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What to Read Wednesday

WOW…is it really midweek and time for What to Read Wednesday? It certainly is and I know you’re going to be as thrilled as me when you find out who is joining us today!

We have debut author Cera DuBois and she’s here to tell us some fun facts about herself as well as her book A HUNTER’S ANGEL (book 1 of The Hunter’s Dagger Series).  Also, she’s brought along chances to win prizes…yes PRIZE(S) complete with an S…meaning more than 1 way to win.  So let’s get started!

Cera, tell us about yourself in 30 words or less 🙂

Hi, Christine!  Thank you for having me here today.  Considering I’m usually a wordy person, 30 words or less is asking a lot…LOL  Well, here it is…

I live in Central Pennsylvania with my hubby and two teenagers. I grew up on a farm that I couldn’t wait to get away from when I went to college…but now I write Westerns because I miss that way of life. I’ve been writing with the hope of publication for about four years.

I just drove through PA and it’s beautiful! What would someone learn about you from looking at your book shelves or tbr pile?

I love a lot of different things. I read mostly paranormals and contemporary Westerns, not surprising since these are the two genres I write. I also am a huge Rachel Gibson fan and have all of her books. And in another book case is my Star Wars collection. The other case has my historicals—my John Jakes collection and my People of the Earth series.

Variety is good 🙂 If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go and why?

Oh, this is a really hard question because I’m not very well traveled and I want to go everywhere…LOL. But if we are talking dream trip here, I’d love to visit the British Isles—Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. The why of it is simply that I have a lot of Irish, Scotch and Welsh blood in me. The other place would be Germany for the same reason.

Well, when you make this awesome trip, call me and I’ll tag along. They all are on my list too!  What genre (s) do you write?

I write paranormals under the pen name of Cera duBois and contemporary Westerns under my real name, Sara Walter Ellwood.

How did you get started writing?

I always had a very active imagination and was always making up stories in my head, I’m not one of those writers who have been reading and writing since pre-school. I hated to read. HATED it. But when you’re dyslexic reading isn’t easy. Writing was even less fun. Reading still isn’t always enjoyable to me. I didn’t actually learn how to read until I was in fourth grade when I was diagnosed with a learning disability and put into special education. I struggled with school and reading/writing until eighth grade. That’s when I finally read my first novel for enjoyment. It was the novelization of the TV miniseries THE BLUE AND THE GRAY. I was hooked.  But I think what really hooked me was the history of the Civil War. I read several other books, some of them non-fiction.

Then I started making up my own stories about Southern belles and dashing heroes dressed in blue and gray. I started writing my first novel, a Civil War romance, in ninth grade, which eventually transformed into the novel I wrote for my eleventh grade English class.

Who’ve had an incredible journey…I’m impressed.  Please share a blurb from A Hunter’s Angel.

The serial killer stalking Clayton, Pennsylvania, isn’t all that has Chief of Police Grace Wallace worried. For a year, she’s tried to forget Special Agent Ian McHenry and now he’s the expert the FBI sent to catch the killer. She can’t stay away from him, but something primal is telling her to run to save much more than just her heart. Despite the strict code of ethics Ian vowed to follow as a vampire hunter, he craves Grace’s blood above all others. If he chooses to stay, Ian risks losing his chance at divine forgiveness. But if he leaves Grace unprotected from the evil he’s hunted for over a century, he loses more than just his soul…

Love your blurb…really perks my interest…and your cover.  Oh, I can’t even tell you how much I love it!  What’s one of your favorite sentences from your book?

This exchange is between Grace and Ben (her best friend and lieutenant)

Grace: “How many bugs do you think are in here?”

Ben: “Bugs? There are two bad ass, crazy vampires out there and you’re afraid of bugs?”

LOL…love it! What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done in the name of research?

I’m mostly a computer/book researcher, so I’d have to say the most interesting thing in the way of actually talking to someone I’ve done has been dropping questions to the soldiers/officers I work with about different things concerning the military that pop up in my books.

Which is the hardest for you to write and why…beginning, middle or end?

Oh, the beginning. I hate starting a new book. I’m mostly a pantser, so to me looking at a new story is like entering a large dark forest where the path is obscured. I know there are landmarks (the things I want in the story or the turning points) but the plot is as blind to me as path through the forest.

Please share an excerpt from A HUNTER’S ANGEL!

“I’m in love with the man inside the vampire.” Grace moved her hand to thread through his silky hair. When she rested the other over his heart, a soft sigh escaped his lips. Underneath her palm, the slow beat was barely noticeable.

His thumb grazed her cheekbone and slowly trailed down to the hollow of her throat. Her breathing quickened at the zinging anticipation as he caressed the pulse point where he’d claimed to have taken blood from her. He glanced at the spot with eyes as haunted as he sounded. “I’m not a man.”

“But you were once.”

He met her gaze again. “Yes, once.”

His fingers lingered over her pulse. Her heart raced under his touch. She tilted her neck as if his touch awakened some base instinct to offer the sacrifice. “Do you still want my blood?”

Ian stepped away and locked his wide-eyed gaze onto hers. At last, he rasped, “No, I don’t want your blood. Oh, God, I still crave it. You have the sweetest I’ve ever had, but I will never hurt you again.”

She didn’t know what possessed her to do so, but she whispered, “You can take…some of it.”

He closed his eyes, and when he opened them, he acidly said, “No, Grace. I can never taste your blood again. It would kill you.”

Fear of what she’d wanted him to do tumbled through her. She stepped away, and for a moment, she considered telling him to leave. How did she know any of this was real? She couldn’t imagine she’d ever freely offer a vampire her blood. Did she really believe him? He was sucking her into his insanity. But if this was true and he could make people do things against their will, maybe he could control her feelings.

“Maybe I should go?” Ian backed away another step and headed toward the counter where he’d left his dagger. He turned back to her with the sheath in his hand. Her heart shattered with the knowledge that, if he walked out the front door, she’d never see him again. “Goodbye, my sweet angel.”

His jagged murmur ripped at her soul as his eyes took on a blazing intensity and snared hers. She felt a pressure in her mind, and she knew what he intended to do. He wanted to erase her memories of him.

No!

What 2 attributes do you like most about your hero?

I love Ian’s honor. I also love his compassion for others that he doesn’t see.

Your heroine?

Of Grace, I love her strength and her kick-ass attitude.

I love picking out character names when I’m starting a new story…do the names you chose for your hero or heroine have a special meaning to you, or how did you go about choosing them?

I love picking names too. And for the most part they do have meanings. Both Grace and Ian have deep meanings, but I can’t give them away or I’d slip something about the story…*evil grin*

Ooh…nicely done Cera, now I’m more intrigued J If a newbie author asked you the best way to go about promoting a new book—or what worked best for you, what would you tell them?

Well, since I’m still brand spanking new at this game myself, I have no idea.  If someone can tell me what works, I’d love it!

Darn it, I thought you’d have a hidden tip…lol.  Care to give us a little hint on what you’re working on now? 🙂

I actually have several irons in the fire, as my grandma would say.  I’m in the midst of writing A Hunter’s Wings (book three of my Hunter’s Dagger series) and I’m editing/revising Book 2 of my Colton Gamblers series (book one—Gambling On a Secret is due out early next year and is my first Western).  Also I’m working on edits for my two contracted Westerns.

Whew, you’re busy, busy, busy! And finally, where can we find you and your book(s)?

Website Links:

Website: http://www.ceradubois.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarawalterellwood.ceradubois/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sara_w_ellwood

To Sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mVxXf

 

Buy Links:

The Wild Rose Press: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=980

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=cera+dubois

Thank you so much for coming by Cera….

Thanks for having me, Christine… I had a ball!

Everyone, please read on a little further and find out the how you can win some awesome prizes from Cera 🙂

***

To find out more about A Hunter’s Angel, check out my website (http://ceradubois.wordpress.com/a-hunters-angel-the-book-tour/) for a schedule of my blog stops during the book tour. I will be presenting a series of short stories called The Vampire Encounters. Follow me as I interview Ian McHenry, Master Vampire Lucas Pomeroy, Vivian van Dyke Pomeroy, and have a scary run-in with Shane Chamberlain. Hope to see you along the way.

Contest: (Sorry, only USA and Canada residents are eligible for any prize that needs to be mailed. Non-residents and residents of USA are eligible for free PDF copy.)

Two Lucky Posters will get a PDF copy of Bloodwine. (for info on this short story check out my website)

1st Stalker Prize: Every Poster will also be entered into a drawing for either a custom-made pair of angel wing earrings, charm bracelet, or necklace (check out my website for photos).

2st Stalker Prize: Every Poster will also be entered into a drawing of a $10 gift card from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice)—drawing to happen on September 1.

 

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Friday Fun Facts

Hi and welcome to Friday Fun Facts!  Come play along and learn something new about me, and I’ll learn something new about you.

Do you ever get into a mood—and I’m talking food-wise—where you crave a certain taste for a certain food to such the extreme that you can eat it at every meal?

For some reason this week I wanted to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches morning, noon and night…along with an evening snack…lol

Now, let me tell you, PBJ’s aren’t a sandwich I eat often.  I generally find I will indulge in a good PB&J maybe once a year—if that.

But for some reason this week I couldn’t get the thought of an old fashioned PB&J out of my head.  And, no, I wasn’t daydreaming about when the kids were small and that seemed to be all they’d want for lunch 🙂  lol

I craved soft white bread—no whole wheat or multi-grain for this craving—if I was going to be naughty, I was going to go all the way!  🙂  Then yummy, creamy SKIPPY peanut butter slathered on each piece of bread and a thin layer of strawberry jelly in between.

Let me tell you, with a glass of cold, COLD milk I was in heaven.  LOL  (and yes, I drink fat-free milk so that counteracts the calories of the PB&J…hahahaha)

Which brings me to today’s Friday Fun Fact question….Drum roll please…

Am I flying solo here, or does anyone else get a food craving that they just can’t seem to satisfy—having the same meal over and over again until they don’t ever want to see that meal again—or at least until the next time they get in the mood.  Lol  And if so, what was that craving that took over your taste buds and wouldn’t let anything else suffice?

I’m looking forward to your answers 🙂

 
 

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Friday Fun Facts

Hi and welcome to Friday Fun Facts!  Come play along and learn something new about me, and I’ll learn something new about you.

I’ve always loved games—card games, board games, video games…pretty much any type of game.

This week I was going through my vast collection of games that have been stored in the basement.  Some from when the kids were small, and some from when my husband and I used to host “Game Nights”.  Loved game nights—we’d invite several couples over and generally we’d do a theme and everyone would bring a dish to pass that went with that theme. We’d play loud, riotous games of Pictionary, The Newlywed game, Balderdash—and many more.

Anyway, I’m getting off track.  Going through this massive stack I knew it was time to either donate some of them to Goodwill or send a few home with my daughter the next time she’s visiting.

I had a great time sorting through them and found it hard to believe how many I’d kept.  There were games purchased years ago when my kids were small.  Remember HI-HO Cheerio or Guess Who?  I loved playing those games with the kids.  I think sometimes I enjoyed playing the games more than them.  We even had the Barney memory game…lol.  I’m sure none of my kids would confess to loving Barney now, but they did.  He was the coolest purple dinosaur in the land.

It made me reminisce about games we played as kids.  One of my all time favorites was a game called MYSTERY DATE.  My mom picked it up at a yard sale when I was a kid and I remember playing it with my sister and the neighbor girls on the front porch.  I think that’s when my love of romance began.  Lol.  We all wanted to open that mystery door and find the hot guy with the white tux coat smiling back at us.

Another favorite was OPERATION.  I begged my mom to play all the time. Probably drove her crazy.  For some odd reason I even toyed with the idea of becoming a doctor…lol But one nice thing about that game, it was easily played solo.

And of course there were all those old time favorites like LIFE, TROUBLE and MONOPOLY (which I played endlessly in the summer with a neighbor friend on rainy days or after the streetlights came on and we had to come inside…we’d have games go on for weeks…lol).

My brother and I used to play WATERWORKS and that was fun, but not many people seem to remember that game.  I know he also liked what I always referred to as “boy games”…you know, RISK or STRATEGO—those are the only two I can think of because usually he ended up playing them with my cousin, who—I swear—had every board game ever made.  LOL

Which brings me to today’s Friday Fun Fact question….Drum roll please…

What’s a board game you have the fondest memories of from your childhood?

Looking forward to reading your answers!

 
 

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Friday Fun Facts

Hi and welcome to Friday Fun Facts!  Come play along and learn something new about me, and I’ll learn something new about you.

This week—actually the last several weeks—I’ve been lucky enough to make a small dent in my TBR pile.  It’s a good feeling.  Although I managed to read several—even writing up a few reviews—my pile is no way near manageable.  But I’m glad I had the time and chance to read the ones I have.  I have a ton more that I can’t wait to dive into, but for now I’m saying “YAY” 🙂

All of these books come in different forms.  I have several books on my nook, and still more in print lining the shelves in the office, tucked into a cedar chest, stored in boxes in my closet and basement and a towering stack on the floor beside my bed.  And I won’t mention the tilting pile on my dresser that makes my husband cringe.

There are times I’ll have a few books going at once—and I know from talking to others I’m not alone there.  Now obviously when I have a book I’m reading up on my Nook, keeping track of the page I’m on is easy when I get interrupted, but when I have a print book, it’s a bit more of a challenge.

Sure, over the years I’ve had my fair share of cool bookmarks.  Some I’ve received as gifts, some I’ve picked up on my own, some have even been handmade either by myself or the kids.

But there have been times that I don’t have a bookmark handy, and I need to stop reading and want to mark my place without folding over the page (hate that..lol), or leaving the book open, print side down.

I’ve used some odd things as bookmarks—a paperclip, tissue, another book (yep, I tucked one inside the other to mark my page…lol).  I’ve even been known to tuck a utensil—as in a fork or butter knife…(don’t ask, but I will tell you they are clean: :)) to mark my spot.  At times when I’m in the car waiting while picking up a child, or enjoying a quick read on my lunch hour at work, I’ve been known to use a candy wrapper from my purse, a string—actually dental floss…which I also keep handy in my purse, a pen…pretty much anything I can dig out.

 

Which brings me to today’s Friday Fun Fact question….Drum roll please…

What is the oddest thing you’ve ever used as a bookmark?

Looking forward to reading your answers!

 

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Friday Fun Facts

Hi and welcome to Friday Fun Facts!  Come play along and learn something new about me, and I’ll learn something new about you.

So this week I had lots of hours that I could have written.  The key words are could have.  I did manage to get a little done, but it was a week of struggle and I just wasn’t feeling creative, even though I’d started a new project.  That alone usually excites me so much I can’t keep myself away from the keyboard 🙂

I kept finding things to make me get up and move away from my computer.  Odd little tasks that need to be done—eventually—but nothing pressing.  You know the chores I’m talking about—going through the closets for items to donate, rearranging the wrapping paper caddy, straightening out the spice cupboard, re-potting a few plants and finally—in desperation—cleaning out my purse.

Purses are funny things.  No matter how big or small, they seem to become the designated catch-all for me as well as anyone who I’m traveling with who doesn’t carry a purse of their own.  I remember when the kids were small my purse carried crayons, small toy trucks, snack cups filled with goodies, drink boxes…just to name a few.  And if my husband was with me I managed to fit in the camera, his wallet, a ring of 25 keys…lol…that seemed to usually happen on vacations. 

No matter if I tried to outsmart them by carrying a smaller purse, it still managed to be the place to fill and would end up bulging from the sides and things spilling out the top.  Not to mention no fun to carry 🙂

Anyway, as I procrastinated from doing anything writerly, I emptied out my purse one item at a time.  I found some odd things that just don’t belong in a purse.  I think I had about 50 pens…lol, a thousand receipts (all mangled and ripped…yep, they must’ve been in there since the turn of the century…lol…and the sad thing is that I switch my purse out every few months…so not sure how I managed all those receipts), an expired credit card, a key of unknown origin, a few gum wrappers, a paperback book, notebook (just in case I get a good idea for a story or a wip…good thing I had all those pens), one earring, so much spare change I could buy myself lunch out tomorrow and invite a friend…oh the list seems endless and I can’t believe it all fit.

Toward the end, as I scavenged in the darkened depths, I started to feel like a magician.  I held my breath, sure I’d drag out a furry white bunny by the ears.

Which brings me to today’s Friday Fun Fact question….Drum roll please…

What is the oddest thing you’ve either carried in your purse for yourself or a loved one—or found while cleaning it out?

Looking forward to reading your answers!

 
 

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Friday Fun Facts

Hi and welcome to Friday Fun Facts!  Come play along and learn something new about me, and I’ll learn something new about you.

This week I started a new WIP, which is always exciting.  Once I started writing, I discovered something wasn’t right.  Something I couldn’t put my finger on.  Now, I’m not a panster, but I’m also not an in depth plotter.  I do a quick outline to cover the major plot points and character traits/quirks and go from there.  Well, apparently that wasn’t enough this round.  I didn’t like the direction the heroes personality was headed, the backstory didn’t work with what I had planned for later and the reaction of the heroine to the hero was all wrong.

So, what do I do when I’m stumped and need to rework a scene, plotline, or anything writerly related?  Either I clean, play ball with the dog, brainstorm with a friend or cook.  Thursday was a day of cooking while I multi-tasked and discussed my issues on speaker phone with a friend.  For some reason cooking helps me think, as does driving.  (but with the price of gas I try and reserve my road trips for occasions when I NEED to go out)  Plus, I know better than to talk on my cell while I’m driving and I didn’t want to miss my friends suggestions. 🙂

In the kitchen, happily slicing, dicing, mixing, blending, braising, sautéing and all the other fun kitchen functions that are required to make a meal, I soon noticed I had plenty of clean up ahead of me.  Not my favorite part of spending time in the kitchen.

One of the reasons for that is when I’m cooking or baking I tend to use a lot of dishes and utensils.  Did I mention I use A LOT?  And I also don’t have a dishwasher, which means I have to wash A LOT of dishes and utensils by hand.  Now usually this doesn’t bother me, but there are days I’d rather toss out all those dishes that need washing and buy new…lol…if that were an option.  To not have a dishwasher was all my choice because when we built our house I was the one who opted out in favor of having the cupboard space.  Most of the time I don’t regret my decision.  But…isn’t there always a but? :)—there are times I do.  Like when I’m in major cooking mode.

I have to admit, if I could go back in time—after today especially—I’d take that dishwasher offered when the kitchen was in the planning stages and store any extra dishes in the pantry…or a box in the basement…lol

Which brings me to today’s Friday Fun Fact question….Drum roll please…

What one appliance do you LOVE that you could absolutely not live without?

Looking forward to reading your answers!

 
 

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Friday Fun Facts

Hi and welcome to Friday Fun Facts!  Come play along and learn something new about me, and I’ll learn something new about you.

This week was Spring Break.  I only have one child left in school so he’s been enjoying staying up later than normal and sleeping in well past 7, 8, or 9.  LOL

We never really take a vacation on Spring Break or go anywhere special.  Our vacations are usually planned in the summer.  Of course it would’ve been nice to go on a little road trip or do something fun, but with work schedules and other obligations, it wasn’t meant to be.

I’ve always loved going on vacations, short road trips, camping, touristy destinations, roadside oddities, a ride on a plane, beach, mountains, amusement parks.  There’s been some fun vacations in my past, and some not so fun.  LOL

Today, join me for a trip down memory lane as I remember a not so fun one—one that had a few highlights that I allow myself to remember 🙂

One year, when I was 8 or 9…maybe 10 or 11—I’m not really sure because I’ve tried to block it out, but bits and pieces have haunted me over the years…lol—my mom packed up her mother and my brother, sister and I and we all took a week away up north to Mackinac City and Mackinac Island.  (Loved that place then and still do…if you ever get the chance to watch the movie Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, it was filmed there…no cars and very old fashioned, it’s like you stepped back—well—somewhere in time…hehehehe)  My dad sent us away so he could have the week to himself and paint the house without all of us kids underfoot.  To this day, I think he got the better end of the bargain. 

Anyway, I loved my grandma, she was an opinionated woman who wasn’t afraid to speak up and demand her way.  Which is good and bad—especially to a pre-teen on vacation.  On the ride up grandma had this GI-NORMOUS purse that was filled with everything, I’m talking luggage here that could hold the belongings and any extras for a family of nine—and their neighbors and relatives—easily.  Anyway, my mother drove, my brother sat beside her in the roomy front seat (I still don’t know how he got this prime piece of real estate) and my sister and I were stuck in the back with grandma and her huge suitcase of a purse.  Which, for some reason, had to have a spot on the seat…which meant that my sister and I were squeezed up against one door.  LOL.  Not a fun road trip did this make.  For 4 or 5 hours we were like Siamese twins joined at the shoulders…and I have to tell you at this point in our lives, my sister and I weren’t what you’d call “friends”.  But, Grandma always had chiclets chewing gum in that piece of luggage, so I could forgive, and she did this funny thing with her false teeth.  It really impressed me 🙂

Well, once we arrived in Mackinac City we looked for hotels.  What is a feature that most kids want when looking for a hotel?  A pool.

Oh Grandma, bless her heart, she didn’t want no stinkin’ swimming pool.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love that woman, but she wanted to stay in one of those little individual cabin type rooms complete with a kitchen.  If I remember right I think the one she chose was called The Bates Motel 🙂

Yes, she wanted to go on vacation and stay in a smaller version of her house, but have it tucked in the woods with swarming herds of mosquitoes, no tv, cramped quarters and nothing to do after we returned from our day out but stare at each other until we went to bed.  Which was early because Grandma didn’t like to stay up late.  LOL…there was no letting Grandma retire before the rest of us either, because, remember, we were all packed into basically one room.  I remember playing cards and some board games, and it was fun, but as kids we wanted more—we wanted something out of the ordinary—like a pool 🙂

Sound like a vacation?  Not.  Lol.  So after a day of sightseeing and visiting all the touristy spots like Tahquamenon Falls, The Mystery Spot, playing miniature golf in Mackinac City, riding bikes and eating fudge on Mackinac Island after taking the ferry across..oh good good times.  Then we returned to our little cabin in the woods to cook our own meal, wash dishes, sweep out the kitchen—why it was like we never left home and went on a vacation.  LOL

Now I’m not sure what happened, because being a kid I wasn’t privy to all conversations, but finally on the eve of our last day of vacation—probably after my mother got sick and tired of us kids whining about wanting to go swimming—we packed up and moved down the road to stay a night in a real hotel with a pool, room service, vending machines and a small arcade.  I think we swam all day then we went out to a restaurant to eat and when we returned we swam some more.  The owner of the hotel even let us swim after normal closing hours because we were having so much fun…or maybe he just thought we were deprived and it was our first time seeing a swimming pool…I don’t know and don’t care, because it was FUN.  You know, like a real vacation.

Doesn’t a vacation mean that you do things out of the norm?  So going out to eat and swimming non-stop was definitely out of the norm.

It was the most memorable night of our trip and whenever I go up to Mackinac City—to this day—I smile a little when we pass that glorious hotel with the pool 🙂

And I do remember how my grandma was a bit silent the rest of the trip, she seemed to humpf a few times instead of comment, but her purse still had a prime spot on that long journey home.  Lol

Which brings me to today’s Friday Fun Fact question….Drum roll please…

Do you have a family trip or vacation that didn’t go as planned or wasn’t the fun you’d thought it would be?  Please share!

Looking forward to reading your answers!

 
 

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