Thursday, August 28, 2008

Collecting Stuff

Do you collect stuff--stupid, useless stuff? Apparently, I do. Last Monday when I was writing about every day heroes, I came across this picture of PEZ heroes and the first thing I thought about was, how come I don't have those? I never even saw them. How could I have missed them? I have 2 boxes full of PEZ containers that I haven't even opened in 4 years--not that that stopped me from collecting more. It's always an excuse like, but these have fuzzy coats. When am I going to see an Elvis one again? And so on and so on and so on. I even know the best but hardest to find flavor of PEZ--Cola. Truth is, they all taste a little like chalk. They have peppermint, too but it's also hard to find.
What do you do with this stuff? It's not like there is a cool display case for them though, believe me, I've tried to come up with something. If I did display them, they would fill up all the walls in my study. There would be no room for books.
Speaking of books, I collected those, too. I finally realized that. with a few exceptions, I only read a novel once. Reference books are another matter. I believe one should have plenty of those--and I do--of course. I finally took a car load of novels to The Salvation Army and the Commonwealth Second Hand Book Store (a snooty bunch of people there, by the by who only want certain books. They turned down a complete set of Sherlock Holmes and a bunch of classics--but hey, no problem. I took them right back home.)
So any way, I just wondered if anyone else had this collecting thingy going on. Is there a cure? Meanwhile, I'm looking for a bigger box for these dang PEZ containers. With all the rain we've had maybe I could string them in bundles and use them as floats.
Have a great weekend.
Sarah McNeal

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In Audio

I now have a couple of copies of my book Love Is Not enough in audio. This is an Anne Herries book published by Severn House and now in audio by soundings. It took me ages to find a pic of this, but last night I got lucky so here it is. I am also putting up the cover for the hardback. I'm not sure which I like the best, but they both have merits! Love, Linda/Anne.
I am really pleased because soundings have also taken the second book in the trilogy and this doesn't always happen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Twilight's Kiss Receives Five Hearts from The Romance Studio!

Dee Dailey from The Romance Studio gave Twilight's Kiss a FIVE HEART REVIEW! I'm over the moon about this fantastic review! Here's a few snippets of what she had to say about Twilight's Kiss,
Marly Mathews has written a humorous, suspenseful tale of villagers turned vampire slayers. They all know of Lord Sean’s affliction, love him still. Ms. Mathews does a great job building her characters. Bridget, Sean, Grace, Father Clancy, Mary, Rupert, Iris all come alive under her pen.
This is a fun tale with some suspenseful twists from beginning to end. Ms. Mathews writes some of the best dialogue and scenarios around. Sean is such a powerful but loveable guy I just couldn’t help hoping with the rest of the village that Bridget would just say the words and save them both from heartache. It’s a great book with a nice little twist at the end to make it even better.

Thank you so much Dee for your kind words! I'm always happy when a reviewer loves my writing!
If you all are interested you can read the full review by following this link,
Twilight's Kiss reviewed by The Romance Studio!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Inspiration and Detractions

There's nothing I love more than getting "in the grove." The muse is singing like a canary in my head and the prose is coming together, that little counter in Microsoft Word clicks up at a steady's great!

But why is it that I tend to be most inspired when I have the least time to dedicate to writing? I just had a month off from school, with nothing to do but nothing, and while I managed to get some writing done (the start of a new short Regency for an as yet secret project and the beginnings of A Compromising Evening, the second book in the Cade family series), it wasn't nearly as much as you'd think I would have accomplished (and indeed, should have) during my vacation.

Today marked the beginning of a new semester, and the first day of my last year of law school (yay!). I'm sitting here staring down 200 pages of Federal Indian Law text, 100 pages of Bankruptcy, 50 pages of Intellectual Property, 100 pages of International Human Rights, and 45 pages of Maritime Law, all needing to be finished by Wednesday/Thursday of this week. And of course it's now - now - that the muse decides to beat me over the head with the inspiration stick, running sentences through my brain faster than I can type them out.

It might have something to do with being in work mode versus vacation mode. When I have down time, I want down time, my brain shuts off. When I need to fire up the ol' noggin again, it immediately zeros in on the one thing I'd most like to be doing: writing. I tell myself, just one more year of academia, but come May, the real fun begins. I get to study for the bar, I get to start a job...I'm not convinced I'll have more time then for writing than I do now. I'm afraid I'll have even less. It's frustrating going from completing a novel every few months to spending nearly a year on one book, as I did with Reckless Liaisons.

I hate having to find that balance. Believe you me, as soon as I reach the point where I can afford to write full time, I'm there. I've wanted to be an attorney since I was 13, but I've been a writer since I was 7. Books are my first love, and first love wins.


Last week I faced losses, unexpected and painful.

A friend and coworker I have known for over 20 years died at age 55. She had planned on retiring to her 10 acre plot of land in Florida, build a sweet little house and spend her days boating on the lake, hiking and exploring nature. Her dream never happened.

Those of us who remain have reconsidered our lives and where we're headed. Will we get the chance to see our dreams come true or will we keep putting them off worrying ourselves over all the what ifs? It was so disturbing to meet up with so many old friends at a funeral--for one of our own. Realizing how fragile life is, we renewed our commitment to see each other more often and enjoy whatever life we have left spending time with one another.

I've had a dream of going to Australia all my life. I've put off going for one reason and then another. After experiencing the gut wrenching loss of one of my comrades who didn't get to live her dream, I've made a decision to go to Australia as soon as I retire. I think it's time to enjoy some of the money I've worked so hard to save and have an adventure.

And now a word about Grandfather Tree. I bought my house about 15 years ago and I selected it mostly because of the giant white oak in the back yard. I don't know what it was about the ancient oak that made me feel safe and protected, but I got positive vibes about his old spirit. A year and a half ago he was struck by lightning. I hired an arbourist to try to save him. Half of Grandfather Tree had to be cut away in the hopes that he would rejuvenate. Spring came and it looked like he was going to make it. Then the draught came. He just wasn't strong enough to overcome the effects of the draught and, limb by limb, he succumbed. He died last week and I feel that the spirit of my house went with him. Who would have thought a tree could mean so much, but he did.

I mourn the loss of Grandfather Tree and my friend. It is my hope that all living spirits continue in the universe in some way if only by remembering them. And so I keep the spirits of Grandfather Tree and my friend here in my heart.

Farewell my old friends. I hope we meet again.

Sarah McNeal

Author of




Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trial By Fire /excerpt

Trial By Fire/ Anne Ireland / Eternal Press
Coming in September in ebook
Ally is recovering from an accident and illness. she has come to the cottage for some peace to write her new book but now the voices have started. She is being haunted by a witch from the fourteenthe century. Isolde needs her story to be told. Will Ally break the curse and set her free?

As she went down to the hall, Ally heard someone laugh. It was a pleasant sound, youthful and joyous. Where had it come from? The door to the sitting room was open. She walked in, half expecting to see a child at play, because it had surely been a child's laughter. The room was unoccupied, but the tiny, latticed window had been left open a little at the top. Of course, that was why she had heard the laughter. Sound carried a long way at night. Her neighbour probably had children.

Ally smiled, picked up another suitcase, and carried it upstairs.

"Why do you always smell so sweet? Why does your skin have the perfume of flowers?"

Ally froze as she heard the whisper. The voice was a man's―a man talking to his lover.
Laughter and now, whispers! Ally's skin prickled as she stood on the threshold to her bedroom. The voice had seemed to come from this room. But, it couldn't have. She had been into the room; she knew it was empty. Perhaps one of the other rooms? Was it possible that someone had been squatting here?

Putting down her case, she walked along the hall and looked inside the other bedrooms. They were both neat and clean, as pristine as when the agent had showed her the cottage. No one was in the house. It was her imagination.

Ally went back to the bedroom. It was quite empty. She was alone in the house. She hadn't heard that whisper. It was all in her mind.

Perhaps it was the book beginning to take shape at last. The explanation was one she could live with, because it had happened occasionally in the past. Not whispers exactly, but thoughts that came out of the blue and were so insistent, so loud in her head that they might have been spoken.

Trial by Fire © 2008 by Anne Ireland

Monday, August 11, 2008


BOSTON (August 11, 2008) _ The 2008 New England Book Festival has issued a call for entries for its annual program celebrating the best books of the holiday season.
The New England Book Festival will consider non-fiction, fiction, biography/autobiography, children's books, teenage, how-to, cookbooks, science fiction, audio/spoken word, photography, art, poetry and spiritual works published on or after Jan. 1, 2000. All entries must be in English.
Our grand prize for the 2008 New England Book Festival winner is $1500 cash and a publicity campaign during the post-holiday season spotlighting your work. The winning author will also have a choice of flights to our various awards ceremonies for our family of festivals and a free vendor table at the day events, including New York, Hollywood and London.
Genre category winners will receive a combination of books, software, cash awards and free vendor tables at our New York or Hollywood Book Festivals.
Submitted works will be judged by a panel of industry experts using the following criteria:
1) General excellence and the author's passion for telling a good story.
2) The potential of the work to reach a wider audience.
ENTRIES: Please classify your book and enter it in the following categories. Multiple entries must be accompanied by a separate fee for each book.
1) General Non-fiction
2) General Fiction
3) Children's books
4) How-to
5) Spiritual
6) Photography/Art
7) Fan Fiction
8) Poetry
9) Art
10) Teenage
11) Biography/Autobiography
12) Audio/spoken word
13) Compilations/Anthologies
14) Best Unpublished Short Story
15) Cookbooks
16) Science Fiction
In addition to honoring the top selections in the above categories, The New England Book Festival will award the following chosen from submissions:
1) Author of the Year- Honors the outstanding book of the competition.
2) Book Design of the Year - Honors outstanding and innovative design.
3) Publisher of the Year- Honors the top publisher based on materials displaying excellence in marketing and promotional materials, as determined by our judges.
FESTIVAL RULES: New England Book Festival submissions cannot be returned. Each entry must contain the official entry form, including your e-mail address and contact telephone number. All shipping and handling costs must be borne by entrants.
NOTIFICATION AND DEADLINES: We will notify each entry of the receipt of their package via e-mail and will announce the winning entries on our web site ( Because of the anticipated high volume of entries, we can only respond to e-mail inquiries.
Deadline submissions in each category must be postmarked by the close of business on November 25, 2008. Winners in each category will be notified by e-mail and on the web site. Please note that judges read and consider submissions on an ongoing basis, comparing early entries with later submissions at our meetings.
TO ENTER: Entry forms are available online at or may be faxed/e-mailed to you. Please contact our office at 323-665-8080 for fax requests. Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable entry fee of $50 in the form of a check, money order or PayPal online payment in U.S. dollars for each submission. Multiple submissions are permitted but each entry must be accompanied by a separate form and entry fee.
You can also enter the contest by phone by calling 323-665-8080 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Pacific time.
Entry fee checks should be made payable to JM Northern Media LLC. We're sorry, but entries must be mailed and cannot be delivered in person or by messenger services to the JM Northern Media offices.
Entry packages should include:
1) One copy of the book;
2) A copy of your official entry form or a reasonable facsimile;
3) The entry fee or receipt for online payment;
4) Any marketing materials you wish to send. Marketing is used as a tie-breaking consideration by our judges.
Entries should be mailed to:
JM Northern Media LLC
attn: New England Book Festival
7095 Hollywood Boulevard
Suite 864
Hollywood, CA 90028-0893
Phone: 323-665-8080
AWARDS: The New England Book Festival selection committee reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any project.
The 2008 New England Book Festival is part of the JM Northern Media family of festivals, which include the DIY Convention: Do It Yourself in Film, Music & Books, New York Book Festival and Hollywood Book Festival. The New England Book Festival is sponsored by The Larimar St. Croix Writers Colony, The Hollywood Creative Directory; eDivvy, Shopanista and Westside Websites.
# # #

Every Day Heroes


Have you ever wondered what makes some people hang on in the face of great tragedy or adverse circumstances? I sure have. As much as I believe I have inner strength and a tenacity for life, I wonder if I could climb up out of the darkness and carry on in spite of everything the way that some amazing people do.

We see it more and more often now where soldiers, brutally wounded and maimed, bounce back overcoming their physical and emotional setbacks. Homeowners, suddenly finding themselves in foreclosure, who find the inner strength to start all over again. There are many others who rise above the debris of broken dreams to dare to try again.

Whatever it is that makes these people press on, it inspires the rest of us and gives us hope that we, too, like the Phoenix can rise up from the ashes. They challenge us to dream big and take action when what we really want to do is lay down and give up.

To my mind, they are heroes and I salute them. Look around. I believe there are heroes all around us.

Sarah McNeal

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New Submission...

Well I realize that most authors would just wait to post on their blogs about a new submission once they got the contract, but my personal feeling is, if you've submitted then you have something to crow about!

I've submitted for the second time a short science fiction GLBT romance that I wrote called Homecoming. I'll admit it got rejected by the first publisher I submitted it to, but I'm not one to let rejection get me down. I went through the story again, added some meat to it and re-submitted it to a new publisher. I'm confident that this time will result in a contract. Of course we can never know these things for sure but I prefer to see the glass as half full rather than half empty.

Here's a little blurb for Homecoming:

When Crew returns to his homeworld of Mara after five years of building up his intergalactic shipping company, will his bond mate Eagle accept him back into his life, or will he seek revenge for the pain Crew caused him in his leaving?

So, wish me luck! :-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Contract!

I have just signed with Red Rose Publishing for my short Regency, "Unspeakable," which was previously published by Aphrodite's Apples in their Regency Romp anthology. I'm very excited to see this story back in print.

Deeply Hidden Desires

Tara has a problem – a very big problem. You wouldn’t think so to look at her. She is gorgeous – from her lean, well-formed legs to the bronze shimmer of her complexion. But what made most men stop to stare were those thick, full rose-colored lips. Yet Tara has a problem. She is madly in love with Kendrick – who takes days to return her calls, who pays her less and less attention. Even the sex is becoming routine. She’s just gotten her first job as a registered nurse, but her boss Dr. Conrad is incredibly sexy, and clearly interested in Tara.
And then there’s Makala. Dr. Conrad’s secretary is attractive, aggressive, and in love with Dr. Conrad. And, naturally, she hates Tara. And Makala is in a very good position to sabotage Tara’s work.
Should Tara try to work it out with Kendrick? And surely it’s best not to get on Makala’s bad side. But Dr. Conrad’s skin is as black as a starless night and as smooth as a baby’s behind. And the smoldering glances he sends Tara’s way, well, she just starts to melt. . .
Patricia Richardson – author of “A Place for Ida” and “A Time for Jonathan” – is taking a whole new direction in her first foray into erotic literature. “Deeply Hidden Desires” will hold you spellbound as you travel with Tara through heartbreak, forbidden desires, and the ecstasy of true love. Don’t miss this latest offering from one of our most exciting authors!

Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride


Lola tried to squirm away from the brute but her movements only seemed to tantalize him even more. Before she could fully absorb what happened, the burley man was swept off his feet by a booted foot belonging to no other than Harmonica Joe.
A loud “oof” escaped the big man as he hit the dirty floor. He pulled Lola on top of him as he went down.
Joe drew out his gun and, for a moment, Lola thought he was going to shoot the man. Instead, Joe flipped the gun over impressively in his hand with a fancy twirl and slammed the butt of it into the man’s hand holding Lola’s hair forcing him to let her go. With Joe’s free hand, he grabbed hold of Lola’s upper arm, dragged her off the man and pulled her to his side. He slid the gun back into the well-worn leather holster that rode on his slim hip.
“You ever touch my wife again, I’ll make you a cripple in more ways than one, Clarence.” He shoved Lola toward the door and then out onto the wooden sidewalk. He stopped suddenly and let her go. Peering down into her eyes, his own an intense indigo, his expression turned stern. “Well, Lola, are you through playing games? I don’t have time for your shenanigans so make up your mind. Either you can come on home with me where I can protect you or you can go on your way and take your chances.”
What had she gotten into? The choices did not seem that good. “What’s to say you won’t just use and abuse me the way that terrible man in there would have?”
Joe laughed without mirth. “I’d sooner roll down a mountain side in a bale of barbed wire than try to get betwixt your legs, lady.”
Not exactly appreciating his assurance but feeling a bit safer with him than with the fleshy man in the saloon, Lola relented. “Fine, I’ll go with you until I can figure out what to do about my situation.”
He took long strides to the black Morgan horse waiting patiently for him then leaned over the saddle extending an arm to Lola. “Well, come on then.”
She clasped his hand and he pulled her up onto the back of his horse where she was forced to cling to his waist or bounce off the backend of the horse. “Damn you, any way.” It was all she could think to say to maintain her dignity.
“This isn’t exactly how I planned on starting out our married life.” Before she could respond to his sarcastic words, he chuckled. “Ma warned me about hell cat women like you. She was sure that’s the way I was headed though and, sure enough, here I am.” He turned his attention to the sleek, black horse. “C’mon, Black Jack, let’s get on home.”
“What a prophet your mother turned out to be,” Lola responded sardonically.
As Joe guided the horse down the street and out of town, he reached down and took hold of her bare foot. “There’s two things you’re going to need right off, a pair of shoes and your own horse.”
As Lola bumped along on the rear end of Joe’s horse, she wondered who the other Lola was. Nobody seemed to like her much. Was she a tainted woman? A thief? How would she ever prove who she really was? Would anyone believe her? It took sheer will to stop the chaotic thinking in her head. She had to concentrate on what was happening right now and figure out a way to get back home.

I am one of the featured authors at Amira Press next week. Check it out at Have a wonder week. All good things to your corner of the universe.
Sarah McNeal

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My latest from Severn House

The Lie/Linda Sole/Severn House, published in October in hardback. This is the first in a new trilogy called The Family Feud series. It is set during the second world war and begins in a small Cambridgeshire village. This time it is a fictious village but set not far from the Cathedral town of Ely. it is a saga series, whereas the last one I did as Linda Sole was crime so I am waiting eagerly to see what happens.

This week I received the audio copy of Love Is Not Enough/Anne Herries/Severn House. I haven't got a picture of that yet, because it isn't on sale until next month and amazon doesn't seem to have it up yet. So I am posting a pic of The Lie