Guest Post — Draven St. James

As an author I have found many helpful tools, but the best has been the writing community in general.  First off I’d like to thank the wonderful hosts of Through the Heart-Shaped Glasses for welcoming me on their blog. When I first decided to step off the predictable path of my nine to five job, doing psychological profiling, I was more than a little nervous. While I enjoyed what I did, I knew my true passion was in writing.

But knowing you want to be a writer and actually attempting to do it for a living are two different animals. It was through getting to know my fellow writers and authors that I was able to shore up my courage to make my dream a reality. I found many of my friends outside of the community had a very odd idea of what being a author entailed. It seemed they believed writers just sit around all day, sipping coffee with books flowing effortlessly out of the soul and onto the page. While my books may flow, pretty well, there are some bumps and rapids along the way.

The writing community knows that the challenge doesn’t stop with the end of a book. That is just the beginning. Then you seek out a publisher and when you get that acceptance it is magical. After that are rounds and rounds and rounds of edits. To polish and work your book into the best piece of writing it can be. A story that the readers can fully experience. Then the joy of seeing the cover of your book with the characters in color, not the black and white script. Ah, and onto promotion. A lot of promotion. See, this is where the community really shines. There has always been an open blog and a friend willing to tweet when it came to each of my book releases.

So, while my computer is essential and named, as my friends believed if I was going to spend so much time around a device, it should have a name. Theo. It is the writing community that can help make a writer shine and feel welcome, even when in the hell of writers block or the purgatory of waiting to see if your submission has been accepted.

The book that has just been released, Scent of a Wolf, is a product of this intense process.



DSJ_ScentofaWolfJace Shaw is one of the few survivors of an extraordinary, rare wolf pack. He spends his days on the run and his nights in another world with a man he’s only dreamed about. To sleep is to feel his dream man’s hands on his body and hear his wicked whispered words. But when the sun rises reality crashes in: the evil that destroyed his birth pack hunts his kind down in search of a way to control their power.

Merek Wahya is an alpha dealing with all the issues of being newly appointed, but they all fall away when he closes his eyes at night. Then, a man with moonlit hair and mercury eyes crawls into bed with him. When he wakes it’s to a painful arousal no one can satisfy. When Merek’s wolf catches Jace’s scent he knows he’s found his mate, and he soon learns their nocturnal meetings were only foreplay. The joy of this discovery is shadowed by the trouble that follows Jace. Merek’s mate is embroiled in a battle between two ancient packs, a war Merek must now fight. If he fails he could lose Jace forever.


Draven St. James is a born and raised Oregonian. She has travelled extensively in search of mischief and mayhem to fill her books. Her ventures have been quite successful in inspiring a wealth of stories. Of course at the end of the day, coffee within reach, laptop at the ready is where she finds her peace.

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About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Winter is Coming…

Winter is coming… that’s the way I view autumn. The summer is over, and winter is on its way. And I don’t like it.

I’m English, and I come from the north of the country in an area known as the Lake District. It’s spectacularly beautiful but very, very wet (think just really big puddles everywhere). And I seem to have spent most of my life heading south in search of the sun.

I now live in the mountains of Southern Spain, but even here, the winters can be cold and throughout November the temperatures drop daily, the nights are getting darker and the days shorter. And I miss the summer.

Nina CroftMy writing reflects my love of summer. I have two books releasing this month, Bittersweet Magic, which came out this week, and Operation Saving Daniel, which releases later in the month. Both stories take place in July. So even my characters love the sun (well, except for the vampires, and they like lovely balmy evenings where they can lay outside counting the stars.)

So November is maybe my least favorite month of the year; there’s no chance of even an Indian summer, the long winter stretches ahead, and I’m English, so I don’t even have Thanksgiving to look forward to.

Lol- I’m sounding miserable! So to counteract my Novemberly miserableness, I’ve decided to stop thinking of what I hate about winter and make a list of all the things I like and can look forward to (and be thankful for!) Here goes:

  • Log fires – yesterday we lit the first fire of the year – I love real fires; there’s something so romantic about curling up in front of the flickering flames…
  • Christmas – who doesn’t love Christmas! And New Year, a chance for a brand new start.
  • Snow – while I live in southern Spain, I also live at around 3300 feet above sea level – it gets cold and we do have snow and it’s beautiful. Also behind us, to the north, is Mulhacen, mainland Spain’s highest mountain. Any day now, we’ll have the first snow and that will stay right into next June/July
  • Long, dark evenings and the chance to watch back-to-back seasons of my favorite TV shows, 24, West Wing, Grey’s Anatomy, Battlestar Gallactica…
  • Horse riding on lovely, crisp, frosty mornings, when the air is clear and the sky is blue and I can see all the way down my mountain to the Mediterranean.

Okay, I’m out of ideas and need help – what are your favorite things about the coming cold season? Comment for a chance to win this month’s giveaway; a $10 Amazon gift E-card and a copy of the fabulous, Letters from Home, courtesy of Bethanne Strasser!

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Three Things I’m Learning from NaNo (so far!)

2013-Participant-Vertical-BannerHi, all! Jennifer here. As you may have seen on my personal Blog and/or Twitter, I joined NaNoWriMo!

**Cue the menacing music**

This is a huge deal for me because it’s the first time I’ve decided to join. I’ve balked at NaNo before because I’m basically a slow writer by nature and also because I can’t think of a worse time to have to commit to writing regularly. I mean, November? Right before the holidays?


Why can’t it be in the winter, when I have absolutely nothing to do but sit and try to stay warm? Oh well. I am but one mere mortal and cannot change things, so autumn it still is.

It’s only been about a week into this thing, but I can tell you I’ve already learned some things about myself as a writer.

What are they? I’m glad you asked!!

1) I am still slow writer, but not that slow. Meaning, I can definitely get in a good amount of writing in a short amount of time. The only difference is I’m not going back and rewriting sentences like I normally would.

2) Having buddies really helps. The first thing I do before I start writing is check on my buddies’ progress. When I see that their word counter meter has moved, I think, “If they can do, so can I.” And then I get right down to work. Then nothing feels as good as being able to post my own progress.

3) Life doesn’t have to stop.  I personally have the time (and prefer) to write in the mornings. I can always get what I need to get written in that time frame and then I have the rest of the day to get on with other things in my life. And yes, that means, nobody in my household is suffering or not having dinner because I’ve committed to NaNo.

I like the pep talks and emails I get from the NaNo site too. Everyone there is so supportive and it’s all so very motivating.

So far so good!

In the meantime, have a great November and see you in December! (Hopefully with my book complete!)

Don’t forget: The blog swag this month is a $10 Amazon gift E-card and a copy of Letters from Home courtesy of Bethanne Strasser! Comment on any post in November to be entered to win.


If you’re a writer, are you doing NaNoWriMo? If not, what helps you to stay motivated to write every day?

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her latest sweet romance: CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN

The Joy of November

Every fall or early winter, life takes a different turn for me. The air starts cooling down and the weather changes, sometimes drastically. Living in Austria, a place with four seasons, I am reminded why people have gone crazy from gray days. The first year I was here, I read that the winter had the most days without sunshine since World War II. All I could think was wow.

Today, I look outside and see the clouds gathering because it’s supposed to rain. It’s another gray day and frankly, all it makes me want to do is grab a good book and curl up on the couch. Or for me, I grab my tablet and curl up on the couch. LOL!

Still, being a writer makes these days hard as our observation skills are not as tuned as normal. When I write setting, I try to make the weather a living thing. It is really when you think about it. I remember a line once from the movie Twister that I always thought fascinating; Jo’s talking and she says, ‘You’ve never seen it miss this house, and miss that house, and come after you!’ Weather is like that and one can use it in stories as character when needed.

Everyone remembers the famous first line: ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ from but how many of us really remember what novel it’s from. I didn’t and had to look it up: it’s from the 1830 novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton called Paul Clifford. While you might not remember the author or book, you most certainly do remember the weather of the opening.

You’re probably wondering just why I’m talking about the season and the weather this way. While this is my favorite season of the year, it is also one of the hardest for me. During fall and the beginning of winter, I’m moody, I write dark things that I normally wouldn’t write and all I want to do is laze around, not doing much at all. Hence the above sentence telling you about curling up on the couch and reading.

Some people have what’s called Seasonal Affect Disorder and it was noticed in places that are dark for large portions of the year. In Alaska and other places around the world, people use special lights, like grow lights, to give them back what they are missing from the sun. Now, I wouldn’t say I’ve gone that far but I can certainly commensurate with those people. I will go days without even wanting to do something productive then a switch is flipped and I’m baking up a storm. Believe it or not, it is also one of the reasons lots of babies were conceived during this period as there wasn’t much else to do when the world got dark.

I’m better around lots of people doing things like writers’ meetings but not having many friends in Austria, and no family, is really taking its toll on me during the fall and winter seasons. So, I’ve learned to take my joy from other things. Like writing. It’s during this time that I write, besides the dark parts, some of my more happy stories like those set around Christmas. That holiday has done more for me during the winter months than any other.

Thanksgiving here is something new here whereas at home it’s a major tradition. In Austria, we’ve actually started the American tradition and invite many friends to our home. We love doing it and were amazed last year when we discovered a full sized turkey will fit into our small oven. We did dressing and pumpkin pie as well as other traditional American dishes as we shared one of our most precious holidays with people who didn’t know a thing about it prior. Sharing one’s traditions is a good way to learn about people and have them learn about you.

So, today, I will watch those clouds outside my window, looking for the dragon or train or plane…aren’t clouds amazing that way? And I’ll hope for the sun to come back soon. Until then, I’ll write the dark parts of my stories as well as some of the happy parts too.

But how about you? Just what do you do to keep the seasonal blues away? Do you write? Read? Do you bury your head under the pillows and wish it would suddenly be spring? One lucky commenter will get a copy of one of my happier stories, A Viennese Christmas.

Have a great month…and see you all next!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at,, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at

A Taste of Autumn

Pumpkin Latte

I love fall. I like pulling my sweaters and boots out from the back of my closet. I adore the leaves changing colors. And I love curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. Right now, I’m also enjoying all the great autumn foods. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Acorn Squash – I’m not much of a cook, but this is one thing I love to make. I slice the squash in half, clean out the seeds, stick it in the crockpot and add butter and brown sugar on top. By dinner time, it’s soft and delicious.
  • Chili – Actually, my husband is the one who makes the chili, but there is nothing better than a warm bowl of chili on a cold day – especially if you add a little cheese and sour cream on top.
  • Pumpkin – I pretty much love anything with pumpkin – pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice lattes. It tastes like fall.
  • Thanksgiving dinner – Turkey, cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy. Yum! What could be better?

 What are your favorite fall foods? 

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

November is Warmth from Within

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So, unless you’re in a different hemisphere, the weather’s cooling off and life is turning inward…. also, if you’re in a different hemisphere, your water spins the opposite way going down the drain, but that’s neither here nor there… so, it’s time to look inside to our fireplaces, warm kitchens with soup on the stove and muffins in the oven.

It’s time for hot cocoa and coffee. Time around the table for games. Movies on a cold night. Maybe it’s that time of year when the family gathers around. We remember the old days, family traditions.

Join us this month as we share the joy of Autumn and our own family traditions. Plus, hear from our Guest Bloggers, Draven St. James, Marian Lanouette, and Adele Downs.

For every comment is a chance to win a copy of my New Release from Entangled Publishing, Letters From Home, plus a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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