August 29, 2014

Guest Post from author Jessica Stevens

Thank you so much Maya Taylor for having me on your blog today, I am so excited to be here. Let me introduce myself. I’m Jessica Stevens, wife, mother to our three J’s. Their names all begin with that letter.  It was accidental with the first two, and then they said the little one would be left out if he wasn’t a J too, as by that stage we had a dog and her name beginning with a J also. Post deliveries are fun, particularly for the boys. Master J… oops.
I have been an at home mother, cook, cleaner, chauffeur, nurse, counsellor, and referee for just over seven years.  When my children were little, I started to write a diary about our days. The funny things they would say. I remember once my daughter had been off nursery with a hacking cough. On her return they asked if she was feeling better. She said “Yes, I had flames coming out my mouth.” The nursery nurse told me that was a really good one and I should write it down so I don’t forget, and that is where it all began. I wrote little poems and made up little stories to tell them. Then a few years later some friends of mine mentioned about a M&B competition. Of course I didn’t get anywhere but I found a new passion. I joined this online writer critique group and developed from there.
Now I can proudly say I am the Author of Alana, which is a shifter story with a bit of a twist. This went on sale on 12th August and is currently number 2 on their mainstream best sellers list, and I am also number 4 in their top 25 Authors list. *grinning so much my cheeks ache*
This is the amazing cover:

I know, stunning right? Don’t you just love the wolf in the moon!
I had better give you some inside details.

Alana Knight has the power to control the minds of animals, including shifters, who want her dead. A tragic past has meant that Alana has spent most of her life in hiding. Concealed as a conservationist she’s helped reintroduce wolves back into the wild. A dead body on her land proves her enemies have found her. She has no choice but to call on her protectors.

Detective Nick Valaskin has been secretly watching over Alana for years. He had vowed to protect her since coming of age. When she calls the police about a dead body on her grounds, Nick takes no chances and goes to her protection. Face to face with his childhood companion, it’s not long before passion burns between them. It puts Alana’s life in more danger than Nick could have imagined. Torn between love and a promise Nick struggles, but together they face Alana’s tragic past in the hope of preventing history from repeating itself.


“Hello, Miss Knight,” he called to her softly. She looked up at his dark, sunken eyes and couldn’t help but pity the man, having worked through the night, and still having to come and speak to her.
“Can I get you a coffee, Detective?” she asked him with a nervous smile.
He looked up at her as she stepped down off the stool and headed round the counter to the kettle, already anticipating his answer to be “yes.”
“Coffee would be great, thanks,” he replied, returning her smile. “I do need to ask you some questions, Miss Knight, about the body and the break-in to your cabin. I don’t want to keep you in the dark here, for your own safety.” He paused, so she turned around and met his gaze. She tucked her long, wavy black hair behind her ear, the way she always did when nerves got the better of her.
 “We have found evidence that the two incidents are related,” Nick said, and the sugar container dropped from her hand, spilling its contents all over the side.
Alana was shaking, but she tried to clear up the mess. “I’m sorry,” she muttered. “It was just a shock, that’s all. I’m fine.” She tried to convince him as he put his arms around her. It surprised her how safe she felt in his arms. Nick then nodded to PC Cox to finish the coffee.
She walked with him as he led her out of the kitchen and into the front room.
The room had dark oak wooden floors, which were broken up by a very large, silvery cream shag pile rug, neatly placed in front of a small fireplace. The soft, inviting cream-colored sofa was placed opposite the fire, with a large bay window looking out at the access lane to her property. The walls were cream and the d├ęcor broken up with red curtains and cushions for the sofa, and a red–colored beanbag resting at the side of the fireplace.
Around the room there were other red furnishing, lamps and ornaments in the alcoves, but on the whole, it was a very minimalistic room. Usually the room made Alana relax, but that didn’t happen today.
Nick let her go as she sat on the sofa. She sat with her legs tucked up under her as she rested her head back.
If she was scared before, she was shitting herself now. She had known there was more to the body being on her land when Aatu had filled her mind with images of the murdering wolf confused with images of a man. Her fears were further confirmed when she returned to find the cabin broken into. The fact the Detective had found evidence to link the two was just the icing on the cake. And now she couldn’t contact her father.
PC Cox entered the room and placed two cups of coffee on the table next to the sofa. Alana managed a quiet “thank you” and he returned her gratitude with a smile.
“Cox.” Detective Sorin said. “You and Lang head on over to the cabin and make sure the forensics have everything they need. Then I want you to circulate the perimeter of the two buildings, see if anything gives.”
PX Cox nodded acceptance of his duties and backed out of the living room. Alana looked at the detective, who was still standing, waiting for him to speak. The silence in the room was broken with the sound of the back door closing as the other two PCs left her house.
Nerves crept through her body, and her skin crawled as the detective slowly removed his dark-grey suit jacket, his eyes focused on her. He stepped closer to where she sat and started to unbutton his shirt at the neck. Alana swallowed hard, unsure of what do to. One part of her mind told her that he was just getting comfortable, while the other part told her to run.
She drew a deep breath as he moved down to the second button. “What are you doing?” Her voice as assertive as she could manage, she tried to hide the panic. It was the way he smiled at her then that had her heartbeat thumping in her ears. It was a slow, easy smile, with eyes that twinkled with mischief as he continued to watch her. He now moved on to the third button and took another step closer to her.
Alana was about to stand up and make a dash for the door as his hand slipped inside his own shirt. Curiosity got the better of her and she sat still, waiting. He pulled out a black threaded necklace with a silver pendant the size of a fifty pence piece.
Instantly she recognized the pendant, and adrenaline pumped through her body and made her feel light headed. She stood up and reached out to touch the circular coin with the figure of a wolf’s head embossed on it. It had the word “Altor” inscribed, meaning “protector” in Latin. An old family name her father had given to his protector, as his father had done before that. She smoothed her thumb over the coin’s surface, and looked deep into the detective’s eyes, not trusting what her gut was telling her.
“Alana, your father sent me.”

Alana is available now at:

You can contact me from my website @
You can follow my blog:
Or follow me on Twitter @JPStevens79
Thank for stopping by, I look forward to hearing from you. Until next time, take care.
Jessica xXx

August 22, 2014

Once upon a time

Instead of a "regular" post this week about writing, here's some actual writing. The beginning for a story idea that came to me a few days ago about a spitfire pixie named Marisa who just wanted to have her story told. Enjoy!


And his eyes glowed with unholy flames.

Marisa Clements could picture the dark stranger as clearly as if he were a real being standing before her. What do you mean 'if I was real'? She shivered with anticipation as she typed on her beloved laptop madly. This would be her best story yet. To hell with all her so-called friends who kept telling her to get a real job. This was a real job... It paid the bills after all. Sort of. It paid the minimum balance on her credit card. What was so great about sitting at a desk torturing yourself over numbers all day long? Sitting at a desk writing was completely different. No boss, no stress... No money if she didn't get her head out of the clouds and back to her latest vamp. He didn't have a name yet, but he had a face. A dark, mysterious face with a century's worth of secrets. Secrets he would tell her, only her. If only she would listen.

"I'm here," she whispered with her eyes closed.

A cool breeze shifted her hair and her eyes popped open.

"Who's there?"

The room was silent and still. She was alone in her apartment and getting paranoid from writing too many vampire stories. She must've left a window open. Or something. Turning back to her laptop, she stared at the last words she'd written.

Corgan Halton.

She didn't remember typing that.

"Corgan Halton," she said the name slowly. "I like that." She'd written a dozen vampire stories and this was her best name yet. It had a old-worldly feel to it. Like it was a real name. She'd better google it to make sure it wasn't a real name. The last thing she needed was a lawsuit. Was there such a thing as name infringement?

"Okay, Corgan Halton. Are you real?" She typed the name into google search.

"As real as you are."

The destinctive male voice resonated in the otherwise quiet room.

Marisa froze. She didn't dare turn around. It was her imagination. There was no one there. Unless... One of her friends was playing a sick joke on her.

"Not a joke, Marisa."

Gasping, she stood up and spun around toward the sound of his voice.

He was dressed in black, looking dark and intimidating standing in her living room.


He smiled at her and she felt a chill in the air.

"Who are you?"

"Corgan Halton." He gave a courtly bow. "At your service."

No... She stared at him in shocked silence. It wasn't possible.

"I assure you, my dear, it's entirely possible."

"Do you read minds too?" she asked quietly.

"You tell me. You're the vampire expert."

Vampire? The blood drained from her face as she promptly hit the floor.

August 15, 2014

Guest Blog

Out visiting again... 

August 10, 2014

Third week in a row

Jetsetter that I am... We returned from Las Vegas on Tuesday and I went back to work on Thursday. Then, on Friday, we decided to go camping. This summer has wrecked havoc with my carefully planned blog schedule. Fridays. What's so hard about that?

Summer plans have made a Friday blog difficult to post. I could prepare it in advance, but I find a refreshing honesty in typing whatever comes to mind on the day I post. It seems more real. This summer I've been on two trips that required air travel and those vacations really monopolized my time. Vacations are awesome, but honestly sometimes I just would like 5 minutes to myself to read or write. Beyond a short story I posted on The Nuthouse Scribblers, I haven't written more than 5k on my WIP all summer.

In between trips, I had edits for my novella and a guest blog to write. I've been swamped. And I don't know what takes up all my time. Since the weather turned nice, it certainly is not housework. On my last trip, I had a fleeting thought that if the plane went down, my house is an utter mess. Okay, not quite that bad... But you get the point...

I have a half finished scrapbook from our March break trip to Disney, arts and crafts from my kids' school year to organize, pictures from Vegas to sort and put in a slideshow with music. This doesn't even include my writing projects. And now a houseful of camping gear to clean and put away. And what am I doing now??? Blogging in my bathing suit in the driveway after some time in the sprinkler with the boys. :) What can I say??? You gotta make hay when the sun shines!

August 1, 2014

Lost in Vegas this week...

On vacation again... And I just realized it's Friday. Amazing how you lose track of time while you are on the road. This vacation the whole family is enjoying the HOT weather in Las Vegas or what my five year-old calls it - lost Vegas. Not my first choice for a family vacation especially with two boys under the age of 5!!! Still the destination was pre-determined... A family wedding... So the whole family... Grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles are all here for the happy event. Which is tomorrow. This is a crazy time of month at my day job so we couldn't fly down until Wednesday and in the two and a half days we've been here, we've already been to The Strip twice and done many of the things I had on my list! Plus enjoyed the pool - have we ever enjoyed the pool! There is no better place to be when the sun is blazing down 100 degrees plus.

So it's a family wedding, but also a family reunion. My husband's brother is the lucky groom, his 3 daughters are here and we haven't seen them in over 9 years. It's been a fantastic visit so far - too short by a long shot - and hopefully it won't be another 9 years before we do this again!

Las Vegas. The likely setting for many a B-movie. We were planning this vacation and I just couldn't get National Lampoon out of my mind!!! Except with us in the starring roles. A young family of four with two small boys going to Sin City for a wedding with family we hadn't seen in years. There's a story in this... I can just feel it.

Since we've arrived, we have been in the pool, seen Hoover Dam, took our nieces to The Strip for dinner and a cirque du soleil show, and visited the sharks at Mandalay Bay. I would love to take my boys to Madame Tussauds and go for a gondola ride but we'll see how the rest of the week goes.