Monday, September 27, 2010

Meet Author Olivia Starke

 I love the paranormal, and I admit I love a good ghost story. One of my favorite programs is Ghost Hunters on the SyFy channel, which is on T.V. as I’m writing this blog post.

My parents swear they lived in a haunted house years before I was born. As a kid I listened eagerly to their stories of it. If you walked upstairs, they said you’d hear someone walk downstairs and across the floor. If you walked downstairs you’d hear someone walk upstairs and across the second story floor. They had a yard gate that regardless of whether it was locked would be open each morning. One evening they arrived home with my uncle and aunt in tow and saw a bearded man walk through the home. Everyone saw the figure as they stood in the driveway. When my father and uncle went inside they found the place still locked and no one in sight.

Yes, it sounds pretty creepy right down to the fact that after my parents moved out the home burned down (as you hear haunted houses often do.)

My best friend says as a teenager she heard the family dog, with her little nails tapping away on the hardwood floor, trot into her bedroom per the dog’s usual morning routine. Of course this was days after the much loved canine family member had passed on.

I have to say that I am a diehard skeptic. Though I have a vivid imagination, I’m simply someone that has to find a plausible explanation for everything. Yet, this past winter I had an experience that leaves me scratching my head.

I was sitting in my cozy chair one night, typing away on my laptop, when I saw my Rat Terrier, Max, jump behind the arm of the sofa out of sight. I scolded him right away to leave the cats alone, fearing he wanted to bully the kitties (he’s so darn bossy.) My mother was sitting on the couch and she gave me a strange look.

“Why are you on to Max? He’s right here.” And yes, he was sound asleep at the foot of the couch, not on the floor. As I thought about it, the dog, though similar in build, had been smaller with a lighter color and different pattern of spots.

If I’d had a quick glimpse out of the corner of my eye, I’m sure I could discount it without a second thought. But I had looked up and had a clear image of the small dog’s leap and had even heard the soft thud of paws hitting carpet. I mentioned what I had seen to my mother, who humored me while engrossed in her television program. I searched all over for the yellow spotted stray that had somehow gotten into my house. Of course, I didn’t find the mystery dog.

A couple of months passed and my mother was walking down the hallway from the bathroom when she stopped at the door to my bedroom. She walked inside my room, looked around, and came back out with a strange look on her face.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I swear I saw a small dog in the doorway to your bedroom. It was sitting there staring up at me, before it ducked behind the door. I went in, but none of the animals are in your room.”

I asked her what it looked like, and she said it was a little yellow spotted dog.

How odd, because for one the door was open and I keep it closed so I don’t have four dogs and two cats fighting over my bed. Second, she’d seen the dog I’d seen—though she’d forgotten about my own encounter. And third, it was in the daylight, so she’d had a clear view of the phantom pup and not just a shadowy figure that could have been anything.

I’ve never owned a dog that looks like the one we’ve spotted, and from what I know the previous owners’ of the home didn’t have a dog. I am a complete sucker for strays, and all of my companion animals are rescues. Though I’m still not a believer I have to wonder, am I now a magnet for strays of a ghostly sort?

Oh well, at least they’ll be cheap to feed…


Olivia Starke is a multi-ePublished erotic romance author with six paranormal releases available at Cobblestone Press ( She can be found on Facebook, as well as on her website

Friday, September 24, 2010

Drum Roll Please

JoAnne Kenrick, come on down! Kate Richards selected you as the winner from her guest blog on Meet the Author Monday. Unfortunately, I have no address for you. Please contact me off loop or stop by the blog to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's Monday! Meet Kate Richards

Blogging with Becca
Why Authors are Sleepy Most of the Time

After reading Valerie Mann’s inspirational blog the first week, with all the hunky guys and fabulous things that make her writing the rockin’ experience it is, I thought, as a bit newer writer than she and Becca, I would share what it’s been like so far.

It’s so exciting to join this world of storytelling. Everyone is so interesting and has imaginations that extend beyond the furthest reaches of space. It is a heady thing not only to be allowed to pal around with them, but also to become one of them. The stuff of dreams, for most of us. I waited all my life, and when Breathless Press accepted Finally, My Love, last spring I snoopy danced, sang and hosted a chat party, about fifteen authors and one reader (Hi Brandy). Okay, I could have advertised it better.

But as you learned last week from Clarissa Yip, most of us don’t just write. Noooo, that would be silly. We are critique group members, helping our friends as they help us in return, preparing manuscripts for the insightful eyes of publishers and editors. This goes hand in hand with beta reading, a little less heavy-handed form of critiquing. And reviewing…yes, many of us are reviewers as well.


Got Romance Reviews
Which brings me to owning a review site. Valerie Mann and I own Got Romance Reviews where we gather with a fabulous group of other authors and readers who read and review some of the best and the sexiest romances being written today. That’s also a fun part of my authorly life. Thank God for Val who is incredibly organized and makes spreadsheets in her sleep.

And editing. If you’re an author, and (like me) have an English degree, why not learn to be an editor. Since it takes a while to get known as an author, the money you make as an editor will give you the feeling you’re being a productive part of the writing community. Plus you get to read a whole bunch of great books in their early stages and watch them become polished and awesome. If you’re lucky, you do this for two or three presses!

Now, having a book accepted by a publisher has its own list of chores, as you are now the editee. You get to participate in picking out your cover and learn to promote your work. The authors that you know and love do these things and more. And most of them have day jobs, families, and do things for their community. So, if we seem just a bit tired, there’s probably good cause. If we didn’t love all of it so much, we wouldn’t do it. And of course, sleep is highly overrated. Excerpt:

I clicked.

The screen went wild. Golden confetti and silver streamers shot across the monitor like fireworks, and when it all settled down, a name appeared—this time in tall, electric blue capitals: QUINN EVERBY.

Quinn? Really? A remarkable name. I giggled. I guess I had asked for an extraordinary man, after all.
Buy Now
Too intrigued to stop, I scrolled down and found that Mr. Quinn Everby was a self-trained software designer, who spent his summers assisting on archeological digs in the Sahara and his winters bowling. He had indeed been born in China, where his parents were some sort of trade delegates. One by one, my stated preferences were met, and on the next page, I found a picture of a dark haired, sky-blue-eyed Adonis. Fantasies erupted, adding to my deprived sensuality.

Elbow on the table, I laid my cheek in palm and studied Quinn's sensuously full lips. How would he kiss? With great lips and a smile that lit up to those incredible eyes, I may have trouble keeping my hands to myself. We would have two children and maybe—wait, no. I sat up. Craziness.

One Night


Great blog, Kate. I am glad you stopped by and I swear I have learned as much or more from you than you have learned from me. If nothing else, you keep me laughing, which I hear is a fantastic cure for fatigue.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Winners from Clarissa Yip

Steph Beck and Jennifer Shirk you both have won a free book from Clarissa Yip. If she has not contacted you, please let me know and we will get your prizes to you. Congrats!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I have an official release date for Surrender at Sea.

  Blurb: Experience has taught forty-year-old Jessica Summers how to manage and diffuse even the toughest situation, but when she’s assigned to protect a multi-millionaire game designer everything changes. The hot, young entrepreneur with sex on his mind becomes the one thing Jess can’t control. Damned irritating brat.

Petite and sassy, Jess teases Sean McCloud’s sense of humor and ignites emotions he’s repressed for too long. He doesn’t see the twelve year age difference as an issue. His heart and body want her plain and simple. Sean just has to get past her hang ups, survive a pirate attack at sea, and convince his sexy bodyguard to surrender. What could be easier?

Excerpt - warning language is a little direct

Jess let go of his bicep and scooted away. “You have to go.”

“What? Why?”

Because every word that comes out of your mouth reminds me of how old I am. A woman who grew up with Pacman and Donkey Kong should not want to jump a modern gamer. “Because I’m out of my mind to be here, with you, like this.” She forced herself to rise, to move away from the bed and the illogical allure of his presence.

He stood, blocking the narrow path to the door. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

“What’s wrong? Every time I’m around you, I start thinking things I shouldn’t.”

“Really? Anything you’d like to share?”

His cheeky grin teased desire. She longed to kiss it, to soak up his sexiness for later. “Get out of my room, brat.”

He trailed a finger down the side of her face and across to slowly outline her lips. “Don’t send me away, Jess. Not when I want to stay so very much.”

How did he know exactly what to say? Did someone teach that to young men? Guys of her generation didn’t have a clue for the most part. “Damn it, kid. I’m twice your age.”

“You are not, and if you were, who cares?”

“I don’t want to want you.”

“But you do.”


His grin flashed again. “When you look at me, you lean forward, and your nipples tighten under your top.”

“They do not.”

“Do too.” He chuckled and edged closer. His long, muscular hands circled her waist and kept her from collapsing in an embarrassing puddle at his feet. “You also lick your lips, wetting them for my kiss. Where else are you ready for me?”

Everywhere. “Damn it, what do you want?”

He brushed his mouth over hers, more graze than touch. Her entire being tipped toward him, anxious and eager.

“I want you. Plain and simple.”

Monday, September 13, 2010

Meet Clarissa Yip

Today I welcome, Clarissa Yip to Meet the Author Monday.
Don't foget to leave a comment. Two lucky winners will recieve choice of Love by Auction or Unforseen Reunion so make sure Clarissa and I can find you.

Hi Clarissa. It is good to have you here.

It’s good to be here. I’m so excited.

And I am excited to have you take time for a visit. It seems to me that with the growth of e-books, the publishing field is changing. You are among a rising group in the new literary world – a jack of all trades. Every literature lover enjoys books for different reasons, but as an author, editor and a reader, which literary hat do you enjoy most?

I actually love all three, but writing makes me happy the most. It gives me a break to run off with my muse. I love helping my authors grow and they’ve helped me also. I don’t think I’d be here without my wonderful crit partners either. (* waving *) And I’ve been an avid reader since I was nine. I can’t imagine living without books. So, I get a little bit of all worlds and it’s fun.

It sounds like you enjoy the writing aspect of your career a good deal. In fact you just released your first story, Love by Auction. As a new author, has anything surprised you about the process or experience in general?

Well, besides the amount of author paperwork? LOL. No, not really, but it’s interesting sitting on the other side of the fence as an author, instead of an editor, and having to endure the torture of doing my own edits. Once I’ve seen a story so many times and each word is tattooed in my brain, I’m ready to run away from it. But the end product is always the best part. And seeing my own name on a cover is always exciting.

Do you have a blurb and/or an excerpt you’d like to share?

Intent on leaving the Date for Charity Auction, billionaire Mark Passmore vows not to bid, until he sees the gorgeous blond strut across the stage. Need overwhelms his senses and he has to have her.

With an etiquette drill sergeant and society snob for a mother, Rebecca Hathaway a.k.a Ice Princess accepts an extraordinary dare—one that lands her in the arms of her ex, except he doesn’t know it’s her.

After an explosive passionate night with Mark, Rebecca sneaks back to her mundane life of tea parties and book clubs. But she knows she’ll never be the same again.

Although he’s ended their relationship three years ago, Mark has never stopped loving Rebecca. When he learns the truth of Rebecca’s role in the action, will he forgive her for her betrayal or walk away again?

So now that they’ve had a taste of Love by Auction, tell readers what makes your characters and their story special.

Well, I’ve always been a closet writer, always hiding in my own world, and I gave a piece of myself to Rebecca. She’s the shy, responsible type that wants to make everyone happy. Rebecca kind of forced me out of my shell for a little bit. Truly, I’m not the daring type, but Rebecca made me want to be. And I’m such a softy for reunion/second chance stories. My heroine is the type that follows rules until temptation crosses her path a second time and she receives the chance to be someone else for a little while. Mark, my hero, is sexy, hot, and definitely charming, but he knows what he wants. He’s the guy that makes any woman feel beautiful, the one that can tease them out of their hiding places. But I’m not going to give away everything. You’re just going to have to read and find out. * wink *

I read Love by Auction before your visit, but I promise not to tell. Do you have anything else in the works or are you sitting back and enjoying the ride for a while?

Coming Soon
I’m actually a very busy girl. I never sit still for too long. Don’t know how I handle it all either. But I do have a few more releases coming out. Unforeseen Reunion will be out with Decadent Publishing in a few months. Bachelor’s Return will be out with Lyrical Press April 2011, and I recently signed a contract with Cobblestone Press for One Unexpected Night. So, I do have a lot going on and I’m definitely enjoying this ride.

Wow, you and your readers have a great deal to look forward to. That’s fantastic. Speaking of readers, since this is an opportunity for readers to meet their favorite and soon to be favorite authors, tells us a little about yourself.

Well, I currently live in Hawaii, but I’m allergic to the sun (No, not really. I tan too easy and I like hiding in my cave) and then I’m allergic to the snow when I’m in New York. I’m actually an East Coast girl, but I do a lot of traveling when I get the chance and I never know where I’m going to be. Besides reading, writing, and editing, I love scrapbooking, video games and new tech toys. I’m a sucker when there’s a new invention on the market, which explains where most of my paychecks go. But I do like going to the beach and meeting new people in general. I find everyone else’s life more fascinating than mine. I also have a great love for Asian languages since it was my major in college (Yeah, it should have been English), but I haven’t had the chance to utilize my degree either, except I do hope to see my books in other languages some day.

English is a good thing, but so is knowing other languages. Multi-lingual and multi-talented. Impressive. With all those skills under your belt, if you could do one thing-anything at all-what would it be, and what do you think your choice says about you?

This is a toughie. I want to do a lot of things. Now you got my mind running in circles. But I guess if I really had to answer, I’d say travel to Europe and Asia. I don’t like plane rides, but I’d love to go to Italy and drink wine. (Okay, it’s more than the wine, maybe the cute guys, but…lol.) I think it says that I have a bad travel bug, and I can’t sit still. Is that a bad thing?

Not at all. That’s one of the joys of being a writer or even an online editor, you can work from anywhere in the world. I wouldn’t mind writing from Australia or the bonny shores of Ireland. Unfortunately, cute guys are off limits for me as hubby might protest. For now though, before you run off to exotic and erotic places, where can people find you and your work?

Come visit me at I’m also on twitter and facebook. I love hearing from people, even if it’s just to say hi. Or even email me at

Great! Thanks for hanging out with me and my visitors today, Clarissa.

Thanks so much for having me, Becca! You’ve been so wonderful and fun to talk to. I really enjoyed being here, and I hope everyone visits!  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Winner of Amazon Gift Card

Kammie is the winner of Valerie Mann's Meet the Author Monday Giveaway. She will receive an Amazon gift card and a free copy of the Mile High Club. Congrats, Kammie!

Monday, September 6, 2010

"I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all." -E.B. White

First things first...big thank you to Becca for letting me be the numero uno author for her new Monday blog! Beck is a very cool chica, awesome author and has a marvelous sarcastic humor to rival mine. We understand each other well...

Writing is scary but ultimately, hopefully, fulfilling. Becca and I often consult each other for inspiration in the hopes of finding that elusive fulfillment. From emails and instant messaging to lengthy phone calls, we bounce ideas off each other frequently. Recently, my husband (one of my biggest sources of inspiration) and I had the opportunity to vacation with Becca and her uber-nice husband. We visited some great sites, laughed a lot, and generally had a ball. So, on that note, I'm going to keep this blog light and fun and show you some of the things in my life including a couple vacation sights that inspired me as an author.

MUSIC is an enormous source of inspiration for me. The hubster patiently accompanies me to concerts on a regular basis. And takes some great pictures...
SHINEDOWN - Richmond, VA 9/2009

  One word...dang.

I LOVE my Country. Wherever you live, I hope you love yours, too...
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota 

Who doesn't love to LAUGH? There's always humor in my writing.
This hunka burnin' love took a real shine to Becca in Sturgis, South Dakota last month. 

FOOD inspires me. Here's a great shot of my husband cooking for me. 
Uh huh.

A romantic movie can provide writing fodder for months...

And, in case you missed it, SEXY MEN inspire me.
My good friend, Gerard. We're very close. In my dreams.

Please leave a comment and tell what inspires YOU as an author or reader! I'm always open to new ideas! I'll pick one commenter to receive an Amazon gift card! Yay, a prize!

Valerie Mann
Author ~ Fanning Old Flames - Cobblestone Press
                 Hide & Seek - The Wild Rose Press
                 Mile High Club - Noble Romance Publishing

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews