Nicki Salcedo: The Spitfire Princess

Nicki SalcedoI was a tomboy as a kid. I used to sit directly on the ground and poke my fingers into dirt. I’m grown now and still have my tomboy ways. I don’t mind spiders or snakes, but I hate shoe shopping and frilly dresses. Give me a net, and I’ll go chase fireflies. That’s about as ladylike as I get. It’s not that I’m fearless. I have one phobia, much like the heroine in my novel ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS. I am afraid of mascara.

I thought I might change when I started reading romance novels. But I stayed the same. I fell in love with cowboys and dukes and knights. I wondered if they’d fall in love with a grass-stained girl. I wondered what they would think if I was the one to rescue them.

I’ve lived inside every book I’ve ever read. I vowed never to write stories where the ladies fainted or swooned. I would spit fire like a dragon. I would win the heart of the handsome hero, and I would never ever have to do the dishes.

Good things dreams come true. I wrote ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS as a present to my tomboy self. The Spitfire Princess in me wanted to have her day. My main character is Ava Camden. She is a princess of sorts, but she is scarred physically and emotionally. She is wealthy. She lives alone on a vast estate. She is brooding. She saves the day. And not once in the entire book did I make her wash the dishes.

What kind of hero deserves a Spitfire Princess? Read ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS and meet Graham Sapphire. He’s tall and handsome with a few scars of his own. He is the beauty and a protector in this reversal of the beauty and the beast story. What kind of kid were you: a daredevil, bookworm, prankster, tomboy, or a girly girl? What kind of adult are you: beauty or beast? Tell us in the comments.


All Beautiful ThingsThank you so much for stopping by! To show her appreciation for your visit, the beautiful and talented Spitfire Princess Nicki is giving away an ARC of ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS and a t-shirt from Belle Books!

To enter, you have to:
1. Like Nicki’s FaceBook page
2. Like my FaceBook page
3. Leave a comment below about your inner spitfire-ness by telling us what type of kid you were, and what type of adult you are now.

Ways to get additional entries into the giveaway are outlined in the Rafflecopter giveaway below, for those extra motivated to win a free ARC of this awesome story.

Good luck! The winner will be announced tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. cst




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nicki Salcedo is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in English and Creative Writing. She was born in Jamaica and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a member of Romance Writers of America© and a Past President of Georgia Romance Writers. Nicki is a two‐time recipient of the Maggie Award of Excellence and a Golden Heart Finalist.

She lives in Atlanta with her four children, husband, and a cat. Nicki thinks everyone should write and loves connecting with readers. You can find her at:


Submission Call: Meet Lisa Sullivan of L.A.S. Books

Hi all, I’m honored to have Lisa Sullivan stop by today and chat with us about L.A.S. Books.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Lisa about  5 or 6 years now.  She’s a great writer and a wonderful editor, I call upon her services often to whip my WIPS into shape.

Lisa SullivanHi, La-Tessa. Thank you so much for giving me a moment to share some information about L.A.S. Books with your readers.

I’ll begin with a little info about me. In addition to being the owner of L.A.S. Books (more on that in a bit), I am the author of Ghosts of the Mid-Atlantic, an historical collection of light paranormal tales centered on haunted people and places in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. My fiction work has finaled in the Western Pennsylvania Romance Writers 2009 Paranormal Flash Fiction (“Soul for Sale,” Paranormal); Wisconsin RWA 2009 Fab Five (Pyramus Lost, Historical Romance); Chicago-North RWA 2012 Fire & Ice (Pulse, Paranormal Romance); and Yellow Rose RWA 2012 Winter Rose (Pulse, Paranormal Romance).

While I continue to write fiction and non-fiction, my forte seems to be helping new and published writers achieve their writing goals. This is why I am expanding the publishing arm of L.A.S. Books.

L.A.S Books is a growing publishing company based in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia (about an hour northwest of Washington, D.C.). Among our services, we provide coaching for writers, editorial assistance, and publication of print books and ebooks over 25,000 words.

In addition to bringing in new clients for our coaching and editorial assistance services, we are currently seeking new authors for publication. Any genre of fiction and non-fiction will be considered except erotica, violent fiction, and works with intense themes. Our review process is straightforward:  submissions are primarily evaluated on the quality of the work, the author’s professionalism, how well we think the book would sell, and whether we enjoyed reading the work ourselves.

We are open to considering a variety of works, yet we are highly selective about the quality of the work and the potential of our authors, publishing perhaps only four new books each year at this time. Only the cream of the crop manuscripts pass through to our readership. This principle is how we build our customers’ trust and create a win-win-win for our loyal readers, our first-rate authors, and our company. You will find more information on our Submissions page.

Thank you again, La-Tessa, for letting me share this news with your readers. To learn more about L.A.S. Books, please visit:



Guest Blogger: Rayne Hall

Today author Rayne Hall is my guest blogger and she’s talking about love spells and how to write about them.  For all of you that write paranormal, fantasy, or looking to add a magical element into your contemporary works, this is for you!


by Rayne Hall

Love spells make great fiction, full of secrets, conflict, drama and passion.  Your character can cast her own love spell, or she can seek professional help from a magician (from a witch, a ritual wizard, or other type of mage).

The most common ingredients used  in the ritual are roses (often red or pink),  something from each of the two people (usually a lock of hair, and in modern times, a photograph),  red candles, a fruit (for example, an apple), a crystal (rose quartz is a favourite), herbs (such as dittany or balm of gilead), spices (especially cinnamon), and red wine, and a ribbon (red or pink).

However, the ingredients vary between different types of magic. For example, an Enochian may use different ingredients from a Wiccan.  Also, individual magicians have their own preferences.  The actual ritual also differs.

Typically, the magician may cut the fruit in halves, insert the locks of hair, and tie the fruit back together with  the pink ribbon.  Or she may brew a love potion which involves red wine simmering in a cauldron with rose petals, herbs and cinnamon.

If both people are present, the magician may link their hands and tie them with a ribbon or scarf.

If only one person is present, the spell won’t be complete until the second person has become involved, for example, by drinking the love potion.

Most clients are besotted with someone who doesn’t requite their feelings. They are convinced that this person is the one for them, that they’re meant to be together, that they will not be fulfilled and happy until that person is theirs. They also believe that the love spell is in the best interest of that person, and that the relationship will be a happy one if only the person would return their love.  They are desperate, can’t bear the pain of their unrequited passion any longer, and are willing to pay almost any price for a love spell.

Other clients are lonely and looking for love. They want a spell to help them find a mate. These include teenagers whose self-esteem is low because they don’t have a boyfriend,  single women whose biological clock is ticking, and men who can’t get a date.

On rare occasions, a couple may seek a magician’s help to save their crumbling marriage.

In historical fiction, parents and politician may resort to love spells to bring about an advantageous match, or to bring affection to an arranged marriage.

Most modern magicians consider it unethical to interfere with a person’s free will. Although they will happily help the couple who wish to strengthen their bond, and the lonely heart in search of a mate, they will refuse to force a specific person’s feelings.

However, not all magicians have the same qualms, and in earlier period, many made good money from love potions. Even today, many magicians advertise on the internet, promising to deliver one’s heart’s desire.

Some magicians compromise by creating spells which work only if there is already some affection between the couple.  For example, the desired person must drink wine from the same cup as the client, immediately after he has drunk from it – something she wouldn’t do if she hated him. An ancient Egyptian love spell required the man to anoint his member with a potion before having intercourse with the woman of his desire – and for that to work, she already had to fancy him quite  bit.

Other magicians try to dissuade the client from focussing on a specific person. Instead, they recommend a general love spell, one which will help the client find a suitable mate.

For the strictly ethical magician, requests for love spells can lead to terrible dilemmas. Here are some ideas you may want to play with:

● What if the client is suffering terrible pain from unrequited love, and the magician wants to ease his suffering? What if the desperate client is her own sister, her best friend, her son? What if turning down the request for a love spell causes a rift between them?
● What if if the client won’t take no for an answer? What if the client is the king, the chief inquisitor, or other powerful person? What if the client threatens to punish the magician for her refusal?
● What if the client is rich and willing to pay a lot for a love spell? What if  the magician desperately needs money to save her lover or to feed her starving child?
● What if a ruthless magician agrees to waive his principles and grant the heroine the love spell she craves … but only if she pays a terrible price for it?
● What if the magician herself suffers from unrequited love? What if her ethics forbid her to manipulate someone’s will, but she is convinced that it is for that person’s own good?  What if her need overrides her conscience?

Love spells interfering with someone’s free will can lead to disaster.  Here are some plot ideas:

● What if the love spell works at first, but wears off after the wedding? What if the person finds out that their spouse had trapped them with a love spell?
● What if the two people love each other, but their relationship is desperately unhappy – and they can’t out of it? What if they blame the magician for their misery?
● What if the client loses interest and wants to end the relationship – but the other person is still obsessively in love and won’t let them go? What if that person stalks the client for the rest of his life?
● What if the client regrets his action, and wants to undo the love spell – and it can’t be reversed?
● What if a pedophile uses love potions to seduce minors? What if a serial killer applies magic to lure victims to their doom?
● What if a fortune hunter tries to trick an heiress into drinking the love potion? What if she’s been alerted to his intentions, and has to be constantly vigilant to thwart him?
● What if the family hires a bodyguard or detective to protect their heiress daughter from love spell assaults?
● What if the victim’s family find out that the girl has been the victim of a love spell, and try to save her? What if they make great sacrifices to enable the spell to be undone – but she doesn’t want to be saved?
● What if the heroine discovers that her best friend’s intended is a ruthless man who forced her feelings with a love potion – and the friend refuses to believe it? What if the victim of the love spell is a man whom the heroine has secretly loved all her life, and now another woman has ensnared him with magic?

The fiction potential of love spells is endless. I hope this article has inspired your creativity.

Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), 13 British Horror Stories, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2, 3, 4 (creepy horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes, The World-Loss Diet, Writing About Villains, Writing About Magic and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies and more.

Rayne has lived in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal and  has now settled in a small dilapidated town of former Victorian grandeur on the south coast of England. She can be found on Twitter at: @RayneHall

SPELLS V3BELTANE witch fantasy Rayne Hall  cover Oct2011

Featuring: Jude Johnson

Judepromo-1I met author Jude Johnson as a result of our collaboration on Seven Dress Sizes. Over the course of the past year, I’ve learned that not only is she a talented author, but she’s a hoot with a wicked sense of humor. 🙂 . I present Jude, please give her a warm welcome. 🙂

Jude, tell us a little about yourself, how long have you been writing and how did you get started?
I’ve always written, just never shared with anyone until 2002 when a group of friends encouraged me (actually, they double-dog dared me!) to write a novel. I independently published my first, Dragon & Hawk — about a Welsh immigrant who falls for a Mexican healer in 1880s Arizona — and when it did pretty well, I expanded the story into a trilogy. It was quite exciting to have the series picked up by Canadian publisher Champagne Book Group and re-published.

What types of stories do you write?
I love history and the interpersonal relationships that made little events into big deals, so my favorite storytelling involves historical fiction, adventure, and romance woven into a tapestry. I can get a little steamy, and I like to challenge myself with short stories because they’re so hard to get beginning, middle, and end in less than 5000 words.

What’s your favorite story you’ve written?
Wow, that’s like asking, “Who’s your favorite child?” The first is always a labor of love and determination but the latest project is always fresh in your mind. Dian Monroe’s story of being a size twenty in a size zero culture in Seven Dress Sizes is one I’m very proud to have written. I’ve had a few people tell me it brought them close to tears, so I’m glad I managed to evoke strong emotions.

And in a similar vein, who’s your fav story or character in all of literary history? 😉
Boy, you really like to make me pull a Sophie’s Choice, don’t you? I guess the Hornblower series by C.S. Forester ekes it out on top (Horatio is such a self-doubting reluctant hero), but I also love Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Master and Commander, and the Temeraire series as well.

Judepromo-1Ok, let’s switch tracks.  Tell us a little about your  short story  in Seven Dress Sizes.

“The Well-Rounded Woman” tells Dian Monroe’s tale of what it’s like to grow up as a Fat Girl–not only in school but as the only large person in her immediate family. How hard it is to feel accepted and fit in, how she has so much inner strength that she undervalues, and how she blossoms into her own when she gains the confidence to be herself. Based on personal experience, it was quite difficult to write at times, but I wanted other women–and especially young girls–to see there is far more to living a joyful life than fitting into a certain number.

What’s next for you?  What are you working on now?
I have a contemporary romance trilogy of novellas involving ballroom dancing coming out from Champagne Books, starting in September 2013 with A Dangerous Dance, then A Wicked Waltz and A Torrid Tango. Works in progress at the moment are a children’s book about a dyslexic dragon and the little girl who helps him, and –ooh, drum roll–I just finished research in Boston for a Revolutionary War novel about a fellow who jumps ship during the Boston Tea Party. Based on a true story, you won’t know if he’s a patriot or a Loyalist spy until the end…maybe!

Thanks for visiting with me today Jude and telling us a little a more about yourself. Before you leave, can you tell us where we can find you next?
I’m speaking to a local Rotary group May 23, then laying low during the summer heat to work on my projects. I’ll have an update on my website once I start lining up events for the fall.

Jude can also be found on the web at:
Personal Blog/Geiko Girls/ Writers Vineyard/Facebook/Twitter

Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Champagne Books

Ok readers, Jude has hinted that she has a goodie for a lucky commentor, so ask Jude anything about her latest release, Seven Dress Sizes, her writing, or leave a general comment.  Good luck!

Guest Blogger: Christine Ashworth

Today I’m joined by new author Christine Ashworth, sharing her experience with overwriting– an affliction that many newbie authors suffer from.  I’m sure most of you authors out there have similar tales as Christine, if so please share.  There’s no judging here 🙂

Hi La-Tessa, thanks for having me on your blog to blatantly promote my first published novel! But before I get to that, I wanted to share how I went from overwriting, to writing to sell.

When I wrote my first novel, I put everything in it. Ballet dancers, gay men, straight men, alcohol, sweat, snow, gorgeous imagery, sexual tension, heartbreak, omniscient POV, deep third POV, Paris, New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, hot tubs, nakedness in the kitchen, really great lasagna, sex with inappropriate people…should I go on?

Needless to say, that novel, while remaining a darling in my heart, is on a dusty section of a hard drive that no longer exists. Ten long years have passed – eleven complete novels and over a dozen partials later, and I’m still struggling not to put everything plus the kitchen sink into a book.

I know now how to plot just enough that the thought of writing the story doesn’t bore me. I know how to go back through a book and see what’s missing, and how to add it in. I write fast, mainly to get through the writing to the rewriting, which has become my favorite part of writing. (Which is good, since selling means rewriting.)

But it’s taken me a long time to accept my method of writing and then rewriting. I had a friend ask me if I keep all the words I write in a day (typically 2k-5k, depending on the day, the story, and life in general). At first I thought, well of course I do! But in retrospect, when I rewrite a story for sense, romance, plot, and character, I do change/add/delete quite a bit of words. I’ve tossed out entire chapters because that dragged in a fourth POV, which the story didn’t need. So do I keep all the words I write? No. My bet is, few writers do.

I’m no Gustav Flaubert (Madame Bovary), who would at times agonize over a paragraph for a month before he was satisfied with it. (Plus, you know, he was writing in French.) Rather, the words fly out of my brain and onto the screen because if I think too much I can’t write – therefore, the words that make it to the page aren’t always appropriate for the story, but they lead me to the next bit, and the next, and before I know it, the book is done and the real work (fun!) begins.

No writing is truly wasted. When I say I “toss” words, I really mean “put in a delete folder for all eternity”. Because someday, those words might come in handy! Yes, I still over-write – add in elements to the story that don’t really fit. But they get put into the delete folder at the appropriate time, because my brain has finally figured out what happens next.

Christine, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience.  You weren’t kidding about trying to put everything in your first manuscript were you?.  Personally, I’d like to know how all that could possibly exist in one story, but I suppose that’s a tale for another day.  Great lasagna indeed-LOL.  😀

Before I let Christine go, I ‘d like to mention her 1st release, Demon Soul is out and available for purchase.  Here’s a bit about it:

…to retrieve his soul, she’ll become fire… Gabriel Caine stands on the edge of the abyss. A vampire has stolen his soul and if he doesn’t get it back soon, his next step will be into hell.

Rose Walters has been sent back from the dead to complete one task – save Gabriel Caine. But this muscled guy in leather, black jeans and a dangerous aura didn’t look like he needed anyone’s help.

Rose has touched the whole of Gabriel, making him yearn for a love he believes he can never have. Her willingness to put her human life on the line for him forces him to bring all three parts of himself – demon, human and Fae bloodlines, and the traps and gifts of each – into harmony, and into the fight that will decide their fate.

Demon Soul is available for purchase on Amazon and All Romance eBooks.
You can find Christine over at her website and on Twitter.