Beacon Finalists Announced (#contest)

Hey there guys and gals! I just wanted to let you know (since I’m sure you were just itching to), the First Coast Romance Writers announced their finalists in their annual Unpublished Beacon Contest on their website ( last night. Since I’m the contest coordinator, I’m posting the winners here as well, primarily ’cause I can, and because I know this has the potential to be seen by people one way or another. So here they are!


Contemporary Series

Finding Home – Bonnie Forsythe
The Imperfect Gentleman – Natalie Meg Evans
The Ren – Sarah Bailey

 Erotic Romance

There was a tie, so they have 4 finalists
An Altered State of Betrayal –Bonnie Madison
Breaking All The Rules –Virginia Paige
His Law to Obey –Reagan Phillips
Rules for Burning –Chloe Carson

Futuristic, Fantasy, Paranormal

A Rip In Time – Helen Pilz
Blood, Pain & Pleasure – Nadine Mutas
Sanctuary –J.K. Hover

Historical Romance

Fool’s Gold – Cari Davis
A Deal With the Devil –Cindy St. James
The Winds of Fate – Elizabeth Bysiek

Romantic Suspense

Dangerous Dreams – Abbie Roads
Not Quite Legal –Christina Elle
Worth Running For –Kairee Taylor

 Single Title

There was a tie, so theyhave 4 finalists
Goodbye to Love – Carla Kempert
Second Chance in Sweetgrass – Megan Coakley
The Sweetheart Deal – Allison Morse
Why Can’t This Be Love – Lee Kilraine

 Women’s Fiction

Glory Glory, the Majorettes are 40 – Linda Bond
Holding at Love – Judy Fogarty
One More Breath – Pamela Kopfler

 Young Adult

Descent – Kathleen McMahon
Macha and the River Blue –Barbara Gerry (pen)
Silk – Louise Cusack

So let’s give a big HURRAY! to all the finalists, shall we?

And now, just because I wanted to have a little fun, I took a quiz about which Star Trek character I was. Let’s just say I’m not entirely surprised at the results. Heh.

Your results:
You are An Expendable Character (Redshirt)

An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Deanna Troi
Beverly Crusher
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Jean-Luc Picard
Geordi LaForge
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Mr. Scott
Will Riker
Mr. Sulu
Since your accomplishments are seldom noticed,
and you are rarely thought of, you are expendable.
That doesn’t mean your job isn’t important but if you
were in Star Trek you would be killed off in the first
episode you appeared in.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Test


Winner Winner!

That’s right, we have a winner for my step in Evernight’s Birthday Blog Hop. That winner is Elizabeth Garza, commenter #19!

Sorry about the “Happy 1st, Jackie” on the cake. It was the only celebratory cake picture I knew wasn’t copyrighted by someone else. Hehehe. Well, I had a Happy 1st Sammie one, but….

Thanks for participating. Stay tuned for news about the Evernight grand-prize winner!

Word-Slingers – Guest Cate Dean

Today, Memorial Day here in the States, I’m happy to welcome Cate Dean (and sorry this post is going up later than normal – surgery on Friday slowed me down a bit) and her tour for her new release, Rest for the Wicked.

1) How long have you been writing?

I have been writing pretty much for as long as I can remember. I started with poetry and song lyrics, and started writing stories that I made up in my head when I was in high school. In the last few years I got serious about it, really dug in and learned the basics of story structure. I have always loved writing, in any form.

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

I’m single, so I have fewer ball than most writers I know. I do work full time right now, which leaves evenings and weekends to write. I always set a weekly goal – 5-10k words, depending on how far I am into the book. Basically, I don’t have a social life right now – except when I write in the café at my local bookstore every Sunday. J

3) Let’s dish all about your new release, Rest for the Wicked (and what you have planned for the rest of the series, if you want to share).

It is a paranormal, with a big dash of suspense. I loved writing it – the whole story was just there, like a lightning bolt. I couldn’t type fast enough, and most of the draft was a blur. It was quite the shock to go back and read it! My characters simply blossomed, and I was surprised, and thrilled with how they turned out.
 As for the rest of the series – I am working on book 2 right now, A Gathering of Angels, which will be out in July. It deals with murder disguised as a holy cause, and people who are not what they seem. And book 3, Back in Black, is slated for sometime around Halloween. It involves ghosts, in a fun, spooky and scary way.

4) What is it about the paranormal genre that you like so much?

I grew up loving the supernatural. And it gave me the chance to break out with both my characters and the world I created. It is grounded in reality, but there is another level to it, and a depth that wouldn’t be there without the freedom that the paranormal genre gives me.

5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I do write in another one now – I write fantasy, both adult and YA. It is where I started, and I really enjoy going back and forth between genres. Writing in each one gives me a nice break from the other, and they are close enough that people can cross over from one to the next without it being too jarring.

6) Sweet or sour?


7) Chocolate or vanilla?

Mmmmm, chocolate . . .


Cate Dean has been writing for, well, ever. She grew up losing herself in the wilds of fantasy worlds, and has had some of her own adventures while tromping through the UK, and a few other parts of the world. A lover of all things supernatural, she infuses that love into her stories, giving them a unique edge. When she’s not writing, she loves cooking, scaring herself silly in the local cemeteries, and reading pretty much anything she can get her hands on.

Buy Links

Book Blurb
Claire Wiche – an ordinary woman, running her Wicca shop in an ordinary California beach town.
But Claire wasn’t always ordinary, and she isn’t quite human. She hides a secret, and a past that she desperately wants to put behind her.

When that past explodes into her present, threatening the people she loves, and the community that has offered her a place to finally belong, Claire must become what she left behind in order to save them.

Book Excerpt
Claire Wiche guided her unhappy customer through her shop, one arm around the woman’s hunched shoulders.
“You know I don’t do love spells, Mildred.”
“But I know if he could see me, really see me, he’d fall desperately in—”
“Would it be real, if he’s under an enchantment?”
Mildred pouted, not a pretty sight on an eighty-year-old woman. “What happened to the customer is always right?”
Biting her lip on a smile, Claire walked her through the open door.
“Never been my policy. And I have good reasons for that.” She rubbed the old woman’s arm. “You go on home now. I’ll phone you when my new shipment of crystals shows up.”
Leaning against the narrow porch post, Claire watched her toddle down the sidewalk, sunlight bouncing off the thin silver poodle curls. The morning gloom had burned off early, and it looked like the start of another beautiful day.
She crossed her arms, cold despite the sweater she slipped on earlier. It took longer to warm up lately, a fact she did her best to ignore.
“Are you cold again, Claire? It’s got to be at least 80 in the store.”
Unless, of course, a well-meaning friend shoved it in her face.
She turned around, forced a smile. “Is it, Annie? I must have forgotten to turn it down this morning.”
“How could you not notice? The candles are sweating.” Annie Sullivan—the lively, no-holds-barred friend Claire never expected to have in her life—stepped across the small porch that ran along the front of the shop, her almost six foot height topping Claire by a good ten inches. She caught one hand before Claire could shove them in her pockets. “You’re like ice. Again.” She looked down at Claire, concern in her warm brown eyes. “And you’re avoiding. Again.”
With a sigh, Claire squeezed her hand before easing out of it. The warmth in Annie’s fingers made her skin tingle, yearn.
“Time to turn that heat down before the candles become a puddle.”
Annie followed her back inside, hovering while she adjusted the thermostat to a more reasonable temperature. She would need a heavier sweater.
“Come on,” Annie said, hands on her hips. “Give.”
Shaking her head, Claire smiled, a real smile this time. “Would I’m just cold and tired do it for you?”
“Hardly.” Annie stood in front of the counter, looking like a golden Amazon ready for battle. “But it’ll have to until I can get you drunk and pry the truth out of you.”
Laughter burst out of Claire. “I’d like to see that.”
“Yeah, so would I. If you actually touched the stuff.” She gave Claire a wicked smile. “I could always slip you a mickey.”
“You could—if I wasn’t able to smell it from across the room.”
“Slapped down again. Hey—what if we just tried—”
“Not again. Never again.” Claire still felt the residual agony from her one failed attempt at social drinking.
“How do you do that?” Those warm brown eyes narrowed as they studied her. “How do you always know what I’m going to say?”
Claire reached up and patted her cheek. “I’m a witch, sweetheart. It’s what I do.”
“Wait.” She grabbed Claire’s hand, pushed her sleeve up to reveal the bandage that peeked out. “Is that another tattoo? What is it this time?”
Claire flushed. The second reason she put on a sweater this morning.
“A triquetra.”
“More protection? Jeez, Claire, the pentacle on your hip isn’t enough?”
“There is no such thing as too much protection.” She pulled free and walked around the counter. “And the subject is closed.”
“Okay, I can take a hint. I’ll drop in sometime tomorrow, see if you need any help during the festival madness.”
“That will be most appreciated.”
Annie strode to the door, her long legs taking her through the small shop in a few paces. She paused in the doorway. “Hey, Claire—I’m worried, and I poke when I’m worried. I’ll leave it alone for now. But if you don’t get better, I’ll do more than poke.”
“Annie.” She stuck her head back in. “Don’t you even think about taking on Mildred’s love spell.”
Color rushed into her cheeks.
“I wasn’t—”
“I mean it. Last time you nearly had your victim falling in love with her cat.”
“Never gonna let me live that one down, are you?”
Claire smiled. “Not if it keeps you from trying again.”
Annie cursed under her breath and stalked out.
Chuckling, Claire made a mental note to put feelers out. Annie had more than enough power, and just enough knowledge to make her dangerous.
Without warning the pain stabbed her; a blade of ice in her gut.
Bracing her hands on the counter, she fought to breathe, fought to keep herself upright. Shaking so hard her rings clattered against the granite countertop, she gained enough control to lower herself to the chair that she recently added, out of necessity.
“God above—” She pressed both arms against her stomach, prayed for a slow morning. If she believed God would actually listen to her, after all this time, she’d ask the single question that haunted her.
Is this how it feels to be dying?

Winner & Upcoming Event Info
The winner from the Katie Salidas post is Angelica Dawson. We’ll be in touch on your prize. Stay tuned because next Monday, on June 4, I have an author spotlight coming up (my first) with William D. Hicks.

Alyssa Day Winner & Thursday Word-Slingers – Guest Mercy Celeste

Today’s guest is the ever popular and apparently somewhat controversial Mercy Celeste. I don’t know what the controversy is, but apparently there is some! Woohoo! Let’s get to the fun!

1) How long have you been writing?

I started writing in high school. Stopped because I was told I couldn’t and really it was bad stuff so they were mostly right. I started again in my late twenties because I was bored and needed an outlet. So really about fifteen years or so.

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

Until recently a great many balls. My husband worked around sixty hours a week as a normal schedule. I worked part time and tried to continue school. Kids and everything that goes along with them. Keeping a halfway clean house with food on the table. And then spending a couple of hours a day writing or trying to write. Now I don’t work outside my home, three of my kids are in their late teens and early twenties. The husband has cut back to regular forty hour work week. And I delegate the household chores so that I can write as close to full time as possible. Except I find so many other things to do with all that free time now.

3) When is your next release due out and can you tell the audience about it?

I just have a book come out on May 5th. Beyond Complicated. There’s some controversy with it. Banned on Amazon and other distributor sites that sort of thing. I have a short story upcoming from Silver Publishing as well. Need You Now is due out June 2nd. It’s a nice angst free reunion story. Well sort of angst free, at least by my standards.

4) What is it about the menage romance genre that you like so much?

This is tough, ménage is usually my thing. It’s tough writing a HEA for more than two people and I do like a good HEA. I like a ménage story to be about three people trying to find room in a relationship instead of the usual committed but bored couple looking for a little fun. The three become one thing is tough to write.

5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I write across several genres. I prefer contemporary but have a published paranormal and an unpublished historical. I write both straight and gay romance and have had success in both areas. Not the paranormal. That didn’t go over so well.

6) Sweet or sour?

Savory salty.

7) Chocolate or vanilla?

Both depending largely on the time of the month and whether strawberry is available. Give me a box of Neapolitan and I’m good to go.

Email  *   Blog   *   Twitter
Also on Facebook!


Mercy is kindly offering up an e-copy of her book Beyond Complicated. Just comment for your chance to win! Good luck to you.

The winner by Random.Org is Comment #5, Julie Beasley. As I do not have an email address or way to contact Ms. Beasley, she has until Sunday to email me or another winner will be chosen. Thank you!

Word-Slingers – Guest Alyssa Day

I’m so excited about today’s guest I can barely sit still. I’d seen her books in stores but hadn’t read one until after I discovered she was in our local chapter of RWA, and once I did, I devoured them (I read the last four in three days while on vacation). I am of course talking about Alyssa Day’s Warriors of Atlantis series and Ms. Day was gracious enough to agree to come see me. So, let’s get to it!

1) How long have you been writing?

Professionally, since 2002, when I had the idea for EMAIL TO THE FRONT, my nonfiction memoir about life as a military family during war time.  I used actual emails that my U.S. Navy flyer husband Judd and I sent to each other; it was quite a wild ride!

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

Hahahahahaha (insert maniacal laughter here).  I’m married to a Navy guy, so I spend at least half my time as a single mom.  I’ve moved 6 times since my first book was published.  Good grief! I hate moving.

I just went through two international moves (to and from Japan) in the past year and a half, in addition to a month’s evacuation from the country after the deadly earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown.  Glad you made it out safely. 🙂 I’m currently staring at a house only half unpacked from the delivery of everything we own.  I have two kids and two dogs, and yet, in spite of all that, I’ve managed to publish around 20 books at last count.  You rock! When I want to curl up in a ball, I tell myself I’m not doing too badly. J

3) When is your next release due out and can you tell the audience about it? (And why oh why did you make us wait – should we blame the publisher alone – for Alaric’s story??? ARRGH!)

Alejandro, which took FAR longer than I wanted it to (see above), will finally be available as an e-book this week!!  Alaric, HEART OF ATLANTIS, that you mentioned, will be out December 4.  See answer to question 2 for why it’s later than I wanted.  I know readers are impatient, and I appreciate their patience.  I won’t release a book until it’s good. Well, okay. Fine, I guess we’ll have to let you off the hook THIS time. Next time…..different story. ;P

4) What is it about the paranormal romance genre that you like so much?  

The opportunity to explore worlds and powers that are so different from our own, while retaining the very human truths of family, friends, redemption, and love.

5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I am currently writing a young adult novel, which is a return to a genre I wrote a couple of books in several years ago.  It’s a fun change, I should say “trying to write” because everything else is definitely taking priority.

6) You started in the “chick lit” arena as Alesia Holiday. Was it a difficult transition to go from that to para-rom?

Not a bit.  I think we all have two sides to our natures; the light and the dark.  And my voice and my humor are still very much present in my paranormal novels. That’s an interesting thought. I’ll have to remember that. We’re just like the force, yeah!

7) Sweet or sour?


8) Chocolate or vanilla?



 Ms. Day is being awesome enough to give not 1, but TWO lucky people copies of books from her backlist. And trust me, if you haven’t read her Atlantis series (and you’re a para-rom fan), you’re missing out on something spectacular. So, get to commenting for a chance to win!

Kristi Glasco, you’re the winner. I don’t have an email address for you. Please contact me so I can put you in touch with Leia (or if you know her, email her!

Word-Slingers – Guest Kassanna

First business, the winner from Lorraine’s post is Comment #3. Congratulations, BN!

Today is fellow Evernighter Kassanna. She’s an All Romance best seller and I’m so happy to welcome her here to the blog. One lucky comment will win a free copy of her current release, Keep Me Satisfed! (Winner announced this Friday, so don’t delay!) Take it away!

1) How long have you been writing? 

On and off twenty plus years…seriously three years

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.) 

I part owner to a business. I am a mother. I am a wife. I write. I like to volunteer although I haven’t had much time to do that lately. I try to keep everything running smoothly but I can’t say that is always the case. I’m thankful everything hasn’t fallen down around my feet.
3) When is your next release due out and can you tell the audience about it? I have three releases for the month of April. The first, Keep Me Satisfied came out on the fifth and is the second book in the Club Lexx Series after Whip Me Real Good.  The other two books Sex Oughta Be Luscious is my Cougar short and it will be out shortly. My third book is Keys to Victory, that’s my voodoo paranormal. I believe that’s slated for the end of the month.

4) What is it about the erotic romance genre that you like so much? 

I love the interaction between the characters. People have sex. It’s a normal and rather pleasant experience. So why not express that in a book…explicitly, LOL. I think erotic romance allows you to get lost in your fantasies without actually fulfilling them.

5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when? 

Not at the moment, I quite comfortable where I’m at.

6) Sweet or sour?

Always sweet

7) Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?

I like the swirl. Love to mix it up

Blog     Website     Facebook

 Alexandra “Lex” Lexington is on the run. She thought she could handle the stalker that dogged her every step. Realizing how wrong she was, she sought the protection of her brother, John. New problems arise, namely John’s sexy security specialist, Adam Manchester. Buried desire for the infuriating man have risen to the surface and Lex institutes a plan of seduction that he’ll never see coming. 

But her stalker has found her again with deadly intentions.

Adam Manchester handles John’s security for the Lexington Corp. He and John have been friends since childhood, and he knows the family well. Lex, she’s special, and not just to her brothers, but to him. Just not in a brotherly fashion. Now John is asking him to look after her while he’s away on business. Adam’s problem—how does he watch the woman that he desires to possess without acting on those long denied feelings?

“Gotcha.” Thick arms grabbed her by the middle from behind, pulling her away from the edge.

Lex didn’t think about it. She reacted. Her boot came down hard on the in-step of the foot next to hers. She was abruptly let go and took a step forward, turning on the ball of her feet before she tumbled over the edge of the loading bay. She slipped to the side and out of the reach of the unknown person, and then drew herself to her full height, dropping her arms and forming fists in anticipation, ready to counter another attack.

She looked right into the cool brown eyes of Adam.

“What the hell was that for?” Adam yelled, stretching out his leg and rotating his foot.

“I didn’t know who was behind me. You could have been a damn stalker for all I knew. You should’ve said something.” She relaxed her shoulders and hands.

“That wouldn’t have been a problem if you’d stayed in the damn club.” He took a menacing step toward her.

“Funny, last I checked John was gone and my daddy was dead. Sorry, but your opinion doesn’t count.” Lex held her ground and raised her chin.

“I think that’s part of your problem. J.L. should have spanked you as a child. Instead he let you run around wild thinking you could do anything without any fear of the consequences.” Adam moved closer.

“Spankings? Are you kidding? I feel sorry for any kid you have. As for daddy, let’s leave him out of this. As I see it right now, you’re not quite measuring up to the man.” Her heart pounded in her chest and the breeze whipping through the loading dock chilled her damp skin.

“You always did have a sharp tongue. Maybe it’s time someone to taught you a lesson.” Adam was in her space so close she could see the pulsing vein at the side of his neck.

“Really? You and what army?” Lex looked up at him, meeting his gaze, and cocked an arched brow.

She knew she’d gone too far when she felt the pinch of Adam’s fingers on her sides. The wind ruffled her hair, pushing the short tresses into her face as he walked her backwards the few steps to pin her against the wall. He leaned in and rested his forearms against the concrete block on either side of her head. His pushed a hard thigh between her legs, forcing her to separate them. She lifted her eyes and met his. Her breathing was coming in short pants and her heart played racquetball with her ribs.

She had only ever dreamed he would get this close to her. Lex bit down on the inside of her cheek, flinching from the pain. Not a dream. She went on the offensive.

Closing her eyes and grabbing his face, she pulled his head down as she rose up on her toes and pressed her lips to his. She licked at his lips and slid her hands around his neck, one hand rubbing the silky hairs at the back of his head.

She felt his momentary hesitation before he gave into the kiss. On a sigh, his lips parted and she pressed her tongue forward, slipping it into his mouth. Darting back and forth, deeper into the warm recesses of his mouth, she tasted the hint of peppermint on his breath before pulling back. She nibbled on his bottom lip with her teeth. Vibrations rumbled in his chest from the groans escaping through his lips, and Lex’s body reacted to the material that bunched and stretched between them. Her nipples ached as they became sharp points beneath the thin cloth of her bra. Adam’s hands moved to grip her shoulders and she felt his fingertips digging into her soft skin through her shirt. He wedged his hard thigh against her pussy, levering her higher, pushing the seam of her pants and panties between the damp recess of her nether lips.