Category Archives: Whimsical Wednesdays

Lynn Cahoon-author The Tourist Trap Mysteries.

Whimsical Wednesdays

a blog delving into the mystery of our guest author

Today I’m interviewing multi-talented author, Lynn Cahoon. Lynn is a member of my amazing goal setting group and is one of the few people left from our original group who still posts her goals.  And I think that may be one reason why she’s so successful! Lynn writes romance featuring everything from bull riders to the fae, and while she’s a fabulous romance author, she’s here today talking about her third book in the Tourist Trap cozy mystery series which comes out on Monday, November 10th! I’m a huge fan of cozy mysteries, nothing like a murder to keep me entertained for hours, and I loved Lynn’s first book GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER. Please welcome Lynn Cahoon to Jessica Aspen Writes!

Hi, I’m Lynn Cahoon, author of The Tourist Trap mysteries along with several romances that feature hot cowboys, warlocks, and surfer dudes, not in the same book. Yet. My third release in the mystery series hits e-readers on November 10th and is called If the Shoe Kills.

    • The tourist town of South Cove, California, is a lovely place to spend the holidays. But this year, shop owner Jill Gardner discovers there’s no place like home for homicide. . .


As owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner looks forward to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But when the mayor ropes her into being liaison for a new work program, ’tis the season to be wary. Local businesses are afraid the interns will be delinquents, punks, or worse. For Jill, nothing’s worse than Ted Hendricks–the jerk who runs the program. After a few run-ins, Jill’s ready to kill the guy. That, however, turns out to be unnecessary when she finds Ted in his car–dead as a doornail. Officer Greg assumes it’s a suicide. Jill thinks it’s murder. And if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, a spoiled blonde wants to sue the city for breaking her heel. Jill has to act fast to solve this mess–before the other shoe drops. . .

  • Hi Lynn, what are your hobbies or other interests that get you away from the stress of writing?
    • My husband and I have made 2014 the year of fun. We bought ATV’s for trail riding for our anniversary. And now, we just purchased a lot and trailer (which from now on is officially called The Cabin) in a recreational subdivision in Central Missouri. I love finding flowers and animals while I ride.
    • I used to play darts 2-3 times a week and I’m pretty good, for a girl.
  • What made you decide to write and furthermore what pushed you to be a published author?
    • I knew I had stories to tell, but thought I’d do it someday. When the kid was grown, when I retired, when I wasn’t busy with life. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I realized someday may never come. So I started writing and selling essays and short stories. Then I tried my hand at novel writing. One victory spurred another and on June 4th, 2012 – my first full length book was published.
  • Give two random thoughts, quotes, or surprising tidbits about yourself, something that might surprise your readers
    • Positive thinking creates a doorway through which opportunity loves to walk.
    • Never give up, never surrender.
  • I love that quote, it’s one of my favorites too! Do you have a writing mentor? Do you mentor anyone?
    • I have a writing mentor which now has turned into more of a friendship/accountability partner. Laura Bradford, the author –not the agent, writes cozy mysteries and romance. Her first bit of advice she ever gave me? Finish a book. Any book. At that time I had 4-5 chapters on 4-5 projects.  Now we set and report weekly goals, successes and opportunities.  I’m blessed to have her in my life for the friendship as well as the career guidance.
  • Have you faced big challenges in your writing?
    • I feel like I’m challenged every time I start a book or hit the saggy middle in the WIP. I learned a big lesson with my last book that I just turned in on September 30th. If I write daily or consistently, I do better with the story and the edits. I’m not a binge writer. I need to set down every day and just start writing, even if I’m convinced I don’t know where the story is going. Writing will lead me down the right path, and if it’s a dead end? That’s for editing time.
  • Describe your working environment. You can include things about your day/schedule.
    • I have a day job, so I have to be protective of my off work hours. I ‘read’ by listening to audio books during my commute. I work each morning for at least a ½ hour, then again at night when I get home (after I work out.) My goal is 10,000 words a week – which if I get 2K a day, I don’t have to work weekends. But I typically do.  Except for Sunday. Sunday is up to me if I write or not, even if I haven’t met my weekly goal. I call it No-Guilt Sunday.
  • Pantser/Plotter/or both? Tell us how you work.
    • I think you can see from my answers above, I’m a Pantser. But I do outline, in my own way. I have a notebook page with 25 chapters written out on one side. Chap 1, Chap 2…Etc. Then under each chapter heading, I put in what I think is going to happen. Like Dead Body under Chapter 3’s heading. Even if I don’t put that in the specific chapter, I make sure I work in it somewhere. And I keep track of page numbers as I want my chapters to be at least 10 pages. Which is about 2500 words. Crazy, but it works for me. About 1/3 of the way through the book I write up a new cleaner list with only the chapters I need to write. So that page might start on chapter 12 and be two columns instead of three. As I finish a chapter, I cross it off.  Makes me feel like I’m moving forward. Then I do it again, especially if I’m  procrastinating writing.
  • Have you had many rejections? How did you deal with them? How did they push you?
    • I’ve come so close with Harlequin American I could scream. I get great revise and resubmit letters. Of course, I didn’t understand them when I got the letter, but I think I’m honing in on what works for them. My theory is if you get rejected, you find somewhere else to send the story to or you self-publish. I’ve also been writing shorts for Woman’s World. That’s a graduate level course in rejection. I have sold two stories in the last three years, but I get many rejections due to ‘implausible’ plot or actions. With WW shorts, when a rejection comes in the mail, I write and send a new story out. I’m determined to crack the code again.
  • I tried with Women’s World. Congrats on getting in, they’re tough! Do you have a writing schedule? How do you juggle writing, family, work, and life’s surprises?
    • I’d love to give you the secret, but I think it depends. I believe in balance. I only have a bit of time every day that I can write, however, I love the days when I can put down 2K a day for a week or so. It really keeps me in the story. I’ve mentioned before I have a goal accountability partner. I’m also on two different goal groups. I hate it when I have to admit my time has been spent more in front of the television than the computer screen. Right now I’m writing (or editing) first thing in the morning when I’m fresh. I write a blog at lunch at work (IF I take lunch) and then I either write at night to hit my word goal or write another blog. I spend way too much time refreshing Facebook and my email.
  • Are you self-publishing? Why or why not?
    • I am and I will in a bigger way in 2015. I released a winter novella set in The Bull Rider’s world of Shawnee Idaho. I wanted Cash, who gets dumped in book one, to have his own HEA. Shawnee Holiday is available exclusively on Kindle (for now.)
  • What’s unique about this particular book.
    • If The Shoe Kills features a work experience program called Work Today. I attended one of these how to find a job programs when I was fresh out of college. Combine my gratitude for their experience with my own work experience in the social service field, I have a lot of knowledge and respect for the programs. I hope others spread the Christmas spirit this year with those less fortunate.
  • Was there anything that surprised you while writing this book?
    • I’m always surprised with the ending. J I typically know who the culprit is, but the why, that’s what I struggle with because I truly don’t think like a killer. At least on my good days.
  • Loved book number one, so let us know will there be any sequels to this book?
    • Yep, If the Shoe Kills is Book 3. Guidebook to Murder released in April and Mission to Murder in July. Both have hit the USA Today best seller list and Guidebook hit the NYT list at #21. I’ll release three more Tourist Trap Mysteries starting in March 2015.

 If The Shoe Kills

if the shoe kills by author lynn cahoonThe tourist town of South Cove, California, is a lovely place to spend the holidays. But this year, shop owner Jill Gardner discovers there’s no place like home for homicide. . .

As owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner looks forward to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But when the mayor ropes her into being liaison for a new work program, ’tis the season to be wary. Local businesses are afraid the interns will be delinquents, punks, or worse. For Jill, nothing’s worse than Ted Hendricks–the jerk who runs the program. After a few run-ins, Jill’s ready to kill the guy. That, however, turns out to be unnecessary when she finds Ted in his car–dead as a doornail. Officer Greg assumes it’s a suicide. Jill thinks it’s murder. And if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, a spoiled blonde wants to sue the city for breaking her heel. Jill has to act fast to solve this mess–before the other shoe drops. . .


Cozy Mystery

ISBN-10: 1601833067

ISBN-13: 978-1601833068

214 pages

Amazon – 

Nook –    

November 10, 2014



lynn cahoon authorUSA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.


Author Web or Blog Site:

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Lexi Post #romance #author Interview and #Giveaway

Whimsical Wednesdays

romance author interview

Purple stick 2Please welcome erotic romance author, Lexi Post to Jessica Aspen Writes. And today, Lexi is generously giving away a Venetian mask, so please read throug the post, answer Lexi’s question in the comments, and enter to win! Don’t forget to check out the sexy cover for her latest romance Passion of Sleepy Hollow. Yowza!

  • Hi Lexi, how long have you been writing? What is your main writing genre? Do you write in more than one genre and why?

I’ve been writing for about six years. I only write romance though I write many subgenres of it. All my current published books are erotic romance, though among those there are paranormals, a Sci-fi and a January 2015 release with a contemporary cowboy. I write in many subgenres because I write erotic romance inspired by the classics. So whatever the original story inspires is what I write. For example, when I decided to write Passion of Sleepy Hollow, I used Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” for my inspiration. That story just begged for a paranormal bent, so it not only had ghosts, a witch and a curse, it also had a hero from present day and a heroine trapped in the 1790s.


  • Tell us the story behind your pen name? Do you have more than one?


I only have one pen name, Lexi Post. Lexi came from my family. They called me Lexi when I was little and actually still do. When I was a teenager, my siblings started calling me Sexy Lexi which embarrassed me at the time, but it gave me the idea to use the name for my erotic romance. Post is actually the last name of my biological father. I figured that way I wouldn’t embarrass any of my family members. As it turns out, all of them, including my extended family are thrilled by my writing career.


  • What do you want your readers to take from your books?


I want my readers to feel completely satisfied to the point they have a “book hangover” as one of my fans stated. That’s what happens when you have read a great romance and the characters just stay with you and you are hesitant to pick up another romance right away because you are still emotionally connected to them. I love it when I get one of these and I’m absolutely thrilled when my readers have this happen.


Most of all, I want to reinforce the age old ideals that good wins over evil and love conquerors all, even if none of us our perfect. Having spent most of my life reading and teaching classic literature which 9 times out of 10 will have a sad ending, I wanted to write stories that would end happily and give hope.


  • What inspires you?


For my erotic romances, it is classic literature. I know, that sounds strange given what I just said.  But the fact is, the classics are classic for a reason. They are good. They just tend to have sad endings. So I get my inspiration from the original stories and write an entirely new story with pieces from the old that are key. In Passion of Sleepy Hollow, I kept the setting, the main characters (or their descendants) and the superstition that was prevalent in the original.


  • What do you come up with first in starting a story: Title? Characters? Plot? Setting? Conflict?


I definitely start with my characters, deciding who from the original story will be used and what their goals, motivation and inner and outer conflicts will be. This is often simultaneous with deciding on my setting. Then I focus on what the pivotal black moment will be, that conflict in values that tears the couple apart. Once I have these pieces, I just start writing as I am a pantser at heart.


  • Are you self-publishing? Why or why not?


I am. I just released my first self-published novella that started my erotic sci-fi series; however, my agent will continue to submit to publishers. The reason I started with self-publishing was so I would have control over when some of my books come out. I didn’t want my readers to forget me :-} By time my second year anniversary of being published rolls around, I will have six books out, two of which are self-published. I am hoping that I can increase that number in my third year.


  • Did you have a favorite scene in Passion of Sleepy Hollow?


Yes, I did. It was a scene I hadn’t known would be in the story, but I just followed the characters, actually the hero, Braden. It is a very touching sex scene where he uses a mirror to show Katrina how beautiful she is. It isn’t that she has a poor image of herself. It is just that she’s never really thought about it with all her responsibilities. Braeden is absolutely wonderful as Kat realizes she’s pretty all over.


  • What are you releasing next, and when?


My next book is titled Cowboys Never Fold. It is a contemporary cowboy story that will be part of a multi-author Cowboy 12 Pack coming out in January. This novella was inspired by Bret Harte’s “Outcasts of Poker Flat” and takes place on a new nudist resort, a place this cowboy, Wade, isn’t excited about working at until he meets the owner, Kendra.

 In celebration of Halloween, I will give a hand decorated, Venetian mask made in Italy to one lucky commenter who tells me what genre of romance they like best.


Passion of Sleepy Hollow blurb:


passionofsleepyhollow_msr (2)Recluse Braeden Van Brunt is not happy to be the Headless Horseman…until he meets Katrina Van Tassel, owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, whose allure bewitches him from the front desk into the bedroom. When he discovers Kat and the village of Sleepy Hollow are cursed to exist in the present day for only one weekend a year, he realizes the sacrifice he must make if he wants to keep her.


Katrina Van Tassel lives between slivers of time. She thought she was through grieving her betrothed’s death, but her dreams flare to life when his mirror image arrives, requesting a room. Drawn to Braeden, she is taken to more erotic heights of intimacy than she ever imagined, but she can’t be sure if her heart is with him or the love from her past.


Knowing he has to conquer both time and ghosts to keep the only woman he’s ever loved, Braeden must put the past to rest. But the dead may not rest in Sleepy Hollow.


Link to Excerpt from Passion of Sleepy Hollow


About Lexi Post:

Lexi Post photo Lexi Post spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about the classical literature she loved. From Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” to the 20th century American epic The Grapes of Wrath, from War and Peace to the Bhagavad Gita, she’s read, studied, and taught wonderful classics.

But Lexi’s first love is romance novels. In an effort to marry her two first loves, she started writing erotic romance inspired by the classics and found she loved it. Lexi feels there is no end to the romantic inspiration she can find in great literature for her sexy love stories. Her books are known as “erotic romance with a whole lot of story.”

Lexi is living her own happily ever after with her husband and her cat in Florida. She makes her own ice cream every weekend, loves bright colors, and you will never see her without a hat (unless she is going incognito).
To contact her, send an email to




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Seduced by A Sinner

 Whimsical Wednesday

a blog to meet new authors!

Today I’m lucky enough to interview fellow romance author Cynthia Woolf here today on Jessica Aspen Writes. Cynthia has been on the blog before with her sci-fi romance, but she also writes killer western romances and is very well known for her Bride Series, including Tame a Wild Bride. She’s also a fellow member of Colorado Romance Writers and will be at our CRW tea in October partying it up and signing books.

Hi Cynthia, Tell us a little about yourself and your book.

I write historical western and sci-fi romance. I’m concentrating on the westerns because that is what sells. This book, Seduced by a Sinner, is the third in the Destiny in Deadwood series. It completes the story arc for the villain introduced in the first book, Redeemed by a Rebel. It also tells the story of Zach, the middle of the three Anderson brothers.

What is your writing environment like? I write at my desk and it’s totally cluttered with stuff. I have my keyboard in a tray underneath the desk, so the top of the desk holds research, calendars, calculator, snacks, whatever else I want or need.

Do you have cheerleaders supporting you as a writer? My husband is my greatest cheerleader.

What do you love about writing? Hate about it? I love the initial writing of the story, but have a love/hate relationship with the editing portion. I love it in that I see the editing making my story stronger. I hate it in that I want the story done right now.

Pantser/Plotter/or both? Tell us how you work.  I’m a pantser. I write a little bit, maybe a page or two about the characters and the basic plot.

What do you come up with first in starting a story: Title? Characters? Plot? Setting? Conflict? The first thing I do it come up with the setting, then I do initial research on that. Second is the plot followed by the characters and the conflict. The title is last for me. One of my critique partners is the opposite. For her, she can’t do anything without the title first.

How do you research the time period, setting, plot specifics, character specifics? I use the internet a lot. If I can, I go visit the place, like Deadwood, SD for my latest work. Then I use the resource materials that I get at the location, history books, old newspapers, train schedules, whatever I need for the plot and character specifics.

Are you self-publishing? Why or why not? I am self publishing because I like the control. I like writing to my own schedule and answering only to myself.

What made you choose to go the indie route and what are some of the things you love about it? Challenges? I went the indie route because I was tired of trying to get published the traditional way and being told that westerns are dead or we can’t place you. The best part is being able to set your own pace and write what you want. The worst part about it is having to promote yourself so much, but I guess even those that are traditionally published have to do their own promotion these days. Unless, of course, you’re Nora Roberts.

Is this a series? Will there be any sequels to this book? This is the third in the Destiny in Deadwood series. As to sequels, none are planned, but you just never know.

What are you releasing next, and when? My next series is about mail order brides in San Francisco in 1867, after the Civil War, when men were scarce in the east. The first of those books is titled The Brides of San Francisco – Nellie and will be out in November 2014.

Seduced by a Sinner

seduced by a sinner by cynthia woolfZach Anderson is a desperate man. He needs to find a killer before the man destroys Zach’s entire family. He also must convince one Lily Sutter, the woman he loves, that she loves him and wants to marry him.

Neither task is an easy one.

Lily Sutter is a sinner. Just ask anyone in Deadwood. She had a baby out of wedlock and she doesn’t deny it. She was seduced and left by one man; she refuses to be taken in by another. The fact that Zach makes her blood boil and her heart race, just by being near, has nothing to do with anything.

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Seduced by a Sinner, historical western romance, 978-1-938887-47-5, indie published, release date September 2014


cynthia woolf, authorCynthia Woolf is the award winning and best-selling author of nine historical western romance books and one short story with more books on the way. She was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.
Their closest neighbor was one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.
Cynthia was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.
Cynthia loves writing and reading romance. Her first western romance Tame A Wild Heart, was inspired by the story her mother told her of meeting Cynthia’s father on a ranch in Creede, Colorado. Although Tame A Wild Heart takes place in Creede that is the only similarity between the stories. Her father was a cowboy not a bounty hunter and her mother was a nursemaid (called a nanny now) not the ranch owner.


Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she’s made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.



SEDUCED BY A SINNER (Book 3, Destiny in Deadwood series)

HEALED BY A HEART (Book 2, Destiny in Deadwood series)

REDEEMED BY A REBEL (Book 1, Destiny in Deadwood series)

CAPITAL BRIDE (Book 1, Matchmaker & Co. series)

HEIRESS BRIDE (Book 2, Matchmaker & Co. series)

FIERY BRIDE (Book 3, Matchmaker & Co. series)

TAME A WILD HEART (Book 1, Tame series)

TAME A WILD WIND (Book 2, Tame series)

TAME A WILD BRIDE (Book 3, Tame series)

TAME A SUMMER HEART (short story, Tame series)



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Filed under guest post, romance, Whimsical Wednesdays

Allie Quinn on Being a Writer

Whimsical Wednesdays

Please welcome guest author, Allie Quinn. to Jessica Aspen Writes. Allie not only writes erotic romance about vampires, but she also moonlights in paranormal suspense under the pen name, Allie Harrison. Today she’s sharing with us what it’s like to write erotic in the real world.


under the cover of moonlight by allie quinnHi! I’m Allie Quinn.  I write erotic romance. I also write as paranormal/suspense as Allie Harrison. UNDER THE COVER OF MOONLIGHT by Allie Quinn, released June 10, 2014, by Loose Id, is the second in my Moonlight Assassins series. My Moonlight Assassins are the good guys. Never mind they are also vampires, and not your run of the mill vampires, either. No, my vamps can be out in the sunlight and can eat regular food. Do not get on the bad side of my vamps!

In UTCOM, Zack McCullin travels to a small mountain town determined to stop Rachel Maxwell, who he believes has stolen his research information. What he soon discovers—besides his attraction to Rachel—is something far more deadly.

I’m careful who I tell I’m a author, even more I’m an erotic writer. A fellow high school graduate congratulated me when I told him I was an author. When he introduced me to his wife, however, whom I’d never seen before, and told her I’m a published author, she looked at me and said, “Oh, I’ll bet you write smut.”

I smiled and said, “I write award-winning novels.”

Writing has always been my stress relief. After a bad day anywhere, I can sit down, place my fingers on the keyboard, fall deep into another world, and fall in love or kill off someone I don’t like. I miss gothic stories and Stephen King is my first true hero, creating stories I couldn’t stop reading until the end. My goal is to scare you like he does, but make you fall in love, too. I never planned to write erotic romance. It kind of fell into my lap with the rejection of a fun ghost story. So here I am. Some people make fun of erotic, but I can honestly say keeping the sex fresh is very hard (no pun intended).

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe sometimes the words come and sometimes they don’t. I don’t believe in wasting my time since I’m only given a certain number of minutes. So if the words aren’t coming, I get up and do something else. I keep a notebook, pen and flashlight by my bed for when the words come in the middle of the night. I prefer to write with colored pens, usually purple or blue. I also think the use of blues and purples on covers go over well.

I’m usually inspired by characters I see around me. I can stand in line at WalMart, watch people and play the ‘what if’ game.

Of course I’ve had rejections. If I get feedback from them, I use it. Such is the case when my ghost story was rejected. I see a rejection as a new path I’m supposed to take, not as a road block. It’s like getting laid off. You aren’t meant to be there. You’re meant to be somewhere better. Never be afraid to try a new path and never stop looking ahead.

Under Cover of Moonlight

When Zack McCullen thinks his research program has been stolen by Rachel Maxwell, he wants nothing more than to kill her. At the very least, he wants her arrested. But something about her photo haunts him and makes his heart pound. He even dreams about her. When he finally meets her in person, he’s blindsided by his burning desire for her. As hard as he fights it, with one touch of her hand, he loses the battle.

After one passion-filled night, Zack knows she’s the soulmate destiny has chosen for him. There’s no way in hell he can allow her to be taken from him, much less arrested; he can’t live without her. Then he discovers who the true thief is, and anger gives way to terror. Terror of the thief, but more, terror that neither he, nor the passion he’s discovered with Rachel, will survive under the cover of moonlight.

Find Under the Cover of Moonlight at:

Amazon and LooseId

When Allie Quinn isn’t watering flowers, reading, doing crafts or other fun things with her kids and husband in Southern Illinois, she’s dreaming up the next spooky story.

Allie Quinn

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Hope: The Final Frontier

Whimsical Wednesdays

 guest author Tameri Etherton

Today on Jessica Aspen Writes I’m excited to fantasy romance author Tameri Etherton. Tameri is one of those people I’ve met through the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal online chapter of Romance Writers of America, and I also had the opportunity to work with her on the RWA PRO Steering Committee, so it was very exciting to finally meet her face to face this year in San Antonio, where I found her to be just the kind of person I’d thought she’d be: warm, funny, and very into paranormal romance. Please welcome…Tameri Etherton!

I want to thank Jessica for having me here today! It’s been great fun getting to know Jessica online, and then meeting her in person at the RWA National Conference in San Antonio was a special treat. And now I’m here, at her place!

As a special thanks to Jessica’s readers, I’d like to offer either a $10 Starbucks gift card, a $10 Amazon gift card, or a secret surprise, and some cool swag for one lucky commenter. On Sunday, September 28th, I’ll choose one random commenter to win. So please leave your email if you’d like to be included in the drawing!

Hope: The Final Frontier

Hope. Such a simple word filled with immense power.

There are all manner of things we as writers can do to our characters. Kill them, hang them from the edge of a cliff (either physical or mental), seduce them, maim them, give them a loving partner, we can create whatever scenarios we like. They are, after all, our creations.

But no matter what we do to them, they still need to have hope. For without that one little thing, all is lost. Think about it, if the characters don’t have hope, then why keep trying? And if they don’t have hope, why should I? What’s keeping me reading?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been known to throw a book against the wall in frustration because the characters do or say something so ridiculous that I want to hate them. Then, five minutes or five hours later, I’ll pick up the book and start reading. Why? Because I have hope that whatever crazy thing the writer is going to throw at the characters next, they will prevail.

At least, I hope so.

It’s the books that leave me with a satisfied smile that stay with me the longest. The books that took me to the edge of the universe and back, made me laugh, cry, and cringe, but always left me with a sense of hope that everything would be okay in the end, those are on my favorite bookshelf.

It’s the books that leave me hanging that I loathe the most. The ones that toy with my emotions, mess with me mentally, then end without any resolution. The bad guy doesn’t get punished, the heroine doesn’t get what she needs. The hero is left for dead. It’s those books I never recommend to friends and quietly shuttle off to the land of Books Without Hope.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m a hopeful romantic.

I need my hero and heroine to prevail in the end. I crave the adventure and all the shenanigans that lead up to the climactic ending, but there absolutely must be a happy ending or I’m left wanting.

Is this unrealistic? Perhaps. But that’s why I read and write. To escape the real world and enter a place where wrongs are righted and villains are punished.

If their heads explode in a shower of gore, all the better!

What about you? Do you prefer grittier, real life stories that may or may not end happily, or are you like me and want a happily ever after? Or, at the very least, a happy for now?


Thank you again to Jessica for hosting me today! Be sure to comment to win some groovy stuff. I hope to see you around, be sure to find me on social media where we can chat about hope and all sorts of crazy stuff.

The first book in my Song of the Swords series is out now. It’s available at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and other fine retailers. Here’s a little peek at The Stones of Kaldaar:

The Stones of Kaldaar by Tameri EthertonSome say she’s the one of prophecy,

that she’ll bring balance to the world.

Others say she’s the destroyer,

meant to bring an end to Aelinae.

They’re both right.

Everything Taryn knew was a lie. Her life on Earth, the man she thought was her grandfather, even her age, were all fabrications meant to protect her, to keep her hidden until she could return to her home world. Once on Aelinae, Taryn realizes she has more to fear than the creeping darkness that threatens to suffocate her.

Unwilling to become a pawn in the machinations of her scheming family and the world she now calls home, Taryn sets out to learn about her mysterious powers. Reluctantly, she accepts the help of Rhoane, a man who promises to protect her, but whom she’s not sure she can trust.

As tensions mount and her loved ones are threatened, Taryn must confront an ancient enemy and stop a sinister plan to bring back a banished god.

On Aelinae they say there can be no Light without Dark and no darkness without light. If Taryn fails, there will be only Blackness. Absolute. Binding. Without end.

Failure is simply not an option.


Tameri Etherton Bio:

Tameri EthertonRocker of sparkly tiaras, friend of dragons, and lover of all things sexy, Tameri Etherton leaves a trail of glitter in her wake as she creates and conquers new worlds and the villains who inhabit them. When not masquerading as a mom and writer, rumor has it she travels to far off places, drinking tea and finding inspiration for her kickass heroines—and the rogues who steal their hearts—with her own Prince Charming by her side.

Social Media Links:









Filed under Fantasy Romance, guest post, romance, Whimsical Wednesdays

Research – Not the 4-Letter Word I Thought – Guest Author Sandra Kerns

Whimsical Wednesdays

Today I’m thrilled to have fellow Colorado Romance Writer, Sandra S. Kerns, on Jessica Aspen Writes. Today, Sandra tells us about her research efforts for her most recent romantic suspense novel Her Master Diver. Sandra’s romantic suspense has sailed up the charts and in a very short time she’s published twelve books, the most famous being her Masters Men series that features not just suspense, not just romance, but a family of tough, alpha heroes. Who doesn’t want an alpha hero to fall in love with and solve crimes? No wonder her books have been so successful. Welcome, Sandra, and thanks for blogging!

Research – Not the 4-Letter Word I Thought

I have never liked research. Maybe it’s the word. I love learning, but tell me I have to research something and I shut down. I do it, it’s part of a writer’s job, but I’ve never enjoyed it. Until now.

While brainstorming with a friend about the first sister’s book in the Masters Men series, my friend came up with the idea to do a female Indiana Jones. Her idea was that it would drive her over-protective brothers insane. I took it a step further and settled on an underwater archaeologist. Thankfully, my friend got the research ball rolling. The next week she brought me a list with maybe five sites to check out. She was so stoked I had to follow through.

Those first websites set me on a path to pirates, shipwrecks, underwater archaeologists, and a Try Scuba session. Talk about cool research!

I investigated the educational requirements needed to become an underwater archaeologist. After that, I needed a shipwreck to interest my characters, a ship that offered more than pirate treasure. I found it here:

La Trinité was the lead ship in a French fleet in 1565 landing near St. Augustine, Florida. Through this article, I found John deBry, Ph.D., the director of the Center for Historical Archaeology. I contacted him and he surprised me by inviting me to visit him and discuss the ship over a glass of wine. My husband and I were in Cocoa Beach, Florida, so we accepted his offer.

John’s love for his profession was contagious. He recommended three books and I bought them before we were back at our hotel. He told me no one has ever looked for La Trinité even though it had a major effect on our country’s history. Next year, John will be part of a dive for the ship as part of the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine, Florida.

I also needed to understand scuba diving. I have several friends who dive and were happy to share their knowledge and love for it. They even sent me an underwater video they took. I still didn’t know what it felt like, so I did Try Scuba. I was a bit apprehensive, I don’t even snorkel, but I gave it a go. It was amazing. It gave me a sense of how my heroine would feel underwater, the terminology, and equipment used. It made a huge difference.

This is just part of the research I needed. I can tell you this project taught me to enjoy research because not only does it help with writing a story, it can also give you the opportunity to try new things. For the first time, the research was almost as much fun as writing the book. For that reason, Her Master Diver will always be extra special to me.

So, the next time you’re reading a book that takes you somewhere you’ve never been, think about the journey the writer took to bring you there.

Happy Reading!


Her Master Diver by Sandra S. KernsHer Master Diver

Blaze thought leaving school would get her life back on track. It seems to be working as she’s invited on the dive of her dreams. Then life throws her into a storm, a break-in, hit and run, sabotage and murder all center around her. Can Blaze and her charismatic project manager unravel the problems surrounding the expedition, or will her Masters men brothers have to fly out to save the day?


Author Bio:

Sandra S Kerns

Originally from upstate New York, Sandra now lives in Northern Colorado where she writes romantic suspense. She belongs to Romance Writer’s of America and two of its chapters as well as Crested Butte Writers. She has won or placed in several writing awards including CRW’s Heart of the Rockies, Crested Butte Writers’ Sandy, and Kiss Of Death’s Daphne. She enjoys speaking at conferences and writing groups, as well as encouraging other writers, both young and old. While writing and talking about it are enjoyable, she really loves interacting with her readers on Facebook, Twitter and her website.

Sandra S. Kerns, authorWebsite:

Twitter: @sandraskerns



Google+: Sandra Kerns on Google+





Filed under romantic suspense, Suspense, Whimsical Wednesdays, writing craft

Werewolves in the Kitchen…Oh My!

Whimsical Wednesdays

guest post

Today on Jessica Aspen Writes, I’m interviewing author, Shauna Aura Knight. Besides having the coolest author name ever, she also has a pretty hot cover and a seriously hot book! You might also be interested in her non-fiction books on dreamwork, rituals, and goddesses. Please welcome, Shauna, to the blog

Hi Shauna and thanks for being my guest today on Jessica Aspen Writes. Let’s get started on the interview, shall we? What do you come up with first in starting a story: Title? Characters? Plot? Setting? Conflict?

I’d say characters and conflict. I often hit right in the middle of the story, particularly when one of my stories comes from an idea from one of my epic dreams.


Have you had many rejections? How did you deal with them? How did they push you?

I haven’t had many rejections, but I also waited until I was a really solid writer to submit my work. This is speaking both as a nonfiction and a fiction author. I did recently have a rejection that devastated me at first. However, having a beta reader go through my rejected novel helped me figure out what was wrong with it. In the act of defining the villain more clearly, I not only improved that story, but I came up with the villain/primary conflict for at least three or four other books that I had started, yet I wasn’t sure what the motivation for the villain was. So that rejection ended up being really good for me!


Are you self-publishing? Why or why not?

I have self published some of  my nonfiction, and I’m working on a fiction story to self publish. I like working with publishers as it helps to get my work out to a broader audience, and it’s nice to not have to manage all the details. Plus, the experience of having my work edited has tremendously improved my writing. However, I am looking to self publish some fiction just to get a more direct idea of what promotion efforts are working. I do a lot of social media, and I’m never sure what is actually helping to sell my books. I’d like to spend more time writing, and less time promoting, so the only way to do that is to get more strategic about it.

 What’s unique about this particular book.

The book is has some very intensely sexy moments, particularly when all three of them are having sex together…but what really made the characters come alive for me is how funny Jake and Kyle are together. I had no clue when I started writing the story that the two of them would be so clueless about how to seduce Ellie. Writing them made me laugh out loud.


Was there anything that surprised you while writing this book?

I was surprised that Jake and Kyle were werewolves. I wrote the scene of the three of them hooking up first. By the time I finished writing that very erotic scene, I knew that they were werewolves. I’ve always been more into vampires, to this was a surprise.


Werewolves in the Kitchen by Shauna Aura KnightDid you have a favorite scene?

I do; it’s this hilarious interchange between Jake and Kyle. I don’t even know where it came from, but it still cracks me up when I read it. These two incredibly sexy werewolves are trying to seduce Ellie and completely failing at it.


“Was she running away from us?”


Jake folded his arms. “You scared her off.”


“Me? I’m not the one who was all, ‘Would you like some lemonade?’ No, that didn’t spook her.”


“You were about to force feed her pie.”


“I was just offering.” Kyle tugged his apron off.


“She does run away from us though.” Jake and Kyle headed outside. “Why do we scare her?”


“We’ve never gone feral in front of her….”

Is this a series? Will there be any sequels to this book?

I didn’t intend this book as a series when I wrote it, however, I now have three novels I’m working on that all take place at the SpiralStone retreat center where Werewolves takes place. In A Golden Heart of Glass, Angel is a devotee of the goddess Aphrodite, but as she and Benjamin grow closer, they both find themselves sought after by creatures that want their magic. Jake, Kyle, and Ellie make appearances, and I’m also working on a freebie short story about the threesome from Werewolves. Jake and Kyle ambush Ellie with a feast of chocolate…delicious smut ensues.

What are you releasing next, and when?

My next release will be A Fading Amaranth. Alexandra’s psychic abilities have made it impossible for her to be in a relationship until she meets Nathaniel, a vampire who has lost his muse. When a Faerie monster begins stalking the streets of Chicago, they have to face dark magic and danger. I don’t have a release date just yet but it’ll be out soon!

 BOOK BLURB: Werewolves in the Kitchen

When Ellie moved to the SpiralStone retreat center to figure out her life, she expected peace, quiet, and spiritual practice. She had no idea that the two sexy men running the kitchen would seduce her…much less at the same time. Kyle and Jake turn out to be wilder than they seem and Ellie finds herself wrapped up in devastating magic. She must choose: stay with Jake and Kyle and risk who she has been, accepting the dangerous world of shapeshifters? Or leave them and risk madness, or worse?


Excerpt on my Blog:


To buy Werewolves in the Kitchen:

Jupiter Gardens Press:




 Werewolves in the Kitchen is a paranormal romance with a M/F/M ménage.

ISBN:  #978-1-938257-65-0

 shauna aura knight, authorBIO: Shauna Aura Knight

An artist, author, and presenter, Shauna’s work is inspired by the mythic stories of heroes and magic, and of the darkness we each must overcome. She’s a fantasy artist and author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy including Werewolves in the Kitchen, A Winter Knight’s Vigil, and The White Dress, the Autumn Leaves. Her mythic artwork and designs are used for magazine covers, book covers, and illustrations.She travels nationally offering intensive education in the transformative arts of community leadership, facilitation, and personal transformation, and is the author of numerous articles and books on those subjects.



Author Web Site:

Fiction Blog:



Amazon Author Page:


Filed under guest post, Whimsical Wednesdays, Writer's Journey

ML Guida: Dark Paranormal Romance Author

Whimsical Wednesdays

a dark paranormal romance interview

Hello and welcome to the first of my new series of guest romance author blogs and interviews. I’m thrilled to have as my first victim—um-hem—guest, ML Guida. ML writes dark paranormal romance about vampire pirates, dragon shapeshifters, and witches. She is not only a good friend of mine,  is also my critique partner. She puts up with my crazy schedule and even crazier life. If it weren’t for her, I know my writing wouldn’t be where it is. So please welcome guest romance author, ML Guida, to Jessica Aspen Writes. And don’t forget to leave a comment and enter to win the giveaway for an e-copy of ML’s first book in the series, A Pirate’s Curse.


Hi ML, welcome to the blog. Do you mind sharing what you write with my readers?

Thanks Jessica for allowing me to come onto your blog. I write dark paranormal romance.

Do you have cheerleaders  supporting you as a writer? Who supports you and keeps you writing?

I have some great cheerleaders.  My first one is my wonderful critique partner, Jessica Aspen, and my dad. When I’ve almost given up, my dad is the one who picked me up off the floor and encouraged to back on the writing horse.

Tell us why you write dark paranormal? Why this type of books? 

I’ve been in love with the supernatural, ever since I was a little girl and first started watching Dark Shadows.  When I was in third grade, my whole class was hooked on Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators—the big hit was Mystery of the Green Ghost. Later I fell in love with vampires. They’re sensual and dark. Later, I discovered Sherrilyn Kenyon and Ann Rice.  I have a hard time not writing paranormal.

What theme or message is in your book? Does it run through all your books?

Resiliency is a key component to all my books. My characters suffer hardship, but must believe in themselves to overcome obstacles to win. They need to accept their faults as well as their strength. In A Pirate’s Revenge, William has to overcome his self-loathing and fear before he can reach his goal. He has to trust in witch craft, something he doesn’t believe in, and only then, can he defeat his enemies and find true love.

Come on, dish…is their anything unusual about your writing habits?

Most authors like peace and quiet, not me. I have the television on. But what really starts my creativity is watching paranormal shows. Right now, I’m watching Mortal Instruments, City of Ashes.

Have you had many rejections? How did you deal with them?  How did they push you? 

Rejections are part of the business.  At first, I usual go into pout mode and think it’s the end of the world. A friend of mine, fellow writer Jennifer Maitlen, has given me a mantra to live by—half day. I have half day to wallow in pity, then I have to put on my big girl panties and move on.  I don’t know why, but it helps. Sometimes you need permission to feel like it’s the end of the world. Time limits help.

Do you have a writing schedule? How do you juggle writing, family, work, and life’s surprises?

I usually write before work and after work. I never had any problems writing until my cocker spaniel died—Sadie.  She was 12 years old and my best friend. Now, it’s been hard to write anything. Sometimes grief is all consuming, and it’s hard to get back into the routine.

What’s unique about this book?

William can turn into a dragon, but he is not like most shape-shifters. He is possessed by a dragon spirit, Drakon. Drakon and William are one and can hear each other’s thoughts.  I wanted to do something different than the usual shifters. Also, without giving too much away, I’ve darker creatures that come from Coaybay (dark underworld) to the Caribbean.

Is this a series? Will there be any sequels to this book?

Yes. A Pirate’s Revenge is the second book in the Legends of the Soaring Phoenix. The first book was A Pirate’s Curse.  The third installment is scheduled to come out in Winter of 2015. This will be Amadi’s story. Amadi is an escaped slave who is re-captured and tossed back into slavery. This tale is based on the White Witch of Rose Hall in Jamaica. In 1770, the White Witch, Annee Palmer, seduced three husbands, then murdered them. Her favorite pastime was to have slave lovers, but she’d torture them.  The slaves finally were tired of Annee and rebelled, killing her.  Amadi is forced to battle his evil mistress and must rely on Violet, an indentured servant, to help him escape.  The problem is Violet is unable to tell a lie. She breaks out in hives when she lies, and she can tell when others are lying. The evil mistress uses Violet’s abilities to her own evil ends and Amadi must learn to trust Violet or be chained forever a slave.

Thanks ML!

Hey readers, don’t forget to leave a comment to enter to win the giveaway of an e-copy of book one, A Pirate’s Curse.

A Pirate’s Revenge, Book Two in the Legends of the Soaring Phoenix

MLGuida_APiratesRevenge_800Cursed by a demon, William O’Brien changes into a dragon with mystical powers he can’t control. In dragon form he becomes a ravenous beast with the power to destroy the crew of the Soaring Phoenix. He’s forced to make a decision: leave the ship or face killing the crew. But before he can go, he discovers a new menace hunts him. The God of the Underworld has released a female demon, more deadly and evil than before, with orders to capture William and combine his powers with a male witch in order to destroy the crew of the Soaring Phoenix. Mariah Fey, a talented witch, wants only to save her brother from the bowels of the evil pirate ship, the Fiery Damsel. If William will trust her, she can teach him how to harvest his gifts, control his abilities, and together their true love can defeat their enemies.



Buy links for A Pirate’s Revenge:

Amazon Kobo Inktera



MaryGuida-web 1 (5 of 5)M.L. Guida loves the paranormal. Even when she was four years old, she would watch the soap opera, Dark Shadows, and fell in love with vampires! Who wouldn’t want a bite on the neck? Currently, she has two series with vampires: the Legends of the Soaring Phoenix and Vampires on Holiday.

Today, she continues to love the preternatural and watches Ghost Adventures, Dead Files and A Haunting. She’s ventured into more supernatural beings, specifically demons, but not just any demons, dragon demons. Her new series, the Underworld, is with Kensington/Lyrical Imprint.

M.L. lives in Colorado near the Rocky Mountains. She loves to take her cocker spaniel, Sadie, for walks on the trails behind her house. When she travels, she tries to go on ghost tours. Her favorite so far was the Jack the Ripper tour in London.

She currently writes for Kensington/Lyrical Imprint, Passion in Print, and self-publishes. She is a member of Colorado Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America.


Want to know what’s going on with Jessica? Check out her news page HERE or sign up for her New Release Email HERE.


Filed under guest post, Vampires, werecreatures, Whimsical Wednesdays

Prince by Blood and Bone is Released!

Whimsical Wednesdays

a blog for lovers of paranormal romance

I’m super excited to announce that it’s finally here! Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, is now available in e-book form on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and All Romance Ebooks. (pending on Ibooks.)

If you are looking for a paperback copy, that is in the works. I’ve ordered my proof and it is in the mail. As soon as I’ve been through it with the proverbial fine toothed comb, it will be approved and available for sale.

And to celebrate I’m offering ebooks of The Dark Huntsman to lucky commenters.

Make sure your email is the one you want to be contacted on, because that is how I notify winners of their prizes. Leave your best email (emails are not shared when entered into the WordPress form), comment with your epub or kindle preference and enter to win!

And to kick oprince by blood and bone by jessica aspenff the celebrations I thought I’d share an excerpt from chapter one of Prince by Blood and Bone.

Prince Kian, only son of the Faery Queen of the Black Court, and her seemingly eternal prisoner, pawed at the book on the long wooden table. His talons cut deeply into the old vellum, shredding the page and digging into the binding.

“I don’t understand why it’s not working!” he growled, and yanked his claws out.

The book hit the floor hard, smacking down into a puddle of ash and liquid that was all that remained from Kian’s failed attempt at a witch’s retrieval spell. The crowd of rubbery white hobgoblins at his feet chittered their distress, fleeing into the shadows to bob and lurk amid the ruins of the wallpaper. Kian pushed away from the table, brushing past the hovering grey gnome at his side, and flipping off the hobgoblins with his middle claw.

Beezel flinched.

Kian breathed through his nose and struggled for control. He paced the perimeter of the chamber he’d designated his work space, the claws on his misshapen toes clicking on the marble floor.

Just because his ever-loving mother had forced him into this distorted shape did not mean he had to succumb to the animal instincts threatening to overwhelm him. Even if it would feel good, oh-so-good, to take out his frustrations on Beezel and the hobgoblins, he would resist.

“I followed the spell exactly. This should be easy for me. Not only am I a lord of the fae, I am a prince of the Tuathan, damn her!” He leaned in close and waggled his blade-like digits inches from Beezel’s cringing face. “I can’t bring light and fire—children’s magics learnt at my nurse’s knee. I can’t grip a sword, nor ride a horse, and I can’t free myself from this hell hole…yet.” He stood up as straight as his current shape would allow him. “But I am determined to make this stupid spell work and fetch someone here who can play chess!”

The shaking gnome leaned away from his caustic glare. “Maybe, the trouble is, you aren’t being specific enough.” Beezel’s voice was small and hesitant.

Kian turned away, his muscles straining from the effort of not beating the gnome senseless.

As far as gnomes went Beezel was a waste. He lacked the tall stature of the Galentian Gnomes and the book-smarts of the Scalian Gnomes. He was a whining, cringing, ignorant common cave gnome, with bulging eyes and grey scaly skin. And he was the queen’s spy.

He was all Kian had in the way of companionship. Or was likely to get, given how this particular experiment had failed. But maybe the gnome was onto something.

“Explain.” Inches from the gnome’s perspiring face Kian let his large, hairy jaws gape open, revealing his ivory fangs, and uttered a low growl.

“I m-m-mean, Sire, you’re asking for a chess companion, but that’s all you’ve asked for. There m…m…may be m-m-many to pick from.” The gnome quivered in front of him. “Be more narrow in your request, and maybe the spell will be able to ac-c-commodate you.”

“I hadn’t thought of that.” He backed up a little. “I thought if I left it open, the spell would have an easier time choosing. Maybe it cannot make up its mind.” He resumed his pacing. “It’s witch magic after all. Witches use spells and cantrips, maybe some visualization is what’s missing.”

“You’ve been able to work some of the witch spells, sir.”

Kian growled. “Yes. Small, pathetic things, like making glass glow.” He resumed his pacing, trying to get his bestial anger under control so he could think. He’d struggled to do anything in the witch’s book. Even small child’s magics like calling fire required verbal spells with the correct intonation, and something called centering that he didn’t understand. The fae didn’t need to center.

“Beezel, maybe the witches need more than the words, maybe they need focus. I’ve been treating these spells like things to recite—get the pronunciation right and it should work—but that’s not how fae magic works.” He swept the little gnome off his feet and spun him around in the air. Beezel clutched his spectacles, his face turning an even paler shade of grey.

“Yes, sir. Maybe, sir. I don’t know, sir. Gnomes don’t do magic.”

“Of course you don’t.” Kian stopped spinning. “Fae magic is like blood pumping, like moving a hand. I don’t have to think about it, it just happens. But things feed it, like food, sleep, and emotions. I’ve got the food.” He swung the gnome upside down to look at all the beakers and jars on the work table. “I’ve got the means.” He plunked the gnome down. “Maybe what I’ve lacked was the intention.” He scraped the book off the floor with his talons, dropping it on the table where its savaged pages splayed out from its broken spine.

If he had to be specific, he would ask for a woman. An, intelligent, attractive sort of woman. Someone curved and sexy and real. The idea of smelling, touching, tasting the soft, scented skin of a woman…

His mouth filled with saliva and his paw-like hands shook.

“Beezel!” The gnome jumped. Kian coughed and got his voice back under control. “Get it ready. We’ll try again.”

He hardly noticed Beezel’s sigh of relief as the gnome readied the powders and beakers and flipped to the right page in the shabby book. This time, Kian pictured exactly what he desired. A slender, shapely, blond maid with chess playing abilities. One who smelled good enough to eat.

And, though he hardly dared even think it, banishing the thought before it had time to appear, he asked for one with the ability to free him from his prison.

This time, the potion developed a rosy pink glow, which crept slowly out of the glass and became a small pink cloud. The mist coalesced and grew larger, filling the room with the rich scent of spun sugar.

Kian’s pulse beat hard in his throat. This was better than the last time. Much better.

The cloud expanded, tendrils of mist stretched out into the edges of the room. Goblins shrieked and screamed, climbing over each other and racing from the chamber.

Beezel squeezed into a corner. Kian himself moved back from the now sparkling puffy wisps. No sense in getting caught in his own spell—he didn’t want to accidentally turn into a woman. Especially in his current state.

He snorted, thinking about being stuck between a woman and this mashed version of man and animal his mother had stuck him with. If he’d been forced to deal with female hormones as well as his bestial rage for the last fifteen years, he likely would have given in to his mother’s demands.

The glow grew until it filled most of the large chamber, his tension growing along with it. This was the best spell he’d attempted since he’d been imprisoned and his hopes soared.

The puffy high pink cloud shivered. The mist retracted from the corners, speeding into the center of the room until the cloud was a globular, gelatinous mass about five feet around, crouching on the floor.

He waited. Nothing happened. The hobgoblins snuck closer.

He sagged. “Fuck me.”

It wasn’t going to work. He, Prince Kian, master of the hunt, superior swordsman, and wooer of women, was a failure at simple witch magic.

Kian peered into the mass, but it had a thick, spongy quality that defied examination. Beezel crept out of his corner and huddled next to him. Together, they waited for something to happen, afraid to disturb it.

“It’s worse than before. Nothing is happening, but we’re going to be stuck cleaning up this gunk.” Kian eyed the pile morosely and mourned his blond vision. “I’m going to bed.” He turned his back on the mess. Beezel and the hobgoblins would clean it up. He trudged toward the door.

He was never getting out of here. His mother would let him rot until he died.

Beezel grunted. “Sire!”

Kian spun around.

The mass quivered and shook. It began to emit a low whine, the pink gelatin texture reflecting the lantern light on its now shiny surface. The shaking increased. The floor vibrated. Beezel ducked under the table and hung onto a leg, but Kian couldn’t take his eyes off of his creation.

The whine increased in pitch. Kian covered his still pointed ears, crouching in pain as the pink glob exploded in a burst of light. Twinkling sludge spattered everywhere, on the table, on the book, in Kian’s face.

He wiped off the gunk and stared at the tangle of long limbs and golden hair.

Beezel’s mouth fell open. “Sire, what have you done?”

Please leave a comment to enter to win an e-copy of The Dark Huntsman, book one, Tales of the Black Court. And don’t forget to check back for the Goodreads giveaway and your chance to win a print copy of book two, Prince by Blood and Bone. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support. This book has been a long time coming and I appreciate your patience!

Are you super excited like me? This one has been a bear to get to the publishing stage, let’s hope Broken Mirror is easier because I know fans of the series will be champing at the bit, once they finish Prince by Blood and Bone!




Filed under fairy tales, Fantasy Romance, Prince by Blood and Bone, Whimsical Wednesdays, Writer's Journey

A Voodoo Dream—Is It a Nightmare?

Welcome to Whimisical Wednesday

a blog for fabulous writers

It’s Whimsical Wednesday, the day I may or may not blog and you never know what to expect. Today, on Jessica Aspen Writes, I’m lucky to showcase romantic suspense author, Alana Lorens. I met, Alana, at Margie Lawson’s Deep Immersion workshop. Up on Margie’s Mountain there is magic and mystery in the air. Why else would so many of the women I met up there have become such terrific authors? Including, Alana. You may remember my showcasing her previous romantic suspense books in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series, Conviction of the Heart, and Second Chances. (Click HERE for the post) And I know you’ll want to check out her other books (written as Lyndi Alexander) as well (see her bio below for more info.) Without further delay…here’s Alana!

A voodoo dream—is it a nightmare?

New Orleans is a fabulous old city of the South, a culturally-rich city that draws from roots in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. The French Quarter, in particular, is often recognizable by its cast-iron balconies the french quarterand its colorful streets full of delightful little shops where one can find objets d’art and many other interesting things.  new orleans blue doors

But New Orleans has a darker side, also long set in its history. As anyone who’s been following the current season of American Horror Story: Coven knows, voodoo has been practiced in the city and surrounding areas for many years, and the name most associated with voodoo in New Orleans is that of Marie Laveau.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines voodoo as: A religion practiced chiefly in Caribbean countries, especially Haiti, syncretized from Roman Catholic ritual elements and the animism and magic of slaves from West Africa, in which a supreme God rules a large pantheon of local and tutelary deities, deified ancestors, and saints, who communicate with believers in dreams, trances, and ritual possessions. Also called vodoun.

voodoo alter museum  As in most practices, the majority of those who practice this religion use it for purposes of good—to heal the sick, to help the hungry, or those addicted to alcohol or drugs through direction of spiritual energy and protective amulets called gris-gris. But there are those who use its arts for evil, to gain personal power, to mete out revenge, and to harm others. This is the picture many Hollywood films have used to demonstrate voodoo and its practitioners, often with dolls stuck full of pins or blood-soaked curses.

voodoo dreams by alana lorensVOODOO DREAMS is the story of two separate lawyers from Pittsburgh, who innocently jet off to the city of New Orleans at Mardi Gras to escape their worries and troubles, only to find a whole lot more waiting for them there—as well as the possibility of love.

When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious—but handsome—lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.

 Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her—especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.

Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?


The voodoo priest Copper placed the boat in the fire, and it vanished in a burst of white flame.

“Damballah has received your petitions!” he proclaimed. “We shall now glorify him!”

He bent before the altar and reached into a screened box. A flourish of drums preceded a moment of reverent silence as Copper drew out a huge gold-flecked python. He held the undulating snake up in the firelight. The monster had to be at least ten feet long.

A dancer moved forward to take it from the priest. It curled around her as Copper oiled his hands from a jar on the altar, then massaged the snake.

“Great God Damballah, we hail your presence among us,” he intoned. “Those who have gathered pray your blessings upon us and the granting of our deepest desires.”

The dancers slowly weaved forward in a line, backs undulating in rhythm, giving the appearance of a snake themselves. In sharp contrast, Brianna now stood still, eyes closed.

Evan wanted to call out to her, but found his voice missing. Again.

What was it with these ooga-booga guys anyway? The next one that shut him up would have his attitude seriously adjusted.

Copper moved toward Brianna, a silver dagger in his hand. Where had that come from?

The dancer with the snake followed close behind him.

Evan tried to jump up but found himself stuck to the bench.

Copper took Brianna’s hand, turning it palm up. A slice of the dagger slit her finger. She didn’t even react.

Red blood collected on her finger, and Copper held it over the snake’s head until it dripped onto its nose. The snake’s tongue flicked out, tasting the blood. Copper pulled gently on Brianna’s arm until it was extended. The snake inched up Brianna’s stiff arm, poking its ugly face around the back of her neck, slithering down her other arm until it graced her like an evening stole. She shifted to bear its weight, standing with her arms out as if crucified.

His own skin crawled, as the snake moved around Brianna’s bewitched body. She’d shared with him how much she’d hated all the snake depictions at the museum. How could she calmly let this happen?
VOODOO DREAMS is FREE!!! December 17-21 at 

Bio:  Alana Lorens dreamed for many years of being a spaceship captain, but settled instead for inspired excursions into fictional places with fascinating companions from her imagination that she likes to share with others. She has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida, with a list of eclectic publications from horror to tech reporting to television reviews. She writes urban fantasy and science fiction under the name of Lyndi Alexander. The Elf Queen, her first novel, was released by Dragonfly Publishing in July 2010; the series continued with The Elf Child, The Elf Mage and The Elf Guardian. She’s now working on the space opera Horizon Crossover series, and a YA trilogy, The Color of Fear—the first book, WINDMILLS, was published by Zumaya Publications this summer.  Writing as Alana Lorens, she produces romance and romantic suspense, including the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series, standalone novels of romantic suspense,  CONVICTION OF THE HEART, SECOND CHANCES, and the latest, VOODOO DREAMS, released by The Wild Rose Press in October 2013.

She is a single mother of seven, with two special needs children at home with her in Pennsylvania, and she volunteers at her local shelter for domestic violence victims, believing in every person’s right to be safe.

For more information, see Alana’s website and check out her Facebook page to become a friend!  Happy holidays to you and enjoy!

all photos in this post (with the exception of the cover for Voodoo Dreams) are credited to Alana Lorens


Filed under guest post, Magic, romance, romantic suspense, Suspense, Whimsical Wednesdays