Yeah, yeah the jolly man’s coming, you’ve got shopping and baking to do and gifts to wrap. I understand. But that’s not the season I’m talking about.

It’s contest season!

And for this self-proclaimed contest-slut it means counting my money and budgeting … and deciding where I’d like to put my babies for judging. Yep, I’m one of those authors. I have been since I first put fingers to keyboard. It’s not my fault really. I blame my hardwiring. I have always wanted to be the best at anything I’ve done. Grades. Sports. School projects. Writing reports (my classmates hated my brown-nosed 10 page papers when the teacher only asked for 3). Anything and everything. I want to be the best.

I’m a terrible speller. Seriously bad. But I studied those spelling words every week and got 100’s on the test. The only problem was the monthly spelling bee. I worked so hard, but it was all for naught. Inevitably I was out in the first round. Then came the day I came home beaming in 5th grade and announced I’d finally been second in the spelling bee. My parents were so proud of my hard work … until I informed them I was the second one OUT instead of the first.

But I never gave up.

My drive got me straight A’s in middle school, high honors in high school and valedictorian of my college class. It’s won me awards in school and work. I just don’t know how to run half throttle. Lord knows there are times I wish I could. But I’ve come to accept this about myself.

So now I’m writing. This means entering my writing in contests to be judged against other amazingly talented writers. I never finalled in a contest for unpublished writers. And trust me when I say … I entered A LOT of them! But now I have my first print book. HEALER’S GARDEN is now in a format that many contests for published authors require. And I’m going in!

I love this book. I want others to love it too. Yes, it’s gotten rave reviews, but it hasn’t won anything … yet. I’m pleased it’s finalled in the Eppies. Over-the-moon happy about it. It’s just not enough. I want it to be. But I can’t stop myself.

There are many authors/readers who don’t really pay attention to contest finals and/or wins. I know this, but I justify the contests as a marketing tool for my books as well. My name and title are flying through the internet with the list of finalists. It’s really pretty cool.

So this week, before the holiday mail gets too crazy (because most contests have a January deadline) I’m packing up books, contest forms and checks, getting everything in the mail and crossing my fingers. I just can’t help myself.

What about you? As a reader do you pay more attention to books that finalled in contests? And writers how do you feel about this whole contest thing? Because you know me … I’m dying to know how you feel.

And don’t forget to stop at this POST and leave a comment for a chance to win a box full of anniversary gifts including a print copy of “Healer’s Garden”.

It hardly seems possible that THREE years has gone by since I started this blog. Wow! Seriously, just wow!

My first ever blog POSTS appeared the last week of November 2007. I remember frantically setting up a website (which has undergone two major renovations) and beginning to blog on my now inactive MySpace page as I try to establish my corner of the Internet as a new author. It was such a crazy time. My first book (then titled) “The Healer’s Garden” was scheduled for release at the end of December that year. Funny how that book has been re-released through ELLORA’S CAVE as “Healer’s Garden” and has also become my first book in print. Lots of firsts with that one. 🙂

Looking back it is amazing to me the things that I’ve learned in such a short time. The learning curve for an Environmental Educator thrown into the publishing world has been steep, but I really wouldn’t trade it. I love learning and being challenged by new things. But never would I have imagined this journey. I’m so happy to have it documented because even I couldn’t imagine the highs and lows of a writing career.

Hmmm, let me see some of the things I’ve learned and even taken time to blog about …
1. That being successful at a writing career means more than just writing … you gotta learn to market yourself as well
2. That the internet is full of people who want to help and eventually become really good friends
3. That sometimes RWA can piss you off, but by and large it’s a great organization
4. That being a contest slut can certainly get you some great and sound advice
5. That EDIT isn’t one of THOSE four letter words
6. That writing is rewarding … but it’s also really HARD
7. That sometimes in this business you have to have a REALLY thick skin
8. Even though you have plenty of excuses no one ever bought a story that was still in your head.
9. That editors don’t all do their jobs the same, but they sure are important to putting out a great book!
10. That writing conference are far from boring.
11. That sometimes writers aren’t who we may think they are
12. That despite advice from others sometimes you have to go with your gut
13. That everyone loves a little eye candy now and again!
14. That EVERYTHING changes even publishing
15. That cover day is just as exciting as getting the contract.

I’m sure there is so much more, but those are the bigger things.

Well, I just feel in the mood for something fun in celebration of my anniversary. I’d like to give something away to my readers and writer friends. I’ll pull together a fun little box of goodies from my promo closet (including a print copy of “Healer’s Garden“) and choose one person at random from those who comments on this post between now and noon DECEMBER 6, EST. And just because I’m feeling really generous I’ll also give away an ebook of “Hearts of Fire-May” which includes my vampire novella “Shadows of Fire“.

Just tell me something you’ve learned as a reader or a writer since you started following writers on the internet or began writing. Something that surprised you or made you pause or you thought … yeah, well, dur … what did you think? I’d love to hear from you.

Wow! Thank you again to everyone who took time to post during my Halloween blog tour. You all shared some wonderful memories and it was hard to choose just one. But without much fanfare I’d like to congratulate …

Myrtle, MO

for her story about her hubsters decorations that resulted in an impromptu neighborhood barbeque. Congrats Jenn! I’ll be sending you a signed copy of HEALER’S GARDEN

And congratulations to all the winners of the overall Halloween blog tour. I’m pleased to announce that CAROL B. also won a signed copy of “Healer’s Garden”.

The next blog tour will happen at Christmas and I sure hope you’ll all stop over for some fun!

Wow, thanks everyone who took time to travel on the blog tour bus. Winners have been chosen. I’ve just returned myself from a trip to Rhode Island to get Mr. Nina settled into his new digs and geared up for his new job.

My inbox is overflowing, my animals want my attention and all the clothes in the suitcase are dirty. Give me another day to catch up with my crazy life and I will pick a winner from my Halloween commenters and announce the winners from the Halloween blog tour.

Cue scary music and creeking doors …

Yep, it’s that time of year when people turn down the lights, grab a big bowl of popcorn and sit down to watch their favorite things that go bump in the night in a horror movie marathon. Okay, so NOT me! I have such a vivid imagination I don’t need more images floating in my brain. I’m all about carving pumpkins and eating candy. You know … the quiet, non-scary kind of stuff.

This weekend I know some of you are following our traditional Halloween blog tour. And in the spirit of the season I’ve got some wonderful guys all dolled up for the holiday. Mmmm….

If you’ve stumbled here and would like to know what I’m talking about please start HERE. Jump on the tour bus and follow it through the links to the end … There are all kinds of prizes to be won. Contest runs 7 am EDT Oct 29 through 5 pm EDT OCT 31.

For those of you stopping here to enjoy a little eye candy I’m having my own contest.

My futuristic erotic suspense story “Healer’s Garden” is available in PRINT and has just finalled in the Eppies. w00t! w00t! on both accounts. Leave a comment here sharing with me your favorite Halloween memory. I’ll choose the best story and mail you a signed copy of “Healer’s Garden”. (**NOTE: Shipping to US and Canadian residents only. An international winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card.) Comments posted from 7 am EDT Oct 29 through midnight Oct 31 will be eligible.

And to start you off I’ll share my favorite memory …

When I was a kid we lived in the “center” of a country town. The last street light from the four way intersection just up the road was at the foot of our very looooong driveway. We had a telephone pole about half way up the drive. My dad loves Halloween. This particular year he rigged a long length of piping from the front porch to the telephone pole where he’d hung a whispy piece of plastic on a string.

That night, the brave few who ventured up our driveway were scared by the haunting moan (may father’s manical laugh through the pipe) of the “ghost” that mysteriously floated up from the brush on the side of the drive. It was really not a nice trick, but ZOMG … it was hysterical. Needless to say we didn’t give away any candy that year except to our friends (whom we had warned).

It’s a great memory. I think because I was so impressed with my dad’s ingenuity.

And here’s one last halloween costume for you to enjoy before you go on your merry way…

I’ve joined in with 24 other authors to offer you the opportunity to win a kindle. All you have to do is visit the following sites to find the answers to the questions listed (and for my loyal readers I helped you with my questions by also posting two short excerpts):

Lynda Hilburn (
Question #1) What are the names of the two men who came to Kismet’s office unexpectedly?
Question #2) What kept Luna from drinking Kismet dry?

Angelique Armae (
Question #1) Which archangel trained Isabel in Shadows of the Soul?
Question #2) What is the name of the book listing fallen angels who fell from grace during the fall of Eden?

Heidi Betts (
Question #1) Three of the character names in the blurb on the back of The Bite Before Christmas are incorrect (one last name, two first names). What are the correct character names in the story?
Question #2) What is the name of Heidi’s Halloween vampire giveaway, running until October 30, 2010?

Danielle Bourdon (
Question #1) What is the name of the bartender?
Question #2) What does Sebastian do to Laurel’s phone?

Marilee Brothers (
Question #1) What is the name of Marilee’s newsletter?
Question #2) What is the name of Marilee’s friend who writes the wine column?

Ciar Cullen (
Question #1) Name the ancient culture that seems to interest me.
Question #2) Name my most recent release.

Lori Devoti (
Question #1) Name two stories Lori has written that contain vampires.
Question #2) Name a creature other than zombies featured in Lori’s 2010 release, Zombie Moon.

Betsy Dornbusch (
Question #1) What magazine do I edit?
Question #2) Who is my latest fangrrl crush?

Sandra Edwards (
Question #1) What does Jack (the ghost) want Izzy to do?
Question #2) What does Izzy do for a living after she travels back in time?

Krisi Keley (
Question #1) What year did ValĂ©ry speak with his cousin Jules about what happened to him following the Children’s Crusade?
Question #2) What’s the name of the “immortal child” ValĂ©ry considers his greatest sin because he made him a vampire for completely selfish reasons?

Monique Martin (
Question #1) Where does Simon teach Occult Studies?
Question #2) What does Elizabeth compare her nightmare to?

Phoebe Matthews (
Question #1) The sword Tarvik carries once belonged to what warlord?
Question #2) April remembers another life. Where, and what was her stage name?

Karen Michelle Nutt (
Question #1) What is Ryden’s reaction to Eli’s kiss?
Question #2) Who speaks to Clarity while she’s sitting in the devil’s chair?

Gloria Oliver (
Question #1) What is the sound most dreaded everywhere?
Question #2) How is Clarence punishing Kel?

Nina Pierce
Question #1) What creature of the night is Reese Colton?

Excerpt from Shadows of Fire:
“Not this time.” Alexandra fluttered kisses up his jaw and pulled his earlobe through her teeth. “I want you to take me. Vampire or no, I’m yours. You don’t frighten me, Reese. I trust you.”
Her words were like a soft aria serenading his heart. He’d kept that part of him sheltered for far too long. Reese wanted to be with Alex more than he needed his next breath and she’d just given him permission to give in to his beastly desires. What more could a man want?

Question #2) What kind of shifter is Jayda Kynslan?

Excerpt from “Bonded Souls”
In her rapture, her eyes squeezed tight in the pure freedom of her climax, Cole had watched Jayda’s facial contours soften and pulse with the features of a cougar then a wolf and then back to human. She was a polymorphic shifter. A living prophecy sent to bridge the feud that was tearing apart the local shifter community.

Renee Rearden (
Question #1) What is the name of Saari Mitchell’s adopted sibling?
Question #2) What tops Saari Mitchell’s Most Painful Ways To Die list?

Chris Redding (
Question #1) What is the name of the woman renting the Grace the apartment?
Question #2) What question does Zach ask Grace at the end?

LK Rigel (
Question #1) What is Char afraid she’ll run into on Baseline Road?
Question #2) What color is Char’s card?

Lynda K. Scott (
Question #1) In the excerpt for Heartstone, what does Eric call Keriam when he sees her as an infant?
Question #2) What are Lynda Scott’s 3 favorite charities?

Elizabeth Sinclair (
Question #1) In Garden of the Moon, what does her mother refer to Sara’s ability to see ghosts as?
Question #2) – In Angel Unaware, where was Dora’s soul put by accident?

Lia Slater (
Question #1) Lia Slater thinks the world would be a better place if everyone did what?
Question #2) What is the hero’s name in Were Blood?

Danielle D. Smith (
Question #1) What is Danielle’s job other than being an author?
Question #2) Who is the publisher of Psyche’s Gate in print?

Rick Taubold (
Question #1) Who are the two co-hosts of the Vampires’ Blog (All Things Vampire)?
Question #2) Who are the three bad guys mentioned in the two novels?

T. Lynne Tolles (
Question #1) Who is Blake Bloomington’s girlfriend?
Question #2) What is Devon and Blake’s uncle’s name?

Vianka Van Bokkem (
Question #1)What are the names of the two author ladies who were my inspiration when I wrote my first novel?
Question #2) What do I like to do during winter?

Email all the answers to:
Please include all your contact information with your entry. (One entry per person.)

Linda will collect those emails, put your names in my mini-coffin, and will select a winner of the Kindle on the night of October 31. The winner’s name will be posted on Linda’s blog and she will send an email.


I have picked a name out of the hat from all the commenters for my “Bodice Rippers and Trashy Smut” giveaway. Well, actually Mr. Nina pulled the name out of a basket (he’s awesome that way *g*) She’s now gotten back to me and I have internet connection. So I’m pleased to announce the winner of a box full of romance is …

West Orange, New Jersey

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and shared their favorite subgenre of romance. I had a wonderful time with this impromptu contest (and Mr. Nina is overjoyed at least one box of books is leaving the house). Please keep stopping by to see if I have any other contests running or new book releases.

Congratulations again to Carol!!

Once again this year I’m part of the RAVEN SCAVENGER HUNT which begins today (October 1st)! Stop over HERE to find the list of over 50 authors participating. All kinds of chances to win. All kinds of prizes available!

Stop over at my website and find the raven graphic hidden there. (And of course check out the sexy excerpts for my books.)

And don’t forget to leave a comment on this POST here on my blog for a chance to win a box full or romance books!


Okay, so it’s banned book week and in conjunction with this week I want to celebrate all the Bodice Rippers and Smutty Trash that has given me hours and hours of enjoyment. I have many books that I have read and loved, but are now currently overflowing several bags beside my bed.

So I’m having a BOOK GIVE AWAY right here on this blog!

My plan is to fill a shoe box full of your favorite subgenre of romance. Well, how do I win you ask? I’m going to make this uber easy. Just leave a comment on this post between now and Sunday, October 2nd by 4 pm EDT telling me whether you enjoy the depiction of shifters and vampires in current stories or do you prefer the classic “rules”. And maybe none of it is your cup of tea.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula was anything but sexy with his pastey white skin and bloodlust. Nothing like the sparkly skinned vampires of the young teen throbs or sexy vampires like Reese Colton who no longer bite humans and can walk in the shadows of daylight.

Perhaps the original werewolf stories of the men who transformed into bloodthirsty monsters on the full moon is more your taste. It’s definitely not the sexy heroes of today’s paranormal romances like Cole Takoda who are more driven to finding their life mate than hunting humans.

The fact is, authors (including myself) have taken liberties with the “rules” surrounding these creatures. We bend and twist and shape them to fit our needs and storylines. Some authors walk a closer line to those original concepts. Others, veer completely off the path. And I’m curious which you prefer. And perhaps none of them strike you. Maybe you steer clear of these paranormal stories, preferring your romance be rooted in today’s society or back in Regency England. I’d just like to know.

One person who leaves a comment on this post between now and SUNDAY, OCT 2 at 4 pm EDT will be chosen at random to receive a box full of romance books from me! (**NOTE books will be shipped to US or Canadian residents only. If an international winner is picked, they will receive a $20 Amazon gift card in lieu of the books.)

So tell me … what’s your favorite subgenre of romance?