Celebration Frappuccino!

IMG_1592Recipe:

3 tablespoons HOT water
1 packet Starbucks Instant Mocha mix
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups ice

In a mug stir together water and mocha mix. Add milk when the mix has dissolved. Put ice in blender. Pour drink over ice. Cover blender and use the crush ice mode and then switch to liquify. Pour into two glasses if celebrating with a friend, or into one big glass if you’re celebrating by yourself. Enjoy!

You may wonder what I’m celebrating. Welllllll…. Corporate Fire got a wonderful review at Romance Novels for the Beach! AND it has four reviews on Amazon! Please check out the reviews, and please buy the book!

Becoming a Fantasy Romance Heroine: Jewelry

Maybe after a fantasy romance heroine has slayed the fearsome monster threatening the kingdom, she’ll get to wear one of these:

And win the hand of him:

Prince Nkuul Mehta

But while in the midst of her quest, a fantasy romance heroine must have practicality as well as beauty. Maybe even something with magic. One of my first aquisitions for my fantasy jewelry collection was this lovely butterfly ring:

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I wore it out gambling once and the blackjack dealer wanted to do a side bet for it!

 

And while at the renaissance fair, my lover bought me a dragon earcuff. It’s my hope that a sexy shape shifting dragon made it, but don’t tell my lover that 😉

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It went great with my hair:

IMG_0581 Do you have any fantasy jewelry? I’d love to see a pic.

Becoming a Fantasy Romance Heroine

Dear Readers,

I apologize for my absence. I’ve been writing, rewriting according to the editor, and writing some more. It’s paying off because I have two books coming out before the year is done! Get ready for Halloween with my Contemporary Romance Masked Hearts, arriving on ebookshelves October 1!

And now, on with the blog:

It may appear that I’ve dropped the blog series: Becoming a Romance Heroine, but that’s not the case at all. Despite writing like mad, I’ve been trying to do it fashionably. Even my hairdresser was commenting about how great my hair is now…but that was probably for sales since I’ve been buying expensive product from her 😛

But today’s post is not about hair. It’s about becoming a Fantasy Romance Heroine. Fantasy Heroines are often either swordswomen or sorceresses. When my lover told me he was taking me to a renaissance fair this summer, I immediately went out in search of a sorceress costume. I have a weakness for magic.

One of the great things about being a sorceress at a ren fair is I could have cool nails with flowers and hearts. I think all sorceresses should have awesome manicures, especially if they shoot magic out of their fingertips instead of a wand.

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How would you do your nails if you were a fantasy heroine?

Come back tomorrow to see my fantastique hair designs!

Love Lust and Lipstick Blog Hop!

springflinghop

Welcome Blog Hoppers! This week is sponsored by the lovely ladies at Love Lust and Lipstick Stains. You can click on the picture above to see the list of other blogs on the hop or click on the frog icon to the side. There’s also a giveaway going on at http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/06395848/ . One of the ways you can enter is by following my blog!

For the hop, I’m trying something new that I hope you enjoy. It’s a sort of choose your own romance. Read the beginning of the story below and comment on what decision you’d like Tessa to make. I’ll post the next part of the story tomorrow according to the vote. Keep coming back the rest of the week to see the story unfold as chosen by the readers.

April Showers

by Evelyn Aster

Tessa ran her thumb around the indention in her finger where her wedding ring used to be. It should be gone by now along with the hole in her soul that refused to close. She gazed outside her office window and watched the clouds gathering over the skyscrapers for a whopper of an April shower. Lightning lit them up, and a few minutes later she heard a rumble. The storm was still pretty far from her just like any sign of healing.

Her head hit the desk. She should be taking maternity leave now with her first child. She should be gathering it in a bundle of blankets and snuggling next to Rick for Friday night pizza and a movie.

Her intercom buzzed. Tessa sat up and pushed the button.

“Go home,” said her assistant Mark. “Better yet, go get a drink.”

Tessa turned and looked through the window in the wall that divided them. He was five years younger than her with features more likely to be found in a jeans ad than at an office. People always joked that she’d hired him for his looks, but he was the sharpest person she knew. She was frankly flabbergasted he was so content to work as her assistant. She made a face and said, “Do you think anyone would notice?”

“You’re the boss around here. Who cares?”

Tessa rolled her eyes and let go of the button. She preferred to lead by example. Besides, she was pretty much a middle manager. Still, maybe she would. Not the getting a drink part, but the going home early. No one would begrudge her—she’d been working her ass off throughout the whole divorce process.

What the hell? It was Friday. She shut down her computer and wished she’d brought in a rain coat. Since the divorce, she’d fallen out of watching the weather and news—there was too much sadness in her own life to keep up with all the shit going on in the world.

She stepped out of the office and said to Mark, “I’m going home then. You can leave too. We’re not doing–” her voice trailed off as she looked out at several empty cubicles. “Did everyone already leave?”

“Well, we just wrapped up that big account.”

Oh shit. She usually took everyone out for a drink when that happened, but this time she’d just moved on to working on the next account. Stunned at how out of touch she was, she said, “Why didn’t you remind me this should be a happy hour Friday?”

His brown eyes saddened and he said with a seriousness he hardly ever showed “I figured you weren’t in the celebrating mood. I was trying to hint at it just now, but I think I was too subtle.”

She sighed. “I’m sorry. I’ve gotta get with it again.”

He stood up, appeared to want to reach out to her, but stopped himself. “It’s been a rough year for you. I’ve been hoping for signs of your old self, but I know everything has changed.”

Tessa tilted her head and said, “Did they go to Harrigans?”

Mark said, “Yeah, I’m meeting them there when we leave. We might be able to catch them at the elevators. You know how slow they are and everyone just left.”

“Let’s go,” she said. He grabbed his suit coat off the back of his chair and she asked, “I don’t suppose you brought an umbrella?”

“No, but you can have my coat if you need it.”

She shook her head, but smiled at the offer. They jogged through the office. She heard chatter in the direction they were heading and said, “Play along with me.” She turned the corner and glared. The team she led stopped talking. Tessa narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. “Going somewhere?”

The team gaped. Mark stepped around the corner and said, “I tried to talk them out of it, but they just blew me off.”

A man named Jeff who was older but still under her said, “That’s BS. He suggested it.”

Her most recent hire, a woman fresh out of college, blushed and said, “I’m sorry, Tessa. With the Morgan account done we thought–”

“That you could slack off?” Tessa raised her eyebrows.

No one answered. She was a bit surprised how terrified they looked, except for Jeff, and stared at them one by one, enjoying the momentary discomfort she was causing them. But she thought the new girl Lisa might pee in her pants so she relented. Tessa broke into a smile. “It’s fine. I’m sorry I’ve been so out of it recently. The first round is on me of course.”

The group laughed in relief and it was nice to feel like a part of them again—she’d been far too distant. When the elevator finally opened, they squeezed in next to another group leaving early. Tessa ended up standing face to face with Mark, his umber eyes smiling at her. She whispered, “Did you see how scared everyone was? I didn’t know I could have that kind of effect.”

“You cause all sorts of effects,” he whispered back. His stare changed to match the intensity of his words.

Her stomach fluttered and she had to avert her eyes. What did he mean? Heat rose inside her in a way she hadn’t felt in a long time. No, this was wrong, and he probably didn’t mean it the way it sounded. She lifted her eyes to his again, but he’d looked away. A bell dinged and the elevator door opened. She was so flustered as they walked out that she wasn’t careful, and her heel caught between the elevator and the first floor. She tripped, and he caught her by the waist.

“Easy, there,” he said. “You haven’t even had your first drink yet.” His words had returned to their joking inflections, but he held her close to him.

Tessa stood up straight and tried to shrug him off. “Thanks. I guess it’s been so long since I’ve had one that even the thought intoxicates me.”

He let go of her waist, but to her surprise, he took her hand. “It’s time you started having fun again.”

They were way behind the others now. Confusion made her slightly dizzy. She couldn’t decide if she should let go of his hand and keep their relationship strictly professional, or hold onto him and see where it went. He’d been a rock through the devastating events of the year, but she’d never considered being involved with him. Of course, she’d married way too young and hadn’t really considered anyone romantically except her ex-husband.

What should Tessa do? Hold onto Mark’s hand or let go? Leave your vote in the comments below. The decision with the most votes will be written about tomorrow. Come back to see what Tessa has to choose between next!

Romancing the Reader: Sharing a World by Karenna Colcroft

Welcome to Karenna Colcroft who is kind enough to share with us her experience in writing in the Spellbound Treasures’ world. Today, I’ll give away five copies of her story Reflected Love to the first five people who comment on her post. Also, please come back Friday for more Flirtations 😉

Sharing a World

A few years ago, one of my publishers suggested doing a “shared world” series. Her concept was for a store which sold magical objects, existing across dimensions, that somehow caused people to find their true love.

I liked the idea, and at that point I was trying to build my backlist, so I said I’d give it a try.

Shared worlds are definitely not for everyone. My brain tends to go off on its own tangents, and I like creating an entire universe myself. Writing in a shared world, I had to use the components the publisher had stated were required for all books in the series, and I had to make sure I didn’t contradict anything she had set up or other authors had written. The series isn’t entirely connected; each book can be read as a standalone. The only threads tying all the books together were the store and its owner, and their reason for existing.

But I still found it difficult to work my ideas into a world that someone else had established. I managed it; my novella Reflected Love came out in June 2011. But that is the only story I’ve done for Jupiter Gardens Press’s Spellbound Treasures line, and I don’t plan to do anymore. For some authors, having a shared world to play in and other authors to share the ideas with works great, and I love reading stories that are done that way. I’m happy to be part of Spellbound Treasures, and someday I might do a revisit to Ralie and Listrial, the heroine and hero of Reflected Love. But otherwise, I guess I’m a little too much of a control freak to play in other people’s worlds…

Reflected Love is available from Jupiter Gardens Press, http://jupitergardenspress.com/shop/reflected-love/, and third-party retailers.

Karenna Colcroft began writing erotic romance in 2006 on a challenge from a friend, as part of her journey. In her books, Karenna shows that no matter what someone has been through, they can overcome and go on to find love and healthy relationships. Her characters may be afraid and may need to heal, but no matter what, they learn that they and their relationships are worth the effort. Love isn’t a magical cure for trauma or mental illness, but having that special person or people in one’s life can be motivation and support for healing. Even in the dark times, light and hope exist. Find out more about Karenna and her books on her website, http://www.karennacolcroft.com.
Here’s the blurb and a short excerpt from Reflected Love:

Ralie has moved into a new apartment, and the antique mirror she finds on an online auction site is the perfect addition to her bedroom.

Fae soldier Listrial has no need for the mirror he finds in a peddler’s tent while on patrol. But the mirror calls to him, and the small amount of coin he carries is just enough to purchase it.

Through the mirror, Ralie and Listrial discover each other. Is the mirror powerful enough to bring a human and a Fae together? And can their love surmount their differences?

EXCERPT:

With a gasp and a pounding heart, Ralie whirled around. No one stood behind her. Again she reminded herself that no one would be able to enter the apartment without her knowledge.

Yet when she looked at the mirror again, the man’s image remained.

He looked a bit older than Ralie, late twenties, perhaps, and wore his hair pulled back. His eyes were a shade of green she had never seen before, and lashes as long as her own rimmed them. His clothing, pants and a tunic in shades of brown and green, resembled something from medieval times, and a scabbard hung at his side. Random junk surrounded him, as if he stood in a warehouse or store.

“Hello?” Ralie said tentatively.

The man didn’t appear to hear her. He turned his head and spoke, apparently to someone beside him. She didn’t hear his words.

When he faced the mirror again, his eyes widened, and he put his hand against the glass. The image faded, and Ralie’s own reflection returned.

“It’s official,” she muttered. “Ralie, you’re losing your mind. Too much time alone.”

“You aren’t alone,” the cool voice from before informed her.

Right. Because I have a magic mirror that talks to me. “I’m not listening.”

Hands over her ears, she stomped out of the room to the accompaniment of laughter.

Her stomach growled, reminding her that she’d barely had time to eat. Maybe the voice and the man’s image had been hallucinations brought on by hunger. Food would make everything seem more normal.

She knew better, but she still needed to eat.

From the freezer, she took one of the many TV dinners she’d stocked. Never having lived alone before, she hadn’t quite figured out yet how to cook for only herself. The dinners had been an easy solution while she adjusted to her new home and job. Eventually she would have to start making real meals. For now, at least she had food.

She ate in front of the evening newscast, then channel surfed through game shows and sitcom reruns. The mirror’s presence called to her from the bedroom. She refused to respond. She didn’t know what she’d gotten herself into by buying the thing, and until she found out she didn’t know if she wanted to be in the same room with it.

The thought of seeing the man’s image again appealed to her. He’d certainly been handsome. Ralie felt like she knew him from somewhere. Like he was someone important to her.

Which was completely ridiculous, because she’d never seen him before. He was a random image in an antique mirror, nothing more. A random image that shouldn’t have been there, since mirrors only reflected what lay in front of them.