Making a Mess in the Vineyard

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I'm guest posting today at THE WRITERS VINEYARD about my messing writing style.

If you're an author, stop by and let me know how you write. I've always been curious about how others go about it.

If you're a reader, stop by if you want to learn the true way I whip up a story. Oh, the horror...bwa-ha-ha-ha!

For all others, have a happy Wednesday!!

Start your week with...MOLLY DANIELS / KENZIE MICHAELS

Monday, June 27, 2011
Steve and Angie:

“I’m just going to say this.” His voice was rough. “I love you. You’re the one thing that kept me going, that kept me from going to Prison Tech 101. After I got clean, I decided I was going to do whatever it took to serve my time, and get a respectable job, all so I could win you back.” He cleared his throat. “God, Ange…I swear to you…that one dose of speed fucked up my future, but I’m not going to let it fuck up the rest of my life. I’m staying with Josh; I’ve got my driver’s license; tomorrow I’m buying a car. And my parole officer’s trying to help me get a good job, so I can afford my own place.” His voice dropped to a whisper and one hand stole into Angie’s bright tresses. His head angled toward hers and softly touched his lips to hers. When his tongue nudged her lips open and touched hers, she recoiled and dropped her head on his chest.

“Don’t,” she whispered. “I can’t…”

He lifted her chin with a finger. “It’s okay. I’ve waited nearly two years; I can wait a little longer.” He kissed her eyelids, her nose, and then her lips again before releasing her.“Thanks for the water and for hearing me out.” He stepped around her and left the condo, carefully closing the door behind him.

Once outside, he leaned against the wall by the mailbox, eyes closed. He was surprised Angie hadn’t locked the door. And suddenly she was outside with him, her arms around his neck.

Steve couldn’t speak. He gathered her up and moved into the condo again, pulling the door closed behind them. He kissed her, their tongues exploring and rediscovering each other.

His pent-up desire flared; he tried to keep it in check by remembering he’d never seen her undressed. His lips traveled all over her face; his fingertips traced the contours of her delicate features and the lines of her slender neck. His lips found her earlobe and grazed it with his teeth; he heard her inhale and moan when his tongue touched a sensitive spot just below it.

“I remember how you used to love this.” He gathered her hair in one hand and increased the pressure with his mouth.

“No hickies,” she gasped, clutching at his shoulders.

Steve laughed. Nothing new there. He moved to her jaw and traced her throat with his tongue, moving her backwards toward the couch. One hand slipped under her shirt and slowly skimmed upwards, hesitating before brushing against the gentle swell of her breasts.He eased her down onto the cushions and when she didn’t protest, he tugged her bra aside and closed his hand around her firm, small flesh.

Angie sighed and shifted; it was all the encouragement he needed. Raising her shirt, he bent his head and drew the taunt nipple into his mouth, reaching behind her back to find the bra clasp, Getting it unsnapped, the fabric fell away, and he filled his hand with her other breast, getting to know her all over again.

Panting, Steve worked his own shirt over his head and pressed their torsos together, feeling her breasts burn against his chest. He tongued both nipples, hearing her soft moans and the rush of blood pounding in both his head and his groin. He unsnapped his jeans with the uncomfortable pressure building, and managed to free himself. Holding his swollen cock with one hand, he unfastened Angie’s slacks and tugged them down over her hips, nearly losing it when he saw the transparent underwear and the ginger triangle beneath. He inserted a finger in the waistband. Angie bucked her hips; he peeled the final barrier down and stroked her entrance. She cried out at the contact, and he tugged both slacks and underwear to her ankles.
He brushed his palms over her mound, feeling the tension in her muscles and listening to her increased breathing. He reached behind him for his wallet and withdrew the blue-foiled packet. He waved it in front of her.
“Do I need this?”

* * * * * *
Brad and Emma:

Her damp hair was caught up in a silver clip, and dark blonde ringlets cascaded down her back. Her cowboy boots sounded firmly on the wooden floor as she walked toward the men, her slight frame in black jeans and a loose red shirt. Brad felt his mouth go dry when he realized there was no bra under that shirt, and had to keep tearing his eyes away from the glimpse of cleavage when she greeted Gavin. She slid into the chair beside the older man, and Brad shifted uncomfortably every time she leaned forward.

Emma reached for the hot wings Gavin had ordered and told the waitress to bring her a Coors.

“Gavin likes that crap, but I prefer to stick with Busch,” she stated as Brad shifted in his seat again. “Something wrong, Mr. Morrison?”

“No, no. It’s just I’ve had too much good food the past two days,” he lied.

“Don’t they feed you back home?” Emma patted Gavin on the back. Brad swallowed at the sight of her nipples through the fabric and looked away. Keep breathing; remember Angie.…

“Actually, my girlfriend is quite a cook,” Brad managed to get his tongue working. He reached for a wing at the same time she did, and as their fingers brushed, Brad felt an electric jolt all the way to his groin.

“Maybe she doesn’t feed you enough,” Gavin laughed.

Brad was spared by the appearance of the waitress, ready to take their orders. Brad and Gavin ordered the Prime Rib; Emma opted for the shrimp scampi. Brad ordered another beer, and then excused himself, hoping to get his raging hormones under control.
* * *
Emma, for her part, was enjoying Brad’s obvious discomfort. She’d left her bedroom in a cheerful mood and her confidence up, thanks to Bob’s worshipful and masterful handling of her body. Bob liked her without underwear, so she’d dressed for his benefit, not this stranger who thought he knew his way around an invoice.

“Emma, darlin’, what are you doing?” Gavin smiled once Brad was out of earshot.

“Doing what?” She ate the last hot wing and took another sip of her beer.

“You look like you just fell out of bed. And sweetie, I can tell there’s nothing under that shirt.” Gavin coughed. “I can’t believe I’m even having this conversation with you, but I need Brad’s company. And if you cause him to withdraw the deal, I’ll spank you, no matter if you are nearly thirty.

“I did. Are you shocked?” Emma had always been straightforward with her old friend.“And don’t worry; I’ll behave myself. I’m not a child anymore, Gavin.”

“Who’s the lucky man?” he frowned. “Do I need to have a talk with him?”

Emma laughed. “Oh Gavin, I love you. I had the same conversation with Nora yesterday, and she approves. Can’t you trust her judgment?”

You just read an excerpt from:
Kenzie Michaels

Buy Link: XOXO Publishing

Linda Kage: Please welcome author, MOLLY DANIELS also known as KENZIE MICHAELS! Hey, Molly/Kenzie. Why don't you tell us a little about you and what you write please.

Molly/Kenzie: Thanks for having me today, Linda! As Kenzie Michaels I write Adult Contemporary Romance and as Molly Daniels, Women’s Fiction. I live in Indiana with my husband, three children, and two honorary grandchildren who are visiting for the summer. And to the neighborhood kids, I’m ‘Aunt Molly’. I answer to just about anything, lol!

Kage: What happened to the first book you ever wrote?

Molly/Kenzie: LOL! It is still in my filing cabinet, and I’ve cannibalized a few characters. I never did finish that book, so I guess the first one I actually finished was Love Finds A Way. And I think the fifth version is the one I finally published.

Kage:What’s your backlist and coming soon bookshelf look like?

Molly/Kenzie: Both Kenzie and Molly have two books out and one arriving in the fall. Kenzie has All She Ever Wanted (published with Freya’s Bower) and Wild At Heart (with XOXO Publishing). I’ve recently signed a contract with Freya’s Bower for the sequel to ASEW, called Class Reunion, which should arrive sometime in 2012. The third book in that series has also been submitted and waiting for approval. Another stand-alone, Teacher’s Pet, is awaiting edits, while Appetite For Desire will be arriving in September from Secret Cravings Publishing. So Kenzie should have two books arriving soon this year (I hope!)

Molly’s first two books, Love Is Sober and Love Finds A Way were self-published through iUniverse and AuthorHouse, and are available in print through The third book in this series, Forbidden Love, is hopefully arriving in October, also from Secret Cravings.

Kage: Which story are we going to talk about today?

Molly/Kenzie: Wild At Heart is the first Kenzie story I ever wrote. I literally wrote it in four weeks; I’d written the first chapter during a Boy Scout Campout, and began typing it on September 11, 2007. The characters grabbed me and wouldn’t let go until I finished it on October 11th. After many rejections and trying to ‘tone down’ one of my heroes, XOXO offered me a contract for it, and the cover is my favorite (so far). The book was released Nov 29, 2010.

Kenzie Michaels

Angela Clayborn has just discovered Steve Blumenthal, the man she sent to prison nearly two years before, has been granted an early release. Torn between wanting to see him and fearful if she does, sparks fly when Steve Blumenthal appears in her gift shop and later at her condo. Will Angie free her heart from its icy prison? Has Steve really turned his life around, or is it a hoax?

Meanwhile, in Colorado on business, Angie’s current boyfriend, Brad Morrison, is wrestling with his own call of the wild. He’s met unconventional, sexy Emma Nichols, who runs not only her own riding stable, but helps out with her family’s woodworking store in EstesPark. Emma resents Brad’s offer to help during a family crisis, but eventually discovers that Fate sometimes sends people down unexpected paths to love. Can Brad tame a wildcat? Or will Emma settle for the safe path?


Kage: What would the story be rated if it were a movie?

Molly/Kenzie: Definitely R, with two scenes ending up on the cutting room floor, and one scene rewritten..

Kage: If you HAD to fit this story into a cliché, which one would it be?

Molly/Kenzie: Angie and Steve’s storyline would be the good girl/bad boy, while Brad and Emma would be a combination of Rebel-Forbidden Love and White Knight (saves the damsel in distress, or in this case, the family business).

Kage:Okay, now that we have a general idea which class to fit WILD AT HEART under, what makes this book so unique from every other book out there?

Molly/Kenzie: It’s not your typical romance. The story shows how the lives of four people are changed forever in the course of six days. Each chapter follows each character through a certain part of each day. There’s also a blatant plug for author Anny Cook. I was relieved when my editor allowed it to stay in, since Anny writes for Ellora’s Cave!

Kage:What was the easiest part to write?

Molly/Kenzie: Dialogue is always easy for me, and honestly, this book practically wrote itself. Character names; the setting; action….it all flowed. The only thing I was remotely ‘stuck’ on was when I wrote the scene at Nicky’s Resort and Restaurant. I’ve only eaten there twice, and could not remember what was on the menu, or my father’s favorite beer. I called the restaurant and fortunately talked to the hostess, who was thrilled when I told her I was showcasing the town of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. I also had to call my mother, since she had been to Denver recently, so I could stay true to the downtown area. I remember eating at the Spaghetti Factory when I was twelve, and thrilled we ate in a ‘bed’. I wanted to incorporate that humor, since Brad and Emma are trying to stay out of bed at that point!

Kage:What do you like most about the main character(s) and what do you like least? Did you learn anything from them?

Molly/Kenzie: Angie was a little uptight at first; I originally had Steve sent away for fifteen years, not months, and it took me a while to finally get into her head, to understand her initial fear. Steve is the one who jumped into my head and demanded I write his story. I loved writing his cocky and angry attitude! Brad and Emma were a complete surprise; I didn’t know half my story would take place in Colorado. I would love to write a sequel someday about Gavin and Nora, or even Bob the cowboy and his new lady friend Natalie! I think Emma came off a little juvenile at times; I patterned her spats with her brother Ethan after other siblings I’ve observed, admittedly in their late teens.

Kage:Molly, Thank you so much for stopping by today and gracing us with your presence. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to say to wrap things up?

Molly/Kenzie: As always, I love hearing from readers! If you like my books, please let me know. If you hate something in a story, let me know. If you have a suggestion, please let me know. And start a ‘whispering campaign’ to Freya’s Bower, asking for Teacher’s Pet? I’ve now been waiting an entire year for my edits, and would like to see that book out soon!

If you're still curious about Molly/Kenzie, here are other places to find her on the web:

Molly's Blog:

Kenzie's Blog:

Romance Books R Us: Molly/Kenzie posts every 19th of the month




Friday Forwards - #27

Friday, June 24, 2011
Interesting Facts about Human Body

-Scientists say the higher your I.Q. The more you dream.

-The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm.

-You use 200 muscles to take one step.

-The average woman is 5 inches shorter than the average man.

-Your big toes have two bones each while the rest have three.

-A pair of human feet contains 250,000 sweat glands.

-A full bladder is roughly the size of a soft ball.

-The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razor blades.

-The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica.

-It takes the food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.

-The average human dream lasts 2-3 seconds.

-Men without hair on their chests are more likely to get cirrhosis of the liver than men with hair.

-At the moment of conception, you spent about half an hour as a single cell.

-There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.

-Your body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to bring half a gallon of water to a boil.

-The enamel in your teeth is the hardest substance in your body.

-Your teeth start growing 6 months before you are born.

-When you are looking at someone you love, your pupils dilate, and they do the same when you are looking at someone you hate.

-Your thumb is the same length of your nose.

At this very moment I know well you are putting this last fact to the test... remove your thumb from your nose and move on the next blog!!!

It All less than a month

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I just can't believe the last Harry Potter movie of the last book is about to release in less than a month--July 15!!!. So exciting. Yet sadly, it also feels like the end of an era.

For all us HPers (like me), who stood in huge long lines at midnight waiting to buy the stories or get into the feature presentation, this will be our last opportunity to join the great JK Rowling sensation.

After that, all we'll have are memories to tell our grandchildren...I remember when I waited three hours and had to pee behind a video deposit box to get a copy of...

Okay, that never actually happened to me, but it'd make a great story, huh? I actually only waited in a midnight line for the last book and the fifth movie (in iMAX!). In the book-waiting line, my nephew came with my sister and I and dressed up as Harry. He made a great imitation if I do say so myself.

Good times, good times.

Were you ever sucked into a pop sensation? Star Wars? Twilight? Tickle-me-Elmo? New Kids on the Block? Hey, I was only a first grader--though Donny was my fav!

What's a crazy fan story you have?

Worse than Rejection

Friday, June 17, 2011
What's worse than rejection, you say?


Ack. Nasty, I know.

But when you send off that story of yours, you shouldn't think about the wait. You should move on to the next story, or take a break from writing altogether. Spend some time with the family, go out with friends, take a walk, read a book. You should definitely make good use of your time.

You shouldn't check your emails every thirty seconds. You shouldn't obsess about whether cyber space sent your precious words off into Never-Never Land. You shouldn't reread the submission you already shipped out and start sweating bullets because you found a misspelled word. And you really shouldn't compose a total-waste-of-time diddy in the tune to RAWHIDE about what's really going on in their mind when they received your query letty.

But, sigh, that's what I did anyway.

I need help.

And here is my editor/agent version (or attempt thereof) of Rawhide:

Stalling, stalling, stalling

Keep Stalling, stalling, stalling
Stalling, stalling, stalling
Though they're status checkin',
Keep them authors waiting. Ignore!
Don't try to read submissions,
Just stack them in a pile,
And push them to the way side.
Boy my time’s too busy'
This author will stay waitin', ‘til I’m a done a readin’.

Ship 'em in, read 'em up,
Read 'em up, Ship 'em out,
Move 'em through, read some more. Ignore!
Set 'em aside, read another
Read some more, forget to respond,
Cut 'em up, ask for changes. DISLIKE!

Stalling, stalling, stalling
Stalling, stalling, stalling
Stalling, stalling, stalling
Stalling, stalling, stalling

Stalling, stalling, stalling
Though the story’s golden
Keep them author’s waitin' Ignore!
Plot and voice and hero
May be rather special
But the dialogue’s quite lackin’
Can’t make my mind up whether,
To reject this one submission,
Or offer them a contract.

Ship 'em in, read 'em up,
Read 'em up, Ship 'em out,
Move 'em through, read some more. Ignore!
Set 'em aside, read 'another
Read some more, forget to respond,
Cut 'em up, ask for changes. DISLIKE!

Just Another Hump Day

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Great News!!!

Author Jessica Nelson, whose blog BookingIt I like to follow, got "the call"!!! She just sold to Love Inspired Historical and tells all about it on her blog today.

More good news:

I've received a few reviews for my latest story, A Man for Mia. Here they are:

Night Owl Reviews (4.25 Stars)
Linda Kage shares a story of heartache and hope, distress and desire. Mia is a woman who survives something so painful it isn't hard to simply feel sorry for her, but more than that I felt a connection with her. I wanted her to find happiness and Drew seemed to be the one man who could help her find it. I felt bad for Drew as he was stuck between two women he has strong feelings for. He wasn't the bad guy in the situation and yet it seemed that he was the one left to deal with all the fallout. This was a sweet and insightful story dealing with not just one sensitive subject matter but many difficult issues. The tone and setting had an almost soothing effect. The supporting characters were just as well developed as the lead couple and I'd love to see a few of them get their very own stories. I am looking forward to seeing what else this author has to offer. This is an absolute must-read if you enjoy your romances on the soft and gentle side.

Single Titles (4 Stars)
A Man For Mia is an intricate story that involves two people who have something special, only to have outside loyalties driving them apart. I really felt for both Mia and Drew who were both caught in the middle. Mia’s story about her past is truly heartbreaking and Drew is fantastic when the truth comes out. A wonderful read.

But it seems like you can't ever just have straight happy news, have you noticed that?

It's like that one law "every action has to have an opposite and equal reaction" has to prove true in your personal life as well. Things go good with writing, the family gets mad and resents your time away from them. Rejections with writing start pouring in, and boom, the kid learns a new talent and the hubby has an awesome day.

So yesterday, I get a nice review, and the kid decides she doesn't want to eat anymore...unless it's junk food, which we're not going to give her until she eats something healthy. Grr. Then the hubby turns grumpy because he gets called into work on his day off. With everyone miserable in your house, it's hard to be happy yourself. So, yep, there's another day in the life of me!

Happy Wedsnesday.

Start your week with Miranda Stowe

Monday, June 13, 2011

Shaw Griffin jerked awake as the alarm sounded through the dim compound. He snatched his combat boots off the tabletop and pushed out of the old office chair, ignoring the sore muscles that shrieked at him for falling asleep at his desk again.

He didn’t pause to roll his thick shoulders for a nice, relaxing stretch. There was no time.

One of his traps had been sprung.

After slapping off the alarm, he grabbed his shotgun from the peg where it hung on the wall and strode toward the door as he opened the action to make sure it was still loaded. When he spied a shell resting where it should be, he slung the gun’s strap over his shoulder. Grabbing a spotlight on his way, he pulled open the door. He didn’t turn on the light but found the ladder’s railing by feel.

Grasping the sides, he hoisted himself up by his arms and began to climb. Twenty feet later, he reached the ceiling, where he grunted as he cranked on a lever and pressed open the round hatch before shoving it out of his way. After doing a chin-up to pull himself from the earth, he pushed through the hole, hefted his jean-clad @#$! onto the ground beside the opening and then swung his feet up after him. By the time he had the hatch replaced, he was already panting with exhaustion. Hot, moist marshy air pressed against his lungs, sucking away even more of his oxygen. Using the tail of his black t-shirt, he wiped at the sweat beaded on his brow.

All that work and he still had to hike through the thickest part of the woods to check the trap.

If he’d caught another opossum or raccoon, he was going to be good and @#$!.

Unable to see @#$! in this darkness, he itched to turn on his light but resisted the urge. There was no reason to bring any more attention to himself than necessary. He already knew these @#$! would be able to smell and hear him coming a mile away.

Their fine-tuned animal senses put his pathetic human instincts to shame. Not that such a frightening fact was going to make him stop his pursuit. Clutching the darkened spotlight and patting the shotgun to reassure himself it was still there, he started his hike. Breathing evenly so his panting wouldn’t echo too far ahead of him, he paused every few steps to listen.

It took him ten minutes to reach the spot. Before approaching the clearing where he’d set the trap, he stopped and crouched into the underbrush. Waiting until the forest returned to its usual rustle from him disturbing its environment, he lifted his ear toward the direction of the trap.

Finally, he heard the faint sound of something struggling to break free. It wheezed in anxious exertion. It didn’t sound like a coon.

His lips spread. Maybe he’d caught one, after all.

You just read an excerpt from:


Miranda Stowe

Buy Link: Cobblestone Press, LLC

Linda Kage: Please welcome erotic romance author, MIRANDA STOWE! Miranda wants to take a five-word challenge and see if she can answer every question in five words or less. Let's see if she can accomplish it!! Hey, Miranda. Why don't you tell us a little about you and what you write please.

Miranda: White, thirty-something, erotic-romance American novelist. (Dashes totally make two words count as one, right?!)

Kage: What happened to the first book you ever wrote?

Miranda: Dunno. Lost it. Bad Miranda.

Kage:What’s your backlist and coming soon bookshelf look like?

Miranda: Out Now:
Best Friends Share Everything (from Whispers Publishing)
Caught in Heat (from Cobblestone Press)

Coming Soon:
Mile High Service (from Whispers)
Dreams of Wolf (from Cobblestone)
Take by a Killer (from Liquid Silver Books)

Kage: Which story are we going to talk about today?

Miranda: CAUGHT IN HEAT (Ha! That only took three words. Wait! Phrases in parentheses don't count, do they??)


Fearful of how she’ll react during her first mating heat, Riley Bane flees toward a sanctuary, hoping to arrive before her fever hits. But she’s caught in an animal trap set by hunter Shaw Griffin, and her fever begins, consuming her with lust.

Determined to wipe out the entire shape shifting race after a wolf pack murdered his family, Shaw snares his first shifter, only to capture Riley begging him to fulfill every wicked desire pounding through her. As things turn hot and heavy, the scent of their mating attracts nearby shifters and soon brings Shaw’s monstrous past to their doorstep.


Kage: What would the story be rated if it were a movie?

Miranda: It's an *EROTIC* romance. Hello! That would be an R rating if not NC-17!.

Kage: If you HAD to fit this story into a cliché, which one would it be?

Miranda: Opposites attract meets Survivors Hooking-up. (kind of but not really)

Kage:Okay, now that we have a general idea which class to fit CAUGHT IN HEAT under, what makes this book so unique from every other book out there?

Miranda: Shapeshifter heroine, human hero.

Kage:What was the easiest part to write?

Miranda: Action & Dialogue. There were lots of witty talk and characters doing lots of wild things!!

Kage:What do you like most about the main character(s) and what do you like least? Did you learn anything from them?

Miranda: Most - What they learned about each other and themselves. Oh and the hero is totally hot.

Least - Like me, the heroine is afraid of spiders. WIMP. (okay, she's not really; honestly, she can kick butt like you wouldn't believe)
Learn - Don't be so quick to judge something you know nothing about.

Kage: Miranda, Thank you so much for stopping by today and gracing us with your presence. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to say to wrap things up?

Miranda: Okay, so I bombed my self-imposed five-word challenge. To pay you all back for listening to my wordy interview, I'll gift one commenter with a free ebook copy of CAUGHT IN HEAT. It's nice to meet everyone.

If you're still curious about Miranda, here are other places to find her on the web:

Website / Blog :

Good Reads : Miranda Stowe

Twitter : MirandaStoweBks

Facebook : Miranda Stowe

Friday Forwards - #26

Friday, June 10, 2011
An Irishman , a Mexican and an idiot were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building.

They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, 'Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for lunch, I'm going to jump off this building.'

The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, 'Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I'm going to jump off, too.'

The idiot opened his lunch and said, ' Bologna again! If I get a bologna sandwich one more time, I'm jumping too.'

The next day, the Irishman opened his lunch box, saw corned beef and cabbage, and jumped to his death.

The Mexican opened his lunch, saw a burrito, and jumped, too.

The idiot opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well.

At the funeral, the Irishman's wife was weeping. She said, 'If I'd known how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage, I never would have given it to him again!'

The Mexican's wife also wept and said, 'I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn't realize he hated burritos so much.'

Everyone turned and stared at the idiot's wife. The idiot's wife said,

'Don't look at me. The idiot makes his own lunch.'

Start Your Week with HELEN HENDERSON

Monday, June 6, 2011

A cleric in the long brown robes of the Oracle of Givneh plodded down the steps into her line of vision. Ellspeth’s breath caught in her throat. He was the same man who had tried to take the Sea Falcon—to kill her crew.

"Dal," she hissed, "he’s the one from the dock."

Ellspeth’s thoughts raced. If she stayed, the cleric would recognize her. If she tried to leave, it would bring his attention to her even faster.

Dal’s strong arms wrapped around her waist. Ellspeth’s squeal as he pulled her onto his lap pierced the buzz of conversation and bounced off the rafters. His strength rendered her struggles useless. One of the men with his arms around a disheveled woman called out encouragement. Before she could object,Dal’s mouth covered hers. His right hand held the back of her head in a steel grip. Before her lungs were

depleted of air, he released her just enough to catch a breath. The whiff of oxygen helped clear Ellspeth’s mind—and focus her thoughts. The cleric couldn’t recognize her if he couldn’t see her face. Ellspeth tightened her leg muscles so her weight was supported by the edge of the bench rather than Dal’s knees. His exhalation was warm on her neck when he whispered "Good girl," into her hair. She entwined her fingers into his thick curls. A pull signaled her cooperation, and she threw herself into the deception. Three quick tugs loosened the laces of his shirt exposing his chest. With a shrug, she inched her gown further down her shoulders. The iron links of Dal’s vest were cold on her skin as her caresses moved down his back.

"M’lord," she moaned.

Calls of approval interspersed with offers of varying degrees of suggestiveness came from every "I’m next," one called.

"Ten coppers for the night," yelled another.

"Fifty silver coins to buy her."

Ellspeth couldn’t tell which of the women said it, but a voice more screech than seductive made a counter offer. "You can buy me for fifty silver."

The bass voice which belonged to the bearded tradesman in the corner, answered. "Who are youkidding, darling? Everyone has already had you, and we didn’t even pay a single copper."

The proposals ended in an abrupt silence broken only by the crackle of logs in the fireplace. Ellspeth knew the cleric had stopped at their table. Dal’s leg pressed against her thighs as he braced hisright foot on the table leg. His wrist slid down her side to loosen the dirk in his boot under the cover of the "You there."

Without moving her head from where she nuzzled Dal’s neck, Ellspeth pictured the arrogance on the cleric’s face.

"I am talking to you. Pay attention to a bishop of the Oracle of Givneh."

Dal’s hands hadn’t stopped roaming, when she felt his back suddenly stiffen beneath her fingers. "Wha d’ya wan?" his snarl sounded loud in her ears.

"I require the service of this woman for the night, and you and your troop to escort me to Givneh."

Ellspeth’s eyes narrowed at the thought of what services she might provide to the Oracle. She gasped as the image of a stone altar filled her mind. The strength of Dal’s caresses forced a moan of pain from her. She knew he had pictured the flash of a knife and blood streaming from white skin.

You just read an excerpt from:
Helen Henderson

Buy Link:


Linda Kage: Please welcome Helen Henderson! Why don't you tell us a little about you and what you write please.

Helen: A feature-story writer and correspondent, I've also written fiction as long as I can remember.

However, it was just for myself. In my earlier stories, I solved cases with Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin (the men from Uncle), travelled outer space, drove a jeep in the sands of Africa with the Rat Patrol, and flew Corsairs with the black sheep of VMF-214. At the time I wanted to be a pilot. Not surprising since I learned to read by keeping a flight engineer's manuals up to date.

Although writing eventually became my profession, and I added correspondent and feature story writer to my technical writing resume, it was only recently my pen returned to fiction. My current writing reflects the contrasts of my heritage and Gemini sign. I cross genres from historical
adventures and westerns to science fiction and fantasy. Among my shorter works is Ambush Luck, a western written under the pen name of my ancestress, Jessie Treon.

To paraphrase a popular commercial, I've been told my writing has enough action for a man and romance for a woman.

Kage: What happened to the first book you ever wrote?

Helen: What I consider my first work as an author, Around Matawan and Aberdeen, was a local history
written for husband's hometown. I was director of the local history musem at the time. Currently out of print, Around Matawan and Aberdeen, along with the documentary I produced to promote the book are currently part of the research material at the Burrowes MansionMuseum in Matawan,
N.J. Of Town and Field, the comprehensive history I wrote of Matawan Borough and Aberdeen Township, can trace its existence back to that first book.

Kage:What’s your backlist and coming soon bookshelf look like?

Helen: Although I have hundreds of writing credits to my name, my fiction backlist is short and comprised of short stories in several anthologies released in 2010 and early 2011: Recov in Romance of My Dreams 2 from L&L Dreamspell and Pirates Reprise in Wondrous Web Worlds Vol. 9 by Sam's Dot Publishing. A total change of pace from the romance-loaded science fiction and fantasy I usually write was a sweet holiday story Night Wolf Publications.included in their 2010 holiday release, Yuletide Wishes: Poems and Stories for the Extended Holiday Season.

Scheduled for a 2011 release by L&L Dreamspell is Ambush Luck in the Dreamspell Goddess Anthology. Not quite in the category of coming soon, but I am pleased to announce that Windmaster Legacy, the sequel to Windmaster is now under contract with Champagne Books.

Kage: Which story are we going to talk about today?

Helen: My first novel, Windmaster, is a romance fantasy being released as an ebook tomorrow, June 7th, by Champagne Books.

Kage: What would the story be rated if it were a movie?

Helen: Although the intimate moments are not explicit and the door is closed enough I did not feeluncomfortable letting my mother read the book, my final reader rated Windmaster as a PG-13..

Kage: If you HAD to fit this story into a cliché, which one would it be?

Helen: Windmaster encompasses too many aspects for it to be placed in just forbidden love or a Save-the-world adventure. Ellspeth cannot embrace Dal without taking everything he comes with--including
magic. But magic means losing her first love the sea, her command, and her ship. Dal has his own reasons for Ellspeth to embrace her powers--to save the future of magic--and the world.

Kage:Okay, now that we have a general idea which class to fit WINDMASTER under, what makes this book so unique from every other book out there?

Helen: I believe that whenever an author makes a world come alive for their readers, when the words take the readers to another land and time, that work becomes unique. In the case of Windmaster, although it is a fantasy, the world does not encompass castles (although there is a dungeon), but a wide range of settings including a cave sanctuary and a maze deep beneath the earth that challenges Ellspeth's resolve and future.

A secret hint to a special scene that was a favorite of my preliminary readers. After the dark-haired archmage Dal finishes his task milling grain for a friend, he cools off in a traditional manner--in the millstream.

Kage:What was the easiest part to write?

Helen: The easiest way to answer this is to give the reverse answer. Unlike some modern writers who believe the main point of a story is to show how the main character changes, I have always
felt an author's first obligation is to their readers, to entertain them. Which made the character development the part of the story I was least comfortable with. I knew the characters so the dialog was easy. Storyboarding laid out the bulk of the plot; although after the mid-point, the voices took over and the journey took some unexpected side trails. During the writing of Windmaster, framed pictures, many of which I took over the years, hung on my walls and took me to the land of Captain Ellspeth and Lord Dal.

Kage:What do you like most about the main character(s) and what do you like least? Did you learn anything from them?

Helen: Ellspeth and Dal's sense of responsibility to their kin, their world, and to something greater than themselves resonated with me. Especially since part of their tale was written while I sat in hospital rooms and doctor's offices as part of my own responsibilities of caring for family.

Not fond of deep water, I never knew much about ships and sailing. Ellspeth taught me about the love of the sea. Of course, to make up for my gaps of knowledge about things naval and nautical, the assistance of a career Navy man was invaluable and greatly appreciated.

Kage: Helen, Thank you so much for stopping by today and gracing us with your presence. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to say to wrap things up?

Helen: Once the dam broke and the muses whispers permeated my soul, the pen flew faster. Two more novels, Dragon Destiny and Imprisoned, have come into existence and are looking for homes.

If you're still curious about Helen, here are other places to find her on the web:


Amazon Aughor Page


Friday, June 3, 2011
Way back on May 18, I got TAGGED. By Carol over at Under the Tiki Hut.

So, yeah, I have to answer some questions and do some things.

Here we goooooo.
Do you think you're hot?

Oh, yeah. It's a freaking hot, muggy June day outside and I just found out my Thyroid medicine is messed up. Oh, wait? Is that the kind of hot you meant??

Upload a picture or wallpaper you're using at the moment.

When was the last time you ate chicken meat?

April nephew's 1-year birthday party. Chicken Mary's chicken, oh yeah!! The Food Network Channel has actually featured my town in the show FOOD WARS because of all our fried chicken joints around here. Chicken Mary's won!

The song(s) you listened to recently.

-I'm Turning Japanese (thanks a lot radio)
-You Put the Lime in the Coconut (thanks a lot Eve Langlais!!)
-I'm So Icy by Gucci Mane (thanks a lot hubby who left his iPod in my car)

What were you thinking as you were doing this?

Gosh, I hope my boss doesn't come in early and catch me goofing off!

Do you have nicknames? What are they?

Kayman (not commonly used!)

Tag eight blogger friends.

1. Romy Gemmell
2. Marie Rose Dufour
3. Jennifer Shirk
4. Amber Skyze
5. Molly Daniels
...okay, I'm stopping at 5...

Who's listed as No. 1?

Romy!! She's my bud from Champagne Books, who lives across the puddle in Scotland. I just finished reading her debut regency romantic suspense novel, DANGEROUS DECEIT. Loved it!

Say something about No. 5.

Molly Daniels writes YA romance and adult romance under the name Kenzie Michaels.

(crap, there's my boss...)

How did you get to know No. 3?

I found Jennifer in Blogger world, pretty much where I met all of 1 through 5!!

How about No. 4?

Amber Skyze writes steamy, fun romance!

Leave a message for No. 6.

Sorry, number 6...I left you out. Don't worry, I still love you!

Leave a lovey-dovey message for No. 2.

For Marie Rose,
making me tingle from my nose
to my toes...
Okay, I can't go on. Cracking up too much! Sorry.

Do No. 7 and No .8 have any similarities?

Well, sure. Neither of them exsist!!

OKAY, Numbers 1 through 5, you are officially tagged. Have fun!

Voices in the Vineyard

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I'm talking about my kid (and voices) again over at THE WRITERS VINEYARD.

So that's where I'm guest posting today.