Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bringing in the Sheaves with The Dawnflier (Nov. 2014)

The Queen Visits Her Brother (c) 2014 by Jennifer Doneske
Writers often talk about creating the book of their heart. Please permit me to introduce you to King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court: the book of my soul.

Today marks a milestone in the seven-year journey to create the sequel to Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court—the e-book edition's release. The watermarked illustration on the left is but the first of many wonderful works of art created by Jennifer Doneske and Tom Doneske. The e-book edition contains fifteen original pieces; the hardcover edition, to be released in another year, will contain more than 100. The audiobook edition is also forthcoming, and I will keep you updated on its progress.

I call King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court (KASIWC) the book of my soul because it forced me to examine and overcome my deepest insecurities as a writer. We are fragile creatures at best, and in my case, the single doubt that I could successfully emulate the father of American literature caused me to halt all my writing projects for three years. I played a lot of electronic mahjong during those three years. I'll not belabor how I overcome this particularly pernicious bout of writer's block, but you may read about it in KASIWC, the section titled "About the Ghost's Writer," if you feel so inclined.

All month I invite you to celebrate with me by visiting the blog tour stops arranged by My Family's Heart, where you'll find spotlights, guest posts, character interviews, reviews, and more.

And don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a KASIWC e-book; the Rafflecopter box is below the tour schedule.

Speaking of giveaways, please join me in congratulating the winners (already notified) of last month's contests: Shaina, Michael (Dawnflight e-book); Kimberley, Laura, Angie, Becca, Lourie, Tori, Amy, Diana, Kimberly, Miranda (Snow in July e-book); Jody, Mary, Brandi, Kai, April, Victoria, Niki, Shadow, Raeline, Laura (Snow in July note card); Jaime, Angie, Erica, Rochelle, Sarah (Snow in July autographed paperback). There are more chances to win this month!

Tour Schedule

As always, for more chances to win, you are invited to...
— Follow me on Twitter
— Add me to Google+
— Subscribe to my YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of KASIWC. Please enter often, and good luck!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Plotting and Planning by Suz deMello

Plotting and Planning: a #Writing Manual
Just in Time for #NaNoWriMo! (@suzdemello #MFRWAuthor #iamwriting)

Hey there, aspiring authors! Ever wondered how an author plots and writes a book?

Wonder no more! Suzie deMello is visiting The Maze today to tell you the secrets, or at least a few of them.

Plotting, point of view, character creation, conflict and much more are examined in this brief but pithy writing manual.  A must for the serious writer who wants the basics without boredom.


How does an author write a book?

Unfortunately for aspiring authors, this is not an easy question to answer. It's tantamount to asking, Where do authors get their ideas? which, believe me, is our least favorite question. I often tell people I get them at Sears—they're sold by the dozen in the basement between the barbecues and the bikes.

In reality, I get my ideas from almost anywhere. Maybe a magazine article about a place or event. Perhaps someone I meet or something a person says may trigger a train of thought that will eventually lead to a book. Maybe travel to someplace new ignites the creative spark that will inspire me.

Here's a better question: What are the building blocks of plot and story?

Buy Planning and Plotting at Amazon.com

About Suz deMello:

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a. Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for several including Totally Bound and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA, and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

Check out Suzie's site: http://www.suzdemello.com
And her blog: http://www.TheVelvetLair.com

This month The Maze is running a giveaway for 

And as always, for more chances to win, I invite you to...
— Follow me on Twitter
— Add me to Google+
— Subscribe to my YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of KASIWC. Please enter often, and good luck!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#FallingintoLove with Tova's Dragon by Lyndi Lamont

The most notorious sorceress and seductress of all time, Queen Morgan le Fay, has graciously granted me leave to share her limelight on The Maze today with erotica author Lyndi Lamont and her fun, sexy tale of magic and a man whose shape-shifted form has neither fur nor fangs in Tova's Dragon!

Tova's Dragon by Lyndi Lamont
Amber Quill Press
Genres: Shapeshifter Erotic Romance
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (20k words)


Tova, an earth mage, rejuvenates through sex magic. She's on a mission to save her homeland, but her magical energy is running low--closing in on empty. How is she to know the handsome half-naked man she encounters is not only a condemned man, but also a dragonshifter? Talk about hot and steamy sex. And nothing is simple after that...

Kane has always loved Velosian women and their sex magic. Tova's warmth stirs his passions and her courage touches his heart, but he dreads telling her of his true nature, certain she will recoil. But Tova is made of sterner stuff.

Together, Kane and Tova have the power to save Velosia. If they survive, can an earth mage find happiness with a dragonshifter? In a land where sex and magic are intertwined, anything may be possible.


Tova awoke to find herself on a soft bed wrapped in the embrace of a very hot, very aroused man. She opened her eyes and looked around the dimly lit chamber. “Where am I?”

“In my cave. You fell and hit your head.”

She squirmed around to stare at the man, and it all came back to her—the climb up the mountain, the lightning storm, being guided to the cave, and falling in the tunnel. “Your cave,” she repeated. “And you are?”

“I am Kane.”

Why did his name sound so familiar? She studied the face just inches from her own. He was older than she, perhaps in his third decade. Long black hair hung down to his shoulders and his eyes were a warm shade of amber under straight black brows. Her gaze dropped to sensual lips above a cleft chin. He was handsome as sin and naked to the waist. A shiver traveled up her spine and her heartbeat increased.

Around his neck he wore a heavy gold chain with a large, luminous pearl dangling from it. When she reached out to touch the pearl, she sensed power radiating from it, from him. “It was you who guided me to the cave, was it not? I thank you.”

“It was my pleasure, daughter of earth.”

She smiled at the apt nickname. “I am called Tova Svensdottir.”

“How are you feeling, Mistress Tova?”

She assessed the situation. Though she was warmer, her head still hurt and her energy was depleted. Self-healing would take a long time in this state. “Weak, a feeling I can ill afford.”

“Where were you headed in such a hurry?” he asked, his voice casual. “What on earth brought you to my mountain?”

She hesitated, not certain whether or not to trust him. Mutti Zee’s instructions echoed in her head. “I seek the Lord of Drakkenberg.”

Kane raised his brows. “You have come to the right place, though the old lord is dead.”

Suddenly, she realized who he was and scooted away from him. ’Twas just her luck to be rescued by the most feared outlaw in the land. “Please do not hurt me, Kane of Drakkenberg.”

With a sigh, he rose from the bed, clad only in his breeches and hose. “I would never hurt you, Lady Tova. I am not the monster legend depicts me. Well, not entirely.”

You've done it now, Lyndi! Queen Morgan is working on a spell to travel into your story to check out Kane for herself. :-D

Buy Tova's Dragon:

Author bio:

Lyndi Lamont is the racy alter ego of author Linda McLaughlin, who writes historical and Regency Romance. Since becoming Lyndi Lamont, she has discovered that writing sexy romance is a license to be naughty, at least between the pages of a book.

Find her online at:
Website/blog: http://lindalyndi.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LyndiLamont
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/LyndiLamont
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LyndiLamont/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont

Today don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway 
for KASIWC ebooks and artwork!

For more chances to win, you are invited to...
— Follow me on Twitter
— Add me to Google+
— Subscribe to my YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an ebook copy of KASIWC. Please enter often, and good luck!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Road to Publication for Diana Rubino

And here I thought I'd had an arduous road—my first novel Dawnflight was published by Sonnet Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, ten years to the day from when I had begun writing it back in October 1989. Today on The Maze I am pleased to share Diana Rubino's even longer journey to publication for The Jewels of Warwick.

In Diana's own words:

Hi all published and aspiring authors. I’m Diana Rubino, author of 18 historical and paranormal novels. My publishers are The Wild Rose Press and Solstice Publishing.

My story will inspire you to push on, if nothing else will. It’s unique, because I'm probably the longest aspiring author to be published—18 years. I wrote my first novel in 1982, after a dose of reality in the brokerage business. In those days, executive-level women were virtually nonexistent in the finance industry. My first novel was largely autobiographical, as most first novels are. Although my third and fourth novels came close to getting published with Harlequin, they didn't quite make it.

Because I’m a huge history buff, I decided to write a historical, which became The Jewels of Warwick, set around Henry VIII and a fictional mistress. Jewels took 2 years to research and write, with no Internet. This was 1990. It came very close to publication with several romance houses, but missed the mark for containing too little romance. When I finished Jewels, I scoured the history books for another legendary figure to write about. While I browsed the Cambridge Library stacks, a book snagged my eye. Lying, not standing, on the wrong shelf was Crown of Roses by Valerie Anand. It drew me like a magnet. Richard III is a central character in the story, and the author thanks ‘the Richard III Society’ for helping her. Who’s this Richard III Society? I wondered.

Already hooked on Richard, his tragic death at 32 and his reputation as a usurper and a murderer of his little nephews, I joined this Richard III Society through snail mail, no internet.

As everyone else who has a story about how they ‘met’ Richard, he fascinated me. I’d found the subject of my next novel! And it tied in perfectly as a prequel to The Jewels of Warwick. Titled Thy Name is Love, it made the same rounds of publishers, remaining homeless after several rewrites and seven years.

But the miracle of the Internet came to all of us. My first online experience was CompuServe’s Romance Forum in 1993. This led to meeting many authors who shared leads and their own writing journeys. In 1999, Lisa Hamilton, an author I'd met on the CompuServe Romance Forum, sent me a list of E-publishers, since E-publishing was new and quickly catching on. One of those publishers was Domhan Books, a British publisher who also did print.

When I heard back from them, I figured it was just another rejection, but it was an offer to publish my historicals, since Siobhan McNally, the owner of Domhan Books, was a huge Richard sympathizer. They also published print books, so I lived the moment I’d dreamed about—seeing my first book in print. This was 18 years after that first novel went out into the world.

What surprised me most about the publishing business is that it's very hard to be recognized. You really have to work on promotion as well as writing. I've read many differing opinions on this, but I do believe you should promote as much as time allows, without taking away writing time. Giveaways seem to be a great way to market your books. I started out giving away bookmarks, pens, and the other usual trinkets, but one author said ‘your book is your best giveaway.’

I never felt I had enough information to convey at a workshop, but I can tell aspiring authors to make sure the opening is a grabber, make sure the reader will care about the characters, make sure the novel is structured well, so that it doesn't have a sagging middle or any pacing problems, make sure the stakes are high enough so they're in life or death situations that it seems they can't possibly get out of, make sure the secondary characters aren't mere cardboard, and humor always helps. One huge technical rule: show, don’t tell.

But the #1 rule I learned is that you must convey emotion. Make the reader FEEL what these characters are feeling.

I don’t have any one favorite author, but there are authors whose books I’ll buy if their name is on them. That includes Doug Preston & Lincoln Child (they write great thrillers together), Barbara Erskine (very eerie paranormals set in Essex, England), and Bertrice Small. She never disappoints. For conveying emotion, Lorraine Heath has a unique talent for this.

I’ve never had a deadline from a publisher, but I’d once sent an agent the first 3 chapters of my vampire romance. He said he’d like to see the entire ms., so I wrote 5,000 words a day till it was finished. He later rejected it. Oh, well. But at least I know I’m capable of turning out 5,000 words a day. My usual output is 2,500 words a day.

In my ‘other’ life, I own an engineering business with my husband, based in Cambridge.

I’d like to tell any aspiring authors who are frustrated that it’s taken them 3, 4, 5 or more years to get that first contract, remember, I wrote for 18 years before getting ‘the call’ so never give up! Keep believing, and keep the faith! And of course, keep writing, because you’ll only get better. And NEVER give up on your dream!

THE JEWELS OF WARWICK was just re-published with Solstice Publishing and is available in print, and for Kindle.

and follow me on Twitter @DianaLRubino.

Thank you, Diana, for sharing your inspiring story with us; I hope you keep writing and never give up too!

All this month on The Maze, I'm running a Rafflecopter giveaway for e-copies of King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court; enter today!

For more chances to win, you are invited to...
— Follow me on Twitter
— Add me to Google+
— Subscribe to my YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an ebook copy of King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court. Please enter often, and good luck!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day 2014 with Herb Weatherwax, Survivor of Pearl Harbor

Herb Weatherwax, 7/17/2014
USS Arizona Memorial
Photo © 2014 by Kim Headlee
Today on The Maze: 
Herb Weatherwax
Pearl Harbor Survivor

He was born in June 1917, scant months before the outbreak of a conflict that, though a world away, in soon-to-become Communist Russia, would shape his career and his life.

Less than a quarter century later, he would witness the watershed event of the US's involvement in World War II.

I cannot imagine what it must have been like for the newly enlisted Army private, while enjoying a weekend pass off post, to hear the explosions and frantic radio broadcasts, smell the smoke, and race back to his duty station only to witness the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma already engulfed in flames and sinking.

When I think that maybe I had felt something similar as I evacuated Washington, DC on the fateful morning of September 11th, 2001, by sheer chance being one of the first people to know what was happening because I was assisting a client at FAA Headquarters that day, I stop myself. I was a civilian; Herb was a soldier. DC was my place of business.

Honolulu was—and still is—Herb's beloved hometown.

I simply cannot imagine the depth of anguish he must have felt; perhaps not right away, since duty to country and companions had to come first, but later, in the vast terrible aftermath.

My husband and I were privileged to meet Herb on our way out of the USS Arizona Memorial during our all-too-brief visit in July. I wish we'd had more time, not only on the vast grounds of the memorial itself, but to sit and chat longer with this lovely, lively man. At 97, he says that speaking to visitors from around the globe, which he does three times a week and plans to do so as long as he is physically able, keeps him going.

Thank you,  Herb, for your service—not just seven decades ago, but now too.

Especially now.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review and Spotlight on The Wolf by KR Thompson

Today on The Maze I am delighted to introduce one of my dear writer-friends, K.R. Thompson. The K stands for Kim, so I'll just stick with "KR" to avoid confusion!

She has been instrumental in getting me out of my writer's garret and into the world of personal appearances and unusual local retail placement for my books, such as the Wytheville Museum. I am ever thankful to KR for these well-timed nudges, and I am pleased to return the favor by spotlighting her work on The Maze! KR writes YA paranormal (werewolf) romantic fiction set in and drawing upon the local Indian legends of  Bland County, Virginia.

This or That:

Please describe your dream Date Night!
I'm easy to get along with. Feed me and take me to a movie! :D

Friday or Saturday?
(Is this for the date night? ;) ) Saturdays are always best

Upscale or home cookin'?
Home cooked

Eat in or carry out?

Steak or chicken?

Chocolate or vanilla?


Movie theater or concert hall?
Movie theater

Nightcap or night cap?

TITLE – The Wolf
SERIES – The Keeper Saga
AUTHOR – K.R. Thompson  
GENRE – Historical Paranormal Romance
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 53 pages
COVER ARTIST – Keri Knutson, Alchemy Book Covers

SYNOPSIS:Their secret has been safe for hundreds of years, a legacy and legend that has been carefully kept by six guardians. They are known as the Keepers. But before the legend of the Keepers—came the Wolf.

Once upon a time, there lived a man whose fate would rest with two sisters. One will hold his heart. With her, he discovers a love that will last forever, though it will come with a price.

From the other sister, he will learn fortitude as he discovers that she holds the power to destroy all he holds dear. For as easily as one sister captures his heart, the other has found the way to trap his soul.

AMAZON KINDLE UShttp://goo.gl/J8eWTH
AMAZON KINDLE CAhttp://goo.gl/wFpAIi
AMAZON KINDLE UKhttp://goo.gl/WII4sT
BARNES & NOBLEhttp://goo.gl/Wu2xOK

One mountain stood off in the distance. Its peak was the highest. It grazed the heavens. It was the closest point that he could get to his love, now in the inky, deep black sky. It seemed it would be the perfect place to make his presence—and his demands—known.

The trip up the mountain took a great deal of the night, his strength had waned, but anger and determination pushed him up to the giant boulder, far above, jutting out into the night air.

The moon was beyond his reach—so close, yet, so far away. Swift Foot stood on the edge of the rock. A cool breeze greeted him, brushing softly against his cheek. He felt Shining Star had sent the breeze to touch him.

“I am here,” he told her softly, looking up into the sky. Then, he took a deep breath, and announced loudly to the Great Spirit, “I have come to speak to you.”

The breeze was replaced with a sudden burst of warm air, an acknowledgement of sorts.

He took a step forward, feeling the balls of his feet touch the edge of the rock. He was close now.

“You will put me there with her or I will die!” The raw emotion caused his voice to crack, but he knew the Great Spirit heard his demand.

A lightning bolt cracked from a cloudless sky in front of him, striking the ground below. No whispering voices came to his mind or thundering ones either. It seemed the Great Spirit wasn’t in the mood for negotiations. It wasn’t the response Swift Foot had wished to hear or see. Still, he stood on the rock, while his love watched him from her place in the heavens.

That was just as well, Swift Foot decided. He would be with her soon, with or without any help. He would never spend a day without her.

Another lightning strike lit up the sky as he lifted his arms out, and fell…

The young man Swift Foot makes the most innocent yet tragic of all possible decisions: he falls in love with the "wrong" sister, and she with him. Shining Star is his soul mate, but her sister in her jealousy harbors other plans for the happy couple.

Thus begins The Wolf, prequel to Hidden Moon, which is Book 1 in The Keepers Saga. The Wolf is a short story written in a charming, straightforward style that evokes ancient mythology from across the globe. Like what Tolkien's The Silmarillion does for The Lord of the Rings cycle, The Wolf forms the genesis of KR's The Keepers myth and is a wonderful introduction to her fascinating series.

K.R. Thompson was raised in the Appalachian Mountains. She resides in southwestern Virginia with her husband, son, three cats and an undeterminable amount of chickens.

An avid reader and firm believer in the magic of nature, she spends her nights either reading an adventure or writing one.

She still watches for evidence of Bigfoot in the mud of Wolf Creek.

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGEhttp://www.amazon.com/K.R.-Thompson/e/B00FBWL7XG
WEBSITE / BLOGhttp://authorkrthompson.wix.com/thekeepersaga
GOOGLE+ - https://plus.google.com/u/0/116222838760764449918?tab=mX#116222838760764449918/posts?tab=mX


a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more chances to win, you are invited to...
— Follow me on Twitter
— Add me to Google+
— Subscribe to my YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an ebook copy of King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court. Please enter often, and good luck!

Friday, November 7, 2014

#FallingintoLove with Never Coming Home by Paloma Beck

Today The Maze is pleased to feature
Never Coming Home
by Paloma Beck!

Title: Never Coming Home
Series: Home, Book 1.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Paloma Beck
Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing
Cover Artist: Dawné Dominique
ISBN: 978-1-63105-314-6
Page Count: 58

About Never Coming Home:

I have a story to tell, a story I promised never to tell. Hell, it isn't even one I wanted to live through. I just can't keep it inside anymore... now that they're both gone. I have to tell My Story.

Rachel Porter tells her sons about the love of her life, about their father and about their life together. This novella tells the story of the beginning of the Porter family through the Vietnam War, too many losses and a new beginning. It's a tale her sons won't forget, and one that could change them for all time.


Rachel sat at the table, her fingers hugging the hot mug of coffee as she surveyed her children. Her three sons were grown now. They were magnificent men. She shook the tears off as she thought of their dad. The credit for her sons went to Robert, a good man and a solid father. How she missed his friendship. It hadn’t been that long since he passed, but she felt the absence of his constant strength. Now, it was just her with her boys.

Rachel took a cleansing breath and spoke, “I have a story to tell. I know you all have wondered. It’s a story I promised never to tell. It isn’t one I wanted to live through, but it’s my story. I can’t keep it inside anymore. Now that they’re both gone, I have to share my story.”

She saw her sons’ confused and doubting looks, but it was Tyra, Ryan’s wife, who squeezed her hand in encouragement. “We’d love to listen to your story.”

Rachel looked past her sons, out the large window and beyond the lake. She’d underestimated how difficult the actual telling would be. It was much more difficult than the decision to do it had been. But she had to. She had to rise to the challenge of being the strength for their family now. Her sons must understand the true character of their father. They deserved that much at least.

She began her story…

Buy Never Coming Home from Amazon.com | Secret Cravings

About the Author:

Paloma Beck is a Romance Author living a life of contradiction... she's a happily married carpooling mom writing steamy romance. It's almost naughty! Paloma writes both contemporary and paranormal romances that are anything but PG.

Paloma published her first book in 2012 with Secret Cravings Publishing. Since then, she has released eight books with SCP, and has moved on to self-publish an additional two books. She has no plans to slow down.

With her husband and three sons, the Blue Ridge mountains have been her home for nearly twenty years. There's still a special place in her heart though for New England where she spent her childhood. The lakes of Maine call her name and someday she hopes to find her way back there.

Paloma is a proud supporter of Starbucks. She believes a daily dose of espresso and a good book make any day better. So, go on, Romance Beckons. Grab a cup of coffee and book and get reading!

Follow the Author:

Blog | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Pinterest

Enter this great Rafflecopter giveaway!

For more chances to win, I invite you to...
— Follow me on Twitter
— Add me to Google+
— Subscribe to my YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an ebook copy of 

King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court. Please enter often, and good luck!