Saturday, February 28, 2009

Finding Fallen

I have really great friends. Two of those friends are Chris Winters, aka Mr. Romance 2008 and Laura Hawkins. Chris and Laura were very encouraging to me when I was trying to finish Fallen. Nearly every day I would hear something from them encouraging me to stay on track and get it done so I gave them a thank you in the book. This is a video of them running down copies of Fallen in California.



Thanks guys, you are the best and can't wait to sign those copies at RT in Orlando!

IMMORTALS Day 2 Winner!!

Is Pam P. !!!

Please email me Pam at jenniferashley@cox.net with what book you want.

My entire booklist is here:
http://www.jennifersromances.com/novels.html
This includes a printable list of all books, plus links to my Allyson James books (at the bottom).

Thanks for participating!!

I also want to post the winners of my Newsletter contest. I drew two random names from readers on my newsletter list, one from the Yahoo group, and one from the text only list.

They are:

Joyce B.
and
beccabye

Congrats everyone!

BTW, if anyone here is interested in my newsletter list (I post informational newsletters only, to announce new releases): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JenniferAshleyNews/

Or email me directly and ask for the text only list.

Thanks!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Winner of Immortals: The Crossing

Sorry to be a bit late with this - my son got his wisdom teeth pulled and I forgot to post my giveaway winner yesterday. The winner is...RiRi from South Africa! (So cool!) RiRi, please send your snail mail info to joy@joynash.com.... Thanks! - Joy

The American Title Path to Publishing


Barbara Vey, of the BEYOND HER BOOK Publishers Weekly blog has featured VEXING THE VISCOUNT today at http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/880000288/post/490041249.html Barbara is such fun and her blog is always wonderfully entertaining. You'll want to bookmark it!

If you can, please swing by and post a comment for me. This blog is seen by tons of people everyday and is fantastic exposure for me. It would really help to have some reader comments as well. You don't have to sign up for anything in order to comment. Thank you soooo much.

I really appreciate YOU!

Hugs,
Emily

Good Morning! My 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT Tour is officially over (though I am booked at a few more sites--will keep you posted!) and my Midwestern heart is breathing a sigh of relief. I can finally start talking about someone else now!

Have you been following the American Title Contest? The manuscript entries go through several eliminations, not unlike American Idol and they live or die based on the number of readers who vote for them to stay. Our own Gerri Russell is a past American Titlist so I imagine she can fill us in on some of the inside details as well.

I'd like to introduce you to Marie-Claude Bourque. She's an American Title Finalist heading into the final round and the brass ring is a contract with my publisher, Dorchester. I first met Marie-Claude through MySpace and was impressed by her spunkiness, business saavy and most of all by her story ANCIENT WHISPERS.


ANCIENT WHISPERS is a dark paranormal inspired by the poem Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie by Henri Longfellow (1847). It is the story of a bold immortal sorcerer and his obsession to be reunited with the fiancée he lost centuries ago

Gabriel Callan is the youngest member of the Priory of Callan, an ancient Celtic brotherhood of thirteen cursed sorcerers and alchemists, each deadly, each haunted by a tragic past.

Still tortured by the devastating events of the Acadian deportation in 1755, Gabriel wants nothing more than to reunite with his lost soulmate, now reborn to this century as you the cool-headed and practical Lily Bellefontaine.

But Lily, a pediatric nurse, yearn for a peaceful life in her own dream home. She seeks an existence far different from the experiences of her unstable childhood and purposefully ignores her latent psychic abilities. Will she ever be able to accept her fate? And can Gabriel let go of his tragic past to live fully in the present?

I caught up with Marie-Claude and had a little cyber-chat with her about her American Title run. To keep us straight, I've put my words in bold, MC in italics. Thanks for being with us today, Marie-Claude. Could you tell us a little about your experience in the American Title contest?

It’s definitely a wild ride. Past contestants have described it like this but it is only when you live through it that you can really understand what it’s like. It’s really hard because we all want success for all the contestants, but there is only one who will win in the end. So you are always happy to have made it to the next round but sad for those who didn’t.

Then there is this constant pressure of asking for votes. It’s exciting to network and also very tiring. Most people are extremely generous, but sometimes it is hard to have to ask them to help you once again. You feel like all you do is ask for favors. I have so many people out there supporting me and it is so so nice and yet I am constantly afraid to let them down by not making it to the next round. And the closer to the end, the harder it is.

One of the good sides is how much I have learned about networking, setting up my sites, blogging, banners, book trailers and quizzes and what not. That is really fun, trying to find the next thing that will attract people and make my book interesting to them. And of course, the best is all the new friends I have made so far and reconnecting with old friends and relative I have not talked to in a while. That is priceless.


Sounds a little like my blog tour! I've made friends with so many "blog touristas" over the last 50 days, I know if ever we meet in real life, we'll run toward each other for a big hug! But back to your manuscript. Ancient Whispers sounds fascinating. What inspired this story.

I’ve known the story of the Acadian deportation for many years because my family descends from deported Acadians and my grand-father had told me all about it. I was very saddened by the fate of Gabriel and Evangeline in the poem, how they are forced on separate ships on their wedding day and spend their life searching for each others. It got me to think of many tragic lovers of literature and legends, and I decided to use paranormal element to reunite them on paper. I’m a big fantasy geek, I’ve played Dungeons and Dragons for a while, so I used that for inspiration. I have also studied Pagan witchcraft for a few years now and I wanted to use that and portray realistic ritual magic using what I know.

I love that your family history and a poem are your inspiration. What else would you like us to know about YOU?


I’m a former oceanographer and fitness professional, currently a stay-at-home mom to my two beautiful boys, and going back to school soon to become a Physics teacher. I’m also a French Canadian from Québec City and feel like I have lived everywhere. I am now settled in the Pacific Northwest with my family. Besides writing, I like coffee shops, knitting, lifting weights and I read mostly fantasy and historical romance.

The American Title Contest is unique in that YOU the reader get to help a major publishing house choose its next acquisition. Let your voice be heard. If you'd like to vote for Marie-Claude Bourque's ANCIENT WHISPERS please go to:

http://www.romantictimes.com/news_amtitle3.php

And this is where you can find Marie-Claude and friend her on the web:

My website is at: www.mcbourque.com
My LiveJournal is at: http://mysticblu.livejournal.com
I’m on MySpace at: http://www.myspace.com/marieclaudebourque
On Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1322252310
My group blog geared to new writers is called Musetracks http://musetracks.wordpress.com


Hey that sounds like my favorite ice cream! No wait! That's MooseTracks! My bad.

Here's my Book trailer:




I also made a quiz tied to my book. The code can be found here:

http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/7VxSntb/What-Celtic-priestess-are-you?view_quiz=1

What fun! Now I'm starting to take notes, too. Sounds like you've learned alot about promotion during this contest. Ok. (Heavy sigh as I don my "promo hat" once more!) One last little zing from me too, then. VEXING THE VISCOUNT is now on the shelves at your local bookstore! Enjoy!

Thanks for being with us today, Marie-Claude. Aspiring writers will want to pick your brain so please stick around in case there are questions!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

IMMORTALS GIVEAWAY -- DAY 2

Good morning. I'm on the west coast and it's still early :-) but I made it.

To celebrate the release of our anthology, THE RECKONING . . . I'm giving away a copy of The Redeeming (and if you already have it, I can give you something else from my backlist, including the Allyson James books.)

For a sneak peek at my story: "Wolf Hunt"

... we find Logan, the werewolf cop who was Samantha's partner in The Redeeming. He gets a phone call from a frantic Nadia (the young demon woman who he interviewed in the hospital in The Redeeming).

Nadia begs for help. Logan, who's been thinking about the gorgeous Nadia for months, in a very un-werewolf kind of way, races off to help her.

He finds she's being hunted for sport by members of his own pack, and that his old Pack Leader has renewed a challenge to Logan. Logan had been Packmaster--the enforcer of laws in the wolf pack--and had left for reasons he's revealed to no one.

Now Nadia is caught in the game, and Logan has to face his past.

Enough explanation--Except below. (If it doesn't work, simply go to http://www.jennifersromances.com/ and the link is under the book cover on the home page).

Read, return here and say howdy in the comments, and I'll pick a winner!! Winners get a signed copy of THE REDEEMING (or one of my other books if you already have it--Allyson James books are eligible too!)

Excerpt: http://www.jennifersromances.com/WolfHuntExcerpt.html

Have fun.

Jenn

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two-day Immortals giveaway!

Vampires, werewolves, and ghosts, oh my!

Ready for some paranormal tingles? You'll find plenty in Immortals: The Reckoning. The anthology features novellas by Jennifer Ashley, Robin T. Popp, and...me!


Since Jenn and I both blog here at the Chatelaines, we've cooked up something special to celebrate our joint release. A sneak peek at our hot-off-the-presses novellas, and a two day giveaway of our previous Immortals titles - Jenn's Immortals: The Redeeming, and my Immortals: The Crossing.

Read on!


"Blood Debt" by Joy Nash in Immortals: The Reckoning

This story features my first-ever vampire hero, Arthur Jackson Cabot, IV :-)

Jackson Cabot's bright future went dark in 1896 Paris, when he died and was turned vampire. After three decades of slavery in the service of Europe's brutal vampire master, Jackson discovered a secret that has allowed him to hoard power. Now, at last, his strength approaches that of his rival, and he exists solely to take vengeance on the two beings responsible for his eternal nightmare: the monster that turned him vampire -- and the beautiful Sidhe muse who killed him.

Excerpt...

Leanna neared the front desk. The night clerk was handsome and young, with olive skin and bedroom eyes. And he was, as fate would have it, an artist.


A sketchbook lay open before him; a pencil graced his elegant, long-fingered hand. He greeted her with a smile. Before she quite knew what she was doing, a tendril of muse magic escaped. The pulse caused him to go still, then swallow thickly. Leanna had no doubt that behind the desk something else was thickening as well.

Gods. How long had it been since she'd bedded an artist? Almost two years. And the ugly truth was, Leanna missed her muse magic. The heady exchange of inspiration and life, delivered at the precise moment of orgasm, was a mind-blowing high, one she'd reveled in for two centuries, while her conscience slept.

Right here, right now, she wanted this boy, fiercely. She could lose herself in him, at least for one night. It wouldn't be a one-sided exchange. There was much she could offer him. She could give him his fondest dream. Under the influence of her magic, he would create a brilliant work of art. His fame would be instant. The world would throw itself at his feet. Worship him like a god.

And then he would die.

Leanna yanked her magic back. What was she thinking? She couldn't chance taking this young man to bed. The boy could very well be so hungry for fame and fortune that he would destroy himself to get it. That was the problem with artists. One could never tell how desperate they were, until it was too late.

She nodded briefly at the clerk and passed by without speaking. Perhaps he would never be a great artist, but at least he would have a chance for a long and happy life.

The elevator doors swished closed, leaving her alone in the cab. When would she ever grow accustomed to keeping her own company? Never, she suspected. She hated being alone in the night.

Her hotel room was quiet, shrouded in darkness. She didn't bother to turn on the light as she shed her dress, shoes, stockings and bra. Wearing just her thong, she slid between the sheets. Her head sank onto a stack of downy pillows, but her eyes remained open. The lace curtains at the window fluttered; the hazy light from the street danced across the coverlet.

A sudden shadow fell across the bed. She blinked. She didn’t at first understand what was happening.

A man’s voice broke the velvet darkness.

"Bonsoir, Leanna. Or at this hour, perhaps I should say bon matin?"

She sucked in a breath.

She wasn't alone, after all.



And now for my half of the giveaway!

If you'd like to win an autographed copy of my October 08 book, Immortals: The Crossing, just leave a question or comment about Immortals on this post. I’ll choose a winner at random, and post her name tomorrow!

All the best!

Joy

More Immortals adventure at www.joynash.com
Immortals: The Crossing & Immortals: The Awakening
Excerpts and Secrets Behind the Stories

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A LOST virgin no more


I hate TV.

Honestly.

I hate it when I find a good show that hooks me in like bacon dangled before a hungry dog. Even though it's in its fifth season, I successfully managed to evade getting "LOST."

When others talked about it at work, I stuffed my fingers into my ears and went "blah, blah, blah."

See, I don't have time to get addicted. But I did.

Blame the Sci-Fi Channel. They're doing re-runs of the first season. I made the mistake of turning on my favorite channel, watched one episode and it teased and seduced me, the innocent I was, into surrendering my LOST virginity.

I love mysteries, and paranormal, and drama, and have all of it in this show. I also have little patience.

So I took a gift card I had received, went to Barnes and Noble with a coupon, and bought all the past season's DVD's.

I'm watching them backwards. All those DVD's to view when I could be writing. Or scrubbing toilets.

There are no toilets to scrub on the Island. Except at the barracks, and I bet they have a smoke monster toilet-cleaning maid who magically does them. Come to think of it, that's not a bad idea.

If there is a smoke monster toilet-cleaning maid on that island, I'm moving.

LOST is a great escape after a hard day at the day job, like today when I've been writing a video script about famine and children dying from hunger. I reward myself with an episode (or four!) after I complete my romance writing goal (Goal: Write one coherent sentence. Done!!!)

One of my favorite episodes is the Dharma bus that Hurley found in the jungle. I laughed at Sawyer finding the beer and drinking besides "Skeletor" while he taught Jin all he needed to say to women in English ("No, those pants don't make you look fat.") and was charmed by Hurley's innocent determination.

I love that scene where Charlie stands by his friend and rides shotgun. They are hurling down the mountainside, Charlie squeezing his eyes shut as Hurley is believing, really believing, that it will work and he will have hope, something he's lost along the way. He pops the clutch and it runs!

That scene made me smile. Hope fulfilled is a wonderful thing to see, even on a television show. Even LOST reminds me, when I come home from a day of writing about starvation and sad children, that a little hope can change a lot.

And so, even though I hate being addicted to a television show, I'm finding myself enjoying getting LOST.

So what are the addictions that you have found you can't resist?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Twist receives honorable mention in Pearls








Honorable Mention 2008 PEARL

ParaNormal Excellence Award in Romantic Literature



All I can say is wow and thanks! For those of you not familiar with the Pearls, its a reader nominated award which makes it extra special. Twist was nominated in the Time Travel Category. And a special shout out to our very own CL Wilson who was nominated also for King Of Sword And Sky in the Fantasy Category.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Love Romances & More!

Update Feb 25th- The first time I met Michelle Buonfiglio, Romance Reviewer and Blogger Extraordinaire, I surprised her by translating her last name (Buonfiglio means "Good Son.") I explained that I used to sing opera and picked up a bit of Italian while I was at it. Then she surprised me by telling me that she, too, was a soprano! Anyway, as former divas, we both know that all performers love requests for an encore. After following my blog tour, Michelle offered me a chance to encore at her excellent site! Here's a special invite from the divine Miss B:



Ciao, Everybody! I know you're as big a fan of Emily Bryan and her books as I am, so I'm hoping you'll visit www.RomanceBuyTheBook.com Wednesday, Feb. 25th, when Emily takes the reigns as hostess for the day. We're celebrating her fabulous, sexy new romance, "Vexing the Viscount!" Can you believe viscount rhymes with EYE-count? I always forget that and slip in the "s". :)

Anywayz, Emily's always so much fun -- and, frankly, the GuestBlog she's written for us is one of the funniest I've ever read. So please join her, the RBTB Bellas and moi for great fun and a chance at winning a copy of "Vexing the Viscount." Can't wait to meet you!

Michelle Buonfiglio
Romance: B(u)y the Book
mbuonfiglio@rbthebook.com


Feb 23rd ~ NYTimes BestSeller CL Wilson and I had ourselves a giggle-fest. She and I met in Pittsburgh at RT last year and clicked like a pair of magnets. If you haven't tried her fabulous Fading Lands series, you're in for such a treat! Start with LORD OF THE FADING LANDS. You'll thank me later.

Come on over to WritersAtPlay for some Monday morning silliness. You deserve it!

PS. Let a comment or question to win a copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT!


I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off, blogging all over creation about my coming release and I just realized that 2 of my fellow chatelaines (Jennifer Ashley & Joy Nash!)are also having a release in just a few days. It's an anthology called IMMORTALS:THE RECKONING.

A lone werewolf defies his entire pack and everything he’s ever known to protect a demon woman from the “Wolf Hunt.” A vengeful vampire thirsts to claim a “Blood Debt” from the two beings responsible for his eternal nightmare: the Old One who turned him—and the beautiful Sidhe muse who killed him. Haunted by her past and reeling from her sister’s murder, one woman turns to a sexy spirit-walker on a ghostly cruise ship that takes them “Beyond the Mist.” Together, three USA Today bestselling authors pool their vast talents and fantastic world-building to bring you…THE RECKONING.

If you haven't tried the IMMORTALS series (brainchild of the fabulous Ms. Ashley!)I urge you to pick up this one on Feb 24th! I know I will.



Isn't that a beautiful male chest? I couldn't resiste it. But there is a bit of a generational controversy brewing. With hair or without? I personally don't mind a bit of fur. The first time I saw the cover art for my PLEASURING THE PIRATE, my hero was sporting a lovely pelt, but my editor said, "Don't worry! We'll give him a wax before it goes to print." I was so disappointed! How do you feel about male chest hair?

In the meantime, my tour goes on today at LoveRomancesAndMore! Believe me, Danny (my interviewer)definitely got to the "and more" part!

Danny and I had a great chat about books, writing, and brainstorming. I'm giving away another VEXING THE VISCOUNT, so please let me know you dropped by!

TTYS,
Emily

PS. I still want to know what you think about male chest hair, so leave a comment here too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

50,000 topless virgins, a leopard-skin loincloth & the Great She-Elephant

I'm a bit behind this week, with a sick dog :-( and a heavy workload, so here's a post from my own blog from 2005 about a true life news story. You can't make this stuff up. Hope you enjoy!

And now, for the lighter side of life...

50,000 topless virgins are dancing for the privilege of being the king of Swaziland’s next bride.

They sing tributes to the great She-Elephant, (no kidding), otherwise known as the king’s mom.

Chance to get a cell phone, a Beamer and call your MIL a she-elephant. Sounds good to me.

Wonder if the MIL is the great She-Elephant, does that mean her son has a substantially-sized “trunk” of his own?

Okay, bad joke.

MSNBC has the story. Seems the king, 37, wanted the national ritual to pick a new wife (already has a few in the royal stable). Said king wears a leopard-skin loincloth. Must be his "picking out a new virgin" outfit.

The virgins perform the reed dance and he picks one to be his wife. He paid a fine of one cow to lift the ban on sex with virgins.

One cow = one virgin.

The virgins all wear chastity scarves. Supposed to ward off preying men. I’ve heard of chastity belts, of course. But a scarf? Is it Hermes? Silk? How does the scarf ward off lusty men?

Doesn’t seem very effective to me. If items of clothing are used, might I suggest a chastity steel-toed boot that plays a classic Stones tune? When you kick something with it, it plays “Can’t get no satisfaction.”

Lusty panting male: There she is! A VIRGIN! The last one the king hasn’t nabbed yet! She’s mine!

Virgin: Back off, you lusty panting male! I’m armed with my chastity boots!

Kicks lusty panting male squarely in the groin with steel-toed boot. Mick’s voice warbles out, “Can’t get no satisfaction.”

Lusty panting male doubles over, howling. Virginity preserved. Lusty panting male starts thinking maybe a nice older widow the age of the Great She-Elephant might be better for nooky. And he’ll save himself a cow or two.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Music for the Muse

There are certain things I have to have in place before I can start writing a story. A title, the pefect names for my characters, a plot (of course) and then music. I find by finding the right music to go with the story I can fall into the mood pretty quick when I sit down to write.

But I also go beyond that. I have to have a theme song for my heroes. I won't be content until I find one that sums up their personality. Almost as if I was writing a musical and it is time for their big production.

For Chase in Chase The Wind it was Mark Chestnut's "I'll Think Of Something."
For Jake it was Creed's "Weathered"
For Caleb it was "Unforgiven" Yes I am a big Creed fan.

Lately I've fallen in love with Sether's "Break Me Down" It's perfect for Rhys in Breathe Of Heaven. John Connor's song for Fallen is Stone Temple Pilots Seems like dark days. Not sure of the title since its just track 8 on my Ipod. I like STP too. The new and improved proposal for Prism that I worked on last week went from being Linkin Park to Keith Urban. His Golden Road CD just fits the entire story. I can imagine scenes going along with several of the songs.

I have different tracks for different writing days. When I'm really struggling I put in KD Langs' Chatelaine (Which also inspired the name for this blog) I like the sound tracks from Tristan and Isolde, Pride and Prejudice and Atonement if I just want background music. Also love love love the sound tracks from Cruel Intentions and Queen of the Damned. I listen to those a lot when I'm writing my scifi's. Also Evanesence seems to fit my scifi's well. Just Creed fits my historicals, espeically the westerns.

So how bout it writers and readers? Does music inspire you?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!


From all of us here at the Chatelaines, we wish you much joy and lots of love, today and always!


Happy Valentine's Day!


Emily, Cindy, Jennifer, CL, Gerri, Joy and Bonnie

More Friday the 13th on Valentine's Day

Emily asked about the history behind Friday the 13th. It's really rather fascinating.

Is Friday the 13th the unluckiest day of all, or a day that got a bad rap? As a historical writer, I'm always curious about how things came about, or what in history sparked certain events. I decided to do a little research. I must admit I was surprised by what I found. I've never seen this day as such a bad omen, one that forced me to do anything different than I had before. But what I discovered gave me something to think about.

Here are a few superstitions/tidbits from history:
Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue.
Many buildings don't have a 13th floor.
If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names).
There are 13 witches in a coven.
Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck -- as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday.

One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell once and for all the widespread superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned, named "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday, and was never seen or heard from again.

On October 13, 1307, a day so infamous that Friday the 13th would become a synonym for ill fortune, officers of King Philip IV of France carried out mass arrests in a well-coordinated dawn raid that left several thousand Templars-- knights, sergeants, priests, and serving brethren-- in chains, charged with heresy, blasphemy, and various obscenities. None of these charges was ever proven, even in France. The Order was found innocent elsewhere, but in the seven years following the arrests, hundreds of Templars suffered excruciating tortures intended to force 'confessions,' and more than a hundred died under torture or were executed by burning at the stake.

The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times. It's a widespread superstition that even has a name: paraskevidekatriaphobia, the morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th.Though no one can say for sure when and why human beings first associated the number 13 with misfortune, the belief is assumed to be quite old, and there exist any number of theories. It has been proposed, that fears surrounding the number 13 are as ancient as the act of counting. Primitive man had only his 10 fingers and two feet to represent units, this explanation goes, so he could count no higher than 12. What lay beyond that --13-- was a mystery.However, not all ancient civilizations dreaded the number 13. The Chinese regarded the number as lucky, as did the Egyptians in the time of the pharaohs.On the other hand, one of the earliest concrete taboos associated with the number 13 is said to have originated in the East with the Hindus, who believed that it is always unlucky for 13 people to gather in one place. Let's take a look at a couple of famous "dinner gatherings" with 13 guests.

In Viking history, twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, god of mischief, had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total number of attendees to 13. True to character, Loki raised hell by inciting Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods. Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. The Norse concluded from this story that 13 people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.

In Christian history, the Bible tells us there were exactly 13 present at the Last Supper. One of the disciples betrayed Jesus Christ, setting the stage for the Crucifixion, which took place on a Friday. But it doesn't stop there. Some say Friday's bad reputation goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It was on a Friday, supposedly, that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit. Adam bit, and they were both ejected from Paradise. Tradition also holds that the Great Flood began on a Friday; God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday; the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday.

And outside the dinner party scene, in pagan Rome, Friday was execution day (later Hangman's Day in Britain), but in other pre-Christian cultures it was the sabbath, a day of worship, so those who indulged in secular or self-interested activities on that day could not expect to receive blessings from the gods.

In the Middle Ages, Friday was known as the "Witches' Sabbath."And while there are any number of intriguing connections between events, practices and beliefs attributed to ancient cultures and the superstitious fear of Fridays and the number 13, there is no real evidence to mark Friday the 13th as the unluckiest day of all.

For me, my impressions of Friday the 13th come mostly from a series of American slasher films featuring none other than Jason Voorhees in his infamous white mask. That icon-ified image would give anyone the creeps, and the impetus to be wary, on Friday the 13th.

So what do you think? Lucky? Unlucky? You decide . . .

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th-Lucky or Unlucky?

My heart goes out to the family and friends of those who died on the Continental flight to Buffalo last night. I'm so sorry for you loss.

Coming so close to Friday the 13th, I began thinking some might try to connect the disaster to this date that so many perceive to be unlucky. I'm not a terribly superstitious person. Black cats hold no terror for me. Ditto for walking under ladders. From what I can see, Friday the 13th was only unlucky for the Knights Templar back in 1307. (I bet Gerri Russell can shed more light on that tale. Looks like her upcoming book features a knight errant!)

But I think superstitions have risen as our way of trying to make sense of the apparent randomness of misfortune. And maybe claim some protection. If we clutch a rabbit's foot, we'll come through unscathed. (This superstition really has me scratching my head. After all, it certainly wasn't lucky for the rabbit!)

Since my DH works in the travel technology field, I've logged lots of hours in the air. I make my peace with God every time I board a plane. Life is filled with possible misfortune. It's also brimming with wonderful, thrilling times. But one thing is certain. We're all terminal. Knowing that is both our blessing and our curse.

Because I know that life isn't a sure thing, it's important for me to remember to show the people I love how much they mean to me each day, to celebrate the little victories, and suck all the joy I can out of every moment. I want to laugh everyday and hopefully spread a little fun around in the process. So with that in mind . . .



For YOU, this Friday the 13th could be very lucky indeed. My blog tour goes on and with it another chance to win a VEXING THE VISCOUNT. Today, I'm at FreshFiction !


If you're not familiar with FreshFiction, you'll thank me for steering you there. They have reviews, interviews and lots of fun stuff. Along with the chance to win a VEXING THE VISCOUNT, a comment on my post will also enter you to win a $10 gift certificate from my fellow Leisure Books author, the fabulous Jade Lee!

Feeling lucky? Hope to see you there.


So what do you think about Friday the 13th (and I don't mean the slasher movies--ugh!)? Are there any superstitions that you believe are valid? Any time you think a talisman of some sort helped you through danger? Any superstition you find hilarious?

Feb 16th~And the Blog Goes On . . .


Happy Presidents Day! While you're enjoying a day off, I hope you'll stop by Sandra Cox's Blog. Sandra tells me we'll be posting this evening, so come on over, let me pour you a cup of decaf and we'll have a fashionably late chat. She's posting a new, never-before-seen excerpt from VEXING THE VISCOUNT . I like to call this scene Georgian Girl Talk! Here's your chance to listen in on a conversation between our heroine Daisy and her Great Aunt, the retired courtesan Isabella.

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Non-Post

I tried to think of something profound to post today, but I'm wrestling with the first book of my new paranormal series (I want it to be really, really, really, really good!!), plus working on marketing for my May historical.

So please read Joy's interesting post on UFOs below, or enjoy this excerpt of my new historical romance coming in May 2009 (The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie).

http://www.jennifersromances.com/Madnessoflordianexcerpt.html

Ta ta for now.

Jennifer Ashley

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Aliens among us?

The very first thing I noticed was how normal everyone looked.

Oh, there was more than your usual percentage of bearded men. Ditto for guys with long hair. But in general, it looked like a tame gathering. I mean, no one was even in costume!


Somehow, I expected a UFO conference to be a little more flamboyant.


But things quickly picked up. For one thing, the community college auditorium was packed – people sitting in the aisles and standing in the back. About 60-70 UFO aficionados had been expected. More than 400 showed up. And more than a few of them totally believe that aliens from other planets have visited Earth.

Some of them also believe in ghosts and Bigfoot.


There were a number of knowledgeable speakers with impressive resumes, including the head of a local UFO group, a journalist from a national UFO magazine, and a college professor who has made it his life’s work to uncover the hidden memories of alien abductees through hypnosis.

There was also some cool eye witness testimony from a few very sane-looking people who had seen UFOs flying over their homes at night.


It was an extremely interesting afternoon! Here's a recap of what I learned:

  • Aliens have been visiting Earth since the 1920s.
  • They fly in aircraft that can change direction and speed very quickly.
  • Some spaceships have been recovered by the military, but the brass isn’t talking.
  • For whatever reason, it is extremely difficult for a human civilian to take a decent photograph of a UFO.
  • The military has been reverse engineering military aircraft from alien spaceships.
  • If scientists don’t acknowledge the alien presence on Earth it’s because they are not looking at the data logically.
  • Aliens have abducted a lot of people over the years.
  • Abductees’ memories are mostly wiped out afterward, but can be recovered through hypnosis.
  • Many of the abductees have had similar experiences, even people who have never heard any other abductees’ stories.
  • Aliens can control humans’ minds.
  • UFO believers do not have a high opinion of Bill Nye the Science Guy (though I was unsure whether the heckling was directed at Bill! Bill! Bill! himself, or whether Dr. Nye was simply a symbol of the entire disbelieving scientific community).
  • Aliens do a lot of reproductive experimentation on humans, gathering sperm and egg samples.
  • Aliens do this because they are creating a hybrid alien/human race.
  • Over the years, the alien/human hybrids are becoming more and more human-looking.
  • There are a lot of hybrids living on Earth now, posing as humans. They could be your next door neighbor (I always suspected…).
  • The aliens are probably planning an invasion of Earth, and the hybrids have probably been stationed here to help when the time comes.
  • Some UFO believers think this invasion will be a good thing. Others are not so sure.
None of this was really a news flash. It was all stuff I learned watching the X-Files.

But this WAS the first time I’d heard the theories seriously presented by intelligent people in a non-fictional environment.


Am I now a believer?


Well, not really, but I have to admit, it’s more than a little spooky. While even the most hardened UFO enthusiasts admit that 90
% of UFO sightings/abductions are false, there’s still that 10% that can’t be explained.

And that ½ of 1% that REALLY can’t be explained.


So….here's what I took away from my first UFO conference:

*Something* weird and unexplainable has happened to many people over many years.
As for what it is…I haven’t a clue. But it sure inspires story ideas!

Vampire conference, anyone?

Joy




More Immortals adventure
available at the end of February!

Read an excerpt of "Blood Debt" by Joy Nash


www.joynash.com

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Interview today over at The Good, Bad, Unread

I did a guest interview at a reader blog today.

Go check it out. Click here.

Haiti was pretty grueling, went to an area where 40 have died from starvation. They still continue to suffer. As one local official put it, "They live in misery and they die in misery."

The work goes on. I'll probably be returning next month.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The missing weekend

I was sick this weekend. Got sick after my signing on Thursday and am still feeling squeamish today. The good news is I lost six lbs. The bad news is I lost six lbs. My son sent me this video and it pretty much sums up my weekend. Especially is this going to be forever part.

Listening to the hairs on the back of my neck . . .

I've noticed a trend lately. The line between historical romance and paranormal is blurring a bit. My next release, VEXING THE VISCOUNT is a historical romance, but there are a few “tingles” of magic in it.

My hero Lucian and heroine Daisy are on the trail of a lost Roman treasure. The clues lead them to an uninhabited island in middle of the Thames, a mist-shrouded place where no birds sing. The standing stones speak of Druid worship that pre-dates the Roman hoard they seek. Daisy feels the weight of eyes on her where none can possibly be. The island “has no use for them.”

My DH and I felt that tickle on the nape once. We were driving our rental car around Maui, exploring the island. We reached a place where the road narrowed and there wasn’t a house or hint of human development in sight. We pulled off the road, parked and got out, excited to find some pristine paradise.

And almost immediately, I felt a heaviness, a brooding resentment, coming from the very rocks around us.

“We shouldn’t be here,” I told my DH.

“You’re right,” he agreed. We hopped back into our little red Mustang and drove back to the populated area of Maui, breathing much easier. My DH, who is one of the least fanciful men I’ve ever met, experienced the same sense of disembodied malevolence I’d felt.

I don’t know what it was. I’ve never had that sensation anywhere before or since and we’ve been in some very remote areas. But I know that little portion of Hawaiian paradise definitely “had no use for us.”

Daisy and Lucian can’t hop into their rental Mustang. They have no way off their unwelcoming island. If you want to know what happens to them, please look for VEXING THE VISCOUNT in bookstores Feb. 24th! In the meantime, visit www.emilybryan.com to read an excerpt. Enjoy!

Author Bio: Award-winning author Emily Bryan writes light-hearted, sexy historical romance. She loves music, art, and history and spent one of the best days of her life at the National Art Gallery in London. Travel inspires her writing and a world cruise is on her “must-do-before-leaving-this-planet” list! (Of course, if the stock market keeps falling, she'll have to stow away on a freighter, but hey! An adventure is an adventure!)

"Bryan's delicious and witty romance has engaging characters whose fast-paced adventures will truly delight." ~ RT BookReviews

Leave a comment or question to be entered in my daily drawing to win a signed copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT! And be sure to check back tomorrow to see if YOU are the winner!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Historical Romance--Way, way, way, way back


I adore ancient history. Ancient Rome, Egypt, Greece.

(Which is why I snuck some ancient Egyptian and Greek history into my Berkley Heat books, Mortal Temptations and Mortal Seductions.)





Yesterday, I finished one of Lindsey Davis’s wonderful Ancient Rome mysteries: One Virgin Too Many. If you loved HBO’s Rome (and even if you didn’t), Davis’s series is a must-read.



Her hero, Marcus Didius Falco, leads you through the Rome of the early 70s AD, during the reign of Vespasian and his son Titus Caesar. While the HBO series Rome dealt with the harshness of life and the rise of the empire, Falco lives in (more or less) peaceful times, after the wildness of Nero was vanquished and the sensible, steady Vespasian took his place.

Falco’s dry wit always has me laughing out loud; I love his parents, his overbearing Italian mother and his roguish father Geminius.

His girlfriend/wife Helena is his perfect foil: well-born, intelligent, beautiful, capable (and she gives him a hand solving the mysteries--a meek little wife she isn't).

The story is rounded out by Helena's family, Falco's army buddy Petronius, Falco's many sisters and their children, the duplicitous spy Anacrites, and other colorful characters.

The mysteries run from simple whodunits, Agatha Christie style, to plots abroad to undermine the emperor's power.

Though laced with humor, the stories aren’t romps or zany slapstick comedy. They’re thoughtful stories, portraying Rome vividly, as a real place. You laugh, but at times you also cry.

If mysteries aren’t your thing, how about an Ancient Roman romance? Lindsey Davis penned the romance between the emperor Vespasian and the slave woman he loved, Caenis, in the book The Course of Honor.



Their story starts during the reign of Tiberius and endures through Caligula, Claudius, Nero, the chaos of the year of the four emperors and ends with Vespasian’s rise to power. It’s more historical fiction than romance, in my view, but the romance is sweet and strong.

I first stumbled upon the Falco mysteries because a friend of mine recommended Course of Honor. The store I went to didn’t have it, but did have The Silver Pigs, the first Falco mystery. I read it and was hooked!

I’m admittedly way behind on the series—I think I have eight more to go to catch up to the new one coming up this spring: Alexandria. I’ve been eager to see Falco go to Egypt, so I will read up to it as soon as I can.

For the series order, check out http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/d/lindsey-davis/

For more about my Heat series (Mortal Temptations and the upcoming Mortal Seductions): See http://www.allysonjames.com



Happy reveling in ancient history!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The importance of romance

I'm writing this blog post before I leave for Haiti. I'll be in that country the week it runs.



I just wanted to make a short observation about how important romance can be in someone's life.



I have a friend in Haiti who was kidnapped at gunpoint a few years ago. They blindfolded her, put the gun to her temple as they forced her to call relatives for the ransom money.



She got out alive, one of the lucky ones.



To this day, she has trouble sleeping at night. So whenever I visit, I always try to bring her lots and lots of books. She loves to read English books, especially romances, because they brighten her life and help her relax so she can sleep.



Some people say romance is trash.



Those are the ones who don't know what a treasure a romance novel can be, especially to a woman whose nightmares are soothed by a romance novel.



Have a good week, all, and here's to all of us who write romance, and read it.

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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