Friday, April 27, 2012

An Elegantly Written Work

I don't typically review books here on my blog (but I may start). Every so often a book comes along that, at once, leaves me speechless and yet with much to say. Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons is one such book. As a reader, this story grabbed me and held me fast. I picked it up in audio because I listen to books during my long drive to and from work each day. I found myself eager to get into the car in the morning to get back to the story. At the same time, I mourned the nearing end of the book as I popped in the last CD.

Ms. Siddons' writing has always engaged and inspired me. But Burnt Mountain is no doubt the most exquisitely written book I've ever read. Her writing style is positively lyrical. She pulls you deeply into Thayer Wentworth's life--her joy, sorrow, challenges and triumphs. And she does so with incredible artistry.

As a writer, I am in awe. This is the kind of writing to which every writer should aspire. By the end of this book, I felt as if I'd had a private master class with a true master--Anne Rivers Siddons.

Give yourself a treat this summer. Read a book by Anne Rivers Siddons. Of course, my first recommendation would be Burnt Mountain.

Happy reading!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recipes From The Writer's Vineyard

Now available in ebook--FREE--Recipes from The Writer's Vineyard.
Get your copy today to enjoy recipes from your favorite Champagne Books authors.

Just click on the cover to get your FREE copy today.
And be sure to check out The Writer's Vineyard blog at

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Author Spotlight: Toni V. Sweeney


Please help me welcome Toni V. Sweeney into the Author Spotlight.




Thinking Outside the Box and into Editing Trouble

There’s one thing more than any other that’s influenced the way my books are constructed, something people have come to call my “style.” I suppose I’m a child of my time…and my time was the early 50’s, when moving pictures were the most popular form of entertainment before the Boob Tube usurped it.

In those days, there were not only dramas and westerns but sweeping epics of adventure, costume tales of pirates, Robin Hood, the Scarlet Pimpernel, rogues and rascals, and villains. Nowadays, you rarely see those, except for an occasional Indiana Jones rip-off or something ike Game of Thrones, or if Cinemax steps in with The Borgias. It was the time of Frank Yerby, Samuel Shellabarger, Rafael Sabatini…men who wrote what would probably be termed the picaresque novel, tales of heroes conquering mountains and nations, and discovering new worlds simply because they were there, between bedding every viable female in sight. Their stories were made into Technicolor sagas enthralling this little viewer for hours (in those days, you could pay your money and stay in the theatre the entire day if you wished.) And when I began to write, I unconsciously patterned my stories after theirs.

One series—The Adventures of Sinbad—seems to mirror those stories enough that several readers have told me they “absolutely adore” my main character. I admit it’s easy to see him swinging across the deck of a ship, with dagger between his teeth while he hangs onto the heroine with one hand and a rope with the other, a la The Crimson Pirate. In fact, I think I had him do something almost like that in one story…

Other novels open with an incident leading to a flashback. In fact, one novel is simply one extended flashback, returning to the present only in the last chapter. Others are more linear, with cuts to other points of view showing things happening at the same time in other places, the dialogue interspersed with stage direction-like movement. That gets me in trouble with my editor because my mind is seeing a movie screen with close-ups of various characters’ expressing their thoughts as a voice-over tells us what they’re thinking. Putting that and those thoughts into print ends up with the “talking heads”, multiple POVs phenomenon. It doesn’t bother me because I see it as a natural part of the “script”, but it gives my editors fits.

In telling my tales of adventure, romance, violence, danger, and—on occasion—lust, I harken back to those days in those darkened theatres as I shoveled in the popcorn while my eyes were glued to that silver-beaded screen. Good or bad, that’s just the way my mine works, and so far, it’s successful, except for the POVS, and I’m working on that. The results are, in several reviewers’ opinions, “readable and enjoyable tales…outside the box”…which I owe to two things: my imagination and those childhood entertainments.

And then television came along…and opened the box even wider…


Toni V. Sweeney was born after the War Between the States and before the Gulf War. A native Georgian, she has lived on both coasts, thirty years in the Midwest and is now trying for thirty more in Nebraska. Her first novel was published in 1989 and she currently has 27 novels in publication. Her lastest novels The Earthman’s Bride, written under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone, and Exile, Book 2 of the kan Ingan Archives, were released in April of this year, and another novel, The Rose and The Dragon, is scheduled for June, to be released by Class Act Books in August, 2011.

BUY LINKS: The Earthman’s Bride:



Twitter: @tonivsweeney




Thursday, April 12, 2012

Meet Author Jacqueline Paige

This month in the
Author Spotlight
I am pleased to
welcome author
Jacqueline Paige

Please tell us a little about yourself.

My short ‘official’ bio reads like this: Jacqueline Paige Is a world class multi-tasker being a mother to five adventurous and unpredictable children, a cafe manager and having a colossal imagination that allows her to step outside of reality into a world of paranormal romance —with just a touch of suspense.

Jacqueline lives in Ontario, Canada and avoids the ever changing weather of the region she lives in by creating other worlds to fall into in her stories of all things paranormal.

Or simply put I really need someone to create a time machine that would give me just a few more hours in a day to get everything done.

Every author I’ve met has their own unique story of how they found their way into writing. What path led you to become an author?

I have always been scribbling in a notebook telling a tale for as far back as I can remember and I did try to go somewhere with it when I got older but life kept getting in the way each time I started down that road. The last time I tried seriously was before internet and ebooks —and before word processing programs. I did manage to get a few neatly type written short stories out there but wasn’t able to devote the time needed to take it any further.

In 2006 my friend was abandoning me to go away for a month. I was going to be lost without her at that point in my life and when I asked her what I was supposed to do left to entertain myself for that long, she told me to write a book. She was joking, but I was determined to have the last word so I sat down and started writing.

When she returned a month later there was a book waiting for her in her email. I was actually half way through the second book at this point. Both of us were shocked that it was good. Good enough to publish. The book was From Beltane Magic.

What aspect of the writing process to you enjoy the most? What part of the process do you dread?

I think I enjoy that initial moment when a story idea comes to me the most. I love sitting down and just seeing where I can take it. Sometimes it doesn’t go in the direction I want it to, so I move on to the next and save the other one for another time. It’s like discovering a new world most of the time though and I’m always surprised that I thought of it.

The part I dread would definitely have to be writing the synopsis. I wait until the book is finished to do this and it’s the probably the most frustrating task ever! I can write an entire book in a month if the plot runs for me, but to sit down and write 3-5 pages of summary feels like torture for me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser in terms of your writing style? Describe your writing space.

I would definitely be a pantser. I have tried to sit down and plot out a story and for the basic outline it works out for me, but then my imagination, my muse and characters take over and quite often I’m sitting there reading what I wrote and have no idea how the plot got there. A few times I’ve had to sit down and try to figure out where exactly to go next, but for the most part it’s an adventure and I love not knowing the ending until the last word is typed.

Which author has most influenced or inspired you?

Oh my, there are so many. I read anything and everything really. There is no such thing as too many books or reading too much in my world. (We just moved recently and my boys would have preferred to carry the refrigerator up and down the stairs ten times than to move all the boxes of books.) If I had to pin point the authors that have driven me to write what was meandering around in my imagination I would lean toward the dark-fanatasy-paranormal authors like Christine Feehan, Laurel K Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon ( and twenty others) because they took the risks and let their stories go to new places and that’s what I wanted to do.

Would you tell us a little about your latest book?

I’d love to! That book I wrote as a joke in 2006 turned into a series and I stuck with it while working on other plots and adventures. The first one From Beltane Magic was released in January and The Solstice Heat was just released in March.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The Solstice Heat – Magic and passion that burns.

Step into a world of magic and passions....

Take a dash of spice, heat it

Add a flash of magic and watch the sparks fly

Toss in a killer that's targeting women

Add a handful of witches from all paths to stir it all together...

Separated by two different life styles yet their passion and magic ignite sparks hotter than the Solstice heat.

Can they work out a way to be together as they try to stop a killer from striking again?

Kasey is a woman that exudes energy and brightness; she is as equally passionate when angry as she is when she’s happy. The energy she carries from life comes through in all her magical workings with spells and stones, giving them great magical strength. She is a dreamer and often wishes she could re-write her own story so that she was charming and sophisticated enough to be with a certain wealthy male lawyer she wants more than anything else.

Chris is a force of strength and experience that is carefully hidden behind the easy mannerism he has adapted so carefully. There is nothing he cannot do where magic is concerned and he has tried all manner of things, whether right or wrong. His fortune has left him wanting for nothing else in life, except the one thing money can’t buy him, the woman he feels too unclean to approach.

Separated by two different life styles yet their passion and magic ignite sparks hotter than the Solstice heat.

Can they work out a way to be together as they try to stop a killer from striking again?

What can readers expect in the coming months? What are you working on now?

The list is as long as I am tall and I’m sitting right at six feet.

In May the third book in the Magic Seasons will be released- Harvest Dreams.

The fourth book, Autumn Dance is presently sitting on the editors desk, but I don’t have a release date just yet for that one. The fifth and final (for now) book Winter Mist is in the tedious process of being proofed and corrected prior to submission.

I also have the second book in the Hidden Senses Trilogy coming out in July- Dream Visions. The final book in this trilogy- Inner Reflections is underway on my writing list but will be completed shortly just as long as the characters behave and do what they’re told. It’s been exciting to write about psychic abilities.

Undergoing some requested revisions presently there is the first book in my Animal Trilogy – Animal Heart. This is the first time I’ve wandered into the shifter trend and I have to say it’s very exciting to stretch my imagination in a new direction.

There are two other books that are going through the readers process (either pre or post submission) After the Silence and Cross Over Huntress. Both again are completely different areas of paranormal than my previous books.

I guess you can surmise that you will be seeing more books with my name on them.  Like I said at the beginning of this interview, I really need that time machine—soon!

Where can you be found on the web?

twitter:  @JacqPaige

Thanks so much for having me here!! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter Everyone

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Promise Tree - Now Available

My newest book,  THE PROMISE TREE, was released today
by Wings ePress.

Here is a blurb and excerpt.


Trudi McNeil Sheppard and Wynn Colton have a history that reaches back into their childhood. They were playmates, then dating teens who became lovers until they went their separate ways for college. Thirty years later Trudi and Wynn meet again and the attraction between them quickly rekindles. They both learn that wishes and promises sometimes come true and that love endures and matures.


The headlights of Wynn's SUV swept across the yard as he pulled in the driveway. In the distance, he saw the silhouette of someone on the back porch of the McNeil house. It was late for anyone to be taking a midnight stroll. He remembered hearing rumors that Mrs. McNeil had been showing signs of Alzheimer's, and decided he should check this out. The figure stood as he strode across the field.

"Mrs. McNeil?"

The woman tilted her head. "Wynn?"

Moonlight cast a white glow over Trudi McNeil's face. "Trudi?"


"What are you doing out here at this hour? For that matter, what are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same thing. I flew up today to check on my mother. Can't sleep."

He nodded and stopped at the bottom of the porch steps. "Me either. I'm here to get the house in shape for sale."

"I knew you were a surgeon. I didn't realize you did home repairs, too."

"I'm a man of many talents."

"Sit down. You want a beer or anything?"

He dropped onto the top step. "No, thanks. I just had the world's worst coffee at the hospital followed by a Coke disguising itself as Sunkist."

"The hospital?"

"It was the only place in town open at this hour."

Trudi chuckled. "You were that desperate?"

"I took a drive and ended up there. Ran in to Cal Watson. He's the security guard. I hear your friend, Joanne, works there now."

Trudi nodded.

"So, what brings you back home?"

"My mom's not doing well. Alzheimer's…"

~ * ~

Get your copy of THE PROMISE TREE now at Wings ePress