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Calisa Rhose with Dani-Lyn Alexander

Osiyo~

Welcome one and all! Grab a drink and a man (optional :P) and take a seat. I’m doing things a bit different today folks due to a skinny time frame this week. I had a last minute guest and I didn’t have time to set her up right. Because of this, there will just be blurbs and drool-worthy covers and samples without a special author intro this week. I apologize, but hope what my guest, Dani-Lyn Alexander, brings to share will make up for my lack. 😆

Let’s get right to it! Take it away, Dani!

Truth and Deceit

TruthandDeceit-byDaniLynAlexander_200x300

A suspicious past, a daunting secret, a forbidden romance… How much does it take to tip the scales from good to evil?

When Lexie Davis wakes to find herself surrounded by luxury with no memory of who she is or how she got there, the fear all but suffocates her. But learning the truth about her circumstances will scare her even more. Desperate for a way to regain her life, Lexie tries to piece together the past. But ghosts from her childhood make it hard for her to let go of her secret—a secret that could force her to spend eternity in Darkness.

Deceived by the woman he loves, abandoned by the brother he trusts, Matthew Hayes struggles against evil to win the battle for his life. But when he wakes to find Lexie sobbing softly at his side, he makes a heartbreaking discovery. Not only is their love forbidden by the most ancient laws, but she has been keeping an unbelievable secret from him—he has a child. The child could give him the strength he needs to defeat the Regulators…if it doesn’t destroy him first…

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And even more!

Trust and Betrayal

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Trust is the ultimate weapon in the battle against evil.

Single mother Shay McKeon is no dummy—she’s intelligent as well as street-smart. But when she receives a phone call threatening her children, she rushes headlong into the hands of evil.

Saved from certain death by Mason Constanza, who calls himself a Guardian, Shay is taken to the Realm of Light, where she learns her husband never abandoned her as she’d thought, and that good and evil are nothing like she’d imagined. Learning to deal with her own existence as a Guardian, Shay’s attraction to Mason grows. But she has her own demons to battle, and when her daughter is abducted, she’ll have to trust Mason and his team. But Mason has his own ancient battles to fight…

***

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Excerpt Truth and Deceit:

Prologue

She ran. Her breath came in short, shallow gasps, her heart pounding, her lungs burning as she clutched the infant to her chest and poured all of her energy into escape. An unnatural darkness flooded the night. There was no moon visible, no stars peeking through the dense fog. Thankfully, she knew these woods well, had grown up here, playing manhunt with the rest of the kids from the neighborhood. Only this was no game; this hunt was all too real, the consequences of being caught, severe.

Her eyes strained as she tried to watch for obstacles, fallen trees, puddles, patches of wet leaves. She had to keep her footing. A fall now could be deadly. Mud oozed between her toes as it filled the sneakers she had quickly shoved onto her bare feet.

Between the darkness and the fog, she could barely see where she was going. Yet, she didn’t dare slow down. Nor did she risk a glance back over her shoulder, afraid fear would paralyze her if she saw him coming.

She tried to listen for the telltale sounds of pursuit, but other than the sound of her own footfalls, the sucking of the mud each time she lifted a foot, and the pounding of her own heart, silence mocked her. Too much silence, the kind that warned of a predator on the hunt. But these woods had no large predators. Skunks, chipmunks, squirrels, even an occasional fox made their homes here. There were deer, beautiful, graceful, but not dangerous.

And then she heard it. A large branch snapping, the sound like a shotgun blast echoing in the silence. She knew that sound. When she and her friends were kids, they would hang around the woods, often bored, snapping the dead branches that littered the ground. She also knew that she was meant to hear it. He moved too stealthily for the noise to have been a mistake. It was part of the game, to ratchet up the fear, let her know just how close he was.

She looked around wildly, trying to get her bearings. Had she missed the trail that turned off and headed toward the canal? The shadows pressed too closely, she couldn’t tell. She had to find it before he reached her. Desperation had her risking one quick glance down at the baby. That was all it took to ground her—one peek at the helpless child depending on her.

She took a deep breath and looked around again. She had to find the trail and make it to the boathouse by the canal. Men often hung around down there late into the night, drinking beer, playing poker, enjoying the break from work and home. There would be help there, people to protect her and her baby.

When she recognized the fallen tree, where she had shared her first kiss with Jimmy Hessler, the first glimmer of hope since this chase had begun shivered through her. The path lay directly in front of her. She was almost there. A few more steps and she’d be on the trail where she could run full out. She could outrun him once she was out of the thick underbrush. She wouldn’t have the mud grabbing at her feet, the thorns tearing at her legs, or the undergrowth tripping her. She’d run track in high school, had run cross-country through these very trails, and she was fast. The fear prodded her to move even faster, adrenaline coursing through her bloodstream. Optimism soared as she covered the last few feet that would lead her to safety.

She felt a sting in her back, and she went down hard. She curled her body over the baby as best she could, trying to offer as much protection as possible. She landed hard on her right side, her hip slamming into a rock, sending pain shooting all the way up her side and down her leg. An explosion of light burst in front of her eyes as she struggled, fiercely, to hold on to consciousness. She fought against the eddy of blackness closing in on her from both sides, tunneling her vision.

As she dragged herself slowly forward, she spotted the old tree on the corner of the trail. She used her left foot to push herself forward, grabbing hold of anything she could reach to pull herself toward the tree. Thorns tore at her hands, her hair, her face; excruciating pain shot through her back. She clutched the baby to her breast. Sheer determination propelled her the last few inches to her goal. When she finally made it, she pushed the bushes aside and placed the swaddled infant into the hollow at the base of the tree, praying it wouldn’t start to cry until the man had gone. Praying it would cry loud enough to attract help once he had. She took one last look at her child. “I love you, my baby,” she whispered, and allowed the thick bushes to spring back into place, effectively camouflaging the tentative hiding place. Then, using the last of her energy, she pushed away from the tree and rolled over, coming to rest facedown with the lower half of her body still resting in the leaves and brush, and her upper body lying across the trail she had been so desperately trying to reach.

* * *

When he reached her, he didn’t even bother to bend down, just used his foot to roll her onto her back. A jolt of surprise shot through him when he realized the infant was not underneath her. It shattered his arrogance and drove him to his knees. He pawed frantically through the brush, searching for the child. He didn’t need a light, was used to the dark and could see as well as if the sun were illuminating the shadows and fog that covered the ground.

There was no baby.

Sweat sprung out on his forehead. Where was it? Had she left the child somewhere? A chill crawled down his spine. Had it even been with her when she’d fled the apartment?

The sudden realization that he had just gone from the hunter to the prey brought with it true, gut-wrenching fear.

***

Links:

http://www.danilynalexander.com
http://www.facebook.com/danilynalexander
http://www.twitter.com/#!/Dani-LynAlexander

Thank you for entertaining us today, Dani! Please stick around and visit our guests.

Dodadagohvi~

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Nardi Point with Nancy LaPonzina

Osiyo~

I am so honored to introduce my cyber friends here on the ranch to another of  my crit partners, and a talented writer. She’s here to let me dig into her gray matter a tad so I have her lassoed in the round pen. Let’s meet and then begin!

Ladies and gentlemen, (insert Oprah voice here)  Nancy LaPonzina!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi Calisa! I’m so excited to be here with my critique partner and chat. Congratulations again on the recent release of Home! Love the cover!

Ah, what a lovely thing to say. Isn’t Nancy a great sport? Even tied up she didn’t forget my novella. I love my cover, too, Nancy. Thank you! So, let’s get to the reason you’re here and then the li’l smokies ought to be warm and the wine chilled. As happens often on the ranch, we’ll party into the night!

  1. Which comes first for you—plot or characters? Ahhhhh, for me it’s plot. Snatches of scenes here and there work themselves together into a bare beginning, middle and end. Then the characters find me—a face in a magazine, a name from a dream or overheard. Sometimes once I have a heroine, I ask her more about her issues and she’ll introduced me to other characters. Having said that, I suddenly became aware of a character for a third book barely on the drawing board. And I don’t even like her name. Can I say that out loud? And I know she’s someone who works with books and therapy—a bibliotherapist.
  2. What aspect of writing comes easy to you?  What is difficult? Believe it or not—revision. When I go back for line edits, I sometimes wonder who wrote this stuff? But I move along at a fast rate changing the words, changing long phrases into shorter ones, and it’s pleasing to see it “change for the good!” I suppose because the left brain editor gets her way during this stage and I don’t have to send her packing because this is her time to participate. Difficult would be structuring the POV character to let us know what other characters are experiencing through behavior and dialog. My characters could be called “thoughtful” so by that description, they are very aware of what others are doing or not doing in a scene and I have to show that.
  3. What inspires you? Inspiration comes from interests and questions I have. I generally write a list of issues to explore upfront. I find this is the best way to carry a story though the middle. It makes it easier if I’m interested. In Nardi Point I wanted to explore: the dynamic of beauty in a relationship; the effect of coincidence in pairing; preserving meaningful life moments against capitalism and greed; and exploring the toxic workplace. I have a big interest in archaeology; the metaphysical including astrology and dreamwork; alternative healing therapies, journaling; healthcare, and creating wonderful outdoor spaces of spiritual rest.
  4. Who are some of your must-read authors and why? I’m reading more women’s fiction than in the past. I’ve read Marilyn Brandt, and right now I’m loving Sarah Addison Allen for setting, North Carolina,  her touch of the unexpected but inspired magic. I’m on my third book of hers right now, Sugar Queen, and it’s the kind of story I dread finishing because then it won’t be there for me to dip into. Now that’s a good book when that happens!
  5. What did you enjoy most about writing your latest work? Nardi Point’s setting is local. Seeing the culture and environment of Raleigh, North Carolina from a writer’s viewpoint and how quickly this developed into my story was very exciting. One of the strongest tenets of writing advice is, write what you know. Well this was absolutely the case with Nardi Point.

And now for some fun to let your readers get to know you better.

1.  Who would you like to meet in the publishing industry and why? Oprah (Calisa says: see how she adores me? 😉 ) or Martha Stewart. Both women have great clout, savvy, and presence in the publishing industry and are tested taste-makers.

2.  Dog, cat, or neither? Cat right now. We have a rescue Maine coon, Copy, who loves to reach up to our faces and “butt it” in greeting. Then he rolls to the floor and rolls completely over three or four times. I wondered to our vet whether he may have been trained to do that. She gave me a look and said the challenge of teaching a cat to roll over would be amazing. So I took that for a no.

3.  Favorite movie and why? Well, Out of Africa, and yes, Sound of Music have to top the list. I believe in large part to the wonderful soundtracks. If you have a great story with great music, the complexity of the movies is so rewarding and entertaining. And I really like to be entertained!

BIO

Nancy LaPonzina writes in the beautiful countryside of Franklin County minutes away from Raleigh, North Carolina, under Carolina blue skies. Her very first story, The Mystery of the Missing Desk, was a second-grade suspense written on three-hold punch, loose-leaf pages bound with pink satin ribbon. Most of her professional life was spent as a technical writer, website content provider, Registered Nurse, Big Four tax paraprofessional and CEO administrative assistant. However, school newspaper columns, publication in national magazines ARTnews, Ingenue, American Girl, True Astrology Forecast, Psychic Astrology Horoscope, web content contribution for Examiner.com, LiveStrong.com, and editor responsibilities for community service organizations, all confirmed paper, books, journals—all things writing—are her true touchstones.

Her women’s fiction explores thoughtful characters involved in challenging situations, and braids in touches of archaeology, the metaphysical, and alternative healing modalities. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Triangle Area Freelancers, Friends of the Youngsville Library, General Federation of Women’s Clubs of North Carolina, Youngsville Woman’s Club, Holistic Nurses Association of America, and the Coe Foundation for Archaeologic Research. She lives in Youngsville, with dear husband Thom, and their rescue Maine Coon cat, Copy.

Her debut novel, Nardi Point, regionally set in Raleigh, North Carolina is available April 17, 2012 from Rebel Ink Press, Amazon/Kindle, Barnes & Noble/Nook, ARe, and BookStrand. 

THAT’S TOMORROW FOLKS!!!!!!!!!!!

BLURB

Should the past make way for the present …

Stylish, brunette Laurinda Elliot is the type of accomplished business woman glossy magazines feature on their covers. Effectively managing a software product development team in Raleigh, North Carolina, Laurinda’s drive and savvy delivers all the perks: an upscale townhouse, Porsche Boxer convertible and designer clothing. Yet she now yearns for a different success—one that brings surprising first time experience with vulnerability. Her uber software code developer partner Dan Riser, can’t buy into the new direction she leads them, but goes along to keep the peace, and more importantly, beautiful Laurinda.

Or the present make way for the past—and love …

When prehistoric Native American pottery artifacts are discovered on the couple’s North Raleigh building site in the Nardi Point subdivision, the ancient past collides with the present and Laurinda and Dan’s relationship hangs in the balance. Laurinda must trump construction economics and greed to preserve commitment to her dream, uphold her friendship with holistic healing practitioner, Leyla Jo Piper, and answer to a new romance, all while attempting to conserve North Carolina history. Will digging up the past, bury her future? Nardi Point explores the thread of life that blends past, current, and future to recognize the importance of knowing who we are in the story of life.

 *****

Get your copy at All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/IrAedz

Email: joywriter@embarqmail.com

Blog: http://www.nancylaponzina.wordpress.com

Twitter: @NancyLaPonzina

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-LaPonzina/345726075455168

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4IvixrsfiE

This has been FUN, Calisa! Thanks so much for having me today!er@embarqmail.com

Blog: http://www.nancylaponzina.

Thank you so much for visiting and letting me pick your brain, Nancy! I love your book cover. Good luck with your debut release!

Dodadagohvi~