Friday, December 27, 2013

'Tis More Blessed Giveaway & Celebrate

Milo James Fowler is hosting a giant giveaway every Friday in December.  Go to his blog for the list of the giveaway links for today.

I'm giving away 2 e-copies of Soul Cutter if you enter the Rafflecopter below before Friday, Jan 3rd.  (For more info on Soul Cutter go here.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrate the Small Things

I hope the holidays have treated you well so far.  I know I've had a good time!

This week I'm celebrating:

1)  Bunches of fabulous people posted their holiday good wishes to me on this blog and on Facebook.  I'm new to FB  (better late than never, right?), so this is my first Christmas over there.  I was amazed by the feeling of goodwill and community spiritThe beautiful pics of people's families, lovely Christmas decorations, and funny or touching clip-art has made me happier than I've been since I was a child! 
2)  I'm doing pretty well on my "To-Do" list.  I'm only feeling a little behind instead of the usual Holy-crap-I'm-so-behind feeling!
3)  My hubby was home on Christmas day, which is rare since he works in a hotel.  I made a lasagne, and we watched "R.I.P.D" starring Ryan Reynolds (it was disappointing) and "Pacific Rim" starring giant monsters and robots (totally cool!!).  He and I had such a fun time!

Have you recently watched any movies that you really loved or that really disappointed you?

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is follow the link and put your name on the Mr.Linky list, and then be sure to post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas in Egypt

Ms Misanthropia is hosting a blog-hop to highlight how people celebrate Christmas in different parts of the world, and this is what Christmas is like in Egypt.

Christmas in Egypt is a little unusual for several reasons:

1) Only 10% of the population is Christian, and they are Coptic (Orthodox) Christians.
2) Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7th.
3) Since it's a desert nation, there are no evergreen trees, or holly bushes, or mistletoe, or poinsettias.  However, if you're looking for wise men on camels and gold, incense, and myrrh, this is the place!

 Egyptian Copts celebrating Christmas in church.
Since Egypt has such a huge number of hotels, restaurants, and shops that cater to foreigners, the Egyptians have adopted many of the West's Yuletide traditions.  Every hotel is decorated with fairy lights, manger scenes, wreaths, and Christmas trees.

Westerners visiting Egypt can celebrate anywhere from a small restaurant, to a Nile cruise, to a five-star hotel featuring Egyptian entertainers, like the Tanoora spinning his "skirt" over diners' heads below.

And what would Christmas be without Santa Claus?  On Christmas Day, to entertain the children, Santa arrives on -- what else? -- a camel!

However you celebrate, I'm wishing you a very

Sunday, December 15, 2013

SWAY Release, Interview & Snow in Egypt

One of the best book-reviewer bloggers around is Matthew Keith.  He has a new book out, and I'm helping him celebrate its release!

A psychological thriller/horror that explores the inner workings of a man who had some of the worst experiences possible as a child.  Now, as an adult, he is revisiting his childhood demons, trying to put it all together, all the while unaware that that's what he is doing.

Through the re-emergence of a recurring childhood nightmare, he works toward beating back the man representative of a society holding him in check.

Is it real, the product of a doctor who chemically induces his patients into visiting the dream as a means of control, or is it nothing more than the ravings of insanity manifesting itself through a dream?


Author Bio:
I live in Kentucky near Fort Knox with my wife, 2 children, and our dog "Elvis".  Although I have been writing for the better part of a decade, I have only recently begun publishing novels.

"Sway" is my third novel, and is very different from my first two which were the first two in a trilogy, "Watchers of the Night"—a sci-fi fantasy adventure about a young man who can walk the night in his dreams.  He is recruited by an agency run by the United Nations that uses people like him to gather intelligence.  The first book in that trilogy, published in April 2013, won 5th place in the annual writing contest.

My next project, currently underway and due for release in the spring, is the final installment of that trilogy, "The Fall of Astralis".  After finishing the Watchers trilogy, it is my intention to head back into darker fiction and continue to test my boundaries as a writer.

Find Matthew at:

I have an interview at Pat Esden's Blog!
If you leave a comment before Dec 19th you can
Win a copy of Soul Cutter!
Please drop by and say "Hi!"

(For two more Soul Cutter giveaways,
see the right side-bar.)

On Friday night, Dec 13th, snow fell in Cairo for the first time in 100 years.

Yes, those tiny things that look like ants in the snow are actually people.

Many Egyptians were delighted with the snow because most haven't seen it before.
But it quickly melted, leaving a flood. Egyptian streets have no gutters or sewer system because with only about 5 rainy days a year, those are generally unnecessary.

The snow didn't reach the Red Sea coast where I live because of the relative warmth of the sea.  Too bad.  I'd have been thrilled.  I used to live in the north east of the US, and I kinda miss a white Christmas...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Celebrate: Interview, Guest Post & Freebies

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is follow the link and put your name on the Mr.Linky list, and then be sure to post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! 

This week I'm celebrating:

1)  The Dream Destination Blog-hop was spectacular! Sixty-eight people signed up, almost all posted, and I had the best time going around to all of their blogs and seeing some amazing pictures.
2)  My novel has launched, and like a boat, I'm nervously watching to see if it sinks or sails.  So far so good. 
3)  For some reason,  two people have been foolish generous enough to let me take over their blogs.  Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!
You can find me at  
Literary Rambles
where the lovely Natalie is interviewing me!
And --
I have a guest post up at 
I'm A Book Shark
called "10 Things You Didn't Know About Egypt."
AND --
A free copy of Soul Cutter is available at both places!!
So please come over and say "Hi!"

If that's not enough of a freebie for you, on Friday December 13th, there are a BUNCH of authors giving away free stuff on Milo James Fowler's blog!  Yay for Freebies!

Go forth and get your free books!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dream Destination Winners & Country Tallies

I had the best time going to all the blogs on the hop!  Everyone picked awesome places and shared great stories and photos.  It seems many of us want to see a castle, visit one, stay in one, or have one for our very own (me, me, me!!).  And some of you picked the same place and are kindred spirits.

Here are the tallies!
(for those who chose more than one place, I took the first one mentioned)

Winner -- The United States
US (Alaska) - Magaly Guerrero
US (Alaska) - Yolanda Renee
US (Boston/Red Sox 2013 World Series win) - L.D. Masterson
US (Famous horror sites) - Emma Yardis
US (Genealogy in Eastern US) - Beverly Stowe McClure
US (Las Vegas) - Rhissanna (with lots of fabulous castle pictures!)
US (National landmarks) - M.J. Joachim
US (San Luis Obispo, San Franciso, & Illinois white squirrels!) - Julie Kemp Pick
US (Western US) - Julie Flanders

(5) Scotland - Beverly Fox (& Ireland),  Bish DenhamEmilyann GirdnerNarrator,  Lexa Cain

(4) Italy - Cecilia Robert (Venice),  Enchantress (Rome),  Madeline Mora-SummonteNicki Elson (Venice)

(3) Canada - Tyrean MartinsonKim GraffKittie Howard
(3) France - EllaMichelle Wallace (& Greece),  Suzi (& Castles in Germany, Scotland, Spain)
(3) Japan - Kestril TrueseekerLoni TownsendVanessa's Traveling Cats (Kyushu)
(3) New Zealand - Alex CavanaughNutschellPK Hrezo

(2) Australia - DaniMaynard Morrissey (& Oregon, California, Colorado, UK)
(2) Egypt - J.L. CampbellKate Larkindale
(2) Greece - Ashley NixonSamantha Redstreake Geary (Samothrace)
(2) Norway - L.G. SmithTania Walsh
(2) Peru - Jeremy Bates (Machu Picchu),  Shannon Lawrence
(2) UK - Chemist KenChristine Rains 

The Unique Picks:
A cozy cabin in the snow - Linda King
A galaxy far, far away - C.Lee McKenzie
Anywhere with a loved one to travel with - Susan Flett Swiderski
Amsterdam, Holland - Kim Van Sickler
Aruba - Hilary Grossman
Austria (Vienna) - Alexis Lantgen
Blogging friends - Ms Misantropia
Bora Bora - Sherry Ellis
Cayman Islands - Debra McKellan
Croatia - Kim Lajevardi
Dominica Island - SB Stewart-Laing
Fantasy Island - Robyn Alana Engel  (Her post was so funny!)
Formentera - Vanessa Morgan 
Iran - Carrie-Anne Brownian
Jordan (Petra) - Rhonda Albom
Maldives - Medeia Sharif
Namibia - T.B. Markinson
North Korea - Royme2
Phuket, Thailand - Shah Wharton 
Sumer and Mesopotamia - Mary Pax (& Iraq, NYC, Hawaii, space plane)
Tibet - Sydney Aaliyah

Julie and I wanted to give EVERYONE this award,  but we had to choose.
Winner: Nutschell (New Zealand)

Runner-up: Magaly Guerrero (US -Alaska)

Both of you will receive ebooks of:
The Ghosts of Aquinnah and Soul Cutter

Before I get to the winners,  I have to give a shout out to Julie Flanders.  I couldn't have done this hop without her.  She's such a kind and generous person -- truly a beautiful soul.  


Soul Cutter (ebook) by Lexa Cain  --  Crystal Hicken Collier
The Ghosts of Aquinnah (ebook) by Julie Flanders  --  Sheri Larsen
5-page Critique from agent Michelle Johnson  --  Christine Rains
Query Critique from agent Michelle Johnson  --  Magaly Guerrero
5-page Critique from C. Lee McKenzie  --  Michael Di Gesu
An ebook Bundle from Ink Smith Publishing  --  C.Lee McKenzie
Champion in the Darkness (ebook) by Tyrean Martinson  --  Susan Flett Swiderski
The 13th Floor Complete Collection (ebook) by Christine Rains  --  Kim Graff
Drowned Sorrow (ebook) by Vanessa Morgan  --  Beverly Fox
Winner's Choice of an ebook by M. Pax  --  Cathy Keaton
BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. (Kindle ebook) by Medeia Shariff  --  Suzi
Winner's Choice of Three Daves, Divine Temptation or Hans & Greta (ebook) by Nicki Elson  --  Tania Miclau
The People We Used To Be (Kindle ebook) by Madeline Mora-Summonte  --  Beverly Stowe McClure
Marionette (Kindle ebook) by T.B. Markinson  --  Samantha Geary Jones
2 ebooks 
Memories of Murder/Murder, Madness and Love by Yolanda Renee  --  Shah Wharton
2 ebooks Memories of Murder/Murder, Madness and Love by Yolanda Renee  --  Alex Cavanaugh
Dangled Carat (Kindle ebook) by Hilary Grossman  --  Diane Burton
AlmaMia Cienfuegos and Other Stories (ebook) by Magaly Guerrero  --  Hilary Grossman

** Julie and I are informing the donors
and they will contact the winners directly **
If a winner doesn't hear anything for a week,  
please contact Julie or me.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dream Destination Blog-Hop

My Dream Destination is ...... Scotland!!

Eilean Donan Castle (
Why would someone who lives in a place with sunshine 360 days a year (Egypt) want to go somewhere cloudy, misty, and rainy?  Because Scotland is so beautiful and steeped in history. There are gorgeous mountains, valleys, lochs (lakes), streams, and moors. There are ancient chapels, cathedrals, and castles.  I mean, come on. There are CASTLES!!

Culzean Castle (
 If you needed any cooler reason than castles (I don't!), Scotland is also the birthplace of Sean Connery.  Many of you may know him as 007, but I prefer to think of him as the father of Indiana Jones!

Happy Release to Julie & Lexa!!

A brilliant flash of light transcends through time.
Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.

By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.

Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heartbeat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.

She shakes her head.

For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul.

Why? ...

Who is she? ...

Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.

What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?

Hannah finds out.

But, it’s not at all what she expects ...

Hannah unravels a century old murder.

The Ghosts of Aquinnah

The Soul Cutter is hunting again.

Seventeen-year-old Élan spends her free time videoing psychic scams and outing them online. Skepticism makes life safe—all the ghosts Élan encounters are fakes. When her estranged mother disappears from a film shoot in Egypt, Élan puts her medium-busting activities on hold and joins the search.

In Egypt, the superstitious film crew sucks at finding her mom. When a hotel guest is killed, whispers start—the locals think their legendary Soul Cutter has come back from the dead. Élan's only ally is Ramsey, a film-crew intern, but he’s arrogant, stubborn—and hiding dangerous secrets.

When Élan discovers the Soul Cutter is no scam, she finds herself locked in a deadly battle against a supernatural killer with more than her mother’s life at stake.

Élan is fighting for her very soul.

Soul Cutter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG: Show Your Strengths

First, congrats to all those who NaNo-ed last month.  Whether you completed 50k or 5k, that's more than you had in October so you are a winner! 

But now, you may be left with a pile of less-than-stellar writing -- subplots that disappear halfway through the story, puppet characters that lack motivation, missing chunks of plot, and prose strewn with cliches. You may shake your head and wonder how you'll ever fix it.

We've all been there. And you can fix it!

My suggestion is to focus on your strengths.  Everyone has strengths.  Some people write witty or powerful dialog, some have no problem thinking up intricate world-building, and some can write a kissing scene that makes readers melt.  My forte is action scenes, so when I'm trying to find the best way to get my characters from point A to point B, I try to think up a scene with action in it, rather than a scene with a lot of dialog (my Achilles heel) or with long descriptions or deep soul-searching introspection by the mc (both of which I can write, but don't particularly like).

Make sure you showcase your own special talents as much as possible in your ms.  That will make your novel sparkle for its readers!  But once your revisions are done, don't forget to give it to your CPs or editor so they can help you find those things that aren't your strengths and fix them.

Good luck!!

This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate. To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group. Plus, check out the IWSG Website for lots of helpful info and links.

Where's your Dream Destination?

Thanks to my friend Ben Ellis, who made my countdown widget
and this awesome promo banner!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

An Unstill Life Cover Reveal & Blog-hop Info

Available Jan 3, 2014

An Unstill Life

Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years.  Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better.  Just when she needs them most, her closest friends get boyfriends and have little time for Livvie – except to set her up on a series of disastrous blind dates.

Livvie seeks refuge in the art room and finds Bianca, the school ‘freak’.  Free-spirited and confident, Bianca is everything Livvie isn’t. Shaken by her mom’s desperation, her sister’s deteriorating condition, and abandoned by her friends, Livvie finds comfort and an attraction she never felt before with Bianca.

When their relationship is discovered, Livvie and Bianca become victims of persecution and bullying. School authorities won’t help and even forbid the pair to attend the Winter Formal as a couple. If Livvie defies them and goes, she risks expulsion and further ridicule from her classmates. At home, her mother’s behavior escalates to new levels of crazy and Jules is begging for help to end the pain once and for all.

While searching for the strength to make her life her own, Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.


Publisher: Musa Publishing 

About The Author

Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand.  A cinema manager, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much.  As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.

Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.

She has written eight contemporary YA novels, five of which other people are allowed to see.  She has also written one very bad historical romance.  She is currently working on a new YA novel that is still looking for a title other than its Twitter hashtag, #juvvielesbian.

Author Links

NOTE FROM LEXA: Kate is one of my awesome CPs, and her lyrical and emotionally powerful style make her the best writer I know.  Livvie, the mc of An Unstill Life, has synesthesia -- she smells colors and sees sounds, which are captured in brilliant descriptions by Kate.  An Unstill Life will sweep you off your feet with its beautiful imagery and the heartbreaking challenges Livvie faces.  I cannot recommend it enough!  <3

The Dream Destination Blog-Hop is almost here!!!

On Thursday Dec 5,
1. Post about your Dream Destination with blog-hop badge.
2. Post links to Lexa and Julie's blogs --


--  and invite your visitors to go there and enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway.
3. Don't forget to go and enter the giveaway yourself!
4. Use the Linky tool to visit the other bloggers to see the wonderful places they want to visit!

For the Linky tool and the Fabulous Prize List -- see the links on my sidebar.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bloodrose by Lisa Casian, Celebrate & Blog-Hop

By Lisa Casian
Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Breathless Press
Release Date: November 29, 2013

Isabeau's life is haunted by nightmares her brother insists are a lie. Bowen's looking to revenge himself against his father while helping his friend. When they meet, all hell breaks loose against Isabeau. Can Bowen protect her? Is love ever the safe choice?

Newly convinced by a mentor to value human life, Bowen, a Shade Hunter, has withdrawn from aristocratic society in pursuit of the creature that made him into the evil that consumes him—his father. Bowen's plans are thwarted when he assists a wealthy earl in finding his missing fiancé. He's drawn to the man's beautiful sister, Isabeau. Bowen soon realizes that their fates are intertwined and she's aroused a passion in him he'd never thought possible. 

Isabeau Harington has always lived in fear. Surviving an attack that killed her parents, she always believed the monsters would return for her. When she meets Bowen, a mysterious, charismatic stranger who drives away those fears, she learns that the very man she's falling in love with may be in league with the monsters hunting her. As a pawn in an Immortal's scheme, Isabeau must make the ultimate decision—love or safety?

ISBN: 978-1-77101-181-5
Heat Rating: 3
Word Count: 73165
Release Date: November 29, 2013

Order from Breathless Press

About the Author

Lisa Casian has always had a fascination with the darker side of characters. When not writing, she enjoys learning about tactical fighting, zombie warfare, and various weapons of mass destruction through the gamers in her household. She has five of them. Bloodrose is her debut adult novel.

You can find Lisa online at:

Congratulations to my friend Lisa
on her book release!

Celebrate the Small Things

This week I'm celebrating: 
1)  Lisa Casian's release of Bloodrose.
2)  One of my awesome CPs just got the cover to her forthcoming book,  An Unstill Life, and I'll be revealing it on Sunday!  Yay!  I'm so excited for her!
2This week I managed to catch up on my entire to-do list for the first time in 2 months!  Well, my thrilling sense of accomplishment lasted for about a day before new requests for critiques came in.  Plus, I realized my own writing and revising are so neglected I've forgotten what my WIP is about. Oh, wait, I actually have TWO completely ignored WIPs.  *facepalm*  
3)  Meanwhile, I'm doing my best to write good interviews and guest posts for other blogs, but they scare the crap out of me!  If you're a "writer" you're supposed to be able to do this stuff, right?  But apparently, I was absent the day the Writing Gods explained how to write clever, insightful non-fiction.  
4)  And finally, after several spectacular cooking fiascos this week (for instance I oversalted the mashed potatoes and then tried to "fix" it by adding garlic, cumin, and lemon. Um...not my best idea),  I've been looking everywhere in my house and I can't find my brain.  If someone sees it, please persuade it to come home.  Either that or it'll be off-to-see-the-Wizard to ask for a new one.  *cue music*  "If I only had a brain..."

Anyone ever felt that their brain moved away and didn't leave a forwarding address?

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is follow the link and put your name on the Mr.Linky list, and then be sure to post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! 

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