Readers' Heaven - Dariel's New Year Reunion: Day Three

Hi, and welcome back to our New Year's Reunion! It's day seven, last day! Every day you take a look and comment, you'll receive extra points, so if you're new to the event, you'll want to take a look at posts from the last two days to catch up. Make sure you enter the Rafflecopter and include your email address in your comment. Don't miss a day, and have fun :-)

Christine James

Five Things I Learned Last Year – by Christine James

There were a lot of things I learned in 2013, but five of them stood out the most. I would love to share those with you.

1.     No matter where you are in life, or how bad you think you have it, there is ALWAYS SOMEONE that has it worse.
2.     Be careful of whom you trust in both your personal life AND MORE SO in your professional life. I learned this the very hard way this year. This can lead to shattered dreams and broken hearts.
3.     Use the bad experiences to make something good! One door closes another opens... if it's not another door, it's likely a window.  You never know how many lives you may touch in the process.
4.     Hard work pays off. Though results may not be immediate they are well worth the wait once they show up!

5.     This year I trusted others instead of placing my trust where it should have been. In God! Yes, I have faith and believe in God with all my heart and soul, and even though I stumble on a daily basis, screw up and disappoint HIM as well as others. He loves me regardless.  It is okay for others not to believe as I do. I don’t force them, but I take peace in my beliefs and I fully plan on trusting HIM more in 2014.

Christine on the web:

Chantel Rhondeau
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What’s Happening Now? Interview with Chantel Rhondeau
1.    First, looking back, how do you feel about your 2013 goals and how well did you do in reaching them? What helped or hindered your success? I published two books in 2013 and I’ve written half of another. I feel like I reached my goals this year, but it only makes me want to do more next year. My family became very supportive this year, which greatly helped my ability to get things done. Now, they even nag me if I’m not writing, which helps keep me motivated.

2.    Life happens, and every writer is subject to its effects (positive or challenging). What personal (spiritual, emotional, physical, professional) life changes do you foresee affecting your writing this year? I’m more of a person who believes that every day will be a good day. Even though I have some challenges to writing when my rheumatoid arthritis is in a flare or I don’t want to write when my kids are home from college, mostly things that happen are good. I might get behind schedule at times, but then I just have to work harder to get on track.

3.    What have you learned about yourself recently as a writer (one random thing)?  I’m a lot more opinionated when speaking through my characters, since personally I try to be very uncontroversial. My characters can deal with all the tough issues that matter to me.

4.    How many books have you published (include anthologies)? Tell me about them (genre, bibliography). I’ve published three books so far. They are all romantic suspense. I just love that genre! Always & Forever and Crime & Passion are both stand-alone books. Love & Deception (Agents in Love – Book 1) is the first in my planned five-book series.

5.    What can we look forward to from you in 2014 (special projects, books and anthologies of course). In 2014 I will be published at least the next two books in the Agents in Love series, Love & Redemption in the spring, and Love & Compromise in the fall.

6.    Which of your books would you suggest to someone new to your writing and why? Crime & Passion is a murder mystery as well as romance (plus I really love Madeline and Donovan). For someone who likes more of a thrill instead of mystery, my other books might be more to their liking.

7.    What’s your favorite online hangout (complete link – only one)? I love interacting with readers! They can reach me on Facebook.

Tricia Schneider
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What’s Happening Now? Interview with Tricia Schneider
1.    First, looking back, how do you feel about your 2013 goals and how well did you do in reaching them? What helped or hindered your success?

I’m pleased with my progress in 2013. Earlier in the year, I accepted a contract for The Witch’s Thief which is currently available through Kindle and paperback. This was my very first paperback! It was exciting to actually hold my novel in my hands! I wrote another full length novel over the summer which is currently on my editor’s desk. I also wrote a short story that I’m letting sit before I go through a second draft. Besides that, I’m working on another 3 stories (2 novels & 1 short story) and I hope to have them finished soon.  

What helped or hindered my success? Well, I always have writing goals which I try to work at daily. I used to write at night, but I found myself so exhausted from a day of chasing my toddler through the house and helping my school-age kids with homework that I’d end up falling asleep by the time everyone was in bed. So, I’ve switched to writing in the mornings and that has worked much better. I write first thing (well, after I make a cup of tea), and as long as my children and my husband don’t interrupt me too much (which most days they inevitably do) then I can get a lot done.
2.    Life happens, and every writer is subject to its effects (positive or challenging). What personal (spiritual, emotional, physical, professional) life changes do you foresee affecting your writing this year?

I try to take each day as it comes. I stay extremely flexible with my schedule because I’ve found that if I begin to plan things too far in advance, they never work out. So, I’ve gotten really good at spontaneity. I have 3 children (ages 3, 6, & 7) and they are the reason my writing career exists. Before I had kids, I wrote for fun and never took it too seriously. Since the birth of my oldest, I’ve grown as a writer in ways I never imagined. I learn something new (about writing and myself!) with each year. 

3.    What have you learned about yourself recently as a writer (one random thing)?

I’ve never been one to keep to schedules. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m more flexible and spontaneous. I’ve recently learned that I can keep to a schedule. I write 1000 words a day, every day. Some days, it’s extremely challenging, especially with my family (and the chaos they bring to my life!).

4.    How many books have you published (include anthologies)? Tell me about them (genre, bibliography)

I have 3 books of varying length published with The Wild Rose Press. All of my books are paranormal romances and are part of a series called The Merriweather Witches set in Regency-era England.

5.    What can we look forward to from you in 2014 (special projects, books and anthologies of course)

Currently, my newest release is available exclusively through Kindle, but in February, The Witch’s Thief will be available world-wide. Hopefully, if all goes well, Book 4 in The Merriweather Witches will be released later this year.

6.    Which of your books would you suggest to someone new to your writing and why?

Since they’re all part of the same series, I’d suggest starting with the first one, The Witch and the Wolf. My books can be read separately and out of order but, as a reader, I know I like to start at the beginning of a series. I imagine most readers do, too.

7.    What’s your favorite online hangout (complete link – only one)?

I’m on Facebook every day. Even if I don’t post anything, I’m checking everybody else’s posts. I love to keep in touch with readers.

J.B. Brooklin
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She is a half demon, oblivious to her true nature.
He is a demon set out to avenge murder.
Together they are hunted by the one person she thought she could trust.
Separate they may be able to save each others lives.
New York – Paris – Dschinnanya.
Bloody hell, he cursed silently. He had been hoping to achieve better results; to find out more about Baldwin’s aims and motivations. As it were, all he could do was feed off the energy he had tapped into. In a matter of minutes he felt more alive than before. He might not have been able to complete his mission but at least he was stronger now. Only a little bit more and he would be able to escape from his prison.
Five minutes later he was ready to leave. It was about time; Baldwin wasn’t paying attention at the moment, but there was no telling how long this would last. Fortunately, though, he was still angry. Alexander was just about to draw back when a thought entered his head.
Why was Baldwin in a rage?
The man barely had control over himself. He was close to killing the person who had caused all the emotional turmoil. But who was it?
Sariel. The name was just a whisper in his head. And then Alexander knew.
Vanna Smythe

Kae has trained his entire life to become an elite Protector of the Realm. When he finally achieves this honor he finds himself protecting something far greater: the Veil separating two worlds. On one side of the Veil lie unlimited stores of magic. On the Realm's side, magic is all but obliterated, and Kae is one of the few who can use it. The priests who secretly rule the Realm will do everything they can to control his growing magical abilities. Kae's willing to pay the price, even though it separates him from Issa, the girl he loves.

But the Veil has weakened over the last thousand years and powers on both sides will stop at nothing to keep it intact. Strangers from the other side have kidnapped Issa to take her across the Veil and sacrifice her to strengthen it. Kae is the only one who can find her. Going to her rescue means forsaking his oaths and duty, and leaving behind the future he always wanted. But if he chooses duty over love, Issa will die.

Chapter Three - Cold Protectors

“I’m so happy, Grisella.” Issa threw her arms around the old serving maid as she entered her chambers. “Father has managed to postpone my marriage.”
Grisella returned the hug, patting Issa on the back. “That’s wonderful news child. But I still say marriage to Thomma won’t be as horrid as you imagine. We were all in your place once. Such are things and such is the way.”
“I will sooner stay alone than be married to someone I don’t love.” Issa released her maid. She sat down by the mirror, untied the knot in her hair and started brushing it out. “But I will not stay alone much longer. My love is coming.”
The gorgeous young lord from across the sea would be in Cer’Ine any day now. Last night Issa dreamt of him standing near the shore. He was turned away from her, gazing across the sea with a traveling trunk by his feet.
Grisella looked up from where she was turning down Issa’s bed. “Who might this be, girl?”
“The handsome man I dream of most every night now. In the dreams we hold hands and stare into each other’s eyes for hours and days, and I can see all his secrets as he can see all of mine. And at other times we sit side by side and he has his arm around my shoulders and I lay my head against his chest and listen to his heartbeat, and I know all will be well until the end of days, just as soon as we are together.”
Grisella walked over and took the brush from Issiyanna. Her maid’s light brown eyes, for the moment not obscured by the folds of her face, were fixed on Issa’s reflection in the mirror in front of them. She opened and closed her mouth a few times, before finally saying, “Issiyanna, child, you are experiencing the Dreams of the Other Half. It is no more than that.”
“What are Dreams of the Other Half?”
Pity filled Grisella’s eyes as she looked away and started brushing Issa’s hair. “Your hair truly is lovely in the winter. The moisture in the air weighs it down and gives such magnificent shape to your curls. I almost do not want to brush them out.”
“The dream, Grisella?”
Her maid stopped brushing and looked at Issa again. “All right…I will tell you…I’d hoped your father had already done so by now…your mother never had the time…”
Issa waved her hand impatiently at the maid’s reflection. “Just tell me, Grisella.”
“We all have such dreams, Issa, in our youth and before we are wed. I too dreamt such dreams when I was your age. The boy I dreamt of had dark brown hair and beautiful green eyes, the color of the river after a hard rain and once the sun shines on it again. He looked much like Kae, really. He stood over two heads taller than me and his arms were strong and steady as he held me in the dreams. I always believed he must be from the north, from some village at the foot of the Mountains of Giants, where neither men nor women fear the twilight.” Grisella’s eyes were unfocused, as though she was seeing all the way back into her youth. “But after the priests wed me to dear, sweet Bern, the dreams stopped, and the longing vanished.”
It didn’t seem so to Issa. She could still hear the longing in the old woman’s voice and see it in her eyes.
Grisella resumed brushing her hair. “It’s said that the person who appears to you in these dreams is only a mirror reflection of your own self, but of the opposite gender. Once they start, it means that you are fit to be wed. You will see, when you are wed you will no longer dream of this young lord.”
Her love’s eyes were the color of the summer sea at dawn and his hair the color of wheat fields just before harvest. Issa’s own hair was the color of honey, her eyes the color of the sunlit summer sky. He was coming to her. When he did, a ray of the strong love they shared in the dreams would pass from one to the other, and back again. Then both would know that they were the one they seek, the one they long for and wish to wed and lie beside until the end of days.
Issa would be wearing her pale green silk dress when he came, the bodice of which was cut in a precise arrowhead shape. It accentuated her bosom, yet did not reveal too much and was lined with tiny pink pearls only found in the shells that lined the most dangerous parts of the cliffs. All Issa had to do was wait. Now that her wedding had been postponed, she had more time.
Grisella put down the brush and handed Issa her nightgown, “Here, child, it is getting late. Things will look brighter once twilight gives way to dawn.”
“Yes, yes, and such are things. Truly Grisella, there is good and light even at night. Why should we fear it?” Issa knew the answer before the maid gave it. What the priests taught, the lower folk believed.
“One can lose themselves in the twilight, when there are no colors to guide the way,” Grisella said, the faraway look still in her eyes. Perhaps the maid would dream of her other half tonight too.
Issa took hold of Grisella’s hands. “Do you wish to sleep here tonight?” Grisella’s husband was long dead and she had no children. Issa did not want to leave her alone with the added pain of longing tonight. She was the one who had stirred it up.
Grisella squeezed Issa’s hands. “Don’t worry about me, child. I have been sleeping alone for many years now.”
After Grisella left, Issa walked over to the window and opened it. The salty smell of the sea was strong, but underneath it she could already smell snow. Grisella meant all she said about the dreams, Issa was sure, but the lord from her dreams felt so real. He lived, and he longed for Issa. Just as she longed for him. They would find each other soon!

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Thanks for setting this up and having us all here!
Book Flirts said…
Samantha said…
I have not read any of these books but they all look good!! :O) S-WOODS@COMCAST.NET
Donna Reynolds said…
All of todays books look good Thank you Dariel Raye you did a awesome job putting this together.
Unknown said…
Thanks for the great giveaway!! jasdarts at hotmail dot com