This blog is for those 18 and older.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: Firewalker by Allyson James

Allyson James has once again captured the essence of magical myth and matched it with some tough characters who don’t know when to quit. This romantic urban fantasy, set in the deserts and mountains of the Southwest, is woven together more beautifully than any Southwestern blanket.

Janet Begay, our local Stormwalker is back, and the first item on her to-do list is to save her dragon boyfriend, Mick. She drags local Sheriff Nash Jones with her because he is immune to magic and she just may need him, but saving Mick is just the beginning.

Janet has no doubt Mick loves her and will do anything to protect her, but as she discovers new powers, she starts to doubt Mick won’t kill her, literally. Of course, he will have to stand in line. There are so many who are fearful of Janet’s burgeoning power, including Dragons, Kachina gods, the Coyote Trickster god, and even a resurrected human, that Mick may have to fight them all off only to find he has to do the deed himself.

But the cast of creatures isn’t limited to a Stormwalker, gods, and Dragon. It includes such magical being as Changers, Witches, Demons, Skinwalkers, a talking Magical Mirror who’s a bi-sexual (if he could have sex that is) and a Null, not to mention some humans thrown in for good measure. After all, humans are the ones who will most likely be hurt if things go south.

But the world James builds is more than simply creatures in a harsh setting. This story has great action, intellectual puzzles, smart dialogue, hot sex, and good humor. It keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very first scene. The individual characters are flawless in their uniqueness, the magic superb, the plot fascinating, and the ending completely satisfying.

The only downside to this book is it’s the second in a three part series and now we have to wait for the third, Shadowwalker. My suggestion is buy Stormwalker and Firewalker and read them very slowly (if you can) so you won’t have to wait too long for Shadowwalker (coming in June). Trust me. Even if you’ve never read urban fantasy, you will really enjoy this action romance.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Got A Contract!

I got a contract!

I sold a book!

For those of you who write, who struggle over each word, who’ve taken classes and learned your craft, who’ve given up sleep and spending time with family and friends to pour every ounce of your energy into writing your masterpiece, well…..these are the words you want to say. Say? More like yell, scream and shout all while doing the happy dance.

For those of you who submit, submit, submit and wait patiently (or impatiently like me) and risk rejection, who wear your hearts on your sleeve and admit to the world “Yes, I’m a writer.” only to answer the inevitable question “Are you published?”, this is the moment you can say “Yes!” It’s what we writers work for, wait for, hope for, yearn for. And, in my humble opinion, there are no sweeter words in the English language.

I’m thrilled to say (yell, scream and shout!) these words. Whiskey Creek Press has contracted with me for my historical western romance entitled Touch the Flame (love those cowboys!). I have not been assigned an editor yet, but still...being able to say those words is a dream come true! Soon, I will have a second romance novel to share with readers. I can’t wait!

Happy reading (and writing)!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: A Dark Love by Margaret Carroll

A Dark Love is a fabulous debut novel of romantic suspense. Margaret Carroll portrays a realistic fictional version of a woman’s fear of her own husband and her plan to get away.

Caroline’s husband is a renowned psychoanalyst in the Washington DC area. Everyone in DC’s honest, right? His clients are of the upper class and he’s favorable in everyone’s mind. Except the neighbor’s, Caroline’s sole friend.

Caroline plans her escape, changing her appearance and her identity. Her destination is Colorado, still snow covered in the early spring. She meets Ken, a former football star turned outdoorsman. Her nerves show through her façade, yet she is reluctant to reveal the cause of her anxiety. Ken is confident that he can protect her from anything or anyone.

But credit cards aren’t the only way to track a missing person. Don’t forget to delete your emails.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Guest Author: Joyce DiPastena

Alexis: Hi Joyce. Welcome to Happily Ever After Thoughts. Thank you so much for coming. Can you begin by telling us when you started to write and why?
Joyce: Thank you for inviting me, Alexis. Your readers probably don’t know that you and I used to be critique partners way back when. I am very excited for this opportunity to reconnect with you!

I started writing in short little fits and starts when I was in junior high school, always starting but never finishing anything. Really couldn’t tell you why I began writing in the first place. I’d never pictured myself as a writer, but I did make up stories in my head for as long as I can remember, so I guess they finally just began spilling out on paper. My first year in college, I began what I assumed would be another dead-end fit-and-start, but to my surprise, this one eventually turned into a full length medieval romance novel. That novel was never published, but it solidified my love for both writing and the Middle Ages and proved to me that I could finish something after all. I just needed the right characters to carry me all the way to “the end”.

Alexis: I was always impressed with your knowledge of the era. What are your joys and challenges in writing Medieval romances?

Joyce: The joy is making up stories in a time period that I love. Why I love the Middle Ages, I really couldn’t tell you. I just remember that even as a young child, I liked to pull out the “M” volume of our World Book encyclopedia and turn to the “medieval” section and look at the pictures. I can still see many of them in my mind all these years later. Most of them were in black and white. One was of a knight wearing chain mail. I think that’s when I fell in love with knights in chain mail. I’ve turned up my nose at knights in plate mail ever since. LOL! The challenges? I suppose finding just the right research book with just the right little tidbit of medieval knowledge that I’m looking for. Even using the internet, those tidbits can be almost impossible to find sometimes, unless you’re simply lucky enough to stumble across them.

Alexis: I can understand that. It’s easy to discover what a King decided, but trying to find out what a peasant ate can be difficult. So what is Loyalty’s Web about?

Joyce: Here’s the book summary for Loyalty’s Web:

In twelfth-century France, King Henry II of England has just finished crushing a rebellion by his power-hungry sons and now seeks to tame the lawless barons who supported them in this corner of his “Angevin empire.” To this end, the king has sent the Earl of Gunthar as his royal representative to ensure that Prince Richard and his former cohorts faithfully adhere to the terms of the peace treaty.

Far from being welcomed with open arms, Gunthar no sooner steps foot in the county of Poitou than he is greeted by a series of assassination attempts. All appear to be linked to the former rebellious prince through the agents of the family and friends of young Heléne de Laurant. A clever, intrepid young woman, she realizes that the only way to prove her loved ones’ innocence is by exposing the true assassin. Heléne races against time—and dark secrets of the past—to unmask the killer before the kingdom plunges back into war.

Fierce determination gives way to mutual attraction as Heléne and Gunthar spar over the identity of the traitor. But their blinding magnetism almost causes them to overlook an even deadlier threat from an entirely unexpected direction.

Alexis: Ah, it sounds like a true romance :-) What prompted that first germ of an idea for you to write Loyalty’s Web?

Joyce: Loyalty’s Web had an interesting evolution. Remember that first unpublished medieval I mentioned from my college years? I wrote an unpublished sequel to that book after I graduated from college. In both of those novels, there was an elderly couple who assisted my much younger hero and heroine to reach their happily ever after ending. That elderly couple (Gunthar and Heléne) had married for love in an age when love matches were nearly unheard of. Although I had dropped hints of their love story in those two unpublished novels, even I wasn’t sure exactly how they had gotten together. So I thought it might be fun to try writing their love story to find out. The result became Loyalty’s Web.

Alexis: So it is actually a prequel of sorts to your unpublished works. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Joyce: I have collected a fairly good sized personal library of medieval history books over the years. Pretty much all of my research has come from these books and from classes I took in college. (I was a history major.) If your readers would like to learn about some of my research books and how I use them in my writing, they can check out my medieval research blog, Medieval Research with Joyce at

Alexis: That is a great resource. Thanks. What are your favorite character traits of Heléne and Gunthar?

Joyce: I love Heléne’s willingness to risk herself for others, her selfless nature. I also love her spirit and unwillingness to meekly bow to the expectations of the age she lives in. I love Gunthar’s integrity, his strength of character. He, too, is one who puts others interests before his own. On that level, he and Heléne are very much alike. Gunthar is also a man who loves learning, a highly educated man for a warrior knight in the Middle Ages. He has a curious bent of mind, which has led to a certain boredom with medieval conventions and widened his view to appreciate Heléne’s unconventional nature.

What I love best about Heléne and Gunthar together is that they become friends, as well as lovers. They have many storms ahead of them in the very long lives they live together in my imagination, but they will overcome all and they’ll do it together because they grow to become truly “one”.

Alexis: What can we expect next from you? Do you have any new releases coming or a work in progress?

Joyce: I have a second medieval romance called Illuminations of the Heart, which is sort of a spin-off on one of the characters from Loyalty’s Web. Illuminations of the Heart is available on pretty much all the online booksellers. Next up I’m working on a medieval novel with a troubadour hero.

Alexis: You also have a number of blogs. Can you tell us a little about them in case visitors want to continue their conversation with you?

Joyce: My main author blog is called JDP NEWS ( Here I make announcements about my books, interview other historical authors, participate in author blog tours, hold various giveaways (there’s one coming up on December 21-22), and share random thoughts that wend their way through my head.

Medieval Research with Joyce (, as I mentioned above, is a blog where I share some of my research experiences and favorite research sources. I have a current giveaway in progress on this blog for a copy of Who’s Who in the Middle Ages if any of your readers are interested. (This giveaway runs through December 24.)

On Quill to Quill ( my heroines exchange letters with each other in between books.

Quill to Quill and Heart to Heart ( continues Heléne’s story through a series of letters after the events of Loyalty’s Web but before the events of Illuminations of the Heart.

Medieval Vignettes ( is where I put little snippets of scenes that were referenced but not included in my books, or where I might post an occasional random short story.

My LDS Corner ( is where I blog about my faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Alexis: Wow, you are one busy blogger! I really appreciate you taking the time today to visit us at Happily Ever After Thoughts. I hope you have a great Holiday Season.

Joyce: I wish the same to you and all your readers, Alexis! And to help celebrate the season, I’d like to offer an autographed copy of Loyalty’s Web as a pre-holiday giveaway here at Happily Ever After Thoughts.

Alexis: That’s great, Joyce. To get a feel for Loyalty’s Web, check out this excerpt.


It was not a request, and he caught her hand as she tried to snatch the bit from his fingers. An angry blush stole up into her cheeks.

“I don’t want--”

“I did not ask you if you wanted it. I told you to eat it.”

She closed her lips and glared at him.

“There has been enough of this nonsense, my lady. Everyone is staring, and above all things I abominate a scene. The meat is your own selection. Now open your mouth and eat.”

Perhaps it was his commanding stare. Perhaps it was her mother’s warning gaze, brimming with a promise of punishment for her daughter’s intractable attitude all evening. Or perhaps it was merely embarrassment at all the shocked eyes viewing her defiance of Gunthar. In any event, she opened her mouth and he popped the morsel inside. Glorying in his first victory of the night, he followed it with another and another, until the slice of venison was gone, and so was his currant tart. Her silvery eyes glared daggers at him, but she obediently swallowed each mouthful and he finally judged her ready for some wine to wash it down.

The cup was almost empty. He signaled Julian to refill it. This time he succeeded in doing no more than pressing it under her nose, for she refused to obey him further and obstinately kept her mouth shut.

Gunthar let her go and sat back in his chair, satisfied just the same. She would not dare to ignore him again. He would allow her to sulk a little, and when the meal was ended he would have the tables cleared away for dancing. She would be required to accept his hand. He would request something quick and complicated, involving lifts, that he might have license to span her waist with his hands. And perhaps while he held her in the air, he would grow clumsy and allow his grasp on her to slip. She would then slide down into his arms, and he would feel her slender body close to his...

His blood coursed at the thought and he reached again for the cup, this time to slake his own thirst.

A sharp slap dashed it out of his hand. The wine splashed across the table, staining the tablecloth and drenching a platter of food. Gunthar turned his startled gaze in the direction of the blow and saw Heléne on her feet, staring after the tumbled cup with wide, frightened eyes. Her hand still hovered in the air and she was shaking like a leaf.
“My lady--?”
“Cowbane,” she whispered. “Poison."

Don’t forget, for a chance to win an autographed copy of Joyce’s Loyalty’s Web be sure to leave a comment for her. The winner will be announced on Wednesday. Check the side column for your name and email me.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: Seducing the Succubus by Cassie Ryan

Cassie Ryan delivers another hot, fascinating story with Seducing the Succubus. You don't want to miss this one! For those who aren't sure, a succubus is a female creature that must have sex to survive, but it’s much more complicated than that.

This story gives the reader three strong female characters to root for. There is Jezebeth, the Succubus of the title who is trying to get home before a rather vengeful ex-angel kills her. Then there is Lilith, Jezebeth’s boss and Queen of the Succubi, who is in love with an Archangel who is sworn to fulfill her every need except the one she wants most. And finally there is Gabriel, the female Archangel whose past love is a lost love, as in lost soul.

Of course, the male characters are just as complex and definite eye candy. Noah, a human, is Jezebeth’s protector, and he doesn’t have much respect for succubi . . . at first, but he goes through hell and back to protect her, literally. Uriel, the Archangel who helps Jezebeth and Noah until he is told he can’t, is a suffering but steadfast character. And then there is Rafael, the healing Archangel who always has a smile and a barb to go with it.

This romance is rich with Christian mythology which Ryan has maneuvered well. The world is easy to understand despite its complexity. The reader meets a Pestilence Demon right from the start, plus other demons, a Djinn, a few Archangels, and even Lucifer himself makes a brief appearance. There are rules to be followed and broken, and memories are tampered with. And just when it looks like Jezebeth and Noah have made it safely . . . well, can’t get into that. But it all comes together to give a completely satisfying ending along with anticipation for the next book in the series.

This is truly a wonderful masterpiece of myth, humor, action, tension and sex. A definite keeper. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Historical Romance, Take Me Away

Have you ever picked up a historical romance and found yourself immediately thrown back in time? From the words written, you might envision the rambunctious golden age of piracy, the horrors of the Civil War, the polite social rules of Regency England or the dangers of the Wild West.

A good writer will weave bits and pieces of historical fact into their story to make it real for the reader. It’s thrilling when an author can make you see and hear what life had been like during those times and places (I’m a self proclaimed history buff).

With my nose in a book, the real world ceases to exist beyond the pages and for a while, I am there, in the past, experiencing everything the author wants me to experience. I might see myself as a saloon girl (the one with the heart of gold), waiting for the hero to make an honest woman out of me or hunting for buried treasure alongside dashing pirates or dancing with a handsome Duke.

When I finish the story, I’m right back here in the present with dishes and laundry and a job. And that’s okay. There are always other stories, other places, other times to get lost in. And isn’t that one of the reasons we read historical romances? To escape into the past? To live in a time not our own?

Happy reading!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review: Unwrapping Chris by Nancy Lee Badger

It was a great pleasure to read Nancy Badger’s Unwrapping Chris. It’s a heart warming and fast moving short story about the reuniting of lost love. It pays a tribute to the service men and woman stationed around the world through the careers and life experiences of the characters.

Set in beautiful North Carolina, Jayne returns to her sister’s home with the intentions of attending a Scottish wedding and possibly staying permanently. The only thing she’s brought from her past is the wedding ring, still on her left hand, of her deceased husband.

In the same town Jayne’s first and never forgotten one-time lover, Chris, marches his platoon. On her way to apply for a nursing position, Jayne gives him a nudge with the side of her car. That’s the amazing moment of reuniting. Widowed long enough to accept her status, Jayne remembers the one and only heated moment with Chris. He remembers it along with noticing her wedding ring.

I flipped the pages as quick as possible to find out if Chris realizes she’s widowed and if each can admit to their smoldering feelings packed away so long ago.

Ms. Badger takes us to a Scottish marriage on Christmas Eve to witness whether Chris and Jayne's feelings ignite or are doused by time.

Definitely a good read for the holidays.

To buy this story simply click on the link below:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Guest Author Amber Kallyn

Alexis: Hi Amber. Welcome to Happily Ever After Thoughts. Thank you so much for coming. Can you start by telling us what you like and don’t like about writing erotic romance?

Amber: Thank you for having me. I think I like the romance, the characters getting over issues and past baggage to fall in love the most. Everyone has issues, but in a romance, erotic or not, people actually manage to overcome them. If only... :) With erotic romance, we get to watch the falling in love with a lot of hot sex. What could be better than that?

Alexis: Good point! So, what is your new release Mistletoe about?

Amber: Mistletoe is about the first Christmas of Calla and Scott from my novella Dragos: Burned.

Something’s not right. Calla can't seem to stop the emotional rollercoaster taking over her emotions. But when she finally finds out why, she's going to celebrate by making Scott her own personal body buffet.

Alexis: Was it difficult writing a sequel to a Romance that already had a happy ending? How did you come up with a new conflict? Or had you planned this sequel all along?

Amber: Oh wow. Was it hard. There’s four books planned in the Dragos series with Calla’s brothers, but that’s different because it takes new characters and conflicts. This sequel, trying to come up with the idea seemed almost impossible at first. Here Calla and Scott were, happy and ready to stay together. Once I found my idea, writing wasn’t too hard. This was my first attempt at a short story with previous characters. I finished and sent it to my critique partners. Then buried my head in the sand when the comments came back. With a strong cup of coffee in hand, I rewrote parts so that first time readers would get to know Calla and Scott if they’d never read Burned. I hadn’t realized while writing that I wrote the short story as a continuation of the book, rather than a stand alone. It works better now :)

Alexis: I can imagine that was very difficult. Dragons seem to be coming into their own. Are there special powers your dragons have, limitations? How did you decide on the “rules” for your creatures?

Amber: Well, my dragons are based on different mythos’ from around the world, with a bit of imagination thrown in. Most can shift with their clothes on. Breathing fire, for women, is a product of the Dragon Burn, once they find their destined mate. The dragons are different colors. They can heal fast, like other shapeshifters, but it takes a lot of energy. I wanted other magical creatures in my stories, so I devised a way different types could mate. Most children take on the powers of their mother, and some have no powers at all.

Alexis: Sounds complicated, but very fun! What prompted that first germ of an idea for you to write Dragos: Burned?

Amber: I’ve always loved dragons. A few years ago, I was thinking about what would happen if a dragon fell in love with a fireman. When I sat down to write it, I knew I wanted to write spicy and short, so I outlined for a novella -- and well, there you go. Since Calla has seven brothers and sisters, I figured for a series.

Alexis: Seven? That will make for a nice long series. I bet your readers are thrilled. I see that Calla and Scott are your first couple. What are your favorite character traits of each of them?

Amber: I love Calla’s spunkiness. My friends call me Snarky, which I guess is nicer than smartass :) With her overprotective father and brothers, she’s ready to throw off the restraints and prove herself no matter what. I always pictured Scott as a fun-loving mix of alpha and beta, but a man who never lets anything interfere with his responsibilities. Plus, he’s sexy. Their relationship was a blast to write about.

Alexis: Hmm, I think I married a Scott :-) Can you tell us a little more about the Dragos clan?

Amber: Ah. The Dragos clan. Well, there’s eight siblings. Their mother was a dragon and their father is a water elemental. None of my Dragos men curse because their mother taught them not to. The men are very protective of their sisters and their mates. Even though they’ve been through some hard times, and they squabble like all siblings do, they’re always there for each other.

Alexis: Sounds like the typical Dragon family ;-) What can we expect next from you? Do you have any new releases coming out or a work in progress?

Amber: I do :) I have a ton. My next release is Dragos 2: Scorched in January 2011, and it’s the story of Calla’s older brother, Garreth. I’m really glad because I’ve had a lot of requests from readers for his story. There are two more stories in the series. I’m currently writing Dragos 3: Blazed, with Calla’s younger brother Ty and Bree, the fire nymph he falls in love with.

I have a short story coming out with Ravenous Romance, in their Fairy Tales Retold 2 Anthology, Alice (M/F/M Ménage). Alice takes a break from College and wakes up in Wonderland once more. But this time, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat, in his human shift form, are ready to show Alice exactly the type of men they are.
I’m also hoping to soon place my novel length erotic romance Tiger Princess, which is about tiger shifters. Tiger shifter Valaria Darkolos must find her runaway betrothed and either convince or con him to return home, before her crown is lost to family who wants nothing less than to see them both dead.

Alexis: Wow, you do have a lot coming up. That’s great news! Thank you so much for taking a moment to visit Happily Ever After Thoughts. We really enjoyed learning more about your stories :-)

Amber: Thank you so much for having me, and letting me go on and on :) Have you noticed yet I love to talk. Happy holidays to all.

Everyone can also get 5% off any of my books from Changeling Press using the coupon code AK_Birthday from 12/6 to 12/19 as a present from me to you.

Alexis: Yeah, a bonus! For a chance to win Amber’s Mistletoe, be sure to leave a comment for her. Winner will be announced on Wednesday. Check the side column for your name and email me. And if you don’t win, you will still have time to buy her book with the special 5% off rate she is giving to Happily Ever After Thoughts readers. Don’t miss this chance!

For more on Amber and all her books, go to 


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Send Positive Thoughts and More

Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan visited Happily Ever After Thoughts in October and talked about her newest release, Seducing the Succubus. Now she is in need of help, both financially and spiritually. Tina is a wonderful, giving person who is truly bigger than life and an excellent writer. Please read below and help if you can.

Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan has been taken suddenly and seriously ill. She has an affliction called Arteriovenous malformation or AVM in her brain which has led to multiple surgeries and an extended stay in ICU. No family is ever prepared for such a thing and Tina's is no exception. In times like this, every dollar helps and her friends in the writing community are banding together to ask you to open your hearts (and wallets) to help get Tina's family through this.
Tina is well known to readers and authors across the country who have embraced her books, most recently, (writing as Cassie Ryan) Seducing the Succubus (Berkley/October 2010) and coming in April 2011, The Demon and the Succubus.

Please send your prayers, positive energy and love out into the universe with Tina's name on it. Cards can be mailed to: Tina Gerow, c/o SBP PO BOX 42255, Phoenix, AZ 85080.

Any donations you would like to make to Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan to help with the burden of mounting medical bills, can be given by visiting: or by sending a check to Tina Gerow, c/o SBP PO BOX 42255, Phoenix, AZ 85080.

Thank you, Alexis