Category Archives: Coffee Talk

The Goals and Successes of the Ladies of Coffee Talk By Kishan Paul

Reblogged from www.coffeetalkwriters.com

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With just another day left in 2013, many are looking ahead with hopes and goals for the new year. The ladies of Coffee Talk are no different. I managed to drag these amazing women away from their busy lives and holiday festivities to find out what each were looking forward to in the upcoming year and to see what they felt they did well in the one they are about to leave behind.

This is what Aubrey Wynne (author of Merry Christmas, Henry) had to say about her accomplishments of 2013.

I published my first novel. Joined the CT group. Took my hubby on a long trip out east and taught him how to relax. For 2014, I want to: (1) Lose weight and be regular at the gym. (2) Get my next book published (3) Write something every day and at least 3000 words a week regardless of how busy I am. (4) Have more patience with my parents. (5) Stop saying, “I’ll do it if you can’t find anyone else.”

Isabella Harper, our youngest member in CT, had some major life changes in 2013.

I’m excited about completing April NanoWriMo, buying a house, and having our daughter. As far as 2014, I don’t really do “resolutions” because I feel like they kinda fall by the wayside as the year progresses. I like to call them goals. In no particular order: finish my MS and possibly publish, finish renovating our house, enjoy every second with my family, continue to eat healthy, expand my cooking/baking horizons, blog more often. Exercise is huge on my goal list this year, and I’m toying with becoming a “coach” of some sort… I haven’t figured that goal out exactly yet. I’d like to bring in some money of my own… maybe even open an Etsy shop. We will see…

Marianne Willis (author of Killer Temptations) chimed in from Australia.

I’m proud of the continual support from loved ones and new fans. My goal for 2014 is to write the next book in the bonded series as well as start a new book trilogy. I also hope to finish a YA paranormal.

Nessie Stranger (author of Living Dead Girl) what are you most proud of?

2013 brought lots of changes, like moving and getting my first publishing contract. As far as 2014, like Bella, I don’t necessarily do resolutions. In 2014, I hope to complete the sequel to Living Dead Girl and hopefully get that one published as well. I hope to become more financially stable, and better provide for my family. Maybe get better organized, too

Renea Mason (author of Symphony of Light and Winter) how about you?

In 2013, I became a published author and I’m excited that my book is successful. My family didn’t disown me. I met a lot of wonderful people. I recently took a new position in my company that will allow me to continue to grow and learn and I am most thankful for that opportunity.   

For 2014, I have two young sons and the other day I looked at the price of college.  WOAH.  So my resolution is to save more money for my boys. I already made a commitment that all of my book earnings will go to them so when they grow up and realize that Mommy writes smut, I can fall back on, “Hey, it paid for your college.” My second personal goal is to lose weight and stay healthy. Damn pumpkin roll. From a writing perspective, I’m looking to complete the second book in the Symphony of Light Series currently entitled, Between the Waters. 

Valerie A Twombly (author of Eternal Flame) what are yours?

I’m proud of signing with a publisher and releasing 2 books. My goals for 2014 are: (1) lose weight and work out more.(2) Publish book 2 of the Guardians series. (3) Work on a new series. (4) If time permits, work on Brock’s story for book 2 of Demon Heat.

For me, Kishan Paul, I have a lot I’m proud of as far as 2013. I completed my first novel, The Second Wife, and started querying. In the process, I discovered new friends, like my ladies at CT, and realized just what an amazing and supportive family I have. My goals for 2014 are to publish and finish my next book. I plan to keep learning about the art of writing and to keep learning about social media. I hope to express more gratitude and love to the people in my life. And my hardest goal of all: to bite my tongue and walk away.

I decided to end this post with CT’s other Aussie member and technology whiz. Michaela Miles, please share your accomplishments and goals for the new year:

My main New Year’s Resolutions are to keep in touch with family more often and take some more “me” time. After that, I have a few other things I’d like to achieve: I’d love to publish a few books, finish renovating our house, hire a manager for my businesses so I can write more, get out and exercise more, knock another year off my Uni degree, read more books, travel… just a small wish list

 For 2013, I am proud of joining the Coffee Talk ladies and really becoming interested and involved with their writing, publishing, and marketing processes. It’s made me become more involved with my own and given me much more advice and confidence than I’ve found anywhere else. I have also completed a novel and a short story, and plotted out a series of books in genres I’ve never considered before, and again that’s all down to the Coffee Talk ladies. Such amazing ladies – I raise my glass to each of you.

Well said Michaela.

To all our followers out there: We are humbled and grateful for all of your support and look forward to spending another great year together.

Happy New Year from the ladies of CT.

Aubrey’s Ageless Romance Café

Aubrey’s Ageless Romance Café

In this literary world, a handful of stories will stand the test of time. A modern classic novel holds the attention of every generation with a thoughtful plot, complex characters and a scene or two that lingers long after the final page.

These books will never be traded in at the paperback store or sold for a quarter at a garage sale. An ageless romance is passed on to your sister, then to her daughter who loans it to a friend. By the time it makes it back to your shelf, the pages are yellowed, earmarked and appreciated. And every so often, when you need to be reminded of the remarkable power of love, you dust off that old friend and peruse its pages again. These are the stories I want to share with you in Aubrey’s cafe. 

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The Present

By Johanna Lindsey

Published: 1998    Publisher:  Avon Romance    POV: Third person

Setting: England 1825 and a generation earlier

 Johanna Lindsey fans will love this book. In fact, her dedication reads: to the many fans who love the Malorys as much as I do. This present is for you.

I will admit, I have not read many of Ms. Lindsey’s books. However, my sister and I have a tradition of buying a Christmas book each year in December. This story is a result of that tradition. This year, we pulled it out and read it again. That should tell you something about the quality of the story.

The Malorys, a title family and members of the ton, gather at Haverston, the ancestral estate, each year for Christmas. They are quite a crew. Handsome rakes now tamed by spirited women with beautiful children following in the footsteps of their parents. Except for the oldest brother of the family.

Jason fell in love with Molly thirty years earlier. Molly fell in love with Jason. Great, right? No. Jason is titled and Molly is a servant. She refuses to cross the social line and let him risk scandal. So he marries within his rank and is miserable. So the two continue their affair until the wife finds out. Ah, now the can be together. Nope.

The wife, also extremely unhappy, threatens scandal if she does NOT get a divorce. Jason happily signs the papers and assumes he will now sweep Molly off her feet. But Molly won’t budge. She insists the ton will never accept her so the marriage will not work. They continue their secret affair and even have a child who is accepted by the social realm.

Fast forward to the present. The son is grown, now knows about his parentage, yet Molly remains obstinate. As the family gathers for the holidays, a mysterious present appears on the mantle. It stirs curiosity. The family, bickering and experiencing underlying tensions, are distracted by the mystery. It turns out to be a journal written by the grandparents, second Marquis of Haverston and his wife.

Within the pages are the ruminations and confessions of Christopher Malory and his gypsy wife, Anastasia. The fact that the Marquis’ wife was not of proper birth remained a secret until the discovery of this journal. The love story that unfolds is unique, well told and very romantic. Their lives also run eerily parallel to Jason and Molly.

Johanna Lindsey writes a Christmas story of love, betrayal and family. As Anastasia says in her note to future generations, “To our children and their children and so forth… we leave this written record to you, to be read at your leisure, and with your own imagination lending it life… And I give you fair warning: If you have been led to believe that we are individuals that could do no wrong, then read no further. We are human after all, with all the faults, passions, and mistakes that humans are known for. Judge us not, but perhaps learn from our mistakes.”

                 While the story itself was outstanding, there were elements I did not care for. The dialogue occasionally threw me off with the improper grammar I did not expect from the upper crust. I am not used to the frequent use the word ain’t used. Some of the dialogue also seemed a little out of place.  But these minor issues did not slow down my reading.

I have not read any of the previous books containing the Malory family. It did not hinder my understanding of the plot and the tale stood alone without previous background knowledge. Ms. Lindsey provided the reader with any information necessary to the plot.

The Present is a perfect read for the holidays. I loved the romance, strong but stubborn men and feisty, intelligent women. I loved the family dynamics and might pick up another book with these likeable characters. But the star of the novel is the couple from the journal. Anastasia, daring and desperate, is a perfect match for the obstinate yet passionate Christopher. I recommend this for all historical romance fans that believe the magic of Christmas.

I give The Present three and half mugs.

3.5 coffee mugs

A virtual trip to a ski lodge in Vail, Colorado. Oh what fun it is to ride a bunny hill today.

Wine and Chat with Cait and Aubrey Wynne

wine and cheese words

Aubrey Wynne

Aubrey

Buy now: Melange Books

Amazon

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Noble

December is a magical time of the year to spend time with family and friends. Some of us have a special someone, others dream of a spark that could generate chemistry so strong that you believe the person you see is that special someone, the person that makes you smile. In the world today, there’s so many different ways to meet someone: in person, online, but to see a portrait in a gallery and know the person is special that is magic.

Sitting by the fire on the leather couch in a ski lodge in Vail, Colorado, I can’t wait for one of my favorite peeps to arrive. Aubrey Wynne released her first book, Merry Christmas, Henry, a few weeks ago. It’s the perfect cozy Christmas read. Oh heck, I can’t tell you anymore, here she comes.

Cait: “Aubrey! It’s wonderful to see you.” I jump to my feet and hug her.

Aubrey: “I have been talking about this all week. My husband almost pushed me out the door. Thank you for inviting me.”

Cait: “You are welcome. Thank you for joining me.

We sit on the couches a table dividing us. A tall golden-haired, green-eyed man sits at a nearby table.

Cait: “Aubrey, he looks like the hero in my latest manuscript, Second Chances.”

Aubrey: Long sigh. “Absolutely mouth-watering. He is just how I pictured Ryan if you swap out the skis for a skateboard. If he’s an instructor, I’m up for a lesson.”

Cait: I laugh.“Speaking of delicious, Merry Christmas, Henry, is a wonderful story. Would you give a little detail about the book?”

Aubrey: She smiles and tears her eyes away from the gorgeous blonde. “Henry is a handsome and talented artist but painfully shy. His life revolves around his painting and best friend Melinda, the owner of an art gallery. While working as a security guard in a museum, he becomes infatuated with the portrait of a woman. When Melinda accepts a marriage proposal, Henry realizes he must find his own happiness. So he comes up with a plan that depends on his artistic skill and the magic of Christmas.

Cait: “The story is so unique. I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything like it. What inspired you?” Arches eyebrow. “Have you ever admired a pic of a guy?” I laugh.

Aubrey: Giggles. “Good grief, as a teenager my wall was filled with posters. I spent hours drooling over and talking to Robert Redford, Paul Newman and John Travolta. And of course, Starsky and Hutch. Oops, I think I just gave away my age.”

Cait: “Too funny.”

The Ryan-like character from Second Chances winks at Aubrey. She winks back.

Aubrey: “I need a drink. I think the ski instructor is flirting with me. Maybe he likes cougars?”

Cait: “It appears so.” I’m smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. Aubrey’s a hoot.

The waiter arrives, bringing glasses of wine I ordered when I first arrived.

Cait: I hold up my glass. “A toast to your first release and to all the ones that follow.” Our glasses clink.

Aubrey: “Yes, indeed.” She holds up her glass. “Here’s to more great romances in the New Year.”

Cait: I set my glass on the table and reach behind the couch. “I have a surprise for you.” I pull out the picture of the woman Henry admires. “The owner of the ski lodge loved your book so much they had a painting made of it. They want it hung in here. We get to do the honors of deciding where it goes.”

Aubrey: “I’m honored, and such a wonderful way to celebrate my first publication. The design and setting of this lodge would have pleased Henry.”

We crossed to the wall Aubrey decides. She lifts it up and places it against the wall. Strong arms reach over her head and grab the sides of the frame. The Ryan-like character smiles down at her. “I’ll do this for you.”

Cait: I smirk and step back, giving them a moment, and sip more wine.

Aubrey: “It just keeps getting better, Cait.”

Ryan marks the wall and retrieves the hammer and a nail from a side table. “Great story, you must be the author, Aubrey Wynne. I heard you’d be by today.”

Aubrey: “Yes, I am. Thank for your help. So do you like romance or are you more the action and adventure type?”

“I’m the action, adventure type. You interested?”

I choke on my wine, the liquid rushes up my nose. Ugh. I hate that.

Aubrey: “If I were a little younger… Seriously, though, you remind me of someone. But he’s already taken.”

He hammers the nail in the wall, hangs the picture, and steps back admiring his handy work. “Very pretty.” He turns to us. “See you in Second Chances, my destiny awaits.”

Ryan leaves and our mouths gape.

Cait: “Wow, you have a fan and I have a nose full of wine.”

Aubrey: “My heart just skipped a beat.”

Cait: I let out a breath and stare at the picture. “He’s right, she’s quite beautiful. Would you tell us about her?”

Aubrey: “Her name, according to Henry, is Rebecca. She is a beautiful, melancholy soul and I think that is what attracted Henry. It became his mission to make her happy.”

Cait: “What is your favorite part of the book?”

Aubrey: “The ending.”

Cait: “My next question was to ask you to read your favorite part, but we don’t want to give anything away. So, would you give an excerpt from another part of the book?”

Aubrey:

“Hey, Henry, you want a little overtime?” the supervisor had asked. “Charlie called in sick and I could use an extra hand. Another rich collector remembered us in his will. We’ve got a pricey piece arriving in about an hour and I’d feel better with some extra security.”

Henry tried to wipe the smile off his face. Five years in the city and he still felt like a country bumpkin. “Sure.”

“The paper says a Rubens. Flemish, wasn’t he? But it’s a small one.”

Henry gave a whistle. “Impressive.”

“There’s a companion painting with it, artist unknown. We’ll have to find a spot for it in appreciation for the collector’s piece.”

An hour later, Henry held a priceless painting in his hands. God, he loved this job.

“The family probably figured they wouldn’t get any money out of the other one. But this one sure is a beauty,” the supervisor said as he reached for the Rubens.

 “Yes, indeed,” Henry replied, as his eyes landed on the second painting. “Striking.”

Henry’s boss laughed. “I’m talking about this one, Bud. The little one is worth the big bucks!” His boss headed toward the office to start the paperwork on the new museum pieces.

“Yes, of course,” he murmured, but his attention remained focused on the woman in the larger painting.

She sat on the edge of a rocky cliff, her face slightly turned as if looking over the edge. Her legs were out to the side, knees bent, a long, olive-colored skirt spread around her haphazardly as if blown by the wind. The stormy ocean breakers rushed between jagged rocks then turned into frothy waves that lapped at the sand. The details in the picture were crisp and stark, the color was minimal—just the woman on a cliff with the turbulent water below. But the overall effect created a hauntingly beautiful scene.

He felt her distress, her sorrow. His fingers itched to reach out and pull her from the painting and hold her, soothe her, give her comfort. Henry knew that if she could turn and face him, he would be looking at the most exquisite creature he’d ever seen. His hand shook as he reached out to touch the canvas.

“Are you okay, Henry?”

Henry drew his hand back quickly as if he’d been caught in the act of—of what? Touching a frame? Good lord, he must be tired.

“What? Oh, yeah, I just need some sleep. ” As Henry turned to leave, he took one last look at the woman who had just stolen his heart. Fate had given him a precious gift. He whistled “Angels We Have Heard on High” all the way home.

Cait: “This has been great, but the slopes are calling our name. Maybe, you can fall into Ryan?” I snicker.

Aubrey: “I’m not known for my grace or balance. It would be a perfect ending to a perfect day.”

Cait: “Would you leave your contact information for the readers?”

Alternate Website: http://www.coffeetalkwriters.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aubrey.wynne.7?fref=ts

About the Author

Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas. She is a proud member of the Coffee Talk Writers.

Last day left for recipes, cash, and books! Get an early start for the holidays.

Two days left for recipes, cash, and books!.

Historical romance fans. You are going to love this one. The cover is only the beginning.

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My Inspiration for Impostors’ Kiss – Shehanne Moore.

Valerie Twombly's Eternal Flame Book Blast

A ‘hot’ welcome to my fellow Coffee Talk author, Valerie Twombly. The first book in her Immortal series was digitally released last month. It will soon be available in print at Barnes and Noble. Settle back and enjoy the excerpt. If you like vampires with a twist, you are in for a treat.

Large cover
Eternal Flame
Guardians #1

Release Date: October 2, 2013

A woman he cannot have, a man who is only a dream…
When guardian Marcus Dagotto, discovers the Gods have gifted him with a mate, he is pissed. He has no room for love and even less for a human who has no idea he exists.
Cassandra Jensen, has a shattered heart and has given up on men. Only one man can set her body on fire, but he is a fantasy that haunts her sleep.
Two worlds, one desire.
When the two collide, fate will rip them apart and test their resolve. Will darkness and evil prevail? Or, will love conquer all?

Buy Links:

Resplendence Publishing: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/m8/609-978-1-60735-700-1–eternal-flame-immortal-guardians-book-one-by-valerie-twombly.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Eternal-Flame-Guardians-Valerie-Twombly-ebook/dp/B00G0G3FM8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1382274808&sr=8-2&keywords=valerie+twombly

Barnes & Noble: Coming soon

Excerpt:

Prologue

October 1712

Tears stung Marcus’s cheeks when he raised his sword. “I am so sorry, love. I have failed you. It should be I who dies this day.”
Eliza’s cocoa eyes looked at him but didn’t see him. Dead inside, her soul was lost. She would never again be the woman he loved.
He sucked in a breath and flexed his arms, the sword swung, slicing across her neck. The blade tore through sinew and bone and sent her head rolling across the stone floor. Reality nearly sent him to his knees, but there wasn’t time to mourn the death of his mate. The fighting outside echoed in his ears, the demons were strong and put up one hell of a fight.
Marcus advanced down the corridor of the abandoned castle. The scene played out the same in every direction. Blood bathed the floors, and his brethren’s heartsick screams echoed off the walls as they killed their mates.
A demon jumped out from behind a door. Its claws tearing the flesh on his arm. He wielded his sword and sent another head flying across the room. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a Draki dispatching another demon. The shifter, a friend who also searched for his mate. Not even the dragons were immune to Drayos and his fucking misery.
The dragon turned his head. “Be careful, my friend. My brethren will soon be setting this place on fire.” Caleb’s cerulean body shimmered as he shifted back to human form.
“Have you found your mate yet?” Marcus asked as he searched the adjoining room. Empty.
“Not yet, you?”
He stepped beside his friend. “I killed her.”
Caleb laid a hand on his shoulder. “I am sorry, my friend. Drayos will die this day for what he has done.”
Marcus nodded and moved forward in his search for the demon Drayos. He opened up the psychic path leading to his prince. Aidyn.
Marcus, did you find my sister?
He closed his eyes, so many hearts broken today. She is dead, I am sorry, my lord.
I will kill Drayos with my bare hands.
Aidyn had already lost his brother and father in this battle. His pain ripped through Marcus. No doubt the other guardians felt it. It was a blessing and a curse to be connected to each other.
He tried to pinpoint the prince’s position, but something blocked him. Aidyn, where are you? Do not engage Drayos. The prince would die as well if he tried to kill the Demon Overlord. Aidyn was far too young; his two hundred years were no match against a thousand-year-old demon.
He took our women, used them to carry his spawn. He has killed everyone I love.
Tired muscles carried Marcus up a flight of stairs. He stormed from room to room, kicking in locked doors only to find them empty. I know my lord, and he will pay, but it is not wise for you to confront him. He knew Aidyn wouldn’t listen. Perhaps the gods would help.
“Zarek!” Marcus summoned the god, nothing. No surprise. After all, the gods could have stepped in and saved the women, but they had all been left to fate. Fuck fate, he was sick to death of it.
The sound of clashing swords filtered in from the hallway. He flashed into the room, not caring what he stumbled across. His vision filled with Aidyn and Drayos, they were face to face.
Drayos had morphed into a full demon and stood at least three feet taller than Aidyn. Blood seeped from the wounds that covered the demons blackened skin.
Marcus tried to run toward them but found himself behind an invisible barrier. “What the fuck?”
He balled his hands and banged on the wall. “Aidyn!” The prince ignored him. He was stuck, helpless as he watched the events unfold in front of him. Thoughts of telling Daria, his queen, she had lost her entire family in this battle sat like arsenic in his stomach. He pressed his palms against his prison. Aidyn, my friend, I can’t bear another loss today.
The air behind him shifted, a cool breeze lifted his hair. He moved his gaze over his shoulder and found Zarek towering over him in a Scottish kilt rather than his beloved Egyptian shendyt. His raven hair held a beaded braid on one side. So this is why he ignores us? He is busy playing dress-up with the goddess Quadira.
“Get me out of here!” he demanded.
“You will not interfere, my son.”
Marcus growled; his fangs elongated; he wanted blood. Yes, he would take the blood of his god if it ended the pain and suffering of his brethren. “You would let the prince die?” He tried to lunge toward Zarek but found his feet pinned to the floor. You are our creator, we your warriors. Why would you do this to us?
Zarek gave him a leveled gaze. “What makes you think the prince will die this day?”
He looked back toward the fight. Aidyn had lost his sword; a small dagger was clutched in his hand. Both the demon and the vampire bore bloody wounds.
He turned back to Zarek. “The prince is too young to fight one as strong as Drayos.” Marcus dropped to his knees, he would beg the god if he had to.
“Send me in his place…please.” He was three hundred years older than Aidyn and could defeat the demon. “We have lost so much today.” Death haunted him like a fucking plague. He was a healer, but today, he healed no one. The anguished cries of his brethren still echoed in his ears. They had slain their mates then turned on each other to end their misery. Marcus would like to end his suffering as well, but he would continue on; his skills were needed.
Zarek laid a hand on his shoulder. “I am sorry, my son, for all the pain you will encounter this day. However, today must shape the future.” With those words, he vanished.
The future? Aidyn was their future, the line that tied them all together. They all hoped the prince would persuade the gods to find a cure for the curse Drayos had placed upon them.
The curse would devour them, creating an imbalance that would darken their souls. When Zarek created his vampires, he used light and dark, good and evil. The light fueled the guardian of humanity, the darkness the warrior. A perfect balance, but once Drayos’s curse took full effect, the light would fade, the darkness turning them into pure evil, destined to destroy everything in their path. Not even the humans they guarded would be safe.
He jumped to his feet but found the shield still erected around him. Aidyn’s body lie still on the floor, and Drayos stood over him, sword poised for the fatal blow.
He beat on the invisible wall. “Aidyn!” He sucked in a breath, his heart trapped in a vice that squeezed the life out of him. He could do nothing but watch his prince die. A tear slid down his cheek for the death of his mate, his brethren and now his prince, his best friend. I am no guardian. I am a failure. I have failed them all.
Drayos swung his sword. Everything moved in slow motion as Marcus waited for the blade to connect with Aidyn’s neck.
Lightning sizzled from the sky and sent debris flying in different directions. The room crumbled around them as the earth shook. Drayos’s head rolled across the floor. Marcus sensed the shield that encased him drop, and he rushed forward to where Aidyn stood.
“What the hell just happened? Are you alright?” Marcus asked.
“I am not exactly sure. I think I caused the lightning.”
“You?” He looked over the prince, his pants torn and his shirt missing. Dust from the debris covered his bleeding wounds. There was something different about the prince. He seemed stronger. Marcus noticed the dark marking on Aidyn’s chest and reached out to wipe away the gray dirt so he could get a better look. “Sweet deity!” He jumped back.
“What?” Aidyn looked at his chest. His jaw dropped. “I never felt it.”
Like many of the other guardians, Aidyn had been given his mark. An indication of his position and abilities. Marcus bore the Ankh, a pair of angel wings spread out over the top. The ancient symbol meant life or living. A healer, able to repair the sick or injured with his energy.
The naked skin over Aidyn’s left breast bore the mark chosen by the gods. The eye of Ra, the symbol of protection and power, sat atop a pyramid encased by a blazing sun. This could only mean…
Marcus.
His thoughts interrupted by the almost unrecognizable voice. Father?
Come to me, son.
Aidyn touched his shoulder. “I am fine, let us go help your father.”
Together they flashed to the position his father communicated. When Marcus arrived, his father was on his knees holding the bloody, headless body of his wife, Marcus’s mother. His sword lay beside him covered in blood. He knew what had happened. His mother’s belly heavy with child. Drayos’s demon spawn had been growing inside her, and like the other women, her soul had been darkened. There was no cure, Marcus had tried to heal Eliza, but it had proved fruitless. Like him, his father had taken the head of the woman he loved.
“Father.” He knelt next to the frail man and placed his arm around his shoulder, pulling him tight to his side. “I am so very sorry.” Tears welled in his eyes, he refused them escape. He would remain strong for the man beside him.
His father looked at him, his eyes rimmed red. “You will do the honorable thing.”
Marcus closed his eyes, again. He would have to mourn later. “Yes,” he whispered. How much more destruction could he take before he crumbled? Somewhere, he would find the strength needed to end his father’s misery and begin his own.
“Take care of your sister.” It was the last command his father would ever give him.
“I will. I love you.” He kissed the man on the cheek then stood, his sword flashed through the smoke-filled sky and sliced through his father’s neck.
Marcus dropped to his knees, the heartache so severe he nearly passed out. His lungs contracted as he screamed to the heavens. Another failure, so many broken hearts he was unable to heal. Why couldn’t he heal the broken hearts?
Strong arms circled him from behind and held him tight. “I have you, my friend,” Aidyn whispered.

Valerie

About the Author

As a child, Valerie would often get into trouble for peeking at her mother’s favorite TV show, Dark Shadows. She can still hear her mother saying “It will give you nightmares.” She was right of course, but that did not stop Valerie from watching. As an adult, her love of the fanged creatures never waned. She would watch any vampire movie she could find.

Being a true romantic, Valerie was thrilled when she discovered the genre of paranormal romance. Her first read was one of Lara Adrian’s, Midnight Breed Series and from there she was hooked.

Today, Valerie has decided to take her darker, sensual side and put it to paper. When she is not busy creating a world full of steamy, hot men and strong, seductive women, she juggles her time between a full-time job, hubby and her two German shepherd dogs, in Northern IL.

Connect with Valerie:
Website| Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

And the winner is….

Congratulations to Meghan Stith for participating in the Halloween Seduction Hop. She won a $15.00 Amazon gift card.
I hope all participants will join me again for my Christmas ebook release. Check in for details early next week. I’m hoping to give away some great books from my fellow Coffee Talk Writers.
In the meantime, I hope everyone had a great All Hallow’s Eve. Luckily, nothing followed me home this year.

E-book single and part of the Holiday Hopes anthology.
E-book single and part of the Holiday Hopes anthology.

It's finally here. Welcome to the Halloween Seduction Hop Giveaway!

In honor of All Hallow’s Eve and my fellow Coffee Talk authors of Paranormal Romance, I will be posting eerie and bizarre tidbits throughout the next week. As a lover of history, we will look at a few of the better known Halloween legends that began with some basis in truth. Win some prizes while exploring fun holiday facts.

Let’s begin with my Romance Review below. Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney carried on an infamous love affair at the turn of the century. But in the end, it went terribly wrong.  Some say it was their ‘just desserts’ for their blatant immorality. You be the judge.

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Looking forward to your comments. And remember to keep a light on and the wooden stakes, salt and silver bullets by your bedstand.

Aubrey’s Ageless Romance Café

In this literary world, a handful of stories will stand the test of time. A modern classic novel holds the attention of every generation with a thoughtful plot, complex characters and a scene or two that lingers long after the final page. These books will never be traded in at the paperback store or sold for a quarter at a garage sale. An ageless romance is passed on to your sister, then to her daughter who loans it to a friend. By the time it makes it back to your shelf, the pages are yellowed, earmarked and appreciated. And ever so often, when you need to be reminded of the remarkable power of love, you dust off that old friend and peruse its pages again. These are the stories I want to share with you in Aubrey’s cafe.

Loving Frank

By Nancy Horak

Published: 2007       Publisher: Ballantine Books       POV: Third person

Setting: Oak Park, IL and Spring Green, WI 1907-1914

Spoiler alert! A true story with the ending discussed in graphic detail.

Loving Frank is an historical romance about the love affair between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and feminist Mamah (Mahmuh) Borthwick Cheney. In the beginning, we think: classic boy meets the right girl at the wrong time. Although both Frank and Mamah were married, the attraction proved too strong to resist.The affair became headline news and reporters followed their journey from a passionate escape to Europe, their cold welcome home to the ghastly, abrupt end of their relationship.

Even in childhood, Mamah Borthwick considered herself an outsider and chose books for her closest friends. The written page filled her mind with adventures and she longed to ‘do something’ with her life. As a young woman, she left her hometown of Oak Park, Illinois and attended the university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There, she caught the freedom bug and a feminist flu. Hoping to become an author in support of the Woman Movement, she moved to Port Huron to teach high school and later ran the public library. After six years, her determination to maintain her independence waned as one by one, her friends married and family became their new focus.

Edwin Cheney lost his heart to Miss Borthwick on their first meeting and vowed to win her hand. She saw thirty drawing close and realized independence also meant loneliness. His persistence finally convinced Mamah to give up the ‘modern’ life and give in to conformity. Her life took on a comfortable routine. With the birth of a son, Mamah soon convinced herself that contentment and affection were a fair substitute for passion.

Frank Lloyd Wright, an eccentric, up-and-coming architect, had made a name for himself and his Prairie Houses outside of Chicago. The focus on nature in the construction of a home became a hot trend for those who could afford it. The simplicity and open concept of his design appealed to men; his charming manner and larger than life personality appealed to women.

Enter: the Cheneys. Edwin commissioned Wright to build a Prairie House in Oak Park. Since her husband worked long days, Mrs. Cheney handled most of the consultations throughout the project. The housewife and architect found they were kindred souls intellectually. Just as they considered becoming intimate, Mamah discovers she is pregnant and refuses to see Frank again.

Jump ahead several years later. Frank Lloyd Wright is speaking to a group of women in Oak Park. Mamah knows it is dangerous to attend the presentation but can’t help herself. The moment their eyes connect, the reader knows there can only be one conclusion.

This is a story of a woman who gave up everything for love. Yet with this sacrifice, she eventually finds her own self worth and makes a name as a literary translator. While she never regretted her decisions, the reader is left to wonder if she would have done it differently if given the choice.

It is the account of a man who considered his talent a gift to the world and only Mamah could keep him grounded. The reader learns not only the intricacies behind Frank’s genius but the flaws within the man as well. He left behind a legacy accompanied by a mountain of unpaid bills.

Nancy Horan accurately describes the time period with intellect, humor and grace. She plops the reader in the middle of Europe, sipping tea in a German or French cafe and introduces us to the social radicals of the time. We share the frustration of women at the turn of the century as they struggle to transform their roles in a changing society. The author also brings us step by step through the construction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s beloved home, Taliesin. We are transported into an extraordinary time when architecture began to alter not only the landscape but the world.

I thought this story appropriate for October and Halloween because of the brutal murders of Mamah and her children. John was twelve and Martha only nine years old. In August of 1914, a disgruntled household servant, Julian Carlton, dished up lunch as usual for the master’s family. He then went outside, locked all the doors except for one, poured gasoline around the perimeters of the house and lit a match. Back inside, he took an axe to the family, split their skulls and watched them burn. Other staff, eating in another part of the home, smelled smoke and ran for the only open door. An axe greeted them as they exited. Martha lived for several hours so severely burned she was unrecognizable. Mamah’s ex-husband dug through the ashes to find his son’s bones. Frank Lloyd Wright rebuilt Taliesin only to watch it burn again. He never fully recovered from the tragedy. I found this novel to be engaging and thought-provoking.

A few times in the middle of the novel, I skimmed a chapter or two. Yet, I also found myself hoping that the novel would end differently and my heroine would live happily ever after. A huge a happy-ever-after fan, I cannot give five mugs but highly recommend it with four to fans of historical romance, Frank Lloyd Wright or architecture.

4 coffee mugs
Hot, strong, and addicting.