Monday, November 28, 2016

Mary Patterson Thornburg: Clothes Make the Character

Fellow Uncial Press author Mary Patterson Thornburg is my guest today on Clothes Make the Character Monday. She's going to talk about what clothes mean to her characters. Welcome Mary!

"Clothes make the man" is one of those old sayings you have to respect even though you'd like to argue with it. According to my Google search, it's been traced to everybody from Shakespeare to Mark Twain, and it supposedly means something like "You can tell who a person is from the way that person is dressed."

I want to say, "No, no, no! Clothes are all on the surface! Clothes are not even the surface, they're just something draped over the surface! You don't know what's beneath the clothes, beneath the skin, inside the skull, under the breastbone! It could all be a costume, a disguise!" And of course, I'd be right; it could all be a disguise. But then I remember, the surface is all you can see at first. Sometimes it's all you ever see. So, when it comes to real people, I guess the saying is right even though it's probably wrong at the same time.

But what about characters in fiction? Do clothes make the character? I think that in some cases they definitely do. Because fictional characters aren't real people until the author who wrote them and the reader who reads them work the magic together that makes them real. And part of what the author does, at least in some instances, is to choose the character's clothes.

Until I'd given this some thought, I'd have said I don't pay much attention to my characters' clothes. Oh, yes, in my story "Ghosts," it's the young girl's Hallowe'en costume that shocks and disturbs her mother and has a different effect on her friends than the one she'd expected. But then, when I thought about it, I realized that clothes do play an important part in "making" some of my characters.

There's a character in one novel, which I haven't really published yet, who's dressed like this when the main character sees him for the first time:

The person was a boy, younger by the looks of him than his voice had sounded, wearing a pair of tight, sky-blue trousers and a short tunic that was embroidered closely with gleaming silver thread. Around his neck was an ornate metal collar set with multicolored jewels.

The boy's clothes, all the spangles and jewelry, absolutely scream wealth, vanity, and a certain immature lack of taste, even though the people in his world wouldn't find his costume as weird as the people in our world would. This boy turns out to be a nicer person than he first seems to be, but he never quite loses his sense of dramatizing himself by his selection of clothes. It's part of who he is, down deep inside, under the things he wears.

In my book A Glimmer of Guile, clothing plays an important role when the heroine, Vivia, deliberately uses it to make herself look in complete contrast to a woman she's about to go up against in a psychic fight to the finish. Vivia's in her early twenties, small and dark, and not particularly beautiful. The other woman is much older, tall, majestic, and very beautiful (although her beauty is something of a magic trick). Vivia wants to make her jealous, so she presents herself accordingly:

I bathed and dressed quickly in my favorite of the new outfits, another tunic suit, pale lemon-colored linen with a snug, short top and wide-legged trousers. No jewelry. I braided my hair tightly and pulled the braids back into a fountain that hung nearly to my waist. I wanted to look as young and as innocent as possible, as much in contrast to Orath as I could. I wanted her to be jealous; I wanted her to be angry. I was dressed to do battle.

And finally, in The Kura, I had to let readers know something about the main character, Alyssha, early on. Alyssha lives in our world, in Indiana, and in our time. But she's been in another world and she misses it terribly – her missing that world is what defines her life. She's eighteen, a high school senior, at an age when most young people would hardly be caught dead wearing clothes that will set them totally apart from every group, every other individual, in their community. Moreover, she's already different from them all in a way she didn't choose and can't control; she's of mixed race, raised by a poor, white, overprotective father, and she doesn't really fit in anywhere. So it says something very important about her that she chooses to make herself even more different by her choice of clothing:

She went into her bedroom and took from the old-fashioned wardrobe a matching tunic and trousers in light, puckered cotton, with a wide neckline, loose sleeves, and legs tight at the ankles. The outfit was copper-colored, just a bit lighter and brighter than her skin, and she knew she looked good in it. Mattie Hale, who owned a boutique, had made several similar outfits for her, modeled on the one she'd worn when she returned from the place old Mike had called Underland. Nobody else in Granville dressed this way, and she knew what her schoolmates' looks meant, but she didn't care. For six years she'd been homesick. This was how people dressed in Bandor, and it felt good to her.

So, readers, what do you learn about the people in a story from the way they dress? And, writers, how do you use your characters' clothes to make them into real, individual people?


For six years, Alyssha's been torn between her loyalty and love for her widowed father, the promise she made to him that she'd stay in his world, and her longing for the other world she visited for a summer when she was twelve. She found a home there, and the brother she thought she'd lost forever, and a boy who loved her, who would in these six years have become a young man, as she's become a woman. And now, when a hit-and-run victim found dying on a Granville street says her name and gives a policeman a strange object from that other place that can only mean trouble and danger, Alyssha has no choice but to go back.

When she gets there, she finds that a lot has changed…


Mary Patterson Thornburg was born in California, grew up in Washington State, moved to Montana when she was 18, and spent many years in Indiana, where she studied and then taught at Ball State University.

Her dream was always to write fantasy stories and novels, but she didn't get started until she and her husband moved back to Montana in 1998. When she'd finished her first story and it was published, she took off running and never looked back. She's had stories in Cicada, Zahir, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful, among other places. Two of her short stories earned honorable mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (2006, 2008), and "Niam's Tale," in the July/August 2010 Cicada, won the SCBWI 2011 Magazine Merit Honor Certificate. Her first fantasy/romance/adventure novel, A Glimmer of Guile, was published by Uncial Press in 2014. Her second book for Uncial, The Kura, came out in April, 2015. An Uncial Novel Byte, "Ghosts," was released October 14, 2016.




Twitter: @MaryPThornburg


Monday, November 21, 2016

#AuthorInterview with Chrys Fey

Romantic suspense author Chrys Fey sits down for an interview today. She's here to talk about her newly released novella 30 Seconds Before. She also talks about changing plans when life throws you lemons. Thanks for being my guest, Chrys!

Where did you get the idea for your new novella?

Well, it was pretty easy. I published 30 Seconds, a romantic-suspense novella, about a woman in the middle of a war between a police force and the Mob. Afterward, readers asked about what Blake went through before the story began. That got me thinking, and I just had to write that story. 30 Seconds Before takes place days before 30 Seconds, follows Blake while he’s undercover in the Mob, and ends right where 30 Seconds begins.

If you could change something about one of your books that’s already released, what would it be?

I would combine 30 Seconds Before and 30 Seconds into one book. But since 30 Seconds Before is in Blake’s perspective, his story would be Part 1. And since 30 Seconds is in Dani’s perspective, her story would be Part 2. The book for these combined stories would have the umbrella title of…30 Seconds.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I want them to walk away feeling entertained and as though they’ve made a few friends. I think being part of a reader’s life, for as long as it takes them to read the story, is precious. Entertaining them and making them feel like a member of your book’s family is a gift.

What’s one thing that your readers would be surprised to learn about you? 

I had wanted to be a cop, but when I had spine surgery at fifteen to correct severe scoliosis, that dream went away. I can’t move the same as I did before, and I certainly can’t do the things cops need to do while on duty. But I get to pretend I’m a cop through my writing.

If writing is your first passion, what is your second?

Photography. Wherever I go, I love to take pictures, or I see things that I would love to capture with a camera. I especially love to photograph nature. If I wasn’t writing, I’d be pursing photography.

If you could get rid of something in your life that would give you more writing time, what would it be?

Sleep. But then again, I love to sleep. I don’t think I could give it up, after all. Dreams give me most of my story ideas. However, all the time I waste sleeping in, because I can’t drag myself out of bed, would be better spent writing.

Name two authors we might find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.

J.D. Robb and her infinite In Death Series, or Janet Evanovich and her hilarious Stephanie Plum Series.

What do you like best about your hero? 

Blake is a hero through and through…He’s a cop for the Cleveland Police Force, and his last name is Herro. I couldn’t make a man more of a hero than Blake if I tried.

How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?

As I said in my previous answer, Blake’s last name is Herro because he’s a hero. Although, it’s supposed to be pronounced as He-Are-Row. I got his first name from a street sign, which is where I’ve gotten a lot of character names. And I tend to craft my characters’ looks after actors. For Blake, I envisioned Paul Walker. (RIP)

What’s your tagline? Why did you choose it?

Thrilling and Romantic with Heroines of Steel.
I chose this as my tagline because all of my stories have suspense and romance. 30 Seconds Before is the exception as there’s no romance. There also isn’t a heroine, but usually my heroines are tough cookies.

Steel also is a nod toward the rod in my back from my spine surgery. I once wrote an essay about my surgery titled “Woman of Steel,” and all of my heroines are as strong as steel.

Title: 30 Seconds Before (Prequel to 30 Seconds)
Genre: Mainstream Thriller
Page Count: 60 (novella)
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever since he was a child he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he make it out of the Mob alive or will he be their next victim?



Blake’s gaze continued to scan the area. Too many officers needed help. Blake 
strained his eyes to see if the nearest officer was still breathing, but the darkness and 
flashing lights obscured his vision. 

Dread was ripe in his veins, twining his intestines into knots. The assailants who attacked the officers could be lurking nearby, watching and putting him in their sights. Being out in the open with nothing but his Kevlar vest as protection was not where he wanted to be, but the officer he was helping would bleed out if he moved.

Blake studied the officer. His lips were an unnatural shade of blue. He was shivering from the frigid December night as well as blood loss.

“Did you see them?” Blake asked. “Do you know who did this?” 

The officer’s lips moved. 

Blake leaned forward, bringing his ear to the officer’s mouth. “What was that?”

The officer took a shuddering breath. “Red.”


Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series (Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes), as well as these releases from The Wild Rose Press: 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. She is an administrator for the Insecure Writer's Support Group and heads their monthly newsletter.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

#NewRelease with Sharon Buchbinder

Author Sharon Buchbinder is with me today to celebrate the release of  her paranormal fantasy romance THE HAUNTING OF HOTEL LABELLE. I wish you the best of luck with with your new book, Sharon!

The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle
by Sharon Buchbinder

Modern day woman, Tallulah Thompson, is the only person to see lost in limbo, “Love ‘em and Leave ‘em Lucius” Stewart in over a century. There’s a way to release him from the spell, but will reversing the curse make things better—or worse?


When hotel inspector, Tallulah Thompson, is called in along with her pug, Franny, to investigate renovation delays, she meets an extremely annoyed and dapper turn-of-the-century innkeeper. The only problem is he’s in limbo, neither dead nor alive, and Tallulah and the pug are the first to see him in a hundred years. Cursed by a medicine woman, “Love ‘em and Leave ‘em Lucius” Stewart is stuck between worlds until he finds his true love and gives her his heart. When he first sees Tallulah, he doesn’t know what he’s feeling. Yet, her stunning beauty, and feisty attitude pull him in. With the fate of Hotel LaBelle on the line, Tallulah with the help of a powerful medicine woman turns Lucius back into a flesh and blood man. She and Lucius team up to save the hotel, but Tallulah can't help but wonder if he will ever let go of his past love and learn to love again.

 An in-between book in the Jinni Hunter Series, this is a lighter paranormal tale than the others. Take one Montana innkeeper from an era when men were men and women were glad of it, one sassy hotel in  spector with a pug on patrol, and stir in a generous dollop of humor and sexual tension—and you have The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle. Come along to Big Sky Country and enjoy the ride with Tallulah, Lucius, Bert, and his sister, Emma as they join forces to rescue the people and the hotel they love.


A book flew at his head—and sailed through him, bouncing off the wall and landing on the floor.

Mouth agape, the woman stared from him to the book and back to him again. “You’re a ghost.”

“Not exactly. Shall we start over?” He leaned against the wall and folded his arms across his chest. “After a hundred years of being invisible to everyone except you, I’d like to know who you are and what you’re doing here.”

“Of course. Why not? Could today get any weirder?” She sank into the desk chair, shook her head, and sighed. “My name is Tallulah Thompson. I’m a hotel inspector, hired by the current owner as a consultant to find out why the renovations are delayed and what he needs to do to fix it. He’s teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.”

“What tribe are you?”

She jerked her head up and those doggone lapis lazuli eyes of hers sparked as if she’d strike him with lightning and kill him with one look. “No one asks that. It’s not politically correct.”

“Well, I guess you haven’t been talking to the right people. And I don’t know what you mean by that last part. I’ve never been involved in politics.”

“Nowadays, it’s considered rude to ask about another person’s national origins.” She threw her hands up. “Why am I giving a ghost an etiquette lesson? What am I thinking?”

World-wide Release Date: 11-16-2016

First Fantasy Rose Edition, 2016
Print ISBN 978-1-5092-1153-1
Digital ISBN 978-1-5092-1154-8

Digital Price: $3.99 USD
Print Price: $12.99 USD

Pre-Order/Buy Links: 


Barnes & Noble





Author Bio:

Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.

Author Links:

Facebook: Sharon Buchbinder Romance Author

Twitter ID @sbuchbinder

Goodreads author page

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sorchia DuBois and The Persistent BFF

It's Secondary Monday! I love a good secondary character and today's guest has a very interesting one. Sorchia DuBois is here to tell us how her heroine's best friend nearly took over her book and her series! Welcome Sorchia!

The Persistent BFF: A Secondary Character Who Nearly Took Over 
Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones

I’m a planning type of writer. I like to have the skeleton of a story in a working outline before I start writing. I’ll mull over the plot and write character charts for weeks before I get down to writing. Some call this procrastination—and I won’t argue—but it is a necessary step for me. Somewhere towards the middle, I trash the outline. At that point—anything can happen. This is the story of how one character made me chuck that outline a little sooner than usual.

Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones is the first book in a three-book series. Writing a series gives me the opportunity to develop a number of main characters. Over three books I can explore the psyches of Zoraida the protagonist, no fewer than three potential love interests, as well as a couple of nasty villains. And it means that I have the luxury of developing some secondary characters along the way.

Zhu Morgan is a Chinese American who grew up in Arkansas. She and Zoraida have been besties since kindergarten. Though I knew I would develop Zhu more than—say, the waitress at the local cafĂ©—I didn’t anticipate what happened. My plan was to use Zhu as a sounding board—a way to further the plot and show character through dialogue. But Zhu wasn’t satisfied with that. She wormed her way into the story and soon I realized the friendship between these two women had to be a driving force.

Beta readers loved the friendship and wanted more, so I wrote Zhu into additional scenes. She developed habits and desires and quirks just as endearing (to me, at least) as those I wound into Zoraida’s character. Zhu doesn’t always agree with Zoraida and she isn’t afraid to say so. She began to react to the mess she and Zoraida land in and, because of Zhu’s perspective and quirky attitude, Zoraida has to think harder about how to handle the problem. Zoraida can’t predict what Zhu is going to do next and neither can I.

But a story is all about conflict, so even though Zoraida and Zhu are steadfast friends, events and people they meet will challenge their devotion to each other.  What, I asked myself, could challenge a friendship between two people who have grown as close as Zhu and Zoraida? Maybe a man? Maybe two men? Maybe a disagreement that leads to danger for one or the other? Maybe each woman has a goal but those goals seem to be at odds? Maybe some unexpected twists?

All of those things threaten to wedge Zhu and Zoraida apart. But they have more to worry about than their friendship. Each one must make hard decisions in order to survive. Getting out of Castle Logan alive won’t be easy.

So important has Zhu become to the Zoraida Grey Series, that I plan to devote the first half of book 3-Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes—to Zhu. At least, that’s what the outline says, but you know me and outlines!

The Blurb, Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones

Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland––in a haunted castle––guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.

Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Before she can snatch the stone, Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches. Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything.

Not by a long shot.


He smiles with white teeth, his cheeks dimpling, his gaze moving from face to face, intimate with each person. The crowd titters, hanging on his words. He wears a gray jacket and trousers and a white shirt. The neck of the shirt is casually open, revealing a curl of dark hair.

A shimmer of magic like the barely-noticed buzz of a gnat brushes my cheek. I recognize an attraction spell when I feel one. Even Zhu is mesmerized, a dopey look pasted on her face as if she’s just eaten the last piece of Chocolate Mud cake. What is he up to? Why would he bother to cast such a spell only to impress a bunch of tourists?

I note the crowd’s rapt attention, note how Michael Logan’s black eyes twinkle as he speaks, how nicely he fills out the white shirt and gray trousers. His eyes do reflect the stone’s smoky depths. Ensorcellment weakens my will. That is the purpose of the spell—a mesmerizing, seductive blend.

I am not used to being enchanted. It feels oily, cloying, but as unyielding as the stone walls of Castle Logan.

Near panic, I cast my senses afield, searching for something to ground me and free me from this uncanny feeling. Anger bubbles in time with the song of the Healing Stone. Just who the hell does he think he is?

The now perpetual prickling on the back of my neck shifts into high gear. Another set of black eyes watches me from the outer doors. As if splashed in the face with cold water, I forget Michael Logan’s hypnotic voice and handsome face. The younger Logan, still angry if I’m any judge of tight lips and frowning eyebrows, pins me to the spot with a suspicious glare. The gray cat weaves around his legs, and he lifts her into his arms, scratching her ears. His eyes never soften and never waver from mine. Questions ricochet in my mind, but they are not my questions. They are his.

The buy links:


Wild Rose Press

Barns and Noble


Sorchia's Social Media Links:


Author Bio:

I live in southern Missouri waaay back in the woods. It’s a beautiful spot, but quite a distance from civilization. The nearest shopping center of any size is 100 miles away though smaller ones exist closer—30 miles or so. I’m actually considering moving out of the area. Looking for a nice place to go, but haven’t landed on a new location yet. Suggestions appreciated.

I taught English at local high schools, community colleges, and online for many years, but writing is what I really wanted to do when I grew up. About 5 years ago, I decided it was do or die time and I haven’t questioned that decision. This is one reason I’m thinking of moving—the writing community around here is sparse and it’s a long way to book signings and conventions.

I have a couple of grown kids who come home occasionally to eat and to do laundry.  Eight cats and a husband live in my house, also.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Anna Durand and Clothes make the Character

Anna Durand is my guest today and she's talking about the significance of her characters' clothes in DANGEROUS IN A KILT which releases December 16, 2016. Take it away, Anna!

A Kilt, A Secondhand Dress, and Two Wounded Hearts

Clothes really can make or break a character, especially in pivotal scenes within a book. I don't fret over what my people wear on every page, but when I first introduce a character I do spend time thinking about their outfits. After all, we writers need many tools at our disposal to craft wonderful stories. I'm not a clothes hound by any means, so please don't ask me about designers! I'll probably name the companies that make my puppies' winter jackets. :-)

I've yet to write a character who's obsessive about clothes, but who knows, I just may do that one day. When it comes to dressing my characters, my feelings about the topic are irrelevant; what matters is how they feel about it. In Dangerous in a Kilt, Erica's and Lachlan's attire helps define their personalities and their circumstances. The opening scene both introduces them to us and to each other, as they encounter each other in an underground club. Here's what they wear and why it matters:

Erica. She wears a cherry-red dress she bought at Goodwill and altered with safety pins to make it more low-cut and high-hemmed. Her shoes are stilettos, which she has never worn before. On this night, when she's on the hunt for one night of hot sex before she goes on trial for embezzlement, Erica needs to be alluring. She also wants to be anyone but herself, to become a wild woman with no cares. The fact she bought her dress at Goodwill reveals her financial crisis.

Lachlan. He dons a kilt, a skintight black T-shirt, and combat boots. Ever the proud Scotsman, he is wearing his family tartan to show off his heritage and because it's kilt night at the club. His black shirt signifies—though I never say this in the book—his dark mood following a traumatic period in his life. His boots are also a sign he feels vulnerable, and when manly men feel vulnerable they tend to put on an air of bravado. Lachlan does this with his clothes. Plus, he just looks hot in black.

Lachlan wears the kilt again in other important scenes in the book, but I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise by telling you which ones! Clothes may not be the cornerstone of my stories, but they do set the mood and aid in character development. Everything I say about a character needs to feed into their personality or the story in some way. I say, never waste space on carelessly chosen words when you could employ them for a purpose.

Blurb for Dangerous in a Kilt:

Good-girl Erica Teague is out on bail, charged with a crime her ex-lover committed. Her desperate bid to experience one wild night of sizzling sex, before her trial and certain conviction, lands her in the arms of Lachlan MacTaggart, a hot Scot with a secret past. She can't resist his offer to enjoy one month of sex and companionship with no strings. But when their hot fling gets personal, can their passion free their imprisoned hearts?

Buy Links:



Barnes and Noble:



Google Play:


I swigged my brandy. A flash of fruity sweetness raced over my tongue, chased by a tangy burn. Why was I waiting for a man who didn't have the courtesy to call and cancel? Enough of this. I leaped off the stool onto my five-inch heels and tottered, mirroring my stool's motion. What the hell had I been thinking, wearing stilettos for the first time in my life?

Strong hands grasped my upper arms. "Easy there."

I craned my neck to behold my would-be savior. My heart thudded.

A giant of a man peered down into my eyes, his body towering several inches above me. Whoa, mama. The heels elevated my five-four to five-ten, which must've made him well over six feet tall. Thick muscles in his impossibly broad shoulders flexed as he maintained his hold on me. The lights glistened on his short, dark hair, casting it in unearthly hues. The sensation of his fingers on my skin and the proximity of his body flooded me with heat and my mouth watered at the sight of acres of hard, defined muscles straining his skintight black T-shirt. His powerful thighs vanished under a kilt, its plaid woven in pastel shades of green and blue with orange lines threaded through them. The blue in the fabric echoed his pale eyes, which studied me with electrifying interest. Black combat boots covered his feet but somehow, combined with his angular features, they lent him a rugged appeal.

I raked my gaze over his body, drinking in every inch of him, until our gazes intersected.

Recognition lit his face. "It's you. Erica."

"And it's you." Who the hell was he? The guy seemed to know me but—Ohhhh. This must be Cliff. I shook off his hands, whipped out my phone, and tapped the clock on its screen, tipping it so he could see. "It's eight thirty-nine."

His full lips quirked. "Quite the timekeeper, eh?"

That deep voice, spiced with an enticing Scottish brogue, flowed over the words like warm molasses. Forget his yummy accent. You're a wild woman and wild women don't wait around for late-comers. I shook off his hands. "I've been here for thirty-nine minutes. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"

"Not really." His attentive gaze browsed over me. "Except your bum's oot the windae."

He was speaking gibberish. Great, I'd arranged a sex date with a lunatic.

"Buckled, are you?"

I spread my arms. "Do you see any buckles or belts on this dress?"

He chuckled—with no derision, simply amusement. "I meant are you drunk, lass?"

"Me?" I snorted, waving a dismissive hand. "No. Never."

Besides, I'd had just one sip of brandy.

He leaned in to stare straight into my eyes. His glacial blue irises sparkled in the light glinting off them. I caught a whiff of his rich, dark cologne and underneath, an earthy spice all his own. My senses came alive at the exotic scent of him, and the flecks of darker blue in those striking eyes mesmerized me. I swallowed. Hard.

Author Bio:

Anna Durand is an award-winning romance writer specializing in steamy romances populated with spunky heroines and hunky heroes, in settings as diverse as modern Chicago and the fairy realm. Her romances have to date won eight awards and Dangerous in a Kilt was chosen as a Top Pick by The Romance Reviews. When she's not writing, Anna runs a cataloging services business and plays with puppies as often as possible.

Social Media Links:







Amazon Author Page:

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Review - #NewRelease BEAST OF ALL by J.C. McKenzie

Here's something a rarely do. Review a book on Journeys with Jana. But I'd like to make an exception in this case. I had the opportunity to beta read fellow Wild Rose Press author J.C. McKenzie's fifth and final book in her Carus series, BEAST OF ALL, and I just finished reading the final product. And I'm really glad I did!

I've read J.C.'s non-Carus books and enjoyed them, so I knew I'd like this one as well. While I love romance novels, romance involving shifters, demons, and vampires is usually not my thing. But J.C. McKenzie has crafted a story that I was drawn into from the beginning. I loved the witty, snarky dialogue of Andy, the heroine, and I loved her kick-ass attitude. She moves from vulnerability, weakness, and grief to healing, strength and acceptance of her shifter gifts, making her a character I could really root for. I cheered for her all the way, especially when she realized she’s always loved Wick and wanted to be his mate. And Wick was definitely a swoon-worthy hero! BEAST OF ALL has emotion, compelling characters, and fast-paced action, and is a fitting finale to the Carus series. A great read!  

Here's the blurb:

“Two months ago my world collapsed and the beast reigned. 
Seven weeks ago the SRD captured me. 
Nine days ago, they injected me with something vile. 
Today, I break free. 
And tomorrow? 
I’ll make them pay.”

Badass Shifter Andy McNeilly wakes up from a horrible nightmare, only to discover it wasn’t a dream, and she’s no longer quite so badass. Chemically curbed, Andy has lost touch with her feras and beast when she needs them most. Can she regain control of her supernatural abilities in time to reap retribution from her enemies, or will she fall as fodder in a power play for control of Vancouver’s seedy underworld?


No feras. No beast. Whatever they shot me with blocked my communication with the animals. Did it prevent shifting as well? I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to call a form and change. Only a headache answered. Dread flittered across my skin. Was this permanent?

As the Carus, the genetic throwback to the first demi-god progeny of the beast goddess, I caged a beast with rage and power rivaled by few, and possessed more than one animal familiar to shift into.

At least, I did until the SRD shot me full of chemicals. Would I ever regain my abilities? Hear the indignant screech of the peregrine falcon? Or the lusty purr of the mountain lion? Or soulful howl of the wolf?

My heart hammered, punching bone. A buzzing sensation filled my head. The “wrongness” of my condition grated against my nerves, slicing them into slivers like a planer shucking off wood shavings.

Something in my abdomen swelled, as if the beast pushed against whatever barrier caged and hid her from me.

I’ll get you out, I told her, not knowing if she could hear. We’ll make them pay.

Buy Links:

All Romance:
Barnes & Noble:


About the Author:

Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Contact Information:

Facebook Page:
Twitter Page:
The Wild Rose Press:

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Today at Word Wranglers...

Today at Word Wranglers, I'm talking about what I learned at the Surrey International Writers Conference. To summarize, I was inspired, met a lot of great people, had fun, and got a huge kick in the pants! Find out why at 

Donald Maass gives the closing keynote at SIWC 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Why we love costumes at Halloween #SnarkologyHalloweenHop

Welcome to the Snarkology Halloween Hop! There are over 70 participants in the hop, and with every blog offering a prize, there are plenty of chances to win. You can check out the e-books I'm giving away in the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. As well, there are tons of terrific hop-wide prizes. Enter the hop-wide Rafflecopter by clicking here .

Check out the Snarkology Halloween Hop landing page for more information about the prizes and for a list of participating author blogs. Happy Halloween!

Why We Love Halloween Costumes

Full disclosure: I haven’t worn a Halloween costume since I was a kid. I’d rather hand out candy at the door and enjoy the costumes of the neighborhood kids. When my daughters were young, I had fun sewing costumes for them and painting their faces. I even dress up my dog in her cowboy outfit every Halloween (which she hates). But to dress up myself? No, thank you.

Cowboy Lou
Since something like $1.2 billion is spent by American adults on their own Halloween costumes, I’m probably in the minority. According to Psychology Today, there are several good reasons why adults like to dress up:

1. For sheer enjoyment of the experience – If dressing up in a costume makes you happy, go for it. End of story.

2. To express your creativity – Some people like coming up with a creative and unique costume, sometimes more than actually wearing the costume. It’s a way of learning about ourselves. European social scientists Janine Fron and her colleagues point out, “dress-up provides the opportunity for transformative play, for in dressing up and taking on new roles, we learn more about ourselves.” To see some truly creative Halloween costumes, click here.

3. To try out a new identity – Halloween is one of the few opportunities adults have to pretend to be someone or something else. That’s probably why superhero costumes are perennial favorites.

4. To fit in with your circle of friends – If all your friends are dressing up and going out on the town on Halloween, why would you want to stay home? Celebrating with a group can be fun and can strengthen the ties between you.

But hey, if you’re like me and the thought of wearing a costume at Halloween makes you uncomfortable, it’s okay. It probably means you’re an introvert (also like me). Psychologist Sophia Dembling says “costume parties are just one big audience participation event, and audience participation is an introvert’s nightmare.”

Yep. I hear you, Sophia.

So celebrate Halloween your way, and have fun on your own terms.

I'm giving away one e-copy each of my romantic suspense SEEING THINGS, my humorous paranormal BURNING LOVE, and my romantic comedy RESCUE ME. Enter the Rafflecopter draw at the bottom of this post for your chance to win!


When psychic Leah McKenna “sees” the abduction of a small boy, she knows she must help find him, no matter the danger to herself. David Logan, the boy’s uncle, doesn’t believe in psychic phenomenon. He believes Leah knows who kidnapped his nephew, and plans to stick close to her to discover the truth. As they search for Jeremy they uncover truths about themselves and the way they feel about each other. Can Leah convince him her visions, and her love for him, are real before time runs out for all of them?


David closed his eyes in anguish, barely stifling a groan. They'd been in such a hurry that he hadn't even told Jeremy he loved him that morning.

Leah stooped to retrieve a couple of plastic toys left abandoned on the floor. She stared at the bright red brontosaurus and the purple stegosaurus as if waiting to hear them speak. David straightened the unmade bed to give himself something to do, his hand brushing against a lump under the blanket. He pulled Jeremy's well-worn Teddy bear from its hiding place.

"This is one of his favorites," he said. "Jeremy calls him Mr. Cuddles. He's had him since he was a baby. He never goes to sleep without him. He'll be missing him..."

David's hands clenched into fists. Rage poured through him. What kind of monster takes a child away from his mother, from everything that's familiar to him? When he got his hands on the bastard who did this, he'd make him pay.

His gaze collided with Leah's. He sensed she read the chaotic thoughts that tumbled through his brain. Her warm brown eyes were full of compassion and understanding, and for a moment he almost forgot his belief that she had something to do with Jeremy's disappearance. David stepped toward her, wanting to bury his face in her honey-colored hair and hold her until the fear and worry abated.

What the hell was he doing? He stopped abruptly, appalled by the direction of his thoughts. How could he even consider such a thing when he was sure she was involved in Jeremy's disappearance?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy the hop! To find other blogs on the hop, go to  Enter the hop-wide Rafflecopter for your chance to win great prizes: