Beginning Saturday, January 4, 2014 and continuing through January, 8, 2014 you can get a free copy of my story Always a Bride Click the picture below to link you to Amazon to get your free copy. Enjoy.
All posts in category Writing
Posted by Darlene on January 3, 2014
Today my friend Jillian Chantal is visiting and talking about her latest release, The Gambler’s Daughter.
Thanks to Darlene for inviting me back yet again over to hang out at your blog and chat about my newest release, The Gambler’s Daughter. It’s the third book in a trilogy involving the same family and their voyages on the Queen Mary ocean liner. All three stories are stand alone books and there’s no need to have read them other ones to enjoy this one. They all have mystery and murder and romance- three of my favorite kinds of stories in one.
I’m fascinated by ghost stories and this book has spirits galore in it and they even take part in solving some of the mysteries going on during the voyage. The heroine has the ability to see dead people (and no, it’s not another Bruce Willis movie) and she uses that gift in trying to solve the crimes onboard the Queen Mary on its last ocean voyage before becoming a floating hotel in Long Beach, California.
Contact Jillian: http://www.Jillianchantal.com
Bernadette McSwain’s family has a strong connection to the Queen Mary ocean liner. They’re invited to sail on the Queen’s final voyage to her new home in Long Beach, California in 1967. Bernadette and her cousin, Michel are writing a book on the spirits who haunt the mighty ship. Bernadette’s psychic abilities help in their research. They meet a young Spanish grandee, Lazarus Garcia, who’s on the ship as a chef to learn to run his own first class restaurant. He’s surrounded by anguished spirits whom Bernadette can see. When passengers start to die in violent ways, Bernadette suspects Lazarus of the crimes. This suspicion causes a rift between the cousins as Michel has befriended the Spaniard. As the voyage continues and Lazarus tries to charm her, Bernadette must make a decision about him or face losing her cousin, both literally and figuratively.
Bernadette stomped down the corridor with Michel hot on her heels. “Wait up, Detta. He’s just some hired hand. Don’t let him ruin our walk around the ship. We need to cover some more ground for you to get a feel for the energy of the place. It’s a big ship and soon there’ll be a lot of people onboard. We’re lucky they let us on early and have given us free rein.”
She kept walking, faster and faster.
Michel grabbed her upper arm. “Stop. Stop and tell me what the heck is wrong with you. You’re walking so fast, it’s like some demon is on your tail.”
She turned toward him. “That man is evil. He’s surrounded by spirits. All kinds of spirits. I’ve never seen anything like it. They’re all trying to get his attention and he’s oblivious. It terrifies me.”
“Come over here and sit down a minute. Your face is red and you look like you’re going to explode.” Michel pointed toward the alcove near the elevators.
She followed him over to the sofa and chairs. They sat on a green velvet sofa, side by side. Michel took her by the hand. “Tell me exactly what you saw.”
“When I first opened the door, I didn’t see anything except the man’s head, but once he stood all the way up, I could see wisps floating around him. It was almost like a fog. Then it seemed to lift and filter out into separate shapes. None of them tried to communicate with me, but they were clearly trying to communicate with him.”
“What did they look like?”
“It’s hard to describe. They were very nebulous and unformed. They looked like they were in anguish and all I could focus on was their faces. It was all I could do to talk to the insufferable, arrogant–”
“It’s all right. Chances are, you won’t run into him again. He’s a kitchen worker and you’re a first class passenger. It’ll be rare that you’re even in the same area of the ship.”
“Good. I don’t want to see him again.” She reached out and grabbed Michel’s hand. She squeezed it. “It made my heart ache to see all those spirits. Do you think he could’ve killed those people?”
“I have no idea.” Michel reared back. “I just met the man and only spoke a couple of words to him. I can’t make any judgment about him based on that.”
“I sure can.” She let go of Michel’s hand and stood. “Come on, then, we have a vessel to inspect.”
Posted by Darlene on April 24, 2013
My friend and favorite Author Jillian Chantal has a free read available for Christmas. I have read this story and it’s great. The best part is that there are two more in the series and another one coming in the spring. You are going to want to read them all. Here’s the cover for the great free read available now:
New Orleans, Christmas Eve, 1947: Brothers, Dirk and Beaumont McSwain are both about to become fathers. Dirk’s wife has had a number of miscarriages and at thirty-six years old, is afraid this is her last chance for a healthy baby. Bo’s wife is pregnant for the first time. Both are due to give birth soon. The brothers arrange a surprise ride for their women in Papa Noel’s sleigh which is actually a horse drawn carriage with fake reindeer. The evening starts out merry and bright but before the night is over, they will need a Christmas miracle.
Go to Desert Breeze Publishing for more from the Gambler’s Inheritance series.
Click the cover to get your free copy
Posted by Darlene on December 3, 2012
My favorite romance author Jillian Chantal has a new release out, Season Of The Witch you are so going to want to check out this story. Here’s the fabulous cover.
And an excerpt:
He turned to her and she had to force herself from gasping at his beauty. He was most certainly not old. He looked at her with eyes the color of a glacier. She was immediately transported in her mind to Glacier Bay inAlaska, where she’d seen the calving of the ice into the ocean. His eyes pierced her soul. They seemed to see into the depths of her mind.
“Are you all right?” He peered at her. He spoke with what sounded like a Russian accent.
She shook her head as if to clear it. “I’m fine. Sorry, I was just gazing into my crystal ball. I’m still in a sort of trance. She hoped the lie wasn’t obvious.
“So, you are a seer then?”
“Do you need some help?”
He walked toward her. “I do. Have you heard about the recent cat killings?”
Again, she had to stop herself from gasping. This was exactly what she was trying to investigate on her own. “Yes. As a matter of fact, I have heard of these horrible ritualistic killings. In fact, when you came in, I was looking into my ball to see if I could see anything at all related to who may be behind it.”
He stepped closer until he was in her personal space. “What did you find?”
She took a step back, flustered by his masculinity and something that seemed vaguely feline. She tossed her head for clarity. “Nothing. I got nothing.”
“Hell. I need to get a lead on this. I was hoping you could help me.”
“I wish I could. I’m also trying to figure out who’s behind it. If it’s one person or an organization.”
“Why? Why are you involved?” He looked around the shop, “Do you think it’s witchcraft?”
“Uh-uh. Not necessarily. Just because my shop is called The Season of the Witch and I sell herbs and New Age items, doesn’t make me think everything is related to witchcraft.” She went behind the counter to get more distance from the man who was decidedly too disturbing to her senses. “And besides, wouldn’t it be a cliché for ritualistic killings of cats to be related to satanic worship?”
“No. I mean, why do you care? Why are you investigating?”
“I could ask you the same thing.” She leaned on the wooden top of the counter.
“I asked you first.” He winked and leaned in from his side of the counter until his nose was almost touching hers.
WOW Don’t you want to read more? I do. This fabulous story is available at
Visit Jillian at her blog http://www.jillianchantal.com
Posted by Darlene on May 15, 2012
Posted by Darlene on March 21, 2012
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Tracie Banister, and I love to read and write sassy, sexy, funny fiction for women. I just recently released my debut Chick Lit novel, Blame It on the Fame. I’m a Southern girl who’s lived in Georgia for the last 26 years. In my spare time, I like to lose myself in a good book, watch movies, hang out with my three beautiful rescue dogs, and see live theatre whenever and wherever I can (I’m a freak for Broadway musicals and Shakespeare plays!)
2. We really want to hear about your writing. What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m preparing my second novel, which follows the romantic and professional trials and tribulations of a Latina psychologist in South Beach, for release in May. And I just started work on what I hope will be the first in a series of novels about an aristocratic family of young women in early nineteenth-century England. I’m calling it “Regency Chick Lit” since there will be a lot of romance and wit in the series.
3. What do you have available we can buy and read now?
My Oscar-themed Chick Lit novel, Blame it on the Fame, is currently available at Amazon and Smashwords. Here’s the blurb:
A power-trippin’ bitch, a has-been, a skanky ex-model, a press-shy indie queen, and a British stage actress no one knows – this is how the Best Actress hopefuls in this year’s too-close-to-call Oscar race cattily describe each other. Which of them will win the much-coveted gold statue and what price will they be forced to pay as they travel the red carpeted-path toHollywood glory?
Amidst all the press-schmoozing and angsting over which designer gown to wear, these Oscar contenders feud, commiserate, and face a succession of personal crises – scandalous secrets come to light, marriages implode, accidents land two nominees in the hospital while another receives news that could derail her career, all culminating on Tinsel Town’s biggest night when anything can happen, and does.
4. Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
For me, inspiration can be found anywhere – the internet, magazines, the news, an overheard snippet of conversation, friends, family. I never know where the next idea might come from, which keeps life interesting!
5. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Can I be both? A plotty pantser? Or maybe a pantsy plotter? I always start out with a game plan – detailed character sketches, ideas for scenes, snippets of dialogue, and I know where I want the story to begin and where I want it to end, but how my characters get from Point A to Point B is almost entirely up to them. I like to set them down on the page and let them play.
6. When did you start writing?
Elementary school, that’s when I started writing plays (two of which my 4th grade class performed on stage for the student body.) And my writing just developed from there. In junior high, I wrote serial stories starring me and my friends – new installments would be shoved into my pals’ lockers every morning. When I got to high school, I found that I really enjoyed writing literary analyses and was nominated for an award for some papers I wrote in my sophomore English Lit class. I didn’t attempt to write my first novel (a historical romance) until I was an adult. Since then, I’ve dabbled in many writing formats, including short stories, fan fiction, and blogging, but I always come back to full-length fiction.
7. Tell us a little bit about how you write. Do you have a favorite place or a favorite time of day to write? Music or quiet? Something you have to have nearby?
I don’t own a laptop, so I do all of my writing at my desk. My brain works best when it’s fresh, so I find that I do my most productive writing in the morning and early afternoon. I’m pretty much done by 4PM. I am very sensitive to noise and find it terribly distracting, so I must have peace and quiet while I’m in creative mode (Alas, my dogs don’t really appreciate my writerly sensibilities, and I’m often treated to a barking refrain from the Cocker Chorus.) The items I must have nearby when I’m working are post-it notes for scribbling thoughts, ideas, and reminders on, my William Shakespeare paperweight (I rub his head for luck), and a glass of Lemon La Croix water (I am absolutely convinced that the carbonation stimulates my imagination!)
8. Who is your favorite author?
Of all time? Easy. Jane Austen. Her stories and characters are timeless, and I can’t think of a greater wit than she. I am not one to reread a book, even one that I love, but I have read Austen’s stories over and over throughout the years and they never cease to delight.
9. If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
I’ve been compared to several petite, blonde actresses (Melissa Joan Hart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon) in my life, although I wouldn’t say that I’m the spitting image of any of them. If I had to choose one to play me on the silver screen, I guess I’d go with Reese as she comes across as very intelligent while still having a good sense of humor that shines through.
10. Do you have any advice for any aspiring writers who might be reading today?
Write as much as you can, as often as you can, because it will help you to hone your craft. And be sure to challenge yourself – try a different genre, a different POV, a different format, it will keep your writing from growing stale. And most importantly, believe in yourself and your ability. You will encounter A LOT of rejection in your writing career, and it’s only natural to feel bummed out, but don’t ever let anyone else’s opinion stop you from doing what you love.
11. Now just for fun, you’ve seen my Totally Hot and Totally Shirtless men do you have a favorite among them or a suggestion for someone to add.
I am a big fan of hot, shirtless guys, and you’ve got some good ones on your blog, Darlene. Hard to top Daniel Craig aka 007 in those blue swim trunks, but I think that the gorgeous Joe Manganiello of True Blood fame is worthy of your attention. That man’s chest is a sight to behold!
12. Okay now we need the 411 where can our readers find more about you. Give us the Scoop. Facebook? Twitter? Webpage? Blog? Most importantly, where can we find your book.
I love Twitter and welcome new followers: https://twitter.com/#!/traciebanister
My blog is Books by Banister (Yes, I like alliteration!): http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/
My author Facebook page is a work-in-progress, but it will be up soon, hopefully. I’ll post a link on my blog when it’s finally up and running.
Blame It on the Fame can be purchased at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blame-Fame-ebook/dp/B006ZBG5HU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329252763&sr=8-1
And Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/124304
Finally, do you have an excerpt or blurb you’d like to share?
Of course. Here’s an excerpt from Blame It on the Fame that involves Oscar nominee, British stage actress Philippa Sutcliffe, and her co-star, Miles McCrea, the Scottish cad whom she had a torrid on-set affair with. Their relationship ended badly (major understatement) and the two haven’t laid eyes on each other for the better part of a year. That’s about to change as they’ve been ordered by the studio to get out and promote their Oscar-nominated film together. The first stop on their Reconciliation Tour is a chat show called “Eye on London.“
* * * * *
She let the production assistant lead her down a series of corridors to the backstage area of the Eye on London set. There was a sound tech waiting to hand Philippa a small microphone, which she clipped to the v-neck of her dress while he moved behind her to work on hiding the mic cord and attaching a small battery pack to her belt. It seemed to take an inordinate amount of time for the tech to perform what should have been a simple task and it occurred to Philippa that his touch was lingering on certain parts of her anatomy that were by invitation only.
“Is there a problem back there?” she wondered.
“No problem,” the words were delivered in the distinctive Scottish burr that used to make her insides melt. She felt the familiar scrape of a stubbled cheek brush against hers as he bent down to murmur in her ear, “It’s been so long since I’ve had my hands on you; I just wanted to savor the moment.”
“URGH! Miles!” She pushed his hands off her hips in disgust and spun around to face him.
He laughed with wicked delight, enjoying the fact that he’d flustered her.
“You look good, Phil. You’ve put on some weight . . .,” his eyes traveled up and down her body, which was encased in a form-fitting wrap dress that showed off every womanly curve, “. . . in all the right places.”
“Well, you look like hell,” she commented waspishly after taking note of his rumpled hair, unshaven face, and drooping eyelids. “Did you even bother going to bed last night?”
“Oh, I went to bed. I just didn’t get any sleep.” He gave her a lascivious wink and chuckled, but Philippa was not amused.
“Spare me the gruesome details of your latest conquest,” she ordered frostily.
“Jealous?” he teased, stepping closer so that only an inch or two of space separated their bodies.
Trying not to breathe in the heady scent of him, she looked up to meet his inquisitive gaze. “You could exchange bodily fluids with every fame-chasing slag inGreat Britain, and I wouldn’t care. What I do care about is my career and my public image, both of which are inextricably tied to yours at the moment, so I’d appreciate it if you would–”
“Mmmmmm, inextricably.” His eyes dropped to her mouth. “I love it when you use words with lots of syllables.”
“Would you focus, please?”
“I am focused,” he assured her.
“On the interview, not my lips.”
“But they’re such nice lips,” his mouth was just a whisper from hers now, “very soft and kissable as I recall.”
“You should cling to those memories because I won’t be refreshing them any time soon.” Her tone was hard and resolute.
“Ah, but I live in hope.”
“No, you live in debauchery, and it’s taking its toll.”
* * * * *
Thanks Tracie. This was a great interview. Thanks for visiting with us today.
Posted by Darlene on February 20, 2012
Today we have a guest blogger, my friend and one of my favorite authors, Jillian Chantal has dropped in to tell us about one (stay tuned for more) of her current releases. Jillian writes with the fabulous ladies of Still Moments Publishing and has a Valentine treat for us. So without further ado here’s Jillian:
Thanks for inviting me to be on your blog today, Darlene. I’m here to talk a little bit about my short story in a Valentine’s Day Anthology from Still Moments Anthology.
My story is The Coroner’s Heart and takes place mostly in a crime lab. The heroine is the city coroner and the hero is a blood analyst in the lab. The mayor of the city is dead and there’s a big push in the lab and morgue to figure out how and why.
As the investigation goes on, there’s also an office party planned for Valentine’s Day and the heroine decides to make a candy heart- an anatomically correct heart- for the party. This heart plays an integral part in the story.
The hero is a sarcastic man who likes to say things to the coroner to aggravate her, but suddenly, this Valentine’s Day, his behavior changes and he starts to flirt with her. The abrupt change in his actions towards her throws her off kilter somewhat.
This was a fun story to write and I really like the hero. I hope the readers like him as much as I do.
This anthology can be purchased here: http://www.stillmomentspublishing.com/ I will also give away one e-copy to a commenter who tells me their favorite Valentine’s Day candy and why it’s their favorite.
Thanks again for the invite, Darlene.
Find me on the web: http://www.JillianChantal.com
Thanks for coming by Jillian and giving my readers the chance to win a copy of this great anthology. You are one of my readers favorites we look forward to seeing you again soon.
Posted by Darlene on February 8, 2012
Thanks to my friend Joan, I have been crushing all over again on my childhood pop idol, Les McKeown. of the Bay City Rollers. Being the mother of one son and involved in Boy Scouts. I often find squealing girls annoying until I realized watching YouTube that the Bay City Rollers make me squeal now. Besides crushing I’ve got an idea for a story too so that’s doubly good. Thanks Joan. So here’s my crush clad in plaid in his youth and not bad looking these days either.
Posted by Darlene on January 21, 2012
I’ve been offered a contract with Still Moments Publishing. My story Always a Bride will be published in their Something Borrowed Anthology in June. Stay tuned for more details. Check out Still Moments they have some great books. www.stillmomentspublishing.com
Posted by Darlene on January 18, 2012