The Magic City

The Magic City

Friday, May 29, 2015

#FuzzyFriday Shout-out to the Heart of Dixie Readers Luncheon with Sylvia Day

J-Dog here.  I hope you have been enjoying my #FuzzyFriday interviews with the fur-babies of the publishing world.  Those have been some cool cats (and dogs).  Stay tuned because I have more great interviews coming up.  Next week Buford, the dog who sniffs out great authors for the BookEnds Literary Agency will be visiting us.  Hope you'll drop by to meet him.  

Because I love introducing you to authors, I wanted to hijack the blog today to give you a chance to meet tons of fabulous authors at one time.  My mommy Heather (or as I call her, Keeper of the Catnip) has been counting the days until the 18th Annual Heart of Dixie Readers Luncheon on June 13 in Huntsville, Alabama. The keynote speaker is New York Times best seller Sylvia Day.  She is the international bestselling author of over 20 award-winning novels, and her Crossfire series has been optioned for television.  Attendees get goodie bags packed full of fun stuff, including books, bookmarks, postcards and other treasure.  

To make the event even better, there will be over 20 meow-tastic local and regional authors hosting tables and attending the event.  They include:

Betty Bolté (Historical) - She's Calli's mom 
Kim Boykin (Women's Fiction)
Jennifer Estep (Paranormal)
Lexi George (Paranormal)
Lori Handeland (Paranormal)
Lynn Raye Harris (Romantic Suspense)
Pamela Hearon (Contemporary)
Linda Howard (Romantic Suspense)
Linda Winstead Jones (Paranormal)
Linda Joyce (Contemporary)
Sally Kirkpatrick (Contemporary) - Rocket and Blix call her The One Who Taps
Kimberly Lang (Contemporary)
Andrea Laurence (Contemporary)
Trish Milburn (Contemporary)
Rhonda Nelson (Contemporary)
Alicia Hunter Pace (Contemporary)
Kira Sinclair (Contemporary)
Tracy Solheim (Contemporary)
Jennifer St. Giles (Gothic Historical/Paranormal)
Vicki Lewis Thompson (Contemporary)
Dani Wade (Contemporary)
Shiloh Walker (Romantic Suspense)
 Marilyn Baxter (Contemporary)
Bonnie Gardner (Contemporary)
Christine Glover (Contemporary) - I hope she'll have Tonks there
Lesia Flynn (Cotemporary)
Bambi Lynn (Historical/Paranormal)
Janette Spann (Contemporary)
Tickets are on sale through May 31, so there isn't much time left to get your tickets.  To register, go to  You can also learn more about each of these authors from their profiles on the Heart of Dixie Events Facebook page.

And while I have you here, I wanted to remind you about the awesome people at the Alabama Spay/Neuter Clinic.  Even though they took my binkies, I think they are the cat's pajamas.  One of the great things they do is a TNR program.  Trap-Neuter-Return involves trapping the cats in a feral colony, getting them spayed and neutered, adopting out kittens and friendly cats, then returning the adult feral cats to their territory and providing them with food and shelter.  TNR significantly reduces noise from fighting, odor from spraying, and more litters of kittens.  

I do all my shopping through AMAZON SMILE. Through this program, Amazon donates 0.5% of eligible purchase to a charity of your choice, like the Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic.  If you shop through Amazon, consider using this program to support one of your favorite non-profits (or mine).

I would love to hear who you would like to meet next.  If there is an author's fur baby(fish baby, fang baby, frog baby, feather baby, etc.) you want to meet, please comment below. 

Hope to see you next week when Buford takes over!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Meet the First Flight of Dragonflies: Introducing the 2015 Golden Heart® Young Adult Finalists

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Dragonflies, the 2015 Golden Heart® Finalists. Each Wednesday I'll introduce you to the finalists in each category.  Be sure to keep up with these ladies' names because you will want to be reading their books as they come out.

Meet the Young Adult Flight of Dragonflies:

Julie Glover

A born-and-bred Texan, Julie grew up reading
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Judy Blume, and every Nancy Drew book she could get her hands on.  She is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency.  She is a 2015 Golden Heart finalist with her novel, Sharing Hunter.

Book Blurb:

When best friends Rachel and Chloe decide to share a boyfriend their senior year, they risk ridicule, romance, and a rivalry that could destroy their friendship.

Diana Munoz Stewart

Diana Munoz Stewart’s award-winning young adult and adult romantic fiction includes paranormal, science fiction, and contemporary stories. No matter the genre or whether her characters face death, danger, or the daunting trials of everyday life, readers are guaranteed a fast-paced story along with all the tingly temptations of a swoon-worthy romance. 

In addition to writing multi-genre fiction, Diana runs her own company providing web content on health, writing, and family. She earned her Master’s degree in Creative Writing from University of Southern Maine and is an active member of RWA and SCBWI. When not writing, she can be found off-roading in her Jeep—easy to spot by the license plate WRITE ME—or behind her lakeside home, kayaking and hiking with her kids and the man who’s had her heart since they were teens. 

Diana is represented by the wonderful Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary Agency.

Book Blurb:

A time traveling teen struggles to save the world from her future self.

Sixteen-year-old Able McKinney just wants a normal life. Finding out aliens hijacked her future brain in order to carry out their evil plans—so not helping. She should probably give up and tattoo fatalistic poetry all over her face. Except, she’d rather fight back.

Allied with Rainer, present secret crush and future commando heartthrob, Able travels through her own mind and into her future body to wage a war through time. Her desperate actions could reverse the alien plague devastating her world, but could also separate her from the boy she loves forever.


MarySullivan2.jpgMary Sullivan

Mary teaches anthropology at a small college while incorporating her first career, archaeology, into her stories.  She is currently seeking representation. The Jade Quest is her 2015 Golden Heart novel.

TL Sumner

Forever optimistic and easily amused, T.L. Sumner is the author of magical stories about strong, athletic heroines chasing their dreams on and off the playing field. She holds both a B.S. and M.S. in business from Villanova University where she ran cross country and track on a full athletic scholarship. When not hiding in her writing cave, T.L. works in healthcare information technology, enjoys running, and being the number one fan for her kids’ sporting events. Her work has garnered several awards, including being named a 2015 Golden Heart® finalist for her YA novel THE CULLODEN IMMORTALS. Sometimes you can find her hanging out on Twitter or in TL’sDreamworld. She is currently seeking representation.
·Focused on getting a full ride to run track in college, seventeen-year old Kyra Siefert doesn’t have time for distractions like the PTSD induced daymares tormenting her since she was mugged; or Aidan MacGregor, the über chivalrous guy who sits next to her in Calc.
When eighteen-year-old Aidan agrees to do a portrait of Kyra, a romance between them quickly develops; but bound by a strict code of silence and honor, Aidan can’t tell Kyra he belongs to a clandestine society of Scottish immortals originating from the historic Battle of Culloden.
In this Romeo and Juliet meets Highlander, Kyra becomes the pawn for one rogue immortal pursuing a sacred Templar artifact protected by Aidan’s clan and another seeking to settle a centuries-old blood feud.  Aidan must betray his family to protect the girl he’s forbidden to love; but haunted by visions of Aidan's death, Kyra's secret may cost her everything – including the boy she loves. 


Focused on getting a full ride to run track in college, seventeen-year old Kyra Siefert doesn’t have time for distractions like the daymares tormenting her since she was mugged; or Aidan MacGregor, the über chivalrous guy who sits next to her in Calc.  As Kyra and Aidan spend more time together, a romance between them quickly develops.  But bound by a strict code of honor, Aidan hides a powerful secret from Kyra; he is the son of Scottish immortals, guardians of ancient Templar treasure.

In this Romeo and Juliet meets Highlander, Kyra becomes the pawn for one rogue immortal pursuing a sacred artifact and another seeking to settle a centuries-old blood feud.  Aidan must betray his family to protect the girl he’s forbidden to love; but haunted by visions of Aidan's death, Kyra's secret may cost her everything – including the boy she loves. 

Twitter: @tlwrites


Stephanie Winkelhake

Stephanie is a young adult and middle grade writer represented by Kate McKean of Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.  She is a 2012, 2014 and 2015 Golden Heart Finalist who loves historical fashion, comic con, and all things Star Wars.  She is a double finalist this year with her novels When I Wake and Our Souls to Keep.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mikey Takes Over the World for #FuzzyFriday!

Nancee only thinks she wrote Saving Evangeline.
These paws write magic!
My name is Mikey and I'm taking over the world... What? Just this blog? For today only? Humph. Whatever.
My human, Nancee Cain, is a writer, when I allow her access to the computer. As you can see, at times I make it a little difficult. I'm a huge help in making this stuff she calls "swag." I don't understand why she wants to stuff the feathers in those baggie things, they are much more fun to play with outside of the bag.

Her paranormal romance Saving Evangeline features an angel, a girl and a dog named Goner. I mean, really. How repulsive. The dumb mutt's name is the only good thing about him. I tried to tell her a cat would be more interesting, but noooooo, she wouldn't listen. That being said, please, buy her book. I need kitty treats and watermelon for the holiday. I always get my very own piece of watermelon for the holiday.

Personally, I think Nancee's time would be better spent petting me, feeding me and letting me in and out the back door at least 15 times a day. I like to demand things when she is deep into her writing. Bahahaha It reminds her who is boss around here. Luckily, I have her Devoted Hubby who is retired and has the time to cater to my every whim. He's a good human. 

So Ms. Heather is all about spaying and neutering. Ahem. Yeahbeen there, done that, got nothing to show for it, if you know  what I meanI mean really, how's a guy supposed to get worked up over a romance when... Never mind. However, I was a rescue cat and neutering has probably prolonged my life. Which means I can torment my humans for years to come.

So, please. Rescue a cat. (or dog if you insist) Spay/neuter them. Rescue pets will love you forever. Comment below for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card (US only, please). Ms. Heather will let Nancee know. Nancee will also mail you one of those swag feather thingamajigs. (If allergic to feathers, please say so, she'll include a different kind of swag).

You can find Nancee on Twitter: @Nancee_Cain, Facebook, and her website.

About Nancee:

During the day Nancee Cain works as a nurse in the field of addiction to support her coffee and reading habit. Nights are spent writing paranormal and contemporary romances with a serrated edge. Authors have always been her rock stars, and she's been known to stalk a few for an autograph, but not in a scary, Stephen King way. Her husband swears her To-Be-Read list on her e-reader qualifies her as a certifiable book hoarder. Always looking to try something new, she dreams of being an extra in a Bollywood film or a tattoo artist. (Her lack of rhythm and artistic ability may put a damper on both of these dreams.)

Check out Nancee's debut novel, Saving Evangeline which comes out May 26!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Fear and Publishing - M. V. Freeman's Journey of Changing Publishing Houses

Choosing the right path in publishing is one of the hardest decisions an author must make. Urban fantasy author M.V. Freeman is guest blogging today about her story of changing paths. 

Fear is an emotion that can help one move forward, complete a project, and get the job done—or it can paralyze.

I learned this with my first book—INCANDESCENT.  In 2012 I signed with a brand new digital publishing house and I was excited; but within months I realized I’d made the wrong decision. It wasn’t the fact I signed or was published – it was the kinds of stories being represented by the publisher. Their focus was on Category Romance (To be clear--There is nothing wrong with Category, and I know some fabulous authors who write this very well.) I write a cross-genre; Urban fantasy Romance, heavy on plot with numerous characters, which didn’t work well with where I signed. My word counts were higher---80- 100k compared to the 50-70k average.

What was I supposed to do? I’d  written the second book-ILLUMINATION, obtained an agent, and I knew I couldn’t send my current story to them, because it just wouldn’t fit. It wasn’t fair to them or to me; I felt it was misleading—people buying my book expected a certain type of story related to category and mine wasn’t.

The only option I saw was to get my rights back.  But, I was uncertain, if I asked for my rights was I committing professional suicide? If I stayed I knew it would be. What’s worse? Staying where I knew I couldn’t go forward or taking a chance?  Fear had taken hold and I struggled with a decision.

I was uneasy—but I took a chance and asked for my rights back—and was awarded them. Now I had my first book -- what was I going to do? For a little while,  I shelved the first book and tried shopping my second book in the series.

As many seasoned authors know most publishing houses rarely pick up a series, especially after the first book has been published.  There was interest, but I wasn’t surprised when there was some reticence about ILLUMINATION, because of my first book. Self-publishing was an option, but the truth was, I had neither the time or the funds.

I started getting frustrated. I don’t like being afraid. Sure, things are in flux in publishing. There are publishers going under and still others opening their doors. Self-publishing authors are struggling, even as others are finding success.

Who would  *want* my type of story?

At this point I could’ve just dropped it. Moved on, started another series. Used this experience as a graphic training aide of what not to do.  But I decided not to let fear rule me.  I’d been published – now I understood how important it is to make the correct decisions.  I hate to say—it’s easier to find these sorts of epiphanies after the fact.

I took a chance and pitched to a few publishers.  I was nervous, but really, I’d given up on being afraid. All it did was make me second guess myself and I stopped taking chances. No more.

I did find a publisher who liked Romances outside the box. They said yes to my second book in the series (ILLUMINATION) and agreed to republish my first book (Incandescent).  I was floored—and very pleased.  I really had thought I’d never find a book home, or that I deserved one.

Now I have my first book INCANDESCENT re-edited and published, and my second book in the series, ILLUMINATION is now out. (I love the covers)

Fear, while helpful can be a detriment— and my advice, is don’t let it rule you.  Be fearless! Take chances and never let someone tell you that you are trapped. There are always options — sometimes you have to create them if you can’t find them.

Author Bio:
M.V. Freeman lives in North Alabama. A nurse by day, at night she enjoys creating  and exploring alternate worlds within our own. She gravitates toward stories of determined heroines and anti-heroes who push the boundaries as they both fight to find their light in the dark.

M.V. is represented by Victoria Lea from The Aponte Literary Agency. Her award-winning and best-selling debut novel INCANDESCENT is the first in the Hidden Races Series. Currently she is working on the third book in the series, while plotting others. When not writing, she can be
found reading, cooking, throwing around kettle bells, or making coffee.

You can find her here: Website:

Simon & Schuster (pre-order links)




Linked in:

Google +:



Friday, May 15, 2015

Betty Bolté's Calli has #FuzzyFriday Fun

Hi there! Calliope here. My mom, Betty, calls me Calli, most of the time, in that silly singsong voice she thinks I like. She also calls me other strange names, like Calli Alley Cat I act like I don’t care so I don’t hurt her feelings and then delay feeding me dinner or something.

I even let her pet me after I’ve ensured she’s been writing like she’s supposed to be doing. When she starts roaming the house like she’s lost or something, or maybe just refilling her water glass, I follow after her as a reminder to get back to work.
Sometimes I just lay on the sofa or snuggler chair pretending to nap while she works. She’s pretty good about it, but like I said before, sometimes I have to put my paw down and remind her to write.

I help her when she’s putting together prizes and raffle baskets, inspecting the contents to make sure they’re good enough.

My job can be challenging, but I’m the right cat for the job!


Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories featuring strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. Join Betty at the Heart of Dixie Luncheon on June 13th at the Westin in Huntsville! The keynote speaker is Sylvia Day. Be sure to ask Betty about her latest release, Samantha’s Secret set in Charleston, South Carolina!

Register for the luncheon here:

Visit Betty here:


J-Dog and Calliope were being chatty catties about all things feline. He learned Calliope has one of the best vets around. Calliope give four paws up and a swish of the tail to Dr. Wendy Rosenbek who works long days to ensure every animal and its human are taken care of, often calling the animal's human after the clinic closes to discuss treatment options. She runs the Ardmore Companion Animal Hospital (26889 Main Street, Ardmore, TN 38449; 931-427-8383) with loving care and genuine concern for each critter in her hands.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Catadora Tonks Tells Tales for #FuzzyFriday, and J-Dog Supports TNR

Hey, Catadora Tonks here. Or Tonks for short. I’ve taken over my Fur Mommy’s computer while she sits on the veranda with the Physicist and drinks her glass of wine. My Fur Mommy Christine Glover is the author of sensual, sizzling, emotional contemporary romances. But to me, she’s just the Treat Lady with a great lap for Fur Baby snuggles and cuddles.

I love my Fur Mommy, so when Golden Heart finalist Heather Leonard asked me to write a blog about her, I purred and said, “Sure, I’ll do anything for treat.”

Currently, my Fur Mommy is working on a story called THE ITALIAN TYCOON’S MARRIAGE BARGAIN. She’s in what she calls the “rediscovery process.” She’s been hauling character naming and writing craft books out of her awesome office and lugging them into the dining room. She likes to figure out her characters’ birthdays and personalities. What she doesn’t like is making a timeline, but ever since she sold her first book THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION to Entangled Publishing, she’s been making them because the editors like timelines. Yesterday, she told me she finds them useful in finding story holes.

Now, I’m a sweet and adorable Fur Baby and Christine spoils me so I don’t get disciplined. I’m not supposed to go on the counters or tables, but I do. She just picks me up, kisses me, and pets me. She does get annoyed at me when she prints her manuscripts out. I sit on the chair next to the printer and attack the papers when they shoot out of it. If you see a bite mark on any of her papers, that’s a Catadora Tonks’ seal of approval.

And you should see Christine’s office! It’s got a big window that overlooks the front yard, a basket of cat toys, and a sitting perch for me to look outside while she works on her revisions. If I get bored watching the birds, I jump onto her desk and knock things off (she scolds me, but she doesn’t sound mad at all. She sounds amused). I like to crawl onto her lap and try to capture her fingers while she’s typing. She tells me she’s not a toy, but I disagree. Aren’t all humans put on this planet to amuse cats? I think so.

My Fur Mommy’s process is called Crapper Pantser Fixer Upper. She does a story discovery where she builds characters, works out the story tropes (a trope is a mechanism to hook her characters together like a marriage of convenience, a secret baby, or enemies to lovers), and starts building the scene cards with times, dates, setting notes, and character points of view. Then she works out the emotional turning points because she believes characters and emotions drive the story’s plot. In the beginning she’s happy with her story but she gets mad and asks herself who the heck wrote this crap after she reads it. Then she spends days fixing it. She drinks a lot of wine during this phase of the process.

Christine works really hard to write her contemporary romances about two lost souls who find each other and discover home. Please buy her novella THE MOVIE STAR’S REDHOT HOLIDAY FLING  because Kitten Treats aren’t cheap. It’s modern Cinderella story with a cool twist. Jessie Sullivan is an ex marine who never gives up, despite the pins in her leg. And movie star Blake Johnston isn’t just a Big Screen Sex Machine. When a harmless dare leads to sizzling fireworks, Jessie and Blake generate some serious heat between the sheets. And it's more than Jessie could have imagined. Much, much more. But flings don't last forever. And in two weeks, Jessie will have to say goodbye to her red-hot Christmas fantasy...

I hear footsteps… got to go…

Catadora Tonks


J-Dog has a crush on Tonks, so he dressed up. He wanted to remind you of the good work the Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic does. They provide much needed low cost, high quality spay/neuter services. You can learn more about them on their Facebook page. 

One of the great things the Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic does is a TNR program.  Trap-Neuter-Return involves trapping the cats in a feral colony, getting them spayed and neutered, adopting out kittens and friendly cats, then returning the adult feral cats to their territory and providing them with food and shelter.  TNR significantly reduces noise from fighting, odor from spraying, and more litters of kittens.  

J-Dog does all his shopping through AMAZON SMILE. Through this program, Amazon donates 0.5% of eligible purchase to a charity of your choice, like the Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic.  J-Dog is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card (purchased through Amazon Smile to help the Spay Neuter Clinic) to one of the people who leaves a comment. Check back Wednesday to see if you won.

Up next week, Betty Bolte's fur baby takes over. It is going to be awesome. Can't wait! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

#FuzzyFriday Interview with Cecilia Dominic's Timothy Mouse and Giveaway as Part of the #12DaystoPerfect Blog Tour

Timothy Mouse
J-Dog is welcoming Timothy Mouse to Fuzzy Friday! The wonderful Cecilia Dominic (urban fantasy, romance, mystery, steampunk, and YA paranormal author, and connoisseur of irony) is out on a blog tour, and her fur baby decided to get in on the action.  I'm turning over the keyboard to Mr. Timothy Mouse:

My world came into existence ten man-months ago. They say I’m skittish because I had a traumatic kittenhood, but all I can remember is bright lights and noise and then my three siblings and I were alone. My human mommy says I fell into her life by accident. I say, as I touch my paw to her face, that I found the perfect situation for snuggles and playing, and she obviously needed me. I don’t know how she got along without me. Dad even has a comfy chair for me, which I leave covered with gray and white fur so he knows it’s mine. He thinks he can keep it as his by putting a blue towel over it, but I just move that out of the way. Sometimes. I like to keep him guessing.

What is Mommy currently reading?

A story about cats, of course! It’s called 9th Life – The Naming of Legends, Book One. They change into humans – I don’t know why. Being a cat is much better. Why would I change into a human except to have access to more food? I used to get squishy food when I was little, but now all Mommy gives me is the hard stuff. If I could change into a person, I could find out where the soft food went or try some of the human food that smells so yummy. She eats things called crow-sants. I don’t see any birds in them, but the crumbs taste good.

What was the most recent thing I did to get in trouble?

The humans have another boss named Tabitha. She’s old and gray and grouchy. I try to play with her and sometimes get so excited I miss it when she gets annoyed. I got grounded (put in the office) today because I wouldn’t stop trying to play, and the old kitty growled at me. That’s okay. I’m going to drink some water by licking it off my paw and then make sure the desks have lots of kitty footprints on them.

What are my observations of Mommy's writing process?

The humans have mind control devices they call lap-tops and tab-lets. I call them bor-ing. The people sit there and make tapping noises with their fingers while they watch the tops of the machines. I have to try very hard to be cute and playful so Mommy will pay attention to me and throw the ball for me to fetch. I’ve found through repeated experimenting that the noisier the toy, the better. If she’s really paying attention to the lap-top, I have to rescue her by knocking one of my favorite balls under the couch and meowing piteously until she gets it out for me. Then we play!

Sometimes she says she’s writing stories. I’ll make sure she doesn’t work too hard so she still has the energy to play with me. If I’m tired, I’ll sit on her lap and purr so she pets me. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it. Otherwise she’d pay attention to the stupid thing all day.

What is Mommy currently writing?

Daddy says that Mommy’s current book and she are not speaking at the moment. Maybe she stopped giving it squishy food, too.

I heard her talking about it when the other writer people came over for something called crit-eek-groop. The book has something to do with steampunk and a theatre and a musician and an actress, and there’s kissing (eww), and it all sounds very complicated. Except for the steampunk part. That sounds like it might be edible or chase-able or both.

Why you should buy my Mommy's most recent book b/c pet treats aren't cheap.

Mommy’s most recent book is about writers and the things they will do for their stories. Writers are weird. That’s why I always hide from them. Well, them and everyone else. There’s nothing more terrifying than someone coming in the front door.
But writers - they do strange things for their books, like talking to weird people. She says she wrote it so both readers and other writers would enjoy it because life is often stranger than fiction.

From Cecilia:

Thank you so much for hosting Timothy Mouse today, Heather! He had a great time.

Want to follow me and my characters on the #12DaystoPerfect blog hop for the chance to win more prizes? Join the event on Facebook for daily updates and please consider liking my page while you’re there.

There’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway for some grand prizes: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Of course Timothy feels like he’s the perfect pet. What would your perfect pet be? Comment below for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift certificate (to be emailed, so please leave your email with the comment).


J-Dog, my feline host of Fuzzy Fridays, wants to remind you of the good work the Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic does. They provide much needed low cost, high quality spay/neuter services. You can learn more about them on their Facebook page. J-Dog does all his shopping through AMAZON SMILE. Through this program, Amazon donates 0.5% of eligible purchase to a charity of your choice, like the Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic.  It is a simple and easy way to support a worthy cause.