, treatment facility, and living quarters for injured vets and their family. Wounds come in all shapes and sizes and we can't always see the scars that our brothers and sisters bear during and after their service. Captain Luke Dexter felt very strongly that he wanted to continue helping those he served with and those who came after--so he started Mike's Place in honor of a fallen friend. We provide medical support, surgical centers, physical therapy, emotional and mental therapy and plenty of wide open spaces and living quarters for families to stay with their recovering vets. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Release Day Celebration: No Regrets, No Surrender Available (MFM, Menage)

The emotional sequel to Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here.  Readers wished for more Jazz, Logan and Zach and the threesome are reunited when the unthinkable happens.

Always a Marine #6
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61333-420-1
Release Date:  20 Nov 2012

This sixth installment of the Always a Marine series for Decadent Publishing and a first for the series, as a spinoff of Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here. Jazz, Logan and Zach met via a 1NightStand. This is the business name of an exclusive online dating service run by Madame Evangeline who provides her clients with a possibility of happily ever after or happily for now.

At the end of their night of frenzied passion, Jazz Winters walked away from the only two men who’d ever made her feel like a woman. Logan Cavanaugh and Zach Evans let her go, but only if she swore all her future leaves to them.

Waiting fourteen excruciatingly long months, visiting Jazz when they can, is harder on the guys that they like to admit. But their work at Mike’s Place, a veteran’s rehabilitative facility, only lets Zach and Logan go one at a time. Jazz fears their unconventional relationship can’t last a lifetime. The stress of years of military service in hot zones, combined with life-threatening injuries pushed her to the edge. But when she comes home a wounded warrior, not the woman she believes they want, Zach and Logan are right there to help her, even when she resists.

She’s not alone. Whether she chooses one or both, they have no regrets and they won’t surrender.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Military Blog Hop Winners

And the rafflecopter has spoken! All three winners will receive a PDF copy of No Regrets, No Surrender Monday evening (it releases Tuesday). Congratulations and thanks for dropping by!:

Tamara Hoffa 
Tanya Y. Childress 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: We All Go A Little Crazy Sometimes

In this case, we go a lot crazy and it wasn't just Elena that went a little loopy this week—it was me, jumping up and yelling YES as the episode winded down. Why was I so excited? Well anyone who follows these post mortems knows that my largest complaint has been telling me how much Elena is supposed to care about Stefan, but showing me that it's really Damon she trusts and Damon she reaches out to and Damon who empowers her—and in last night's episode, that was made even more abundantly clear.

Slasher Movie
You know, Elena really has gotten the crap end of the vampire transition spin the bottle game. But considering how much pivots around her, this isn't surprising. Troubled by bad dreams, she goes down to the kitchen to find something to eat or drink or do and Connor appears to her. Convinced it's a ghost, she yells for Jeremy (after all her brother can see ghosts), but Connor's torment includes seizing her and she grabs a knife and stabs him in the neck—unfortunately who she really stabbed was Jeremy and she's horrified as he bleeds out.

I Just Called to Say I Killed My Brother
It didn't surprise me that Elena called Damon when it went awry and the elder Salvatore showed up to help. As Elena twisted herself into knots over what she would say to Jeremy, Damon suggested "I'm sorry, but I'm glad you're still wearing the ring that drove Alaric crazy?"  He also asks her why she didn't call Stefan. But she doesn't want to talk to Stefan, she's still pissed at him for what went down at the Grill and his deal with Klaus.

Unfortunately, Damon did call Stefan—which he informs her via "P.S. I called Stefan."

Klaus Was Right…for a Change
And maybe that headline is a little unfair, but for the first time in EVER I was actually on Klaus' side for part of the argument. Who would have ever thunk it? The Original is back in town and he makes a beeline straight for Elena's. He's upset that Connor is dead, but he can roll with it. There are four others left of those five, they just have to find them.

Damon advises Stefan to not duck Klaus' calls—that's suspicious.  Stefan steps out to meet him and Klaus tells him they need to lock Elena up because of the hallucinations. Stefan isn't biting, but Elena has a total bloody shower freakout and comes downstairs—only to see Damon turn into Connor and she rushes for the door to flee.

Klaus grabs the girl and takes off.


They Need a Plan
The Salvatores split up with Damon taking the Witchy one to go see Professor Shane who just happens to be hosting a free exhibit of his cultural artifacts and tells a story about the rock that could have been a gravemarker for an immortal. Now check this, the immortal had a witch develop a spell that would let him live forever. But he didn't want to live with her forever, he wanted to live with another woman. When he planned to give that woman immortality, the witch had a hissy fit, killed her and trapped him forever (yes I'm paraphrasing, I haven't had a chance to watch it again).

How much you wanna bet Professor Shane is the immortal guy who needs to be freed? 

But I digress.

Bonnie introduces the Professor to Damon and asks about the mark. The Professor recognizes it immediately and asks if Damon has a dead hunter in his trunk. Damon replies enigmatically, "metaphorically speaking." The prof explains that the vampire who killed the hunter will be cursed until a new hunter is called or accepts their calling.

Damon sends Bonnie to fetch Jeremy. Cause he knows exactly what to do now.

Klaus is Bat Crap Crazy
We've known he's been a nutball—but let's face it, Klaus killed all five of the first five. So all five haunted him and tormented him for 52 years and change. Klaus actually wanted to off himself during that time period and eventually it just stopped. He didn't know why (but of course we know it was because a new set of Five emerged).  He locks Elena up in a bedroom with priceless artwork and no windows.

He tells her she's going to want to kill herself and warns her that the tormentors will take a wide variety of forms. Two things that made me laugh in this scene—Elena's initial reaction when she saw the bed and the fact that she actually ASKED Klaus questions. Normally she skates right past that part.

Her tormentors do take a lot of forms—Connor and eventually Katherine.

I  Lost Her
Stefan learns that Tyler and Hayley have been working to free the Hybrids and that one of the guards: Chris is no longer sire bound. They use this to get Stefan in to sneak Elena out—unfortunately, Elena drives a steel bar through Stefan's gut and flees. Is there anything funnier than Stefan calling Damon and saying "I got her—but I lost her."

He also tells Damon to go after her because she'll listen to him. He'll help Jeremy get the mark activated.

Which they do but the results are unfortunate for several other relationships.

By the way, Kudos to Jeremy because when Bonnie told him he had to activate the mark by killing a vampire, he snarked, "give me a stake, I'll kill Damon right now."

Caroline had been distracting Klaus but when Stefan told her what they needed to do, she told Klaus what was happening. Furious, he started to storm out and even told Caroline that no matter how much he liked her if she didn't shut up, he'd kill her. But she confessed they had a solution—

Meanwhile at the Lockwood Estate, Chris is getting ready to leave. He's going to run far and fast so he can have his life back, but when he opens the door—Klaus is there. He slams Chris against the wall and chides him for his betrayal and reminds him that he is supposed to want to do what Klaus tells him—that's how the sire bond works. Tyler and Hayley try to cover, but this cat is out of the bag.

Klaus lets Chris go and Jeremy stakes him as he makes it to the door. Tyler and Hayley can only watch horrified as Jeremy cuts Chris' head off with Stefan and Caroline guarding his back.

I Promised Him a Date
Tyler's body blows don't stop—because Caroline convinced Klaus to give up a hybrid by promising him a date. She had to save their friend, but Tyler points out she did it by sacrificing one of his friends—his pack. Methinks the Alpha in Tyler is finally awake and rocky ground is ahead for my favorite couple.

Effing Wickery Bridge

Someone needs to burn this bridge, but yes, this is where Elena went when she fled Stefan. On the bridge she stares into the water where her life changed so dramatically—twice. Her tormentor turns into her mom (whom we last saw in the flashbacks in last season's finale). Tormentor Miranda reminds Elena that she should have died when their car went off the bridge and that she was ready to die last season when she asked Stefan to save Matt.

By the way, I would like to point out that this is confirmation that Elena chose death. She was somewhat suicidal and has been struggling to be the girl she was before her parents died for three seasons. Tonight she confronted that about herself and as unhappy as she was—she was making herself more miserable by trying to continually be that girl.

She took off her ring and dropped it in the pond and waited for the sun.

He Will Always Save Her
Damon found her on the bridge. He knew where she would go and said, "So, third time's the charm?" When he realized she didn't have her ring though, he got tense. The curse eventually passed and a dazed Elena came back to herself and began to burn.

Damon grabbed her and tossed them both into the water. Later, Elena wakes in herbedroom—ring on her finger and Damon sitting in the window seat. They share a beautifully sweet moment and for the first time, she genuinely thanks him for saving her and she takes his hand.

Taking the "annoying" high road as he puts it, Damon tells her what Stefan was up to and why he wanted Connor alive. He tells her the truth, because she needs to know it and also lets her know that vampires don't like to swim.  He also asks that she spread his ashes at Wickery Pond after Stefan kills him for telling her.

I Can't Do This Anymore
Stefan and Elena sit down to talk on the porch and he knows that Damon told her. She asks him why he sent Damon and he says because Damon can get through to her—even when he can't. She acknowledges that her feelings for Damon, they've grown and Stefan says "magnified." She nods and says she's not the girl who chose him—not anymore. And she's finally had to accept that. Stefan says he can't do this anymore. And they break up.

  • Elena's feelings for Damon magnified, suggesting she was more in love with Damon than Stefan (which I knew)
  • Her feelings for Stefan didn't—except for the feelings of distrust and the need to hide her true self from him
  • Her struggles have been largely internal—answering the age old question of who am I and who do I want to be?

If you'll recall she told Caroline way back at the beginning of season three that she wasn't sure what it meant about her to be in love with Damon—a thought she repeated to Matt. But she's not running from it. Not anymore.

Alaric's Chair
Despite his death, Alaric remains a powerful influence on the show. Damon still gets him a drink at the Grill and keeps his seat open. He also met with Professor Shane in Alaric's classroom and smiled at the bottle of bourbon (whiskey or whatever) in the drawer.  Matt approaches Damon and though Damon initially gives him the brush off, he tells Damon that April said something funny about Professor Shane. She recognized him.

He also traced several calls from Pastor Young to the Professor – one every day and ten on the day the house blew up. Damon is intrigued. 

I figure this also explains the Pastor's seemingly compelled reaction: hypnosis anyone?

You're Going to Need Me
Bonnie and the Prof are talking too and she finally asks him how he knows everything that he does. He keeps it enigmatic, but tells her that when her hunter completes his mark (and he knows she has one) she will need to find him. Does she understand? Bonnie nods slowly. Yep, Bonnie's day in hypnotherapy has her completely open to Professor Shane's control.

Next up: Miss Mystic Falls in Two Weeks


The following is purely speculation and I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade. I am a huge Delena fan, I've wanted them together since season one. I know that we saw Elena reaching out to Damon in the previews and Stefan bitching that it should be the happiest day of Damon's life that Elena did choose him, but I know the obstacles are not out of the way.

I said last season I thought Elena would wake up sire bonded to Damon and I think she is. She said she killed Connor because Damon told her to do it. She fed, because Damon told her. She stopped attacking Matt when Damon told her. She started to come out of her cursed state when Damon spoke to her on that bridge.

If she is sire bonded, Damon will want to break that so that he can know Elena truly chose him—because that's the kind of guy he is. I don't think it diminishes her feelings for Damon at all, but I do think it demonstrates once again that Damon is her hero—and he will always save her. Even from herself.

No Vampire Diaries next week because of Thanksgiving and new episodes return on the 29th! Here's hoping for a repeat of the best dance ever from their first turn at the Miss Mystic Falls pageant.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Show & Tell Tuesday: Tamara Hoffa & Heart of a Soldier

It's Tuesday and that's show and tell time! So what do I have in my brown paper sack for you today? A sweet and poignant military romance called Heart of the Soldier by Tamara Hoffa! It should come as no shock to you that I am a fan of military romance. Described as a lunchbox romance, this short captures and captivates. As an author, I love to chat with my readers about what they like about my stories. I love to learn from their experiences. Nearly as delightful is discovering that a reader is also an author as well. I met Tamara Hoffa via my Always a Marine series and I'm delighted to share her book with you today. 

Three things I found fantastic about Heart of the Solider? The heroine isn't an ingenue, she's a grown, mature woman who wants to protect her son. The hero is a grown man, dedicated to his country and to the men he serves with (and damn isn't that sexy?) The charming tale brings you all the emotion I could want and the sense that this could be you. As a mother, a woman and a love of military romance--this was the perfect snackable story! The cover for Heart of a Soldier was done by Tamara's daughter Cat.

Heart of a Soldier

Soldier Jameson Hunter faces the battle of his life, winning the heart of Charlotte Mackenzie, widowed mother of a young recruit.

About Tamara

Tamara Hoffa lives in central Tennessee, with her husband of 30 years, her three grown children, two grandchildren, 3 dogs and 2 cats. Tamara started reading when she was four years old and has rarely been seen without a book at hand since. At home you will usually find her in “nana’s chair” with her kindle, her laptop or one of her precious, precocious grandson’s in her lap. Tamara is a reviewer, a professional reader and can now add author to her repertoire. Tamara is proof positive that it’s never too late to reach for your dreams.

Don't forget to check out the Military Blog Hop featuring over a hundred authors, books, and of course--sexy military heroes.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem - The Killer

 They say you never forget your first—well, Connor at least you know you'll never be forgotten. From the moment the episode opened with Connor taking the Mystic Grill hostage with Jeremy, Matt and April (whom I now unceremoniously dub Red Shirt. Add her to the drinking game folks, April is in jeopardy take a shot, April is clueless take a shot, April has to have her memory wiped, take a shot…you get the picture) in it, I knew Connor was going to bite it (pun intended) and that it would be Elena who did the deed.

And you know what? I'm fine with that. In large part because Elena "killed" in self-defense. The heavily forshadowed 'first kill' didn't show me that Elena's vampire side is evil or dark or a wild animal on a chain ready to snap loose. It showed me that she's an older sister who has lost a hell of a lot and refused to let this psychopathic hunter take her brother with him. She bit him and let him go—warning him to stay away from Jeremy. Connor slammed a stake into her and he missed her heart—and she snapped his neck.

Goodbye Connor. Thanks for playing I will not miss you especially after you gutted a sixteen year old girl and left her to bleed to death to lure out the vampires. Good thing they actually gave a crap about her.  This is gonna be a quick and dirty post mortem, I'm terrifically behind after my fantastic Readers and Ritas weekend, I promise more Vamp Diaries love for the next episode!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Men & Women of Military Blog Hop: Meet the Marines of Mike's Place (Always a Marine)

Good morning and welcome to Mike's Place. Located in Allen, Tx—this facility was founded by retired Marine Captain Luke Dexter. He wanted to create a place for veterans and their families to heal together.

Why? Let's hear that from Luke's words in Once Her Man, Always Her Man:

“I’ve seen what back to back wars do to the men and women who serve, and their families. Mothers who don’t see their kids for years. Fathers who return, a wad of stress and out of sorts. Soldiers who can’t reintegrate because their personal worlds moved on without them, and the injured who are struggling to figure out who they are now without an arm, a leg or the ability to walk. It’s a bitch and we don’t leave people behind, especially when they come home. Mike’s Place will provide the lodestone for a lot of lives.” The thirty-acre complex providing physical therapy centers, mental health pavilions, free clinic services and a childcare facility. Donations requested, but not required, covered the near non-existent cost to patients. Out-of-state visitors would be provided with access to onsite apartments for both patient and family.

So who was Mike?
 “Mike Nowiski went through basic with me. Two years older than me, he’d dropped out of college to enlist. He grew up in New Jersey. His parents owned a pizza joint, and he married his high school sweetheart for love. They had a baby girl, just a year old when Mike enlisted. He was a good guy, never shut up about his kid. He joked that the Marines would give him all the know-how he needed to cap any punk who wanted to date her. I met his wife, twice. Shari was a sweetheart. They had that real thing, crazy in love, but supportive as hell. She was amazing, we spent four years in Afghanistan, and Mike never had leave to go home except for one seventy-two hour furlough. Shari flew to meet him halfway in Germany.”

Dread curled around Rebecca’s heart. So many of Luke’s words were past tense, not present. But she squeezed his arm, the heat of his bicep melting the ice chips on her soul.
“Three years ago, Mike got injured. We were in Iraq, monitoring a school rebuild. Insurgents tossed a few grenades, brought down most of the unfinished building. Mike took shrapnel in the leg helping the workers get out. It was bad. They airlifted him to Germany, and he spent ten weeks getting pins in his leg to rebuild it. Then they sent him home.”

Fear squeezing her heart, she waited. A muscle ticked in his jaw and they were gliding down the exit ramp. He took a left at the light and blended in with the evening traffic. Lights from the strip malls illuminated the truck, reflecting off his angry, tortured visage.
“What happened, Luke?” She couldn’t stand the silence.

“Three weeks after he got home, he shot Shari and then himself. The reports said he suffered from severe PTSD. Shari had spoken to a chaplain about his violent mood swings and nightmares, but the day before the chaplain’s scheduled visit, something in Mike snapped. He was a good man, he loved his wife. What happened to him overseas, the war, the injury, changed him and he didn’t get the support services he needed. I know he shot himself because he killed Shari, but it doesn’t change the fact that his little girl is now an orphan. She’s barely eleven and she has no one, no family. Mike’s Place can’t save everyone, but kids like Amy Nowiski shouldn’t have to bury their parents, and guys like Mike should have a place to go to get better while women like Shari have the support they need to be there for their spouse."
                                                                                -Excerpt from Once Her Man, Always Her Man
Mike's Place is the setting for many of the Marines we meet in the Always a Marine series. Five books are currently available and five more on their way including No Regrets, No Surrender releasing this Thanksgiving.

So who are the Marines of Mike's Place?

Captain Luke Dexter (Once Her Man, Always Her Man) – The founder and principal owner of Mike's Place, Luke lost his mother and his sister on 9/11. When his retired Marine father returned to active duty, Luke applied for early graduation and enlisted in the Marine Corp. He served for over a decade, returning to Texas after years of service and met the love of his life Rebecca Rainier for a second chance at love.

Second Lieutenant Brody Essex – Still on active duty, Brody visited Dallas for leave and hung out with members of his old unit at Mike's Place. During his last visit, he met artist Shannon Fabray and shared a passionate affair. (Her Marine)

PFC James Westwood -  Retired PFC James Westwood enlisted with just a few clinical hours left to obtain his license. Upon retiring from active duty, Westwood came to work for his former Captain and leads many of the group and individual psychology sessions for wounded veterans at Mike's Place. During his 1Night Stand he met actress Lauren Kincaid. (Tell It To the Marine)

Damon Sinclair – This retired from active duty grunt worked as a cook during his tour in addition to his other duties. Raised in Louisiana, he brought his love for food to Allen and opened up a restaurant near Mike's Place. A volunteer and battle buddy, Damon enjoys taking care of others. He met a real challenge in his 1Night Stand date attorney Helena Blake (Proud to Serve Her)

Gunnery Sergeant Jazz Winters – An active duty Marine, Jazz enlisted right after high school in honor of her deceased uncle, also a Marine. For over a decade, she's proved herself more than capable of being one of the guys. But during her leave, she hooked up with two retired Marines in Las Vegas, seeking to feel like a woman.  When she returned to duty, she promised to keep in touch. (Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here)

Logan Cavanaugh – Gravely injured during an IED attack, Logan's recovery took months. But he found solace and support at Mike's Place along with best friend and fellow unit Marine Zach Evans. Logan specializes in physical therapy. Zach arranged for a 1Night Stand date in Las Vegas to help Logan overcome his impotence. The two men more than met their match in fellow Marine Jazz. (Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here)

Zach Evans – Zach's upbeat and optimistic personality makes him a great coach and friend. When his best friend was sent to Mike's Place to recuperate and recover, Zach joined him. Not one to sit idle, Zach volunteered to run the sports complex for the children of veterans being treated at Mike's Place. When he encouraged Logan to join him in Vegas, he didn't expect they would meet a woman like Jazz. The two Marines are very supportive of the active duty Gunnery Sergeant and are awaiting her next leave.  (Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here)

The story of Logan, Jazz, and Zach continues in No Regrets, No Surrender this month.


At the end of their night of frenzied passion, Jazz Winters walked away from the only two men who’d ever made her feel like a woman. Logan Cavanaugh and Zach Evans let her go, but only if she swore all her future leaves to them.

Waiting fourteen excruciatingly long months, visiting Jazz when they can, is harder on the guys than they like to admit. But their work at Mike’s Place, a veteran’s rehabilitative facility, only lets Zach and Logan go one at a time.

Jazz fears their unconventional relationship can’t last a lifetime. The stress of years of military service in hot zones, combined with life-threatening injuries pushes her to the edge. But when she comes home a wounded warrior, not the woman she believes they want, Zach and Logan are right there to help her, even when she resists.

She’s not alone. Whether she chooses one or both, they have no regrets and they won’t surrender.
Read an excerpt.

Enter to Win:

Every Marine has a story, and Always a Marine is dedicated to finding love for those who serve.I'm giving away three copies of No Regrets, No Surrender. Winners will be selected on November 16 and receive their copies on release day!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bram Stoker, Vampire Diaries, Thor's Day, Readers and Ritas, Boomers....

It's Bram Stoker's birthday, so happy birthday to the man who added vampires to the pop culture lexicon. It's also Thor's Day, a day I celebrate on Facebook with yummy pictures of Chris Hemsworth's Avenging Thunder God (see what I did there!) and to top it off, it's Damon Day, the day we countdown to the next episode The Vampire Diaries.

And if that weren't enough, we just one day away from kicking off Readers and Ritas in Allen, Texas! It's going to be a fantastic weekend with authors, readers, and books, books and did I mention books? I'm deep into my next Boomers novel and I want to get a lot of words on the page, but in honor of Mr. Stoker's birthday, who are your favorite vampires?

I'll kick it off with Damon Salvatore and Elijah Mikaelson from The Vampire Diaries,  Sabina Kane from Jaye Wells amazing Red-Headed Step Child series, Marguerite Argeneau and her family from Lynsay Sands series and Spike from Buffy!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Get Your Party On! Readers and Ritas this weekend!

It's time to get your party faces on people and let's have some fun this weekend!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Show & Tell Tuesday: Virginia Nelson & Clothing Optional

It's Show and Tell Tuesday and I have to say, next to Thor's Day this is becoming my favorite day of the week. You may have heard me mention Virginia Nelson before either here or on Twitter or Facebook or maybe in the acknowledgements of a book. Not only is she an awesome critique partner who keeps up with my crazy ass writing schedule, but she's also a terrific writer in her own right.  This week's show and tell feature is a sexy little number called Clothing Optional and yes, I put that in bold.  In case you're wondering, it's steamy, sexy fun at its best. I'm happy to share this little gem just in case you were looking for a read to warm up those cold nights or for a well-deserved reprieve from election madness.

Clothing Optional 

On the rebound, Brie is thrilled at the idea of a vacation on the beaches of Florida. It will be especially great since it is with two men who are absolutely irresistible…and equally unattainable.

Murphy and his boyfriend are offering the escape and maybe, if she spends enough time with them, maybe she will be able to resist wanting to strip them every time she sees them. Murphy has always been oddly attracted to his best pal, Brie. But he has never touched a woman in that way. When his lover and boyfriend Andy suggests they make love to her, that she is perfect for them to experience a ménage, Murphy wonders if he is not enough somehow.
But the temptation of having them both…

When they get to the resort and find out that “Clothing Optional” should have been in bold print on the brochure, the three of them are in for the weekend of their lives.

What reviewers are saying:
Like that first spoonful of rich velvety ice cream, these three are entirely too luscious to stop at one bite. Coffee Time Romance 

I recommend Clothing Optional if you have a spare half hour and want something steamy to feast on. Happily Ever After Reviews

With that attraction, feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and fear abound. Since this is a shorter tale, I appreciated that Nelson created a friends-first concept. The sexual components wouldn’t have worked for me otherwise. Night Owl Reviews

Goddess Fish Party Pavilion Winners


Its Brandy. I just wanted to pop on here and thank those of you that came to the Goddess Fish Party Pavilion and commented on Heather's posts.

She gave away one copy of each of the Fortunate Buddha books.

Debby won The Love Thieves

Molly won The Taming of the Thief


Catherine won The Lady is a Thief

The winner have been emailed their prizes.
I hope you enjoy.
....Author Accomplice

Monday, November 5, 2012

Once Upon a Time Post Mortem - Tallahassee

I knew it had to happen—an episode that didn't quite knock it out of the park for me. But I am left to question was it the content and the choices made in the episode that did it or the overall episode itself?  I don't know. After a year in Storybrooke, we finally get a look at Emma's "origin" story. Of course, we knew it wouldn't be a fairytale and yet—in some ways it was. Fresh out of the foster care system, Emma's boosting the very familiar yellow bug she tools around in town. Unfortunately for her (or maybe fortunately) the car came with a passenger—Neal. 

You remember Neal, the guy who received the Storybrooke postcard at the end of the season premiere that just said "broken"? It came via carrier pigeon.

Happy Emma

Knowing that Emma ended up in prison and had to give up her baby actually made watching Emma be so happy with Neal painful. They were happy-go-lucky thieves, knocking over convenience stores to eat—they didn't hurt anyone—just stole stuff. Neal and Emma planned to go to Tallahassee and settle, make honest mates out of each other. There was just one problem: Neal was wanted for boosting watches from a high end store in Arizona. He left them all stored in a bus station locker.

Emma fetched them and they planned to meet up after Neal fenced the items and then they could have their happily ever after.  Now here's where it gets messy.

Enter August

In an unexpected twist, we August pursues Neal up an alley and tackles him. Pinocchio has been looking for Emma for two years (remember, he abandoned her in foster care. He's upset to find Emma thieving for a living, but delighted when he realizes that Neal actually loves her. That might make it easier for him to do "the right thing."

He tells Neal that Emma has a destiny and Neal is in her way and then he shows him something in a box that convinces him to go along with August's bizarre plan.  So what was in the box? I dunno—a fairy? They didn't show us. Instead of meeting, Emma—Neal turns her into the police and she's arrested for being in possession of stolen property. He'd given her one of the watches from the heist. Emma ends up in a minimum security prison.

August tells Neal she's safe and in eleven months she'll be out and can get on with her destiny and it's a good thing.

Pardon me, but wtf? How is her going to prison a good thing? Sorry Pinnochio, your logic fails here. Neal sold the watches and he asks August to send the cash and the car and the keys to Emma. He cares and feels like crap that she is in jail for his crime (okay, I like him at least he understands what he did wrong). August promises that he'll take care of her (we know he fails) and that he'll get the stuff to her. The longing look he gives the money tips us off—he fails to send the cash to Emma, just the car key. In jail, Emma gets the key and has a pregnancy test in her hand. Yep, Neal it seems is Henry's dad.
So, was August the one that sent Neal the post card? Is he still Peter Pan? I hope so. And dude, August owes Emma huge for screwing her life over—TWICE.

Meanwhile in the Land of Giants

Killian Jones (damn I love his name) leads his merry band of Princesses to the beanstalk and Emma takes the cuff to climb up the beanstalk with him. She makes Mulan swear to cut it down if she and Killian aren't back in ten hours. Up the long climb they go with Killian flirting with Emma. He also tenderly treats her blood cut hand—cause giants can smell blood you know. Emma's definitely intrigued but her bad experience with bad boys makes her wary to trust him.

Together they fell the giant and hunt for the compass, but when the giant awakes, Killian is smooshed and Emma captured. She manages to wiggle free and takes the giant down with the trap and Jack the Giant Killer's sword. Seeing her own loneliness reflected in the Giant's eyes, they strike a bargain. Emma doesn't want Henry to grow up abandoned like she was and she is desperate to get home. She doesn't want to kill the giant either.

They strike a bargain and she gets the compass and then goes to pull Killian out of the wreckage and then Emma locks him in a manacle. The giant will hold him for ten hours and then let him go. Killian can't believe she is betraying him when he didn't do a damn thing but keep his word. This is also after Emma realizes that Killian is hunting Gold because of what happened to Mila and he recognized the orphan lost girl in her because he spent a long time with the Lost Boys in Neverland.

Emma made an enemy she didn't need to have. Because he will show up again and if Neal is Peter Pan—maybe they are setting up that conflict. I don't know. But her choice left a really bad taste in my mouth.

Bad Dreams

Aurora is plagued by them of a red room with fiery curtains and someone watching. Snow confesses she had them after her cursed sleep as well. So she offers to watch over her. Snow also opens a can of whoopass on Mulan when the warrior tries to keep her word to Emma to cut down the beanstalk. Snow and Emma are reunited and mom tells her don't do that again. They are going back together. Emma's still  not used to the fierceness of a mother's love on her side.

And we make a pitstop back in Storybrooke where Henry is plagued by the same nightmare as Aurora.  I am thinking it's a dream about Cora watching them—the Queen of Hearts is coming…
Cue the ominous music.

What did you think of Tallahassee? Do you agree with Emma's choice? August's? Neal's?  

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem - The Five

And once again I am late with my post mortem, but to be honest—this week it was because I didn't think I could type it without saying "I hate Stefan" every other line. But boy, let me tell you—as much as I have not cared for Stefan in the past, the episode "The Five" is really testing my last nerve with him.  Oh and as for Bonnie? She's still dead to me for what happened to Grams, but she still managed to irritate me in this episode.

Let's discuss…

Bluffy the Vampire Slayer's Origins

So Connor has no idea how he became a slayer—he was in the military (explains his bad ass fighting technique and his no holds barred attitude) and someone died and voila, he got the tattoo. I'm presuming he could see the tattoo on the other guy. Now—I want to pause here to ruminate for some reason bringing up Iraq and Connor's service there and the other slayer adds a really nice layer of reality to our fantasy in Mystic Falls. Damon fought in the Civil War and we can assume the boys were in some way involved in later conflicts.

Now that said, I am not Connor's fan. The man gutted April to chum the waters in that very first episode. This does not a hero make. This is a fanatic on a crusade. The fact that Klaus kept him alive to learn more about "the cure" so he could turn Elena back into a blood bag—yeah—not feeling the love.

And I'd like to go on record right now and say that cure is probably another large bait and switch ala the Curse of the Sun and the Moon. Speaking of which…


Five seconds of dialogue with Elijah just reminded me of how much I miss my favorite original. Klaus and Rebekah do not do it for me. Their arguments are old and petty. I get it, Klaus has sabotaged Rebekah's happiness and she's allowed it and in turn sabotaged his for over a thousand years. They are the ultimate in dysfunctional relationships.

I did feel bad for Rebekah when Alexander daggered her and yes, I had a good laugh when Klaus smiled that the daggers didn't work on him—he woke and ripped all their hearts out. We also found out how Finn ended up staying in a box for a nine hundred years and where the Originals got the daggers in the first place.

Let's Make a Deal

So Stefan pushes Klaus to tell him about the Five and ends up striking a bargain to help Klaus solve the riddle, find the clues and get to the cure so he and Elena can be human and they can have kids and grow old together and die together—and yes, turn Elena back into a blood bag so Klaus can make more hybrids.

I read somewhere that someone applauded Stefan for thinking ahead, but me, I just see him thinking like a douche. He hates what he is. He hates that Elena is a vampire. And he's making decisions without consulting her. He's making plans with her life, her future and tying them to a mad man who has proven TIME AND AGAIN that you cannot trust him.

Yeah, I hate Stefan.

Murder Party

Meanwhile, Damon and Elena tagged along on Bonnie's trip to college. Damon shows Elena how to choose a victim, because some people are just easier to manipulate than others. She can compel them to forget and to not feel pain. She can feed and no harm no foul.  Even when she refuses the first target because she sees the picture of the little sister, Damon rolls with it and looks for another way to hunt.

Murder Party at a frat house—douche central. Elena's compassion is her weakness, so hunting jerks may make it easier for her. She picks out her first target—a guy who roofied a girl's drink. They head off into a dark corner and she feeds. Damon is never more than a couple of steps away and he stops her when she almost goes too far and she sends the man away. Elena's a little drunk and rightfully so—the baby vamp has been starving for days.

The party ramps up and she's smiling and laughing and dancing. Seriously, when was the last time we really saw Elena happy? She's never happy with Stefan—no because he's always moody and somber and chiding her for enjoying things.

It's going great until Bonnie walks in and gives Elena the "stare."  Yes, how dare Elena find any joy in her existence. She should be sad and miserable like Bonnie and Stefan—because they made stupid choices and are now reaping the consequences. Elena's mistake was being born a doppelganger—yes, she should suffer for it.

Speaking of Bonnie—way to go outing yourself to ANOTHER COMPLETE STRANGER. Woman, do you never learn? And as we find out later the hot Professor is the man that sent Connor to Mystic Falls in the first place. 

She Is Just Like Me

In the end, Damon was right. Elena is just like him and the reason he isn't a ripper is because he's learned to revel in what he is. He can feed and not kill—because he chooses not to—because he doesn't hate himself. Elena's still struggling and Stefan just feeds that self-loathing. Yes Stefan, Elena will kill because she won't learn what she needs to while you continue to make her doubt and hate herself.

If anything this episode illuminated to me exactly why Damon is better for Elena—he empowers her to empower herself. He dares her to be better and stronger and more focused. Stefan cripples her and makes her dependent and weak—just like him.

This episode disappointed me. I'm tired of the constant brush strokes that paint Damon "bad guy" and Stefan "good guy" because the writers tell us that is so—it's not what they are showing me.

What did you think?