Sunday, June 26, 2011

And the World Kept Turning

I woke up on June 15th expecting, oh, I don't know, something fantastical. No, no. That's not entirely true...the realist inside me said things would be the same. But the imaginative side just thought the whole world would be different. Like I'd wake up with a tell-tale sign that I was now an official novelist. Ooh, maybe an awesome and mysterious tattoo materializing on my forehead, "Novelist Here".

I don't know...something. But the realist won out (and of course was smug about it as realist personalities are when they're right). I got up, dressed, and went to my day job. I worked 8 hours and then went home. My husband and kids were actually gone camping so it was just me. (I know...didn't time that out all too well.)

So, why am I telling you all this almost two weeks later? Well, because now I'm antsy. Are my sales numbers good? Are my readers enjoying the book? Are reviewers interested?

I don't know yet. It's still too soon. But, as a business woman in a corporate role, I feel like I should know these things. I'm going cookoo banana's wanting....something tangible to analyze, fret over and try to fix if needed. I don't remember this being an aspect I'd realize having to face before it published. And it's a discovered characteristic I'm not very proud of.

I'm a control freak.

I was busy fretting about all of this Friday and babbling about it to my husband. He finally sighed, looked at me in that "Ash way" and asked, "What was your goal?"

"To have a book published," I answered. "But--"

He interrupted. "Did you want a book published and it to become an immediate bestseller?"

"No, but--"

"Did you want a book published and be immediately praised?"

"No, but--"

"Then you accomplished your goal. Congratulations." He smiled and went back to his movie.

I sat stunned, trying to decide if I should be pissed when it hit me. I did accomplish my goal. I have a book published. There was a publisher who felt my work was good enough to have their name and talent behind it. There are people reading my story. That's was my dream.

Everything else is icing on the cake.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Feature: Mistaken Identity by K. Dawn Byrd

I have a Desert Breeze buddy on today, K. Dawn Byrd, to talk about her newest release, Mistaken Identity. So, take it away K. Dawn!

Book Blurb
Eden Morgan longs for a boyfriend of her own, an impossible goal when her best friend, Lexi Branson, gets all the attention and all the guys. When they fall in love with the same guy, Eden believes she doesn't have a chance. She can only hope that sometimes the good girl gets the guy.

Q) How did this story come to you?
A) Sometimes I get the strangest ideas! I wondered what would happen if a not-as-pretty good Christian girl and her gorgeous non-Christian best friend fell in love with the same guy. Who would get the guy?

Q) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I had already published several book with Desert Breeze Publishing when they opened a young adult line. I'd been writing romantic suspense and thought it would fun to try my hand at a young adult novel. It was so much fun that I'm signing a contract for a young adult mystery series that will debut in January.

Q) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

  1. I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs.

  2. I love sour things....pickles, lemons, sour candy.

  3. I used to ride a Harley, but gave it up in order to have more time to write. (My husband always wanted to stay out way too long and take the scenic route home. He still has his bike, but I don't miss mine at all.)
Q) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I'm editing my October release with Desert Breeze. This Time for Keeps is an inspirational romance.

Q) Parting comments?
Thank you for hosting me! For those of you who love Christian fiction, please check my blog for weekly book giveaways. I interview 3-5 authors a week who give away their books.

Q) Where can fans find you on the Internet?


I'm also on Twitter (kdawnbyrd) and facebook (K Dawn Byrd.) I am the moderator of the Christian Fiction Gathering facebook group (!/group.php?gid=128209963444) If you join this group, you'll get reminders about the weekly book giveaways.

About the Author
K. Dawn Byrd has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember. Her mother once said that she 'never knew she was on the place' as a child because she was always off somewhere reading quietly in a corner. She's a book collector and had over 2,000 titles at last count and even though she loves print books, she's fallen head over heels for ebooks, downloading several at a time into her Blackberry to read on the go.

When not reading, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 14 years, walking her dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home, and plotting the next story waiting to be told. Writing everything she's plotted will take decades, leading her well into retirement. her retirement dream is to live on a golf course near Myrtle Beach and write novels while her husband plays golf.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Winner of Release Day Contest


Okay, so I put all the names from Wednesday's blog post contest into a hat and had one of my sons pull one out. The winner of an electronic copy of Duty and Devotion and cool swag is....

Marion Sipe!

Marion, email me at ambernorris2000 @ and we'll get you all set up.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


It's here! It's here!

OMG, Duty and Devotion is released. I'm relieved. Excited! Elated!

*wiggle dance*

Okay, okay. Grow up time AR. Be a professional. Be a mature adult....Oh! Screw that! Duty and Devotion is out there in the open!

Go get a copy you goofy goofs! It's available at All Romance Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and the Apple iBookstore. Heck, you can even visit Desert Breeze's website and buy directly from them, here!

Check out the book trailer silly heads!

In celebration one commenter is going to get a special gift package. I'm not saying exactly what it will be. I'm not saying it would be a cool gift, swag, and a free copy of the book. I'm not saying that at all. *wink, wink*

Sisters Nettie and Rinny Matterville head off to war, discovering true love can be found even in a time of conflict. Nettie learns true love isn’t always obvious; sometimes it’s right in front of your face. Rinny learns that love at first site can and does happen, but the real challenge is keeping it.

Older sister Nettie wasn’t sure what the militia thought she was, but she knew and it wasn’t a space fighter pilot on the front line. But Dad always pressed the importance of duty to your territory. Now she has to figure out how to survive in a place she never imagined ending up. Keeping things interesting is a very overconfident competitor, James. Through it all, she’s got her younger sister Rinny. Or so she believed until the moment she lost her.

As for Rinny, the Mars facility gives her chance to break family expectation and she thrives in ground combat training. She also learns life off the concert stage can be just as rewarding when she makes her first real friends and meets Daniel, who could just be “the one”. He’s a little more reluctant and it turns out he has a reason, a secret involving Rinny. After the enemy attacks her facility and kills her best friend, Daniel disappears. Now captured, Rinny must fight behind enemy lines to help her people remain free, and live to return home.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blog Tour: Duty and Devotion

Okaley, dokaley folks!

It's starting. (OMG!) Duty and Devotion releases on Wednesday and my blog tour for it is kicking off. I wanted to let you all where I'll be and what I'll be chatting about from tomorrow until July 1st.

I hope you all are able to stop by!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Adventures on the Cattle Trail

Okay...I know that I am a sci-fi writer. You know that I'm a sci-fi writer. But guess what? I have always (ALWAYS) had a soft spot for westerns. As a kid I remember Saturdays at my Grandpa's house spending the day with John Wayne in the background.

I love the idea of the western setting. The rodeo, the cattle drives, the dust...okay, maybe not so much the dust. You get the idea. Today I brought author Barbara Scott on to talk about her latest western romance, West of Heaven.

How do you say it? Oh yeah! "Ya-hoo! Take it away, Barbara!"


The cattle trail has been the setting for a number of entertaining books, though not usually stories that involve women in important ways. In my historical romance, Somewhere West of Heaven, Marcella McGovern, a gently-raised heiress, and her crew of soiled doves turned cow-girls take to the trail led by disgraced trail boss, Jean Luc Desloge.

Marcella McGovern arrives in Onion Creek, Texas for the reading of the will of her unknown benefactress which will change her life forever. Accompanied by the ancient attorney who has managed her education but kept the secret of her parenthood, she soon discovers more shocks than her prim upbringing has prepared her to face. The late proprietress of the local house of ill repute, Miss Sophie Castleman, and Clint Harte, wealthy cattle baron of the Heart O’ Gold Ranch, were murdered in each others arms, leaving behind the will that names Marcella as their secret daughter and the inheritor of Sophie’s bawdy house and all Harte’s marketable cattle.

Complicating the inheritance is Jean Luc Desloge, Sophie’s disreputable but all too-tempting majordomo, a prime suspect in the murders, and all Sophie’s working girls who are in hiding in her boarded-up house. Then Clint Harte’s angry widow issues Marcella an ultimatum, get the cattle off the Heart O’ Gold or pay the price. Could Sophie's girls be trained to take the place of the cowboys who are forbidden to sign on with Marcella?

Tom brought up a hardy mousey brown horse that should suit her. He had a sleekness to him and a wise look. He stood solid while Jean Luc saddled him. Marcella came up to take his reins, stroking the horse's nose and talking to him in soft reassuring tones.

"Does this one have a name, Tom?" Marcella asked.

"Redemption they called him."

"Redemption." From her mouth, the name whispered through the morning air like a word of endearment. The critter ate it up like sugar lumps.

"You got a way with horses." Jean Luc pulled the cinches tight. "Sweet-talking might be all you need to keep you seated. Maybe he won't buck at all. He ain't puttin' up a fight now, but, just in case, try to sit back and catch his rhythm and ride with it."

"Until I land in the dirt with the best of them." She whispered something else to the horse as Jean Luc came around to give her a leg up.

"Have a good ride." He stepped back to clear the way.

Marcella steered Redemption toward the center of the corral, taking an easy pace, show-ing a confidence that let the horse know he was in good hands. He responded with a cooperation that thrilled Jean Luc. They walked the boundary of the corral without a bump or a bother. A mumble of appreciation rippled through the townsfolk who'd been attracted by the unusual Sun-day morning goings-on.

When she looked up, Jean Luc signaled his encouragement by snatching off his hat and waving it in the air. Ezra and Tom nodded enthusiastically. She urged Redemption into a post trot, raising herself in her stirrups so she was half-sitting and half standing, her body bobbing up and down in perfect rhythm to the horse's gait. On this go round she beamed at Polly's barely contained excitement and at Glory with her hands on her hips, no doubt puzzling out why she hadn't drawn Marcella's horse instead of the one she'd chosen.

In truth, Jean Luc suspected it was Tom's horse sense that had reserved this mount for her. Not too shy to show off, Marcella directed Redemption into some quick turns and stops be-fore taking him one more time around. She brought him to a smooth stop in front of Jean Luc and dismounted.

Tilting back her hat, Marcella took off her bandana and used it to dab at the sweat on her brow. "I don't know, Jean Luc, do you really think I had to change clothes for that ride?"

Jean Luc rubbed his chin. "Well, how else do you think that horse knew you meant busi-ness? Now, ready for some breakfast? Or should we start right in on ropin' and tyin'?"


Available at Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble for the Nook, Sony, Kobo and Apple's iBookstore or direct from DBP

Barbara Scott believes the Blarney Stone is in Ireland for good reason and thanks her strong Irish roots for her own story telling abilities.

Her first two books, Golden Heart Winner, TUG OF WAR and HAUNTS OF THE HEART are in the collection of the State Historical Society Library in Columbia, Missouri.

As a special education teacher, Scott found that teaching and writing were compatible careers except on those days when both students and characters refused to cooperate. She shares a house in the Midwest with her sister and three rambunctious terriers.

For more about Barbara, visit

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hanging with TK Toppin

I'm super excited to be hanging out at TK's blog today. TK is grilling -- er -- interviewing me.

Learn my deep dark secrets...muahahahaha...okay, so they're not so deep but...well...oh, just go over if you have a chance!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Panic, No Exhilaration...No, Definitely Panic

Woke up this morning to a Yahoo calendar reminder, Duty and Devotion releases in exactly one week. I think my heart's going to explode. I think I'm going to faint. I think...I think I'm going to flee to a nice, warm Mexico beach.

No, no. I won't do that. I've waited too long for this.

I'm ready. I know I'm ready. Easy-peasy. This isn't panic...this is what exhilaration feels like. you're in the back part of a roller coaster. You're slowly moving up towards the top of the first big hill and you're giggling with your friend next to you.

Oh, wait...

Then you look forward and the cars in front of you start dropping off. Disappearing as they reach the down slope. Your hands tighten on the grips, fingers actually ache and knuckles turn white from the super grip. You know you're ready. You're safety harness is locked in and you've made several notes to scream so you don't pass out.

More cars drop in front of you. Now you're on the verge of tears, but fight them off. You don't want that to show on the stupid punk camera they have set up on these stinking rides. What made you think you could do this? It's insanity. How many accidents happen every year? Hundreds...okay, maybe only a hand few, but still. This one could be the accident in waiting.

It's absurd. Must get off. You look over the side, wondering if it's worth the broken leg. Two cars in front of you drop off and you know it's too late.

You go over.

The next few minutes you're caught in the midst of chaos. With your heart pounding there's screaming and losing your breath. Zipping through the twists and turns you're not sure where's up and down.

Then you reach the last bit where things slow down and come to a rest. You're laughing like a loon and can't wait to do it again.

That, my friends, is the crazy world of publishing.

It's both panic and exhilaration. I guess if something is worth it, you can't have one without the other.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Throw Open The Library Doors

Welcome fellow Desert Breeze author and friend, Toni Noel as she talks about her love of libraries and her newest release Temp to Permanent, available now.

Take it away, Toni!!!!


When my mother read to me as a child I'd beg her to turn the page long before she finished reading from the one she was on. Even though the book had no pictures, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.

Books still affect me this way. Owning a few books makes me want more. I no longer buys as many as I'd like, but luckily I discovered lending libraries at an early age. Our neighborhood drug store had a bookcase in the corner filled with paperback books written by Zane Grey customers were allowed to check out. Summers I'd stop in on my way home from Bible School, check out my limit and pedal the three miles home with my bicycle basket loaded with books for my father and me to read over the coming week.

To my eternal joy the school I attended in eighth grade had a library. Once a week we were allowed to go and check out books. How I treasured those books in their shinny covers. I had a thirst for knowledge nothing satisfied, and sometimes tried absorb the contents of those books simply by hugging them. Later I'd open one and slowly turn the page. I've never been a speedy reader. I wish I were, but I still love to read.

Author Judith Dupre wrote, "When I was the kid, Saturday was the very best day – the day I could go to the library and stock up on books for the week! Books were my magical passports to the whole wide world. To this day, libraries thrill me, and yet feel as familiar as home."

The main library downtown is closed on Saturdays.

In Animal Dreams Author Barbara Kingsolver wrote, "Libraries are the one American institution you shouldn't rip off."

The fall I entered eleventh grade the newly built high school opened. For the first few months while construction was completed the glass-enclosed library sat a rounded peninsula in a sea of red mud, but nothing keep me away. Inside, every book was new and the room hushed while I reverently removed books and checked them out.

In high school, I couldn't wait for spring when the English teachers gave out term paper assignments. I always earned A's on them. I'd make several trips by City bus to the main library to do my research, laboriously keeping notes for the bibliography on index cards, spending long hours late at night bent over our portable typewriter writing my paper and loving every minute of it. That's how I learned I had a flair for words.

My first week on the campus of George Peabody College for Teachers I discovered the library stacks, overflowing bookshelves placed on see thru floors. I gladly joined the other bookworms visible on floors below and above me browsing through the stacks.

I've always entertained the need to read. Early in my marriage we moved to a small Tennessee town without a library. I talked the church pastor into setting aside some unused space, organized a bake sale, and started a church library. In the next town, I repeated the process, this time securing a large room devoted entirely to books, with a volunteer librarian to check them out and in.

After moving to a growing California subdivision serviced weekly by a Bookmobile, and it appeared all available land would go to build service stations instead of a promised library, I appeared before the City Council and the City Planning Commission to urge the prompt purchase of a suitable site. I pestered City officials so much the City Councilman for our District invited me to turn the second shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking service for our branch library.
Opened over thirty years ago, our branch library is hopelessly overcrowded, with no available funding for the foreseeable future, so the promised expansion is on hold. Because of the City's budget crisis the branch library is closed two day a week and most mornings. In the fall it will be open even fewer hours, thanks to deeper cuts in service.

Cicero wrote, "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." In our two story home surrounded by flowers there are fourteen tall bookcases, and every shelf is jammed.

The inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes reads, "The medicine chest of the soul."

It's up to all of us to keep the library doors open.

My fondest wish is for our branch to someday offer one of my novels for checkout. By the time I publish a print book those doors may very well be closed for good, but you can download my romantic suspense eBooks, Temp to Permanent and Law Breakers and Love Makers, from Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc,, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance eBooks.

And visit my website: to read more about the fate of libraries across the country in the coming months.

Temp to Permanent excerpt 1

Carina Carrington's fingers flew across the computer keyboard.

Not fast enough.

She'd never meet her schedule without another pair of hands. Of all possible days, why did Rachael pick today to call in sick?

And what happened to her replacement? The temp agency had promised to send a secretary an hour ago. What was keeping her?

At the scrape of a leather shoe sole, Carina's concentration cracked. "There's no one at the desk out front," a husky male voice rasped.

Startled, Carina hit a wrong key. Unless his face matches that heart-stopping voice, I'll kill this salesman. She abandoned the keyboard and swiveled around in her chair. Six feet of tanned muscles crossed her carpet. No death warrant for this hunk.

Surrounded by masculine scent, Carina riveted her gaze on his business card, then glanced up. Devilish blue eyes locked with hers. She looked away to conceal her unprofessional, very unladylike reaction.

"I'm Gregory Lawless from Data Services. Pat Kilpatrick said to see Mrs. Carrington. Your receptionist--"

"Has the flu."

This perfect example of centerfold material could not possibly type.

With all the work still to turn out, I'll kill Pat, instead.

Reluctantly Carina pushed back her chair and stood to shake his hand. Good grip, self-confident. "That's why you're here, Mr. Lawless. I'm short handed today. And it's Miss Carrington."

She indicated a chair and waited for him to sit. "The agency didn't say they were sending a man." Oops. Maybe employers weren't supposed to say things like that anymore.

"Is that a problem?"

She wasn't about to acknowledge how difficult he made the simple act of speech. "Only if you can't do the job."

He folded his lanky frame into the visitor's chair she'd indicated and placed a folder on her desk. "Ms. Kilpatrick asked me to give you this copy of my resume."

A deep cleft creased his chin. How could she work with that distraction? With her weakness for cleft chins she couldn't hope to actually work around this distraction. His devastating smile belonged in a bedroom. In a bar. Anywhere but in her office ruining her concentration.

Carina sank into her own chair and opened his file to study the brief list of qualifications while steadying her heart beat. San Diego Data Services normally provided exceptional help, but Pat had explained this flu epidemic had also left her short handed. Gregory must be the last healthy soul available.

Healthy? He was that, all right. From what she could see, far healthier than a man had any need to look.

He'd indicated a willingness to work. Any warm body could man the phones in her secretary's absence. Surely she could control her body's response for the next few hours.

What about this unexpected heat? Maybe Mom was right and she was sex-deprived.

Perhaps tomorrow Pat would have a real secretary available, or not such an attractive man. Her mind pictured a prim woman. Someone wearing a skirt whose very presence wouldn't launch her pulse into orbit.

She glanced up from the resume to study Gregory. Information in the agency's file was scant, little more than name, address and social security number. He looked about her age. Why would a man approaching thirty-five resign himself to temporary work?

Carina drew a steadying breath. "Have you been with Data Services long?"

He tilted his head as if mulling over a reply. "This is my first assignment."

Great. Disgruntled by his admission, she looked away. Few skills and even less experience. Carina stole a glance. The smile hovering about his mouth prevented objective reasoning. "With a busy week ahead of me, there won't be much time for training."

He peered at the scribbled notes on her calendar and lifted one cocky eyebrow, giving him a rakish appearance that almost brought her out of her chair. "Tell you what. Let's not waste any more time. Give me a chance to help and if I don't meet your requirements, you don't owe me a cent."

Desperation evident in his voice caused her to give him a sharp look. "So you're a gambler, too."

He straightened his back against the chair, then leaned forward and gazed at her. "I've nothing to lose," he admitted with admirable honesty.

Carina thought about everything she would gain if Gregory could fill Rachael's shoes. She wouldn't need to postpone tomorrow's meeting and might still land that contract. Provided she somehow kept her mind on her business and off this man. Could she do it?

Quick decisions were her trademark. "I'll only expect you to answer the phone. On Mondays it rings constantly."

He grinned, nodding. "How shall I answer?"

Criminey. Would she need to hold his hand and walk him through the office as well? "Carrington Graphics will do."

"I'll manage. What is the nature of your business? Ms. Kilpatrick said you needed someone in a hurry and didn't take time to fill me in."

"Advertising." From the bookcase behind her desk Carina selected two brochures and unfolded them for Gregory to examine. "This is a terrible time to come up short handed. I've two important presentations scheduled, one tomorrow, and another on Friday. Rachael always handles my prepress. Without her, I'll never be ready."

After a moment, Gregory leaned across her desk to return the brochures. Fragrance, spicy-clean and fresh, teased her nostrils. Aftershave and a recent shower, a masculine scent she adored.

"I've had some experience with--"

"It's likely the phones will occupy all your time." She couldn't picture his neatly trimmed fingertips flying over a keyboard.

Imagining his hands in her hair though...

Easy, far too easy.

Cut that out. "Why don't I get you settled at the front desk, Gregory."

He followed her into the outer office. "Call me Greg."

She ignored the thump of her heart his seductive tone induced. His voice ranked among her all time favorites, too. "Greg it is."


About Me

Since the day my mother started reading The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew to the four of us books have been an important part of my life. As a small child I couldn't wait to learn to read, and in school I devoured every printed page I could get my hands on. Summers in Birmingham I rode my bicycle three miles to the local drug store to check out Zane Grey novels which I shared with my father, a tireless breadwinner and avid reader. As a young wife and mother I started church libraries in two small Tennessee towns. Later, when the Bookmobile no longer satisfied the needs of my growing daughters, with the encouragement of my husband, I appeared before the San Diego City Council and City Planning Commission, urging them to purchase property for a library in our fast-growing subdivision before the preferred sites were snapped up by service stations. I bugged city officials so much I was later invited to assist the Mayor at the ground-breaking ceremony for the promised library. Although that library now needs expansion, it is my fondest dream that they'll save room on those crowded shelves for the romance novels I write.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Truckin' Along

Engines are revved and I'm trying to keep up. Thought I'd pause to lay out my progress.

Duty and Devotion (D&D)
All the prep work is done with this one. It only has to release on the 15th. My blog tour kicks off this Friday at TK Toppins blog. Submissions to review sites are in...that'll take at least a month of waiting.

The Telomere Trilogy Book One: Revelations of Tomorrow
Just got word from my editor and she's begun reading through and marking it up. I should receive first round edits by end of week. It was a relief to find out it's the same editor as with my last book. I'm used to her editing style and she's refreshing and honest to work yay!!! I probably won't see my cover art for a couple more months yet, it's still early. I'm curious because this trilogy has a very different feel than D&D.

The Telomere Trilogy Book Two: Echoes of Regret
I just finished my editing rounds with this one. I've tucked it away for a couple weeks before I start checking and cleaning up for DB house style.

Duty and Devotion Sequel: Lasting Bonds
First draft of this short story is completed. I fell in love with these sisters all over again and can't wait to release this for the holiday free reads. It's now put away for a week, to stew, before I pick it back up and tear through the revision and editing phase.

So, what should I work on now?

I've got a few things in the wings. I've got the third installment of the Telomere trilogy, Ending Eternity, to finish. I also still have my pet novella, Lilly's Journey, I want to finish drafting up.

Hmmm...what to do? What to do?