Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Romancing the Muse with a Flash

I’ve discovered that my Muse appreciates being romanced, at times. Not exactly surprising for an author of erotic romance. Still, if I don’t pay proper attention to what my Muse is offering me, she gets temperamental, understandably.
So, when my Muse offered up this story idea while I was in a semi-lucid state, I grabbed it and gave her a big mental hug of appreciation.
I also decided I would turn it into a Flash Fiction piece for Flash Fiction Sunday at the Liquid Silver blog. Not only is that challenging fun for me, but it lets me be with the story in an intimate way that adds important details.

From my latest WIP ~ Winter’s Carnal Splendor

Stretching, Surrisa shoved away from the holo-puter and glanced at the large, wrap-around entertainment screen. For a few minutes, she watched the street festivities of Winter Carnivale. The raucous splendor appealed to her and she planned on joining in after a much-needed night’s rest.
Quickly re-checking her progress, Surrisa disengaged the program she’d been working on, a new way to enter into the matrix of time.
“Shut down,” she ordered the lab’s control system, since it was evening and only she remained. Rising, she strode rapidly to her locker, her way illumined by a lighting strip on the corridor wall.
Moments later, Surrisa stood naked, ready to put on her winter gear. Home was about a mile’s walk away.
At the thunderous hum of the time warp machine, she whipped around. How the holy hell could it have been powered up? Bending over to retrieve her lab garments, she felt the telltale sting of a knock-out weapon.
A split second later, she slumped to the floor. Above her, the lighting hazily whirled as she tried to fight her way back to consciousness.
“All is not forgiven.” A voice roughened by rage spoke above her. “Remember that. All is not forgiven.”
‘Forgiven.’ The word circled inside her head like her favorite carousel just before everything went dark.
Then, everything became cold. Bitterly cold.
Surrisa realized she sat in a fetal position with not a stitch on. Cold seeped inside her and she hugged herself. Not only that, she felt the slight buzz of the protective bubble she’d placed around herself for warmth, automatically, as she’d been mind-trained to do.
Letting her eyes blink open, she saw white. Surrisa swiveled her head in every direction. Once her gaze fully focused, panic welled up. A glistening tundra landscape surrounded her. Beautiful, but deadly.
Already, her energy declined. She couldn’t keep the frequency shield up forever.
What became clear as the ice crystals clinging to the outside of her bubble… as her thoughts spun and she recalled her last minutes in the lab… someone wanted her to know how she died, flash-frozen. Freeze-dried by the sub-zero weather.
Surrisa heaved out a frightened breath. A tiny mist formed because of the quickly cooling temperature. Desperately wanting to fight her fate, she sought any answer. Yet, she possessed no idea where she’d been sent or to what period of history. How could she mentally summon anyone?
Any solution eluded her as her body heat drained away. Her eyes slipped shut and her will to live began to fail. Like a long lucid dream, Surrisa allowed the memories of her life to flow by. Once her bubble dissipated rapidly, she toppled over on her side. At least, her death should be quick, mere moments.
Delirious, with the cold stinging her flesh, she thought she felt an enormous hand grip her arm. Next, huge furry arms wrapped around her body, and she was pressed flush against a warm bare chest. Incredibly warm. And absolutely massive.
Was she hallucinating?
Still, degree by degree, her body gained in warmth.
‘You will heal.’ The words entered her mind.
Wading through the fogginess of her brain, she asked, ‘Who are you?’
‘I am Maroorq. A race you will not know about, probably.’
Her mind struggled to file through the races she did know about. ‘No. I don’t know.’ Then, it dawned on her. ‘How do you know my language?’
‘We do not speak any language. Do not worry, I am learning yours. It is similar to the English language of North America.’
Her mind went clickity clack, so it felt. North America.
When had that designation last been used for the AmeriCanMex States?
‘What year is it?’ she asked apprehensively.
‘The year is 2009, about to be 2010.’
Surrisa trembled violently. She’d been thrown back thirty years to a time when she’d been seven years old.
Of course, in this Earth timeline, she might not even exist. That had been part of her project, entering a matrix point that would guarantee a desired timeline.
‘2009… I’m from 2039.’
‘I saw your arrival, little one.’
‘How did you do that?’
‘There was a slice in the sky, a temporal opening. I followed your shining arc.’
Bewildered, yet understanding what he said… yes, he. The giant of a man carried her easily, his gait long and almost floating over the snow.
‘Where are you taking me?’
‘To my home. I will not harm you.’
Surrisa had an insane urge to laugh, to keep on laughing. ‘Isn’t that what the villain always says?’
‘Whoever placed you here is the villain, little one.’
How could she argue with that? ‘What’s your name?’
‘Call me Drokku. Your name?’
‘Surrisa, my first name. Where are we?’
‘It’s called the Arctic. We call it Polaris in honor of the White Bear.’
The Arctic. In her time much of the snow had receded, leaving a cold, yet temperate climate. ‘Polar bears?’
‘Yes, the Polar bear. Have you seen them in your time?’
‘In my time, their coats are caramel-colored like brown sugar, except in winter. You feel big as a Polar bear.’
‘I am bigger than the White Bear.’
‘Is that why you can glide over the snow this way?’
‘No. It is the way of my race.’
‘Is your race furry? Or was I hallucinating?’
‘We are furry. And we are not. You’re not furry, beautiful little Surrisa.’
‘No, I’m naked.’
Giggles wanted to burst from her lips like champagne bubbles. Only she couldn’t. She wasn’t strong enough to move.
‘Very naked.’ His words growled through her mind, bold with lust.
‘Planning on devouring my body with passion?’
‘Only if you desire it.’
Was that a bead of sweat sliding between her breasts? Heat poured inside her body, a delicious resurrection of her flesh.
‘You feel like a furnace.’
‘My body is designed to generate great amounts of heat when needed.’
She dared wonder how ‘heated’ he became when aroused. Did he gleam with sweat as he powerfully mounted a woman?


May your most romantic dreams come true...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Traditions: Sheets

As the festive end of the year approaches, we celebrate with our Christmas traditions: food, decorations, lights.

I put the best sheets on the bed.

For most of the year, my husband and I sleep on our old, much-washed white cotton sheets with the blue scallop trim. But when the year winds down, I break out the fancy sheets.

Christmas begins in October, with the pink set and the red set. My favorite color is hot pink, and when I saw sheets that color, I had to buy them. I had never slept on colored sheets before, so, when the red sheets went on sale, I bought them, too.

I alternate the red and pink sheets until Thanksgiving. Then the three sets of lace-trimmed and embroidered sheets emerge from the linen closet. Compared to these 200-to-300 thread per inch cotton sheets, my soft, most-of-the-year sheets scratch like sandpaper.

The week before Christmas belongs to the satin sheets. Satin sheets may sound like the height of luxury, but they're very slippery. The only way to prevent the bottom sheet from falling off the bed is to anchor it with garters. But no matter how often I tuck everything in, the top sheet still slides off, dragging itself and the quilt to the floor. And last, but not least, the fabric is so delicate we have to wear socks to bed so our toenails don't destroy the material.

I save the best sheets for Christmas and New Year's. For Christmas week, I put on the silk sheets. The material is soft, but thin--the cloth equivalent of tissue paper. They don't slide as much as the satin sheets, but we still have to wear our socks to protect the delicate fabric.

We usher in New Year's with the white 52% cotton/48% silk jacquard print sheets. These sheets are sturdier than the all-silk ones, but the year ends, as it begins, with us wearing our socks to protect the bedding.

Alas, all holidays come to an end, and the week after New Year's, I store the fancy sheets away.

Except for the pink and red sheets. I'll use them again in February. Pink and red are Valentine's Day colors.

Thank you all,

Linda Banche
Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal
Lady of the Stars
--4 stars from Romantic Times, 2010 EPIC EBook Competition finalist, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press
--Regency Halloween comedy available from The Wild Rose Press
Website Blog Myspace Facebook Twitter

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Year End Happy Ever After

My family revolves around food in some way or another. We either cook it, serve it, or manage it. Oh, and yeah, we eat it. Most of our family get togethers revolve around buffets put on by professionals or ourselves.

The holidays are no different. Ok, they are. There is more food. Every year we toss new dishes in with the traditional. Some of this stems from those on special diets and some, like me, like trying new recipes.

Our Christmas tradition is a breakfast brunch: sausage gravy with biscuits, scrambled eggs, sausage links, ham, goose, quiches waffles, and pancakes. Afterwards, we exchange gifts, which are often more handmade items then store bought. I just love it. Then all the goodies are set out. It’s amazing to see all the different desserts, brownies, fudge, brittles and cookies. Most are homemade and a bit different from anyone else’s. Thirty-two years ago, I had no idea that I was marrying into the coolest family ever. That was the beginning of one of my happy ever afters.

Yeah, so, I’m getting mushy. I do that a lot these days.

After weeks of looking over recipes and throwing ideas around, my son, Jesse, and I have decided to add the following to our traditional list of goodie trays, which consist of chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, and sugar cookies.

Pineapple Bars
Apple Bars
Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Granola Cereal Bars

Granola Bars II
Iced Orange Cookies
Banana Spice Cookies
Layered Peppermint Bark – never done bark before

All of them can be found at – our family’s favorite site. Unless I rewrite the directions, it’s not legal to repost the recipes.

I began doing this long before any of the boys were old enough to know why I spent December 12-14 baking from early morning to midnight, then scurry around on the 15th to get no less than 120 dozen cookies and specialty items shipped back home to family and friends. Then we’d deliver platters locally the week of Christmas. They loved this part of the deal. My guys loved visiting.

I like making people feel loved, appreciated and put a smile on their face all year long, but his time of the year it seems so much easier to make it happen. So much in this world is a real downer, that this time of year, it’s wonderful to see more smiles and hear more laughter. If I can do that for someone, then maybe they’ll do it for someone and we’ll have a chain of happiness circling around the world and one day it will overcome all that is wrong.

Let the spirit of the season become contagious so it’s not only the brightest star of December.

My favorite part of Christmas is sitting here with a cup of coffee and watching my kids. It’s the one time of year they don’t mind indulging me. I love watching them rip the paper away and mouths fall open when they see it’s something they really did want. I always ask for a list and often throughout the year, they’ve asked for something then forgot about it. Or they may not have put it on the list because they were concerned about the cost. I love their surprise. And yeah, I reap, too. I don’t mind being smothered with hugs and excited thank yous. Or see them immediately call up one of their friends to tell them what they got.

Christmas to me is so much more than buying and giving gifts. It’s the happy ending to the year. I wish it for everyone even though I know so many who are missing a loved one this Christmas. I hope they can let the sweet memories wrap around them and help them through it.

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The romance of far-away places

Bologna from the Torre degli Asinelli (photo by Calca from Wikimedia Commons)Many writers I know write about their own local areas and places. I love to write about far-away places. The pull and lure of the unknown always intrigues me. So I either write about the past - a different kind of far-off place where manners, customs, fashions are all different - or I write about distant lands.

I love Yorkshire as a place to live. It's where most of my family are. I love the landscape and the people. Yet, in my writing, I find I am most excited by the glamour of the different. For me, the grass over the other side of the fence really is greener!

Having studied European history, I tend to be drawn to the lands of the classical Greeks and Romans. The light and dry heat of Greece always amazes me and the wild-flowers and ruins and the fiercely passionate people all inspire me. Italy is a country I love for its culture, food, mix of ancient and modern and sense of family. Both places to me seem ripe for romance and adventure: their men folk are often impossibly handsome and open and engaging. Very appealing!

I wrote about the Greek island of Rhodes in my sweet romance, A Secret Treasure and about Italy and especially Italian bread and sweets in my newly published Holiday in Bologna. This Christmas we are having panettone as a cake, probably with soft Italian cheese. Delicious!

Do you read stories set in far away places? What inspires you in your fiction?


Friday, December 18, 2009

The Romance of an ancient Roman 'Christmas'.

It may not have been Christmas exactly, but the ancient Roman Saturnalia (17th-23rd. December) was certainly an opportunity for feasting and gift-giving. Over the years, this time of merry-making, sacrifices and gift-giving expanded to a week and the poet Catullus - who knew a thing or two about parties - called it 'the best of days'.

In many ways this ancient festival was rather like Christmas:

Schools were on holiday.

Gambling was allowed.

Shopping at special markets was encouraged.

Holiday clothes were worn - the informal, colourful 'dining clothes' instead of the plain, bulky toga.

Presents were given - parrots, wax candles, dice, combs, perfumes, little pottery dolls.

Feasting was indulged, with Saturn himself in charge as Lord of Misrule.

People wished each other a merry Saturnalia with the evocation, 'io Saturnalia!' ('Yo Saturnalia!')

My ancient Roman historical romance Flavia's Secret has its climax and ending during the Saturnalia. Here is an excerpt.


Flavia was as quick as she could be, but there were queues everywhere
in the food shops and spice and trinket stalls as slaves and even
citizens shopped for last minute items for the Saturnalia. It was the
first time she had been in the city this close to the festival. In
other years, Lady Valeria had given her people small gifts of pickled
fish and nuts, but had otherwise ignored the Saturnalia, insisting
that her servants remain indoors and serve her, rather than follow
the tradition that at the Saturnalia the household slaves for one day
at least were waited on by their masters.

`The Saturnalia is a rowdy, vulgar, drunken festival, little more
than an orgy,' Lady Valeria had complained. `I will have no part of
it in my house.'

Her words may have been true, but as the morning progressed, Flavia
saw little to alarm her. The people in these snowy streets were
intent on their money or goods. A few roughly-dressed men were
crouched over gaming tables and she passed a group of giggling young
slave girls, all waving napkins given to them as presents, but there
was no sign of drunkenness or of wild orgies. Many workshops were
shuttered and closed and houses the same. There was a distant grumble
of noise coming from the theatre, close to the great bathing complex,
but no raised voices.

Unsure whether to be glad or disappointed, Flavia swapped her basket
from one arm to the other and sped on through the slushy snow. She
longed to stay and find some gifts for Gaius and the others—
especially for Marcus, her heart whispered—but she still had not
enough money of her own. With a sigh, her final purchase haggled for
and bought, she turned to make her way home, avoiding the wine shops
and taverns and drawing her shawl over her blonde hair each time she
crossed a busy street.

She was close to the blank front entrance of the deserted villa where
she had taken Marcus to see the secret garden and pool when she heard
the sounds of flutes and drums approaching from a narrow, snow-filled

`Ow!' She put a hand to her ear, which had just begun to sting. A
small apple lay at her feet in the snow and as she stared at it, she
realized that it must have been thrown down at her from the upper
living quarters over one of the shuttered shops.

`To Saturnalia!' roared a good-natured male voice overhead. More
small apples and nuts and then a cluster of sweetmeats rained down on
Flavia and others in the street. People scrambled on hands and knees
to pick up the fruit and other foods, while the racket of the flutes
and drums drew nearer.

Then she spotted them, at the back of the parade. Three beggars, in
rags, slinking along the alley. They carried walking sticks and their
cloaks were torn but they moved too smoothly for men wracked by pain
or ill health. Now that she looked more closely, she thought she
recognised the small, skinny one. She had seen him before, walking
past the villa, twice, no three times. But he had never called with
his begging bowl.

A prickle of alarm, cold as an icicle, shot down the length of
Flavia's back. Trusting her instincts, honed by years of slavery, she
flattened herself into the nearest shadowy doorway, glad of her
inconspicuous brown gown as she veiled her face with one end of the
shawl. Scarcely breathing, she waited for this parade to go by.

They were all men. At least a score of brightly-dressed young men,
several puffing cheerfully on long flutes or banging on drums and all
with the rich, sleek look of Roman aristocrats and the free-born.
These were revellers: quite a few clutched jugs of beer or wine which
they carelessly drank from. Flavia prayed they would not notice her.
The last stragglers swayed past her hiding place. One, stumbling in
the snow with heavy deliberateness, dropped to his knees close to
where she was. He did not see her, but his two friends, slithering
over the slush and ice to haul him up, spotted the small, wary figure
in the shadows and shouted.

`Hey, girl, join us!'

`Let me give you something,' the second leered, making a crude
gesture with his hand.

Flavia darted away before the two men trapped her in the doorway.

`Hey, come back!'

`Party time!'

`We have the wine and you are the orgy!'

Backing along the street, Flavia heard an ominous silence descend
among the flute players and drummers. Walking as rapidly as she could
in a clumsy, sideways fashion, she did not speak, or run. She did not
want to provoke them.

From the corner of her eyes, she saw the three beggars echoing her
own movements, clearly following her. Who were they?

Under her fear, her mind was still working. If she could only reach
the crossroads, she would take the short-cut down the street of the
fullers and make for the shrine of the goddess Sulis at the Roman
baths. She was Christian, but these men were pagans. Surely they
would respect their own sacred place? Surely the goddess would
protect her?

None of the other bystanders or shoppers raised a word against the
rich, spoilt Romans or these creeping, silent beggars. Flavia knew
she was alone and would have to deal with them herself. She thought
of Marcus, going into battle, facing down his enemies. He had not
turned and run, and she would not.

FLAVIA'S SECRET - sensual historical romance set in Roman Britain.
Bookstrand 4.5 Red Roses and Blue Ribbons. 4
Books. Book of the Week at LASR 4 Stars. 4 Stars Romantic Times.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Romance, the Night Before Christmas

For some holiday fun, here’s my version the popular Christmas poem ~
“Twas the night before Christmas”

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through my home
Only I was stirring, to pen my romance tome.
My best black silk stockings were hung, ready to wear,
In hopes, my miracle Santa stud would soon be here.

The pets are nestled all snug in their places,
With visions of holiday treats making them run dream races.
Their mamma has just slipped into her red lace teddy,
And is settling her brains to continue writing her fantasy.

When out on the lawn I hear such a loud clatter,
I spring up from my desk to see what is the matter.
Away to the window I trot in my boa-trimmed slippers
To take a peek through the curtains. Oh no, is that drunk Mrs. Kippers?

The full moon shines on icy slush, instead of new-fallen snow
Giving a natural spotlight to celebrating Mrs. Kippers below.
Yet, what to my wondering gaze does appear?
But an old-fashioned sleigh, and eight majestic reindeer.

With a Viking driver, so handsomely tall and magnificent,
I knew in a moment I must be dreaming this whole event.
More rapid than jets, his stags flew the midnight sky untamed,
His long mane blew wild as he shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! soar on Donner and Blitzen!
Fly to the top of each roof! Above the city walls!
Now race higher and faster! And sail over all!"

As autumn leaves that before the approaching blizzard fly,
When they meet with a whirlwind and spiral to the sky.
So up to my rooftop, the brown and white stags they flew,
With a sleigh full of glittering gifts, and Viking Santa too.

And then, after a blinking of my eyes, I heard on the roof
The precise landing, then the pawing of each jingle-belled hoof.
As I drew in my dreaming head, and spun around,
Down my fake chimney the Viking arrived, with an impressive bound.

He was splendidly dressed in red and faux fur, down to his boots,
And his garments remained perfect, despite all the ashes and soot.
A bundle of shiny presents he had flung behind his back,
And he looked like a romantic hero as he dashingly opened his pack.

His darkening eyes, how they naughtily twinkled! And at his dimples I gawk!
His features are sternly carved, reminding me of a beautiful proud hawk!
His full sexy mouth slowly turns upwards, a knowing grin,
As I continue to stare like a vixen at his strong virile chin.

With a saunter he approaches, making me weak in the knees.
His searing gaze travels the length of my body. And I freeze.
Without a word his powerful arm captures my pliant waist.
Crushing the lace against my skin, he has me tightly embraced.

Oh, how stalwart he feels, his muscles like hot heated ropes
And I sigh, then softly pant as I give free reign to my hopes.
His half-lidded gaze takes in my face, then settles on my parted lips
While his palms slide in a caress and boldly seize my hips.

“Oh, Santa,” I softly exhale, before his mouth claims mine in a torrid kiss.
“Wear those black silk stockings,” he rasps. “I promise bliss
When I return from leaving presents beneath every sparkling tree.”
After plundering my eager mouth with another kiss, he spins from me.

I hear him spring to his sleigh, to his stags give a fierce long shout,
Then, from my window I watch them depart like a meteor flaming out.
Still, I hear him exclaim, as he disappears from my sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to my gorgeous woman, leave on the light!"

Wish Upon on a Holiday Star...
May your most romantic dreams come true...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Friday, December 11, 2009

Romancing Those Holiday Hotties & Wolf Shifters Celebrate, Too

Yes, once again, it’s time for the Holiday Hotties Blog Tour put on by the Liquid Silver Books' authors.
Today, DECEMBER 11th ~ For your festive and ‘fanning self’ pleasure start here with author, Trina M. Lee ~ ~
There are lots of book prizes... plus, there will be a chat from 7:00am to 7:00pm with many of the authors, ask those questions you’ve been dying to.

Now, for those of you who are fond of running on winter’s wild side with the wolf shifters among us... an R-rated Flash ~

Love at White Wolf Lodge

“I love you.”
Kindra’s heart skipped a beat. A really big beat. She hadn’t heard that. Had she? Rising slowly, while trying to think in quantum leaps, she draped the popcorn trim on the nearest branch of the nine foot tree she’d chosen for her father’s lodge, The White Wolf.
“I love you.”
There it was again. To make certain her ears weren’t deceiving her, she did what she didn’t want to do, turn around and face the owner of the voice, the man her father considered to be his right hand. Kindra stuffed her hands into her back pockets.

Zack, the man she’d spent the last three weekends having ‘body heat’ sex with, in every position she’d ever fantasized about, looked as though he was about to howl his feelings for everyone at the guest lodge to hear, if she was any judge of his expression.
“It wasn’t supposed to be this way...” she began, then halted as his gaze blazed like the enormous fireplace to one side of them.
Usually enigmatic and aloof as their moon, now, fierce determination carved his ruggedly handsome features and glittered his dark silver-colored eyes.
“What am I supposed to say?” Kindra shrugged.

Zack D’Guerre of the Voltz Pack was used to getting his own way. He’d certainly seduced her easily enough, a discreet assault that aroused her passions to a ferocity that had her climbing up his lean sex-delicious body with her slit pressed against his tall brute of a cock. He’d suavely introduced her to his den of iniquity, then proceeded to show her carnal pleasures she’d never dreamed of. He had her panting every time she saw him or thought about him. Kindra figured she was his winter conquest, the woman he’d entertain himself with until the spring thaw. Wrong.

“You’re supposed to say ‘I love you’ back.” His silvery hot gaze didn’t waver. He was on the hunt. For her.
Kindra took several steps backwards, nearly crashing into the Christmas tree she so carefully decorated.
“You’re supposed to say ‘yes’ when I ask you to marry me.” Reaching out, fast as he could snatch a rabbit in his jaws, he caught her arm. With surprising gentleness, he pulled her away from the tree.
“You know I can’t think of you... in that way,” she whispered, then waved to a couple passing by who smiled a greeting at her.
“Why not?”

Kindra desperately wished she ran through the newly fallen snow. Alone. Free. Her paws cushioned by the airy coldness. She wanted the scent of pine and warm-blooded prey seizing her nostrils. She didn’t want to be here. With him. His words of love growling in her ears. He was supposed to be the man she had a once in a lifetime affair with, the one she remembered as she lay curled before the fireplace, dozing. He was her guilty prized secret. That’s how she’d written their script in her mind. Mounting savage lust, and that was the end of it.

Instead, she stood here, feeling and smelling his wolfen mating heat for her. The man who heated her blood to an impossible, unbearable sizzle. Reluctantly, he released her arm.
“Because I can’t.” Kindra jerked her hands out of her pockets, then crossed them tightly beneath her swelling breasts. She glared, her wild frustration steaming out of every pore on her body. So it felt.
He stared. The need to know more than what she’d spoken flared deep in his eyes.
“Why can’t you?”
“Because... to be with you... I couldn’t let my heart get involved.” Kindra thrust her chin out.

“That’s why,” she added, louder than she should have. Dying inside, Kindra averted her face. Why couldn’t she just have been decorating the tree as she did every year, enjoying the heady excitement of bringing it to holiday life. Glistening. Golden. Bright with colored bulbs and ornaments. Damn. Grrrring snarling damn. And damn his need to mate her. His unique potent musk surrounded her, demanding her surrender. Demanding she surrender to her own she-howling need for him.
“Your heart is already mine, Kindra. You just don’t know it, yet.”
“Is that so?” she attacked, baring fangs she didn’t have. Not yet.

But wished she did. She’d rip into him, her teeth snapping so fast he couldn’t subdue her. She’d teach him she meant fierce bitch business. Her heart didn’t belong to him. Not one untamed beat of it. For good measure, she’d slap him with her tail, before racing away to bound over the snow. Free. Alone.
“That’s so, little wolfess mine.”
Whirling, she moved back to the boxes of decorations. “Go away, Zack. I need to finish the tree...”
His hand caught hers and with a command she couldn’t fight, he tugged her flush against his body.
“No,” she whispered.

His lips claimed hers, then devoured with a primal sweetness that had her yielding, her body as soft as the marshmallows in her mug of hot chocolate. The shouting no’s in her mind turned to whimpering yes’s. Kindra grabbed his neck and clung. Her legs swung upwards, wrapping around him. They panted, placing kiss after tumultuous kiss on each other’s mouths. Immersed inside their own world of raw seething passion, neither one of them noticed the gathering crowd. Until the sound of clapping and cheers intruded.
Kindra let her lips unglue from his and slid down his body.
“Marry me.”

He didn’t relinquish his lover’s hold, despite the fact she squirmed to free herself.
“Marry me, Kindra. I love you.”
“You planned this,” she accused in a whisper. “Asking me in front of everyone. I’ll look like the bad-bitch Grinch who stole Christmas, if I say no.”
“Yes,” he admitted, his growl adoring. His gaze sparkled, as silvery as moonlight on the snow. “Do you know when I knew I loved you?”
Kindra could only shake her head no.
“The first moment I saw your face.”
Her heart unfroze, then blazed like the roaring fire. “Yes, Zack. I love you.”

Have a Splendid Holiday Season...
May your most romantic dreams come true...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Characters run the show

I know that for most authors who I have talked with it seems characters take on a life of their own. In the story once they are created they begin to dictate to the author what they want to do, and can sometimes make it difficult for the author to do anything but. I know it will sound crazy to those who have not experienced this but I believe it is overwhelmingly true for authors.

Characters run the show. They are created by the author to be real and alive within the story with emotions pasts fears and opinions. I imagine that if you are not an author and have never experienced this perhaps you can remember a time when you were reading a book and it seemed that the character did something that you felt was completely out of character.

This shows that the character is real enough to have its own, not only what the author is writing but its own life and ideals. It is a very interesting thing for me, something that makes the writing process even more enjoyable and a good book even more interesting. If I can't imagine that the character is real, then I don't feel it was written well. It needs that depth to catch the attention and belief of the reader, to draw them into the story firsthand.

Well one of my characters has taken this "life" a bit farther. She has jumped out of the book and into the world of the Internet. It is a fun experience for me to watch this character living a virtual life of her own and I hope that it is enjoyable for those she interacts with on her blog and twitter. For me its more than a role play persona because she won't do anything that is out of character for what i have given her in my soon to be released book "Blood Visions."
My character is Zyra, a Vampire who lives in Oregon with her Werewolf mate. She is part of my series that is coming, The Immortal Council series. She is a very fun and interesting girl. If you are interested in finding out more about her check her twitter account.

I would love to hear what others think about this subject.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Are You Wallowing in Promo Hell?

It’s never ending, isn’t it? Like you don’t have enough to do, right?

Book Promotion and Author Promotion is what I’m getting to.

Our time constraints don’t allow for us to do what professionals in the field can do, because it’s their job. Honestly, who can afford to not only sit down with someone and explain what we do and what we need, but pay for the service that may or may not bring in the readership we need. This is especially important for e-authors, since so much of the marketing is still geared toward traditional print.

I receive a newsletter and sometimes there is nothing that peaks my interest, other times, it’s like, oh, yeah, perfect timing. If you don’t subscribe to The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter, I recommend it. You can subscribe by emailing: Their website is:
In their November 27, 2009 issue #208 – my mind was set afloat with excitement. 10 Ways to Rock on Social Media and Still Have a Life and further down is The Publishing Insiders Show contains a link Insider Tips for Publishing Success – this goes to http://www.blogtalkradio which I will discuss in an upcoming post.
10 Ways to Rock on Social Media and Still Have a Life gives tips on how to not spend all day on the internet hitting all the various groups, blogs and websites to not only promote yourself, but your books.

Skim is the first order of business – don’t read every single thing posted. By skimming, you’ll save time. If you see something of interest, then stop and read. I do this with digests, twitter and group messages.

Do you subscribe to every blog or website that has a RSS feed? Stop it. Seriously, do you read all of them? Probably not, so only subscribe to those you do read religiously. I bookmark blogs I love to check in with, I list them on my blog. Some are author sites, some are agent/editor sites.

Have you ever gotten caught up with reading blogs, sending emails and posting promos to the extent you look up at the clock and realize you’d been at for four hours? I know I have. Facebook alone can eat your day away. I used to spend two hours every morning, hitting every single yahoo group that allowed excerpt posts – guess what, it didn’t bring in a lot of sales. Not with hundreds of other authors doing the same thing. Seriously, most of the members belong to all the same groups, or a few of the same groups. It’s a case of, if you’ve seen it once, you’re not going to look again. On the other hand, I’ve had better success with posting fewer, more timely excerpts. I post them three times a week, promos twice a week. I don’t often hit the larger groups, but I’ll hit smaller groups. With these smaller groups, their digests might take a day to appear in email accounts. This is when I see the most sale activity. And holidays – not many get online and post on holidays, so there is fewer choices which gives your book a better chance to sale. And don’t forget most of the US are just getting online when it’s seven in the evening central time. Save some of your posts for evening. It’s those that will more often then not be read before the mornings posts.

Luckily, there are people who know how addictive the internet can be. To help us, they’ve set up ways to minimize our time wasting. – is a place I recently learned about and started using. You simply sign up, add the places you need to keep updated and it becomes your one-stop-shop type of thing. You post your message once – just once and it will appear on all of the post sites you’ve set up. There are so many ways to do this. Twitterfeed is one they mentioned as well as Constant Contact.

And this should probably be the first thing you do – set up a daily schedule, a routine that works for you. Use a timer for things that you get lost in doing such as socializing on the internet. I know I need it. I get lost in Facebook, research. I get lost with animal entertainment.

A couple things mentioned and I think very wise. Know what you’re going to do when you get online. Don’t do things because everyone else is doing them. Look at yourself, what you need, your time constraints. Socializing is a great way to win over or lose a reader base. Less is more – the quality of yourself is what will attract. Set that schedule and keep it as much as you can. If you blog, you don’t need to do several, when two or three will suffice. Build your base, stay there and they will come to you.

What have you done that works for you?


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Romancing the Marble

In my latest 1,000 word Flash Fiction, I’m romancing the marble, instead of the stone...

Decorating the Marble Statue

The X-Flash Story of Sabrina and D’Vallis

11:11:11 PM flashed on the digital clock. “Oh great.” Sabrina expelled an aggravated breath. Once again, eleven had her number as in seeing them nearly everyday, even several times a day. “Yeah, yeah, enlightenment. A new spiritual age.” She rolled her eyes. “I need a new damn life. Not some nebulous promise of a better world.” Grabbing up the box of outdoor Christmas decorations, she stared down at the contents for a moment. “If this isn’t just plain stupid. Decorating a statue,” she muttered. Still, it was her job and she’d do it to the best of her creative ability.

Sabrina loved her aunt. Occasionally, though, Aunt Beatrice was nuttier than a fruitcake. However, Sabrina found it easier to just go along with whatever little insanity her aunt decided on. Tromping toward the lovely french doors, she swung open the one she’d unlocked and walked out into the cold night. The wind buffeted her face briskly and she shivered as she moved down the low flowing steps into her aunt’s enormous elaborate garden. During winter the plants were festive. Small pines trees and artfully arranged bushes with red berries lined the main path. Other foliage offered the birds a feast.

There it was. Her aunt’s pride and joy. The marble full-sized statue of a man had been shipped over from Italy twenty-one years ago. Sabrina remembered clear as day her aunt taking her by the hand when she was ten to introduce her D’Vallis, as Bea always referred to him. Each year Sabrina had been given the impressive history of the statue as close to his arrival date as possible. He’d been found on the island of Santorini, a mystical fire-formed island that Sabrina adored visiting. No one knew his actual origin and for that reason the museums weren’t interested.

Bea always claimed he came to her in a dream, telling her how to purchase him. More than once, on her walks through the garden, Sabrina had heard her aunt talking to the statue as if they were the best of friends. Halting, she heaved a frustrated sigh, then perused D’Vallis. No arguing the fact that he was impressive, a Herculean specimen of manhood, even if his manhood had been discreetly draped by the artisan. “So, you want to be decorated, do you? I guess, I’m the woman for the job.” Setting the box down, she grabbed the Santa hat.

“Top down.” Stretching upward and it was quite a stretch, D’Vallis had to be over six foot in height, Sabrina arranged the fur-trimmed red hat above his noble, yet rugged features. “Don’t you look just too christmasy adorable?” she sing-sang. “I’ll give you this. You’re warmer than I thought you’d be.” Stepping back and leaning over, Sabrina plucked out the elegant, deep red smoking jacket. “Not exactly Santa’s style, but it should look pretty good on you.” She arranged it over his shoulders, fiddled with the hang of the garment, then tied the sash. An odd glint rippled over his torso.

“Hey, you’re not moving on me, are you?” she nervously teased. She could almost swear his head had slightly altered position. “I must have the pre-Christmas jitters,” she joked, pulling out yards and yards of tiny golden stars. “Hmmm, where to wrap, how to wrap... where do you want to be wrapped?” She gazed up and down his magnificent marble physique. “If you were a man, I ‘know’ where you’d want to be wrapped. Naw, couldn’t be,” she reassured herself as she crouched by his handsome ankle. “Your bulge is showing, D’Vallis,” she crooned and began twining the golden stars.

“Round and round we go.” She spiraled the ethereal trim up his hunky muscled leg. “Plenty here. I’ll decorate your manly hips.” Sabrina leaned the side of her head on his surprisingly warm chest to balance herself and worked the delicate string of stars around him. “Or, should I say, your manly loins. Yep, definitely manly.” Had his bulge increased, even lengthened? Good God! “I must be losing my marbles pressed against your marble. Or, maybe you just like all this attention. Okay, leaving the manly area to decorate your other leg. Great, I’m turning into my aunt, talking to you.”

Sliding her cheek downward, onto his hard, hard stomach, Sabrina circled the trim down his leg. Okay, she hadn’t dated in awhile. Was this some kind of Christmas fantasy her mind spun from her unconscious desperation? “Yeah, I’d date you if you were alive. Who could say no? Unless you had the personality of a gnat and a head as large as the giant blown-up Santa on top of Toy Mart.” Sabrina wrapped his ankle and shot upwards a second later. “You’re throbbing,” she accused. “How can a statue’s cock throb? Why don’t you answer that, Mr. Marble?” She scowled.

“Okay, you asked for it, D’Vallis.” Sabrina reached for the only thing left in the box, a huge red velvet bow with jingle bells adorning the knot. After ripping off the tape covering the sticky strip, she stared at the splendidly carved bulge that simply couldn’t be missed. In a flash, her hand pressed the bow to the center of his marble-hard manhood. Was it the wind moaning or... it sounded suspiciously like a male groan. Sabrina ran her gaze up his torso, studying every contour of his... flesh! No, it couldn’t be. She slipped her fingertip up his six-pack stomach.

Marble, yes, marble. Damn hot marble. “Let’s see what happens... yeah, I’ll play ‘kiss the statue’. Why not? That’s the magic, isn’t it? If your lips are as hot as...” Sabrina smoothed her palm beneath the jacket and up his ‘too real’ chest. Standing on tiptoe, she puckered, fastening her mouth onto his. ‘Omygawd’ sizzled through her. He kissed her, his lips so possessive she couldn’t speak. A large male arm clamped around her waist, lifting her, then crushing her against a real male body. Too stunned to do anything else, Sabrina flung her arms around his neck, kissing him fiercely.

Have a Splendid Holiday Season...
May your most romantic dreams come true...


Savanna Kougar

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Bold and Beautiful Confession

I have a confession to make. It’s a little embarrassing, although it shouldn’t be, because clearly I’m not the only one on the planet to look forward to my daily dose of cheese. No, I’m not talking edible fromage; heaven knows I’m not impartial to a nice nibble of French Morbier, or a chunk of English Cheddar after dinner. I’m talking about cheesy entertainment. You see, I’m addicted to “Top Models”, better known throughout the world as ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’.

There, I’ve said it. It’s out. And I’m grinning, even though many of you are probably rolling their eyes and thinking “you poor, sad person.” But I don’t care because I’m equally sure there are plenty of you sighing with relief, having been afraid I was about to confess to something way more icky. In fact, some of you might be grinning along with me, thrilled to have found a cheesy kindred spirit. Hello, “Top Models” fans! Gimme five!

I’ve been watching “Top Models” since it first aired here in Switzerland back in 1987. In my twenties at the time, I came across this never-ending show somewhere in between rushing back from work, getting changed, and rushing out again to paint the town red with my friends. Maybe I was tired, maybe I’d just had my heart broken by some imbecile, or maybe I was coming down with some mind-numbing bug, but for whatever reason, on that fateful autumnal evening, I switched on the television instead of the turntable and my daily schedule changed forever. Because there they were, the Forrester family, having their first problematic evening reunion, being served by a pretty blonde girl from the wrong side of the valley called Brooke Logan (played by Katherine Kelly-Lang). Back then, who’d have thought that the lovely Miss Logan (and the rest of her messed-up family) would wreck such long-term havoc upon those unsuspecting neurotic Forrester souls? Who’d have guessed that, twenty-two years later, they’d all still be nursing variations of the same problems and insecurities, still bitching, conniving, swapping partners, and generally pulling rugs out from beneath one another’s expensively clad feet?

On an even crazier note, who’d have thought that, after all this time, I’d still be tuning in, night after night? I mean, I know I’ve got it bad because whenever I can’t make that 6.15 TV appointment, I make sure it’s taped so I can watch it later. There have even been times when I’ve come back from holiday looking forward to two or three weeks worth of “Forrester Problems”, as my son Gregory calls the show. I also get pretty miffed when, for reasons beyond my control, I’m prevented from watching “Top Models”. Take last night for example. There I was, sitting comfortably, enjoying the first few minutes of my daily fix when the bloody Cablecom box conked out mid-B&B introductory theme song and the screen went blank. I was not amused.

Basically, I just love plopping down in front of the television at the end of the day with a nice cup of tea and being whisked away to Forresterland for twenty minutes of mindless entertainment. People know not to phone me at this time of the day; experience has shown that if they do they know I’ll be a) annoyed, and b) too distracted to listen to what they have to say. When my children were younger, they’d both been fed by the time the show aired. Well trained, they’d sit quietly on my knee or in their bouncy chairs, jiggling in time to the familiar theme tune. Nowadays, even the dogs recognize the “Top Models” music; I know this because when the daily episode comes to its cliffhanging end and the music soars, they automatically jump out of their baskets, knowing I’m going to get up and move onto more important things, such as checking my emails for the trillionth time, or getting started with the dinner. Pavlov definitely knew his doggy stuff.

Can I embarrass myself any more, you wonder? Well, actually, yes I can. You see, many years ago, in the days when Thorne was played by Jeff Trachta (we’ve been through quite a few different Thornes…), and when the long-suffering Macy, played by Bobbie Eakes, was still alive, there was a whole musical sidekick to “Top Models”. Back then, Thorne and Macy were pursuing scripted singing careers, and if I remember rightly, Eric (John McCook) and Sally Spectra (Darlene Conley) also duetted episodically on the show. So, sometime during the mid-1990s, the producers decided it would be nice for all of them to go on a real “Top Models” worldwide concert tour. Which is how it came to pass that, on December 20, 1997, (albeit without Eric and Sally Spectra), Thorne and Macy performed at Geneva’s Arena. And guess what? I bought three tickets, one for my friend Asa, one for my sister Victoria (who is never going to forgive me for revealing this mortifying moment of her life), and one for me. Yes, I went to a “Top Models” concert!

Hey, don’t think I can’t see you, sitting there in front of your screen, with that little smirk on your face! I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t care, because it was a once in a lifetime experience. You see, the Arena, which has hosted massive stars such as Ricky Martin (would you believe I actually missed him when he performed there? Still kicking myself over that…), Brian Adams and Sting, was PACKED. People (mostly elderly ladies…) came from far and wide to see Thorne and Macy croon their soppy duets, supported by the authentic “Top Models” orchestra. In fact, the concert actually opened with the “Top Models” theme song, and everyone in the venue went wild, la-la-ing along. As for when Thorne and Macy sauntered onto the stage, well the crowd simply went beserk! I must confess that, at that point, I was a little embarrassed by the lack of “retenue” demonstrated by my fellow “B&B” aficionados; it was somewhat disconcerting to see all these little old Swiss ladies leaping out of their seats, wiggling their botties and squealing with delight. But at the same time, there was something refreshing – moving even - about this heartfelt show of enthusiasm. This wasn’t a “cool” concert; there were no special effects, no big screens, no sophisticated graphics to blow our minds or rev our pulse rates. This was just a little orchestra and two soap-opera stars belting out the likes of "Everlasting Love", "Especially for You", and "What’s Forever For", but it was wonderfully entertaining in the cheesiest kind of way.

There was even an intermission during which many of the little old Swiss ladies rushed down to the front of the stage to get Thorne and Macy’s autographs, something Asa and I didn’t partake in so as to avoid my increasingly-mortified sister from committing hara-kiri on the spot. I did, however, buy a Thorne and Macy CD on my way out. And although they’ll never admit it now for fear of committing social suicide, both my kids were thrilled and wanted to listen to it all the time. That CD is still sitting around here somewhere, squashed in among hundreds of other old albums deemed far more... -how should I put it? - socially acceptable, maybe?

I experienced another unforgettable “B&B” moment recently when my daughter Olivia came back from a trip to the local shopping centre with a sparkle of wicked glee in her eyes. “Guess what they’re selling in Manor?” she chuckled, one eyebrow cocked, baiting me.

I was stumped. They’re always selling loads of stuff in Manor; it happens to be one of Switzerland’s biggest department stores.

“A box-set of the first few years of ‘Top Models’!”, she exclaimed, wide-eyed. Then she threw back her head and gave in to a fully-fledged fit of the giggles.

I guess I know what Father Christmas will be bringing me this year. In fact, I hope he does, because I’ve quite thoroughly enjoyed trawling through YouTube today, searching for snippets of Bold and Beautiful memorabilia to share with you. I hope you’ve enjoyed them too, or at the very least, I hope they’ve made you smile.

But I’ve got to leave you now. Because, you see, it’s almost 6.15.

It’s “Top Models” time.

xx Francesca Prescott

"MUCHO CALIENTE! - Wish upon a Latino Superstar"
An effervescent romantic comedy
LASR: Best Long Book of the Year 2008 : "Laugh out loud hilarious!"
NOR: Reviewer Top Pick : "A seriously fun book with more twists and turns than expected"
CRR: “Hard to put down”

Friday, November 27, 2009

87 and so Thankful

I was honored to spend Thanksgiving with a very energetic just turned 87 year old woman. She was so full of life and energy, so thankful it made me feel ashamed at how blase I had been feeling about the holiday. What right do I have to not be thankful for all the wonderful things I have in my life? Here is this woman who is 87-legally blind, widowed twice, child of the Holocaust, she moved to Seattle from Berlin in 1933 when she was 16 years old-she was more upbeat than me, more in tune with what this holiday is supposed to represent.

She is an amazing woman. She is tiny, maybe 95 pounds and she was bouncing around with my girls having a good time. She was nowhere near what I would expect. She is small and a bit frail looking but she doesn't present herself in a frail or inhibited manner at all. She is so capable, so much more capable than many who are years younger.

I don't know what her secret is, she certainly is in excellent health aside from her eyesight which has been bad all her life, quickly deteriorating to legally blind when she was a young adult. She is active though, and perhaps that is something that helps.

She was an actress as a young woman and now as a retired woman she performs a one woman show about her experiences growing up in Berlin and coming to the United States. She performs it in schools around Seattle as a part of Holocaust education. She doesn't rely on others to do everything for her in her day to day life either. She takes the bus, walks, shops and takes care of her apartment without the assistance of another, beyond the occasional assistance of reading fine print perhaps.

She could very easily sit back with every valid excuse to not do anything other than watch television and let others do everything for her. She could get away with having others doing all the things that are, most likely, the very things that keep her living such a high quality of life.

This year she is particularly thankful, we have made her a Great-grandmother. She is the mother of my stepfather and although we have been sort of related for quite a few years now this is the first time we have actually met. She is a wonderful addition to my and my children's lives, I am thankful for her and the enlightenment she has brought to my life.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why I Am Thankful...

When I lay my head down at night, exhausted from the stress of everyday life and wondering just how much more I can take, I play a game with myself. It's called the I'm Thankful game and it goes like this...

*Though my home may be messy, I'm Thankful for the four walls that surround me...some don't have that.
*Though I fought with my nine year old today, I'm Thankful to be looking into her beautiful green eyes to do it...I almost couldn't.
*Though we had Macaroni and Cheese with Hot Dogs and a vegetable for dinner last night, I'm Thankful I was able to put at least that in my child's stomach...some parents can't.
*Though the years have not always been kind to this middle aged body, I'm Thankful to still be in love and loved by a wonderful partner...Some aren't so lucky.

My list goes on and on, but I think these four explain it well enough. While my problems seem overwhelming at times, I've found it's important to take a step back and regroup.

Things can be worse. And right at this moment, for somebody else out there they probably are.

As I've told my daughter on many occasions, it's easy to see the bad rather than the good. The bad things tend to jump into our path and get bigger and harder to go around, but not insurmountable. In the end though, finding the good things this life has to offer proves to be much more rewarding.

*Friends-there to encourage and support your desires.
*Love-in any form that finds you, from Parents or Child, lover or spouse right on down the the big brown puppy dog eyes that follow you around the room.
*Help make the good things-A can or two dropped off at the local food shelf, will bring a meal to another's table. Winter jackets that have been outgrown, will warm another child. A toy or two will make one child's Christmas special.
*A simple smile to those you meet along the way, may make another's day.

As I sit down this afternoon with my family surrounding me to share in the feast I will turn my eyes inward, as is my own private tradition, and remember why I am lucky, I will remember what makes me happy, I will remember where I need to do more, but mostly I will remember ...Why I Am Thankful.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reasons To Be Thankful!

We don’t have a Thanksgiving celebration here in the UK which I always think is such a pity. It’s a good idea to take some time every now and then to think about the things we’re thankful for, the things that bring us such happiness every day. With that thought in mind, over the past couple of weeks I compiled a list of the things that make me happy - the things, big and small, that I’m thankful for on a daily basis. And with thanks to the late, great and much-missed Ian Dury, whose song ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3’ inspired me, here it is. Enjoy!

Fresh fruit smoothies.
Sinatra sings the bluesies.
Gene Kelly movies, his magic never dies.
Bees that bumble.
A rummage through the jumble.
The scent of apple crumble and hot mince pies.

Saturday brunch.
Sunday lunch!
A pretty pub garden where the sun’s always bright.
A country lane.
Sussex after rain.
Crisp autumn leaves and golden light.

‘Ashes to Ashes.’
Birthday bashes.
A bit of Tony Bennet and ‘Fly Me To The Moon.'
Scat sung by Ella.
A cuddle from my fella.
Dr Who with David Tennant. Bugs Bunny cartoons!

My son playing tennis.
Dennis the Menace!
Cakes from the oven and a nice cup of tea.
A good white wine.
That spaniel of mine!
Friends that I love, and who love me.

My daughter singing.
Church bells ringing.
A book at the beginning and a walk by the sea.
A sandwich with alfalfa.
Cheering on Rafa!
(He’s given us a fright, but he’s still our Number One!)

Toms and mozzarella,
Molto bella!
Italian food for ever – yum, yum, yum!
Music up loud.
Kids making me proud.
Six arms round my middle and ‘we love you, Mum!’

Much more that I’ve missed,
There’s too much to list!
So now I’m saying ‘thank you,’ cos I know that I should.
Yes, I’m confessing,
I’m counting my blessings.
All’s right with my world, and everything is good.

If you’d like to hear Ian Dury and The Blockheads singing ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful,’ there’s a wonderful You Tube video here. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reasons I am grateful, one, two, three...

1. My husband. He is my best friend, an all-round amazing bloke and blog supremo (and took the pic on the left, in a village on the Northumberland coast).

2. My friends, especially my girl-friends, with whom I chat and share as we offer mutual fun and support.

3. My family, of whom I am so proud.

4. Roses. I love roses for their shapes, colours and scents.

5. Lime trees. A lime in early leaf is a marvellous sight.

6. Music. I'd hate to live without music!

7. Good company, cocoa, chocolate, korma curry (Not all at the same time!)

8. Running clean water. Warm houses. My garden.

9. Bluebell woods.

10. The internet - those wonders of research and shopping at the click of a button - and all those lovely ebooks!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey Tales

Here are two turkey (or turkel, as we call them) sightings around my house.

Turkey in the Snow

In December 2007, a big storm dropped a good foot and a half of snow. By late afternoon, the sky was clearing and two tom turkeys (all that chest hair) slogged to the bird feeder. We have several large pines in our yard which shelter the feeder. The snow wasn't as deep there and the turkeys pecked at the seeds.

The next time I looked, only one turkey was left. He turned toward the hill to climb up to the woods, stepping into snow that was up to his belly. He stopped. For several minutes, he struggled and strained against the snow, but couldn't make any progress. The light was fading, and I expected him to return along the path he and his friend had broken.

Instead, Mr. Turkey unfurled his wings (BIG wings) and flew up to a branch. Huge bird that he is, he made quite a sight, perched on that limb. As the night progressed, I looked out several times to check on him, but I couldn't see him in the darkness. I worried about him, even as I told myself turkeys are professional wild animals and can survive outside.

The next morning, I heard "Gobble, gobble, gobble," and sure enough, there he was, still sitting on that tree limb. He flapped his wings and flew down to the ground. A crust had formed on the snow overnight, so he was able to walk away, slipping and sliding and using his wings for balance.

A happy ending.

A Spring Turkey

Last May, as I sat in my front room, I heard clucking outside the open window. I jumped up to see the turkey (seeing a turkey is still a big deal) and sure enough, a hen stood on the front lawn.

She clucked again, and six tiny brown-and-yellow chicks (poults) ran out from under the rhododendron beside the house. From their small size, they must have hatched only a few days earlier.

Mama turkey clucked again and walked around the side of the house, her poults trailing in her wake. A resplendent tom, tail flaring in full courtship regalia, followed. The entire group climbed the hill behind my house and disappeared into the woods. I wonder where mama turkey built her nest. I hoped she used our woods, but I have no idea.

My husband took these two pictures from inside the house. Click on the images to see the poults better.

I never saw the poults again, but I do see the turkeys from time to time. They have no schedule, but they wander from yard to yard, climb the hill behind my house to the woods, and then climb down again, cross the street and head into the woods lower on the hill.

I'm glad we have turkels. And I hope they come around for a good many more years.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you all,
Linda Banche
Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal
Lady of the Stars
--4 stars from Romantic Times, 2010 EPIC EBook Competition finalist, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press
--Regency Halloween comedy available from The Wild Rose Press
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Turkeys I Have Known

I'm talking about the ones with feathers, not the non-feathered variety that plague us all everyday.

I live in a New England suburb. The area is mainly houses and lawns, with an occasional patch of woods like the one on the hill behind my house. We have the usual wildlife: squirrels, chipmunks, songbirds, rabbits, deer, raccoons and the occasional fox, opossum and groundhog. Up until a few years ago, we never had wild turkeys. Once, long ago, a domestic turkey, probably an escapee from someone's yard, wandered through for a few days, and for a year or two we had ring-necked pheasants, but no wild turkeys.

One day I looked out at my back yard, and there the turkeys were, pecking at the spilled seed under the bird feeder. They usually arrive in groups of females (hens) or males (toms) but not the two together. The only time we'll see them together is in the spring, when the toms display themselves for the hens. The traditional picture of a Thanksgiving turkey with his feathers fluffed up is a tom in courtship display. He'll ruffle his feathers that way in the spring to attract the hens' attention, but not in November. The hens also fan their tails, but their display is not nearly as striking.

How do you tell the sexes apart? Turkeys are all large brown birds with sharp beaks and big, spurred feet. The toms are generally larger than the hens and have bright, iridescent feathers. These distinctions are apparent in a mixed sex group, but for most of the year, the birds segregate into male or female only groups.

An undeniable difference is what my husband calls the tom's "chest hair"--a bundle of long coarse feathers that hangs loose from the tom's neck and swings as he walks. I would have called the feather bundle neckties, but chest hair works, too.

As for the noises they make, in most ways they sound like chickens. They all cackle and squawk. But the toms gobble, a rapid "gobble-gobble-gobble", which is why they're called gobblers.

I enjoy the turkeys. We call them turkels, to distinguish them from the turkey that will grace our dinner table on Thanksgiving. Watching them is still a treat. Most of the time all they do is stop for a snack at the bird feeder and a drink from the bird bath. But I do have two special stories about the turkeys that have visited my yard.

Tomorrow: Turkey Tales.

Thank you all,

Linda Banche
Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal
Lady of the Stars
--4 stars from Romantic Times, 2010 EPIC EBook Competition finalist, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press
--Regency Halloween comedy available from The Wild Rose Press
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Top two pictures from Wikipedia, "chest hair" by my husband

Friday, November 20, 2009

Life's Not So Bad After All

Isn't it wonderful when a man suddenly realizes the life he has isn't so bad after all? I think men, most of all, feel a failure when their comfort zone is threatened. And, like George, go through a spell when they feel like they shouldn't have been born, or worse, don't deserve the loving wife and beautiful kids. Hard times are emotionally draining.

It's A Wonderful Life is one of my favorite movies. I never tire of it. Poor George who constantly has to forgo his dreams. Do you think in the end he really felt like he'd been cheated? I don't. His brother said it all - he's the richest man in Bedford Falls. We all should be so lucky to have people who will give all they have to help a friend.

We often forget what is really important when life knocks you in the gut and you can't breathe. I know I've been guilty of it this year with losing so many people in my life.

I have so much to be thankful for.

All the comforts of having a roof over my head, food on the table and clothes on my back can bring. A family that is fairly healthy and happy.

What ails we have don't slow us down, much.

I have a husband who loves me no matter what stupid choices I make. He just seems look beyond them. Sometimes I wonder why.

I've made some wonderful author friends who've been supportive not only in my writing, but with my personal ups and downs.

My book sales are fairly consistant and I have a new book coming out next year as well as three short stories in anthologies.

I have a wonderful relationship with our pets, and our wild pets. They give me so much pleasure. Even Faith, though she passed away two weeks ago today. I have pictures and memories that will always keep her in my heart.

I have the best mother-in-law; she is one of my dearest friends.

The simpliest things tickle me. 'coz, I'm a pot hole...sooooo, k bye' never fails to crack me up.

Thanksgiving day, I'll be spending with my husband's side of the family and our immediate family. Usually around 22 of us, sometimes more. We'll have all the traditional foods: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, oyster dressing, sage dressing, green casserole. I have a dish which I'm required to bring or I'm not allowed entry. lol It's quite simple and a recipe given to me from an aunt when I was in junior high. What the original name of it is, I have no idea, but my family calls it 'Fluff'; very simply it contains three ingredients.

Strawberry Banana Cottage Whip [my name for it]

large container of small curd cottage cheese

small container of cool whip

large box of strawberry/banana jello

Thaw the cool whip, then add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well; cover and refrigerate. Best to make the night before.

Despite my aunt's insistent that you can only use orange jello for this, I've tried every flavor of jello with it and it's all good. My favorite is the orange followed by lemon and lime. The family prefers the strawberry/banana.

There will also be specialty items my oldest niece will make for her sister. Desserts, items made with soy and gluten free. Last year, she made an apple crisp for her that was amazing.

And we all must watch Grandma Ann. If we don't, she'll be pigging out on the sweets when our backs are turned; quite comical the way the sneaks like a small child. She's diabetic.

Oh, and the horses -- they go crazy when the kids show up. It's extra treat time. You think my pets are spoiled. It runs in the family.

I love the holidays. I do don't much of the cooking for Thanksgiving. I fix the 'Fluff', candied yams and sage stuffing. About the only thing I do different with my stuffing is I don't use dried bread -- it's so much better not to. Christmas is where I cook up a storm. I've found some new delish recipes to try this year. I'll share those as we near the best day of the year.

Today is the kickoff for the Christmas season in our little community. All sorts of goings on downtown; Christmas parade and the lighting of the trees; the local florist, which is quite a large place, has it's Grand Christmas Opening -- I'll be going with mom. I'm quite pumped.

I wish you all a very happy and fulfilling Thanksgiving.


Gratitude and Romantic Sassitude

From BonzaSheila, Legendary Lovers~ ~
In 1942, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy co-starred in Woman of The Year, the first of nine films they would make together and the beginning of a romance that would become legendary.

Gratitude... tis’ the season to take a look at what we’re most grateful for. I’ll admit this year has been challenging in that respect, for me. Yes, I am thankful for every good thing that’s come my way, for my family, my friends, my author buddies, and my doggies.
Living on the tame prairie as I call it, is a daily blessing. Just to look out at the land, the glorious softly rolling grassland lined with trees, to see the amazing and inspiring sunsets, to catch glimpses of the wild critters and watch the birds fly and live their lives... it is sustenance for the soul.
One day, several weeks ago, the early morning sunlight slanted across the trees when their leaves had changed to a lovely autumn yellow and the scene was gold. A golden radiance haloed the trees along one long fenceline. I stared, my breath taken away, my soul soaring.
This year, I had four books e-published and now two of them are in print. Smiles of gratitude are definitely on my face. Actually, I’m even more grateful to have written the stories, given I always fall in love with my heroines and heroes.

Sassitude, a word I thought of today, to describe my heroines. Though, I’m certain it’s being used by others, as well. I haven’t seen it, but the word’s a natural, given there’s kick-assitude and other variants.

Romantic purring sassitude, that’s my black cat girl, Sable, the heroine of BLACK CAT BEAUTY, released in January. The novella is written in her POV and living inside her seductive shifter skin was an absolute trip.
I’d love to have the time to write more of Sable Kiki’s story. I’m thinking... maybe... Black Cat Magic or Black Cat Friday for the title. Realistically, though, I’m so overwhelmed... well a feline-natured author can dream...

R-Snippet from BLACK CAT BEAUTY ~

Sable flipped her ear forward, noticing Devon Zant had halted high on the stairway, his attention clearly on the “accident” commotion. Although concealed by shadow, the bold strength of his physique could easily be seen. His dark shirt and pants skimmed his superbly muscled body as if the materials had been poured over him.

“Every inch the superhero,” Sable whispered, wondering how he would look flying on screen as the son of Super Ace. She hadn’t bothered with the movie trailer or the website. Especially since she’d only learned about the assignment late yesterday afternoon. A catnap in the sun had seemed much more enjoyable.

“Of course, I haven’t viewed those meaty ‘inches’ yet. So who knows if his cock is supercharged and heroic in action?” Sauntering unimpeded to the stairs, Sable briefly scanned her surroundings. Evidently Mr. Rising Superstar didn’t require beefy cow muscle to protect him ... just PETA to protect him from wandering pussycats. Maybe I should offer him personal protection from all pussies ... if he’s worthy.

Once she placed her foot, encased in the supple black leather of her sleek shoe, on the first step, his gaze fastened on her. Slowly she smiled at him. She lingered her Mae West smile on him as she provocatively swayed up the stairs.

Also released in January was MURDER BY HAIR SPRAY IN GARDENIA, NEW ATLANTIS, a finalist in the Romantic Times/Dorchester American Title IV contest. This story rose like a tidal wave from my soul and hasn’t stopped yet. I have the next book in the New Atlantis Trilogy partially written... again, all I need is time, energy and my Atlantean muse. Oh, and luck... and everything else an author needs to complete a manuscript.

*Good luck to all of us authors getting our manuscripts finished and polished!*

Yep, romantic independent sassitude, that’s my heroine, Sheriff Kalypso Sun Wing. Nope, I can’t resist that kind of tension between a woman and a man. She’s her own woman and he’s determined she belongs to him. Blame it on those Katherine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy movies I grew up on, and adored.


Kalypso whipped around. "Get your equipment up, stud dog, for these."

"Not worn long," he stated, watching his vid scan. "And not worn by our victim. Must be one of your citizens. She's not showing up on my ID. I can analyze her gene material, give you a profile, unless that's contrary to your sovereignty, Sheriff gorgeous. By the way, no underwear, anywhere." He fastened his gaze on her. "You're not wearing any."

"Don't like it." Kalypso averted her face, and twisted the corner of her mouth. Men! "Except on special occasions," she added for affect. "Give me a profile on our red lace gal. My prerogative as Sheriff of our fair land and town."

"I like it. That you're not wearing any...underwear. It'll take a few minutes. I have to use the central program."

"Really don't care what you like. And don't like," Kalypso grouched. "Anything else you want to investigate here?" She shoved past his great hulking frame, and breathed in the air of freedom, from him, even if it still reeked of hair spray.

"Feeling trapped by our ferocious attraction?" Zryphus sauntered toward her, his gaze locked on the vid.

"If I have to personally tromp through hell, I'm finding the killer just so I don't have to be around you!"

Zryphus raised one dark ruthless brow, then both brows. "If I were the killer I'd be quaking in my killer killer shoes, or my killer bare feet."

"Is that the diabolical plan? Make me hate you so much, I'll do whatever I have to do to get the killer, despite my duty to the sovereignty of New Atlantis?"

"No, the deviant diabolical plan is to trap you in my bed, take advantage of every carnal thrill with that exceptional and sweet body of yours."

"Disgusting doesn't cover it!" Kalypso marched toward the door.

STALLION OF ASH AND FLAME is my latest release. It’s the first story I’ve ever written only from the hero’s POV. That was a trip and a half, trying my best to think in ‘manly’ terms and, at the same time, think and feel like a stallion, since Trail is a stallion shapeshifter, and more. He’s not from this Earth.
Romantic cautious sassitude, that’s my heroine, Seneca. She’s been burned by love many times and only hires Trail because she desperately needs help with her horse ranch.


Before she opened the door entirely, Seneca peeked around the edge. The glisten of her bright sky eyes galloped over him. Recognizing him, she opened the door, her gaze meeting his without an ounce of pretense. Still, speculation flickered in their depths. Trail had decided a long time ago her eyes were a type of magic he wanted to explore. However, that could not be his destiny.

“Howdy, Seneca. I’m looking for a job. Mandy saw your ad for a hired hand until your brother can get back on his feet again. I’m applyin’.” He tried a small grin that he hoped looked more friendly than saying, “I want to grab your fine round ass and plunder your mouth until you melt against me.”

“Trail, is it?” She stepped outside, letting the door slam closed. Raising her chin, she eyed him almost fiercely and crossed her arms beneath her plump perky breasts. Hell, she rarely wore a bra, and now her nipples poked her flannel shirt, he knew not for him. The morning chill hadn’t been dispelled by the sun’s ferocious heat yet.

“Yes, ma’am. That’s my handle.”

“Why Trail?” Her tone interrogated him, even though her brows raised revealing her curiosity.

“End of the ” He paused, hoping for an amused glint in her eyes. Nothing. “As in, end of the trail.” Still nothing. “This is where I make my home, end-of-the-trail,” he added.

Trail had the wild urge to grab off his hat and finger the brim nervously like he’d seen in the old western movies he’d watched over and over. Yep, a filly like her would sooner kick his flanks, then race past him. That is, unless he minded his manners.


Her voluptuous dark pink lips formed an O. Trail caught himself wondering if she would respond to him like Maureen O’Hara had to John Wayne when he’d hauled her over his lap and given her ass a good blistering. Or when he’d seized her against him and forced a kiss on her fighting lips.


Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving...
May your most romantic dreams come true...


Savanna Kougar

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
~~~ Sable & Devon invite you to read their love story ~ will a black cat girl find happiness with a superhero? ~~~

BLACK CAT BEAUTY ... She has the claws and the cattitude to prove it... He has the super-powered strength and passion she fights, but needs... *4.5* Top Pick from Night Owl Romance Reviews ~ available from Liquid Silver Books ~ ~ ~ ISBN: 978-1-59578-507-7
~~~ Kalypso & Zryphus invite you to read their love story ~ a match made in intergalactic heaven ~~~

MURDER BY HAIR SPRAY IN GARDENIA, NEW ATLANTIS ~ 2051 suspense futuristic, erotic romance ~ American Title IV finalist ~ One hundred years later Sheriff Kalypso despises relationships. Zryphus has found his one woman. The Battle of the Sexes begins. *4* Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies ~ Rising from Siren-BookStrand ~ the future begins here... ~ IN PRINT ~ ~ ISBN: 1606011472
Trail and Seneca invite you to read their love story ~
STALLION OF ASH AND FLAME ~ Available from Siren-BookStrand ~ A man-stallion of ash and flame on a mission to save his world’s Earth portal must save his Mate, a human woman forbidden to him ~ ~ ISBN: 1606015931