Monday, November 26, 2012

Mini Blog Tour

Happy Cyber Monday Everyone!

Today is the first day of my mini blog tour for His Reluctant Bodyguard. I'll have six blog posts in the next couple of weeks and here's the schedule:

 11/26 – Romance Reviews Today

11/28 - Long & Short of It Reviews

11/29 – Literary Nymphs

11/30 – MamaKitty Reviews

12/3 – The Pen & Muse

12/4 – You Gotta Read Reviews

I hope you'll have time to pop in and leave a few comments. I'm giving away free downloads of His Reluctant Bodyguard at every stop. Plus at the end of the tour, I'll give a $20 gift card (winners choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble) to one lucky commenter. I'd love for the winner to be one of YOU, my loyal followers!

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kaua'i Part 3 North Shore

Okay, I'm wishing I was back in beautiful, warm Hawaii, so here's one more round of piccies from my recent (too short) stay on Kaua'i.

These shots are from the north shore of the island and its famous Hanalei Bay. There were "dangerous surf" advisories the day we visited, but is that not the most gorgeous water you've ever seen?!?!

And here's a piccie to show you what Kaua'i is called "the garden isle." And if the mountains in the background look familiar, these are part of the Napali coast, made famous by those aerial shots in the movie Jurassic Park!

Finally, one more shot of the beautiful water and sky... That tiny little building on the very end of the bluff is the Kilauea Lighthouse. It was built in 1913 and is said to be on the northern most point of the island. It was being refurbished (no doubt for its 100 year anniversary next year) and the road was also undergoing construction, so this was as close as we chose to go.

I can't imagine what life was like for the original inhabitants so far away from everything.

Would you like to live in such an isolated area? Aunty will take a pass on this one -- too far into town for pizza and Pepsi!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kaua'i Part 2 -- Waimea Canyon

One of the chief tourist attractions on the island of Kaua'i is Waimea Canyon, also called the Little Grand Canyon. Though not as big as its namesake, Waimea is another of those fantastic wonders of wind and water erosion. And unlike its namesake, Waimea is green!

These pics were shot from the main overlook and only give a taste of the real scope and grandeur of this place. Not as much green as usual, according to the locals because Kaua'i is experiencing a two year drought. 

When the DH and I were here on the cruise in January, it was raining and we couldn't see anything. We definitely picked the right day to visit the canyon on this trip. Of all the days we spent, this one happened to be the most sunny and clear!

We were also lucky enough to arrive at the same time two native Hawaiians were chanting, dancing and playing a gourd drum as part of a ceremony for the canyon. Unfortunately, my pictures were too far away to see the figures, but it was fascinating to watch.

Another major attraction on Kaua'i are its waterfalls, which are still going in spite of the drought. Here's a photo of one of the more accessible one, Wailua Falls. The trail to the top of the falls was closed so we had to settle with standing at the overlook. However, you can kayak up the Wailua River for a closer look, and two couples had done just that the morning we were here. You can just see the pool at the base of the falls on the far right. One brave guy left his kayak and swam right up behind the falling water. I can only guess at how spectacular that must have been!

What are some of your favorite natural wonders?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kaua'i Part 1

Just returned home from a week long stay on the island of Kaua'i, called The Garden Isle and for good reason. It is loaded with lots of lush vegetation and some of the most wonderful fruit I've ever tasted!

We spent a few hours on Kaua'i back in January when we cruised around all the Hawaiian islands, but it was raining that day and we were disappointed at not being able to enjoy the scenery. We had no such problems on this trip! The weather was great.

One of the first places we visited was a place we stopped at in January. We were very impressed with "the Spouting Horn" as they call this very unusual blow hole on the southern shore of the island.

As you can see from the piccie, the shore in this area is filled with black lava formations instead of sand. Erosion has formed a shelf and holes near and below the water level. A couple of the holes are tunnels, and one in particular "blows" like a geyser when the waves send water through it. It also makes a deep sound when the air rushes back through when the water subsides, hence the name "Spouting Horn."

Of course there's plenty of the beautiful turquoise waters, too. Sea turtles also frequent this area, and the day we were there, we saw three of them in the clear water on the other side of the horn.

We also went to nearby Po'ipu beach for a little picnic. As you can see from the palm trees, the wind was quite brisk, and the water outside this little protected lagoon was pretty rough. Not enough to discourage a few local surfers, however. We had a very relaxing lunch and stayed in the shade.

I'll post more piccies in a few days, but for now I'll let you dream about tropical beaches. Maybe you have a few favorites? If so, please share where they are.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Six Sentences from The Wild SIght

Four years ago this week, my debut novel The Wild Sight hit the bookstore shelves! (Unfortunately that was the same week the economy went into the toilet, but that's a post for another day.)

So in honor of the day I "officially" became a published author, I thought I'd share six sentences from my first published work.

So here are 6 sentences from Page 66 of The Wild Sight. The hero, Donovan is having a confrontation with his father Dermot, whose speech has been affected by a stroke:

Shaken with memories, Donovan felt his own face heating up. "Just because you never told me doesn't mean I don't know." He bent down nose to nose with his father and uttered what he'd never dare before. "People whispered for years that she ran off with another man."

"Nuh!" Dermot cried, rearing back in his chair, his mouth twitching with fury. "Eee-jit!" he finally managed to fling out, then another string of nonsense syllables.

If you haven't read The Wild Sight, it's available in print and ebook from Amazon. (Aunty winks conspiratorially.)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Six Sentences from Sidhe Princess

Next Saturday will mark my one year anniversary of wading into the big scary world of Indie publishing. I uploaded my fantasy novelette The Sidhe Princess to SmashWords and Amazon Kindle. So I thought it was fitting this week to share six sentences from that story.

When I wrote my debut novel The Wild Sight, I knew that my hero, Donovan O'Shea had inherited his "gift" of "the Sight" from his mother, who was not happy about her abilities or passing them on to her offspring. I thought it might be fun for readers to get a little glimpse of Moira as a young girl.

So here are six sentences from page six of The Sidhe Princess:

One of the fae, Moira guessed, and the most exquisite wee thing she'd ever seen.

"You can see me as well as hear me, can you not?" asked the small woman. The proud way she stood and the commanding tone she used were not the least bit childlike.

Moira nodded mutely and twisted her hands into her apron. 'Twas not the first time she'd seen or even spoken to other-worldly creatures, though never before had one been so bold in approaching her. Nor so beautiful.

If you haven't read my 14,000 word novelette, it works fine as a stand-alone story and is available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble
NOW would be a perfect time to read it!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Three Is a Charm?

 Ten days ago, I released my third "Indie" work, and I can tell you that putting a book out is always exciting and never gets old! Being able to share my work with readers is the thing I love most about writing.

My newest offering is Book 2 in my Adventure Cruise Line series, His Reluctant Bodyguard. This time, the cruise liner Valiant is in the beautiful Caribbean. The assistant cruise director from High Seas Deception, Avery Knox is back on a new ship with new responsibilities -- like guarding one of the passengers. But not just any passenger. The man Avery is suppose to guard, Rip Pollendene is the guy she had a big crush on back in college, and he looks better than ever!

As for Rip, he's been asked by the US government to return to the island of his birth, a place he hasn't lived in twenty years. His homeland is on the brink of civil war and in spite of Rip's disinterest in politics, someone wants him dead. What a time for fate to throw the girl he had never forgotten, Avery Knox back into his life.

Last January 30th, I released Book 1 in the Adventure Cruise Line series, High Seas Deception. This thriller takes place in one of my favorite cruising destinations, the west coast of Mexico. While the cruise ship Intrepid is docked in Puerto Vallarta, the mysterious Irishman steals a passenger's ID and sneaks aboard. He is on a mission to intercept a dangerous package being smuggled on board the ship before it reaches Los Angeles. If he fails, millions could die.

When ACL security officer Skylar Davidson finds the stowaway, she immediately recognizes him as the enigmatic mercenary at the heart of a bloody shoot-out she witnessed two years ago at LAX airport. However, rather than being frightened by the Irishman, she is intrigued, and quickly becomes embroiled in his deadly scheme.With enemies at every turn, will the two of them survive their desperate race through Acapulco?

It was almost a year ago that I decided to dip my toes into the big, scary ocean of Indie publishing. For my first foray, I chose to release a 14,000 word novelette The Sidhe Princess. This dark fantasy story is kind of a prequel to my first published novel, The Wild Sight.

Set in Northern Ireland in 1964, The Sidhe Princess is about sixteen year old Moira Mullins, who possesses "the sight" which allows her to see and hear otherworldly creatures. One of these is a fae princess called The Maid of Ulster. She offers Moira a chance to see into her own future, which the young girl willingly accepts. Too late, Moira learns the ultimate price the Sidhe Princess intends to extract from her, and that sometimes the future is better left unknown.

So there you have my three current offerings, available in ebook format only.You can purchase them on Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Here is a link to my Amazon author page where you can purchase all of my books. Or you can email me for more information.

So what is the next book at the top of your TBR (To Be Read) pile?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Six Sentences from His Reluctant Bodyguard

I intended to release my newest book last week, His Reluctant Bodyguard, Book 2 in the Adventure Cruise Line series. Unfortunately, some family drama got in the way, but I'm looking to release the book very soon. Meanwhile I thought you might enjoy a little peek at Rip and Avery's story, so here are six sentences from Chapter 6 of His Reluctant Bodyguard.

Rip pressed his ear against the crack between the heavy wooden door and its frame, in a vain attempt to hear anything that might be happening in the corridor.


The temperature in the tiny airless room seemed to grow warmer by the moment, and the sweat on his face made his various cuts and contusions sting. But since his hands were lashed behind his back, he couldn't wipe it away. At least he believed his hands were still there. He'd lost all feeling in them by the time he'd regained consciousness.
Okay, sorry to leave you with that mini cliff-hanger (Aunty grins devilishly). You'll just have to read the rest of the book to find out what happens.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Six Sentences

I've noticed that several of the writers' blogs that I frequent participate in something called "Six Sentence Sunday" where the blogger posts six sentences from one of their stories. This seems like a fun concept, and since I'm always looking for ways to share my work with readers, I thought I'd do my own version of "Six Sentence Sunday."

Here then are six sentences from page 66 of High Seas Deception:

Staring at the pack as if seeing if for the first time, Malone shook his head and dispelled the last of the aura. "I haven't checked. I was -- worried about you."

The realization seemed to startle him as much as it had Skylar. He turned quickly away, crawled over to the pack, and unzipped the main compartment. While she waited breathless, he pulled out a plastic wrapped bundle roughly the size of a small sack of flour.

If you haven't yet read High Seas Deception, I hope that piqued your interest. If you have already read it, I hope the sentences were a pleasant reminder of the story.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sneak Peek

I'm hip deep in revisions at the moment, but I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at what I've been working on lo these many months!
His Reluctant Bodyguard is Book 2 in the Adventure Cruise Line series and I am determined to get it released on Amazon before September 1st.

The last person cruise director Avery Knox expected to see aboard her very first trip out on Valiant is former college football star, Rip Pollendene. A decade ago, she had turned down his advances at the University of Miami and lived to regret her decision. Why is she so reluctant to take the second chance she's been handed?

Rip Pollendene is the heir apparent to a beautiful island nation. But it's a heritage Rip has ignored and rejected for twenty years. Now his homeland is on the brink of a bloody civil war with outside forces trying to manipulate the outcome. Is that why someone wants him dead?

How much should Rip sacrifice for a country he hardly knows? And is it sheer coincidence that has thrown golden girl Avery Knox back into his life? Or is something more sinister at work?

After ten years apart, why has fate brought Rip and Avery together again? Can they stay alive long enough to find out if their love really is meant to be?

His Reluctant Bodyguard is set on a fictional Caribbean island that is actually a combination of several of the islands I've visisted on a couple of different cruises. Do you have a favorite island in the Caribbean or elsewhere?

Monday, July 30, 2012


Recently, my son and I took a short trip to the California Gold Country to visit Chaw-Se, Indian Grinding Rocks State Historic Park.

My son and his dad went camping there once when he was a young teen and he really loves this spot that has been occupied by Native Americans for thousands of years.

According to the State Park brochure, this site has "...the largest collection of bedrock mortars anywhre in North America. The Miwok women used this large outcroppings of rock to grind acorns for centuries, and there are over 1100 grinding holes located through out the park. Most of them are on one very large outcropping that even has a viewing platform over the fragile rock so visitors can get a close look at both the mortar holes and petroglyphs.

A reconstructed roundhouse and individual bark houses are also in the park. The roundhouse is partially underground and was traditionally the center of the community. It was used for ceremonies for special occasions.

I could almost hear the voices and laughter of the women as they worked at grinding their acorns.

I enjoyed our little jaunt up into the foothills to this beautiful spot and the interesting history attached to it.

Are there any fun places near you that you would recommend visiting?

Monday, July 23, 2012


I'm excited to announce that High Seas Deception has recently been recognized by not one, but TWO different contests.

A couple of weeks ago, I received the news from the Kindle Book Review that High Seas Deception was a Semi-Finalist in their Best Indie Books of 2012 contest. Herel is the list of all the semi-finalists in the romance category: 

Needless to say, I'm very excited and pleased to be included with many other excellent authors. Five finalists from each category will be announced on Sept,. 1st and I'm keeping my fingers XXed that High Seas Deception will make the cut. But in the meantime, I get to display this really cool badge.
Earlier this week, I received more exciting news.The eFestival of Words is sponsoring the "Best of the Independent eBook Awards, and they nominated High Seas Deception as a Finalist in the Thriller category. 

So join me in doing the Snoopy-happy-dance! 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

"...And Kansas She Said Is the Name of the Star..."

 Four weeks ago, the DH and I took a jaunt to the Mid-West to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Oklahoma. My DH, being the budget minded traveler he always is, discovered that we could save $100 each in airfare if we flew from our house to Kansas City, instead of Tulsa. Being unable to resist a deal, and never having seen much of Kansas, we opted for the cheaper flight and drove across Kansas to my sister's house in Claremore.

People often ask me where my favorite travel destinations are, and I always say that I find interesting things to see and do in every place I visit. This was certainly true of Kansas! If you have never been there (and I really had seen only glimpses), you'll love some of the fascinating sights, as I did.

Since I live in the capital of California, I make it a point to visit other state capitals, and I've been to many. After we left Kansas City (the airport is actually in Missouri!), we made our first stop at the State Capital building in Topeka. Unfortunately, the main part of the building was under renovation and we couldn't go inside. However, here is a very cool bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln in the lovely park directly in front of the capital building.

Our next stop was the Kansas State Museum, also in Topeka. The State archives are also located here. The museum itself is on the small side, but with wonderful, comprehensive displays tracing the origins of the state from the first native inhabitants right up through the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Here's another fantastic sculpture, this one done in marble. In the back is a Native American mounted on his horse pursuing the bison in the front.

After leaving Topeka, we took a detour through Abilene and made a run out to the Eisenhower Presidential Library. Unfortunately, we got there just after closing time so did not get to see inside.

Undaunted, we continued on through lots of awe-inspiring "amber waves of grain." About an hour later, we saw a sign for a town called Lindsborg, billed as "Little Sweden, USA." The town was founded by Swedish immigrants around 1870 and they've stayed in touch with their Viking roots.

On the main street of the old downtown are a series of Dala horses made of fiberglass and decorated to reflect the various shops and recreational areas. Dala horses are traditional Swedish folk art and wooden ones are sold in gift shops all over Lindsborg along with other Swedish souvenirs. Here's my DH with one of the largest of the Dala herd on main street in a fun shop that manufactures hundreds of horses in various sizes and decorates them to order.

No, we didn't buy this one. He wouldn't fit in the overhead luggage compartment of the plane and we didn't have a ticket for him!

Have you brought home an unusual souvenir? What was it and where did you get it?

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Cover!


I'm thrilled to present my newest cover! 

My talented designer Kim Van Meter (Kim's website) has done it again. Here's her fabulous design for my current work-in-progress, His Reluctant Bodyguard.This story is the second in the Adventure Cruise Line series and has Avery Knox from High Seas Deception. This time around, the cruise ship is in a stormy Caribbean. The hero, Rip Pollendene is a man from Avery's past. Is it fate that has thrown Avery and Rip together again? Or something more sinister? And will the two of them survive long enough to find out if their love really is meant-to-be?
 His Reluctant Bodyguard will be available as an ebook in August. Please check back for a definite date and a giveaway or two.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Sister the Goat Herder

I just returned from a trip to visit my sister, who lives near Claremore, Oklahoma. Though we talk on the phone at least once a week, we hadn't seen each other face-to-face in almost three years. Last time we saw each other, she came to "home" to California, so I haven't been to her home in Oklahoma in over 5 years!

Since I'd last visited, my sister and brother-in-law moved to a one acre parcel and acquired several animals, all given to them by neighbors or co-workers. First someone gave them eight chickens, so my sister and her DH got busy and built an enclosed pen and bought a shed and equipped it with nests.

The chickens were no sooner housed than a co-worker asked them to take his African Pygmy goat, who was about the size of a German Shepherd but a lot shaggier. I remember my sister telling me all about him on the phone. He was quite tame and seemed to act more like a dog. However, he was an adult male goat, and thus, she named him Stinky. The chickens' enclosure got enlarged and Stinky got his own personal shed/barn. But not for long.

A couple of months later, another co-worker mentioned, "I heard you have a goat. Will you take mine too?" Honey was a Pygmy/Nubian cross and she and Stinky got along just fine. So fine in fact, that five years later, my sister now has TEN goats with at least one or two more on the way. My sister no longer works at an outside job, but stays home to tend her growing herd of "babies."

Here's my sister, Beth with 2 month old Peanut, who is just about the same size as my Pug-Wa-Wa Autumn (15 lbs.). Peanut and his brother Popcorn, who is even smaller, are quite spoiled and seem to believe they are puppies. Notice he is about to crawl into my sister's lap. That's his mama Ace watching from the sidelines. She's about the size of a smallish Golden Retriever.

These little critters are so cute I'm not the least bit surprised that my sister and her DH spoil them and treat them like pets. I'm sure I would too! But I gotta admit, all those years ago when Beth and I were growing up, I never in my wildest dreams pictured my sister as a goatherder!

So here we all are, my sister, her DH (my brother-in-law the "goat boss") and me. If I had been driving instead of flying home, I'd have been very tempted to bring Peanut or Popcorn home with me! I'm sure my dogs would have been quite upset, so I suppose it's just as well.

What about you? Did you have any unusual pets growing up? What about now?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

#23 Or Things I Love About Cruising

People ask me why I like cruising so much, and I always say, "What's not to love?" You have beautiful surroundings, great food, and friendly people waiting on you hand and foot.

And many of those friendly people happen to be good-looking men with accents! What romance reader or author wouldn't love that?!?! Yours truly certainly does, and here are a few piccies taken on my latest cruise to show you just what I'm blathering about.

 Cruise #23 was on board the Splendor, a ship we've sailed twice before. One of the first people we saw after we boarded in Long Beach was the nice young man who had been our assistant waiter in December. Nanang recognized us immediately and came over to talk!

 We also ran into our former waiter from last December, Enrico, who told us the happy news that he and his wife had recently welcomed a new baby boy.

Since we reserved "anytime" dining, we always asked for one of Enrico and Nanang's tables and they served us almost every night.

One night when all of Enrico's tables were occupied, we were lucky enough to be seated at a nearby table with Eddie from Bosnia as our server. Even my DH commented that this good-looking waiter could probably be a male model. What do you think? Can you picture him on the cover of a romance novel?  (Yes indeed, Aunty likes the tall ones!)

Not surprisingly, lots of single women asked to be seated at "Fast Eddie's" tables, but notice who he has his arm around! LOL!

"Fast Eddie" and one of the other waiters who worked at the nearby tables were great jokesters. The other guy had the unlikely name of Tom Cruz!  All the diners couldn't help but leave smiling with these two around.

So here's Aunty getting a hug from Tom Cruz! LOL!

So my "secret" is out. I love cruising because of the fun people I meet. Some of those people happen to be good-looking men with accents who serve me wonderful food. Not to mention provide inspiration for future characters! Do you blame me for being a cruise fanatic?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Free Today Only


 TODAY ONLY (Sunday May 20, 2012) The Sidhe Princess is available on Amazon for FREE! Here's the link: 

Here's the blurb for the story:  In the rural Northern Ireland of the 1960s, sixteen-year-old Moira Mullins is newly released from her second stay in a mental institution. Her problem is that she can’t seem to escape the notice of the other-worldly inhabitants of the wild lands bordering her family’s farm. Creatures nobody else can see or hear.

When one of these beings, a fairy princess called the Maid of Ulster, offers to foretell the future, Moira jumps at the chance. But the Maid has ulterior motives that could have tragic results for Moira, who learns the future is sometimes better unknown.

A dark modern-day fairytale, this 14,000 word novelette (easily read in a couple of hours) is a prequel to Ms. McGary's debut release The Wild Sight. 

I hope you enjoy this story, and if you do, please leave me a review! :-)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

That Time of Year

It's May and that means it is once again time for Brenda Novak's online auction to benefit diabetes research!

Same as every year, I have donated several items. I have autographed copies of my three print books, I'm offering a critique of the first 25 pages of a manuscript, and my two Indie releases are included on a Kindle being offered by the Sacramento Valley Rose RWA chapter.

I hope you will check out all the great items and maybe place a bid or two. The proceeds go to a very worthy cause! Brenda Novak's Online Auction

Thursday, April 12, 2012

High Seas Deception FREE!

Just a quick post because I don't want anyone to miss out on this opportunity!

For the next two days (April 12 & 13), High Seas Deception is FREE on Amazon Kindle. Here's the link: to paste in your browser. Or click on the title of this post to take you there.

Also one small favor, if you read the story (or any of my stories) and LIKE it, please leave a review on Amazon. It only takes a couple of minutes and you don't have to write much more than a line or two. We writers really do live for good reviews!

Now for a question because Aunty is always curious. Which do you like reading more, a stand alone book, or a book in a series?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ghosts of Easters Past

HAPPY EASTER to all those who celebrate!

When I was a child, my mom made all my and my sister's clothes, including play clothes (shorts, pants, tops), school clothes (skirts, blouses and dresses because you NEVER wore play clothes to school), and even our special occasion clothes. This latter category was pretty much limited to Christmas and Easter.

Easter Sunday was a BIG DEAL at our house. In some ways even more than Christmas, because at Christmas you stayed home with your family. At Easter, you went out and paraded your finery for all the world to see. In addition to our Easter dresses, my sister and I always wore little white hats, usually with silk flowers and ribbons, and short white gloves, which I'm sure we fidgeted with during the entire church service. We also got new shoes, usually white patent leather.

Like I mentioned, my mother made our dresses and her own, too. I remember for several years the most popular dresses for little girls were made of a nylon tulle material with flocked flowers, kinda like dotted swiss fabric but with flowers instead of dots. You wore a colored satin slip under the dress and those stiff nylon net petticoats to make your skirt stand out. The dress buttoned up the back and had a satin or velvet ribbon for a sash, tied in back with a big bow.

This piccie I found on a vintage clothing site looks almost exactly like the Easter dresses my sister and I wore for several years. Alas, none of our actual dresses survived. After Sunday services, we always went to the park for a picnic and Easter egg hunt with all our cousins (about 14 of us kids total).

Yes, all in our "good" clothes. Any dress that survived the grass and food stains intact was eventually passed down to some of the younger cousins or kids of friends who didn't sew (almost unheard of in those days!).

Since my sister was a blonde and I was a brunette, my mom inevitably dressed her in blue and me in pink. :P tongue To this day, when I select clothing, pink is the absolute LAST color I chose.

One Easter that was particularly breezy, I remember the wind blew my hat off my head and into the lake. Much crying ensued.

There were always plenty of eggs. My grandmother and at least one of my aunts had chickens. The eggs, however, were brown which made for some interesting colors when mixed with the Easter egg dye.

Please share some Easter memories with Aunty! What did you do as a kid to celebrate that you wish you still did?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Golden Heart and Rita Nominations

Last Monday, March 26th, the calls went out for Romance Writers of America's two big contests: The Golden Heart contest for unpublished writers, and the Rita Award for published authors (click on the title of this post to see a list of all the nominees). Since I had no horse in the race this year, I skated through my day stress free (or at least as stress free as a Monday ever gets).

However, I had quite a few friends who were hopefuls in both contests, and I'm thrilled to report that two of them are Golden Heart finalists!

My good writer-buddy and Bosun on the Romance Writers Revenge, Terri Osburn is a finalist in the Contemporary Single Title category with her manuscript "Meant to Be." Terri and I "met" online when she won a critique from me several years ago. Eventually, Terri and I were able to meet face-to-face at RWA's National Conference in San Francisco in 2008, and again at the 2009 National Conference in Washington DC. Here's a piccie of Terri and Aunty after the Awards Ceremony in 2009.

My Sacramento Valley Rose chaptermate Anna (AJ) Stewart is also a Golden Heart finalist in the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category for her manuscript "The Devil She Knows." Anna was one of the first people to welcome me into the chapter when I joined in 2006 (I was a Golden Heart finalist myself that year). She has been a past president of the chapter and probably held every other position on the board at some point. Yes, she is that generous and dedicated to helping other local writers!

SUPER CONGRATS, Ladies! I'm really looking forward to cheering both of you on during the 2012 National Conference in Anaheim!

Do you know any of the 2012 Golden Heart or Rita finalists? If not, do you have someone you would have nominated? Please share with all of us!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Irish Heroes and Inspirations

In honor of St. Paddy's Day, I thought I'd share a bit about some of my Irish characters -- HEROES of course!

When I sit down to write a story, I need to know my lead characters very well. Part of getting to know them, involves finding "models" for what I imagine they look like.

Now, I realize that part of the great appeal of reading if forming your own ideas of what the characters look like, so I'm a bit hesitant to share my "models" for fear of ruining the fun for readers. So please, if you think that might happen for you, please read no further!

If you're still with me, then here are some piccies of how I pictured each of my Irish heroes. I'll start with my newest hero first:

Clive Owen as "The Irishman" Eamon Malone in High Seas Deception.

Yes, yes, I know he's an Englishman. In fact, if his last name is any indication, he's a Welshman. But I think you'll agree that at least in this shot, he looks the part of the mysterious, dangerous and oh-so-sexy Irishman.

Next up, probably my most 'tortured' hero to date, Kevin Hennessey from The Wild Irish Sea.

I know, I know, Christian Bale is another Welshman, but somehow in this piccie I thought he embodied the tough, yet vulnerable (not to mention sexy) Kevin.

All my critique partners and quite a few of my readers agree that their favorite of my heroes is Keirnan Fitzgerald from The Treasures of Venice (aka Jewels of the Madonna). No surprise considering Keirnan is the epitome of an Irish charmer and more than a bit of a rogue. I must admit, he was the first Irish hero I ever wrote and I have a real soft spot for him myself.

Who better to use for a model than Gerard Butler? This shot might very well have been taken in Italy, or someplace being used to represent Italy.

Yes, Gerry was born and raised in Scotland, but Butler is an Irish name! Plus, the man just oozes charm, don't you think?

Hmmm, I just realized that these last two piccies both have the guys with their shirts open at the throat and sleeves undone... Not that I'm complaining, mind you!

Finally, last but certainly never least, Donovan O'Shea the Irish hero of my first published novel The Wild Sight. A reluctant psychic, Donovan is somewhat tortured and therefore aloof, but also wonderfully vulnerable... oh and did I mention sexy?

I thought this picture of Hugh Jackman embodied all those qualities. Never mind that Hugh is Australian (a very long way from Ireland!) and has the wrong color eyes, he will always be Donovan to me! Yup, another open shirt collar, I can't seem to help myself!

So there you have my images of my Irish heroes, and not a single one of them is really Irish!

Maybe you have some suggestions of who you pictured as one of my heroes? Please share if you do! If not, maybe you have some other favorite Irish heroes you can share.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Read An E-book Week

Yes, I'm a convert! Since Santa brought my Kindle last December, I've been lovin' me some ebooks.

Of course, it helps that all of my books are also available in electronic versions. (Just click on the title of this blog post to go to my author page on Amazon!) In fact, The Sidhe Princess and High Seas Deception are currently only available as e-books. So when I heard that this week had been designated as "Read an E-Book Week" I was excited to participate!

Part of the beauty of e-books is that you don't have to own an e-reader to enjoy them. You can read them on your laptop, your desktop computer, even your phone!

As part of the celebration, SmashWords is hosting a special promotion. Lots of authors and publishers are offering discounts on e-books through the SmashWords catalog for this week only. It's a great opportunity to try some great new authors and try some new books for bargain prices. I'm offering my newest book, High Seas Deception at 25% off. Just go here: and use coupon code REW25.

What are you reading right now? What book are you looking forward to reading?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hawaii Pics

As my friends and blog visitors know, last month I took a two week cruise to Hawaii. Though I have visited several of the islands in the past, this was the first time I'd cruised around them and visited several in a short span of time. I actually think spending several days on each island is a far better way to see them, but I wanted to share a few photos of the trip.

Our first stop was Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Here's Aunty posing in front of a hedge of pretty blue flowers in old town Hilo. When we visited the Big Island before, we stayed in Kona which has an entirely different climate.

Next stop Honolulu.

Here's a shot of the koi pond in the center of the International Market Place, right across the street from Waikiki beach.

We didn't really have enough time to get out of Honolulu, which was a shame. I love the beaches on the North Shore of Oahu, and January is when they have some spectacular surf.

On to the island of Kauai, where I'd never been before.

Unfortunately, it was raining when we arrived, and the rain continued all morning. We took an excursion to Waimea Canyon, but the heavy mist kept us from seeing much.

The sun finally came out on our way back to the ship and we stopped to see the famous "blow hole." When the waves come in, the water spouts up through the rocks like a geyser.

Here's a nice shot of the plume of water. Even more exciting, we could see whales spouting on the horizon! They were too far away for my camera, but we enjoyed watching them.

Last stop was Maui, where we visited the old whaling village of Lahaina.

There's a HUGE banyon tree in the middle of town in front of the old court house. The tree is spread over about three city blocks! This is not even one of the main branches, but one of dozens this size going off in every direction.

We'd stayed on Maui in the past and took a drive up to the fantastic crater of the extinct volcano Haleakala. I'd have loved to go there again.

So while I enjoyed spending a few days in paradise, I'd much rather go back to just one island and spend a week or two.

Do you prefer short get-aways or one to two week vacations? What's the longest vacation you've taken?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

P R Mason and Fated Hearts

I'm excited to welcome YA author PR Mason to my blog today. Her latest indy release is Fated Hearts (Is that a gorgeous cover, or what?!?!). She's giving away a download to one lucky commenter, and she would like to share some thoughts on the story and about music:


Lately, I've been obsessed with the interaction of music and fiction. Although no one knows who first said it, a popular quote states that: "music is what feelings sound like." Feelings are at the heart of fiction also. The goal of all good storytelling is to evoke emotion in the reader with the plot and its characters. As a writer, fiction and music coalesce when a song conveys the emotion I am striving to communicate in a particular scene or sequence of scenes. Then that song can serve as an inspiration.

My recent release Fated Hearts, which is a paranormal romance novella, deals with the issue of predestination and puts the main characters in some pretty emotional situations.

Here's the blurb:

EVE has always played by the rules, afraid to take chances. HOLDEN wants to change that. She's certain they've never met before...or have they? Holden seems so familiar, but who is he? What is he? Yesterday her biggest challenge was trying not to bomb on her SATs. Today, paranormal forces have transformed an ordinary high school dance into a test of fate vs. free will and loving Holden could be Eve's end.

Fated Hearts is available at Amazon:

I've compiled an unofficial soundtrack for FATED HEARTS. See what you think.

1. Love Lockdown, by Kanye West Chapter 1 = A Dance

2. No Air, by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown Chapter 2 = Holden

3. Without You, by David Guetta Chapter 2 = The Roof

4. Clubbed to Death, by Rob DouganChapter 3 =Who is he?

5. Fly, by NickiMinajFt.Rihanna Chapter 4 = Finale

You can click on the link to hear the playlist via Youtube:

Please let me know what you think of the soundtrack. Leave a comment and be entered to win an ebook copy of FATED HEARTS.

I love to hear from readers. Here are my links to find me:



Twitter: - !/prmason