Friday, December 6, 2013

My Favorite Things

I'm a big fan of The Sound of Music. A really big fan.

I mean, I got engaged during the wedding scene of the original movie then later had my daughter sing the role of Mother Abbess in a stage production, so I clearly have pretty strong feelings about the show and its cast. Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer definitely did not fit my image of a proper cast.

Don't get me wrong, I had nothing against Carrie or Stephen. In fact, I took my daughter and son-in-law to see Carrie when she performed in concert here. I also like Stephen. He makes a wonderful vampire leader on Blood Ties. However, when I heard these two were cast as leads, all I could envision was Southern-fried "Jesus Take The Wheel" meets Louisiana vampire.

Boy, was I wrong!

Carrie Underwood pulled off the role of Maria with maturity, style, and barely a twinge of an accent, and Stephen Moyer owned the role of Captain Von Trapp. Who knew he could sing like that? Wow. The rest of the cast was just as amazing. The seven Von Trapp children were wonderful in their roles, and Christian Borle made a delightful Max. Audra McDonald as the Mother Abbess blew me away with her singing. What an incredible voice she has.

All in all, it was a fantastic three hours of entertainment tonight, and I have now added this show to my official list of Favorite Things!

~ Stephanie

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wendy Knight's Feudlings in Flames

I'm very excited today to talk to you about the latest book from the lovely and talented Wendy Knight. 

Feudlings in Flames is Book Two in the Fate on Fire series, and it looks like it will be as just as exciting of a read as the initial book. Ms. Knight introduced Ari and Shane to us in Feudlings, and this book continues their story. 

Although the Feudlings books are targeted to the teen reader, don't let that stop you from checking them out. Readers of all ages have turned the series into Best Sellers at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other eBook retailers. 

Let's take a peek at Feudlings in Flames, shall we? 

If you're like me, the front cover attracts you to a book (the boots and nail polish got my attention immediately) then you turn it over to read the back. 

I'll virtually turn this one over so we can read the back blurb.

"Ari thought being in love with her prophesied nemesis sucked. But being responsible for her best friend's kidnapping? It sucks worse.

Ari and Shane thought they’d beaten Fate and ended the three-hundred year war plaguing their people. They thought love had won. But they were so, so wrong.

Instead of graduating high school like the normals, they’re in a battle to save Charity – Shane’s cousin, Ari's best friend, and the seer who might hold the key to ending the war for good. To do that, they’re forced to accept help from a boy they aren’t even sure they can trust. He’s powerful and knows spells even Ari’s never heard of, but he’s also secretive and has a past he’s determined to keep hidden . Add to that the fact that he has his sights set on Ari, and Shane would rather do without his help.

Ari has bigger problems than mysterious boys and their strange powers. The powerful Edren Family is hunting her brother, and she can't very well save him or Charity while they’re constantly being attacked by her own people. To stop the raids, she has to take the fight to them. But if she starts hunting the family that raised her, what kind of monster will she be? 

Fate still waits for the death of one by the hand of the other."

Whoa! Sounds like Ari has her work cut out for her in this story. Let's find out a bit more and read an excerpt, shall we?

        "No no, Hunter, it curves this way." Ari stood back, watching with a frown, and then jumped back in. "Imagine in your mind what you want the spell to do. Tie your emotions to your spells."
          Shane watched her guide Hunter and tried again on his own. "Close, Shane, but like this," Ari reached out, holding his hand as she led him through the motion. He felt the flames racing through his blood react to her touch and sparks flew from his fingers, igniting the spell. It hung, burning, in the air, a bright blue curlicue thing. "Perfect," she whispered, still holding on to his hand.
            "Maybe, but does it work?" Tristan's voice was flat and uninterested, but Shane could hear the animosity running under the words.
          "We don't have any targets set out. He can't test it." Ari shook her head, and still holding Shane's hand, made a quick swiping motion through the spell, dissipating it.     "Try again." She let go of his hand and stepped back, watching expectantly.
          Shane tried, once, twice, and three times. He couldn't get it quite right, but neither could Hunter, which made him feel better, and Tristan wasn't even trying.
          "It's okay if you can't do it, Shane. There are a lot of other powerful spells she uses that will be much easier for you to master," Will said.
          Ari vehemently shook her head. "No. He can do it. Just give him a minute!"
Shane kept his attention focused on the spell in front of him, but he couldn't stop his grin.
          Ari believed in him.
          He burned the spell into the air again, trying to replicate the one Ari had drawn, but it fizzled into a mass of smoke. The spell had to ignite to actually do anything. He groaned in frustration, tipping his head sideways to look at Ari. "What am I doing wrong?"
          She bit her lip, studying him for several seconds. "When you did it the first time, what were you thinking?" 
          Shane paused, dropping his hand that was still poised in the air. "Umm… I was thinking we were gonna die and I had seen you throw that spell so I knew it was possible. It just happened."

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm intrigued.  I definitely want this one.  You can get a copy, too, at:

About the Author -
Wendy Knight was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family, who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, etcetera, etcetera). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big: her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.

You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion may be. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.

Twitter: @wjk8099

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New from Iris Blobel!

 New Beginnings
by Iris Blobel

Please share the good news by "Click to Tweet"
To believe in new beginnings is to trust in tomorrow

Twenty-two-year-old Sophie Levesque has been guardian to eight-year-old sister Mia since their mother’s death a few years ago. Luck comes their way when they inherit a small house in Hobart. Problem is, though, they don’t know or have even heard of Clara Bellinger, the testator, and Sophie is afraid it’s all been a mistake.
As Mia settles well into her new school and life in general, Sophie is not only occupied by her search of what connected her to Clara, but also her new studies and the two men, who suddenly have become part of her daily life - Mark O’Connor, the lawyer representing Clara’s estate, and Zach, the hunk from across the road.
Other online bookstores still to come.
Chapter One

Sophie stared at the attorney, waiting for some answers. She and her sister, Mia, had been quietly sitting in Mr. O’Connor’s office for more than half an hour, and had learnt about the details of their inheritance.


"Clara Catherine Bellinger."

"Who is she?" Mia asked.

Startled by the subtle sound of the clock chiming across the road, Sophie’s gaze turned to the window, where she saw the post office building across the road. It looked impressive and old. Surely, an old place like this would have its own ghosts — after all, Hobart was renowned for its lively spirits.

Her younger sister’s gentle touch on her arm reminded her she hadn’t answered the question, yet. "I wouldn’t have a clue." Sophie shrugged and focused her attention back on Mr. O’Connor. Although hearing his words, she still found it hard to comprehend. Here she was in this old office, furnished with heavy antique oak furniture, the curtains in a pretty shade of aubergine, and the carpet beneath her shoes thick and warm in a matching shade.

"I believe she was a distant relative of yours. I’m afraid I don’t have any further details," he replied.

Sophie arched an eyebrow in disbelief. Was he serious? What kind of lawyer was he? Sure, Tasmania was at the very end of Australia, but wouldn’t they have the same education? With a slight shrug of her shoulder, she asked, "Why not?"

He stared at her. "Pardon me?"

Sitting up straight, she repeated, "Why not? Why aren’t there any further details?"

He looked uneasy, but she didn’t care. She needed to know. Sophie had received a call from the lawyer a week earlier, and he’d told her about an

inheritance. He’d given her details on where to pick up tickets to Hobart. Some legality, he had said. She needed to come in and sign documents for the transfer of ownership.

"Ms. Bellinger was one of the partner’s clients. I was only given the details shortly after the client’s death."

Sophie drew in her lips. Her eyes darted over to the window as she took a few deep breaths, inwardly calming herself. Nothing had ever been easy in her life. "Why isn’t the partner here?"

He took a deep breath. "Retired."
As she pondered on that for a moment, she began to think about what life could be like with this inheritance. Different. Better. Another sigh escaped as she returned her gaze to the man behind the desk. "You can’t just leave your assets to just anybody, can you?"

"Miss Lever—"

"Levesque," she helped him.

Their eyes met.

"Are you refusing the bequest?" he asked hesitantly, and she clearly noticed how one of his eyebrows arched upward.

Staring blankly with her mouth open, she could feel the panic running through her veins with every thump of her erratic heartbeat. An uncomfortable silence fell over them for a moment. Then she quickly said, "No. No, of course not. We’re accepting." She turned to look at her younger sister. "We’re actually looking forward to seeing it."

And with one swift movement, he stood and went to a little cupboard near the window and retrieved a bunch of keys. "Would you like me to take you there?"

Still feeling that rush within her, Sophie took Mia’s hand and inclined her head in answer. "Is it far?" Her voice sounded tired. Even to herself. It had been a long day already. She stood and thinking how tired she was, Sophie placed her arm around Mia, who was probably exhausted.

"No, not at all. Five to ten minute drive, I’d say."
"I still don’t understand. Why us?" Sophie asked quietly, meeting his gaze and, for the first time, actually taking in his icy-blue eyes. He was very attractive. Too attractive for a boring lawyer. His face was tanned by wind and sun, and there always seemed to be a hint of a smile on his face. His blond curling hair was cut short. Her gaze fixed back on his mouth. Blushing, she quickly looked away.

The attorney turned to them. He scratched the back of his head. "Ma’am, what I know is that both of you are in the will. What I know is that I was supposed to fly you down here to officially read you the will. What I know is that I’m supposed to hand over the keys to you, and to let you know that your expenses are covered for the next twenty-four months. I did not know Ms. Bellinger, as one of the retired partners wrote up the will. I do not know who she was or in which way she was connected to you. I assumed she was a distant relative."

Sophie took her sister’s hand as she thought about his last comment. Distant relative? Her mother would have at least mentioned her once. She sighed and tried to understand, not the circumstances that had brought her there, but the fact that the attorney just didn’t know. "Oh well, let’s go then."

He pinched his nose with his thumb and index finger and took a deep breath. "Okay. Look, Miss Lever—"

"Levesque," Sophie helped him again. This time somewhat more firmly.

Running his thumb over his eyebrow, he stepped closer, but not so close as to be intimidating. "I’m sorry. It’s been one extraordinary week," he said with his voice just above a whisper. "Once I get back I’ll check with the partners here to see whether anybody knows more about it."
One extraordinary week? His remark irked her. In fact it was downright annoying. Holding Mia even closer to her side, she lifted her finger and pointed at him. "No offence, Mr. O’Connor, but it has been quite a week for us as well, and I was prepared to answer all your questions. I have one simple question, and you don’t know. Wouldn’t there be something in the file?" Sophie was a kind person.

Kindness was her middle name, but she wouldn’t have got that far in life if she hadn’t watched some of those nasty actresses on television and copied them. And the stare. Sophie met his surprised frown dead-on.

He frowned and seemed taken aback by her words. "No offence taken." And then he let out a deep breath. "You’re right. I apologise. As I said, I’ll find out details and let you know."

"Thank you, Mr. O’Connor," she replied as she blew out a breath.

"What about our stuff?" Mia whispered to Sophie.

Sophie moved her head to look down at her sister, but before she had a chance to say anything, he beat her to it. "What stuff?" he asked as he opened the door.

"Considering what we inherited here, we brought all our things," Sophie explained without looking at him.

The attorney stopped in his tracks. "All, as in all your clothes?"

Sophie’s eyes met his. She emitted a small sigh, but tried to keep her composure. It was something she had learnt over the last few years. Standing straight, she corrected him. "All, as in all our belongings."

They stepped outside the building and followed Mr. O’Connor with their suitcases. Two teenage boys walked past them, eager to get the attention of some girls across the road. Aware of the attention, the girls covered their mouths with their hands and broke into giggles. Sophie’s stomach churned. So many things she had missed out on in life. But it was going to be better from now on, she reminded herself, and straightened up as she followed Mr. O’Connor.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cover Reveal!!

Astraea Press is celebrating their first cover reveal; Wendy Knight's Fate on Fire novella, Feudlings in Sight! Available Thursday on Astraea Press, Amazon, and all other major ebook retailers!
Blurb: Boys of war suck at romance.

Charity Delyle has lived in the shadow of her Prodigy cousin and his powerful Guard since the day she was born. And she doesn’t mind—really. Except that being in Hunter’s shadow means that he can’t see her. And she’d like that to change.

Hunter has one purpose in life: Protect the Prodigy, or die trying. That means a social life, school, and even Charity come last until the war is over. For the most part, he’s okay with that—he can lose everything if he has to…except his seer.

Starting at a new school should be much safer than living in a war-ravaged Carules headquarters. But this new school is different than the others. Friendships are forged and destinies are questioned, and Hunter’s decision could cost them all everything they’ve been hoping for.

Excerpt: “Okay, do you want to practice the ones we learned last week or just start new ones?” She had carefully color-coded the spell book with sticky tabs — spells they had mastered, spells they had practiced, spells that would come in handy one day — she was very organized. And if the Council ever found out she put sticky tabs in a book that was over three hundred years old, they would kill her completely dead.

“Learn as much as you can, Shane. Gonna be hard to find a place to practice in the mountains of Utah, surrounded by Normals.” Hunter idly traced spells in the air, letting them fizzle and die without igniting them.

“Well, alright.” Charity flipped to the red section — spells that would come in handy one day. She started at the top. “This one is called an Al-able.” The odd word rolled awkwardly off her tongue. “It’s like… it looks like it’s sort of a flat triangle of flames.”

Hunter and Shane both walked over, studying the spell in the book before tracing it slowly into the air. The spell wouldn’t actually ignite until they lit it with the flames roiling through their blood, but they both wanted to make sure they could do it correctly so as not to explode them all to pieces or something.

“No, no, Hunter. Less harsh lines. Softer.” Charity glanced down at the page and then up at Hunter’s disaster of an attempt. Sighing she laid the book on the metal next to her and pushed herself to her feet. She took Hunter’s hand, trying hard to ignore the way her own blood seemed to explode into flames. There’s no magic there, she told herself harshly. “Like this.” She led his hand through the spell until the air smoked and the image burned in front of them. She looked up, got caught in his gold eyes. He watched her, an unreadable look on his face.

It made her heart stutter in her chest. Before he could say anything she dropped his hand. “Now try it on your own. I can’t do everything for you, you know.” Charity grinned playfully, dodging out of the way as he tried to push her over. She rescued the book from the twisted metal and perched, watching them expectantly. “Go. Do something.”

Shane rolled his eyes. “Give the girl a book and she’s suddenly the boss.” He moved away several feet so he wouldn’t accidentally ignite her. He’d done it before, and Charity didn’t relish the idea of it happening again.

BIO: Wendy Knight was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, etcetera, etcetera). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big: her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S. You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion may be. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing. Twitter: @wjk8099 Facebook: Blog: Goodreads: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 15, 2013

Read Kiddo Read

One of my favorite authors, James Patterson, is a big advocate of getting kids to read. Since the birth of his son, he has invested a lot of time and money into a campaign to encourage reading from young ages on up.

His program Read, Kiddo, Read is geared at attracting readers at various age levels. He believes, as most of us do, that reading is critical and fundamental skill for success in school and life as well as a method of relaxation and enjoyment. 

He encourages parents to keep their kids reading during the summer months, which is an important goal of mine, too. His website Read Kiddo Read offers a lot of wonderful books for kids and is broken down by tabs for Great Illustrated Books (for younger readers), Great Beginner Books (6 & Up), Great Page Turners (8 & up), and Great Advanced Books (10 & Up).

Patterson, however, hasn't really focused much on the slightly older reader, so this week, I am highlighting some young adult books by some wonderfully creative authors on a special YA Recommended Reads tab.

Why not click over there and check out this week's picks:

The Super Spies and the Pied Piper 
Lisa Orchard

Late for the Ball
Heather Gray

Perfect Summer
by Karen King

And remember to Read, Kiddo, matter what your age is!
~ Stephanie

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Life on the Edge - Or How I Spent My Weekend

There's no nice way to say it - I'm a klutz. It's true. To illustrate my point, it came as no surprise to my friends and family to hear I managed to pop something in my ankle while I was letting my dog out last week. I was in my own house, barefooted, without the excuse of falling or a pair of ridiculously lovely shoes, or anything else. So, I spent the weekend doing RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) therapy...mostly with my foot on a sofa cushion and my nose buried in my Kindle. As my friend Peg S. pointed out, at least I had a decent pedi for the event.

But what does being a klutz have to do with Life on the Edge? Well, my weak ankles have plagued me all my life, but I still used to love to figure skate as a kid. I had to lace my skates extra firmly to support my ankles, and I couldn't skate for long before they gave out, but I loved it. As an adult, I love to watch figure skating. I am awed by the speed and grace with which those athletes glide across the ice. For me, Figure Skating - Pairs, Dance, Men's, Women's - is the most important sport at the Olympics. I watch the other  skating competitions, too, and probably watched the movie, The Cutting Edge, at least ten times. So, I was tickled when I learned one of my fellow Astraea Press authors, Jennifer Comeaux, has a series of romances set in the figure skating world.

As luck would have it, Life on the Edge and it's sequel Edge of the Past are on sale at Amazon for just 99 cents each -- a heck of a price for a big 400 page book! So I downloaded them and started to read. From page one, I was swept into the competitive and exciting behind the scene world of figure skating.

I stayed up until 3 A.M. in order to finish Life on the Edge, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves romance and figure skating. I started book two today, but had to share this one.

Life on the Edge 
by Jennifer Comeaux

Nineteen-year-old Emily is new to pairs skating, but she and her partner Chris have a big dream -to be the first American team to win Olympic gold. Their young coach Sergei, who left Russia after a mysterious end to his skating career, believes they can break through and make history.

Emily and Chris are on track to be top contenders at the 2002 Winter Games. But when forbidden feelings spark between Emily and Sergei, broken trust and an unexpected enemy threaten to derail Emily's dreams of gold.

Available at
Astraea PressAmazon, and Barnes & Noble

You can check out Jennifer's other books at these booksellers, too.

Don't wait for a sprained ankle to do it -- the sale is still on!

Happy reading, happy writing,
~  Stephanie                  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So Many Books and So Little Time

I have to admit this picture amused me. I don't watch TV very much, and what television I do watch is about as far from the Jersey Shore's paean to Gym and Tanning as you can get. I'm more likely to be watching Law and Order, Castle, CSI or some other police action show.

I also tend to have my nose stuck in a book -- or more likely these days in my Kindle or iPad book app. It's great to be able to carry your library with you wherever you go. The downside to that is that I subscribe to several eBook sites whose goal in life seems to be to introduce me to new books and new authors. So, I always have dozens of books waiting to be read. They call to me when I should be sitting at my desk working on my next book. 

Today, I'm being tempted by a new title from Astraea Press,
The Enchanted
by Elizabeth Cantrell

Prince Alan has been forced into a marriage he doesn't want. To top it off, he finds his bride isn't the sweet submissive creature he expected. 

Morgane has the heart of a dragon and beauty beyond compare, and she's not to thrilled about the marriage either. 

When black treachery threatens the kingdom, the pair must embark on a perilous journey that has an excellent chance of ending in failure and death.

Sounds like another book to add to the Kindle library, and one more excuse to keep from writing. Darn!

Have a great day -- I'll be over here reading!

Monday, April 22, 2013

There's Trouble in Paradise or, in This Case, Paradys

I'm excited to announce the upcoming release of a second book.

Trouble in Paradys, to be released in late June, isn't part of the Stitching Post romances (the next story in that series is still in process). My new story is a bit different. It's part fantasy, part comedy, and all romance.

Here's a bit about it:
Psychology professor, Peggy Oster intends to spend her summer vacation doing nothing more than watching classic sitcoms and reading her backlog of romance novels. Instead, she wakes up the first morning in a strange dimension where all the residents look like they were chosen for their roles by a Hollywood casting agent.

Xandro never planned to be wizard; he wants to be a chef. The inept magician can make a perfect soufflé, but his spells leave much to be desired. Still, he’s not ready to relinquish his Court position when a fiery-haired young woman shows up at the castle gate.

Can the unlikely pair put aside their differences in order to rescue the Royals, who have been abducted? If not, Peggy will be stuck in this strange world with no way back to Kansas.

Where are all the ruby slippers when a gal needs them?

Happy reading/happy writing!
~ Stephanie

Monday, March 4, 2013

Using Adverbs is a Mortal Sin - Ten Rules for Writers

Inspired by Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing, The Guardian, a British newspaper asked authors for their personal dos and don'ts for aspiring authors. I'm posting's Leonard's list below and will highlights some of the others in the days ahead. I'm also going to ask some of my fellow authors for their list, so check back and see what they have to say!

Elmore Leonard: Using adverbs is a mortal sin
1 Never open a book with weather. If it's only to create atmosphere, and not a charac­ter's reaction to the weather, you don't want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead look­ing for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

2 Avoid prologues: they can be ­annoying, especially a prologue ­following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday, but it's OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: "I like a lot of talk in a book and I don't like to have nobody tell me what the guy that's talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks."

3 Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But "said" is far less intrusive than "grumbled", "gasped", "cautioned", "lied". I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with "she asseverated" and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.

4 Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said" ... he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances "full of rape and adverbs".

5 Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

6 Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose". This rule doesn't require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use "suddenly" tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

7 Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes, you won't be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavour of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range.

8 Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants", what do the "Ameri­can and the girl with him" look like? "She had taken off her hat and put it on the table." That's the only reference to a physical description in the story.

9 Don't go into great detail describing places and things, unless you're Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don't want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

10 Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.

My most important rule is one that sums up the other  ten: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Hmmmm, Mr. Leonard sounds like a tough editor.  What do you think?

My advice? Keep writing! (she said with an exclamation point)
~ Stephanie

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stop by and visit us!

Today, my co-author, Patricia Kiyono and I are guests on the blog of a fellow Astraea Press author, Lindsay Downs.  Among Lindsay many titles is the Emily Dahill, CID, series about an Iraq veteran, who pursues a new career as a Criminal Investigation Department Special Agent. 

It is such an honor for me to be on Lindsay's blog, and I'm very grateful for this opportunity to meet some of Lindsay's readers.

If you get a chance, Stop on by.  

Joint interviews are fun to do. You'll get to learn a little bit about both of us, how we write, and a bit about our backgrounds.  

To stop by for a visit, click below.
Lindsay Sands, Murders and Mysteries

Talk to you soon!
~ Stephanie

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday, to Astraea Press!

My publisher, Astraea Press, just completed their second year of business and is celebrating with readers on Facebook! The party is open to everyone and gives you a chance to meet AP's authors, management and other readers. The invitation is at!/events/510248245687230/

All month during February, AP will celebrate by giving away TWO FREE BOOKS! All you have to do is go to the AP Blog at to see which titles are offered. You'll get a link to the books on Smashwords, along with a coupon code to enter so you can download them free! 

What a great way to build up your e-library! Today's titles are Abiding Echoes by Kay Springsteen and The Sentence by Elaine Cantrell.

Don't forget to join Astraea Press' book club, too. You can join on their Facebook page: once you're a member, you can send an email request for the book of the month to and it's yours, absolutely free! This month's free book is The Key to Love by Meg Mims. 

And on a personal note, I'd love to have you visit my FB page at:!/StephanieMichelsAuthor and today, my co-author, Patricia Kiyono and I are guests on Susana Ellis' blog.  Stop by and visit if you can.

Keep smiling,

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Lovely New Blog award

Oh, Look!
 It's a lovely new Blog Award.  So pretty and it's pink, too,  I want to thank two wonderful authors Chris Allen Riley and Joselyn Vaughn for sending this award to me. You should definitely check out their blogs and learn some new tidbits about them.

Here are  7 Random Bits of Information about Stephanie Michels:

1- I wrote at least 6 plays that were produced by the various schools I attended from  second grade to my  junior year of high school. One play I wrote was based on "The Pardoner's Tale" from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. I made it into a western called "The Padre's Tale".

2- I used to write a monthly software review column for Compute! Magazine.

3- My family is Slovak (Czechoslovakian) on both my parent's sides. In fact, all but 1 of my grandparents were born over there.

4- I absolutely love coffee!  It's my go to drink. I also love Coca-Cola Classic, but I try to steer clear of it due to my perpetual dieting.

5- Everyone assumes my favorite color is pink because I have so much of it. However, it isn't. I love pink, but my actual favorite color is actually pale teal. Yes, I know my Blog is pink and so is this award...but now you know the truth.

6- My favorite actor is Sean Connery. He was smokin' hot as James Bond, but he was even better as King Arthur in First Knight. He makes bald look sexy, and his accent is very yummy, too.

7-  I'm like the magpie in The Secret of Nimh...I love sparklies!  At last count, I have more than 300 different pair of earrings!
To see some other great blogs and great  reads, please visit:

Chris Allen Riley
Joselyn Vaughn
Vivian Roycroft
Kay Springsteen
Patricia Kiyono
J.L. Salter

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Calico Heart has Arrived!

It seems like it's been a long time coming, but in truth, it was only a few months since my friend and critique partner, Patricia Kiyono and I first started working on The Calico Heart.

Now, drum roll please -- it has been released in e-format by a wonderful publisher, Astraea Press.  Astraea is known for providing good, clean, wholesome and entertaining books for readers. Not just romances but mysteries, paranormal, etc.

As for The Calico Heart, I can't begin to tell you what a high it was to see my name in print on the beautiful cover designed by Elaina Lee. And can you believe it, it's pink!!  I'm sure I'll be even more excited when I have a print copy to hold and admire -- I have just the spot picked out for it on my bookshelf!

The Calico Heart is the first book in the Stitching Post Romance series.  The stories all center around a group of women who meet in a quilt shop -- The Stitching Post -- to work on their projects once a week.  They range in ages from early 20s to mid-80s, and are as different as the quilts they make.  Each woman has a story to tell, and the romances are as heartwarming as your favorite quilt. Since I'm a sucker for happy endings, it was fun helping bring these characters to their Happily Ever After.   

The first story in the series is a bit unusual since our hero and heroine are in their mid-fifties and facing retirement.

On the surface, Sylvia Miller has a perfect life. She’s married to her college sweetheart, has three great kids, a rewarding career, and wonderful friends. But beneath the appearances, Sylvia is restless. She loves her husband, but wants to see more of the world than their peaceful Michigan town. For years, she’s dreamed of the interesting places she wants to visit. Now, their youngest child is grown, and Sylvia is ready for adventure.

Left a penniless orphan, David Miller promised himself his family would never know the same humiliation. For twenty-six years, he and Sylvia have lived frugally, saving for the future. Now, Dave is on the brink of a promotion that will ensure their financial security, but Sylvia wants him to retire and travel with her. 

When Dave refuses, Sylvia decides to go alone.  But it’s a decision that could cost them much more than money.       

You can find this book at Amazon (where you can read the first chapter for free), Barnes and Nobel, or the Astraea Press website.

Patty's other books are available there, too. Her titles, all published by Astraea Press include:
The Legacy, July 2011
The Christmas Phoenix, November 2011
Aegean Intrigue, February 2012
The Samurai's Garden, November 2012

We thank all our readers for their support, and we're already hard at work on books two and three. 

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Photo by David Moir/Reuters

Every year, I make New Year's Resolutions; every year, I break them. This year, I decided to do something a bit different.  Instead of making grandiose resolutions like "Finish my novel", I decided to chose baby step goals like "Write for an hour everyday."

All total, I made about a dozen of these baby step goals then put them in an Excel spreadsheet (I tend to use Excel for all sorts of list making tasks). I listed the days of the year in the left hand column and the goals across the top. I grouped like goals together: Personal, Professional, Home Organization.  These columns are color-coded so I can check my progress.

When I finish my goal, I mark it as "done" with a smiley face. If I miss a goal for a day, I do not mark it with a frown or say "undone."  I just leave it blank.  I believe every positive thing we do should be an occasion for celebration. I want my chart to reflect this.  After all, the world is filled with people who are more than happy to comment on our failures, so we should protect ourselves from the things that could drag us down by giving ourselves a pat on the back for everything we do accomplish.

So, my overall New Year's resolution can be summed up in two words: Celebrate Myself! I hope you do the same for yourself. You don't need to make lists, but give yourself credit for all the things you accomplish. You deserve it!

Have a wonderful 2013. I'll be posting again soon. Meanwhile, please enjoy an excerpt from my upcoming book with best-selling author Patricia Kiyono, The Calico Heart.  It's the first book of our Stitching Post Romance series.

Sneak Preview Excerpt:

     "It was such a beautiful wedding,ʺ Sylvia remarked as she sat at the bedroom vanity to tissue off her make-­up later that evening.  "The weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. This late in June, you never know what you’ll get.ʺ
     ʺI’m just glad to finally get out of this blasted tuxedo,ʺ Dave replied, tugging loose his tie and starting on the button of his heavily starched shirt.
     ʺYou looked very handsome.ʺ She met his eyes in the mirror and winked suggestively. "Sexy.ʺ
     "I felt like a stuffed penguin. I don’t know why we had to have all the fuss.ʺ
     ʺHoney, she’s our only daughter. We had to do things up right for her wedding.ʺ
     ʺShe’d have been just as married with a simple ceremony and reception in our rose garden. Just think what we could have saved on the flowers alone.ʺ
     "We would never have been able to fit all of our friends and co-workers – and Lynne and Ron’s – in our backyard,ʺ Sylvia said, repeating the same argument she’d given him when he’d first suggested a home wedding. ʺThe church hall was the perfect solution. And we didn’t have to worry about rain or having a guest fall in the pool. Besides, it’s not like we didn’t have money already saved.ʺ She grinned. "ʺI think you rushed to the bank straight from the hospital the day Lynne was born so you could set up a savings account for her wedding.ʺ
     "Nah. I waited until the next day,ʺ he admitted, sheepishly. "But we still went over budget...ʺ
     "A little,"ʺ Sylvia conceded, remembering a few bills she still hadn’t slipped into the pile of expenses on his desk. "But certainly nothing that will jeopardize our retirement plans.ʺ
     Dave mumbled something, but with his head buried in their closet, she couldn’t hear his exact words.
     "Look under your side of the bed,ʺ she called.
     "Your slippers. That’s what you’re looking for, isn’t it?ʺ She slathered a bit of extra moisturizer on her forehead where she’d noticed a few deep lines had recently appeared. ʺI think you left them under your side of the bed.ʺ
     Her husband crossed to the bed, bent to look under it, then held up the missing slippers with a triumphant smile. ʺFound ‘em!ʺ
     "Whatever would you do without me?"ʺ Sylvia deadpanned.
     He pursed his lips and pretended to consider the idea. ʺGo barefooted?ʺ
     ʺYou hate going barefoot. I guess you’d better keep me around.ʺ
     "Oh, I don’t know,ʺ he said, coming to stand behind her chair. He leaned down and wrapped his arms around her then rested his chin on the top of her head. Meeting her eyes in the mirror, he smiled. ʺJust think how much I could save on your mascara alone.ʺ
     She laughed and swatted his arm. ʺAs if you’d even know how much mascara costs. That’s one of the things my paycheck always covered.ʺ
    "Are you going to miss it?ʺ
    "The paycheck?ʺ
    "Well, that and the students. I know how much you love teaching.ʺ
    "I did love it. It was great being able to help kids understand math. The looks on their faces when they suddenly got it – when they went from struggling to understanding—" She paused and smiled. "ʺIt was priceless."ʺ

Talk to you soon,
The Stitching Post Romances with bestselling author Patricia Kiyono
Book One - The Calico Heart coming January 2013 from Astraea Press