Monday, December 29, 2014

Bernard Foong stops by Penny's Tales

Synopsis: A Harem Boy Saga; A Memoir. Book 1 - INITIATION.

This provocative story is about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.

It is also a love story between the young man and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.

Author’s Note:

I had a privileged and unique upbringing in Malaysia. Following in my brothers' footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknownst to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.

My story has been kept under wraps for close to 45 years. The correct moment has arrived for me to make known my unique education.

A Harem Boy’s Saga – II – Unbridled; a memoir by Young

This is the sequel to Initiation - A provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.

It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother’ and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperones and mentors during the boy’s Harem services.

This book follows the teenagers’ erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at their 2nd Arab Household Harem, the Sekham. They were apprentices and models, for the household patriarch’s controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places”.

The author's experiences present facts that are truthful. Through these truths, which are often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnations and negativity which relate to his experiences. 

There are 5 - 7 volumes in A Harem Boy’s Saga series.

Debauchery is the triquel to A Harem Boy’s Saga, a provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society through his UK boarding school. From there, he was spirited to the Middle East to attend the Bahriji (Oasis) School in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for Harem services for the wealthy elite.

It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother,’ and his ‘Valet,’ who served as his chaperones and mentors.

Goals I hope to achieve through
A Harem Boy Saga:
  • Provide Tolerance to Sissy Boys by understanding parents/peers and the community.
Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys influence me to tell my story.

  • Bullying can be Avoided through Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer programs in school or outside school system. Older students acting as mentors to younger students.
  • Gay Adolescent Tolerance – parents/child/siblings relationship issues.
Support/mentorship program to all parties involved to foster understanding and acceptance of Gay kids.

  • Provide an Alternative Educational System;
Understanding Big Brother/adolescent mentorship programs in schools, BB as protector to keep younger kids from being bullied.

  • Human Relationship Building Program;
Between parents/teachers and young students on sexual topics/issues, especially when adolescent are just discovering their sexuality. They can be guided on a healthy and honest sexual journey instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” hide it behind the closet policy.

Author’s Bio

Young alias Bernard Foong is, first and foremost, a sensitivist. He finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences.
By Christine Maynard (screenwriter and novelist).

Bernard Foong (designer) – A brief history

 Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the age of 8, he was assisting his aunt and cousin, learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. He attended an exclusive private boarding school in the United Kingdom before obtaining his Diploma in Fashion Design at the Harrow College of Art & Technology in London, England.  He went on to complete his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During his college years he won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several well known department stores in England. Liberty of London, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols to name a few that carried his designs. His Royal College of Art graduation wedding/evening wear collection was sold to Liberty of London and displayed in their store windows for the entire month of June that year.

For four years, he worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, while working on a freelance project for ‘Bird’s’(casual wear) company, he was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as their Fashion professor for the next 6 years. During his stay in Hong Kong, he freelanced for numerous fashion companies. From designing casual wear, swimwear, lingerie, and fur garments, men’s wear, bridal and evening fashions to accessories (bags, shoes, and head-wear). He also participated and organized numerous fashion shows, events, functions, and presentations in the Asia Pacific region.

Working for Keys Far East Hong Kong as chief lingerie designer - travelling extensively to the United States, he was soon  recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years.

Foong was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China). Producing under the label, Natural Life by Bernard Foong, he designed casual-wear collections for the Parkson Grand’s flagship store in Kuala Lumpur. After a couple of years later, he was invited by the Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department. For two years, he assisted several founding members of the design school - working on the fashion department’s teaching curriculum.

The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded a full scholarship for Foong to complete his second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming. Now a resident on the Island of Maui, he has assisted many charity organizations in their fund raising events with his extravagant fashion and performance shows/presentations. In 2005, he and his partner, Mr. Walter Jay Bissett opened Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop. He also designs costumes/fashions for numerous theatrical productions in Hawaii and abroad.

 Appointed as chief lingerie designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, his lingerie designs can be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom.

He showcased the BERNARD FOONG R-T-W collections and BERNARD FOONG @ Modern Classic Ltd. (an established – Hong Kong bridal & evening wear company) collections in Hong Kong. His 2008 & 2009 bridal/evening/bridal lingerie fashion show, “Grace” & “Coming Up Roses” were premiered at Hong Kong Fashion Week in July 2007 and January 2008 respectively at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, garnering positive interest in many Asian press reviews, including a China nationwide television broadcast of his latest collection. Aika (International Opera Singer) wore several Bernard Foong special occasion dresses at her Japan & European tour in September & October 2009.

Foong was the chief Creative Director for Official (Special Occasion fashion manufacturing company) Guangzhou, China  producing BERNARD FOONG Couture (specialty one-of-a-kind creations), White (RTW - Wedding/Special Occasion wear), Foxy Cute (Smart Casual/Cocktail wear), SexZ  (decorative bustier) & Diva Bitch (sexual lingerie inner/outer-wear) collections.

Besides working on his regular haute couture, R-T-W and lingerie collections he is a visiting consultant/advisor for:
·       Pivot Point fashion college, Chengdu, China.
·       Hong Kong Design Institute (fashion department), Hong Kong, SAR.
·       Hong Kong Poly/U, Hong Kong (School of Apparel Design & Merchandising), SAR.
·       Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, Hong Kong.
·       Singapore Temasek Polytechnic – School of Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM), Singapore.

Bernard is also writing his autobiography, a seven book series of Mr. Foong’s young life:
A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young.
This provocative story spanning 4 decades and 3 continents is about a boy who was sent to a very exclusive English boarding school in the 1960s where he was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and then spirited away to serve in wealthy and elite Middle Eastern harems ."
A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print and E-books internationally.

Out of his busy schedule, Bernard is also working on a mini series of three contemporary paintings for the Rathe Galleries in Dallas, Houston and soon to open gallery in Austin, Texas.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Marie Laval gives a sneak peek of A Spell In Provence

Hello Penny and thank you very much for welcoming me on your blog today. I am delighted to have the opportunity to talk about my new novel, A SPELL IN PROVENCE, which will be released by Áccent Press early in January. 

A SPELL IN PROVENCE is a contemporary romantic suspense, a new genre for me since I usually write historical romances.

I first got the idea for the plot during a family holiday in the South of France. It is obvious when you travel through Provence that fountains were very important for locals. 'Water is gold' says an old Provençal saying, and true enough, there are fountains everywhere - some were very grand like in Aix-en-Provence, others a plain stone trough with only an old tap spurting fresh water. One fountain in particular captured my imagination. It was in the lovely small town of Cassis near Marseille, where we had stopped for an impromptu picnic. As soon as I saw it and read its inscription in Latin, I knew I had the basis of a plot.

Provence is a wonderful setting for a novel. There are so many hill-top villages and old farmhouses the French call 'mas' or 'bastides' , ancient Roman ruins, and of course lavender and sunflower fields and olive groves... 

One of the most peculiar sight in Provence are 'bories' - dry stone constructions with an arched roof, which were used by farmers or shepherds for shelter. Some of them date back to the Bronze Age, others are far more recent. There are everywhere, in fields and in pine forests, or again on hill tops. You can find a whole village of bories near Gorde in the Luberon, which affter decades of neglect, was renovated and turned into a museum. I couldn't resist featuring an abandoned village of bories in A SPELL IN PROVENCE.   

With few roots in England and having just lost her job, Amy Carter decides to give up on home and start a new life in France, spending her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a successful hotel. Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of a nearby château.  As romance blossoms, eerie and strange happenings in Bellefontaine hint at a dark mystery of the Provençal countryside which dates back many centuries and holds an entanglement between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste at its centre. As Amy works to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.

Buy Links:
A SPELL IN PROVENCE will be available from Amazon early January 2014

He looked down. The light of the rising sun played on his face and made his green eyes seem deep and warm. Time slowed down. The noise from the crowd became muffled and distant, and all she could hear was the crystalline spring water trickling in the old fountain. The spring that ran through the forest between Manoir Coste and Bellefontaine and bound hearts and lives together, or so the spell said … Her heartbeat slowed, or maybe it stopped altogether. It was as if Fabien and she were alone. Desire, fear and another feeling she didn’t recognise overwhelmed her and made her dizzy.

Marie Laval Bio
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie studied History and Law at university there before moving to Lancashire in England where she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to teacher of French in schools and colleges. Writing, however, was always her passion, and she spends what little free time she has dreaming and making up stories. Her historical romances ANGEL HEART and THE LION'S EMBRACE are published by MuseItUp Publishing. A SPELL IN PROVENCE is her first contemporary romance. It is published by Áccent Press.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The best white elephant ever and the burning of a filthy liar!

Every year, FOR Christmas, we have a white elephant exchange at my mom's.  With there being about 30 of us, this way there isn't gift exchanges, etc.....just fun!  Rules - $10 white elephant and it can only be picked three times. 

This year we had a plethora of items from alcohol (always a good gift) to huge boxes of peanuts to scratchers!  One person got some scatchers and these knitted things.  We figured out the gift was from my mom.  "What is this for mom?"  It's a penis warmer!  Alrighty, then.

ANYWAY, I had told my hubby I wanted a digital scale as one of my gifts. 

He said, "We have a scale." I said, "It lies!"

Low and behold, there was a digital scale as a white elephant.  I ended up getting and keeping it.
It weighs 1.5 pounds lighter than our old one.  It is my new best present ever!  Come on - a pound and a half, is a pound and a half!

So, the filthy liar that lived on my bathroom floor will be added to the camp fire tonight, when neighbors come up for our after Christmas celebration!   


2015 is right around the corner!  I'm wishing health, wealth, and happiness to you all!!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

S. S. Hampton stops by Penny's Tales with his story, Better Than A Rabbit's Foot, and an important Christmas message!

A Christmas Message

By the time you read this Christmas will be only a couple of days away.
            That doesn’t mean the holiday frenzy is over, though. There’s always one more present to buy (and hopefully you won’t have to run from someone hell bent on getting that last “hot toy” that you happened to pick up), one more ingredient needed for the holiday meal, and one more effort to replenish the egg nog and rum. No matter how often you think you’re finished, you aren’t. But, that’s the way it is and always has been, and always will be.
            In spite of the commercialism of the season (corporations need profits for their executives and shareholders, and employees need jobs) intermingled with familial love for one another, there is something else that should not be forgotten.
            I do not mean to dampen anyone’s spirits during this festive season, but every year according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 36,000 people commit suicide. Surprisingly, the peak is not during Christmas, but in the spring.
            Thirty-six thousand is a big number, a cold and safe statistic, but each number represents a person. So much is lost when a suicide occurs—not only for the person who commits the act, but for those left behind wondering, “Why?”
            Having served in the Army National Guard during the Global War On Terrorism, suicide prevention was a high priority as the number of military suicides kept climbing every year. Suicide prevention included briefings, lectures, and senior NCOs reminding everyone to keep an eye on each other and their subordinate Soldiers, both during and between weekend drills.
            Sadly, such attention did not always prevent suicides—last year I stood with others behind a grieving mother as a casket containing not a statistic but a son, a fellow Soldier, and a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, was lowered into the ground.
            So, whether you are rich or poor or just keeping your head above water, step back from the holiday rat race. It’s not that important. Make the time to do something really important—remind your spouse and children, from the heart, that you love them.
            And then make the time to call or go visit a friend or maybe a social acquaintance from work just to say, “Hi. How are you?” Even, “What are you doing on Christmas Day? Come over for a drink and dinner.”
            You may never know that through such a simple act you might have made a difference to someone—but that isn’t important. What is important is that even if unknowingly, you have made a difference.
            In closing, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

“Better Than a Rabbit’s Foot.” Ed. Joelle Walker. MuseItUp Publishing.
ISBN: 978-1-77127-078-6

BLURB: Sergeant Jerry Stanton is a young soldier serving in the War in Iraq. He is a gunner on a gun truck nicknamed “Lucky Bear,” one of those tireless workhorses that escort supply convoys from camps in Kuwait to destinations scattered throughout the war-torn country. In the early morning hours before a scheduled mission, a dust storm howls across his camp and threatens to bring convoy operations to a halt. Worse, the camp receives word that a gunner from his company was killed by an IED while on a convoy mission. Unlike most soldiers, Jerry doesn’t carry a lucky charm, but upon receiving news of the death of the gunner, he begins to mull over/ponder the merit/virtue of a good luck charm—only, what would work for him? Perhaps mail call will provide the answer.

EXCERPT: “People like a happy ending.”
Sergeant Jerry Stanton, an M4 Carbine slung across his chest, glanced at the dark form that trudged alongside him in the hot, early morning darkness. It was all the darker for the dust storm howling across the small camp, a dusty and sandy convoy support center, CSC, a mile south of the Iraqi border. He placed his hand over the tall styrofoam coffee cup from the messhall that was open at all hours to serve those about to head out on a mission. He felt the itchy dust filtering down his back, along his arms, and coating his fingers.
In spite of his short time deployed to Kuwait, he had learned that dust storms were worse than sand storms; they were hot and itchy while the sand storms stung exposed skin and chilled the air. Breakfast was good but tasted flat, more due to the question of whether their mission would be a go or no-go because of the storm that roared out of the midnight darkness hours before.
“People like a happy ending,” the soldier repeated. He was a gunner from another gun truck as the squat, venerable M1114 HMMWVs, which were never meant to be combat vehicles, were called. He held up a rabbit foot that spun frantically in the wind and added, “I like a happy ending.  Especially now.” They rounded the corner of a small building, actually a renovated mobile home trailer with a covered wooden porch lit by a bare electric bulb. The gunner pointed to a small black flag, suspended from a log overhang, flapping furiously in the wind.
“Oh shit.” Jerry sighed as a cold chill raced through him.
“It’s been there for an hour or so,” the soldier said as he enclosed the rabbit’s foot within both hands and brought it up to his lips as if to kiss it. He glanced at Jerry. “I’m not superstitious, but still, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having a lucky charm. You know?”
“Yeah.” Jerry nodded as he watched the twisting flag. “I know.”
The soldier looked once more at the black flag and then walked toward the shower and restroom trailers beyond which were the air-conditioned sleeping tents they called home…

            Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.
            His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.
            In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint).
            After 13 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.
            As of April 2014, after being in a 2-year Veterans Administration program for Homeless Veterans, Hampton is officially no longer a homeless Iraq War veteran.
            Hampton can be found at:

Dark Opus Press

Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing

Melange Books

Musa Publishing

MuseItUp Publishing

Ravenous Romance Author Page UK Author Page

Goodreads Author Page


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Susanne Matthews and her wonderful story, The Price of Honor

Makin’ it to the Big League: Will This Be The One?
Everyone who aspires to be an author is always looking for the magic ingredient to make their book the one that makes their career. So what should an author write? The answer given by a surprising number of so-called experts is “write what you know.” If I did that, my books probably wouldn’t be too exciting. “Write what you want to read,” might be a better answer for me.

I’ve been a published author for a reasonably short period of time, and during that time, I’ve released several romance novels, but in five different sub-genres. Fire Angel, In Plain Sight, and On His Watch are romantic suspense. Echoes of the Past is paranormal romantic suspense, while Just for the Weekend, Holiday Magic, and The Perfect Choice are contemporary romances. The Captain’s Promise, and my latest release, The Price of Honor are historical romance, and All for Love, a romantic suspense for the Christian book market, will be released next May. I also co-write under the name Misty Matthews, and have two contemporary books out there, Grand Slam, a novella, and Coming Home, the first book in a four book series called Taking a Chance on Love. What am I working on now? I’ve just finished NaNoWriMo with another contemporary romance which I’ll begin editing soon, and have two other romantic suspense novels to finish polishing before I submit them to publishers. 
Why do I write in so many different sub-genres? The answer is simply because I like to read different kinds of books. In time, I hope to complete some young adult books, maybe a sci-fi novel, and I definitely want to try my hand at fantasy. Next spring, I plan to publish a collection of short stories for children ages 8-12 based on stories I wrote and had published in the local newspaper twenty years ago. What you won’t see is books which would be considered erotica, because while there are erotic elements in some of my books, I just don’t have that kind of an imagination. 
Probably the greatest thrill I get is reading the reviews people post for my books or having someone I know tell me how much they enjoyed reading one of my novels. I have a fragile ego, I’ll admit, and criticism lays me low, but knowing my books captured someone’s imagination and pulled them out of reality into the story for a few hours makes the time and effort it takes to write a book worthwhile. It’s unfortunate that not everyone who reads a book takes the time to rate and/or review it. Reviews seriously affect a book’s life. The more reviews it gets, the better chance there is that someone will buy it or that you can promote it on the more popular book sites. 
My latest book, The Price of Honor, is an attempt to share my country and personal history with readers who enjoy historical romance. I’ve always found history fascinating, but I’ve found very few historical romance novels set in early Canada when this land was a French colony. I’ve spent time in both Quebec City and Montreal (Ville-Marie), and I’ve tried to describe and recreate the feel of that new world in my novel. One of my male ancestors came to Canada in 1664 as a member of the regiment sent by King Louis XIV to quell the Mohawk uprising in the colony. When the war ended, the soldiers were offered land if they chose to make New France their home. Poor women of good character were sent to New France as “Filles du Roi,” royal wards given a small dowry by the king to leave France and cross the ocean to marry strangers and populate the colony. But life wasn’t easy in this land where they battled the weather, the land itself, the Amerindians, the British to the south of them, and men back in France whose sole purpose was to get rich regardless of who or what suffered.
In my novel, I’ve taken poetic license to create fictional characters who might have been involved in one of these situations. Set against authentic historical figures and actions at a time when the land was fresh and new, The Price of Honor is meant to both entertain and maybe teach the reader a bit about early Canada. 
Will this be the book to make me? I don’t know. There are many other stories of the crises faced by French Canadian colonists in the years prior to Confederation and even afterwards. We might not have had the Wild West the Americans had, but there are stories to tell, and I hope I get to tell a few more of them.

Book Blurb: The Price of Honor
What price is a woman willing to pay to restore a man’s honor?
When her husband is falsely accused of treason and murdered, Isabelle de Caen vows to find those responsible and see justice done. Of royal descent, Isabelle is stunned when the king orders her hasty marriage to one of his favorites, a man she detests. To save herself from a fate too awful to contemplate, she disobeys the king’s edict and commits treason of her own to find the truth.
Childhood friend, Guy Poirier, an aristocrat in New France, has always loved Isabelle. When he discovers her hiding in his cabin aboard ship, he agrees to hide her from her fiancé and help her clear her husband’s name. It doesn’t take them long to realize there’s more at stake here than her husband’s murder. With the fate of the colony in their hands, can Isabelle and Guy prevent a war and find love in the new world? 

The comtesse looked up from her papers giving Isabelle her full attention. “Another colonial upstart. I wish the king would put an end to such nonsense. A man is born noble. It’s in the blood, as you well know considering the color of yours. I hope he’s the last of this constant stream of rabble.” She put down her quill pen and turned in the chair. “I’m annoyed with you, Isabelle. I’d hoped you’d see the wisdom in the king’s decision. I didn’t expect you to be so stubborn.”
Stubborn? In what way?”
Your attitude towards this marriage, of course. You should be overjoyed the king has offered you to a man as rich and powerful as the chevalier. Churlishness is a quality rarely appreciated in a lady. Behaving like a boorish peasant doesn’t become you.”
It wasn’t my intention to be difficult. I sought only to honor my father as our customs dictate.” Isabelle’s battered heart wouldn’t let her contain her anger any longer. She’d been raised to be polite and obedient, but this accusation was more than she could endure. “Overjoyed? That’s the last thing I am. This is the seventeenth century. France is an empire. I don’t understand why the king would treat me like an African slave who can be bought and sold like cattle. I’m the daughter of a comte. I carry the royal bloodline. That should count for something. At the very least, it should get me an audience to plead my case.”
Isabelle realized her mistake when she saw her stepmother’s face. Henriette’s fury was palpable and radiated from her. She stood quickly, knocking over her chair, moved to Isabelle’s side, and grabbed her chin painfully, twisting her face to the right and then to the left. Her fingertips would leave their imprint.
You’ll do nothing of the sort. How naïve you are. Have you learned nothing of politics? This may be the seventeenth century, but because of your royal blood, you have less rights than the slaves you described. Rebellions have been started by people with weaker claims to the throne than yours—what are you? Twelfth now? Many of those ahead of you are old. As they die, your claim to the throne improves. Among other things, your darling Pierre is to blame for your current situation. His treason cost you your freedom. The king can’t allow someone he doesn’t trust to be in your position. After what happened, it would be political suicide. I know it, the chevalier knows it, and so does the king. His majesty’s chosen a man he trusts with his life to father your children. The original plan was to slit your traitorous throat. The chevalier convinced the king to spare you, and this is how you repay his concern?”
Isabelle stared into her step-mothers cold eyes. Could Henriette be telling the truth? Had the chevalier and not the king instigated this farce? Slit her throat? She’d prefer they had to this travesty. Henriette continued talking, oblivious to the thoughts overwhelming Isabelle.
Look at you. You’re powerless. Why you don’t have enough mettle to push my hand from your chin.” She let go of her and pushed her away with such violence Isabelle had to grab the edge of the desk to keep from falling.
Surely, there’s another option? Why would waiting a few more months make that much difference?”
Because of the conspiracy, you foolish girl. Think of it. A member of the royal family, albeit a distant one, conspiring to commit treason? A woman is often blamed for her husband’s crimes. The sooner that connection is erased from memory, the better. Besides, I can’t take my place at court until you’re the new Comtesse of Caen. Your husband becomes Comte de Caen and d’Angrignon the day you marry, and he’s quite anxious to assume his new title. Did you think this was all about you? While he may lust after you, there are plenty of women willing to fill his bed. Vincent offered to give you his name to spare the king any further shame, and somehow managed to convince his majesty it was all his idea in the first place. The man is brilliant. The title is his reward, the position at court, mine. It’s about power—power and politics. Nothing personal.” She laughed at what must have been the stunned look on Isabelle’s face. “Pauvre petite. You’re almost twenty-five and you have no idea how the world works. You’re the daughter of a comte with royal blood in your veins. Strange things happen at court. It’s possible your child could inherit the throne—a daughter could marry the dauphin. Resign yourself to your fate and make the best of it. This can be a wonderful opportunity. You can have everything you’ve ever wanted, and all you have to do is spread your legs.”
Like you? Too disgusted to even utter the insult, Isabelle walked over to the small table where, despite her trembling hand, she managed to pour herself a cup of chocolate from the silver pot, and sipped the soothing drink. Henriette’s words bothered her. Was there more at play here—a real conspiracy against the heirs? The chevalier was an ambitious man, but would he go so far as murder to see his child on the throne? Of course he would. The man is without honor.
You can order The Price of Honor from Amazon or Solstice Publishing

About Susanne Matthews:
Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Eastern Ontario, Canada. She’s an avid reader of all types of books, especially those with a happily ever after. In her imagination, she’s travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.
Follow Susanne on her: Website Blog Facebook page Twitter @jandsmatt

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Marie Lavender talks about The Allure of the Paranormal Genre

The Allure of the Paranormal Genre by Marie Lavender

My new paranormal romance/urban fantasy release, Second Nature, made me think about how I got started in this genre. It certainly wasn’t my upbringing. Some members of my family have firm beliefs, and the supernatural or unexplained, whether in books, movies or TV, is considered satanic. I don’t agree.

To me, it’s just another way to be creative. I’ve always been open-minded, and I’ll admit that I think there are things in the world that can’t be explained with science or religion. There is a lot we don’t know about the hereafter (how could we?), and about this world in general. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that there were real vampires, shifters or faeries in the world. We just can’t see them. I even believe in spirits to some degree. Why wouldn’t some of us stick around after we are gone, if not to be with our loved ones? 
Why not let your imagination soar a little? Just for fun, anyway. We all know fiction is a kind of escape from reality. Fantasy authors take that a step further and create amazing worlds that we can believe in.
So, how did I really start writing about the paranormal? I could blame my grandmother, who tried to terrorize us with scary ghost stories around the campfire whenever we went camping. I could blame pop culture with the movies about these supernatural creatures, or even horror movies. God knows I was obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV show) and Angel when I was in high school. Now I watch things like Grimm or Sleep Hollow. I even liked the first Twilight movie.

No, I would have to say that part of it comes down to literature. I could blame Annette Curtis Klause for first sparking my interest in YA paranormal romance with Silver Kiss. I was about thirteen when I read that one. Oh, man…now that was a kiss. So romantic, yet dangerous.

My deep-seated fascination with vampires, of course, extended to the present. I followed The Vampire Diaries and True Blood for awhile until I got tired of the drama and gore. I also experimented with TV shows about witches such as Charmed and Witches of East End. Or a shifter series like Bitten? Interesting. I am cool with stories about werewolves too.

I guess you could say that I was searching for the perfect series. Little did I know that fiction would always be my drug of choice.

When I stumbled across J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series (paranormal romance/urban fantasy), I think she’d already written five books in the series. So, I took a chance and bought them as a set. Wow! I’d never read anything like it! Then I began to pick up other ones such as P.C. Cast’s House of Night Series (YA paranormal/urban fantasy) and Kerrelyn Sparks’ Love at Stake Series (paranormal romance with a touch of comic relief). It was much later that I discovered Chloe Neill’s awesome Chicagoland Vampires Series about a pretty quirky, yet tough heroine who stands as sentinel or protector for her house. Little does she know that trouble always tends to follow her.
In recent years, I found a paranormal romance indie author, Linda Lee Williams, as well as Aubrey Brown, who sometimes writes erotic paranormal/historical romance. I also read one by Candice Stauffer called Eternal Breath of Darkness. I am eager to try books by other authors in the genre (my Wishlist is so long) such as Kresley Cole, Laurell K. Hamilton and Lynsay Sands. 
All of the aforementioned books stirred my imagination. My first foray into writing paranormal was A Misplaced Life by Kathryn Layne, one of my self-published books. It is a mystery/thriller book with some paranormal elements. I also wrote and published Terror in the Night, a paranormal romance about two people being terrorized by a demon. Subsequently, I wrote Haunted and Pursuit, both under the pen name Erica Sutherhome, and both were about heroines with supernatural gifts. After Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, was released through Solstice Shadows Publishing in March, I was ready to try my hand at something a little different. 
In truth, Second Nature built up in my mind for awhile until it was ready to come out on the page. As authors, we can’t always predict what happens with our writing and I didn’t know that the early scene where Desire wakes up, bound in the backseat of a car, was going to turn into a paranormal romance. But, it did. The next book in the series, Blood Instincts, will also be a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, but with a futuristic element. I look forward to finishing that book and showing it to readers, but I won’t get ahead of myself. I do hope you like the Blood at First Sight Series, and in closing, I’d like to give you a suggested reading list.
Do you like paranormal or even fantasy books? If you haven’t read any, maybe you’d like to try some of these awesome titles by other authors:
Black Dagger Brotherhood Series:
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (book one of 14)
Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward (book two of 14)
The Fallen Angels Series:
Crave by J.R. Ward (book one of 6)
Covet by J.R. Ward (book two of 6)
Three Sisters Island Trilogy:
Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts
Heaven and Earth by Nora Roberts
Face the Fire by Nora Roberts
Sign of Seven Trilogy:
Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts
The Hollow by Nora Roberts
The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts
House of Night Series:
Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast (one of 12)
Betrayed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast (two of 12)
Love at Stake Series:
How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks (one of 16)
Vamps and the City by Kerrelyn Sparks (two of 16)
Chicagoland Vampires Series:
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill (one of 11)
Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (two of 11)
And here are some books by my comrades at Solstice Shadows:
Ascent of the Fallen by Rebecca L. Frencl
Fin’s Magic by KateMarie Collins
Paradox Lost: Their Path by K.C. Sprayberry
Dead in the Water by Chrystal Vaughan
Healer by J. McAfee

Marie Lavender’s Author Bio
Bestselling author of Upon Your Return and 19 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Marie has published twenty books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance/fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Lavender just released
Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, in December of 2014. She released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, back in March. Upon Your Honor, released in late April, is her second historical romance. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. Feel free to visit her website at for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender:
Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor; Second Nature

Erica Sutherhome:
Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace
Kathryn Layne:
A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse:
Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things
Author Links

Her Latest Book Second Nature, book one of the Blood at First Sight Series:
She never expected it…

Desiree Edwards has a problem. She’s been attacked, kidnapped and forced to get along with a vampire of all things. It’s something right out of the story books she reads, or her worst nightmare. But, sometimes he’s not the monster he appears to be. He seems so humanlike that she can’t help it when her emotions betray her, when her body betrays her. To make matters worse, she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.

She was unlike any other…

Alec has a problem. The animal in him wants Desiree. But, so does the man. The more he learns about her, the harder it is to deny what he wants. But, he’s a freak, and she’s just a human. The two species don’t mix that way. Then an old enemy surfaces and Alec is forced to make a choice. His life or hers.

Can Alec’s soul be saved by this unique human? Or will it be far too late?

Universal Amazon link: