"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review of Billy Bones: Beyond the Grave

Meet Billy Bones.

He's dead.


Finding himself in the Afterlife, ten year old Billy must wait to be recycled back into the Livingworld. Meanwhile, he's stuck trying to figure out how he's supposed to survive in this backwards existence where sunlight burns, the dead are living, and the memories of his past lives are stored in a secret book.

The problem is that Billy's has been stolen, and now he has to find it and discover why the dreaded Reaper is after him.

Choose for Billy and help him find his way through the Afterlife in this new "Choose-Your-Own-Demise" novel.

***Includes both a "Choose Your Own Demise" version as well as a "Chapter" version (for those that prefer a more traditional reading experience).***

My Review:
I had so much fun reading this fantasy children’s story, and could not have been more impressed by how it worked. Billy Bones: Beyond the Grave, A Choose-Your-Own-Demise Novel, was like nothing I have ever read before. As you read about Billy, a boy who has recently died and finds himself in the AfterLife, you get to often choose what decision Billy makes. For example, Billy comes upon a dog. His coices are to walk away from it or to bring the dog with him. You click on your choice, and the story either continues on until the next decision needs to be made, or sometimes you make a “wrong” choice and meet an untimely end – of course this gives you the option to go back and change your answer too ;)

Billy is a great character too, and the comical and lighthearted way that Mr. Burton deals with a subject like death was great. In fact, I read a little of the beginning to my youngest, and my non-reader seemed pretty interested in the book – very high praise there! The mythology behind the AfterLife was pretty in-depth, yet I would say very easy to follow for the target audience – a great feat for a children’s book author. The plot was exciting and engaging, and you just didn’t want the story to end. I found attachments with not only Billy, but also many of the friends he meets along the way. I actually found myself going back and taking the other choices just to see what would happen, that is if I didn’t meet an untimely end. LOL

As a mother of two boys, I could not recommend this book more highly! I was impressed all around from characters to setting to the elaborate and reader-driven plot. Creativity at its best here, and as a 40+ year old woman, I’m anxiously awaiting another book. Here’s hoping for a series!
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author:
David H. Burton was born in Windsor, Ontario to parents that instilled in him the love of the written word at a very young age. Throughout his childhood, David read relentlessly, often into the wee hours of the morning.

Fantasy and Science Fiction novels have always been David's greatest vice and he has indulged in the likes of Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, Margaret Weis, Mark Anthony, J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, Robert J. Sawyer, Isaac Asimov, Melanie Rawn, Marion Zimmer Bradley, J.K. Rowling and for interest, some Margaret Atwood and Jose Saramago.

David graduated from the University of Toronto with a major in Biology and a minor in Classical Civilization. He also dabbled in Computer Science, to which he owes his current occupation in the Telecommunications world at one of the large banks in Canada.

When David isn't writing he enjoys spending time with his partner and three boys: hiking, swimming, kayaking, biking, and reading. David has a great fondness for Portuguese cuisine, good wine, and all things left of centre.

Feel free to connect with David online at:
Blog: http://davidhburton.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/davidhburton
Facebook: http://facebook.com/davidhburton

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review of “Witch in the Wind” By Brenda M Collins


Bandit Creek has a new magical dimension, The Otherland. When murder strikes in Bandit Creek, and the victims aren’t who they seemed, powerful guardian warlock, Marcus Egan, is sent from The Otherland to investigate. 

What he doesn’t expect to find is Avalon Gwynn, the grieving daughter of the victims, who has no idea she’s an extraordinary, hereditary witch. And Avy’s pent up magical abilities have just been set free in the mortal world. 

Can Marcus catch a killer while making sure Avy doesn’t bring Crow Mountain crashing down on the town—destroying Bandit Creek for the second time?

My Review:

I was very impressed right from the beginning with this story. Ms. Collins did a great job of giving the series a cohesive feel; she carried me right back into the town of Bandit Creek.  Previously I’d read, Lost by Vivi Anna, so I was thrilled to have characters from Lost appear again in Witch in the Wind. And, as for the new cast of characters, main and supporting – created by Ms. Collins, they were all fantastic too! I felt myself rooting for the two main character, Marcus and Avy, who were pitted against each other, right away.

And whew, the super-sexy and magical and powerful Marcus – well what girl wouldn’t want one of those for her own! LOL If you read for fantasy, as I do, this was a great one to fall into.

The mythology went deeper than I had expected from reading the blurb. The Otherland, Lost Guardians, keys, familiars, secrets, etc were so creative, and so well-devised. With twists and turns to the plot, and thus having more mythology revealed, the author did a wonderful job of explaining and describing, making the complicated and new easily understandable.

The surprises continued throughout, creating quite a suspenseful plot. I found myself reading faster and faster to find out what happened, all the while forcing myself to hold back and take in all of the town and magical depictions. This book gets one of my highest compliments - it lived up to its beautiful cover :)

I’m definitely falling in love with Bandit Creek. If it were real, as beautifully as it has been written, I would love to visit it someday. Of course, I’ve read two paranormal stories first, but I’m caught up enough to want to read more in the series from other genres.

About the Author

Brenda Collins has wanted to write mystery fiction since she was twelve years old. At the age of twenty, she spoke to an editor in Toronto, who expressed an interest in her story; however, she soon realized it takes more than an idea to be an author. 

She joined a number of writing groups to learn about ‘the craft’ and completed two mystery manuscripts. When the Bandit Creek opportunity arose, Brenda jumped on board immediately. 

The story that emerged started with a murder, but it came to life with witches, warlocks, a “familiar” and a magical dimension called The Otherland. 

Don’t miss Witch in the Wind, a paranormal romance with mystery elements, available May 1, 2012. 

Connect with Brenda on Twitter @bcollinswriter

Witch in the Wind
A Bandit Creek (Sweet) Paranormal Romance
Brenda M. Collins
Chapter One
“Thank you for calling me,” Avalon Gwynn said. The words sounded distorted, forced through lips that were suddenly stiff and numb. “I’ll leave right away.”
After returning the receiver to its cradle, she didn’t have the strength to lift her hand. She left it resting where it was as she watched the steam float up from the mug of tea she’d laid beside the phone when it rang. Her mind was empty. A sudden vacuum of thought, memory or emotion.
She had to move. She had to—
She had to get a grip. She had to go home. Back to Bandit Creek, Montana.
She tightened her hold on the receiver and picked it up. Fifteen minutes and she’d arranged a leave from work and a plant-sitter for her apartment. Ten more to pack her bag. Six and a half hours later, she had refilled her gas tank at Spokane and was pulling back onto the I-90.
Even with the May sun shining through her windshield, her hands were frozen onto the steering wheel. Her head ached and there was a persistent hum in her ears. Her parents were dead. She still wanted to believe it was some sort of sick joke.
Her mind was too paralyzed with grief to absorb most of what the sheriff had said after the reason for his call or even to ask questions. Her brain had shut down by the time she’d hung up. Thinking about it now, she realized Sheriff Morgan had been vague about the details of her parents’ death.
Crap. It must have been an accident. They’d have been together in that beat-up old wagon her father drove. A single sob pushed up from the knot in her chest and escaped, even as she clamped her lips tight.
There had been tension in her father’s voice the last couple of times she’d called. He’d insisted everything was fine. She smacked the wheel hard with her hand. Why did I let it go? A static spark flashed across her fingertips startling her. Damn dry mountain air, she thought, although she couldn’t recall that ever happening before when she was home.
She swept silent tears off her cheeks and blinked hard so she wouldn’t miss the turnoff from the highway. The mid afternoon sun was sliding towards the horizon, when the sign indicating Bandit Creek 1 Mile slid past the passenger side window. Her stomach clenched, the caustic brew of confusion, grief and old resentment, bubbling up into the back of her throat.
A mental map of Bandit Creek floated up from her memory. If she jogged over to Adam Street, she could take that up to Spruce and avoid most of Main Street, with its busy town hall, the shops and all the other mainstays of a small Montana town. She tightened her grip on the wheel until her knuckles hurt. For the first time since she was a small child, she wished she could use magic to get to her parents’ old house on Gwynn Lane. Despite the gossip in the town, she and her parents weren’t magic. Wicca was a religion, not woo-woo supernatural powers.
As she drove past the quaint little bungalows along Adam Street, she felt a familiar tension edge into her grief. Growing up in a backwater town like Bandit Creek would be hard on anyone, but for an outsider like her, it was torture. She could still hear Olivia Turley chanting “Bitchy, Witchy, Bitchy, Witchy” after she’d caught a glimpse of Avy’s birthmark when they were kids. Why she had the freakish bad luck for it to be shaped like a crescent moon was beyond her. The first time she was taunted, she ran home in tears. The next time Olivia bullied her, Avy remembered with satisfaction, she’d punched her in her perky, turned up nose. After that, no one called her names, at least not to her face. She had no regrets about getting herself the hell out of Bandit Creek.
She unclenched her fingers from the steering wheel and rolled her neck to release the tension held there. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been back. Her parents came to Seattle to celebrate the eight sabbats with her and, for the few months in between, they usually thought up some other reason to visit her in the city. She’d used that as an excuse to avoid Bandit Creek herself.
The bump as she drove over the bridge towards Lost Lake Road broke her from her memories. Her childhood home, the Old Gwynn Place as the locals called it, was isolated from the main town, the only reason it survived the combined flood and rockslide in 1911 that destroyed the rest of Old Town. The craftsman-style bungalow was nestled at the base of Crow Mountain and had been in her family for over a century.
She slowed to make her turn and then eased the car over the long, rutted laneway where it came to an abrupt stop at the front of the house. Out of habit, she pulled to the far side of the drive so her car wouldn’t block the steps to the front porch. She eased open her car door and glanced at her childhood home as she stepped out.
The low pitch, gabled roof with its deeply overhanging eaves, shaded her mother’s herb garden. A mental picture flashed through her mind, of helping her father paint the exposed rafters and decorative brackets of the house during her last summer break from college. It took her brain several minutes to catch up with what her eyes were seeing. She gulped a breath, blinked hard to clear her vision and then released a curse, a sob and a prayer to the Goddess all at the same time. “What the demon’s damn happened here?”
Where once lush clusters of lacy greenery and colorful stems had grown, now lay a mangled mat of charred earth. Directly above, black soot marked the side of the house where it extended to the left of the porch. The lawn was speckled with singe marks as if a firecracker had exploded too close to the ground. The largest burn mark was perfectly round. Like a giant bullet hole.
Tracking its trajectory, she saw scorching on the bark of the old American elm that towered over the house. She’d spent many summer days sitting under that tree, fascinated by the jigsaw puzzle bark, and making up games to entertain herself. The rough, leathery leaves caught any slight breeze, making a sound that completely freaked out the town kids and kept them from visiting the house, particularly at night.
She rubbed her temples with both hands as the edges of her vision blurred. Had the sheriff mention a fire when he called? She didn’t think so. The smell was something acrid, biting the back of her tongue as she breathed it in. Oddly, it wasn’t smoke but something else she knew she’d smelled before.
“What the hell happened here,” she repeated, this time in a whisper, choking on the words.
At that moment, she heard tires crunch on the drive directly behind her. She tore her gaze away from the devastation in time to see Sheriff Samuel Morgan unfold his lanky frame out of his black SUV. His movements were energetic for his fifty years.
The Sheriff approached with his hands open towards her. “I’m so sorry, Avy. I was waiting for you to drive past the office but Mrs. Olson phoned to say she’d seen you go past her place on Adam Street.”
He stopped beside her, looked at the ground, shuffled his feet and reached his hand out to her shoulder before dropping his arm back to his side. She remembered that he’d been awkward with Kirsten, his daughter. Kirsten was psychic and had found it hard being different in a small town too. Kirsten had been the closest Avy had to a friend growing up.
When the sheriff leaned close to her, she could see more than sympathy in his eyes. It was pain. “I didn’t want to tell you this over the phone.” He spoke softly. “Your parents were murdered.”
This time he let his hand go to her shoulder, squeezed a little, and looked her straight in the eye. “I don’t know what happened—yet, but I will find out.”
She opened her mouth to speak, ask questions or something, but no sound emerged.
The sheriff slid his arm around her shoulders, and then steered her back towards the driveway. She let him.
“Why don’t you stay the night at Mrs. Turnbull’s,” he said referring to the B&B just east of the house on Lost Lake Road. We can talk in the morning.”
She looked at him, feeling dazed, and then nodded.
“Do you want me to drop you there? I can have Adam–Deputy Medicine Crow–get your car over to you in the morning. We can talk then.”
A sudden movement behind them on the porch broke through Avy’s shock. Sheriff Morgan spun around with his hand on the butt of his Sig.
A dark form slipped out of the shadowed corner of the porch.
She couldn’t move, frozen in place by overstressed nerves and absolute terror.
The shape emerged from the shadows on the porch. Her mind registered four legs, thick dark brownish-black fur, a long snout showing razor sharp teeth–with a tongue lolling out.
The sheriff relaxed his stance, but kept his hand over his gun.
She caught her breath with effort but tried to keep her voice relaxed. “Well, who are you?” she asked the beast, now fully visible on the top step. He looked like a weird mix between a German Sheppard and a Poodle. “What are you doing so far from town?”
“I’ve never seen him before,” the sheriff said.
As she took a step, Sheriff Morgan grabbed her elbow to hold her back. “Careful. He could be wild.”
The dog cocked its head. It didn’t growl or bark at them.
“He looks pretty docile, Sheriff,” she said, just as the dog loped down the steps towards them. He stopped four feet short of her position. Dark, intelligent eyes looked her over, ignoring the sheriff. The air around him seemed to shimmer, as if heat were rising from his fur. She was aware of a strange sensation in her chest and rubbed her breastbone to ease it as she looked back at him. Stress, she thought.
The dog gave his body a stretch followed by a vigorous shake, and then meandered closer to them. He plunked his rump at her feet and bent to clean himself.
Avy stifled the first laugh she’d felt in almost twelve hours. “Okaaay, gender confirmed,” she said. “Aren’t you a big boy?”
The sheriff dropped his hands to his sides with a chuckle too.
When the dog raised his head, she eased her hand towards his nose and let him sniff. She remembered her father approaching a wolf who had wandered into their yard when she was a toddler. It had remained calm under his touch and left without incident. Her breath hitched as the thought brought renewed grief. She felt tears pushing at the back of her throat but fought off the urge to cry.
The dog gazed up at her with his big brown eyes looking sympathetic. She smoothed her fingers around his neck looking for a collar. Not finding one, she tipped up the end of his ear and looked for a tattoo. “Nothing.”
The dog nuzzled her hand with his nose.
“Maybe he slipped his collar,” said the sheriff.
She gently stroked the soft curly fur above the dog’s eyes before looking at the sheriff. “What will happen to him if you take him into town?” she asked.
“I can probably get the vet to kennel him for the night. If the dog isn’t chipped either, we’ll send him to the Humane Society in Missoula in the morning.”
The dog whined, nearly breaking her heart, which was already painfully damaged. Without a thought, she said, “He can stay with me tonight.”
“Here?” The sheriff hesitated. “Avy, we only finished going through the house an hour ago.”
The air was suddenly too thick to breathe. Everything was happening too fast. Until this moment, she hadn’t had time to consider the house as a murder scene.
The sheriff continued, “The house was tossed. I was going to arrange a cleanup for you.” He shrugged his apology.
Hysteria screamed in her head but she clamped down on it, her body vibrating with the effort. “Someone wrecked our house? My parents’ house?” Her voice sounded weak. Strained. “My house?”
She fisted her hands feeling her nails bite into the palms. She would not allow someone to drive her from her home. She drew back her shoulders and raised her chin. “I have to come back here some time,” she said, dropping her hand down to rest on the dog’s head. “At least now I won’t be alone.”
Sheriff Morgan gave her a hard look but didn’t try to talk her out of staying. He probably remembered it wasn’t worth the effort.
Instead, he said, “Let’s talk tomorrow. Once you’ve had a chance to go through things, could you let me know if anything’s missing?”
“Missing?” She felt numb. Inside and out. The sheriff’s words were coming to her in slow motion. “Was it a burglary?” She couldn’t imagine her parents having anything worth killing for.
She stared at him. Hoping he could give her some reason why this was happening. Why her parents were dead?
The sheriff shook his head. “We don’t know anything yet, Avy.”
They stood in silence for a moment, until he said, “Oh, there is one more thing.” He shoved his right hand into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small clear plastic bag. “I thought you might want these back—” He held out the bag and his face softened. “—sooner rather than later.”
She stepped closer to him, took the bag and squinted to see what it contained.
“Their wedding rings,” she said, mostly to herself. She opened the bag and spilled two intricately carved silver rings into the palm of her hand.
She stroked the larger ring gently with her finger, feeling the texture of the eagle wings. She could hear her father’s voice telling her as a child that he loved eagles because they were a symbol of wisdom and guardianship. She’d been about six years old and was learning about wild animals in school. When she asked her father about her mother’s animal, he said her mother felt like a mama lion because lions were the guardians and protectors of life. She asked what her animal was and she still remembered her father’s answer. She could be whatever she wanted to be.
Avy closed her fingers around the two rings and swallowed the tight knot in her throat. She looked back up at Sheriff Morgan. “They were wearing them when they died, weren’t they?” She already knew the answer. Her parents never took off their wedding rings.
The sheriff shifted his weight but remained silent.
After an awkward moment, he patted her shoulder one more time.
“Make sure you lock the door when you go in. And if you get nervous tonight you call me at home, ya hear?”
He waited a moment longer, as if she might still change her mind about staying. Then he shook his head and returned to his vehicle. She watched him back down the lane. Then she turned her attention to the house, but felt rooted in place.
The feel of a slimy, rough tongue on her hand brought Avy back to the present.
“We can do this,” she told the dog, not sure if she was reassuring him or herself.
A sting in her palm reminded her she still held the two rings in her fist. She hesitated then slipped both rings onto the second finger of her right hand so she could dig her keys out of her purse. At the front door, she took one deep breath, released it slowly, and turned the lock.
For the first few seconds, warm memories hid the destruction from her. Her mother’s herbs flourished on every windowsill. Lavender, valerian, mint. She suddenly wished she had shared her mother’s affinity for blending the aromatic concoctions. While her mother was content to spend hours in her garden, Avy always had to get away from town. Somewhere she could breathe in endless amounts of fresh mountain air.
Reality started to seep into her consciousness. The colorful trio of clay bowls her mother had made lay in shards just past the edge of the sisal rug. On the floor beside the table, lay a heavy silver frame with a picture of the three of them. Her family. The glass was shattered.
She fisted her hand and pressed it to her mouth to stifle another sob. She bent, picked up the frame and hugged it to her chest. Caught in her anguish, she was startled when the dog beside her whimpered and rubbed against her leg.
She dropped to her knees beside him and buried her face in his silky fur. “What will I do without them? They were all I had.”
The dog rubbed his snout against her neck and whimpered as if he understood her pain.
“Who on earth would want to kill my parents?”

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Win a Copy of my Patriotic Vampire/Witch Novella

A Strange Freedom: Blood and Fireworks 

A  Novella

Want to win an ebook copy of my vampire & witch novella that takes place between Memorial Day and the 4th of July? Just comment below through Friday June 1st  :) Newly edited and reformatted for the holiday!

Blurb: Can a witch gain her freedom to live as she chooses between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July?  

A man was not exactly what Meranda was looking for when she went to her grandfather’s grave for a ritual of remembrance on Memorial Day.  However, what she thinks is a ghost in the heavy shadows of the night ends up a vampire. 

When Meranda’s grandfather lay dying on a bloody battlefield in WWII, Alexander promised the man he would take care of his family if he got out of the war alive.  Even though he returned to the states a night walker, he has done his best to honor that promise from a distance. 

When Meranda is hurt due to his negligence, Alexander valiantly fights his own desires for her blood to save her.  Only, once she is better, their lives clash.  But, using a little magic, she plans to win their war by the time the fireworks light up the sky on Independence Day.

Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal (Vampire & Witch), Erotic Romance
Adult Content Warnings: Explicit Graphic Language, Bloodlust, Brief Depictions of War

“I found the settings to be highly descriptive, giving the reader the ability to not only picture the setting in your mind but to feel the elements that surround the characters.  Kiki portrayed the two characters Meranda and Alex, with depth, emotion and extraordinary perception.  The desire that the two of them feel is palpable and literally burns the pages. She shows us that regardless of age, a woman can be the predator when it comes to taking what you want. The sensuality and eroticism Kiki describes certainly had this reader breathing heavily.”  ~ 5/5 Stars  from Vampirique Dezire at  Blood, Lust and Erotica 

Kiki Howell does a great job of keeping A Strange Freedom: Blood & Fireworks moving while giving us history of the characters, a depth and range of emotion and some steamy bedroom scenes.” ~Stacey at Sizzling Hot Reads 

from Excessica Publishing
AVAILABLE NOW from Barnes & Noble, Amazon  and All Romance eBooks, etc.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Train with Tess Week - Winners

Congrats to 
Marybelle for winning the $10 Amazon Gift Card
Tore923 for winning the Cuffs & Flogger Bookthong
June M for winning her choice of Album (#3)
Will be contacting you all soon with the details :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Train With Tess Week Day 6

I’ve been thrilled to host each day this week Tessa Wanton, author of The Training of Tess and Tickled Pink by Naughty Nights Press. Stop back each day of the week: we have character interviews, a guest post, reviews and giveaways planned for you ;)

Today we have my two reviews of Tessa’s stories….

The Training of Tess


    Tess had always been fascinated with the Dominant submissive lifestyle, and she was – she felt, a very submissive person. In her real life people knew her as a feisty, headstrong and passionate woman; no one would ever have described her as submissive. But then she had learned over time that being submissive didn’t mean she had to be a doormat, it meant to her that she wanted to hand over her control, her welfare, her safety, to someone else. Throughout her life she had maintained an iron grip on her personal control, organized to the extreme in her work and home life, highly respected in her profession as a Personal Assistant, so used to controlling others to ensure success. But what she truly wanted deep down inside, was a man who could take her to that special place of freedom she had heard and read so much about, to experience true freedom within her mind.
She had signed up to a lifestyle website to learn more about what it was to attain this ‘sub-space’ she had heard about. Peppering her profile with photographs she felt were ‘artistic’, and writing a personal passage about who she was had attracted plenty of admirers, but no one she had particularly connected with. She wasn’t looking to find a soul mate, or even a playmate, just someone to discuss her thoughts and passions and desires with. It was out of the blue that a message had dropped into her inbox. 
This intriguingly daring and fiery novella describes three encounters experienced by a young woman, who, whilst fascinated by BDSM throughout her life, had not had the courage or opportunity to experiment in the scene, until now...
Available Now at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords

My Review of The Training of Tess:

This was such an emotional story with detailed and complex characters for its length –a  feat in story writing that the author, Tessa Wanton, should be commended for. It was intense from the very beginning, the situations, the dialogue, the actions… all had this reader all anxious and excited right along with Tess.  The BDSM scenes had a brilliant suspense element to them, for Tess and the reader. I was turning the pages to find out not only what her Master would come up with next, but hoe exactly Tess would respond to it – no it was not a given like in a lot of BDSM stories I’ve read in the past.

Underneath the action was complexities, the seemingly sometimes contradictory emotions of fear and pleasure, being tied and free, that gave the story a very realistic feel for me. I felt very involved, pulled into all that was going on. Personally, I think this story would be great for a newcomer to the genre as well as delight a seasoned reader.

Tickled Pink

Ellie Cassidy is a super confident and efficient Executive PA with an extremely demanding boss, Mark. Always ever capable, she knows that he would be lost without her, but what Ellie doesn’t realise, is quite how much he does need her. One day when she is locking up the office for the evening, she is abducted and subjected to an experience which changes her life forever. Mysteriously tortured in a most unexpected way, terrified beyond anything she had ever felt before, she discovers that some agony is sweet enough to stir her, even against her will.
Shocked by the turn of events, Ellie grows closer to her boss and a torrid love affair sizzles between them, showing just how deep Mark’s passion for her runs. Experimenting with new and exciting erotic situations, she is shown a world of delight filled with laughter and tickling, and other kinky pleasures. Wrapped up completely in Mark, she falls deeply in love with him, until one fateful weekend he reveals a deep, dark secret which threatens to destroy everything between them - and everything she had ever known about him.
Laughter, terror and high heel shoes abound in this tale of discovery and love, never before has tickling been so appealing! But one final question stands in the way of their everlasting happiness. Will Ellie ever be able to overcome the shattering revelation that Mark has to declare?
Available Now at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords

My Review of Tickled Pink:

With the first story I read by Ms. Wanton, The Training of Tess, I thought she had hit a homerun, but with Tickled Pink, for me, she hit it out of the park!!! This story mixed so many fantasies together - with touches of kidnapping, forced seduction, hunk of a boss, etc - that I think it deserves it’s own name to a new kink. Let’s just say that this would be a position any woman would be happy to find herself in – and that’s all I can say without giving too much away, but trust me here.  *winks*

With surprises right away, hmm what can I say… Well, the story unraveled in a very stimulating way, again easily attaching the reader to the characters in the ease of the author’s craftsmanship. Again, Ms. Wanton is such an emotional writer, and I really like being able to get into the minds of the characters, especially when things get really intense. And, plotline, well, 5 stars for sure :) Can I just say that I love it when “first times” come with histories? And the spin the author gave to that scenario was HOT!

Author Bio

Throughout her life Tessa Wanton has always had her head buried in a book, spending much of her time in a fantasyland. She constantly looks to immerse herself in new experiences, meet new people and explore new lands, fictional or otherwise.

Having had an extensive musical background from early childhood, both performing and composition, she has always enjoyed creating art that stirs the emotions. Her debut Novella, “The Training Of Tess”, led to an expansion of her creativity from her music into literature and she has many more incredibly passionate and titillating stories for Tess in progress, to be revealed shortly.

Tessa has been fascinated with the BDSM scene for many years, researching the content for her stories with close friends, who have been kind enough to be open and share their intimate experiences. The information that inspired her most were the recollections her friends revealed.  She realized that what we all hear and see in the media about BDSM is always violent and often times sadistic.  However, in reality, there is so much more of an emotional and intellectual connection, a willing and completely consensual trust and communication between partners, and this was the basis for the creation of her protagonists.

Is her namesake her? Perhaps she is. She certainly has the depth of emotions that Tessa feels and she hopes that Tessa’s experiences may perhaps change the reader’s views about the world of BDSM. Along with her other characters, Tessa hopes to allow readers to realize that there is so much more to explore within our sexualities than the mass media would have us believe.

Fans can keep up with Tessa Wanton on her blog page:  http://tessawanton.blogspot.com/ or onTwitter: http://www.twitter.com/DesireDarkly

Giveaway Reminder
There were three giveaways this week. Go back to each post and comment to enter. You have until Sun May 20th :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Train with Tess Week Day 5

I’m thrilled to host each day this week Tessa Wanton, author of The Training of Tess and Tickled Pink by Naughty Nights Press. Stop back each day of the week: we have character interviews, a guest post, reviews and giveaways planned for you ;)

Today we have a wonderful Guest Post by Tessa...

Tessa’s First Love
It’s been a fantastic week so far, and huge thanks to Kiki yet again for having me for a *whole week* on her blog. You’ve heard from Master Charles and Ellie about their roles in my stories (sorry – Master Charles’ stories, I should remember that shouldn’t I?) But now it’s time for another giveaway – and what better way to do that than an insight into my first love.
What was my first love? It wasn’t a person, but music. Music was the first thing to ever make me feel, and not just love, but anger, sadness, happiness, everything. There’s nothing like a piece of music to send a shiver down your spine, to make you remember better times, the best times, the bad times, and I can truly say that without music, this world would be a dull and lifeless place. There have been so many pieces of music which have influenced my life, and I would like to share four examples here which have personal importance to me. I’ve deliberately picked some albums/pieces of music that may not be mainstream or familiar - to share perhaps, a new insight with you, and of course, the giveaway is... to win your choice of one of my favourite albums. I will detail how to enter at the end of my post.

Piece number 1 – Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis – Vaughan Williams
This was the first piece of classical music that stopped me in my tracks. I was a naive early teenager, I’d been studying music from a very early age, learning to read music at the same time I learned to read. Music is like another language to me, I read a score in exactly the same way as I read literature, hearing the sounds form and listening to the piece in the recesses of my mind. Thing was, I wasn’t a huge ‘Classical’ music fan. I simply refused to listen to it, probably out of teenage petulance rather than any reason of not liking it. It was around the time of the start of Classic FM over here in the UK, a warm Summer’s day, and my Dad was dropping me off down town or a lesson or something – it’s not important where, but my parents being the nurturers they are don’t give up on anything. He had Classic FM on the radio and we were chatting about it, and this piece of music came on. Dad stopped and said ‘Shhhh you *have* to listen to this. Properly. It’s one of my favourite pieces of all time, along with The Lark Ascending, but... you will love it’. Sometimes I wasn’t a complete teenager, and I love my Dad, so I sat quietly and tried to listen. Listen I did. I remember now how I heard this beautiful music for the first time, it was like a new side of me was born. The soaring melodies, the vast soundscape, it all just tumbled over me causing me to feel sensations I never thought were possible.  Uplifted, excited, shivers – yes, music really *can* make you feel like that. Even sitting in Dad’s work van, music struggling to escape from the tinny speakers, the power of that music shone through. This piece, to me, is quintessentially English in sound. An expansive scoring creates a dense, yet fragile sensation that makes you feel as though you are standing on top of a high hill, surveying the countryside for miles around.
Throughout the work, Vaughan Williams combines interactions between two different ensembles, one, a huge full scale orchestra, the other, a small select group. It is this dialogue between the two which forms the body of the music, an ethereal conversation that moves elegantly until they join forces toward the end, a perfect symbiosis until a climax is reached, and then in an wrenching moment, it goes one step further. The first time you hear it, it’s unexpected, something new, but of course after all of these years, I know what’s coming. I feel it, I sense it, yet still... the shivers occur, the goosebumps make an appearance. It’s like that first flush of love when your beloved takes your hand gently in theirs. Each time this piece evokes this for me, and when I need to feel that innocence, that connection with the younger, wide-eyed idealistic me, I play this masterpiece.

Album number 2 – Third – Portishead
I simply love this group. For me, finely crafted sounds are of the utmost importance, and it’s not just finely played classical instruments which can create compelling Aural delights. Portishead form raw, sexual music, (in my opinion!) combining earthy rhythms together with electronic samples to create the expansive sounds I crave. Again, vast soundscapes simply draw me like a moth to a flame, and for some reason, their music stirs something almost instinctual within me. Their first album ‘Dummy’ was iconic. Widely played through the 90’s, sampled everywhere even to this day, but they have released two albums since that, and as this title suggests, Third was, indeed their Third.
The collection of songs that they gathered for this venture remind me of late nights following clubbing, concerts, gigging, that lazy almost ‘jaded’ feeling of over indulgence and decadence. Surprising motifs and interjections startle in some pieces, seeming almost harsh in places, but it is this which intrigues me the most, as they are perfect for each track. What might be incredibly jarring on its own, adds depth and dimension to the songs. An edge of discomfort in some, fluctuating emotional responses so delicious, you don’t even realise quite how it happened. I like a puzzle, I like to analyse, and here, there are so many layers, I’m never disappointed. The craft of this band is severely overlooked, and their music is such, that I believe they will stand the test of time without any difficulty at all. It isn’t a genre which can be tied to ‘ooh they were a band of the 90’s weren’t they?’, it feels fresh even now, and still inspires me when I play it, perhaps when I need to find answers in the darker depths of my storylines.

Album number 3 – Akhnaten – Philip Glass
Back to the pseudo Classical again, I often tweet a lot about listening to Philip Glass. Mainly because I commute long distances to work on the train, and I consider Glass’ music ‘Train Music’. That sounds bad, but I don’t see it that way. Let me explain. For those who don’t know, Glass is a ‘Minimalist’ composer, which means he chooses a recurring motif, say 5 notes, and then repeats them over and over and over, hence for me, like a locomotive. Boring! I hear you say, but think again. The skill of this genius composer is how he creates such variety with just one motif. As a young composer myself I listened to and studied this man perpetually. He had lots of amazingly diverse compositions, famously known for his frenetic electronic works, he also did small ensemble and beautiful, simple piano pieces. Listening to Glass, for me, evokes such amazing feelings, the music flowing so sinuously almost to be hypnotic, trance inducing.
As Glass is popularly known for his ‘freaky’ electronic pieces, I feel that he is often forgotten for his beautifully, painstakingly crafted orchestral works, like Akhnaten, one of his trilogy of operas; Satyagraha, Einstein on the Beach and Akhnaten. Weirdly Akhnaten seems to be the least famous, but it is magnificent. The real life story of Akhnaten chosen by him is moving enough on its own, the story of a Pharaoh changing the whole religion within his country of Egypt from Multiple deities to just one. But again, it is the vast soundscape he creates that I adore, topped with soaring male alto voices dueting with arching female lines, drama, passion, it has it all. If you want a remarkable experience with your Friday night tipple, take my advice and dream of the sultry heat of Egypt and listen to the magnificent beauty of simplicity.

Album number 4 – ( ) – Sigur Ros
What better way to express music than for the composition itself to just ‘be’? This album is untitled, or ‘brackets’ as some prefer to call it. Initially I was drawn to the album for that very reason. All *good* albums have a story, a direction, the way the songs/music is arranged means you should listen to the whole album in order to *get* what the music is about. So how could an album with no tangible story be compelling enough to sit through? In the way that words can speak on their own, this album proves that music can as well. There are no words, no descriptions, just a soundscape. And by now, you know I love highly detailed, expansive, complex soundscapes. This album ticks all the boxes in this respect, to me, Sigur Ros are truly awe-inspiring. Sitting back and listening to the sounds they create, from the disturbing and spine chilling disembodied cries in ‘Von’ - their first album, to the reflective, ethereal, other-worldly sounds of this album, they never fail to entice the listener to stop and ‘hear’, for just one moment. When I am writing I often turn to ( ) because it allows my mind to roam freely, inspires new possibilities, expands the usual into realms just that little bit further than you can imagine in the hum drum moments of every day. When I’m sitting on a train, where I happen to write most of my work, it’s the little things that allow escape that are more important than you can imagine.

So now you’ve had a little glimpse of my first love, in order to win your choice of album, tell me which of the pieces above that you would like, and a little sentence as to why you would like it - what do you think it would inspire in you? Challenge yourself, pick something that is out of your usual listening regime. Snippets of the music described can be found all over YouTube and other such sites, so check them out beforehand – you might surprise yourself! Good luck, and bon chance!

Tessa x

Author Bio

Throughout her life Tessa Wanton has always had her head buried in a book, spending much of her time in a fantasyland. She constantly looks to immerse herself in new experiences, meet new people and explore new lands, fictional or otherwise.

Having had an extensive musical background from early childhood, both performing and composition, she has always enjoyed creating art that stirs the emotions. Her debut Novella, “The Training Of Tess”, led to an expansion of her creativity from her music into literature and she has many more incredibly passionate and titillating stories for Tess in progress, to be revealed shortly.

Tessa has been fascinated with the BDSM scene for many years, researching the content for her stories with close friends, who have been kind enough to be open and share their intimate experiences. The information that inspired her most were the recollections her friends revealed.  She realized that what we all hear and see in the media about BDSM is always violent and often times sadistic.  However, in reality, there is so much more of an emotional and intellectual connection, a willing and completely consensual trust and communication between partners, and this was the basis for the creation of her protagonists.

Is her namesake her? Perhaps she is. She certainly has the depth of emotions that Tessa feels and she hopes that Tessa’s experiences may perhaps change the reader’s views about the world of BDSM. Along with her other characters, Tessa hopes to allow readers to realize that there is so much more to explore within our sexualities than the mass media would have us believe.

Fans can keep up with Tessa Wanton on her blog page:  http://tessawanton.blogspot.com/ or onTwitter: http://www.twitter.com/DesireDarkly

In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.