Owl Valentine’s Day Card

Can you believe it’s February already?  I am flabergasted, but even more than that, the shops started weeks ago with their Valentine’s Day displays.

I’ve been making some Valentine’s Day cards recently, as I supply a local gift shop with them each year, and they usually sell well.

Here’s a card I finished this morning.

IMG_1071Owls are all the rage lately, and I’ve recently become addicted to them.

If you would like to learn more about how to make this card, click here to go to my cardmaking blog.

 

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Guest Blogger – Tara Fox Hall

Today I’d like to welcome romance author, Tara Fox Hall to our blog.

Tara has agreed to an interview, but first, here’s a short blurb about her:

Tara-Fox-HallTara Fox Hall is an OSHA-certified safety and health inspector at a metal fabrication shop in upstate New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a double minor in chemistry and biology from Binghamton University. Her writing credits include nonfiction short stories, flash, short and novella-length horror stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. Her horror stories have appeared in Deadman’s Tome, Flashes in the Dark, Ghastly Door, The Halloween Alliance, Black Petals, SNM Horror Magazine, Microhorror, Dark Eclipse, Cemetery Moon, and various anthologies, including the recently published charity works Fear (Vol. 1) and Shifters. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers – Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

WHY: I’ve loved vampires since I saw Frank Langella in the first “hot vampire” version of Dracula years ago. That love intensified in my later teens with The Lost Boys, and reading Interview with the Vampire, along with anything vampire I could get my hands on. But I wanted more than the evil monster chasing young virgins; more than the sweet, misunderstood handsome fanged stranger that becomes the perfect mate for the woman who captures his heart after so many lone centuries. I wanted a vampire so well-crafted in detail that I could believe he was real. I wanted something different to happen in the story, other than girl becomes vampire, or vampire becomes dust. I wanted passion, tragedy, romance, suspense, action, and the haunting sweetness of poetry and song floating on a soft night breeze. So I penned my own vampires.

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Tara agreed to an interview:

Tell me a bit about yourself:

 My bio says it all: Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

What genre/s do you write?

Mostly I write supernatural-related fiction stories, such as the paranormal fiction series Promise Me and Lash. But as per above, I also have written erotica, suspense, horror, contemporary fiction, and non-fiction.

Tell me about your latest release.

My latest book is Taken for His Own, the fourth instalment in my Promise Me Series. It takes up where the third book left off. Sar had done her best to rebuild her life when her fiancé Theo went missing. She’s partnered with her former vampire lover Danial to raise Theo’s daughter Elle (Elle’s natural mother is dead from childbirth complications). She’s also had a child of her own with Danial, Theoron, and is trying to come to terms with her inevitable turning from human to vampire. When she finds out Theo’s alive, she can’t stop herself from journeying west to find him, and confront him about where he’s been for the last year and a half. This is where Taken for His Own begins. After a passionate reunion and a hasty marriage, the two lovebirds are headed back east. But picking up the pieces is far from easy. While Danial is accepting of Theo’s return, Elle prefers her vampire adoptive father over Theo. More than one enemy is waiting in the wings, making repeat attempts on Sar’s life. Add into the mix Devlin, Sar’s old enemy who’s now turned good guy, and a new paramour for Danial and you’ve got a powder keg primed to explode.

Is there a particular book that you feel changed or affected you dramatically?

The Hobbit. I like the message; that it’s not who you were or what you can do that influences what you will do, it’s how willing you are to step outside your own boundaries and push for what you think is right.

 Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

That it’s never too late to take control of your destiny…and that you are the only one that really ever can. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can always control how you react to events. And that it’s important to always try to do the right thing…but that isn’t always possible.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career?

Getting published. I spent 4 years getting rejection after rejection from every agent under the sun and also some publishers. But the near misses were the worst, to think that I finally had an agent or a publisher and then to have it fall through at the last moment. Those were the crushing blows. The newest thing I worry about are bad reviews.

What has been your best moment as a writer?

Getting that first acceptance…though every 5 star review is another perfect moment for me. I love getting validation for the world I created. 

Do you feel like your dream has come true or is there much more to do?

There is MUCH more to do….I won’t be able to rest easy until all of the Promise Me series is out and sitting on my bookshelf in a lovely row and after that, I’ll probably say the same until the Lash series is done!

Most writers experience days where they just want to quit.  Has that happened to you? 

Of course. Getting my first 2 star review on Amazon made me want to quit. Poor sales in a given quarter makes me want to quit. Having no free time makes me want to quit. But I didn’t survive years of fighting to get my stories out to give up now.

Do you have any hobbies or interests?  Things you do you do when you’re not writing?

Lately….I sew catbeds for animal shelters, review books, clean, exercise, bake, work my day job, sleep, eat, and do chores like making firewood, spring cleaning, and pet maintenance.

What do you feel are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Keeping your perspective that your every little creation is not going to be perfect…or get critical or popular acclaim. Some stories will be better than others. The key is to always try to make the next one better than the last one was.

 

Did you have a moment when you realized you were meant to be a writer?

Yes. I realized I was good at imagining both sides of a conversation between two characters or more. It’s something that comes naturally and I don’t feel affinity with either character especially, so I can imagine to be both with equal believability. That makes really good dialogue, which is an essential part of any story. The other key part of story is a good plot. When I’m reading what I wrote, I ask myself if I’m interested at every paragraph. If I can’t keep my own interest, how can I expect to keep a reader’s interest? And what a writer wants to produce and what a reader wants to read are not always the same things. To gain—and keep—series readers, you have to give them what they want while keeping enough back to entice them to keep reading subsequent books. I try to do that.

What are your plans after this book?

There will be more books in this series. Two more will be out this year—Immortal Confessions and Her Secret—with more in 2014 and 2015, until the series is done. The next installment in the Lash Series, Revenge, will be out this fall, and hopefully my second anthology of short suspense/horror stories will also publish. There will also be the first Promise Me anthology and a Latham’s Landing anthology this fall. A new Lash short story, “Spiritwalker”, will debut in the Shifters charity anthology from Hazardous Press, and I also have a short story called “The Lie” in the upcoming anthology Brief Grislys, both due out in a month or less. I’m also working on a sequel to my transgender short Grow a Pair, and another compilation of BDSM stories for the late summer/fall.

Tara, thanks for visiting today! You can find Tara at her website: http://www.tarafoxhall.com

Here are some other places you can hook up:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TerrorFoxHall

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Fox-Hall/151813374904903

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TaraFH

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tara-fox-hall

Melange Books: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/index.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tara-Fox-Hall/e/B005YPAA4W/

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Tara’s latest book is Promise Me (Promise Me Series #1) – Vampire romance
PromiseMe

Format: print and e-book
Pages: 233
Date Released: June 2012

 

 

 

 

Blurb: When young widow Sarelle McGarran finds the vampire Danial Racklan unconscious and hurt in her woods, intuitive concern quickly becomes passionate love. Together Danial and Sar work to overcome their own past heartbreaks, their vastly different lifestyles, and Danial’s relentless enemies. Yet Danial needs more; an Oath of forever. But can Sar give Danial his greatest desire?
Here’s an excerpt of Promise Me:

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. But I want to be clear that I don’t expect you to give me money because we…because we’re—”
“Intimate?” he supplied with a leer. “Lovers?”
I blushed, glad my back was to him. “Yes,” I said curtly.
“It’s my feelings for you that make me offer. I understand you’re independent and used to taking care of yourself. But I want you to have an easier time of it than you had trying to go it alone. I want to take care of you. It’s your right, as befitting your station.”
“What station?”
“As my lover.” He nibbled the back of my neck, his hands sliding down my arms. “That is, if you still want to be.”
Did I ever. God, his lips felt good. I could feel little pricks where his fangs brushed against me…
Focus! “What about the shirt?”
Danial paused what he was doing. “What about it?”
“Did you take some of my life force? Did you deliberately try to seduce me with a spell to get me to feed you?”
He didn’t reply. I shifted back from the fire and made to get up, but he pulled me off balance and I went down, falling into his waiting arms. I struggled in vain as he rolled me over on the carpet and straddled me, holding both my arms over my head with one hand, while the other caressed my cheek. I fumed as I looked at him above me, his upper half silhouetted by the fire. His eyes sparkled, his face in shadow.
“Now, Sarelle,” he purred, “why would I need to seduce you to get you to feed me?”
He stretched down against me. I felt my body betray my anger as my breasts hardened and my breaths came faster.
“You gave me your blood when I was a stranger, willingly.” He leaned in closer as if to kiss me, but remained just out of reach. His dark eyes were locked on mine, filled with desire and familiar arrogance. He bent down to kiss my throat. “You gave yourself to me a night later, with no hesitation.”
His lips moved to the side of my throat. He ran a fang down my neck. I writhed, both in desire and a touch of fear.
“That was a dream. I knew it—”
“You knew nothing of the sort,” he said, his breath warm against my neck. He drew back and used his free hand to start unbuttoning my nightshirt.
“Stop,” I said, my breath tearing out of me.
“Stop what?” he said teasingly. “You want me, just like you have from the first moment you saw me. I can feel your body beneath mine, aching for me. Just as I’m aching for you.”
He continued unbuttoning my top.
“Stop screwing around! I need to know if you—”
“It was your fantasy. A predictable one,” he said, his hand on the next to last button. He paused to run that hand between my breasts, up to clasp my throat. “But I was never in control of you. I couldn’t feed from you—not that I didn’t try. You seemed so willing to let me. But I couldn’t draw any energy from you and I awoke hungry, almost ravenous.”
“Terian was right—”
His hand tightened on my throat. “Why are you so determined to be the victim? Nothing happened that you didn’t choose to happen.” He gave me a half smile, his eyes growing darker. He brought his hand back to my nightshirt and undid the last button. He pushed my shirt to each side, baring my breasts and my lower body as he gave me a slow savoring look. That nimble hand slid up to grip my neck loosely. I knew he could feel how fast my heart beat. “That you could resist and take control from me in the dream amazed me.” His voice was full of wonder and affection. “No one has ever been able to do that. Not with me. Not in three hundred and seventy-five years.”

 

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Me-ebook/dp/B0086G4GDC
Lulu link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/tara-fox-ha…-20146694.html
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Promise-Me-ebook/dp/B0086G4GDC
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TaraFH
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tara-fox-hall
Melange Books: http://www.melange-books.com/authors…all/index.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger Simpson – Books We Love Blurbathon

FirstDegreeInnocenceFirst Degree Innocence by Ginger Simpson
a Contemporary Mystery Romance

Sentenced to ten years for a crime she didn’t commit, will Carrie Lang find someone who believes in her innocence? Experience the cold, gray walls, a devilish matron, the prison bully, and a scheme that pits Carrie against the closest friend she has inside. What part will her surprise visitor play in Carrie’s bid for freedom?
Available now from Amazon.

 

Come back Feb. 28th for a blurb by Janet Lane Walters.

Romantic Suspense Author Cheryl Wright

cheryl-wright-croppedAs someone who has been married to the same person for a little over 38 years, love is very important to me.

It’s the little things that bring people together, and the little things that help keep them that way.

A chocolate left on a pillow, a box of chocolates for no reason, (do you see a pattern forming here? LOL), flowers just for the heck of it, a love note left in a lunchbox.

Let your partner know how much they mean to you, but don’t only do that on Valentine’s Day.  Make your love show through on a daily basis, because after all, love definitely does make the world go around.

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Here’s the ‘first kiss’ scene from my romantic suspense novel, Running Scared:

Emma filled the electric jug with water, turned it on and began to prepare the cups. She jumped, startled, as he came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

Noting her reaction, Gary realized it was not the first time he had startled her with very little effort.

“I’ve made a decision,” she told him.

Gary was at full attention. “And what’s that?”

“That you are very pushy.”

“I know what I want and go after it. And, I usually get what I want. Anyway,” he grinned at her, “you want it too.”

Emma’s jaw dropped open. “How can you say that?” she demanded. “I haven’t done anything to encourage you.”

“Liar! You wanted me to kiss you earlier. You know, at the park,” A smile creased his lips. “…before we were rudely interrupted.”

Emma’s cheeks flooded with color. He knew what she’d been thinking when they were standing alone, waiting for Sally’s ride to finish. He’d leaned into her, his mouth open in preparation. Just as she had parted her lips slightly, some damned kid with his damned ball interrupted them.

Gary spun her around in his arms. Their bodies were close, it felt right. Her hips gently touched his, her breasts softly pushed against his chest. She lifted her hands and put them against him, then gently pushed while arching her back away from him.

She was one hell of a woman, but boy, was she ever confused. When he looked into her eyes, she seemed to be pleading with him. Pleading for what? For him to kiss her? To hold her closer? For him to leave her alone?

He shook his head. Nah—she wanted him.

Gary leaned into her and claimed her mouth. His hands came up around her back, pulling her closer still.

Emma’s hands slid up from his chest and looped around his neck, her fingers sliding through his long hair, which tonight hung loose on his shoulders.

Gary began to massage Emma’s back with one hand, the other swimming in her silky brown locks. Emma’s eyes were closed, she was finally relaxing. He pulled her closer still.

The kettle began to emit a high-pitched whistle, and Emma suddenly pulled back, breathless. He looked down into her face. He was as breathless as she was, but his lips curled in amusement. “Still trying to deny what we both know?”

Emma touched her fingers to her lips. “I, er, have to make the coffee,” she said. “The jug’s boiled.”

He still held her in his arms, reluctant to let go as the whistling kettle continued to scream at them.

Gary felt like a teenager, totally infatuated. Only this was more than infatuation, there was electricity between them. More than electricity; more like lightning, he mused. He knew it, but Emma still hadn’t realized. Or maybe she had? He would just have to give her time to work it out.

Gary reached over, flicked off the power switch, and the whistle slowly died. He dove forward to claim his prize once more, but Emma quickly wriggled out of his arms before he could stop her. A slow smile crept to his lips. He liked a challenge.

To read a longer excerpt or to learn more, click here.

 

Romance Author Rita Karnopp

RitaKarnoppI truly love Valentine’s Day because it makes me stop in my busy world and think about those I love.  In my case it’s a spouse I’ll soon be married to for forty years. Might I add it’s important to tell your children and grandchildren you love them, too.  How about those great friends you couldn’t survive without?  Here’s the opportunity – don’t miss it!

 

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PartisianHeart

PARTISAN HEART – Book 2 – Tango of Death Series

“I am a Jew fighting for his people and I’m fighting for your people, too. I don’t need you fighting me.” He opened his arms to her.

Vanya moved into his embrace. After a long silence she lifted her face up to him and took his hard kiss. She responded with urgency and passion. He fueled the fire within her and she didn’t want to stop.

He kissed her cheek, then moved to nibble on her ear lobe.

“I love how you kiss me,” she said somewhat breathless.

He answered with a trail of kisses down her neck . . . lower and lower.  She allowed him to pop open the first few buttons on her blouse. He pinned her back against a tree and buried his face into her cleavage. The sensation shook her to the core. She should tell him to stop, but she truly didn’t want him to.

How or when he slipped the remaining buttons free, she couldn’t say.

 

Find GYPSY SPIRIT Book 1 Tango of Death Series http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009KDY5D6  or http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/241274 and watch for JEWISH SOU – Book three of the Tango of Death Series soon.

 

 

Romance Author Jamie Hill

Jamie_Hill_2011_med

Valentine’s Day has always held a sweet place in my heart, from the early exchange of children’s valentines to now, when I still make homemade cards for my loved ones. My husband always gives me chocolate, which is one of my passions. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that!

 

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Family Secrets by Jamie Hill


Hill-FamilySecrets200x300Jack felt tears on Crystal’s cheeks as he ran his hands over her face and down to her shoulders. He pushed her back gently. “Crys, as much as I want this, we can’t. I have a job to do, and I can’t get personally—”

“Shhh.” She put a finger to his lips. “I know. I just need to pretend for one minute that there’s no one but you and me in the world. Kiss me and help me pretend for one minute.”

He hesitated. He knew the right thing to do, and kissing her was definitely not it. But the tears that continued to run down her cheeks pierced him like arrows through his heart and he was miserably torn.

“Please, Jack. Don’t make me beg.” She traced his lip with her finger.

“Don’t beg,” he answered gruffly.
———————-
Family Secrets is book one in the A Cop in the Family series by Jamie Hill, and is available here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004478IN6
Find all Jamie’s books here: http://bookswelove.net/jamiehill.php   and visit her website/blog here: http://www.jamiehill.biz/

 

Easy Valentine’s Day Card to Make

You may be aware that my hobby is cardmaking. It’s something I love to do, and find very relaxing.  I also make cards for a local gift shop, and also donate a lot of thank you cards to the oncology ward at our local hospital.  (If interested, you can read more about it here.)

Since we’re running a Valentine’s Day event, I thought this might be of interest to some.  It’s a very simple card, that just about anybody could make without too much effort.

2013-01-12-429reducedThe textured background you see here has been achieved using a Cuttlebug machine, which as a cardmaker, is a great asset.  But if you’re only making cards here and there, it’s definitely not worth the investment (from $59-$150 depending on what country you live in).

You can buy textured paper in craft shops, department stores, and places like Spotlight (in Australia), and I assume Michael’s in the US.

 

The music themed tape going across the page is called ‘washi tape’ and you can pick it up at any of the above mentioned stores for around $3.  It comes in all sorts of designs, and is very easy to use.

I’ve taped a piece across the card, and tucked it in underneath the textured card on each side. Then added the ‘topper’ sheet to the folded cardstock of the same colour.

Using a die (or punch), cut out some hearts in a variety of colours.  Again, these can be bought in a packet from the same stores. They’re using only a few dollars.

Next I stamped the dancing couple into one of the hearts.  This is only a portion of the stamp; it actually shows their entire bodies, but I thought it more effective like this.

The stamp is from Gina K Designs, where I buy most of my stamps, and is only $7-95 for this versatile duo set.

You can use any stamps you have on hand – this is one I use a lot.

The ‘love you’ greeting is also from Gina K Designs, and is from the True Love set. After stamping the greeting, I also added a rhinestone to the heart.

You can use any stamps for this card, I just happened to have a very large stash of stamps, so usually have something appropriate to use, no matter the occassion.

Here’s another Valentine’s Day card I made – this one was designed to be a fun and lighthearted card.  It was also very easy to make.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how I made the first card.  If you would like to learn more about cardmaking, visit my cardmaking blog:  ideasforcardmaking.net/

 

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