Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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I love to write my dreams — and occasionally, my nightmares! I write tales of romance and adventure with a paranormal twist. Read on to find out what I think about when I'm not writing...

» Sunday, May 31, 2009

Miniature Golf!

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 21

Today's summer love: Mini-golf!

I am a pretty mean mini-golf player. Just ask my kids. Even as teenagers, they still have a hard time beating me. This is because I must have played about a bazillion holes of mini golf in the summer when I was a kid.

This mini-skill does not, alas, translate to a great "big" golf game. Before I had kids, I tried to learn real golf, but could never master the art of the big golf tee-off. All I could manage were worm-burners and hard slices and hooks.

But who needs big golf, anyway? Big golf courses do not have windmills, pirates, sunken ships, mermaids, and gorillas. And it's a lot harder to get a hole-in-one.


Beware: Mini-golfing with small children can be hazardous!

My youngest son didn't quite know his own strength. When he was about 3 or 4, he teed off a bit too hard at mini-golf and smacked a lady at the next hole over right on the ankle. Ouch!

That was definitely one of my more embarrassing moments as a mother. I'm planning to get the kid back in a few years by showing his naked baby pictures to his first girlfriend. :-)

BTW, these pics are from Congo Falls mini-golf on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk, one of my favorite summer mini-golf places!

Don't forget - Last day to comment on any post from May 24th to 31st to enter this week's contest for the following prizes:
  • Druids of Avalon series three book set: Celtic Fire, The Grail King, Deep Magic by Joy Nash
  • Lucy the Elephant tee-shirt, direct from Margate, New Jersey!
  • Angie Fox two book set: The Accidental Demonslayer and The Dangerous Book for Demonslayers
  • Angie Fox "Kiss My Asphalt" tee-shirt (Angie's excerpt of her latest "The Dangerous Book For Demonslayers" will appear on Friday May 29th)
Four winners will be chosen at random and posted tomorrow Monday June 1.

See ya tomorrow!

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Available NOW!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!


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» Saturday, May 30, 2009

Iced Tea!

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 22

So I decided one week was not enough to cover all my favorite edible/drinkable summer treats! Since I grew up in a big Italian family where LOVE was pretty much synonymous with GOOD FOOD, this is not surprising.

Today's spotlight is on Iced Tea. This is one summer treat that's cool, refreshing, and (as an added bonus) pretty easy on the waistline if you make it yourself rather than suck down the super-sweet bottled variety (which is sooo easy to do when you're thirsty).

I'm ever on a quest for fast and easy in the kitchen (as opposed to in the bedroom, lol), so I was really excited a few years back when I discovered the absolute easiest way ever to make iced tea: Lipton Cold Brew Tea Bags + Crystal Lite or Country Time lemonade powder.

I don't know what Lipton does to the tea in the cold brew tea bags, but all you have to do is put one of the oversized cold brew bags in a quart of water and put it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes and you've got tea! Then just pour in a tall glass and add a big scoop of lemonade powder. No boiling, no mess, no problem!

You can't get much easier than that, even with one of those goofy easy buttons from Staples.

It's sometimes hard to find the cold brew tea in the store, so when I do spot it, I buy a bunch of extra boxes. I haven't had to resort to ordering it online yet, but I see it's available on netgrocer.com in case you want to try it and can't find it in your local stores.

Don't forget - you've got until Sunday May 31 to comment on any post from the 24th to the 31st to enter this week's contest for the following prizes:
  • Druids of Avalon series three book set: Celtic Fire, The Grail King, Deep Magic by Joy Nash
  • Lucy the Elephant tee-shirt, direct from Margate, New Jersey!
  • Angie Fox two book set: The Accidental Demonslayer and The Dangerous Book for Demonslayers
  • Angie Fox "Kiss My Asphalt" tee-shirt (Angie's excerpt of her latest "The Dangerous Book For Demonslayers" will appear on Friday May 29th)
Four winners will be chosen at random and posted on Monday June 1.

See ya tomorrow!

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Available NOW!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

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» Friday, May 29, 2009

Great summer read - Angie Fox Demonslayer

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 23

I'm baaaack!

Wow, it was kinda weird not posting for a few days. I'll be continuing on with the Countdown until the Summer Solstice on June 21, since that's such an important date for Tori in A Little Light Magic.

Check with me on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and maybe on the weekend, too :-)

For today's Great Summer Read, I have a real treat. You've heard of The Dangerous Book for Boys, The Dangerous Book for Girls, and maybe The Dangerous Book for Dogs, but none of them hold a candle to The Dangerous Book for Demonslayers by NYT Bestselling author Angie Fox!

Angie's giving away a two book set to one lucky reader who comments on any post this week. The winner will receive the aforementioned Dangerous book, along with Angie's first demonslayer novel, The Accidental Demonslayer.

A second lucky winner will get one of Angie's "Kiss My Asphalt" tee-shirts!


And on with the excerpt...

From The Dangerous Book For Demonslayers....

Chapter One

The Hairy Hog biker bar stood on an acre and a half of scrub brush, right off Highway 40. The beer was cold, the pool table fixed and the juke box jinxed to play two-for-one Lynyrd Skynyrd. Not that we’d been able to enjoy it for long.

We were blowing through Defiance, New Mexico, with my grandma’s gang of witches on a somewhat sensitive, definitely secretive rescue. Good thing the biker code didn’t leave room for our hosts at the Hairy Hog to be asking a lot of awkward questions.

We’d stopped long enough to buy a few rounds downstairs before bunking in the attic. Well, some of us. I crept back into the bar with the sunrise and saw that the rest of the “Freebird” crowd had opted simply to pass out in their wooden bar chairs and on the stained concrete floor. From the look of it, not to mention the smell, they’d spilled as much booze as they drank.

I fiddled with one of my silver stud earrings like I did every time I was nervous. Just my luck the sleeping beauties weren’t going anywhere.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the mule. I hadn’t wanted to do this in front of people, unconscious or not.

“Pardon,” I mumbled as I braced one hand on a rust-flecked cigarette machine and eased a black boot up and over the very hairy man who seemed to be using the selection knobs for a pillow. His mouth slacked open and a snore rumbled in his throat. Of course he wouldn’t have noticed if I’d tap danced across his what-nots, but I was raised as a good Southern girl and, well, old habits die hard.

I blew out a breath and smoothed my purple suede skirt. Things would work out. They had to. I didn’t even want to think of what could happen otherwise.

Instinct had pulled me out of bed at dawn. I’d dressed quickly and strapped on my weapons. My new demon slayer mojo gave me an insane attraction to trouble. Right now, it was leading me to the long, dark hallway that ended at the kitchen of the Hairy Hog. I cleared my throat against the stale cigarette smoke crowding the narrow space, as if the worst wasn’t right around the corner.

My heels struck the floor like gunshots, but there was nothing I could do. Chances were, whatever was in the kitchen knew I was coming.

Focus. I touched one hand to the rough, wood planks that lined the hallway. The other, I rested on the round, flat switch stars at my belt. They were the demon slayer weapon of choice, and let’s just say I didn’t go anywhere these days without them.

My heart pounded. I focused my breathing, prepared for the attack. I could see the danger like a dot of light in my mind.

A grinding, screaming machine kicked on. Demonic robots? I ran the last three yards, kicked my way past a plastic trash can and threw the kitchen door open.

“Eeeeeya!” I hollered, ready to strike.

Grandma lurched away from the sink, clutching a handful of her Hairdoo by Harley T-shirt. “Crimeny!” She hollered in a rusty Southern twang born from years of Metallica concerts and Jack Daniels straight from the bottle. “You want me to reach seventy-nine?”

“Stay where you are.” Grandma wasn’t the type to let herself get ambushed. But there was something very, very wrong in here.

I scanned the small industrial kitchen. An exhaust fan rattled over the stove. Dented pots hung from nails tacked into the wall and an ancient refrigerator huddled in the corner. Crumbs littered the counter, along with empty pretzel bags and a half-collapsed beer can pyramid. The place reeked of overcooked grease and sour mayonnaise. At least I didn’t detect the sulfuric stench of demons. “Cut the disposal,” I said.

“Oh for the love of Pete.” Grandma shoved her long gray hair out of her eyes and flipped a switch. The metal monstrosity grumbled to a stop.

“Keep back,” I ordered. A large pot rumbled on the stove. Perhaps full of imps or other minions of the devil? I stalked the stainless steel vessel of evil.

Grandma threw a skinny yet surprisingly strong arm in front of me. “Don’t open that. Those poached eggs have at least another minute left.”

“Well geez, Grandma.” How could she be worrying about eggs at a time like this? I surveyed the kitchen again. I had to be missing something. The chill along my spine, the fear at the back of my throat, my basic demon slayer instincts had never lied to me before.

“Did you know your left eye is starting to twitch?” Grandma asked. “You need to chill out. You’re tighter than a bull’s ass at fly time.”

Sure. Relax. If I’d done that last week, Grandma would still be in the second layer of hell. I was the slayer of the group – the only one who could kill demons. I was also insanely attracted to anything that could chop off my head, steal my soul or wipe out North America. And right now, no one seemed to care but me.



Oh my god, how hilarious was that excerpt????


Don't forget - this week's BIG Countdown to Summer prizes:

Comment on any post from Sunday May 24 through Sunday May 31 to enter the contest for the following prizes:
  • Druids of Avalon series three book set: Celtic Fire, The Grail King, Deep Magic by Joy Nash
  • Lucy the Elephant tee-shirt, direct from Margate, New Jersey!
  • Angie Fox two book set: The Accidental Demonslayer and The Dangerous Book for Demonslayers
  • Angie Fox "Kiss My Asphalt" tee-shirt (Angie's excerpt of her latest "The Dangerous Book For Demonslayers" will appear on Friday May 29th)
Four winners will be chosen at random and posted on Monday June 1.

See ya!

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Available NOW!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

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» Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Little Light Magic Release Day


A Little Light Magic is here!

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 26

Wow, I can't believe it's release day for A Little Light Magic! I've been having a great time with the Countdown, and I've received so many offers of book giveaways from my fellow Dorchester authors, that I've decided to continue the party and prizes all the way to the Summer Solstice on June 21. Though I won't be keeping up the pace of a post-per-day, lol. Be sure to check back 2-3 times each week to see what's up.

I'll be popping up at a number of blog and romance sites this week, so stop by to say hi!

May 26, find me at:

Fresh Fiction

Emily Bryan's Blog

A Book Blogger's Diary

Night Owl Romance's Blog and Virtual Signing (see below for booksigning info)


May 27, find me at:

The Romance Book Club Blog

Writerspace live Chat, 9 PM ET

May 28, find me at:

Midnight Moon Cafe

Also, this is way cool: Dorchester Publishing has a new feature on their website - Browse Inside Widgets!

This nifty tool allows you to browse inside Dorchester books before buying online, kinda like you were standing in the bookstore! All the newest Dorchester books have them, and some of the older ones, too. Here's the widget for A Little Light Magic:




Night Owl Romance virtual booksigning info:

  • Buy A Little Light Magic, or any of my backlist books, between Monday May 25th and Sunday May 31
  • Send the proof of purchase to Night Owl Romance (NOT to me!) per the details on the NOR website.
  • Receive a signed bookplate and bookmarks from me in the mail.
  • Comment on my May 26th guest blog at NOR for a second chance to win a prize direct from Night Owl Romance. Hope to "see" you at the signing:-)

This week's Countdown to Summer prizes:

Comment on any post from Sunday May 24 through Sunday May 31 to enter the contest for the following prizes:
  • Druids of Avalon series three book set: Celtic Fire, The Grail King, Deep Magic by Joy Nash
  • Lucy the Elephant tee-shirt, direct from Margate, New Jersey!
  • Angie Fox two book set: The Accidental Demonslayer and The Dangerous Book for Demonslayers
  • Angie Fox "Kiss My Asphalt" tee-shirt (Angie's excerpt of her latest "The Dangerous Book For Demonslayers" will appear on Friday May 29th)
Four winners will be chosen at random and posted on Monday June 1.

See ya!

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



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» Monday, May 25, 2009

What I love about Summer - Parades!

Happy Memorial Day!

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 1

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 27


Today is Memorial Day, so I'll be out at a parade this morning, waiting for all three of my kids to march by with their school bands - one clarinet, one saxophone, one bass drum. In the meantime, my husband and I will enjoy civil war re-enactors, classic cars, horses, old-time bicycle riders, clowns, Irish dancers, patriotic floats, Boy and Girl Scouts, politicians throwing candy, the local DAR chapter, and the most important parade participants of all, our local veteran groups.

Parades are fun, but let's not forget to honor the reason for the holiday today - the men and women who gave their lives for our country.

A heartfelt thanks to all veterans, especially combat veterans and the families of our fallen heroes, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.


Don't forget to stop by my Virtual Booksigning at Night Owl Romance. Here's how it works: Buy A Little Light Magic, or any of my backlist books, between Monday May 25th and Sunday May 31, send the proof of purchase to Night Owl Romance (NOT to me) per the details on the NOR webite, and receive a signed bookplate and bookmarks from me! Comment on my May 26th guest blog at NOR for a second chance to win a prize direct from Night Owl Romance. Hope to "see" you at the signing:-)


This week's Countdown to Summer prizes:

Comment on any post from Sunday May 24 through Sunday May 31 to enter the contest for the following prizes:
  • Druids of Avalon series three book set: Celtic Fire, The Grail King, Deep Magic by Joy Nash
  • Lucy the Elephant tee-shirt, direct from Margate, New Jersey!
  • Angie Fox two book set: The Accidental Demonslayer and The Dangerous Book for Demonslayers
  • Angie Fox "Kiss My Asphalt" tee-shirt
Four winners will be chosen at random and posted on Monday June 1.

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Coming May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!


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» Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Little Light Magic Book Video! and Winners!

Days 'till Memorial Day: 1

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 2

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 28

I just love, love, LOVE my book video for A Little Light Magic!!




And here's something else new - a Virtual Booksigning at
Night Owl Romance.

Here's how it works: Buy A Little Light Magic, or any of my backlist books, between Monday May 25th and Sunday May 31, send the proof of purchase to Night Owl Romance (NOT to me) per the details on the NOR webite, and receive a signed bookplate and bookmarks from me!


Comment on my May 26th guest blog at NOR
for a chance to win another prize. Hope to "see" you at the signing:-)


And now, drum roll, please...

This week's Countdown winners:
  • Virginia - posted Friday May 22nd at 6:03 pm - The Grail King by Joy Nash
  • Marth E - posted on Tuesday May 19th's post @ 12:03 am on May 20th - Fallen by Cindy Holby
  • Patricia - posted Mon 18th @ 10:28 pm - Writer's T-shirt

Congrats to this week's winners! Send an email to joy@joynash.com with your snail mail address to claim your prize.


This week's Countdown to Summer prizes:

Comment on any post from Sunday May 24 through Sunday May 31 to enter the contest for the following prizes:
  • Druids of Avalon series three book set: Celtic Fire, The Grail King, Deep Magic by Joy Nash
  • Lucy the Elephant tee-shirt, direct from Margate, New Jersey!
  • Angie Fox two book set: The Accidental Demonslayer and The Dangerous Book for Demonslayers
  • Angie Fox "Kiss My Asphalt" tee-shirt
Four winners will be chosen at random and posted on Monday June 1.

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Coming May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!



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» Saturday, May 23, 2009

What I love about Summer - Sunflowers!

Days 'till Memorial Day: 2

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 3

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 29


Virtual Booksigning for A Little Light Magic!Check out Night Owl Romance for details on my virtual booksigning for A Little Light Magic.

Hope to "see" you there :-)


I am a sunflower fanatic. These flowers are so cheerful, so big, and so easy to grow, how can you not love them?

Every summer I grow all kinds of sunflowers in my garden. There are so many varieties to choose from, that I just can't decide on one or two! My absolute favorite is a type called Endurance, Seeds of Change organic seed company. This sunflower is a multi-branching type that grows about 8-10 feet high. Plant one seed and you will get at least FIFTY sunflowers on one stalk! You can cut them all summer for indoor arrangements and never run out.

When my kids were little, I got sucked into trying to grow a "sunflower cottage" I saw in a magazine. You plant sunflowers in a 10' square pattern and plant peas, beans, morning glories, or some other kind vine to grow up the stalks and across the square to form a roof. It looked so cute in the picture, and the magazine children were having so much fun!

But it you ever have the urge to plant a sunflower house for your kids, take my advice and DON'T DO IT. Sunflowers attract BEES. Lots of BEES. Which is a very good thing for a gardener, but not something you want to mix up with toddlers and small children. My kids would not go near their sunflower house!

Another caution about sunflowers. Their roots put out something in the soil that makes it hard for any other plant to grow. So if you plant them in your garden, make sure you plant them in the same place every year.


This week's Countdown prizes! Comment on any post from Sunday May 17 through TODAY Saturday May 23 to enter the contest for the following prizes:
  • The Grail King by Joy Nash
  • Fallen by Cindy Holby
  • T-shirt with the slogan "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel"
Three winners will be chosen at random and posted TOMORROW, Sunday May 24.


Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Coming THIS TUESDAY May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

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» Friday, May 22, 2009

Candle Magic and A Little Light Magic

Days 'till Memorial Day: 3

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 4

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 30


It's no secret that I'm fascinated by all things magical and paranormal. While writing A Little Light Magic I had fun researching Candle Magic.

Tori Morgan, the heroine of ALLM , believes in magic. She reads Tarot, and looks for the future in a crystal prism. She’s also in possession of seven Candle Magic spell kits, given to her by a Cajun hoodoo witch.

A spell kit is a small bag containing a candle and other items - a written prayer, a prop, scented oil, spice, etc. - that you need to cast a particular Candle Magic spell. Typically, a spell kit is made up and blessed or "charged" by a witch who is strong in magic, and that magic is passed on to the person who uses the spell kit.

Tori’s recently inherited a rundown bungalow at the Jersey Shore, which she wants to renovate as a New Age shop. Only problem is, finding a contractor on the cusp of summer at the shore is like collecting beach sand in a sieve. Just about impossible.

In the opening scene, contractor Nick Santangelo takes a look at Tori’s job strictly as a favor for a friend, intending to turn it down. It’s a small job and he’s plenty busy with bigger stuff. He’s got no interest at all in doing Tori's work, even though Tori immediately catches his eyes. But Nick's a practical guy - he just doesn't have room in his life for Tori and -- as he calls it -- her "whacked out witch shop." He wishes Tori luck and walks out the door.

And then Tori remembers her candle magic spells. Seven colors for seven different situations.

White – The spell Tori casts in Chapter One is for help, and involves a white candle. And lo and behold, Nick turns around and comes back. :) This invocation has Tori sprinkling sugar, and raising the flame above her head.

As A Little Light Magic continues, Tori casts her remaining six candle magic spells, one by one.

Black – The color of reversal. Tori casts this spell using a mirror and a black candle, to banish negativity.

Yellow – The color of intelligence and confidence. Tori lights a yellow candle studded with cloves while seeking some much needed clarity of mind.

Orange – A color that attracts specific influences. Tori casts a spell involving an orange candle scented with cinnamon oil for success in her new business.

Green – Green candle magic can be used for problems concerning money, prosperity, growth, and abundance. Tori casts this spell for fertility. Her aids are green felt, a needle, and a hard-boiled egg.

Blue – Blue is the color of healing, peace, patience and happiness. The location of this spellcasting is important. It occurs on the beach, at the ocean’s edge (but any outside body of water will do). Tori casts this spell for good luck. The blue candle is set in a shell.

Red – Red is the eternal color of love. Tori casts a love spell with a red candle anointed with rose oil--but not for herself. Selfishly casting a love spell for yourself, or on a specific person, can backfire.

In A Little Light Magic, Nick is a practical guy. He doesn’t believe in magic. Tori does, with all her heart. Who’s right? Well, the proof is in the results, isn’t it?


This week's Countdown prizes! Comment on any post from Sunday May 17 through TOMORROW Saturday May 23 to enter the contest for the following prizes:
  • The Grail King by Joy Nash
  • Fallen by Cindy Holby
  • T-shirt with the slogan "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel"
Three winners will be chosen at random and posted on Sunday May 24.


Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Coming May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

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» Thursday, May 21, 2009

Great summer read - Fallen by Cindy Holby

Days 'till Memorial Day: 4

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 5

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 31

An excerpt of another great summer read today - Fallen by Cindy Holby.

I always enjoy Cindy's books, both her historical romances and her futuristic novels, which she writes under the pen name Colby Hodge. Fallen was out in January, when I was in a deadline cone-of-silence hell for my fall 2009 releases, and I missed it! (I hate it when that happens.)

After reading this blurb and excerpt, Fallen is at the top of my to-be-bought-next list. The emotion in this excerpt is gripping!

FALLEN
January 27, 2009
Dorchester/Leisure
ISBN 97800-8439-6026-6

He was the product of illegitimacy, son of a noble house with no claim to its title or riches. For John Murray, the only hope of a decent life was his career as a British Officer. Had she lost her heart when he rescued her from ruffians, or when she first looked into that face like a golden angel's? No matter when it began, Isobel knew there was no hope of a happy ending for a rebel Scottish lass and a red-coated Sassenach. Betrayed by the girl he loved. Disgraced before his commander, wounded in battle and left for dead, John thought he'd hit rock bottom. But the sweet touch of a lover he'd never thought to see again taught him no matter how far a man falls, with the right woman at his side, he can always stand tall.

Excerpt

Aberdeen. Scotland, 1773

A fine mist fell. John Murray could not help but shiver in his shirtsleeves as he stepped out into the damp gray gloom of early morning. A shudder moved down his spine as his eyes fell upon the post planted in the middle of the court yard at Castlehill. The ground around it was trampled, torn, mucky from the mix of rain and free flowing blood. Ewan Ferguson’s blood. No comfort for him there; his blood would soon join it.

Was she watching? His blue eyes scanned the ranks of his peers, all standing at attention in the despicable weather, all surely cursing his name because they’d been forced to rise early this miserable morning and watch his punishment.

Where was she? Surely they would force her to watch too, since it was her fault he was here in the first place. Surely they had made her watch her brother’s lashing as it was his fault that two men now lay dead.

There. He saw her. She stood next the general with her chin held high and her shoulders squared as if she had just handed down the sentence herself. In some strange turned-about way she had. Luckily for her the General was magnanimous in his show of mercy. She was a woman, after all, nothing more than an instrument in the treachery of her clansmen.

Her hair was plastered down against her head instead of the usual mass of springy curls that framed her face like sunlight. This morning it seemed darker than its usual reddish blonde. Her dress was stained dark with blood and the neckline gaped open, torn by him in his haste the afternoon they were together. Of course she would have no way to mend it, so it hung open, teasing him, tormenting him, just as she did the first time he met her. She had gotten into his head that day, damn her. She had no choice about the state of her dress, because her hands were tied before her. Even though the distance between them was great, he could feel her deep brown eyes upon him. Her gaze gave him a measure of satisfaction. A small measure, but something to hang on to.

If only they would lash her also. Did she not deserve it? Was not she as guilty as her brothers and her father in the planning and the plotting and the betrayal?

John’s stomach clenched in anger at the thought. No. It would not do to rip her pale, delicate skin. Knowing her as he did, he understood that she would rather take the lashing herself than watch it. She would suffer more that way. She deserved to suffer for what she’d done.

“Best get on with it lad,” Sergeant Gordon said. “Dread only makes it worse.”

John ripped his eyes from his desperate examination of her face and looked at the grizzled Sergeant who served as his escort.

“Aye, lad,” he said in his hoarse croak. “I’ve felt the lash. “Tis best not to think on it too much. Fear makes the muscles bunch across your shoulders and the pain is much worse.”

John flexed his shoulders as he took the first step into the courtyard. “How can I not think on it?” He’d seen lashings. Plenty of them. Twenty lashes was the usual sentence for dereliction of duty.

But General Kennsington had added another five because of the circumstances surrounding John’s transgression. His punishment was to be a lesson to all. Do not be swayed by a pretty face and the offer of favors. When John considered the loss of his reputation and the damage to his career, the lashes were nothing in comparison.

Still, he knew they were coming, and with them would come pain. John flexed his shoulders again. The mist had turned into a drumming rain and his shirt was soaked through. He felt goose bumps on his flesh. He hoped it was the cold that caused them, and not fear.

“I know what you’re thinking lad,” Sergeant Gordon continued as they walked the innumerable steps to the post. “You’re wondering how will it feel? Will I be able to stand it? Will I cry out like a babe?” Gordon was right all on accounts. John felt a newfound respect for the man as they continued the gut-wrenching walk across the yard.

Too soon they stood before the post and Gordon attached the hook to the bonds around John’s wrists. Gordon nodded to a corporal who jerked on a rope attached to a pulley and John’s arms were stretched above his head, pulling him against the post. His boots sunk into the muck and the corporal pulled again so that he was stretched up onto his toes.

“Let him down a bit lad,” Gordon instructed. “Ye might find yerself in the same predicament some day.” The corporal relented and John was able to place his feet more firmly on each side of the post.

Gordon looked beyond John to the burly man holding the lash. “He won’t be happy unless you cry out,” he said. “The man loves his job too well.” Gordon spat into the mud by John’s feet. “Sadistic bastard,” he added. He slipped a piece of wood in John’s mouth. “Bite down on it lad. Twill help.”

John nodded as he placed his cheek against the post. Gordon stepped behind him and ripped away his shirt. “Think on something else lad,” he added into his ear as the cold rain on his bare back let him know that Gordon had left him.

Think on something else…John blinked the rain off his eyelashes and looked toward General Kensington. He heard the sentence being read by Kensington’s aide, a nephew of the General’s with a squeaky voice and bad skin.

“Do you understand your sentence?” the aide asked, his voice breaking on the last part.

John looked at the general and nodded. The general raised his hand. His face looked sad and John knew that the man was thinking about his father. They were friends. It was the reason Kensington had requested John be assigned to him. What would Kensington have to say to his father about all of this?

Think on something else…He knew the lash was coming. He could sense it coiling and gathering. He heard it whistle threw the air.

John looked at her. Isobel. Izzy. It was her fault. He trusted her with his life, with his soul, with his heart, and she’d betrayed him.

He felt the sting of the lash. His back burned as he was slammed against the post.

“One,” the aide said.

Get on with it…

The next one came in the opposite direction. Marking his back with an X as if he were a target. His eyes stayed on Izzy. How easy a target he’d been for her. He’d fallen like a rock into sea. Sunk right into her plotting. Captured by a winsome smile and deep brown eyes that seemed to hold the secrets of time.

“Two.”

The next one landed straight across, the tail of the whip caressing his ribcage and tearing at the skin on his side as it hit against the bone.

John let out a hiss but kept his eyes on Izzy. Her eyes seemed huge in her face. At one time he’d thought he could get lost in those eyes.

“Three.”

Damn her eyes. Three lashes and his back felt as if it was on fire.

The next one struck straight down his spine. The man was thorough if nothing else. He seemed determined to flay every inch off his back in the strokes allowed. John pressed his wrists against each other as pain shot throughout every inch of his body. He pushed against the post, his body automatically seeking escape from the next blow.

“Four.”

Think on something else.

How could he not be tense when he knew it was coming? He heard the whistle of the lash once again. Felt his flesh tear. Felt the blood pour down his back. He groaned and clenched his teeth tighter into the wood.

“Five.”

Twenty to go. How could he stand it? He had too. Crying wouldn’t stop it. Begging wouldn’t stop it. Screaming his anger at the heavens would not stop it anymore than it would stop the rain that washed against his back and plastered his hair into his eyes.

Izzy. He stared at her, blinking against the rain. It was her fault. All her fault. Every bit of it. Izzy.

Izzy.

This week's Countdown prizes! Comment on any post from Sunday May 17 through Saturday May 23 to enter the contest for the following prizes:
  • The Grail King by Joy Nash
  • Fallen by Cindy Holby
  • T-shirt with the slogan "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel"
Three winners will be chosen at random and posted on Sunday May 24.


Check back tomorrow for more summer fun!

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Coming May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

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» Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What I love about summer - Daylight Savings Time

Days 'till Memorial Day: 5

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 6

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 32

Best review EVER from Fresh Fiction for A Little Light Magic - though I'm not sure this reviewer has an accurate handle on my mental capacities, LOL.

"Joy Nash is an absolutely brilliant genius. I laughed out loud, cried crocodile tears and had butterflies in my stomach while reading this beautiful story.” ~Mandy Burns, Read full review at Fresh Fiction


More what I love about Summer - Daylight Savings Time

Yay! When the clocks go back in the spring, can summer be far behind? It's a big life to my mood to have sunlight staying around later and later each day.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to travel to Inverness, Scotland right around the summer solstice. At ten pm we were taking a stroll on a country road, with the sun still blazing high in the sky. Twilight (or gloaming) didn't come until after eleven, and it didn't get dark until midnight. I think the sun came up again around 3 am, but can't say for sure, because I was always asleep by then. A day with so much daylight has awesome energy.

Where I live, we don't have that much sun, of course, but I really love the days when it doesn't get dark until 9 pm. Thank you, DST!

This week's Countdown prizes! Comment on any post from Sunday May 17 through Saturday May 23 to enter the contest for the following prizes:
  • The Grail King by Joy Nash
  • Fallen by Cindy Holby
  • T-shirt with the slogan "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel"
Three winners will be chosen at random and posted on Sunday May 24.


Check back tomorrow for more summer fun! Coming Thursday: an excerpt of Fallen by Cindy Holby!

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Coming May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

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» Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What I love about summer - Fireflies

Days 'till Memorial Day: 6

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 7

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 33


Flying bugs that light up. What a concept. Honestly, if fireflies weren't so normal, wouldn't you think they were something from a sci fi novel?

The first firefly of the season is a happy event. (As of today, I'm still looking for this season's first.) Some of my earliest childhood memories involve stalking through the back yard grass at twilight, swooping "lightning bugs" out of the sky and into a jar. By the end of the night I'd have a natural light bulb! When I unscrewed the top it was so much fun to watch all the little lights drift away.

I didn't realize until about ten years ago that fireflies are an East Coast phenomenon. They don't appear too often west of the Mississippi, and scientists don't really know why. I met a guy from Colorado who had never seen fireflies until he came east for graduate school, and he was fascinated by them. Even with all the incredibly beautiful scenery out west, it seems there's some natural beauty we easterners can call our own. :)

This week's Countdown prizes! Comment on any post from Sunday May 17 through Saturday May 23 to enter the contest for the following prizes:
  • The Grail King by Joy Nash
  • Fallen by Cindy Holby
  • T-shirt with the slogan "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel"
Three winners will be chosen at random and posted on Sunday May 24.


Check back tomorrow for more summer fun! Coming Thursday: excerpt of Fallen by Cindy Holby.

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Coming May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!

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» Monday, May 18, 2009

What I love about summer - Lifeguards

Days 'till Memorial Day: 7

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 8

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 34


Ah, lifeguards. You just can't get tired of looking at these guys. When I was a giggly fifteen-year-old on the beach, my friends and I used to dare each other to go talk to the hunky guardians of swimmers.

Wearing my tiny-weeny bikini, I'd screw up my courage, suck in my gut, thrust out my virtually non-existent bust, and saunter over to the lifeguard stand to stare up at one of the bronzed gods.

The conversation would go something like this:

Me: "Do you know what time it is?"
Lifeguard: "Yeah. One-thirty."
Me: "Um, thanks."

Needless to say, I never got an invitation to the lifeguard ball!

Lifeguard competitions at the Jersey Shore are always fun to watch. Typically, there are swimming, rowing, and lifesaving contests. Each shore town sends its own team of lifeguards, who haul boats emblazoned on the side with the name of their own town to the host town.

A Little Light Magic takes place in a real New Jersey beach town - Margate, New Jersey. Here's a fun video of a recent Margate NJ Invitational lifeguard competition. Catch a glimpse of Margate's most famous landmark, the six-story Lucy the Elephant in the background.

Enjoy!

This week's Countdown prizes! Comment on any post from Sunday May 17 through Saturday May 23 to enter the contest for the following prizes:
  • The Grail King by Joy Nash
  • Fallen by Cindy Holby
  • T-shirt with the slogan "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel"
Three winners will be chosen at random and posted on Sunday May 24.


Check back tomorrow for more summer fun!

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com



Coming May 26!

A Little Light Magic

Summer at the Jersey Shore has never been so hot!



Note: lifeguard photo credit

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» Sunday, May 17, 2009

Winners & ALLM Excerpt #4


Days 'till Memorial Day: 8

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 9

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 35

Yesterday's Relay for Life walkathon at my son's school went very well! Weather was warm, but not hot and the rain held off :-) Lots of money raised for a good cause - I hope someday we can say cancer is a completely curable disease. This picture is actually from last year, but this year's scene was much the same. The word "hope" is spelled out on the hill with paper bag candle luminaries. When its lit at night, it's very beautiful.


Yesterday's excerpt of A Little Light Magic continues...Winners of last week's countdown prizes, and next w
eek's prizes, are listed at the end of the excerpt!


A Little Light Magic

from Chapter Two (continued from yesterday)

Nonna waved a disapproving hand. “Office, office. Always that office. It’s like you’re married to that job. You work too much, Nicky. When you gonna get a new wife? I want to see a great-grandson before I die.”

“Talk to Alex,” Nick muttered. “Or Zach.” Hell, even his youngest brother, Johnny, was more likely to fulfill that wish than Nick was. The very last thing Nick needed was another kid. Leigh had been more than enough to handle since day one. Another like her, and he’d have a stroke.

“Okay, then,” Rita said. “Don’t anybody wait up for me.” She disappeared into the living room. A moment later, Nick heard the front door slam.

Leigh stood. “Nonna, you go ahead with Dad. I’ll do the dishes.”

Nick raised his brows at his daughter’s sudden attack of domesticity. So she wanted him gone, did she? He wasn’t about to let her off the hook so easily.

Grazie, carina,” Nonna said. “Nicky, don’t move. I’ll be right back.”

She disappeared in the direction of the bathroom, towing her handbag behind her. She’d carried the bag, a plain black patent-leather trapezoid with a big gold clasp and stiff, semicircular handles, ever since Nick could remember. The thing held the world.

Nick pushed his plate toward the center of the table, his eyes on his daughter. “So,” he asked her. “What is it I’m not going to agree to?”

Leigh headed to the sink with a stack of plates. “If you’re not going to agree to it, why bother talking about it?”

“Because I’m your father, that’s why. What’s up?”

She turned, still clutching the dishes. “Jason’s having a graduation party. All the seniors are going.”

“You’re only a junior.”

“Exactly! That’s why I have to go.”

“Aren’t Jason’s parents on a cruise?”

“Yes. But Beth is home from college. She’ll be there.”

“Jason’s sister is what—twenty-one?”

“Yeah. She’s an adult.”

“Oh, right. An adult who’ll buy the beer and disappear into her bedroom with her boyfriend. The next thing you know, you’ll be with Jason in his bedroom.”

“Oh!” Leigh’s blue eyes flashed daggers at him. “That is so unfair.”

Nick leaned back in his chair. Christ, but Leigh looked more and more like Cindy every day. The long, straight blond hair, the blue eyes, the high cheekbones. And, of course, the figure. About the only thing she’d gotten from Nick was her temper.

He sighed. “I don’t want you to get hurt, honey.”

“Jason wouldn’t hurt me! He loves me.”

Nick’s temper flared. “Oh, come off it, Leigh. How many girls do you think he’s told that one to?”

“One! Me. But you— Oh!”

She slammed the stack of dishes on the table. A soggy tomato flew off the top plate and struck Nick in the chest.

He jumped to his feet as it slithered down his shirt. “Jesus, Leigh!”

“God! You just won’t understand! You never do. You won’t even try!”

Nick tried to keep his reply calm, but didn’t quite succeed. “I understand better than you think. And that’s exactly why you are not going to an unchaperoned party with a muscle-bound lifeguard whose neck size is larger than his IQ.”

“Jason’s not dumb! He’s going to Rutgers in the fall.”

“That’s right. He’s leaving, Leigh. Do you really think he’s going to spend his Saturday nights texting you? Get real. He’s gonna find someone else. It’s inevitable.”

Leigh looked away, but not before Nick saw a shimmer of tears in her eyes.

“Ah, Christ, honey, I didn’t mean …” He reached for her, but she took a quick step back and his fingers closed on air. She was always dodging him these days. He couldn’t even remember the last time she’d let him touch her, let alone give her a hug, the way he had when she was little.

She hugged herself, blinking furiously at a point over his head.

Nick felt like kicking himself. Or better yet, kicking Jason.

“Look, honey, I’m just trying to protect you.”

“Don’t bother. I can take care of myself.”

He ran a hand over his face. She couldn’t take care of herself, not by a long shot, but there was nothing else he could say to her now that wouldn’t make things worse.

“Look, I’ve got some work to do at the office after I drop Nonna off. I should be home by eleven. Will you be okay here alone?”

“Let’s see … yeah, I think I can manage.”

He ignored her tone. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” He paused. “No visitors. Understood?”

Leigh’s expression hardened. “Yes. Can I go now?”

Nonna chose that moment to reappear, her handbag clutched to her chest. Her knowing eyes darted first to Leigh, then to Nick.

Dio in cielo,” she said. “I missed a fight.”

Winners, Winners....from last week...

  • Caffey - posted May 15 @ 9:17 m -A TASTE OF MAGIC by Tracy Madison
  • Cheryl S. - posted May 11 @ 3:54 pm - GOTCHA! by Christie Craig
  • Pam P. - posted May 12 @ 5:31 pm - SIREN'S SECRET by Trish Albright
  • housemouse88 - posted May 14 @ 8:16 am - THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE by Jennifer Ashley
  • Librarysticher - posted May 16 9:50 pm - DEEP MAGIC by Joy Nash

Congrats to all! Drop me an email at joy@joynash.com with your snail mail addresses to claim your prizes. Note: First four books will be coming directly from Dorchester and will not be autographed.

Coming week's prizes..
  • The Grail King by Joy Nash
  • Fallen by Cindy Holby
  • T-shirt with the slogan "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel"

Comment on any post from TODAY, Sunday May 17 through Saturday May 23 to enter the contest. Three winners chosen at random and posted on Sunday May 24.


See ya tomorrow!

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com

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» Saturday, May 16, 2009

Excerpt #3 - A Little Light Magic

Days 'till Memorial Day: 9 - wow, can you believe it???

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 10

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 36

Today I'm out chaperoning for a good cause - my son's middle school American Cancer Society Relay for Life walkathon. This is my 4th year chaperoning this event for a very good cause - starting when my daughter participated in this emotional and inspiring event for the first time in 2006. That was six months after we lost my mother to pancreatic cancer, and lighting a candle luminary in her memory was very comforting. Let's hope the rain holds off for this year's event...

So while I'm keeping track of the kids who are walking to beat cancer...I hear those of you who are in the Dorchester Love Spell Book Club have already received A Little Light Magic!

For the rest of you - another sneak peek :-)

In the first two excerpts (posted May 4 & 5), you met contractor Nick Santangelo, and his quirky new client, Tori Morgan.

In today and tomorrow's excerpts, from Chapter 2, readers get a first glimpse of Nick's big fat Italian family - featuring the three women who drive Nick crazy: his teenage daughter, Leigh, his menopausal mom, Rita, and his incorrigible grandmother, Nonna Maria.



A Little Light Magic
from Chapter Two


The Santangelo women were arguing again.

Nick paused just inside his front door. The unrelenting rise and fall of feminine voices, more than anything else, told him he was home. He paused at the foyer table, dropping his wallet and emptying the change from his pocket into a jar he kept there for that purpose. He sometimes thought that if the women in his family ever stopped bickering, his house would collapse.

He didn’t pay any particular attention until he realized they were talking about him.

“Come on, Mimi …” Leigh said to her grandmother.

Nick could hear the exasperation in his mother’s reply. Rita enunciated each word slowly and clearly. “Leigh, forget it. Your father will never allow it. You know how he feels about Jason.”

“He’ll let me go if you say it’s okay!”

Nonna’s voice intruded, thin and pointed as a needle. “Where is Nicky? This chicken, it’s shriveled like a prune.”

Leigh’s voice came again, wheedling. “But I have to go! I promised Jason I’d be there.”

Jason again. Christ. Nick wished to God he’d never heard that kid’s name. He started for the kitchen with angry strides, his blood pressure rising with each step.

Rita’s voice rose. “Leigh, give it up already. Your father will never agree—”

He reached the doorway. “What won’t I agree to?”

The conversation came to an abrupt halt as three pairs of eyes, belonging to three generations of Santangelo women, turned toward him.

Nick’s right temple started to throb.

“What won’t I agree to?” he repeated a little louder when no answer was forthcoming.

“Nothing,” Leigh muttered. She grabbed a serving spoon and fork off the counter and turned to toss the salad.

“Nicky. At last.” Nonna laid a hand on his arm. “Grazie a Dio. I was about to call the cops.”

“I’m not that late, Nonna.” He planted a kiss on his grandmother’s withered cheek and allowed her to tug him to the head of the table. There was no way he was getting away with a quick sandwich now. He’d start World War III if he tried to get back to the office before Nonna’s chicken was reduced to bones and gristle. And with Leigh’s newest drama, whatever it was … Damn. He’d be lucky to get back to the office by nine.

Nonna forked chicken onto a serving plate while Rita pulled garlic bread from the oven. Nick, frowning, watched Leigh fling lettuce and tomatoes onto salad plates. If the waistband of his daughter’s shorts were rolled down any farther, he’d be seeing parts of her he hadn’t come face-to-face with since her diaper days. The thought made him slightly ill. Goddamn it all to hell. She hadn’t dressed like that before Jason.

Leigh turned to place the salad on the table. Moodily, Nick watched her. A father didn’t like to notice such things, but he could hardly deny the fact that Leigh had inherited her mother’s bustline. Cindy’s breasts had fried Nick’s brain in high school, and he had no doubt that Leigh’s assets were destroying a similar number of brain cells in Jason MacAllister’s thick skull. If all this was God’s idea of a sick joke, Nick wasn’t laughing.

He stared down at his salad. Christ. He wasn’t old enough for this. Damn it, he was only thirty-five. Other men his age were still changing diapers and coaching Little League. But Nick had been a horny, seventeen-year-old idiot when he’d gotten Cindy pregnant. Which was not a comforting thought, given Leigh’s horny, seventeen-year-old idiot boyfriend. Your father will never agree... Nick didn’t know what Leigh’s latest plea involved, but he was dead certain he wasn’t going to like it.

Nonna presented Nick with a plate. “This chicken shoulda been eat a half hour ago. Don’t blame me if it’s ruined.”

“I’m sure it’s delicious, Nonna,” Nick said, forking meat onto his plate. “You couldn’t cook a bad meal if you tried.”

A smile cracked Nonna’s face. “You’re a good boy, Nicky.” She sank into her chair and bowed her head while he muttered grace.

“Amen.” He took a piece of garlic bread and offered the basket to his mother.

Rita shook her head. “I’m on the Flat Belly diet. You know that, Nicky.”

He eyed her enormous salad, sprinkled with sunflower seeds and topped with a naked chicken breast. “Don’t you think you’ve lost enough weight, Ma? How much is it, now?”

“Thirty pounds. I’ve got another five to go.”

Nonna snorted. “Stop with the diet already. You don’t eat enough to keep a bird alive. A woman needs a little padding on her bones. You want my advice? Get rid of them hormone pills. They’re making you pazza.” She shook her head, but her tight gray curls didn’t shake with it. “And all that exercise! Santa Madonna. No woman should lift weights.”

“I think Mimi looks great,” Leigh offered.

She was right, Nick realized. Rita did look great, but the weight she’d lost was only part of it. She’d also gotten contact lenses, dyed her hair, and acquired a bright, clingy wardrobe. He eyed her fingernails, done in red, with fake tips. Or maybe they were real. Who the hell knew? The effect of all the changes was unnerving. Aside from a few laugh lines, Nick’s mother looked much the same as she had fifteen years ago.

Nick didn’t like it. It made him feel like he’d gone back in time himself, to the year he’d turned twenty. The year Cindy had left him, the year his father had dropped dead. It was a year he didn’t like to think about.

“And what was wrong with how your grandmother looked before?” Nonna demanded of Leigh. “She was fine. She don’t need to starve. She’s gonna get sick.”

“I’m okay,” Rita said through clenched teeth.

Nick knew better than to enter the estrogen-fueled debate. He kept his head down and ate. He was half-finished with his meal when Rita set her napkin down next to her barely touched plate. She rose, her chair scraping the tile.

“I’ve got to go,” she said.

“Go?” Nick asked. “Go where?”

“Church.”

He eyed her. “On a Thursday night?”

“I’m on the committee for the Fourth of July crab bake.”

Leigh nearly choked on her Diet Coke. “What? No way. You swore you were blowing that off this year. You said—”

“Never mind what I said. Fiona Hennessey begged for my help.”

“You’ve hated Fiona Hennessey since middle school,” Nick pointed out.

“Yes, well, that’s the very reason I couldn’t say no when she begged.”

Nonna was clearly displeased. “If Rita’s going out, who’s gonna drive me home? I can’t sit around here all night. I need to watch that new Survivor show.”

“Leigh can take you home,” Rita told her.

“No, I’ll do it,” Nick said, dropping his napkin on the table. “I’m headed back to the office anyway.”

Nonna waved a disapproving hand. “Office, office. Always that office. It’s like you’re married to that job. You work too much, Nicky. When you gonna get a new wife? I want to see a great-grandson before I die.”

Last day for a chance at this week's prizes...FIVE great summer reads courtesy of the nice folks at Dorchester Publishing. Comment on any post from Monday May 11 through Saturday May 16 to enter the contest. Five winners chosen at random and posted TOMORROW Sunday May 17.
  • A TASTE OF MAGIC by Tracy Madison
  • GOTCHA! by Christie Craig
  • SIREN'S SECRET by Trish Albright
  • THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE by Jennifer Ashley
  • DEEP MAGIC by Joy Nash

See ya tomorrow!

Joy Nash
www.joynash.com

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