I hope all of you are finding a bit of peace amidst the holiday bustle. My children have been shipped off to grandparents, while my husband and I fled the country. It’s been a deliciously lazy week. This is the view from our balcony:


 And my big decisions have mostly concerned whether to have the next margarita poolside or on the beach.

I earned this rest! Aside from a very busy year in my day job, 2012 was extremely active for publishing too. How busy? Here’s a rundown of the year:

  • Equipoise was self-published
  • “Act One” appeared in Men of Steel
  • Good Bones was published
  • “Violet’s Present” appeared in Dreamspinner’s time travel anthology
  • “Care and Rehabilitation” appeared in Animal Magnetism
  • “Tyler Wang Has a Ball” appeared in Don’t Try This at Home
  • Speechless was published
  • “A Great Miracle Happened There” appeared in Dreamspinner’s holiday anthology
  • Brute was published
  • “Joys R Us” appeared in Silver’s holiday anthology

But that’s not all! Here’s what’s slated for 2013 already:

  • Venetian Masks (novel) releases in January or February
  • Night Shift (novella) releases in March or April
  • “No Place Like Home” will appear in the Snow on the Roof anthology in February

And! I’ve just submitted a sequel to Good Bones and I’ve begun a new novel, a contemporary set in a defunct mental hospital in rural California.

See? I told you I earned those margaritas!

Thank you all so much for your support and I hope 2013 is filled with peace, joy, and love!

Almost vacation

As I prepare to drag myself and my family all over the place for the holidays, I thought I’d share two photos with you. The first one is my younger daughter working on peppermint bark (recipe in my last post).

You can tell from her expression that she takes pounding very seriously. Careful drizzling is even more crucial to her.

And this is Xena, Warrior Princess. She lives outside my office building, where she is very well-fed. Sometimes she lets people pet her. She was the inspiration for Elwood, the cat in Speechless. Xena has been blind in one eye since she showed up as a kitten, but not too long ago she actually lost that eye completely when she got into a fight with a fox. She’s a pretty tough cat.
And I need to mention: Dreamspinner is discounting everything by 25% from now through Christmas. So stock up! I just did. :-)

Peppermint Bark

The weeks leading up to the holidays are really busy ones for me. I’m a university professor, so I’m always spending that time grading exams and term papers and dealing with all the end of the semester chaos. So although I like to bake I generally don’t have much time for it in December. This year is especially crazy because I have three new fiction releases this month, plus I’m in varying stages of working on two different textbooks.

Sleep? Sleep is for wimps.

But there is one holiday treat-making tradition I never miss: making peppermint bark with my daughters. We always make a few batches to give as gifts to teachers and neighbors. My kids love pounding the candy canes and drizzling the chocolate (the younger one’s a pro at that), I love how quick and easy the project is, and everyone loves to eat the stuff.

So here’s the recipe, which I think I adapted years ago from Martha Stewart. I recommend whipping up a batch and curling up with some bark, a beverage of your choice, and one of my new releases. J


Peppermint Bark

8 large candy canes

2 packages (12 oz. each) white chocolate chips

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Line an 11×17 baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the unwrapped candy canes inside a ziploc bag. Crush them with a meat mallet or rolling pin until pieces are less than 1/4 inch long. Melt white chocolate chips in medium bowl in microwave at 50%, stirring often. When chocolate is completely melted, stir in crushed candy canes and peppermint extract. Mix well. Using a spatula, spread mixture evenly in baking sheet. The mixture should cover about 3/4 of the sheet. Melt semisweet chocolate in microwave, using 50% setting and checking and stirring often. When semisweet chocolate is completely melted, use a spoon to drizzle and splatter atop white chocolate mixture. Place baking sheet in refrigerator until bark is hardened (about 30-45 minutes). Break bark into pieces (I use the point of a large knife to crack the bark). Package–or eat yourself! For best results, store in refrigerator.



by Kim Fielding


Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.

Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths—dreams that come true.

As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.


Buy links at Dreamspinner Press:



As part of the Brute Blog Tour, I am running a contest. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this entry, stating your favorite holiday treat. Please leave your email address in your comment. You can comment at multiple blog tour entries for multiple chances to win! Click here for the full list of tour stops. Winners will be chosen on December 25. One person will receive a paperback copy of Bruteand another person will receive an eBook copy of Brute.


Guest blogger: Jana Denardo

Today I’m very pleased to welcome Jana Denardo as a guest.

When I started my novella, The Darkest Midnight in December, it was actually a short story aimed at Dreamspinner Press’s Advent Calendar, but it took a darker bounce. I worked it into a novella, getting the chance to research and write some of the harsher Christmas legends.

This, by no means, is indicative of my feelings for the holiday. I think the ideals of Christmas, Hanukkah and Yule, at least those dealing with the ideas of peace and love for all mankind, are wonderful, and should be practiced year-round. But for this story, I got to look at Christmas through the eyes of the Soldiers of the Sun, my four young demon hunters. Caleb, the default leader, who is partnered both within the demon hunting organization and as a lover with Agni, the most placid member of the group, who arrived in the organization via Bombay. Temple is the youngest and most boisterous of the group. He comes from a long line of demon hunters, but defected to this group from the much more repressive Knights Templar. His partner and lover is Fu Li from China.

With such a diverse group, I was able to explore all the facets of the holiday. Caleb, growing up partially in an orphanage, has less excitement than Temple. Temple, on the other hand, had a strict childhood and he still covets the things he missed out on. Li and Agni, being non-Christians, have a different perspective on the whole holiday.

Back to those darker myths I mentioned, one of the two demons the Soldiers of the Sun have to face before any more children go missing in Economy, has his roots in those myths. Some time in the last hundred years, the legend of Santa Claus was cleaned up a bit, and bad boys and girls were forced to make due with lumps of coal. In centuries prior, it was possible they’d be faced with Santa’s evil counterpart. Whippings, kidnappings, even being eaten up was on the table for ill-behaved children. Krampus, Le Père Fouettard and Zwarte Piet all fall into this category, though, given Temple’s French background, I went with the French version. I probably would have been much better behaved if I thought some guy was going to sneak into the house with a whip on Christmas Eve.

There are the more traditional gift giving and family moments in the story as well, but I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not always a “sweet fiction” author. I’m very fond of my action-adventure stories and this is definitely that, set against a background of Christmas in the Great Depression.

My love of history and folklore filled in many of the remaining blanks. I didn’t know all that much about the 1930’s, so in my writing, I had a lot more work to do for this than I did when I wrote the short story, Snowbound, for the same characters. (Snowbound appeared in Dreamspinner Press’s anthology, Necking).

It’s tricky working time for intimate encounters into a story where not only babies are going missing, but there is almost a certainty that it will continue unless Caleb and his team are able to stop the supernatural creature taking the babies and the couples.  It doesn’t work if the characters seem insensitive to the drama unfolding around them in order to make time for sex, but their own fears and concerns about surviving this dangerous assignment serves to bring them together in a more organic, holistic way.

I moved away from the Pittsburgharea years ago, but in my stories, I keep going back to that area. The city and the towns around it make for great settings, and I enjoyed putting Caleb, Temple, Agni and Li into the city’s history. For me, they are vibrant characters, and religious lore and mythology, not mention my own imagination, allow for a vast array of demons for them to fight.

At its base, the story isn’t a traditional romance. It’s definitely more action/adventure. However, both sets of couples do find time to indulge their passions. For me, some of the most romantic moments of the novella aren’t in the bedrooms, but at the times when they risk injury and death to keep their partners safe. This story gives them ample opportunity for that kind of sacrifice and at the end, there is a tender and happy moment for them all.

I wanted to say thanks for having me here on your blog today, and thanks to everyone who stopped by.

You can find The Darkest Midnight in December here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2951&cPath=55_202.  ebook from Dreamspinner Press


Excerpt from The Darkest Midnight in December


“How many babies have gone missing?” Li asked.


Caleb tapped the briefcase holding a stack of files given to him by General Taglioferro before they left their headquarters in Pittsburgh. “Three and several couples. The local priests and police think it’s all the work of demons.”


“I was too busy packing.” Temple patted the box that held his Tommy gun and ammunition. “I didn’t get a chance to check out what the Order already knows about what’s going on here.”


“Once again, Li, your partner was napping.” Agni leveled a look at Templewho wrinkled his nose.


“We’ll bring him up to date once we get there.” Li pulled his coat tighter as the truck taking them from train station to hotel lurched down the road. “I just want to know why we have to ride in the bed with the luggage.”


“We all wouldn’t have fit.” Caleb shrugged. “And the driver they sent didn’t want any demon hunters in the cab with him, like we’ll infect him with our ability to see the demons or something.”


“Idiot. Who does he think is going to save this dumb town?” Templegrumbled.


“I also think he wasn’t too keen on our partners.” Caleb glanced over at Agni, the Hindu’s dark skin peeking out of the scarf wound around his hooded head.


Templesnorted. “Big surprise. One of Father’s biggest complaints about me joining the Soldiers of the Sun and not the Knights Templar was that we welcomed all faiths, all cultures. I thought he’d go apoplectic when he found out I have a Chinese partner,” he said. The wind nearly whipped away his whispered, “Too bad he didn’t just die from it.”


The four demon hunters hunkered down, trying to keep out of the wind as the truck wound its way through Ambridge, Pennsylvania. The store fronts winked by with promises of Christmas treasures on offer. The holiday was only a few days away. None of them, Temple in particular, had wanted to leave home before Christmas. There was no guarantee they wouldn’t be spending the holiday holed up in their hotel, nursing demon-inflicted wounds.


The brick hotel looked hospitable enough from its exterior.  The truck driver was quick to help them off his truck and inside, away from him. It wasn’t an entirely new reaction. As Soldiers of the Sun, they had long since gotten used to people being wary of them. The hotel staff shunted them upstairs just as swiftly to adjoining rooms. Templescowled at the twin metal bed frames in the room he shared with Li.


“These beds better be movable,” he grumbled.


“If you keep me awake, that adjoining door will be a pathway to your doom,” Agni warned grimly.


Glaring, Templeleaned against the wall. “Tell me what I missed of the report. Three missing babies?”


Caleb sat at the rickety desk crammed into the corner near a radiator that knocked and banged, but offered up toasty steam heat. “And several couples. No bodies have been found.”


“They could have been eaten,” Li pointed out. “Demons are best known for doing that.”


“That’s one of the reasons the Order was contacted,” Caleb replied. “We’re to meet with the local police tomorrow.”

Pubic Shaming

It’s that magical time of the year again! No, not the holidays. I mean that it’s the end of the semester, when I can collect bloopers from student essays and term papers. Every one of the following sentences was written by one of my (university) students this semester. I have reproduced them verbatim for your reading enjoyment. Which is your favorite?

Also, to demonstrate that students aren’t the only ones who make my head hurt, at the end you’ll see a garment tag that manages two errors in one short sentence. You’ll also see an assignment that I found in one of my classrooms, which shows that some intructors aren’t much better than the students.

·         A victim or the people need layers.

·         Toward the end the jury finally find the accused either guilty or not guilty, and than at the end the lawyer sais a smart quote.

·         Every rule broken or every maid up law is there to be able to make the show more intense.

·         They are a tight nit group of members.

·         As of rite now it’s waiting for a new season.

·         They used litigation before carceration to the suspect.

·         For this assignment I chose to go with a classic movie from 1996 called Set it Off.

·         Jerry and the three children stayed at the house meanwhile Patty exploited of anger took her purse and the cars key and left the house.

·         After, he goes to the spot where he hood the diamond and almost faints when he sees the site in now a police station.

·         By analyzing the criminals mind it allows them to enter the criminal mind.

·         The deception of Criminal Justice was accurate in some areas.

·         They came across a job like this but they instead of helping them they told them to get there them self’s.

·         While patrolling the park they noticed a skeptical group of people dealing with drugs.

·         Clyde is suspected suspicious of the death of the two men but no evidence has been further found.

·         A constable was in charge of tides and there were also sheriffs.

·         Children and wife’s were the property of the father.

·         In the 1920,s New York City started mass usage of cars in its city and ford took the title of police cars.

·         Cameras that are presents in stores help deter crime and reduce the level of crime.

·         As previously stated, some of the countries provide a death penalty for Blasphemy while others simply give Blasphemy.

·         It was coined the term “war on drugs” by President Nixon in 1971.

·         Prohibition can be defined as a statue or order that forbids a particular action.

·         In addition to chain gangs having diminutive freedom, the first group went through “harsh disciplines and punishments”.

·         The Supreme Court of the United States took a chance to review the Eigh Amendment in a concordat ion that chain gangs definitely violate the Eigh Amendment.

·         The bad guys run rampid.

·         It was an idea so great that it was shared by many other parts of the world as well, who followed suite.

·         The offender had to wear a barrel that had wholes that were cut in the sides for the hands and head to be in.

·         The purpose of public punishment was to correct their behavior and put them to shame in pubic.

·         People had to walk with a letter such as A for mining adultery.

·         Flogging was very common. It involved the wiping of the people.

·         Burning at the stake was only used for witches and people that didn’t believe in the pope.

·         Punishment historically has been done as a method for society to formally state what the normal behaviors are because for the most part society is afraid of things.

·         Capital punishment is the last of the poplar punishments used in early criminal justice.

·         For example, woman who wore an “A” on their dresses were labeled as a Scarlette.

·         The worst time to have a death punishment is back before the 18th century, before laws.

·         This was harsh punishment because other towns did not trust wonderers that came into their town.

Rainbow Awards cover contest

I had to share some wonderful news! The cover that the amazingly talented Anne Cain made for my novella Speechless tied for third in the Rainbow Awards cover contest! There were initially many hundreds of entries, so this is quite an accomplishment. I am so very thrilled. Not that I can take any of the credit, of course.

The other covers are gorgeous, so if you haven’t peeked at the finalists yet, I encourage you to go take a look.