Friday, May 25, 2012

Musa Memorial Day Blog Tour

Welcome everyone to my portion of the
Musa Memorial Day Blog Hop!

I’m the offspring of a World War II soldier.  He, along with several of my relatives served to keep the American free.  Some in Korea, others in Vietnam and now in the Middle East.  In addition to my family members, it occurred to me as I started to work on today’s post that my three husbands also severed in the military and in the first marriage I spent double digit years as an Army wife.  A young girl of nineteen from rural North Carolina got to see a lot of the world.  The marriage may have fallen apart, but my appreciation and admiration of those who serve remained, and still remains strong. Thank each and every one of your for putting your lives on the line each day!

I’m sharing a couple of shots of beautiful Colorado with you.  Hope you enjoy!
Here's the beautiful Maroon Bells

And here’s a little about Making Christmas, the 2011 LRC Winner for Best Historical.

Even during the Civil War, Christmas is made with love.

Wounded in a skirmish, Callie Marsh’s disguise as a Confederate soldier is discovered by the doctor who treats her. Working with him in the hospital she learns no matter what color uniform a soldier wears, they all miss family during the holidays. And that an enemy doctor can be the man of her dreams.

Dr. Tom Kent knows the safest place for the woman is working by his side. Their constant interaction has him wanting more than is smart considering their division of philosophy. His determination to keep her safe is hindered by Major Henry Ash’s decision the young prisoner would make an excellent aide could put her in danger of discovery.

Will Callie be able to set aside her dislike of Yankees to make Christmas for the enemy and especially for the man she’s come to love?
Enter to win a copy of Making Christmas by signing up here to follow my blog. 
Also, share your plans for the Memorial Day.  Are you having a quiet one or will it be hectic?
Now, back to the blog tour.  Make sure to stop by and say “hi” to all the great Musa authors! Just click on a name and you're there.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Special Guest Marie Sexton Stops by on the CRW Blog Tour

A big thank you to the Award Winning author Marie Sexton for including us on her CRW Mystic Month Blog Hop.  Marie and I both live in Colorado and don't connect often enough since we live a long drive apart.  But it is always fun to catch up when we do connect.

A huge thanks to Lizzie for hosting me today, and to everybody who’s followed the CRW Mystic Month of May Blog Hop so far. We’re so happy to have you all with us! 

Living in Colorado, there’s a lot about May to love. It’s warm and bright and absolutely beautiful. The sky is the brightest blue you’ve ever seen and the air is heavy with the scent of blooming trees. Later in the summer, it’ll be too hot for me to sit outside, but right now, it’s perfect.  

Also, these are the last weeks of the school year, which means I have to relish my free time while I have it. Starting in June, I’ll have an eight-year old dogging my steps. :-) 

I’d like to share an excerpt from my novel Between Sinners and Saints. This book won the 2011 CRW Single Title Award of Excellence. I’ll be giving away an ebook of Between Sinners and Saints to one commenter today.  

First, here’s the blurb: 

Levi Binder is a Miami bartender who cares about only two things: sex and surfing.  Ostracized by his Mormon family for his homosexuality, Levi is determined to live his life his own way, but everything changes when he meets massage therapist Jaime Marshall.
Jaime is used to being alone.  Haunted by the horrors of his past, his only friend is his faithful dog, Dolly.  He has no idea how to handle somebody as gorgeous and vibrant as Levi.
Complete opposites on the surface, Levi and Jaime both long for something they can only find together.  Through love and the therapeutic power of touch, they’ll find a way to heal each other, and they’ll learn to live as sinners in a family of saints. 

And here’s the excerpt. At this point in the book, Levi and Jaime are visiting Levi’s large Mormon family for Thanksgiving 

The weather had been unseasonably warm, and that was what gave Levi the idea.  It was a bit childish, but that was part of its appeal, and he hoped it would allow Jaime to get a decent night's sleep.  He waited until everybody else had gone to bed.  Once the house was silent, he got up. Jacob's son Roy looked up at him from his spot on the floor.  That was good.  It meant Levi didn't have to wake anybody up.   

"Hey champ," Levi whispered to him.  "Why don't you sleep in the bed tonight?" 

"Dad says--" 

"Don't worry about your dad," Levi told him.  "I'll tell him it was my idea." 

"Will we get in trouble?" Roy asked. 

"No trouble," Levi told him.  "I promise." 

Once Roy was climbing into Levi's bed, Levi took the empty sleeping bag out into the hall.  He left it by the linen closet and crept to the spare bedroom, where Jaime slept. He was a bit worried about how to wake Jaime up without scaring him to death, but it turned out to not be an issue.  Jaime was wide awake and staring at the ceiling. 

"What's going on?" he whispered to Levi. 

 "Come on," he said to Jaime.  "Follow me."   

In the dark room, he couldn't tell if Jaime was confused or curious, but he got out of bed.  He watched silently as Levi nudged Carter awake.  Carter didn't need any convincing to give up his bag in lieu of the empty bed. 

Levi took Carter's bag and pillow, and handed them to Jaime.  He led Jaime and Dolly down the hall, grabbing his own sleeping bag on the way. They went down the stairs, and across the linoleum floor of the kitchen with Dolly's nails clicking softly behind them, then out the sliding glass door and onto the patio.  

"What are you doing?" Jaime asked, but Levi could hear the smile in his voice.  "Are you crazy?" 

"There's nothing wrong with sleeping outside." He started around the table on the patio without thinking about it, but then heard a thump and a muffled curse from Jaime.  "You okay?" 

"I can't see anything."  

Levi reached back.  His hand landed on Jaime's arm. He was pleased that Jaime didn't try to pull away.  Levi slid his hand down and gripped Jaime's wrist.  He led him around the first table, and past the giant potted strawberry plant that his mom had grown every year for as long as he could remember, now withered and brown.  Then around the kid-size picnic table, down the steps and onto the lawn. 

The air was cool and comfortable, and the grass felt cold and prickly against his bare feet. Once they were past the obstacle course of the patio, he let go of Jaime's wrist, but to his surprise, Jaime grabbed his hand instead. Levi turned to look at him, wondering at the sudden intimacy, but in the dark, he couldn't read Jaime's expression at all. He could tell only that Jaime was looking up at the half-bare branches of trees above them. 

"Here?" Levi asked. "Or do you want to see the sky?" 

Jaime's voice was soft and hopeful. "Sky." 

"Good choice."  Still holding his Jaime's hand, Levi led him toward the open side of the back yard, away from the swing set that had been there since he was a boy.  There were a lot of tall trees in the back yard, but he knew there was a spot near the back of the yard that would afford them a clear view through the branches. 

He stopped when he got there and spread out his bag, and Jaime followed suit, and they climbed into them.  It reminded Levi of a hundred different times he had done this as a kid, with one of his brothers or sisters.  Sometimes with all of them.  Dolly lay down on Jaime's other side, and Levi looked up past the trees at a tiny patch of sky.  They couldn't see many stars, but a silver sliver of moon floated above them. 

Jaime sighed, sounding content.  "This was a good idea." 

Levi smiled.  "I thought so, too." 

"I haven't slept outside since..."  His words trailed away as he thought about it.  "Since the summer before my senior year of high school."  The way he said it was odd.  Sad, and yet, with a hint of fondness.  

Levi turned toward him, propping his head up on his elbow so he could look at him, although it was too dark to read his expression.  He could see just enough to know that Jaime was staring up at the moon.  It was so rare for Jaime to volunteer information about his past.  He waited, wondering if he would have to prod him to get him to say more, but after a minute, Jaime started talking again. 

"It was a lot like this, actually," he said.  "My friend Craig knew I had nightmares.  Sometimes he'd invite me over and we'd sleep in his back yard."  Jaime stayed on his back, but turned his face toward him, and Levi resisted the urge to lean closer in an attempt to read his expression.  "Did you ever read Christine?" 

The apparent change of subject surprised him.  "By Stephen King?  No." 

"I read that book when I was sixteen, and I always felt like I was Arnie and he was Dennis.  I was the loser and he was the popular kid who somehow ended up being my friend."  He looked back up at the night sky.  "He lived around the block from me, so I'd see him a lot in the summer.  He had a lot of friends though, and girlfriends.  Once school started, I'd kind of fade away." 

"That's shitty," Levi said. 

In the low light, Levi could barely see Jaime's shrug.  "Not really.  It wasn't that he was an asshole or anything.  He had a life.  And I didn't.  But he was the best friend I had back then."  He stopped for a minute, and then said, quieter, "Especially that year.  Sleeping in his back yard is the only thing about Cleveland I've ever missed." 

The way he said it sparked a twinge of jealousy in Levi.  "You were in love with him." 

"I guess I was.  I didn't really think of it in those terms at the time, but yeah.  I used to live for those nights." 

"So what happened?" 

"Same thing that happens to everybody at that age.  We graduated, and he went to OSU and I came down here." 

"And that's it?" Levi asked. 

"That's it."  He turned toward Levi again.  "I haven't seen him since." 

"I'm so sorry, Jaime."  He knew as soon as the words were out if his mouth that he shouldn't have said them. 

"For what?" Jaime asked in surprise. 

For not being there. For not meeting you sooner. For not protecting you all those years ago. But of course, he couldn't say any of those things. 

Jaime watched him silently.  Now that his eyes had adjusted to the dark, Levi could barely make out the features of his pale face--his strong jaw, and soft lips.  His eyes were lost in shadows.  And suddenly, Levi wanted him so much, it took his breath away.  He'd grown used to being close to Jaime, even sleeping in the same bed without letting his feelings get the best of him.  But now, lying in the moonlight in his parents' back yard, he felt he couldn't stand to wait another minute.  He ached for him.   

They were in separate bags, with less than a foot of space between them.  He imagined leaning across that gap.  He imagined kissing Jaime, claiming the softness of his lips, stealing his breath.  He imagined feeling Jaime's arms around his neck, and he felt his body respond.   

He wanted to kiss Jaime's neck, to whisper in his ear.  The bags would be between them.  Was it possible that would give Jaime the barrier he needed to feel safe?  Even as he thought it, Levi knew he wanted more.  He wanted to unzip Jaime's bag and slip his hands inside.  He wanted to feel Jaime's skin against his fingertips.  He wanted to slide his hand under his waistband, to cup his soft, round ass in his hands, to pull his slim body tight against him.  He wanted to hear Jaime gasp, to make him squirm, to hear him moan. He wanted to slide down his body, to suck him deep into his mouth, to feel Jaime's fingers clench in his hair.  He wanted to make him come undone.  

He had to try.  He had to risk it.  He reached out, moving his hand slowly across the grass toward Jaime. He wanted to touch Jaime's hair, and run his fingertip down his cheek.  If that didn't scare him away, it would be easy to lean closer.  His heart pounded in his chest as he anticipated feeling Jaime's lips against his.  

Buy it here:

Ebook on Amazon:

About Marie: 

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Visit Marie’s website at, or join her for Coffee and Porn in the Morning at

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Special Guest Sunday -- Chris Redding!

Welcome, Chris Redding!  Today, Chris shares insight into bad boys and why we love them.  We all have probably had one or two in our lives so grab your coffee (or beverage of choice) and enjoy!

The bad boy holds a special place in my heart. I married the antithesis of a bad boy, but for some reason they hold some appeal. Maybe because I can watch them and be friends with them without worrying about succumbing to their charms. Not that I think I ever really succumbed to anyone’s charms. I don’t trust anyone that much and you come on strong I back off.
            But they are fascinating.
            Let me clarify. Bad boys are not the kind you see on cops with their girlfriend/wife/mother/sister yelling at them from the trailer. These are men who are so enamored of women that they have studied them for years.
            Probably since birth.
            What are some of the traits of a bad boy?
            He’s fun. He’s confident. He’s good in bed. (Or at least he thinks he is.) He thrives on being bad and he knows how to get you to do what he wants. He has studied women for years and knows every type and how to get past their defenses. Think about your hero. Wouldn’t he be fun to write this way? Wouldn’t it be fun to live vicariously through a guy like this? (What? You don’t sometimes imbue your characters with traits you’d like to have?)
So bad boys come in all shapes and sizes. He doesn’t need to be an ex-Special Forces guy. He can be that college professor or the accountant who does your taxes. Wow. Now I really want to write a bad boy in my next book.
Bad boys study women endlessly. They don’t just know generalities about women. They know specifics about the women they are pursuing. There is a certain charm in that. They do see women as individuals. During the chase. After, probably not.
            He isn’t a player. A player will brag, only go after one type of woman and cares only enough about them to get them into bed. A bad boy is discreet about his conquests, likes all women and does know more about them then just how to get them into bed.
            Doesn’t that sound like a fun hero of a romance novel?
            He doesn’t have to be ex Special Forces.
            My former boss is a former bad boy. He’s a paramedic who used to be a paid firefighter.
            Why do you want your hero to have bad boy qualities? Because it can stir up the story and give it conflict.
            How does a bad boy do this? What are the techniques? There are three of them: Tell you that you are beautiful, encourage naughtiness, occasionally fight.
            Don’t all of those sound like a hero in a romance novel?
            Bad boys know how to compliment a woman in a way that is unique to her. They don’t go for the obvious, but rather something very personal to the woman. Think about giving your heroine some unique trait. Maybe she snorts when she laughs. He finds that irresistible. So he’ll comment and compliment her on it. But he does it in a way that she isn’t offended.
            It will most likely take her off guard. She’ll respond.
            Think of the buttoned down heroine getting to let loose with her bad boy. She goes out and buys that party pack of glow-in-the-dark ribbed condoms. Haven’t you ever seen someone really let loose? It’s invigorating to watch.
Or think of that person who doesn’t laugh very often. Getting them to laugh is so cathartic. There was a deliver guy at a library I once worked at. He went about his business and never made eye contact. That’s a challenge to me. So I said hello to him every day. By the fifth time he said it back. I think one of the librarians within ear shot had never heard the guy’s voice.
            That’s how a bad boy feels when he can get a woman to let loose.
            Think of the possibilities.
            Today I’ve just scraped the surface of what a bad boy is and how you can use him in your writing.

Chris Redding’s latest book, Incendiary, is out now.. A firefighter accused of arson tries to find the real culprit while rekindling a long ago love.           

Chris Redding lives in NJ with her husband, two boys (one of which is a bad boy to be) a dog and three rabbits. When not writing she works in the male dominated field of Emergency Medical Services. For more details about her books visit She blogs at  Her latest thriller is Blonde Demolition available on Amazon.

You just can't hide from the past... 

Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security. 

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.  

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Recipe Wednesday - Have Your Cookie and Lose Too

This is a cookie recipe Dr. Oz talked about on his show.  Haven't tried it yet because I need the flaxseed meal and soy protein powder, but have put them on my shopping list.  It would be great to have a 'guiltless' sweet treat so I'm willing to give this recipe a try!

Cookies to lose weight? It's true! These protein-packed cookies help to cut down on cravings. Enjoy them with a shot of espresso to trick your body into feeling fuller sooner.

2/3 cup natural peanut butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups oats
3/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
1/4 tsp salt
4 scoops chocolate soy protein powder
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together eggs, brown sugar, applesauce, peanut butter and vanilla. Add protein powder, oats, flax meal, salt, and baking soda. Drop spoonfuls dough onto cookie sheets approximately 6-8 per cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Musing -- An Award for Beyond Magic

What a great start to the week.  My husband is doing Very well in his recovery and I'm still happy dancing over the another first place for one of my books.  I'm delighted to share Beyond Magic received first place for the Paranormal/Fantasy/Sy-Fi catgeory in the Award of Excellence on Saturday.  Yes, it did catch me suprise.  And double yes on my looking tired in the picture I'm sharing with you here.  Even delightful news can't take away the exhausted appearance generated from a stressful week...but it helps internal feelings!

Thank you Colorado Romance Writers for the this honor!

 Beyond Magic
by Lizzie T. Leaf
Published by Passion in Print Press
Availabe in Print & eBook

Following the Powers directive to unite soul mates, a Scottish Cailleach's magic will have repercussions in several realms.

Mixed-blood Ian McCabe, grandson of Fae and gods tries to deny his powers.When he discovers mortal, Emma Grant unconscious at the bottom of the steps to his castle, his world starts to change.

Tour director Emma Grant's bus breaks down and her effort to find help results in a fall that knocks her unconscious.She awakens to find the man of her dreams staring into her eyes.

But will his secrets and her distrust of men tear them apart?

A couple of buy Links:

Also available at Barnes & Noble, Fictionwise & All Romance Cafe.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

All's Quiet on the Blog Front

My husband is having surgery this week and I'm distracted and busy juggling some other stuff too so won't be doing much here this week.  Stay tuned for next week and any positive thoughts and prayers you can send our way is appreciated.