Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Deanna Jewel's latest release "Unleash Your Inner Strength"

Learn how to gain control over your daily thoughts to create the life you desire. Harness the energy around you and accept the gifts that come your way!

Our mind is a powerful tool that is under utilized. Within your own mind lies an area of power that can help you obtain what you want. Find out how to make changes in order to create a happier you. 

Deanna told me she had been tossing the idea for this book for a few years. She finally just told herself 'To Go For It!'

You can find her book on Smashwords, Amazon and All Romance

You can read a sample here Freado

Visit Deanna's Web site and Blog

Deanna Jewel writes historical and contemporary romance. She wrote Unleash Your Inner Strength as an motivational read. Deanna believes no matter how bad your day is going, you have the power to find happiness.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Interview with Lavinia Thompson Jan 22 - 27

We're in Alberta, Canada this week with Lavinia Thompson, author of "Spellbound by Fire", a dark fantasy novel and "She Wasn't Allowed to Giggle", a book and journal of poems. As you can see Alberta is a beautiful area to explore. We've set up a campsite and will build a fire just before evening sets in, near the water's edge, to chat with Lavinia. We have plenty of chairs, blankets and flashlights to go around. So pick a spot, pitch your tent and come join us for a spell.

Reader’s Haven:  Welcome Lavinia and thank you for inviting us up here! It's so peaceful and calm. Tell us a bit about yourself  that our readers might not know.

Lavinia: One thing most of my readers know is that I grew up in a home where domestic violence and abuse was prevalent. It was always there, up until about 2004 when Mom’s abusive ex burned the house down. In that house fire I lost my original draft of my novel, Spellbound by Fire. I didn’t start it over seriously until about 2008, about the same time that I realized just what kind of power writing can have if utilized properly. I wanted to write to send out the message that violence towards women, children and spouses in general, male or female, should not be tolerated. Abuse is terror. It is a horrific display of power that when disabled, reveals the monster as it is. Once I had Spellbound written, I started on my poetry book, She Wasn’t Allowed to Giggle. A “personal purging,” as one reviewer called it, of my abusive childhood.

Reader’s Haven: What made you want to become a writer?

Lavinia: When I was younger, writing was an escape from the every day terror I lived with. I’d sit in my basement bedroom, listen to the screaming and fighting upstairs, then eventually turn on my music as loud as it would go and I would write. Spellbound originally wasn’t a serious project, it was just a fantasy world where I lost myself. At the same time that the abuse was happening at home, I was also bullied at school, so writing became the only happy place I had. So I never necessarily said “I want to become a writer.” It was always just there, it was my escape. That escape turned into a life ambition and a dream. And here I am!

Reader’s Haven:  Kudos to you for following your dream and not letting your past drag you down. We see your experience has definitely made you a stronger person! Do you write under a pen name?

Lavinia: Yes I do.

Reader’s Haven: What type of hero or heroine do you like best?

Lavinia: I like a strong female character- not the damsel in distress types. I like a female who can stand up for herself, defend herself, persevere, but at the end of the day is still a woman who can love. I like male characters that aren’t too masculine, one who isn’t always the hero and has believable flaws. I like heroes and heroines who are believable characters, no matter how much of a fantasy the world itself is.

Reader’s Haven:  How many plots do you include in one of your books?

Lavinia: Many. In Spellbound, I think I finished with about 16 plots. There is such a thing as having too many plots, but having the right balance keeps things interesting.

Reader’s Haven: And to entice the readers, we've included an except of "Spellbound" below. Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Lavinia: I’m not a full time writer yet (unfortunately) so I do have what some people would call a real job. Yes, one of those places that pays you for doing stuff. I clean hotel rooms during the day and write in the evening. I am usually nocturnal but having a job screws that up a little. While I am writing in the evening, I am usually simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter doing some book marketing as well, looking for reviewers and interviews and so on.

Reader’s Haven:  Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Lavinia: Right now my books have a common theme- stopping and preventing violence against women and children. It is the focus of the Spellbound series and it is what I was purging when I wrote my poetry book. She Wasn’t Allowed to Giggle is a compilation of a bunch of old poems that survived the house fire and poems I wrote in the last few years as well. I included some journal entries in prose form as well, bringing together my life as a terrified little girl growing up to be a haunted woman. I have a few more stories in the planning stages right now that steer away from that theme though. Currently, aside from the Spellbound sequel, I am working on a short novella (Working title: “Abrianna.”) that focuses on the bullying of gay kids in light of the string of suicides that has been in the media lately. Gay rights and discrimination is another issue I have at heart, as many of my friends are LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender).

Reader’s Haven:  How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Lavinia: Well, Spellbound took me almost ten years but that’s because of circumstances. When I really got down to writing it full time in the summer of 2009, it took me about three or four months. Editing took me about four or five more months as I was in college full-time that autumn. So just under a year, I’d say. The Spellbound sequel has been slower, but I intend to get right back to that after Abrianna is completed. I work on several projects simultaneously, so the amount of time it takes to get one done varies. 


Never again: those were the two words every innocent witch waited to hear after the nefarious Black Guards took over the country of Nevermore, savagely hunting and torturing witches for 35 years. Twenty year old Janey Black never thought they would rip through the little village of Tia Justace, but they did just that.
Spellbound is an adult fiction novel that explores the cycles of violence against women and the lives it affects. Janey loses everything she has ever known in one day when the Black Guards execute the aunt who raised her, after making a fateful promise to her aunt Olivia that she would never give up. She finds herself alone until she is rescued by chance by a witch rescuer named Shane and taken to a witch refugee camp. Soon, Janey is helping rescue tortured witches from the infamous Warbeck prison and learning the truth behind her own past from Jill, an old friend of her aunt’s. Janey discovers the legacy her aunt left in helping create the series of underground tunnels and portals that saves the lives of women and children everyday right under the noses of the Black Guards. Through the agony of torture and bloodshed she is shown the humanity of love and kindness; how it is the key to breaking the cycles of hatred and violence. Even in Billy Eagle, the man she loves, there is a child who never got to grow up, his own innocence shattered after witnessing the death of his mother as a seven year old. They both find themselves stranded, with only each other to count on in spite of their reckless flaws.
Through the despair and hopelessness that seems to hang like a black cloud over Nevermore, Janey needs to find a way to survive and live on through her aunt’s lasting and impacting legacy, to find the day when the two words would be the one thing to bring down the Black Guards… Never again.

Reader’s Haven: Wow! That's a strong excerpt and will certainly draw the readers in to the story. Do you have to be alone to write?

Lavinia: Most times, yes, though right now my fiancĂ© and I share our writing and editing space, so often he is right beside me while I am writing. I don’t mind it too much.

Reader’s Haven:  How do you go about naming characters?

Lavinia: Depends on the character. Main characters get a bit of thought put into their names. I look through name books or websites until a name will just jump out that fits that character, and then sometimes I take the name’s meaning into consideration. For secondary characters, I usually just a pick a name. 

Reader’s Haven Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Lavinia: I write and then find character pictures. A character starts forming in my head weeks before I start even planning. The main character is usually the first thing to come to life from a story. I get into their head, place them in potential scenes, get their voice into my head and picture them. And then when I feel comfortable with them I create their character profile and the story goes from there.

Reader’s Haven: How do you pick locations for your stories?

Lavinia: I created the fantasy world for Spellbound. I don’t even remember when I did that. It just seems like the world was always in my head. Nevermore is a place I go to when I need to escape. For my other stories, it’s really just a matter of which location seems to fit the story. My crime-fiction, Magic Touch, is set in Vancouver because of certain places in the city that fit the story.

Reader's Haven: This is why writing is so fun; describing these settings in a story so the readers can escape there too. Lavinia, thank you again for visiting with us this week.

Readers, Lavinia is giving a copy of Spellbound, winner's choice of eBook format, to one lucky commenter. Please be sure to leave your email address in your comment so Lavinia can contact the winner. We'll draw the winner on Jan 28.

You can find Lavinia hanging out on these sites:

Blogs - Writer; Spellbound
Facebook - Writer; Spellbound
Twitter - @LaviniaThompson

Purchase links:

On Smashwords, Lavinia's short story "Travis" is free for a limited time. Go up and get a copy!

Excerpt: "Spell Bound by Fire" - Chapter 11

Before the first tear could slide sorrowfully down Janey's cheek, someone tapped her on the shoulder. Jill stood above her, a sweet smile across her face as she sat down in the grass beside Janey. Gertie stood up and wandered off wordlessly towards where other women and children were waiting for care. 

“Well, you're alright,” Jill said without asking, though Janey wasn't so sure. Taking the deepest breath she had in what seemed like days, she set her head in hands.

The screams still resonated through her mind, screams of the one she couldn't save, from somewhere in the dark where she shrieked something unbearable. The growls that lurked in the bushes before the yellow eyes showed themselves as what they really were, encircling the girls in a protective pack around the blood stained dirt, then the howls that resonated through the night, the mourning in their cries for the ones who were suffering. They were beautiful in their brutality, stunningly sombrous with the blood glinting off their sharpened teeth...again and again it flashed through Janey's mind...the mutilated bodies of the Black Guards, the horrid ripping of skin and the morbid tearing of hearts from their chests, torn to pieces and avenged with the blood spilled in savagery.

“I guess,” Janey replied dismally. 

There was an inconsolability like that of a child forced to look at her life ahead without her mother, the unbreakable bonds forced to snap in one unexpected moment. It left her hollow within, the wounds that wouldn't heal like the punched-out holes in the moon. The wolves had saved her life but she was staring down a lifetime ahead of her and she didn't know what to do with it.

Live your life, be happy...remember me as you loved me...

Jill sat silently for a few moments, as if debating what to say. Her hazel eyes saddened at the sight of Janey, one more girl brutalized by the Black Guards. Gertie had bandaged Janey's wrists again, did what healing she could, but as Janey rubbed her arms she knew that some wounds wouldn't be healed.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” Jill asked. Janey shook her head.

“I don't know. I don't even know what to do,” she said, the harrowing hurt tearing at her haggard heart in ways she never knew she could feel. Jill put an arm around her shoulder.

“The hardest part is moving on. It's not something that's easy to get past. But I'm here if you need anything, OK?” Jill told her. Janey bit her lip.

“Really?” she asked as that weak, unprotected feeling washed over her again. She never knew just how safe she had been with Olivia, not until she was gone and the fact she was never coming back was as real as the life before her.

“I would never let Olivia's niece go undefended. Your aunt meant a lot to me. I don't have the conscience to simply let you go it alone,” Jill told her. Janey pulled her knees up to her chest, hugging them close with every memory slipping into the atrabilious corners of her soul.

Dark nights when Janey would wake up, screaming from her nightmares, that dim candlelight in the darkness when she would awaken and Olivia would be at her bedroom door to ensure she was alright. Olivia's soft hands would wipe away the tears as Janey cried at one more hurt in this life. They'd sit up nights on end to talk, laugh, cry or just be with each other. As much as Janey told herself it couldn't be true, the loneliness tearing her up inside was the livid truth showing itself as a reality. Closing her eyes, she could feel her aunt's hands on her face one last time...

“I'm so sorry...”

“Janey, some things will never heal. It's a fact we have to face. You may never be completely healed of this ordeal but you have to move on. I knew Olivia well enough to know that's something she would have taught you. It's what she did after Wolfe died. It's all you can do now,” Jill explained.

“So what do I do?” Janey asked, fallen so far in the downcast of emotions she felt as if she’d never be able to move from there, as if she’d stay forever where she could be miserable with herself. Jill let out a little smile.

“Janey, dear...stick with me. I'll find things for you to do.” 


“There you go, bring your elbow up just a little more...perfect...” Jill said patiently, adjusting Janey's arm up by her face.

Janey stared into the middle of an old navy blue Nevermore flag, a great silver unicorn prancing in graceful ripples across the old silken fabric. The bow sat intently by her face, her dark hair flowing all around her and her elbow high as she glared down the middle of the elegant body, the sharpened point of the arrow a deathly edge in the radiant sunlight.

Gracefully, Janey released the arrow. The bow sat empty in her hand as the arrow plummeted the invisible heart of the exquisite creature on the flag, pegged viciously to the tree. Janey let out a breath at the same time.

“Excellent! You are a natural, my dear,” Jill commented with an approving smile, stroking Janey’s matted hair.

“Thanks, gets easier every time,” Janey replied, staring into her target.

“Indeed, and we've only been at this for just under a week. Good skill to know, though. You can be as discreet as a wolf and just as swift to the attack,” Jill told her.

“Nice,” Janey said, lowering the bow to her side as she strolled to the tree and roughly pulled the arrow from the unicorn's fabric chest. The flag blew back to life briefly upon the warm breeze before settling against the tree trunk again. The navy blue of the flag was faded to a shade that nearly matched Janey's eyes. She sauntered back to Jill, her bare feet brushing the fresh green grass beneath her and the tiny yellow wildflowers that were showing their happy faces in the daylight.

“That looks like a pretty old flag,” Janey remarked offhandedly as she reached Jill's side. Jill stared into the stunning creature prancing, its left leg lifted regally and its spiral horn dangerous and mystical.

“So it is. It'd be over forty years old. It was the nation’s flag before the Black Guards took over Nevermore and changed it,” she explained with a subtle sigh. Janey frowned curiously.

“What do you mean?” she questioned. Jill looked over to her quizzically.

“Do you not know of the takeover years ago?”

“Not much besides the fact that the Black Guards rule Nevermore right now,” Janey replied. The story had never really mattered much back in Tia Justace. All anyone knew was that it was happening and there was little they could do to stop it.

 “Well, my dear,” Jill started as she pulled an arrow from the grass beside her and set it delicately in her bow, “this whole ordeal with the Black Guards started forty years ago, by a man with the name Ulric Al Tedesco. He was a vile man, loathed women with every ounce of his filthy being. I remember the rise of the Black Guards, starting out as just a small political group out to put witches and, in my opinion, women in general, to shame. No one knows a lot about his upbringing, but most figure his father had a lot to do with his prejudicial views. Yet, as the nation would soon find out, he would drive what was then a mild witch scare into complete hysteria.”

As she spoke the last few words, with her bow raised and ready, she released the arrow to watch it dig itself bitterly into the wood. Janey watched her wander over to the tree and yank the arrow from it. Janey bit her tongue thoughtfully as Jill rejoined her.

“In the beginning, the Black Guards mainly staged protests, had some witch burnings and otherwise sorry excuses for witch hunts that gradually become more severe. King Terence and Queen Alanis had a horrendous time keeping them at bay,” she continued as she stared into the flag again. Her reddish-brown hair fell brightly around her shoulders. It blew ever so slightly on the breeze whispering through the trees, her dark brown eyes glaring darkly as she spoke.

“Then, 35 years ago and five years after Tedesco started the Black Guards, that all changed. On the wedding night of the King and Queen's only son, Prince Noah, the Black Guards attacked the palace. King Terence was captured, unarmed and unguarded, forced to watch the Black Guards burn his wife alive before they murdered him too. Prince Noah and his bride, Kassandra, escaped that night, to this day rumoured to be in hiding,” Jill explained nonchalantly. It must have been a story she knew all too well, reliving the day often and wondering if Nevermore would ever have a rightful king again.

“Wow...” Janey pondered for a moment. Tapping an arrow on her shoulder, Jill continued.

“Tedesco took over the palace after that. No Prince or Royal Family left meant that the kingdom was free to take. Massive witch hysteria followed. Thousands of women were arrested, put on ridiculous trials, tortured and executed. Trivial gossip became enough evidence to arrest a woman. Under torture these women would name names to avoid more suffering, and those women would name names for the same reason and it would go on, each woman putting more women into the same position; can't blame them. As you and I know, torture is unbearable enough let alone being asked stupid questions at the same time. Been through pretty barbaric torture myself, stuff I won't even get into. But I couldn't tell you how many met their execution as a result of me. I don't remember the names I've named, nor what happened to them. I sure feel terrible though. Nothing will bring them back. Their families have to live without them but I live on because I implicated them into something they never did. It never ends...” Jill explained quietly. Janey thought she saw a hint of shame flicker in her eyes, but she wasn’t sure.

Watching Jill's aging face in the flickering sunlight, Janey could see the years of agony, guilt and fatigue dripping through the lines on her fair skin. She was no older than Olivia had been but her ongoing fight against the Black Guards seemed to age her faster. Janey was beginning to understand why the woman did what she did. Janey herself knew that she never wanted to be the reason another woman died senselessly.

“Tedesco was killed by Prince Noah about six years after the royal wedding. Noah barely made it out of there alive. He disappeared once again, leaving the kingdom this time to Tedesco's right hand man and best friend, Norbert Bagan, who, four years later, was killed by Olivia. Now the kingdom is ruled by Norbert's good for nothing son, Marcus Bagan,” she explained with a dull tone to her low voice.

His presence dominated the room, his black hair sweeping his shoulders menacingly. His dark eyes were intent upon Olivia.

“So...you killed my father, did you, bitch?” he said slyly.

“I met him...in the prison, right after Olivia confessed,” Janey blurted suddenly, the shadows of her bruised and agonized face darkening to a vengeful anger. The very memory of his sly, drawling voice as he stared down Olivia with despicable hatred brought back the anguish boiling in Janey's blood. Jill glanced at her with an expression that was not surprised at all.

“Well,” she sighed, picking up two more arrows, handing one to Janey before setting one in her bow, “of course he would have wanted to at least look at the woman who killed his father before she was executed.”

Jill drew the bow again, setting it beside her thinning face. She let it go, with a dramatic pull back of her hand in the air, her eyes glowering intensely as the arrow shot the heart of the fabric unicorn one more time. Janey sighed as she drew her bow and arrow, staring straight at the heart of the ragged and frayed flag rippling softly on the breeze. Her hands were shaking as she envisioned Marcus standing in place of the tree, his cold heart the middle of that flag, her fingers swiftly let go of the arrow as her eyes followed it straight to the heart of her vision. Silently, she made herself a vow.
Take what you want from me, Marcus. You will suffer for this I swear...I have a promise to keep. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Interview with Charlene Wilson - Romance Author

Welcome to Charlene Wilson
Romance Author

Ssshhh.....come on, follow us farther into the alley but keep an eye out for suspicious characters! We're glad you could all join us this week to chat with Charlene. I don't think we'll be noticed down this alley which will give us time to get to know our author. Let's gather 'round so we can all hear....

Reader’s Haven:  Charlene, we so excited to have you as our first guest author here at Reader's Haven. Thank you for joining us. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Charlene: While I have a few tidbits I don’t usually share with everyone, I think I can put this one out there. LOL Everyone knows I write Romance. Being born on Valentine’s Day, it’s almost a given that would happen with being a writer. I love how a hero overcomes insurmountable obstacles to be with his chosen. But can I admit to loving a good…Western too? I enjoy the old-time themes with swashbuckling characters that take over the untamed territories—strong men and women that take it all on in hopes of conquering the odds.

Reader’s Haven:  Our characters usually end conquering the odds, don't they? What made you want to become a writer?

Charlene: What made me become a writer? That would probably be my characters. LOL They wouldn’t shut up. I decided I had to sit down and write all the conversations and scenes out if I was going to get any rest. The problem with that was, it’s just like eating a good truffle—one just won’t do. Gotta have another.  And as soon as I got that scene out, another would surface and the whole thing would repeat.

Reader’s Haven:  Both of us can relate to the characters bugging you until you get them on paper! What type of hero or heroine do you like best?
Charlene:  While the typical answer here might be hunky heroes and bolt heroines, I like mine how nature makes them. If the hero is a crusty old sort living in the back woods and the heroine is a space alien running from a dominant race it doesn’t matter. If the characters are written in such a way that they come alive and grab me, I can fall in love with them.
Reader’s Haven:  How many plots do you include in one of your books?

Charlene: I don’t have a set amount of plots, but I definitely always have more than one. I can’t just focus on one. Life is complicated. Even from your own view point, there a mix of intermingling plots in your life, several that hinge on and affect that one circumstance. My books do too. I feel they add to the story and make it whole.

Reader’s Haven:  We think readers enjoy more than one or two plots to a story also. Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Charlene: A typical day has to start with my email. While I have regular things I work on throughout the day, I have to be flexible to include anything that might come up that’s more pressing. 
     My social networking is ongoing—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (I focus on three though I pop in on several) can be done sporadically, of course, since people are on at all times.  I think what takes the most brainpower (for me anyway Lol!) is manning my sites, Charlene Blogs (my personal writer’s blog), CharleneAWilson.com (my author site), ShiloManor.com (the Chronicles of Shilo Manor series site), and HighlightedAuthor.com (a site that features published authors). I also blog at Ravencraft Romance Realm and Night Writers, so I complete any posts I’m scheduled to make there. The best part of this career is when I can settle down and write…and that happens late at night when all is quiet and my characters speak up. I’m very thankful for having a lifestyle that allows me to do that. I’m able to be a full-time author which is a dream.

Reader’s Haven:  We're finding the majority of authors have many things going on with having to promote and be out there for our readers, but we love it! Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Charlene: Other than romance?  My stories have several themes. While the Chronicles of Shilo Manor circles around soul mates that reunite over lifetimes, my Aumelan series has Fate and Destiny playing tug-of-war with my characters’ hearts—love crosses national borders and challenges placement and traditions.  My YA stories tackle the courage of accepting who we and others are and my heroines must decide how far they would go to stand up for themselves and their loves.  So… The answer would have to be that they are pretty different.

Reader’s Haven:  How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Charlene: This really does vary. My Aumelan series came out in a rush and I had the equivalent of three books written in a few months. I’m in the process of revising book one now. The Chronicles, books one and two, each took about nine months to write and edit.  The editing process definitely takes the longest and most effort. But I’m finding that to get them to where I feel they’re ready for publication, it takes almost a year. I marvel at those who are able to publish a good piece in a few months. Boggles my mind.

Reader’s Haven:
  We can't imagine doing a full length novel in less than a year so kudos to those authors who can write that fast! Do you have to be alone to write?

Charlene:  Define alone. LOL My characters always have to be there. But, I do better in a quiet environment when I’m in deep edits. I do enjoy going to the park or coffee shop to watch people and get personality or reaction ideas.

Reader’s Haven:
 How do you go about naming characters?

Charlene: Some characters name themselves. It just comes with their personality. Others I have to pass by them, and many times I get a definite, “Not a chance will I be known as George!”

Reader’s Haven:  LOL We haven't heard that one before, I love it....passing the names by the characters to hear what they think! Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Charlene: I write and then find pictures. And that’s a chore in itself! Lol. My characters are who they are and if I happen to find someone in real life that fits their image, well then that’s icing on the cake.

Reader’s Haven:
How do you pick locations for your stories?

Charlene: The locations develop as the story unfolds. It’s like a natural progression. I world build from there out, filling in the details.  Cornerstone Deep required a lot of world building as the Arched Spectrum of Realms was revealed. As I write fantasy, the locations are imagination made real through my books.

Reader’s Haven:  Cheers to the authors who can create those fantasy worlds. What an imagination that has to take! What’s coming up for you in 2012?

Charlene: The release of book two in the Chronicles of Shilo Manor series, Cornerstone Deep Echoes, is on February 15th. I have a month long blog tour set up for that. With it being the month of Valentine’s Day, I’m thrilled that my Romance is coming out then. You can get all the details at my blog, Charlene Blogs. I have a page set up with all the stops and prizes I’m offering throughout the tour.
     I’m also working to finish up revisions of Aumelan and want to get that sent out. It’s an exciting year! Here's the blurb and excerpt for your readers:

Cornerstone Deep blurb

     It's their nature - long lives and rebirth. They're from another dimension, one gifted with advance abilities, but they serve in Cornerstone Deep. They're the Wizards of Shilo Manor.
     They outlive the mortals of this realm by thousands of years, and when it comes to love the cruel fact is reinforced. Reincarnation doesn't exist on this plane. They lose their wives to death with no hope of reuniting. Yet they continue to accept others for whatever time they have together. Save for Cole. His love for his last wife still burns in his soul four centuries after her death.
     When the service they render to the noblemen of Cornerstone Deep brings him face to face with Anna, something unexpected happens.  In a realm of silent souls, hers calls to him.  He responds with a kiss—one that joined with the spell of servitude she inhaled, binds her soul.  
     Breaking ancient covenants, angering the lords, and bringing the gods' wrath upon him, Cole tries desperately to undo his wrong and free his love—despite the determination of the nobleman to keep her.
~ * ~
My life is a mirage of endless time. But you in this moment engulf me, rivet my mind, encompass my soul. (Cole Shilo)


     As Anna emerged from Cantrell Artisan, she shivered in the spring air. The industrial West Side’s sulfuric odor rode the breeze from across town, and the fragrant fire flickered out. She cradled the holder between the large granite lion paws that sat beside the steps. It fit nicely. She sniggered at the sight. Kyle Dressen’s artistic contribution to the sphinx.
     She stepped onto the sidewalk and looked around. Humor faded. Vapor loomed over the empty streets like phantoms gathering warmth from the asphalt. She briskly rubbed her sleeves. The slight warming did nothing to ease her insecurity. Street lights blinked on but offered little comfort as the newscaster’s announcement flooded her mind. “After much deliberation, the new curfew of 2024 has been set into place. Lord Kyle Dressen, Grand Marshal of the courts, announced the bill’s passing, and urges all to adhere as strict measure will be taken to ensure vandalism of the East Side is eradicated.”
     What a ridiculous notion. The impoverished East Side getting aid from the lawmakers. Yet now, unease filled her. Her co-workers’ gossip on the matter didn’t help her anxiety. An apprehensive tone caught her voice as she repeated the warning. “Curfew breakers will never be seen again.” Her whisper sent mist through the chill. She wished she hadn’t spoken.
     Anna hurried across the open court and down an adjacent street. Awnings rustled in the wind. Neon signs that once invited late-night commerce hung dead behind barred windows. Her rushed steps echoed through the air.
She looked to the sky. A blanket of stars covered the firmament. She’d worked too late. Again. “God, I’m not going to make it.”
     Her steps quickened, and she caught her breath as she approached the shortcut through the park. The wide corner entrance stood closed, the ancient stone griffin perched high on the gateway glaring down at her. She shook the bars with disbelief. “When do they ever lock Shilo Park?” Scanning the long gates that fortified the urban green, fear clutched her stomach.
     She whipped around. The sound was like a whisper to her mind yet clear as if spoken. Her gaze intensified as she studied the shadowed pavement. Beneath the dim light of a street lamp, dense smoke billowed, taking the form of three men. Her throat clenched. “What…in…the…world?” She spun around and ran.
     “There’s no use in running.”
     Throwing her hands to her ears, she tried to block out the voice. An abandoned shuttle van propped half way up the curb offered the only protection along the vacant street. She darted across the road to find refuge.
     Her long hair netted her face as she stumbled past street-side clutter. She swiped the strands away. Catching her balance, she raced along the storefronts and spotted a weak halo down an alley. She rushed into the darkness with hope of an open door.
     Puddles of discarded waste filled the dips in the pass, and the air held a foul stench. Her frantic feet beat the pavement as she raced to every locked door.
     Steady footsteps followed.
     She gasped with each failed entry. “Come on. Just one open door.” A cry ripped her throat as she turned to the final promise of safety. The small lamp flickered. Obscene graffiti sprawled the length of the wall that blocked her escape; the dim halo highlighted the neon paint.
     She turned to the way she came. Her body trembled as she backed into a corner for support. “This is a nightmare.” Her shallow voice quivered and sent denial through her. “This isn’t happening!” The tomb-like closure briefly echoed her claim but the measured steps resounded as they approached.
     She stared at the forms as they overtook the narrow alley. A man led center, his companions flanking. Each unified stride caused their capes to furl with controlled motion. Their gazes focused on her. The bleak lamp lit their approach--a dark trio,reapers, all of them--black hair, black eyes, black cloaks. Curfew breakers are never seen again. At that moment, she believed. Anna held her breath as if to ward off the imminent danger.
     They stopped a few feet from her, and the leader stepped forward. Endless time filled her as she gazed at their resolute faces. She swallowed hard to ward off the want of air.
With graceful motion, he lifted his hand as if setting a butterfly free. A mist, the brilliance of snow crystalline encircled her and lingered.
     Anna struggled to withhold a gasp.
     “You have to breathe sometime.”
     The voice sifted through her mind. Her lungs burned, begged for relief. Fear gripped her as she succumbed to need, and the tiny crystallites flowed past her lips. The taste of divinity touched her senses, and the promise of bliss sang in her mind. The invitation was overwhelming, irresistible. A wave of serenity coated her emotions.
     She met his gaze. A small smile touched his coal eyes. It penetrated her soul and opposition dissolved.
     He inhaled the sparkling mist and leaned close. Cradling her face in his hands, he touched his lips to hers. They were warm and seductive, unexpectedly tender. The aroma of licorice and cream flowed through her. She accepted his attention, intoxicated by the offering. In a gentle motion, she felt the loving caress of his tongue on hers. Eternity echoed in her heart.
     With a breath, the magic spell filled her. Heat steamed her lungs and filtered throughout her body. Every wave carried with it memories; the last words of her father, the aged photo of her mother she clung to as a child. Subjection engulfed her mind. All wonderment ceased under its capture. Rapture sealed her senses and final will vanished.

Contest:  One lucky commenter will win a PDF copy of Cornerstone Deep, drawing will be held on Saturday Jan 21st

Charlene:  Thank you for having me here this week! Okay, who has questions or comments? Don't forget to leave your email addy in your comment so I can contact the winner!

Check our interview schedule!!

Author Interviews!!!

We're excited to have as our guest this week romance author Ms Charlene Wilson! Be sure to stop back this week and learn more about her and her books!

Check our schedule and mark your calendars so you don't miss out on upcoming releases, new authors and books. Chat with you later in the week. Thanks for stopping in!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Meet Our Book Reviewers!

We are pleased to introduce Lynn Reynolds, Romance Reader Enthusiast, and Suzyn Micheals, SuZ ReviewZ, as An Avid Reader's Haven book reviewers!

Lynn Reynolds in her own words:
I have been reading romance novels since High School. Have worked in libraries since the 6th grade. Currently write romance novel reviews - getting to know a lot of new authors that I have never read before.

Lynn's reviewer page on Haven and her Blog

Suzyn Micheals in her own words:
I am an Avid reader and book reviewer. When I am not reading I am riding the Harley with my husband.

Suz's reviewer page on Haven and her Blog

Readers, Bookmark their pages on Reader's Haven to read their reviews!

Authors, 'Contact Us' on our main site and fill out the form for a Book Review.

Visit our Haven's Reviewers page for more information.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

May 2012 be YOUR best year!

Thank you to all of our readers who participated in the New Year's blog hop! It couldn't have been a success without all of you!

We're gearing up already to bring you a fantastic start to 2012 with a full schedule of author interviews, events and new books. Check back often and mark your own calendar so you can return to chat with our authors! We look forward to book release parties, fun and prizes and want YOU to be a part of it all with us!