Nothing To Fear

Happy Halloween!

I've never feared Halloween, but I've never been a big fan of the holiday. Never was really into dressing up or dragging my kids around in lousy weather to beg candy from the neighbors.

But this year...this year we got talked into dressing up with a group of friends and going out to the local Legion to compete in their Halloween costume contest. Of course, there was dancing and drinking involved. And a lot of laughter as well. You see, we dressed up as crabs!

When the costume parade started (yes, we had to parade around the room twice!) we were wrapped up in a net (black snow fence) and hauled around by a guy dressed up as a lobsterman. We won best group prize!

Of course, the prize wasn't the point. It was getting together with friends and not being afraid to be absolutely ridiculous. And having a great time doing it! I enjoyed Halloween a lot more this year.

And as long as we're talking about Halloween, I'll take a moment to mention my only story that is holiday related. It was my very first release and it still remains one of my best sellers, so if you haven't read it yet, and like a little bondage with your community Haunted House, you might want to check out Nothing to Fear.

Mason Blake's dark good looks and domineering personality give Kelly Long all sorts of forbidden fantasies that frighten her. When she agrees to help out at the community Halloween haunted house, she never expects to be tied to a bed, playing damsel in distress to Mason’s masked, whip-wielding villain.

Kelly can’t run away from Mason this time. He knows she’s fighting her sexual needs and he hopes that a few hours of playing out her fantasies with him will prove to her that bondage - and Mason - are nothing to fear.

And here's an excerpt:

Kelly’s heart pounded as Lisa led her up the long, steep staircase with its intricately carved spindles. The old Bartholomew mansion was the perfect venue for the haunted house, with its many rooms and dark, old-fashioned d├ęcor. There was a rumor that this house on the hill had been a bordello in the old days.

“You just have to scream your head off whenever the door is opened,” Lisa was saying.


Lisa sighed. “Pay attention, hon. I have to get everyone else set up too.”


“We’ll be taking groups through the house one at a time. They’ll have to wait in the spider web room. Cool, huh? When it’s really busy, you could be on every fifteen minutes or so. I’m going to be leading each group through, telling scary stories to lead up to each room. The doors will be closed until I open them. So when your door is opened, you need to scream for help at the top of your lungs and the villain will charge the door with his weapon and the group will scream and I’ll close the door again. Nothing to it. You just have to be ready when I slam the door open.”

“Got it.” Tied to a bed. Straining at the ropes. Begging for help. Why was she getting all excited at the thought? Kelly knew it was wrong. She should be frightened. She was frightened…by how aroused she was at the thought. By the way her nipples were prickling. The way her skin tingled. Her panties dampened.

They passed by the first door at the top of the stairs. Looking down the long, straight hall with all the doorways, Kelly could believe the bordello stories.
“Matt Dunn and Kyle Parker are ghosts in the first room,” Lisa said. “You’ve got the second room on the left.”

“Wait, Lisa,” Kelly called out. “Who’s going to be the villain?” Who was she going be shut up with? Tied up with?

But Lisa was already pushing the door open. Faded red flocked wallpaper covered the walls. A four-poster bed sat in the middle of the room, covered with a black bedspread. The floor was worn wood. “Hey, you look great!” But Lisa wasn’t talking to Kelly, she was talking to someone already in the room.

Kelly froze in the doorway as a tall masked man, dressed from head to toe in black, stepped away from the bed. A black hood covered his entire head except for holes for his eyes, nose and mouth. The sleeveless black T-shirt clung to his sculpted chest and his muscled arms were tanned. Black pants and shoes completed the intimidating outfit. Her heart pounded so loudly she couldn’t hear what Lisa was saying. “Dress? Did you say something about a dress?”

Lisa rolled her eyes. “You can change behind that screen in the corner. The dress is on the chair behind it.”

No way was she going to be taking off her clothes in the same room with…who was this masked man? This tall masked man dressed like a…a…

Kelly whipped around to look at Lisa. Wasn’t she supposed to be her friend? “What’s wrong with what I have on?”

“Jeans and sweatshirt just don’t project the same image as a dress,” Lisa said, already walking toward the hallway, ignoring Kelly’s pleading look. “Gotta run. You and Mason can work everything else out.” She glanced at her watch. “You’ve got less than half an hour before the first group will be coming through.” Then she was out the door, shutting it behind her.

The slam of the door echoed in the silence. Kelly turned around slowly and looked up into the deep, dark eyes staring at her out of the mask. Of course, it was Mason. Her hands shook as she clasped them together in front of her. Oh God, it was Mason.

He slid the mask off his head. His eyes were what had first attracted her to him, and they were still like melted dark chocolate. His head was shaved smooth as always, a dark shadowy hint of hair on his head and jaw. The diamond stud in his ear twinkled beneath the light from the chandelier.

“Hello, Kelly.” His deep voice was a touch amused. Well, she didn’t find anything amusing in the situation. He was the one man whose mere touch frightened her because it made her desire things she shouldn’t want. Made her crave things she didn’t understand. Just a glance from him made her weak in the knees and made her want to drop to her knees before him.

And right now the thought of being tied to that bed with Mason standing over her froze her to the spot at the end of the bed. She avoided his eye, but in doing so focused on the bed, the black velvet bedspread, the tall thick bedposts at each corner. Would he stretch her tight when he tied her to the bedposts? Or would he give her wiggle room? And the thought of her body wiggling beneath Mason’s heated gaze made her shiver. But was it from fear? Or excitement?

“You better get changed."

Hope you have a great Halloween. And if you don't get dressed up, I hope you at least have a chance to laugh with some friends.

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Positive Witchery

Here are some tips for using magic to improve your life.
First, do you have weaknesses you'd like to get rid of?
This is a Halloween-specific spell in honor of old pagan traditions requiring you to sweep out the dead to make room for the healthy. 
Write down your weaknesses on a piece of paper (parchment paper is best, and a quill pen if you have it. You should also use dragon's blood ink if you can get it.) 
Crumple the paper in your hand, while concentrating on banishing those weaknesses. Toss the paper into your lit jack-o-lantern. As the flame consumes your paper, so too shall it consume your weaknesses. (Do this outdoors please, with water handy.) 

For a second use of charms, use color to portray those emotions you wish to emphasize. (The academic study of colors proves that color does affect the way people react to you.)
Green – associated with growth (naturally), prosperity (yes, lots of green stuff in the bank is good), good luck and health. What's not to like about green? This is the #1 preferred color chosen in academic studies.
Yellow – bring on the sunshine! This color is associated with improving your mood and is considered the most complex color. #2 choice in studies.
Pink – for relaxation
Red – power, passion and intensity! And, of course, love. Has some negative associations with blood and injuries.
Blue – associated with psychic receptivity and healing; makes you appear open-minded and trustworthy  (though too much blue can be depressing)
Lavender – promotes tranquility and relaxation
Purple – everyone knows this is the color of royalty.  It represents power fame, riches, and all those good things that go with royalty!
Silver promotes spirituality.
Grey promotes invisibility. (I have a gray car and I am invisible on the road.) Also associated with depression.
Black – Associated with mystery, power and intrigue. Also death and dying.
White – this is a teaching and healing color. Also considered the color of purity.
 Though witches use color for these purposes, you may note the association that many colors also have with natural life.

The number three spell: Is your workplace difficult or getting you down? Try this chocolate charm *.
 Bake something chocolate. (Nope, not done yet.)
Enchant it as it cools by holding your hands over it and visualizing a pink light.
Repeat this charm:
They used to call chocolate the food of the gods,
May this shift the psychic atmosphere at my job.
Encourage happiness and friendship in a subtle way,
Bringing efficiency and success for us all today.
For the good of all, with harm to none,
By these Witch's words, this spell is done.
Okay, it's not Shakespeare. I think he's more evocative.
Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good. 
But I know that chocolate always improves my workplace.
*Natural Witchery by Ellen Dugan (Llewelly Publications, 2007)

It's here! Leap of Faith!

There are very few days I love more than release day! I get to shout out "It's here! It's here!" So, here I go...

It's HERE!

Leap of Faith is now available from Ellora's Cave. Click here to check it out!

Oh, and I now have cover art (when I announced this last week, I didn't have a cover). Isn't it GORGEOUS?

That's Caveman Alex on the bed there, looking all bedroom-eyed and perfect for this book. Sigh.

Once again, here's the blurb:

When her grandmother bequeaths her a black pearl choker, Mia’s intrigued. Even more mysterious is the note accompanying the gift, telling Mia her heart will know when it’s time to wear the necklace. And it does. As she dresses to attend a company party, Mia is drawn to the choker, somehow knowing it’s time to wear it.

At the party, Mia meets Logan, and their attraction is instant. Only after they go for a walk—and after an unexpected, mind-blowing encounter under the full moon—does Mia learn who he is—the man vying for the same promotion she’s worked so hard to win. Mia flees, with Logan hot on her trail. Once more they give in to their smoldering attraction, afterward discovering the small charm hanging from the choker’s clasp—a charm engraved with a love spell.

Could their sizzling desires be nothing more than a magical push from her grandmother? Or does her heart truly recognize Logan as The One? To find out, Mia will have to take…a Leap of Faith.

And to check out a quick excerpt, click here 


Have a great weekend!


Them Bones, Them Bones

I can't believe it's almost November. Where did the year go? After Halloween on Monday, we'll all be readying for some kind of Thanksgiving celebration and then Christmas and then it will be 2012 and...


I'm getting ahead of myself. All I really wanted to post about was my favorite Halloween symbol. I know that readers probably think I'm into the red devil costumes given that Mayor Sam in Seducing Gracie is a sexy demon; however, the truth is that I'm really more fond of another icon of the season.

I have my moments where I find mummies fun and Frankenstein fantastic, but my overal favorite has got to be skeletons. I love them bones! I think my affinity for lanky creepers comes from a dance we used to do in music class in elementary school. We each had different roles to play, and I got to be the skeleton and sort of jerkily thrash around the room to this bizarre mood music. It was the greatest fun, and not even getting to swish madly about as a ghost, spinning and gliding across the floor like a ballerina, topped it.

I find skeletons fascinating. They can appear scary or thoughtful, sad or happy or even sexy. A skeleton is basically just a bunch of clanking shards of calcium, but depending on one's mood, it can take on the characteristics and emotions of a living organism. Three different people looking at a skull, for example, may perceive the same facial expression as either a scowl, a frown, or a wicked smile.

In Mexico, skeletons and especially skulls play an important role in Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, when the living celebrate the lives of those who've passed from the earth. Tradition has it that they decorate candy skulls and eat them in homage to their departed loved ones, among other celebratory activities. I love going into Mexican restaurants this time of year because the decorations definitely run on the bony side.

So what is your favorite symbol of Halloween? Never thought about it? Well, while you're thinking, I've included some inspiration below to help you focus. Enjoy!

Guest--Angela Campbell & Book Giveaway

I’m pleased to introduce Angela Campbell, a fellow Carina Press author. Her debut novel Cry Wolf comes out on Halloween. What an awesome release date, huh?

Thanks for stopping by Angela! Tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks for having me here today! In a nutshell, I’m just your typical lifelong reader who always wanted to cross that bridge and become an author herself. For my day job, I’m a newspaper journalist, but I’ve been writing fiction in my spare time for as long as I can remember. No husband. No kids. Just me and one very spoiled cat who surely thinks I’m crazy because I’m always pitching my story ideas to her for practice.

*I have two very spoiled cats and two kids. My cats interrupt me more from my writing than my kids can. My kids don’t sit on top of my laptop for attention. LOL.*

Now give us the dets on Cry Wolf. (I, for one, have been waiting for this one to come out. I love the concept! Can’t wait to read it!)

Thanks! “Cry Wolf” is a contemporary romance that has some suspense and paranormal elements to the story. It’s about a tabloid journalist, Andrea Lockhart, who gets assigned to investigate a series of “werewolf” sightings in a small South Carolina town. Unfortunately, the town’s newspaper editor, Sean Hunter, is her former college nemesis, which irritates her to no end. Sparks fly when they reluctantly team up to report on the sightings. He’s open to the idea folks are seeing something, but she’s convinced it’s all nothing more than a hoax. These two can’t seem to agree on anything – except for the fact they can barely keep their hands off each other.

*I’m going to say it again. I can’t wait for this to come out! And what a perfect read for Halloween!*

What/who inspired the story?

A real urban legend in Wisconsin called the Beast of Bray Road gave me the basic idea for the story, and of course, the fact that I was a huge fan of “The X-Files” at the time probably contributed something to it as well. I really wanted to do something different with the werewolf romance genre, and well, hopefully I succeeded.

*Oh!!! I’m going to have to look up that urban legend. I’ve never heard of it.*

What are a few favorite lines from the book?

I think the opening line is my favorite because it pretty much sums up my heroine’s state of mind throughout the first half of the book: “How in the hell do I get myself into situations like this?"

*LOL. Great line and says so much!*

Tell us about the day you got the call from Angela James.

I was actually on vacation in New York City (my first ever visit there). My niece and I were rushing through Times Square to make it to our tour time at the NBC Studio when I realized I had a missed call. I listened to Angela’s message and practically bounced the rest of the way to Rockefeller Center. I was a basketcase until I was able to check my e-mail and verify that Carina Press really did want to publish my story. Getting that call in NYC made an already exciting trip even more memorable. Nothing could bring me down after that.

*What an awesome call story!*

So whatchaya working on next?

I’ll soon start the second book in a planned trilogy. It’s a paranormal romance about – I just couldn’t seem to help myself – werewolves. And I’m getting a little crazy with my own worldbuilding.

*I feel you on that. Can’t wait for those to come out!*

Let’s get to know Angela the person

Favorite TV show?

At the moment, it’s a toss up between “Castle” and “Supernatural”

*Never seen Supernatural, but Castle? Ohmygod! Don’t you just want to take Castle home and do dirty things with him? I love that man.*

Favorite Vampire? (I have a hard time answering this question, lol)

I’m a HUGE fan of vampires, but I’m going to have to go with a classic, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, simply because I’m such a huge fan of the horror films from the 30s and 40s and that poor guy never gets his due. He started it all, after all.

*And paved the way to so many more wonderful vampire stories.*

Favorite book?

Ack! Just one? There’s no way….

*Tee-hee. Yeah tough question*

Dream hotty?

Jensen Ackles. I’ve lusted after him since he was on “Days of Our Lives.” I’m a bit peeved he’s become so popular on “Supernatural” because it means I have to share him with millions of other fangirls now.

*I’ve never heard of this guy, but *eyes bulge* um…yum.*


I love movies and dabble in filmmaking on the side. I’ve worked as a production assistant on such shows as “Bridezillas” and a few short films. I’m also a major comic book geek.

*Holy crap! Really?!?! Bridezillas is one of my train-wreck weaknesses that I love to watch. Those women are awful!*

Day job?

Newspaper reporter, but please don’t hold it against me!

*LOL. No grudge held.*

Thanks so much for stopping by, Angela! It was great having you here.

Thank you!

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Cry Wolf. So start commenting!


Guest: Dale Mayer Interview + Book Giveaway!

Dale Mayer is a prolific multi-published writer. She's best known for Tuesday's Child, her romantic suspense novel that was one of the final four in the Kensington Brava/Romantic Times contest this last year. Besides her romantic suspense/thrillers, Dale also writes paranormal romance and crossover young adult books in several different genres. To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series in ebook format.

Q: Welcome, Dale! Please tell us about your latest release.
A: My new release is Hide'n Go Seek and came out yesterday, October 24th.  I'm very excited about this book. It's the second in the series, of which TUESDAY'S CHILD is book 1.  TUESDAY'S CHILD has garnered wonderful reviews, including being picked as a Top 10 read for 2011 by Neissa at!

Q: That's wonderful! Congratulations! What is the story behind the story?
A: There's always a story behind the story, isn't there?  TUESDAY'S CHILD was my Waterloo. I originally wrote the book by doing a draft in 30 days and that absolutely killed the story for me.  I already knew everything about it.  There were no surprises left.  There was no magic.  And therefore, there was no reason to write the rough draft into a complete book. But my muse wouldn't let me move on.  I had to fix this one. If I could, then I'd be able to handle anything. It wasn't easy, but, with lots of help from critiquing partners, I managed it.

Q: That's so interesting! What is your favorite genre to write?
A:  I write in almost all genres as well as nonfiction. The nonfiction was how I started, and continue even now.  Then I added in writing fiction in romance suspense, with and without paranormal, and now YA books in many genres, like contemporary, mystery, fantasy and even the odd vampire book thrown in for fun. I love all genres and won't say no to any story if it's strong enough in my head - regardless of whether I've written that genre before.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: I'm blessed in that most of my character's names 'feel' right before I use them.  Rarely, do I change the main characters' names midway.  I have been known to change secondary characters' names, particularly when I realize I have more than one name starting with the same letter.

Q: Did you choose the title of your book and if so how did you do it?
A: Like the character names, my book titles come to me as I work.  I like to say they are working titles, but the original name is usually the one I stick with. 

Q: Which element of story creation is your favorite?
A: I love plots. I love to read - and therefore write - fast paced twisted heavily plotted books!  I have to go back and layer in description, settings etc, but the plots and dialogue MOVE!

Q: What inspires you? What motivates you?
A: The story, the characters inspire me.  I won't start a book unless it feels right.  But once it does I have to get it down. That's one of the reasons I write fast, is to get it down before I lose the threads in my head.  Knowing that people enjoy my stories motivates me! 

Q: Please tell us about your other books.
A: I have two YA series published, VAMPIRE IN DENIAL and DANGEROUS DESIGNS are the respective first books in the series.  Book 2 on both series is in progress, plus I have three other YA books to revise.  In nonfiction, I have books published on the mortgage system, companion gardening and on writing professional resumes.  I just recently published Kindle versions of the career information in my series called Career Essentials: The ResumeCareer Essentials: The Cover LetterCareer Essentials: The Interview and Career Essentials: 3 in 1.

Q: What is your writing process or method?
A: I'm a complete pantser.  I open a blank document and I start writing.  I usually have a single line in my head that gets me started.  By the time I have the first scene down, I have the first hook and now the next milestones I'm heading for. I usually write hard and fast, then take a longer time in the revision process to make it shine.

Q: What's next for you?
A: The world!  Lol.  I have 5 series in progress and several more books in progress that are liable to end up as series.  So what's next?  Writing, writing and more writing.  And that's okay, because  that's what makes me happy!

Wow that's a lot of series! I wish you all the best on them! Thanks so much for being our guest today, Dale!

Read an Excerpt of Tuesday's Child.

Tuesday's Child is available at AmazonB&N and All Romance eBooks.

Hide n' Go Seek is available at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Smashwords.

To find out more about Dale and her books, visit her at connect with her online with Twitter at and on Facebook at 

Dale is giving away a copy of Tuesday's Child to one commenter!

A Wedding in The Future

This weekend has been an exciting one. Our son proposed to his girlfriend this weekend. They've been dating for about a year and a half, and I'm happy to say I like her a lot. They compliment each other well even though they seem to be opposites in many ways.

My son is a performer, a creative personality, into movies and theater in a big way, where his girlfriend is not. They met at a local bar where he was singing karaoke. She was there with her mother and a friend. The story goes when she mentioned she thought the guy up there singing was cute, the friend went up and gave my son her phone number. They've pretty much been together ever since.

She's gotten him to be more responsible, getting him to start saving money after a few months, while his parents had tried unsuccessfully for years! LOL. He got the ring a couple months ago and somehow she found out he'd bought it. She even knew where he'd stashed it. He still made her wait until this weekend to propose.

She said yes. :)

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Take a Leap of Faith!

I'm very excited to tell you all about my soon-to-be-released new book! Leap of Faith will be available through Ellora's Cave Publishing next Friday, October 28th! What's so amazing is that I just finished edits for this book yesterday. I emailed them back to my wonderful editor, and wha la, a couple hours later I have a release date. I'd love to show you a cover, but it's just so brand-spanking (hint, hint) new that I don't have one for it yet! In the meantime, here's the blurb for it and a short excerpt. Enjoy!

When her grandmother bequeaths her a black pearl choker, Mia’s intrigued. Even more mysterious is the note accompanying the gift, telling Mia her heart will know when it’s time to wear the necklace. And it does. As she dresses to attend a company party, Mia is drawn to the choker, somehow knowing it’s time to wear it.

At the party, Mia meets Logan, and their attraction is instant. Only after they go for a walk—and after an unexpected, mind-blowing encounter under the full moon—does Mia learn who he is—the man vying for the same promotion she’s worked so hard to win. Mia flees, with Logan hot on her trail. Once more they give in to their smoldering attraction, afterward discovering the small charm hanging from the choker’s clasp—a charm engraved with a love spell.

Could their sizzling desires be nothing more than a magical push from her grandmother? Or does her heart truly recognize Logan as The One? To find out, Mia will have to take…a Leap of Faith.


A moment of silence hung between them, but the feeling wasn’t uncomfortable. He felt like he didn’t need to rush anything with her. So why the hell he blurted out his next words without a second of forethought, he didn’t have the slightest clue.

“I want to kiss you.”

He’d caught her just as off guard with that statement as he’d caught himself. She lifted an eyebrow and held her breath. “What?”

“I know, I know. It’s crazy, right? But ever since you dropped your plate at my feet, I’ve been dying… Your lips… All I can think about is kissing you. It’s as if I’m being…”

“Drawn—” she said.

“Drawn—” he said at the exact same moment. He inched closer, feeling that pull, that crazy tug all at once and everywhere in his body—his head, his heart and places further south. “Yes. It’s…”

“Strong,” she finished.

He nodded. “Strong. Definitely.” No doubt in his mind. He’d never experienced a pull so powerful. His lips itched to take hers. His hands shook so badly with a need to caress her skin, he thought he’d choke. He hardened just from another quick glance at her lips. “Maybe we should—”

“Test it and see…” she offered.

“Yeah, a test.”

He leaned in closer, tentatively, gauging her even though she was the one to suggest they try it out. When she held her ground and didn’t budge, he pressed his lips against hers. They came together softly at first. Then a hunger, an inexplicable craving, overtook him. He couldn’t stop himself from sliding in further on the bench until their bodies collided. Nor could he hold back from wrapping his arms around her.

She grabbed on to him at the same instant. Their mouths opened and their breaths mingled. Tongues slid easily against one another. The kiss was overrunning with passion, full of questions without a single answer in sight.

He cupped her nape, holding her close as he tasted her over and over. And she was right there with him, giving as good as she got, delving deeper and driving him crazier.
God, he could stay like this forever. She kissed him like she was born to, and he couldn’t get enough. 

Have a great weekend!