Thank you!

On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
The authors thank you for your readership and hope you will come visit them at their personal sites via the links to the left.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ghost Hunting 101

"Whose watching me?"

Have you ever had the feeling you were being watched then turned around to see no one there? Truth ARE being watched. seems that most people are so tuned in to real life that they are missing the big picture that surrounds them. In my daily class studies I am finding more supporting research that when we die we don't actually go to "Heaven" but we move onto another plane in our lives. As the very fictional words "Death is only the beginning" were spoken in the movie "The Mummy" no one realizes just how true that is.

What happens to our bodies is death indeed, yes people who have truly experienced near death do see a bright light. That light is what you see when you make the transition from your living body to your spiritual form. You move to a different plateau, but you are still an earthly being.

This is where I want to bring up Entities.

They are considered by many people as angels or demons. As strange and bizarre as this sounds, an Entity has never lived as a human and this type of manifestation is fairly uncommon. The real culprit is a ghost or a spirit. An Entity in an evil form can and will be very dangerous. They can and will cause harm whether provoked or not. They do it out of envy and anger.

If the entity is an angel, they come to protect and for no other reason. The angel will only be seen by the individual it chooses to witness.
The angel will only appear during a near death experience or if there is a tremendous amount of stress a person is feeling. Which is why people who do see the angel drastically change their lives after that.

A Demonic entity is very rare. They will only enter a persons life if they are called, ie: divination spells, black magic, Quija boards...When using the Quija board the demonic entity will fixate its angle on the individual who is less likely to believe, thus possessing them. This is usually the God fearing person, they are more manipulative. So take care when using the Quija board. These demons will appear as a friendly presence when in fact they are just waiting for your invite to create havoc.

If it does strong suggestion is to notify a Priest ASAP...

To Happy Writing,

AP Miller

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ten Books to Read Before You Die

By A.J. Llewellyn

That’s a headline grabber if ever I saw one and being a former journalist I can’t resist a good I perused this list as compiled by a recent Harris Poll and yeah it’s pretty good: The Holy Bible, Gone with the Wind, Harry Potter, The Stand, The Da Vinci Code, To Kill a Mockingbird, Angels and Demons, Catcher in the Rye and Atlas Shrugged.
Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn about some of them – but Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and Atlas Shrugged would be high on my list. Others…not so much, which of course got me thinking, what are my top 10?

I’d like to hear about yours – but since I’m here, let me start. In order of chronological influence:

1. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton because this is how you feel when you are 14 years old. Stay Gold, pony boy.

2. For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke. A searing, unforgettable portrayal of an Australian convict’s life. Rufus Dawes is a remarkable character and Clarke’s research is impeccable and yet, humble. This book shaped my urge to place the reader right there. I wept right through this the first time I read it. I still do.

3. Waffles with Everything by Polly Horvath. This whimsical yet perceptive book is how you feel when you lose a parent. You can take my word on that.

4. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend. The most subversive, hysterical novel you will ever read. You can take my word on that, too. Written during Thatcher’s era in Britain, it rips her to shreds but I’m betting she got a laugh out of it, too.

5. On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Come on, he’s dead and he’s still sexy as hell. Besides, we’ve all loved a train wreck at least once in our lives.

6. My Place by Sally Marshall. An Aboriginal woman dissects her people’s displacement. Brilliant and lyrical.

7. Monkey Grip by Helen Garner. A gut wrenching examination of love and addiction. Give it to somebody who is in love with a drug addict. An extraordinary novel.

8. Joe Wilson and his Mates by Henry Lawson. One of the two greatest Australian writers who ever lived, the other being Banjo Paterson. I really couldn’t choose between them…sneaky way to mention ’em both, eh? P.S. I named my cat after Banjo…

9. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. I love everything she has ever written but I busted my literary cherry on this one…the only English language book I could find in Athens, the year I went to school in Greece, age 15.

10. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. If you have lost a loved one, this will give you hope and an explanation you can live with. I believe her definition of heaven. If Hollywood ruins this one, heads will roll. I will see to it personally.

So how about you? What’s your must reads? I really want to know!

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From Blush Queen to Erotic Romance Writer

When reading Sara’s great story about her blush meter, I got a good laugh as when I was growing up, I was known as the blush queen. It wouldn’t take me much to get me to a number 10 on her ‘Blush-O-Meter’ scale when I was younger. LOL! I think I’m the only high school senior in my state to be photographed with the then President Gerald Ford who could compete with the sun. It has it good and bad points.

Her story also reminded me of some other times in my life when the ‘Blush-O-Meter’ would have been a fun thing to have. Or NOT! LOL!

The first one was when I was asked to bring my very first completed book to a college gang party. These were the people I had learned to become an adult with and I had a lot of apprehension. These people had embarrassed me and held me when I cried or when I was sick. There were a lot of good and bad memories with these folks.

I told the DH, Gordon, and he convinced me it was all good. But as we got closer to the party, the more trepidation I was feeling.

Once there, the manuscript was being handed around and then I started getting comments like, 'great job' and 'I've never know anyone who completed a whole book before' and then I saw one of my old college boyfriends reading it.

He walked up to me and stated, "You know if you'd did that to me, maybe we'd still be together."
I could feel my face turning warm and I had to be very careful here. If I said the wrong thing, he’d think I still liked him or something. "Maybe I would have if you deserved that type of treatment."

"Gordon must be a very lucky man." He walked away as the DH walked up.

"What's wrong with him?" DH asks.

"He got to the love scene."


"He said you were a lucky guy."

"He did." DH puffs up and says, "I think I'll go talk to the guys."

The college girl friends came up. "What's up with the guys? And how about you…you’re blushing!"

"They're all talking about the love scene.”

“No wonder they’re blushing!"

I looked at them and arched a brow. “Maybe I should remind all of your husbands we all went to college together. After all I didn’t win a knockwurst contest like some of you have.” Every other woman at the party had a face redder than mine as they remembered that particular time in our lives. LOL! Revenge is soooo sweet!

The next big time that I can remember me really, really blushing was when I wrote my first BDSM story about five years ago. It was also the last time that I can remember me having that particular affliction. I had to do a lot of what I considered covert research as I prepared to write this story of a woman's darkest fantasies. Finally, I got the courage to just sit down and get it done. The whole day, I would write a sentence and get up to pace, wondering what I was doing since I knew nothing of that world. Still, I plugged away at it until I eventually got it right. It was the first thing I sold to eXtasy books. I was really surprised.

But half way into the process my husband shocked me by showing up in my office. My face went from zero to RED in the span of less than 10 seconds.

“Something wrong?”

“No, why are you asking?”

He gives me his quirky smile and says, “There are only a few times I’ve ever seen you blush in twenty years.”

I sat still. “Really?”

“Yeah. It’s when I caught you doing something you shouldn’t and when you’re thinking about sex.”

I gasped. “What makes you think I’m doing something I shouldn’t? I’m an adult.”

“With an antiquated idea about sex sometimes. If you’re going to really be an erotic romance writer, you have some changing to do.” He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. “I’m sure that practice will help!”

I roll my eyes and tell him nothing is going to happen until I finish this story.

That very day, my whole attitude changed. I wasn’t ashamed of my writing at all. It was just that I was brought up in the Bible belt and as anyone who has grown up there knows, the fear of God and sex can be pounded into one from the moment you walk. And lordy, the brimstone…LOL! There is absolutely nothing wrong with sex. It’s a natural thing and we have such a backward sexual outlook in America that it took some retraining on my part to not let it worry me at all. Now, I barely bat an eye. There's a private me and a writer me.

I advertise my very sexy books all the time and I do write to every heat level as the story dictates. I am passionate about all my books as every author should be. If you’re embarrassed about it, you don’t need to be writing it at all. I write what I love and nothing compromises that position. Sometimes my characters want the full monty and others, they want it very sweet.

Now it’s my DH’s turn to blush every time he drives my car. My license plate says ERWRTER and he’s been asked many times what it means. I'll show you all a picture sometime. He tells them the truth…it means…Erotic Romance Writer. The moment he tells the women, they get a gleam in their eye and say ‘Ah’ while the men just shake their heads and walk away, knowing they wouldn't be caught dead in my car.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Scenes From a Hat

My husband is also a writer and he has something pretty cool on his blog. He calls it Scenes From a Hat. What he does is generate 3 random words and then picks one to write about. He also has guest writers that will do a scene as well. I happened to do one.

The cool thing about the Scene From A Hat series is it allows you to go outside your comfort zone. When I picked my word, Restitution, I looked it up and noticed it had two definitions and I wanted to use both forms in my story. I guess you’ll have to read it to let me know if I succeeded. lol I also wanted to do something different. Tap into my darker side I guess you could say. I kind of liked it there and have another story idea brewing about a girl buried alive. Heehee We’ll see how well that goes. I always said I was an eclectic writer. You never know what you’ll get from me.

I enjoyed doing it and requested three more words. I don’t know what I’ll do this time, but it is fun to just let go and make myself really think.

Anthony has a few of his own Scenes From a Hat posted and I know he has had at least one more guest posted and a few waiting in the wings. I’m sure he would be happy if anyone wanted to try their hand at their own Scene From a Hat.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hello Erin Sinclair!

This week we take a look at Erin Sinclair. I asked her some quirky questions and got plenty of interesting answers!
Welcome Erin!
Erin Sinclair writes for the following publisher(s): Devine Destinies (mainstream imprint for eXtasy Books)Erin’s favorite color? “It changes depending on my mood but primarily green and red. I’m beginning to lean towards sky blue and bronze with the orange undertone though.” Her favorite ice cream flavors? “Dark rich chocolate and mint chocolate chip.” When asked if she’s a cat, dog or both kind of person and if she’d ever own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet her answers were ~ “Both, but love the way a dog greets me, makes me feel so appreciated.” & “Hamsters, 14 of them at one time, not sure why. I had a Golden Hamster named Goldie whom I taught to do tricks. I think snakes are cool but I’ve known people who have them and their odor is off-putting to me. I’d love to hand raise a beautiful parrot one day, I think they are oddly wonderful creatures.” Concerning her preference for warm weather or cold she states, “Both. I love a day filled with sunshine, then a nice afternoon thunderstorm, followed by a rainbow and bright blue sky, temperature mild (75 to 80 degrees), humidity balanced. I love a bright sunshine winter day with fresh untouched snow on the ground.” As for where she’d live if she could live anywhere in the universe, “Earth, because of the variety of beauty and because it’s in my blood.” In regard to what time of day she prefers, Erin states “Use to be night, now I find mornings very peaceful when all is quiet and I’m alone with my thoughts.” Her favorite day of the week: “Friday evenings.” Her favorite number is 3. When asked if athletic shoes are sneakers or tennies and if a soft drink is called soda or pop, she responded: Sneakers & Soda
Here’s a scenario posed to the author: “You’re at a conference and an agent comes up to you and says, “I’ve seen your name on the web. I’m interested in taking you on as a client. You have a couple of minutes to wow me to convince me that I should.” You can only plug one book in this short amount of time. What book would you plug to land this contract and why?” Erin’s response: I answer this question with some assumptions in mind. The reputation of the agent precedes her and the energy I sense from her will work well with mine. I love the premise of my first novel, Twilight’s Son. It is about an angel who is given the opportunity to descend into humanity for the love of a human woman, so that is the novel I’d sell her on and the selling conversation would proceed something like this…
“Imagine if all your life you’ve loved and lost, not because your choice of men is lousy, but because there seems to be no one to whom you can possibly relate to. Imagine if the only man truly perfect for you was an angel and not just any angel but one selected by Uriel, The Archangel of Judgment, to join his Host and ascend to the next Heavenly realm to work side by side with the being who will one day judge all of humanity. Imagine if your angel, your soul mate, your one and only love tells Uriel ‘No’ and all for the love of you.
I’d like to introduce you to Lt. Detective Brie Carter and Ezekiel, Angel of Earth, former guardian and guiding angel to humanity, now descended, allowed to become human and given the opportunity to explore that love on the Earth plane. There’s only one small problem. The spurned Archangel declares their love to be an abomination, as the last time angels and human women combined it led to terrible consequences. Uriel descends to stop their joining at all costs, even if it means our couple’s demise. Judgment is coming, will true love conquer all? Only my trilogy will reveal the answer to you…”
Thank you for the information Erin!

~ Feel free to share if you have something in common with her ~

The Blush-O-Meter

When I finished my first book, The Amoveo Legacy, I wanted to have a couple of people read it and give me their honest feedback. Before I put it out to fellow authors for feedback, I had to start closer to home. You know, let it go a little bit at at time. In my world that meant utilizing my immediate family. I know, you're thinking that they would respond politely even if they hated it. Nope, not my family. They are brutally honest and would definitely tell me if they thought it sucked.

So I bit the bullet, hit the send button and shot my book through cyberspace. I sent it to my Mother and Father, two brutally honest people. They love me too much to lie to me. After sending the email, I wandered into my living room to find my husband reading my manuscript intently. The look of concern on his face stopped me dead in my tracks.

"Babe? What's the matter?" I braced myself for his criticism.
"I don't know if I can tell people you wrote this." He stammered through an increasingly red face.
"You mean because of the love scenes?"
"Um. Yeah. You really didn't leave anything to the imagination, huh? It's very.....descriptive."
I chuckled and plopped down next to him on the couch. "You should be proud big guy." I placed a kiss on his bright red cheek. My hubby Will, scored a perfect 10 on the Blush-O-Meter.

After seeing how uncomfortable the sex scenes made Will, I started to wonder how my parents would react. While both of them are avid readers, neither of them are into romance, let alone paranormal romance. Would it weird them out to read erotic scenes written by their little girl? Hmmmm.

About a week after they got the manuscript, I decided to just come on out and ask them. Where would they fall on the Blush-O-Meter?

"So Dad, what do you think of the book so far?"
I barely finished my question and he went right to the point. "I had to skip the sexy parts. It grossed me out because my daughter wrote it. Sorry."
I smiled and stifled a giggle. "No problem Dad." Dad had avoided the Blush-O-Meter all together.

Next up...Mom.
"Mom, Dad said he couldn't read the sex scenes. How about you?"
"Not me," she chirped pleasantly. "I read the whole thing and loved it. Very good."
I couldn't help but smile. Mom didn't even register a twinge of pink. Zero. Nada. Zip.

The best reaction, however, came from my 87 year old Grandmother. Mimi has been after me for months to give her a copy of my book. I was reluctant to have her read it. I mean she IS my Grandmother. She's currently in the hospital and asked to read it yet again. Let's face it, you can't say NO to someone in the hospital, so I printed out a copy of my book (pre-edit) for her to read.

Yesterday, I went to the hospital to visit with her. We chatted for over an hour about everything under the sun. Then, just as I was about to leave, she brought up my book.

"I'm almost finished with your book dear. I just love it!" Her eyes twinkled at me mischievously.
"You like it? Really?" I couldn't help but feel some hesitation.
"It's very spicy." She winked and continued, "That Will, he really must be good!"
My jaw dropped and the heat of embarrassment burned my cheeks red. I scored at perfect 10 on the Blush-O-Meter. Mimi continued to giggle like a school girl. I guess when you're 87 nothing makes you blush anymore!

If you don't blush easily, I hope you'll check out The Amoveo Legacy. Due for release mid-2009.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

I knew I lived in a small town. I just haven’t realized how small until I went to the high school basketball game this past weekend. My sister was being inducted to the Athletic Hall of Fame so she flew up here and we all battled the snow and cold to watch her ceremony. It took place at halftime and they had a nice reception beforehand. As I sat in the stands I couldn’t help but wonder at all the familiar faces I saw. Not only that many of the kids on the team had the same last name as my former classmates. On the walls were pictures of the various sport teams through the years and I knew people in almost every single photograph.

The fact that many people who grew up here chose to stay on and raise their own families shouldn’t have surprised me. I’ll be the first to admit I love it here. It’s nice going to the local coffee shop and them knowing what I want before I even open my mouth. Everyone knows everyone here. My daughter’s teacher was one of my sister’s best friends growing up. My son has the same civics teacher I did.

Living in a small town does have some drawbacks, however. Number one being everyone knows everyone. I still bump into the gal who was sitting next to me that fateful day in first grade when I peed my pants. She still remembers it too. I know this because she takes particular delight in telling me so every time we talk.

To add to the whole small town atmosphere is the fact we are made up of mainly working class, factory workers or farmers. Hunting season is a big event, most kids starting at a young age. While I was standing in line to vote this year the couple behind me were in matching camouflage coveralls. I kid you not. We have a total of three traffic lights, but at least a half-dozen deer processing centers. I am happy to report that my son and husband are not among the hunters. I have no taste for deer meat and wouldn’t know what to do with a freezer full of the stuff.

Still, I love this town because it’s familiar and that makes me feel safe. I like knowing the local store will always have my favorite deli meat, that my old family friends will always be keeping an eye over my kids and I can still get the best donuts in the world at the corner bakery.

Many times I have wondered if I ever made it big would I move. The answer is no. This is home and that will never change.


Another Day In the Nieghborhood

Good morning everyone! I was all set to tell you about my grand adventure yesterday. Went house hunting with my daughter (remember her - the lovely creature who yells at me when I fall on the ice and caused me 17.5 hours of back labor). I typed it all up, was ready to hit send and my computer turned it into a mess of illegible text. Now any document I try to open looks the same. This scares me as my computer crashed last May and I am wondering if things are about to go funky again. So instead, I'll pretend to be all wise and wisdom sounding today. Ha, this should be good. But it is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.

Editors will tell you to write the Book of Your Heart. Whether it be in a workshop at a conference, an online class, or even a conversation, they all say don’t follow the trends, because it’s only a trend when you start writing the book. Months later when you are ready to submit, its passé, old hat, and last week’s news.

I have to admit that every book I write IS the Book of My Heart. Take a minute and think about it. Every book you write comes from your heart. You created that book out of your love for the craft. Your laughs and your tears go into it, and just like a baby you gestate and give birth to it. It’s all yours. Don’t you love it unconditionally? I know I do. And like a bratty pre-teenager don’t you want to just strangle the life out of it at times? I know I do. (G)

But it is the Book of My Heart while I am writing it. My next book will again be the current Book of My Heart until it’s finished and out the door. Ok, now you’re probably saying “She’s not making sense. Every book can’t be THE Book of Her Heart.” To that I say, oh yes they can. For example, my latest release The Laird’s Lady from The Wild Rose Press, was a real Book of My Heart.

It evolved from a song, How Do I Live Without You by Trisha Yearwood. The first time I heard the song, I envisioned a woman standing on a cliff mourning the loss of the man she would love for the rest of her life. Days later, I had an opening chapter. Months later a completed book. I poured my heart and soul into creating the new Lady Devin and the old Laird Kyle, who can’t leave the Castle. They lived with me, ate with me, slept with me (ok, keep your mind out of the gutter here) and were part of my life for 6 months. When it came to writing the black moment for them, I cried my eyes out. And when I wrote the last page of the book, I had the song on the cd player blaring through the house. Of course I was crying again, but for a good reason. I had finished the book and it was a Happily Ever After. Or The Captain’s Wench, my ebook release in May 08 from Devine Destinies, an imprint of eXtasyBooks, .

I love the old black and white movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Anyone remember that one? Or even the TV show in the 60’s. Yes, I’m showing my age. I created The Captain’s Wench off that movie. Now my version is definitely a sexy, spicier version, but nonetheless has a handsome sea captain Alexander who has died and a romance novelist Meg who starts out wanting him to go away and ends up wanting him to stay. What better place than to throw them together in Massachusetts. Again I gave them a Happily Ever After, but as my author friends and also readers know, I tend to put a spin on the HEA’s so that you get to the end of the book and go “Ah, that is so cool.” Or something like that. (G) But you know what I mean. So for me writing the Book of My Heart starts all over with each new book. Come on, you know you do it too. Every book has its own special hold on you. Because if they didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be a writer. Or even a reader.

But in either case, enjoy whatever Book of Your Heart that you prefer. Please stop by my website at and look around. I have trailers for both books mentioned above if you’re interested. I love hearing from both writers and readers. Thanks again! Happy Holidays!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A New Blogger

Hello Everyone...

This Saturday I am pleased to pass the spotlight to my very good friend Dee Gentile...

To Happy Reading,

AP Miller

Dee's MoonBow Musings: Hello

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to my MoonBow Musings. I’m excited to have the opportunity to contribute to The Many Shades blog.

A little about me:
  • I’m an avid reader (avid=addicted, but we won’t get into that)
  • I publish a monthly eZine feature, Paraphernalia, that spotlights sub-genres of paranormal romance and speculative fiction with author interviews and book spotlights.

Though I’m not a published author, in the coming weeks I hope to provide a perspective from a different side of the publishing business; as a reader, reviewer and editor. I’ll be providing tips for authors on getting reviews for their work, discussing the pro & cons of reviews, looking at current genre and publishing trends, the paranormal and just about anything that captures my interest.

Take care,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Macho, Macho Man

By A.J. Llewellyn

So yesterday I took a little drive up to spend the day with my editor Heather and her friends, to celebrate her birthday. Her theme? "It's My Party and I'll Crop if I Want To."
Yep, not very macho of me but I went to spend the day cropping with a bunch of...girls...
Macho, macho man...I want to be a macho man!
Okay, I'm telling you this in case photos were taken and they wind up on MySpace. Those gals all had cell phones on hand with incriminating photos of other events...why not me, cropping?
True, I was lured up north with the prospect of coffee and donuts. I'm a foodie. Whaddya want from me? Anybody who knows me knows I can be bought with a cheap piece of pastry.
So I arrived and I gave Heather her gift and I asked what her hubby gave her for her birthday. I'm a atypical bloke with female friends. Always ready to kick a man's ass for not looking after my gals...
"A schtup," she said, looking blissful.
I'm sooooo glad I asked.
Every man wants to be a macho macho man,to have the kind of body, always in demand...
Oops...maybe eating Boston creme donuts isn't exactly the way to go...but it was screaming my was the
You can tell a macho, he has a funky walk his western shirts and leather, always look so boss...
Yep, okay, I didn't look so macho carefully cutting out papers for my Paradise Found scrapbook, but I was thinking macho thoughts.
That counts, doesn't it?
I threw myself into cropping, marveling at the amazing gadgets Heather, Rosie and Julie had...I mean, big, amazing macho gadgets. A big cutting tool called a cricket, punching tools in leather boxes - that was called a Silent Setter...they all had stuff. Big, important, impressive looking stuff. And I wanted it!
I've got to be a macho!
Heather's son Riley came home from school at 2pm. He glanced at me. "AJ, are you....cropping?"
"Yes," I muttered weakly.
He brought out all his macho toys. His light sabers and stuff. Then we settled down to play a macho game of Tick Tack Toe...but I kept beating him and he got bored. His sister and a little friend of the theirs arrived and Heather told them all to play in the yard.
I noticed the girls ganged up on Riley with the light sabers and he dutifully lay down dead on the grass as a noisy blue jay hopped around and around, pissed at all this macho activity.
I glanced back out and Riley was still lying on his back, still playing the game as the girls held hands and skipped inside the house, leaving him alone out there.
Every man ought to be a macho macho man,To live a life of freedom, machos make a stand...

Poor Riley. I was about to remark about how badly we men were being treated in this house when author Samantha Gail's birthday package arrived for Heather. Godiva chocolates. Hard to be huffy when your quaffing chocolates...

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Week For Change

Sigh. You know it’s bad when I start a paragraph with a sigh. This week has been incredibly stressful for me. But along with the stress, there are rays of light and hope.

First let me apologize for being so late today. My diabetic 17 yo has been ill since last week. And those of you who know me, know I don’t ever say much. Life is what it is and we ALL must deal with the cards we are dealt. Life is just that way. Most of the time, he is not ill and is very well managed diabetically. BUT every once in a while, he’ll get something that just hangs on and longer since he was diagnosed last year.

BUT for me the diabetes isn’t the problem. It’s the kid who wants his mommy to be the ‘call and fetch girl’ which his mommy blithely replies, ‘I ain’t no one’s call and fetch girl including Daddy’s!” More prevalent than that is the undying faith that Mom can fix everything. Sigh. Now you know why I’m sighing. Oh, if it were only true!

Now, yesterday was a day of incredible change. And one I think that we need as a country and a people. Sometimes, it takes a total shakeup to get where we need to be. Me and mine are very, very lucky. We all have decent jobs and are okay as far finances. But the change President Barack Obama, our first African-American one, promises has been a long time coming. And this is good as so many of my writing friends are losing jobs and have a very unstable situation right now. We all need to remember this and think only good thoughts for them.

But the best new I’ve gotten was two-fold. First, early last week, I had turned a project into one of my publishers, Loose Id, which was near and dear to my heart. It’s called the Protectors of the Earth series and had been recently rejected by eHarlequin because it had some major sci-fi elements involved and Nocturne Bites doesn’t have any of those elements. I, however, was hopefully. While I did get rejected, I was invited to submit again which made me very, very happy.

Now to the submission. Well, it took a few days BUT my editor was delighted enough to push it on up the line. Which is great. I had had a few ideas which weren’t well received and didn’t go anywhere. This was a very good sign!

The last one is something that made me very happy and I was very surprised. I had decided late last year that I was going to make a very concentrated effort to lose weight. And I started in November with a bang. I decided to go to a Naturopath because I wanted to do everything naturally. I don’t know about you but the holidays are usually a time when I don’t lose. I am lucky if I don’t gain.

And this year, I didn’t gain an ounce. I lost…not a lot…but I lost. Yippee, yippee, YIPPEE! I just couldn’t believe it because I thought the holiday had been more horrible than I imagined. Seems now I have so much more to be thankful for than ever. If you want to track me and my weight lose journey, you can find me at my other blog, where I try to post all the things that are happening to me in that area. Right now, it’s sparse because I’m trying to catch up from November. But I’ve had so many people ask me, including my doctor, that I figured this would be the easiest for all to see.

So for me, this year is starting with a bang I can live with. How’s your year going so far?

Hope it’s a great one! See you next week!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My First Online Love

You would think with a title like that I was talking about myself, but I’m not. I’m talking about my four year old son.

A few months ago I met one of my online friends using a web cam. She is in Canada and I’m in the US so a face to face visit isn’t happening anytime soon. Well…it will in June, but that is another story. Any way, my son was behind me and kept asking who the person on the screen was. I introduced the two. My friend already knew who PMan was because I talk about him ALL the time. lol Between looking at himself on camera and talking to my friend, he was fascinated. For days after he kept asking when he could talk to her again. I kept telling him I wasn’t sure and he would tell me…but mom, I want to talk to her.

A few days ago I was talking to my friend again, this time through IMs. PMan saw the picture and said, “Hey…that’s your friend.” I told him it was and he told me he wanted to talk to her. I said it would be different this time because I’m just typing. So there I sat there waiting to hear what my son would say. First he said hi, nothing unusual about that. I think the next thing he said was he wanted to meet her, still nothing strange. I’m typing away. Letting her know it was PMan talking. Then he told me to type that he wanted to hug her. See, nothing too serious, but his next words blew me away.

“Tell her I love her.”

Um…okay…he’s FOUR! I thought for sure he was kidding. I asked him again what he wanted to say.

“Tell her I love her.”

Trying to figure out if I should laugh or cry I typed his words. My friend took it well and said how sweet PMan is. But…he’s FOUR! lol

He’s already a little flirt, but I thought for sure it would be at least middle school before my son told me he loved someone. Boy was I wrong.

Then last night I watched the end of this show called Momma’s Boys. I could not believe these women! Don’t they want their sons to be happy? The last guy had to choose between his MOM and a girl he was attracted to. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? AND…AND…the mom expected to be picked and got upset when he picked the girl. She said she was leaving with a broken heart! I couldn’t believe it. I really couldn’t. One of the other guys picked the girl his mom wanted him to pick NOT the one he was attracted to. I can’t stop shaking my head. It is just too crazy.

I DO NOT want to be that mom so my son can say ‘I Love You’ to whom ever he wants and as long as he’s happy I’ll be there for moral support.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hello Jambrea Jo Jones!

This week we take a look at Jambrea Jo Jones. I asked her some quirky questions and got plenty of interesting answers!
Welcome Jambrea!
Jambrea Jo Jones writes for the following publisher(s): Freya’s Bower.Jambrea’s favorite color? “It used to be green. I still like green, but find as I get older I really like red and pink.” Her favorite ice cream flavor? “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Yum!” When asked if she’s a cat, dog or both kind of person and if she’d ever own(ed) a snake or some other exotic pet her answers were ~ “Well, I have a cat and a dog and a kid…um…wait you didn’t ask that! lol I’m more of a dog person, but love both. (I love the kid too, just so you know. Heehee)” & “Not me! No way!!! Of course I say that now and I have a 4 year old boy so that answer could change when he gets older! But boy I hope not!” She prefers warm weather with the sun shining. “*sigh* I live in the wrong state!” As for where she’d live if she could live anywhere in the universe, “Wow…this one is tough because there are so many places I’d like to live. Hawaii, Austrila, Spain, New Zeland. I can say…anywhere warm!” In regard to what time of day she prefers, Jambrea states “I’m a middle of the road kinda gal. I like the hours between 11:00am and 2:00am.” Her favorite day of the week: “Friday and 4:30! Lol.” Her favorite number: “22 because that is my birthday and my son’s!” When asked if athletic shoes are sneakers or tennies and if a soft drink is called soda or pop, she responded: ‘I’ve called them both. I think that is because when I was younger I went from IN and VA back and forth! Lol.’ & ‘Heehee… Again, this is all of the above for me. In the Midwest we call it pop, but when I was in VA we called is soda so I’m comfortable with both.’
Here’s a scenario posed to the author: “You’re at a conference and an agent comes up to you and says, “I’ve seen your name on the web. I’m interested in taking you on as a client. You have a couple of minutes to wow me to convince me that I should.” You can only plug one book in this short amount of time. What book would you plug to land this contract and why?” Jambrea’s response: This is a REALLY hard question! Lol. I’ll have to answer it when I have more stories under my belt. Thank you for all these cool questions.
& thank you for the information Jambrea!

~ Feel free to share if you have something in common with her ~

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Bosom Friend

One of my favorite movies of all time is Anne of Green Gables. The story of an orphan girl, one of her biggest desires it to find a best, bosom friend. You know, one of the few in a lifetime, people who you meet and click with. It’s not as easy as it sounds, some people go through their entire lives without meeting one. Happily, I’m not one of those unlucky saps.

It started off innocently enough. Another member of our RWA chapter, Patti Shenberger, and I had to buy a gift for that night’s speaker. Now I know that sounds like an easy enough task, but then you never seen Patti and I shop before. An experience that has been known to put FEMA on high alert, it’s not a fun event to witness. Not that we fight or argue, just the opposite, we are so alike that we feed off each other.

We went to this particular shopping plaza because Patti had remembered there was a Hallmark Store and nothing says you care like Hallmark. As we pulled in, however, we saw to our horror, the shop had closed and there was a Chinese restaurant in its place.

“Oh, crap! Now what?” we simultaneously exclaimed. As one, we looked at the clock in the car dashboard. There was no way we were going to have time to look around for another store and still make it in time to meet the speaker.

“We could always get her fortune cookies,” I ventured, only half kidding. I was pretty desperate at this point.

Patti gestured to a nearby grocery store. “How about there? They’ve got to have a plant or something.”

We went inside and found the store had one, very sad looking, plant that had one foot in the grave. With horror building up, as the threat of us showing up to the meeting, empty handed became closer to a reality, we stared down at the pathetic thing for several seconds. Then we raised our gazes to each other.

“We can do this,” Patti proclaimed.

“Yes, we can,” I agreed and then we were off.

Moving at a speed normally reserved for contestants on Supermarket Sweep, we went up and down every aisle in the store. Candy was dismissed, as were candles, finally we found ourselves in the wine aisle. Yes, this could work we decided.

“What kind should we get,” I asked as I looked at her hopefully.

“I don’t know,” Patti replied, as she looked back, the hopeful expression now directed at me. “I don’t drink.”

Oh crap!

“Neither do I.” It’s true too. I may have a mixed drink or a Mike’s Hard Lemonade now and again, but I wouldn’t know a Red Wine from a White if they slapped me in the face.

“We can still do this,” Patti said.

“We can?” I was two steps from pissing kittens at this point I was so panicked, but I wasn’t going to argue. Instead I searched around for help until I spotted a smock-wearing employee. The fact she didn’t even appear to be over eighteen didn’t dissuade me. She was stocking the wine so that was good enough for us.

“Help. Which ones of these are good?” I gestured to the row after row of bottles. The clerk shrugged one shoulder and snapped her gum.

Oh double crap!

Then we saw it.

I swear to this day a beacon of light descended on this lone bottle as the Hallelujah chorus played. It was dark red with little pink and red lips all over it. I don’t remember the name of the wine, I don’t remember the price all I do remember is the excited look I shared with Patti. Success!!! We are romance writers and the speaker was too, so it was perfect. With shared squeals of delight, we grabbed our treasure and ran to the checkout.

That night we found out the speaker was deathly allergic to alcohol and vomited blood whenever she drank it. Which just goes to show you can’t win all shopping battles, but the day was far from a total loss. I bonded with Patti that day and we have been inseparable ever since. Even our husbands have grown close as they share the woes of being married to a writer.

A true friend, and I mean a really true friend, is a gift in itself and I wouldn’t trade Patti away for anything. Not even for a bottle of wine with kisses on it.

-Stephani Hecht

Welcome to my corner of the world!

Hey everyone! Welcome to my first day of blogging here with you all. A little bit about me. I live in cold, frigid and once again snow covered Michigan, am married, have two kids 23 and 25 yrs old, a senior dog and annoying cat.

I love to write romance. And I write all across the board. My releases include The Laird’s Lady –, The Captain’s Wench, Take No Prisoners –, A Miracle Through Time –, and Womb For Rent, written under my pseudonym of Amanda Brian (my kids names) So I have contemporary romance, historical time travel, and paranormal romance. I also freelance for magazines as well.

Today I’m going to share a tale of how out of control my life gets. Now mind you this is not a normal occurrence. Okay, well sometimes it is. My 25 year old daughter Amanda loves animals as some of you already know. She is sponsoring an event at the doggy day care where she works on February 7th, to help raise awareness, funds and help get dogs and cats adopted for the Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL). She called me last week to ask if I would go with her while she cold-called on local businesses to drum up donations for the giveaways they were planning. Nice mother that I am I said yes. So off we went. (And of course I had to buy her lunch as well because she was broke).

We traipsed all over town; she got a local copy shop to donate flyers, then a second one. Then two beauty salons gave her gift cards for free haircuts. We then went to a local restaurant to post the flyer and ask for another gift card. As we were walking back to the car I slip; crack my left temple on the side of the car door frame. Instant stars and horrendous pain. Now, I’m grabbing my temple when the wind lets loose and the car door swings back and clips me behind my right ear. At this point I fall into the passenger seat, tears streaming from my eyes. (No, I’m not a baby. Okay maybe sometimes I’m a baby) It hurt like the dickens.

My gifted child is sitting in the driver’s seat laughing at me!!! She leans over, rubs my temple and says “Aww, did Mommy get a boo-boo? Is anything rattling in there? Did you knock something loose?”
I glare at her and think “This is the child I spent 17 ½ hours in hard back labor with, who was 2 weeks overdue, and now she is laughing at me??”
I look her dead in the eye and growl, “Touch me again and you’re dead.”
The smile fades from her face and she starts the car. I pull down the visor mirror to see a lovely purple bruise already forming on my left temple. My right ear is throbbing like a marching band is in full rehearsal with emphasis on the cymbals and drums, and I’m not a happy camper.

We leave the parking lot and I announce “I want to go home.” She shakes her head. “You can’t go; I need you to go with me to the bar.” Ok, suddenly the bar is sounding like a really good idea. A drink would help ease the pain in my head. Actually ten drinks would be the perfect solution. Get soused so I can’t remember why my head hurts. Sigh. Problem is I don’t drink. Pepsi is my drink of choice. I haven’t touched alcohol since my wedding in 1982 because I haven’t found anything I like the taste of. Hmm, maybe this is the perfect time to find something. But what Amanda really meant was go in the bar and help solicit another gift card for the adoption event.

We pull up at the bar, and I sit still. She is halfway out of the car and yells back, “Come on.” I mumble I don’t want to go in. She stands there glaring at me until I get out of the car. (I brought this mean laughing creature into the world, and I'll take her back out!) Slamming the car door behind me, I march up to the curb, take one step up and promptly fall down ( I swear I am not making this up) landing on my left knee, skin my left palm and the tears start all over. (I’m not usually such a crybaby either).

Again, the lovely child starts laughing. She comes over, grabs my elbow and tries to haul me upright all the while telling me to get up quick before someone sees me. (Did I mention 17 ½ hours of back labor for this evil creature??) The more she hauls on me, the more I can’t get my footing. I finally yell at her in public (not one of my finer moments) to let me go. I slowly struggle to my feet. At this point I could care less who is looking.
We go in the door of the bar and I head for the bathroom. Apparently this is not what Amanda intended for me to do. She opens her mouth to comment. I glare and say, “I’m going to the bathroom, leave me alone.” (Yes, I know this means I will not get Mother of the Year Award anytime soon).

Once inside the ladies room, I brave a look in the mirror. My jeans are wet down the front of both legs, I have rock salt and snow covering the front of me, and my mascara has now run under my eyes so I resemble someone in Alice Cooper’s band! Not to mention the lovely purple goose egg on my temple and the marching band still in full swing in my right ear. Yes, I love my life!

Back in the car, I demand to be taken home. Amanda quietly acquiesces. If she doesn’t, I’m taking my chances in the snow and walking. We pull into the driveway and I am out the car door before she has a chance to put the car in park. Leaning down I tell her, “Thanks for the lovely afternoon,” slamming the car door harder than necessary (yes, I’m a slammer when I’m mad). Wise child that she is does not follow me in the house but backs out and goes to her own apartment. Lying on the couch where I have gone to sulk, I think back on the day. And I start to laugh.

Wasn’t one of the more pleasant days of my life, not even close. But hey, it makes for a great story. And you never know, it might make great fodder for an upcoming novel. Hmm, think my daughter would notice if the heroine’s name was Amanda and all this happened to her??? Just a thought.

Take care all till next week.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Spirits and Supernatural

Casper the friendly Ghost, the friendliest ghost you know?

Think again. I'd like to bring up the subject of a Poltergeist. No not the movie which happens to be one of my favorites and I just love the ending where they enter a hotel room and he shoves the television out the door.

I am speaking about the real deal. Many people tend to believe a spirit has to be visible. Not true at all. The most common apparition is auditory, as in the case of a Poltergeist. There is one spirit who connects with the world of the living while the others cling desperately in hopes of finding a human host...or not.

The auditory apparitions are the last ones to fade away. They found a way to communicate with the living even though you may barely be able to understand what they are trying to tell us. In the case of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, we find many Poltergeist activity as well as single, angry spirits.

Spirit meaning an actual sentient presence, a "ghost" is a psychic recording. There is a difference between the two.

Now, the "tactile spirit" is the one you need to watch out for. These spirits will make a room turn cold, the hair on the nape of your neck stand on end, they can push you, touch you, and even walk through you. These are the ones found mainly in haunting, although appear less frequently. They manifest into a shape that can be seen, and no, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, if you are lucky enough to spot them. There have been reported cases where the occupants of a building have reported feeling the temperatures rise in a room, this suggests that the spirit died in a fire.

The tactile is the most feared and the one that will make you scream while you are trying to get away from it. The very same that will make the breath solidify in your throat to the point where you may even faint. Yes, they are the scary ones. Walt Witman is one of them. The famous author is sometimes seen walking the upper floor of the Raritan Library in New Jersey.

At the old run down Slaughter house across the road from Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital in Marlboro, NJ you will find the tactile spirit of the old man who owned the land. The story as told, was that he owned the passed down property until the government came in and wanted his land.(Eminent Domain) he threatened them with a rifle and protested leaving his childhood home where he also lost his wife. The government waited,the man died, but they never took the land. And it is said that he can be seen waking around the back of the slaughter house with a hatchet in his right hand. visitors who have trespassed have been followed by him. He has also been seen sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch of the house.

There are four main reasons a person stays behind after death. The first reason is the most obvious...the person doesn't realize her or she has died, especially if they died suddenly or violently.

This is a time where they try to contact the living or their loved ones with no success. Sad really. Once the spirit is convinced they are no longer among the living, and it may take some prodding before they truly understand. then and only then will the haunting stop.

The second reason they stay is because of unfinished business or a promise they kept to someone. They feel they have to finish the task at hand in order to move on. This may take some time, hopefully the spirit was a good soul in the world of the living or the person being haunted is is some serious trouble.

The third reason is that the person wants to say goodbye, which doesn't last very long, but they do appear in astral dreams later on.

And the fourth and final reason they remain is they want to offer guidance and protect the ones they left behind. Again this apparition comes in dreamland, provided they can get through.

Scary story I'd like to share. In 1994 I lost my sister in law to a two year battle with breast cancer. Her youngest was only two years old when she died. He sat next to me one afternoon a few months after the funeral and said, "I saw Mommy." mind you he was only three at this point.

I looked down at his shinning little face and said, "You did?"
He just shook his head yes as if it were something normal. So I asked, "Where?" he replied simply, "In the light. She picked me up before I fell down the stairs." My youngest nephew would have died had he fallen down those steps, they were slippery and steep. So I believed him. Children see what we don't because of their innocence. Their little minds are more open to the unknown. Which is why some young children are able to see their grandparents after death.

Some adults are very sensitive to spirit activity. Have you ever gone into a room after a couple argued and felt the tension in the air? Well it's the same when you feel a spirit. Some people feel sadness or depression and illness if the person who died was ill at the time. Some experience a feeling of warmth if the person in life was a good soul. While others can experience fear or regret.

Poltergeists are the most common activity you will find Ghost Hunters tend to attract. The word poltergeist derives from the German word for "noisy ghost."

In this instance you have a spirit that's referred to as the "epicenter" I touched on this in an earlier paragraph. The epicenter spirit is the one who moves them, the one who controls, and the one who speaks. A poltergeist can be found manifesting around a person who is under a tremendous amount of grief or stress.

The epicenter spirit is usually a loner which is why he or she demands company. Some are angry and some are rather good natured. This type of spirit can move objects, they are heard by "tapping."

If you listen very closely you can almost hear some of them speaking at once. But it is the epicenter who will ask the questions to the others and their answers will be a sequence of taps or raps on walls. A poltergeist can become very strong as they add in numbers. For those of you willing to go on a Ghost hunt you can find them lurking through the dark run down corridors
of Willow brook State Hospital in New Jersey.

My next post will be on "Enteties.." Stay tuned.

Until then,

Happy Hunting,

AP Miller

Thursday, January 15, 2009


By A.J. Llewellyn

The phone calls started around noon yesterday.
"Mate," my best friend Tony - he of the er...confused sexual orientation - chortled down the phone at me. "Your brother's girlfriend sent me a nasty photo of herself. Mate! She's wearing nothing but black stockings and high heels and her legs are open...she gives me wood, AJ."
I was so stunned I could only respond with, "She didn't!"
"Oh yes." He sounded smug. "She wants me, AJ. She sexted me!"
Tony sighed. "You're such a bloody dinosaur." He sounded disappointed a few seconds later when he said, "Oh, she sent the photo to everyone. You got it too. Boy she's barking up the wrong tree there, eh?"
She sent it to me? I happened to be online and I checked my emails. Nope, nothing. I hadn't recognized her email address and had sent her to spam. I opened the file and almost fell on the floor. My brother's girlfriend had sent what was obviously supposed to be a private message for him - to the entire world!
Many of my my family members had received it, judging by the laundry list of email addresses. Oh My father had it...and my dour Greek aunt, the matriarch of the family. My father no doubt would think it was hot, the lecherous old coot...but my aunt...
Tony was enjoying the whole drama as it unfolded before our eyes. He busied himself forwarding the pic to every guy he knows and I quickly called my brother in Paris who rarely picks up the phone. He usually texts me by way of response.
I am not a texter. I spend enough time on the computer as it is so it's a pleasure for me to actually speak on the phone to someone I love. Besides which, I am just not that quick with my thumbs. It takes me ten years to text a simple sentence.
This time my brother believed my urgent message and called me right back. He was dismayed when I relayed the news.
"She keeps doing that," he sighed. "She hits reply all." He paused. "Isn't she a sexy little thing, though?" they say in Hawaii, "Whatevahs."
My brother stopped seeing the funny side as the photo started making its way around the globe. His art gallery partners received it, her parents received it, apparently aghast that she'd posed for the pic on their country home bed.
"My duvet!" her mother apparently screamed.
And then my other brother called me. "How do I respond?" he asked me, balancing three kids and two cell phones from a cafe in Hong Kong. "I mean...geez...she leaves nothing to the imagination."
"Don't respond," I insisted. "Pretend you didn't see it."
"What do you mean? She likes me, AJ. She's got the hots for me."
"No, she doesn't. It was a mistake." My married brother who is apparently hurtling toward a midlife identity crisis way too early, hung up on me.
My father also called me wondering about sexting etiquette.
"She's so French! Do I send a smiley face? What do I say? Hubba Hubba?" he wondered.
Oh, Buddha.
"Please dad," I moaned. "Pretend you deleted it. Leave the girl some dignity."
"Dignity?" My father snorted nastily. "She threw that out the window when she took off her panties and opened her legs, AJ."
My Greek aunt called me late in the afternoon. By this stage, my brother's girlfriend was in her hotel room in London, devastated that the whole world had seen her private sext message.
"Andy," my aunt said, though her heavy accent makes it sound like Endy. "What this crazy girl send me? Is this file okay to download?"
"Hold on," I said, since I was on the other end of the line. I ended the call and clicked back over, but not quickly enough. My aunt, determined to join the e parade, is taking computer classes at Valley Tech College and got her teacher to open the file.
"Andy," my aunt was breathing heavily down the phone. I could hear hoots of laughter in the background. I wondered how many people were now staring at my brother's girlfriend.
To show you how cracked my entire family is, my aunt said, "Andy, I can see everything. I can see what she had for breakfast!"
Her voice dropped. "Why she send me this? I no like the ladies!"

Aloha oe,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Singles Travel Club

Alright, I finally have something to rival AJ in the weird and different department. But I digress; I need to start from the beginning.

Those of you, who know me, know I do way, way too much. I volunteer for many functions within my writers groups to which I belong. Take this week and month for instance. Last year, I volunteered to chair the EPICon conference right here in Las Vegas, Nevada.

And yes, that means lots and lots of work. I have to help in every aspect of the con. That means PR, picking the venue, food…you name it and it has my signature on it somewhere.

So while we're all working on putting more 'umff' in this blog, in the back of my mind is this conference and what I need to do for it. Never mind that I have a couple of books due and two talks that I'm giving on Saturday. This conference is a big deal and this is a very, very bad year to do it for a variety of reasons. One, people are financially strapped and two, things I thought were being done, weren't.

So all this weekend, actually beginning late last week, my mind has been flurry of activity. In other words, I'm scattered right now. BUT I can usually get on track with a list of things to do. But never mind all that…I can deal with those…it just means I've got to hustle my butt and go to some of those local writers meetings. While there I've got to do the smoozing thing, pass out brochures and let everyone know just how wonderful EPICon is.

And for those of you who've never gone, here's my shameless plug. EPICon 2009 is happening this year at the beautiful Tuscan village of MonteLago Resort in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada. That’s a picture of it at the top. While there, an author can learn everything, well, almost everything, about the epublishing world. Along with that, we have a kick-ass keynote speaker in one Penny Sansevieri, author of 'Red Hot Internet Publicity' and man, does this woman know her stuff! Penny is absolutely great! The conference is March 5-8, 2009 and you can learn more about it at Since, we're all green authors, we should attend if possible. If nothing else, to smooze and visit with each other. I love meeting and hanging out with my fellow authors and frankly, what better place to do it?

Again, I digress. Sorry. Anyway, on my list were three writers meetings this week to attend in hopes I could entice someone to attend EPICon. They are the Las Vegas Writers Meeting, Las Vegas Screenwriters Meeting and my RWA meeting. I just found out about a fourth meeting on Sunday, a Sisters in Crime chapter meeting that I've decided I'll invade as well.

So tonight I get it together, I make some brochures, get all my regular work done and make sure the DH knows where I'm going so he won't worry. I also mention to CR that I'm going to this meeting and she says, "Isn't that on Thursday?"

"Nope," I say, "it is tonight and I've got to get my butt in gear." So I take a nap, take a shower and get it together so I'm out the door by 5:45 which just gives me enough time to get there and get comfortable. One the way I talk on my hands free phone to a friend and in no time I arrive. Grabbing my stuff, I'm dismayed to note that I am actually a few minutes late but no matter, I've been with these people before and usually enjoy myself.

I go in and don't recognize anyone but this group is rather large and I can see this is a big gathering tonight. I get a name tag and listen to the speaker who's talking about doing a reading. She's going over the important of the details she needs in order to give you a correct one. All interesting stuff. The sign-in person tells me to fill out the forms and bring them back at the end.
No problem. I can do that.

I go sit down and scan the room. Not one familiar face. That's odd, I'm not so far gone that I can't recognize any one. I flip through my brochures about to take them out and decide I should really listen to the speaker. So, I scan the room again and nada. Surely, not every person I know is gone today?

Mentally, shaking myself. I pull out the form. Maybe I should fill this out because the speaker is now getting on familiar territory and it's not so interesting any more. I glance down once, then up. That can't be right. I look down again. Hmm. The dues aren't the right amount. No one every lowers their dues. I look up a little more and see the name of the group: Singles Travel Club of Las Vegas.

I shake my head and rest my chin on my hand. Okay, so maybe I need to do a little observation for my books, you never know what you'll see, right? I really begin to look at the people and by this time, I am trying to hold it in. At first I think, if this is the best that Vegas has to offer, there's a problem. Then I look at the form again. It's the over 60 Singles Travel Club of Las Vegas.

Oookkkaaayyy. Even a little old for me right now. I quietly pick up my stuff and go back to the sign-in table. I give the paper back and tell them to mark my name off because I've come to the wrong meeting. Sigh. Once in my car, I call the dear husband and let him know. What started as a snicker became a laugh. He couldn't believe it. I told him to make sure I really had a writers meeting before I went to the next one and started home. The trip is 45 minutes and the whole time I reflect on just why I was so gung-ho that the meeting was tonight.

I get home and email CR. Know what she says to me, "I can just see your face when you discover the mistake." The exact same first words out of the DH's mouth. Geez, are they in cahoots? LOL!

Sigh. Just chalk one up for the dodo who definitely needs to volunteer less and sleep more.

See ya next week! Or my new partner in crime…it'll be a surprise!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A little about a newbie cover artist

Hi everyone! This is my first invite to be a guest blogger. I feel special! Thank you all for letting me participate.

My work as a cover artist started back in July of 2008. Well, sort of before that. I'd been reading e-books since October of 2007. I was fascinated by the covers on them and wondered who these talented people were. I also thought that with my 15+ years of graphic design/desktop publishing experience, I might be able to come up with something.

Around June/July of 2008, after making some signature banners for some authors, I decided to make up some covers (just for practice). After I had enough confidence to try this, one author asked me to do a cover for a free read she was having on her web site (Anne Rainey). I did that cover for her and felt confident enough to offer up my services to other publishers. I think I sent out 50 requests and almost all of them rejected me. But Amira Press was interested and gave me a shot (after some begging…er… negotiating on my part). From then on, I was able to use that cover and Anne's as a starting point to get more covers.

My friend, Jambrea, was contracted with Freya's Bower by this time, so I followed her over there and sent in a request. They accepted me! My other author friend, Jess Dee, pointed me to Aspen Mountain who was actively looking for cover artists. I sent in my request and they accepted me! Word of mouth has gotten me a long way in a relatively short time in the cover art business. I would not be in this position if it wasn't for Jambrea, Anne and Jess who really encouraged me. Anne also suggested I get an online portfolio started. For which I am eternally grateful.

The technical aspects of making a cover are simple - layout the pictures, put in the fonts and decide on colors. Easy, right? In theory it is. But without having a photography studio and cover models at my beck and call, I rely on online photo sites. I can then take those images that the author likes and attempt to get it to resemble their vision of a cover. Some are harder than others - a blue flaming falcon - for example, but others are relatively easy, like the one I did for Mari Carr. I'm a newbie to this business compared to some wonderful cover artists out there, but I've enjoyed it and I hope to be in the business for a long time.

Thank you all for letting me ramble on!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Gotta Love the Golden Globes!

Last night was one of my favorite nights of the year...The Golden Globe Awards! I love it all. The dresses, the stars, the winners and the losers. The reason this award show is so much fun is because all of them are sitting around eating and drinking quite a bit before they get up on stage. So you never know what's going to happen or who's going to say what. It's one giant crap shoot, which is why they've got that lovely 2 second delay....which by the way they had to utilize a few times last night.

Most Fabulous Moments of the Night
I was thrilled that Kate Winslet won for both categories she was nominated in. I believe she remarked that she'd been making a quite a habit of losing. Not anymore Kate! She looked stunning in her sleek, black gown. She's such a natural beauty and not a stick figure. It's so refreshing to see a woman with some curves! She's absolutely gorgeous without a lot of extra fluff. Her acceptance speeches were lovely, if not a touch long, but God Bless her you've gotta make the most of it once you get up there.
Tina Fey is absolutely hysterical so it's no wonder she won in the comedy category she was nominated in. In her acceptance speech she pointed out that if you ever feel too good about yourself..."..there's this thing called the Internet." She then proceeded to tell various people, via their screen names, that since she's won they can all "Suck it!". Too funny! Really though... isn't that the vindication most of us secretly dream of? She also looked beautiful and wore a surprisingly sexy dress. Why is it comediennes aren't usually seen as sexy?
Slumdog Millionaire...the little movie that could..and did! This was a classic "Cinderella" scenario. This small independent film, made in India with a completely unknown cast. Really quite incredible the way it's burst onto the International stage. The funniest part of the acceptance speech was when they needed to use the 2 second delay because the producer accepting the award said F*** when they started the music to cut him off. It should be noted that right before that he mentioned the 3 martini's he'd just had. Ah, ya gotta love it! You know they were all freaking out up in the control booth. There was also the moment, I can't quite remember when or who...but some guy in the audience gave the finger and the camera happened to catch it. Again...I can only imagine the scene in the control booth. Today, someone from that room is probably filing for unemployment.
I know there are several other award shows coming..SAG and most notably The Oscars. However, the Globes are always the best because of their unpredictability. It's the one award show where the gloves are off and all the stars let their guard down just a little and show how they're really just human beings like the rest of us.

Hello AJ Llewellyn!

This week we take a look at AJ Llewellyn. I asked him some quirky questions and got plenty of interesting answers!
Welcome AJ!
AJ Llewellyn writes for the following publisher(s): eXtasy Books.AJ’s favorite color is purple, he loves coconut ice cream and hazelnut gelato and is a dog and cat person. When it comes to having interesting pets he has a gecko in his garden in Hawaii. While the gecko eats all the spiders, AJ turns a blind eye and mentions that half the time the spiders are six times the gecko’s size. He likes warm weather and sun, but also likes the rain. “No rain, no rainbows.” If he could live anywhere in the universe, he’d live in Hawaii. He says, “It’s in my blood. I spend half the year there. Working on full time. Part of the reason is it’s half the distance Los Angeles is to Australia and my family would visit me more.” AJ is a morning person. His favorite day of the week is Friday. This is his story behind his favorite day, “I was born on a Friday but as a kid growing up, Friday meant no more school for two days and it was also fish and chip night. And cream buns for tea. We grew up in Sydney, Australia, raised by our grandmas and this was our routine. Fish and chips came from the local Chippy in newspaper with two huge potato scallops thrown in. I imagine now nutritionists would freak about the newspaper part but I tell you, it added to the flavor. I can still taste them. I miss those Friday nights. I watched British comedy shows like On the Buses and Are You Being Served and ate my cream buns…” His favorite number is 5. “The number of change in numerology, but I am a person who craves order. So go figure.” When asked if athletic shoes are sneakers or tennies and if a soft drink is called soda or pop, he responded: Tennies, mate! & Soda. But I love saying pop. It seems…naughty somehow!
Here’s a scenario posed to the author: “You’re at a conference and an agent comes up to you and says, “I’ve seen your name on the web. I’m interested in taking you on as a client. You have a couple of minutes to wow me to convince me that I should.” You can only plug one book in this short amount of time. What book would you plug to land this contract and why?” AJ’s response: I would say, “Phantom Lover, published in September 2007 by eXtasy Books. It is the first in a best selling series of novels about a gay couple, Kimo and Lopaka, who are hula dancers and who are happily married, yet are faced with constant challenges in the paranormal realm.
“Kimo has a secret life as a kahuna, a high priest and his marriage to Lopaka has enhanced his powers to such an extent that the happier he becomes, the more powerful he is and therefore his power is coveted by others. Now they have three children together and their baby twins are tapped to be the greatest healers the islands have ever seen. As the series progresses, they face danger even from people they thought could be trusted.
“I researched ancient Hawaiian black magic and discovered hidden vortexes that most white people never see…but this is essentially a love story. A love story that I never get tired of working on...incidentally, there are some wonderful, eccentric characters in the story, including Lopaka’s grandma who’s just found the man of her dreams, assorted magical family members, living and deceased, and oh yeah...chickens that lay blue eggs. These chickens can only be found in Hawaii. The first four books are out in paper back and there are fourteen books published in the series, with six more to come…so far.”
LOL…how’s that for an answer? Thanks for your time CR, this was fun! AJ xoxo
& thank you for the information AJ!

~ Feel free to share if you have something in common with him ~

Sunday, January 11, 2009

An Interview With An Angel -Cam

After months of wheedling and whining, I finally got the Chief of the Archangels, Michael, to agree to let me interview some of the angel warriors. Of course the first one on my list was Cam. It’s no secret I’ve always loved him. So as I sat in a coffee house and waited for him to arrive, I was nervous to say the least.

After several tense minutes, Cam came in. I sucked in a breath as I realized how big he really was. Easily several inches over six-foot. This guy was a tower of muscles and attitude. The black leather pants and jacket he wore emphasized those muscles too. The way he styled his blond hair in messy spikes only added to his bad boy image. He gave me a tight-lipped smile, no doubt to hide his fangs, like the dark glasses he wore hid his bright blue, cat-like eyes. Half demon, Cam was unlike any angel existing. He was also sexy as hell. A fact that didn’t go unnoticed by all the female patrons of the coffee house. Heads turned so fast to get a better look at him there were probably six or seven cases of whiplash. Cam seemed oblivious to all this as he sat down at my table. After a few moments of pleasantries, we got down to business.

Me: Thank you for taking the time out to talk to me today. I know how busy you are with leading the empaths.

Cam: Tell me about it. (laughs) Just cleaning up after Bear and Dina’s messes is a full time job. When you multiply that several times over, it makes it almost impossible to keep up.

Me: So all empaths are a handful then?

Cam: You’ve got to understand something about empaths. They are consistently having to deal with other’s emotions bombarding them from all sides. Since we’ve come to live on Earth it’s even worse, since humans are the hardest to block. So, if they want to let their hair down from once in a while who can blame them?

Me: But you’re still left picking up the pieces after they mess up?

Cam: It could be worse. Michael has to keep all of warriors in line.

Me: Speaking of Michael—

Cam: Oh, God. Here we go. Why did I even mention his name?

Me: How did you feel when you found out he was really your uncle? (Cam curls up one corner of mouth and I get a glimpse of a really sharp looking fang.)

Cam: Great, it was nice finding a new relative. (Even though I couldn’t see his eyes, I knew he was rolling them.)

Me: Come on, Cam. Are you trying to tell me there are no lingering hard feelings after he hid it from you all those years?

Cam: Look I’m not going to lie and say it didn’t hurt when we first found out, but I got over it. I realized Mike had his reasons and I put on my big boy panties and got over it.

Me: So it’s all water under the bridge?

Cam: What are you looking for? Tears, as I talk about how close we are and how we go to the ballpark every weekend? Sorry, not going to happen. The relationship between the Chief and I is complex. I can’t figure it out in my own head let alone being able to talk about it.

Me: How about your mother?

Cam: What about Lehor?

Me: How is your relationship with her? She lied as much as Michael, if not more so.

Cam: I would prefer not to talk about her.

Me: She’s your mother. How can you not want to discuss her?

Cam: (Leans forward and whips off his glasses so he can fix me with an icy glare) Next topic.

Me: But—

Cam: Next. Topic.

Me: (Gulps) Okay, moving on. Why don’t you tell me about Amadeaha?

Cam: (He slowly runs his tongue along his left incisor.) Now that’s a topic I can really sink my teeth into, if you catch my drift. Amadeaha is my mate. Hell, she’s more than that. She’s my life. I don’t know how I survived without her.

Me: So I take it you like her then? (Laughs)

Cam: You have no idea. Before her I was a mess. She really helped me clean up my act. Amadeaha doesn’t even care that I’m half incubus, she just accepts me as who I am. To her my differences don’t matter.

Me: I heard she likes your fangs.

Cam: She, really, really likes them. She likes what I do with them even better.

Me: Amadeaha is the niece of your biggest enemy, Jehel. Have there been any issues because of that?

Cam: You’re not who your family is. Appolion, Abdiel and Rachael taught me that. Amadeaha is nothing like her uncle. Where he’s an egotistical ass, she is caring and giving.

Me: Have any of the other angel warriors had a problem with it?

Cam: They know better. If anyone so much as looks at her cross-eyed they will have me to deal with.

Me: I can’t think of any warrior that would want to tangle with you.

Cam: Then you haven’t met my oldest brother, Ramiel. He still makes me spar with him every night. He says just because I’m the leader of the empaths doesn’t mean I still don’t have to train.

Me: I would love to see one of those matches. Who usually wins?

Cam: It’s pretty even. He’s stronger, I’m meaner. (We both share a chuckle before growing serious again.)

Me: The angel warriors have been in the middle of this war against the Justice Council for a while now. How is it going?

Cam: Not good. Our teams are vulnerable to attacks and they are getting picked off like flies. The bitch of it is we can’t stop sending them out. If we did then the demons would have a field day on the humans. Unlike Jehel and his Justice Angels, we’ve taken vows to protect mankind and we value those vows.

Me: So do you have any idea on how to turn the war around?

Cam: No, which makes for many sleepless nights for not just me, but Mike and the leader of the healers, Raphael. We take each loss of life as a personal failure and we can’t rest until this whole clusterf*&k is over.

Me: Do you wish that you’d never become the leader of the empaths?

Cam: No. I love this job and I wouldn’t trade for anything.


Saturday, January 10, 2009


As some of you know, I am attending college for a degree in Paranormal studies. Of course people want to know if they do exist. Some for the sake of connecting with loved ones who have traveled over, some just for the sake of knowing something other then humans exist.

During my studies I can assure you that they do indeed exist. They don't go to heaven as we would all like to think but rather to another plane. See life is on a timeline, a straight line as you will or what some call a "plane."

Have you ever gone to a place you knew to be haunted and actually felt the hair on the nape of your neck stand on end? Or felt a warmth surround you only to smell something familiar, the scent of a cologne or perfume? Don't shrug the feeling off. It is our loved ones trying to reach out to us.

Even though they are gone in physical form, they aren't gone in spiritual form. If you listen closely you can hear them speaking. How many of you have had a vivid dream of a lost one?

They are called "astral dreams" These are the dreams in your subconscious mind that allows a loved one to get through. Don't ignore these dreams, they are in fact real.

Each week I will bring more information on the spiritual world in hopes of helping those who have lost a dear one to the other side and want to know.

I am not John Edwards or a medium...I am only here to provide you with the facts. If you have questions feel free to ask.

Until then,

Be good to one another...

AP Miller

Thursday, January 8, 2009


By A.J. Llewellyn

So my first and last day as a celebrity assistant, culminating in a fender bender resulted in a pretty sore neck for me that no amount of Motrin could assuage. My friend Tracy who got me the gig in the first place felt so guilty he insisted on calling the celebrity and demanding that she foot the bill for my chiropractic care.
Not only had I signed a confidentiality agreement, but when I arrived for my appointment yesterday at "Dr. Mike, Chiropractor to the Stars" office, I even had to sign a waiver, which in essence guaranteed I would not be suing her.
"We keep these on file," his secretary informed me. "She's a lousy driver."
After waiting for freaking ever, I was ushered into Dr. Mike's office, told me to sit on the massage table and immediately said, "I hear you write gay porn."
Oh, Buddha.
"No, I write gay erotic fiction."
"Whatever. I have a story your readers will love."
Now, I don't know about other writers, but this sort of thing happens to me a lot. To be honest, sometimes I do get incredible nuggets. But not this time.
I could not turn my head to the left, but this was where Mike chose to sit so I had to shift my whole body so I could look him in the eye.
"So I'm dating this chick and man I adore her. And she has a kid..."
Can you please look at my neck? Please? I'm in agony here. I tried not scream the words out loud. I tried to concentrate on not punching him in the mouth when he said, "...and the kid has given her worms."
"Pin worms, actually."
"Pin worms?" I thought I was going to be sick.
"Yeah, once one kid in school gets 'em they all get 'em," he informed me. "So anyway, she called me and said I needed to get checked out since I love anal sex and as she put it, I'm down there for hours giving her head."
"Mike," I said. "Please, I don't want to hear this. This is not sexy. My readers don't want to read about worms."
"SHUT up! You're kidding me! It's real life, A.J. Come on, don't tell me you never went down on a guy and found little white worms crawling out of his ass. They come out at night, you know."
"No, never."
"Never?" He looked stumped. "You know a lot of guys get hepatitis from eating other guy's asses."
"Not in my books." I opened and closed my eyes. "My characters don't give each other...worms." I was trying to imagine Kimo going down on Lopaka and finding unexpected company.
Now I was getting worried. "Mike, I'm in agony."
"Hunnnnh," Mike said, sounding peeved. He stood behind me and poked and prodded around my neck until he hit a sore spot. His fingers dug into it.
"Lie down on your stomach," he said. And I did. He kept pressing down on my neck, his entire massive body rising from the floor each time he weighed down on me. He finally cracked my upper back and dragged me up by my arm.
"You can't lie in that position too long," he said. "Go sit in that chair."
I stumbled across the room and he followed me, circling me like a cougar.
"I really like this chick," he said. "But the antibiotics I now have to take make me shit my brains out. I haven't had a roughage for two weeks."
"Mike, I really don't want to hear this," I said as he stood behind me and suddenly twisted my neck with such force, I am amazed it's still on my shoulders. The collection of cracks I heard was deafening.
"Did that hurt?" he asked innocently, holding my head in his hands.
"You just broke my neck, Mike. Of course it fucking hurts."
"SHUT up! I haven't done that in 30 years. Now on the count of three I'm going to do the other side."
The bastard lied and cracked it on two.
"Your girlfriends must love you," I said.
"SHUT up! They fucking do. I miss my ex. Man we had some real piggy sex. We used to watch the Playboy Channel together." He grasped my arm and threw me back onto the table. He grabbed a jar of ointment and started massaging it into my neck.
"The Playboy Channel?" I asked. "Is it explicit?"
"Very. Well...they show squirting, but no male ejaculation..."
"Squirting?" I asked.
"Yeah, chicks squirt. You didn't know that?"
No, I did not. I was at a loss for words when he went on. "The other four channels are very explicit. They do show male ejaculation but no anal sex."
I grinned. "Oh, then I wouldn't enjoy that much."
He stared at me. "You're talking about gay anal sex, right? SHUT up! How can you watch that?"
"An ass is an ass," I shrugged. "I bet you couldn't tell the difference in the heat of the moment."
He looked pained. "SHUT up! I do NOT wanna be hammering some babe and looking down to see...balls."
"I do," I shot back.
Dr. Mike sent me home with a cervical collar, I am certain as a form of punishment for not diggin' his worm idea, and a demand that I return there today.
"A.J," he said, as he shook my hand goodbye. "I bet one of your characters comes up with worms."
He would lose the house on that bet. He got a funny look on his face and excused himself, running to the bathroom.
And I returned to my life, grateful my man Herve wasn't around to see me looking like Invalid of the Week. And I tried, oh so hard, not to think about...worms.

Aloha oe,


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year Blues

I love the holidays and am the first one to say so. During the time between Christmas and New Year’s I spend a lot of time reflecting on what I need to do in my life and for my writing career. Most years I have a wonderful time of reflection and planning without the usual “issues” of my every day life.

No so this year as my family tended to be very, very needy during my “me” time. And now I find myself in a place I can only call the blues. Life is bearing down on me and I had to come up with something that get me out of the funk that I found myself.

That “something” turned out to be an email I had received from one of my publishers. This particular publisher noted their sales were up 40% during the year. Yeah, you heard me right, 40%. Along with that, they were adding a print option for books of certain length and an advance.

That information was the push I needed to do my yearly reflection of my life and career. I came up with a short list I will share with you. Here it is:

1. Get an agent – This is something I’ve had on the back burner since my original agent dropped 50 of us. Now the time has come to start the search again.

2. Volunteer less – Those of you who know me totally understand this. I do a lot of volunteering for the various writer groups I belong to at the moment. Most of the time, it’s little things that can be added to my day. But occasionally, I do something big like EPICon 2009. After my time is done, I’m going to say ‘no’ more and start doing more things for me again.

3. Submit at least 2 stories/novels to eHarlequin – I received a personal rejection from the people at Nocturne Bites. I would be stupid not to follow this one up.

4. Finish something every month – Yeah, I know, very ambitious. But this is something I need to be doing. I write very fast but don’t push myself as much as I should. That ends this month.

5. Promote more – This is something I try and do daily. But this year, I’ve got to get rid of the word ‘try’ and start pushing my work a little more. I’ll share some of those ideas as I do them this year as they are really innovative. The first one is going on right now. Go take a look at Night Owl Romance and you’ll see the first item in that effort.

Every year, every writer needs to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Every writer needs to have a plan. Every writer needs to work that plan. And that plan doesn’t mean you have to be so anal, you don’t have the space to breathe. No, just the opposite. Every writer needs to be flexible within the parameters they have set for themselves.

And within those parameters, if you just stick to your plan for at least 50% of the time, you’ll be a much better writer.

Experience the magic of being a writer. Until, next week!

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