Friday, January 29, 2010

Champagne Books February Book Discussion


Champagne Books announces February's online book discussion group. This group will be led by promotions manager Tami Winbush and the current book’s author.
This group promises to be a fun experience for all.

February's selection is invisible by Kimber Chin!

Please contact Tami at for any further questions and to RSVP, coupon code given for those attending group disccusion.
Discussion date is Thursday February 25, 2010 9:00pm EST.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Excerpt - Hitting the High Notes by Nan D. Arnold

Jupiter Beach was deserted as dusk fell. Competing with the rushing sound of the ocean was the blood rushing inside Maggie’s skull. Should she really be here?  With Lorenzo, as magnetic as his personality was.

As nervous as a lizard under the gaze of a stalking feline, Maggie said, “Tell me, Lorenzo, will I be no more than another conquest?”

The opera singer replied, “Not a conquest, a confection.”

Maggie coughed. “That’s all I am, a piece of…candy?”

“No, no. I meant a concession. We will enjoy a mutual granting of pleasure.”

He’d moved closer to answer and the words he’d whispered ignited fires within her. His tongue took little liberties, then larger ones. They kissed. A long, slow, exploration followed. His fingers expertly massaged her until she was wet, warm, and ready.

Problem was Bruce Herring’s visage intruded into Maggie’s fantasy zone.

Why, now? She slowly pulled off her underpants as suggestively as possible before she fumbled with Lorenzo’s belt buckle, finally giving over to his more expert hands.

The big mount was about to progress when another aggravating detour down memory lane interceded: Bruce gently draping a blanket about her, leaving, and engaging the thumb lock on her front door after he did.  Bruce possessed a give and take personality. Lorenzo merely took.

Lorenzo offered her what? Sex. Okay, sex with an internationally known opera star. But.
“Wait,” she said.


Maggie was ready, willing, and waiting for an act of love, but with whom?


Endorsement and review:

Maggie Duncan is fast on her feet for a nearly fifty year old and as snappy with witty comebacks as Ali was in the ring.   This humorous tale keeps you in suspense wondering who gets the girl or if she wants to get caught, and what the opera star, the cop, and the environmental group, The Green Socks Gang, have up their sleeves. Maggie will reveal all, but definitely keeps you laughing until the very end.
                                Carolyn Hughey, Avalon author of Cupid's Web

Told with a similar humoristic style to Janet Evanovich and Sarah Strohmeyer, Hitting the High Notes grabs the reader with a lot of lively dialogue and non-stop action. With a protagonist who needs cold bursts of air to temper her hot flashes, the author has created an amusing, down-to-earth character that many Boomers will find themselves relating      to.The story itself is fun and entertaining... Hitting the High Notes is a good read. Reviewer: Lisa Haselton, Allbooks Reviews

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tattle & Wrye - January 2010



Dressed to the eights just shy of the nines, Tattle and Wrye practice dancing so they'd be ready for the Love of Literature Leap Gossip Gala's New Year's Eve Party. Wrye is in full white duck tails and top hat, including candy cane, while Tattle has a flowing sequin-topped ballroom gown that Ginger Rogers would envy, which Wrye wonders but did not say, why would she need ballroom?

"You're looking spiffy, my friend. May I have this leap?" Wrye invites.

"You're pretty keen yourself, I'd be delighted."

"m'Tattle, what's the difference between a dancer and a duck?" He spins her, dips, does not drop, and recovers. "A dancer is quick on beautiful legs while a duck is quack on beautiful legs."

"You think I have beautiful legs?" She becomes wide-eyed looking at her own pins. "You quack me up!"

"Let's make like a ballerina and ballerino and leap outta here!"

The duet's jump turns into a swirling dance step, but when they land they have to dodge an old WWI plane, which Wrye does easily by imploring an enrosque, a twist. He mouths, JANE TOOMB'S Historical Fiction, WWI Thriller, NIGHTINGALE MAN. "Did you Chubby Checker out my move?"

Tattle halts the dance, and ogles a WWI pilot, an eleven on the Hunkie meter scale. "Ooooh la la, he's the cat's meow... puurrrfect!"

"We must be in France," Wrye wonders as he practices heel tapping. Cummerbund too tight, he contemplates trying out for next year's Christmas Gala's Sugar Plump Fairy.
"Luke "Lucky" Ray, an American pilot, had been recruited by the British Secret Service from the French Air Force in order to rescue Nurse Edith Cavell. Adventure is afoot!" At which Tattle lifts her foot and wags it.

He notices she is wearing high-heeled combat boots, realizing it is apt for where they are at. "Ah, so we are in Germany!"

"Close but no parachute. Splat pending! We're in German-occupied Belgium, where Edith has been imprisoned as a spy." Tattle spins, watching her dress balloon not by a petard. "The perfect plan goes awry, and his group of agents are forced to split up. Plot twist! Danger looms! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!"

Wrye tangos Tattle a couple of chapters ahead. "Ut oh, he has been captured by the Boche!" They both look at each other with ut oh faces, poising one finger over their mouths. "Shhh," one says.

They wrong turn, cheeks smack, tango tragedy! "Dooooooomed to be bumped off, shot! Where! Someone double-crossed him, was it a stool pigeon, and he doesn't know if it is his comrades, the spy-master back in England, or the beeeauuuutiful English gal he's falling in love with. A confluence of conflict! Biggie bad!"

"Lucky just might not be so lucky. Eh eh eh! Vampire dance." He grins showing a dental appliance left over from Halloween. "A fang tango!"

"Not so lucky when lovely Kezia proves to be more dangerous than the spy game. Double O no-no!" Tattle flings herself away in a dramatic movement but ends up on her derrière rather than in the graceful pose she wanted and this is punctuated with, "Buttt... read on."
Wrye does several ball taps, and offers his hand, "Shall we cramp roll our way through the book and see what happens?"

"If we are going to sound like horses, let's just do an equestrian leap to our next book stop."

"Dance breakfast?" "I hop!"

"It's dark," declared Tattle, shuffle-tapping nothing, she not recognizing they were in dead air where no one could hear you scream.

"Ut oh." He quantum leap dips her unceremoniously and then they re-lunge. "Sorrrrry, miscalculated, we landed outside the space ship rather than in it." He brushes off star dust.

"Oh, then we must be in the science fiction story HEROES DIE YOUNG by T. M. HUNTER." Rises from the dip and grins, "Warning... Will Robinson, we have a cutie alert.    That Aston West is just to die for." She naughty Mae West poses, hands on hip, shamelessly flaunting the décolleté of her dress.

Handing her his polka-dot pocket square to towel off, he says, "Well, I don't swing that way. I'm a frogman!" and does a quick Lindy Hop... hop... hop.

"Why don't you come up sometime and see me?" Mae Westing her hair, "That hero can come unannounced to my door anytime."

"They do say heroes often die young, and Aston, an ex-military turned transport pilot, is considered one despite his motto to never get involved." Self-absorbed, Wrye clops as if a Holland Clog dancer and declares, "I'm a heifer... I love the moosic!"

They waltz through the derelict Rullusian space fighter that Aston West had stumbled upon. Tattle leads, Wrye hums, I Could Have Danced All Night. "Aston is also a space pirate, arrr, and when he found this ship obviously still smoking from battle, Smokey Bear warning, he was all ready to help himself to the horde of illegal weapons. Who wouldn't?" Tattle pauses, checking out the ship. "This place gives me the heebie-jeebies."

"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine. Not the sort of joint I'd like to hang out in, but I doubt Aston wants to stay considering it's about to be attacked. At least according to Jeanie, his sexy ship's computer. Technophobe? Maybe not!" He Bogarts, "Here's looking at you, kid."

Tattle floats her nose, mimicking Viennese Waltzers then indicates with her head toward an attractive armed female stowaway. "Someone's noooot happy about Aston. Pisssssssy Pissafert! I do think she wants to shoot him. Mallard!"

"Got the duck reference. Who is she?"

"Don't know. But Aston ends up having to help her. Plot device ping-pong! And later, he has to choose between saving himself or helping those in need.... Da da da daaaaaaaaaaaa!"

"Will he?" "Gotta read to find out. Let's scram!" Wrye accepts her bidding, more the laggard slowpoke, wanting to know more!

Tattle and Wrye appear in a herd of Mustangs. "Spread out!" Tattle declares.

Wrye remembering the strain on his cummerbund wonders if she is referencing him, and he contemplating that spread out is redundant.

"Spread out!" she repeats, using a tinny voice often found in a talkie. "We must be in PATRICIA BATES' Historical Western LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, and there's Rylee Parys, feisty, brave and adorable. Why that could be me! She's a mini me!" Pinkie- fingers the corner of her mouth.

"Rylee is forced to pit-n-pendulum herself against neighbors, Poe Rylee, neighbors who take exception to the fact that a woman, sexists' alert, controls the water rights. H20 to go! Not that she denies any of them water. Thought about it many times, I bet. They just don't like seeing a woman as the big cheese. So mousy of them!" Being rodentia influenced, Wrye bunny hops. "Put your right foot forward, put your left foot out, do the Bunny Hop, Hop, hop, hop!"

"Enter stagecoach left, Ex-cavalry officer, Tom Duncan, a guy a gal could carry a torch for any day, night, double outing or inning. Tee hee. A torch so hot that it would raise the ambient temperature of Sweden three degrees."

Quoting Fred Astaire, Wrye noting her pending panty shield problem says, "Would it be rude of me to inquire if there is any insanity in your family?"

Ignoring him Tattle continues, "Having just returned home from the Civil War, Tommy comes marching home again, hurray, hurray, the last thing he wants is to get involved in is a range war. Appliances are dangerous when hurled great distances. Plus, he wants to help work it out for Rylee. Hero? Beau? Do we know?"

"Does he do the politicians' dance? A quick side-step?"

"Rylee pulls a gun on him. Misguuuided! Yet he gets to her, she gets to him, love's a brewing, I knew they would, but Rylee is no pushover and resists. Is she running from him until she catches him? Meanwhile, his brother Darrell and Uncle Richard keep making trouble. Complication rumba!"

"Horsefeathers!" Wrye exclaims. "This has to make Rylee and Tom's encounters full of sexual frustrations mingled with anger and angst. What fun is that? A two-step from hell."
"No prairie patties, m' hoofer bud." "They'll never find their romantic destiny, or will they?" "We'll know only after we read."

Hope you enjoyed! Next month our hearts belong to SNAKE DANCE by our very, very close friends ANGELICA HART AND ZI, THIS TIME YOU ARE MINE by SUZANNAH SAFI, AND K. M. TOLAN'S ROGUE DANCER.

Have a healthy, wonderful, blessed Happy New Year!

Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash of Blather City, Wannachat

Created and written by Angelica Hart and Zi KILLER DOLLS ~ September 2009

SNAKE DANCE ~ February 2010 CHASING GRAVITAS (working title) ~ July 2010

Champagne Books

Tattle and Wrye can also be found at

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Handy tips from a Champagne Editor

How to Kill Your Chances Without Really Trying

• Don’t bother with a hook to grab the editor’s interest right away. If she’s agreed to look at your book, she’ll read beyond the first sentence, even the first paragraph and the first page whether it captures her imagination or not. She’ll think, This writer cared enough to finish a whole three chapters and write a synopsis. He/she must have something good to say.

• Don’t worry about internal and external conflict in the protagonists. Just tell the editor they have them. No need to waste time by demonstrating (showing) what they are and how they will be resolved. This applies to the synopsis, too. Don’t ever let the editor know how it comes out. Say something like: “If you want to know more, you’ll have to buy my book. LOL!”

• Keep the editor guessing as to whose point of view you’re in. Go ahead and blend them, it keeps her on her toes. Write something like, “She felt the wind whipping her long, glossy tresses around her face and stinging raindrops pelting her camellia-like skin he as thought, she’s beautiful, even when she’s soaking wet and her nose is red from cold.

• Mechanical errors aren’t important. If your story is good enough, the editor will ignore spelling and grammatical errors and poorly constructed sentences so don’t bother taking the time to learn the basics of writing and self-editing before submitting. Just write. Don’t let the creative flow be stifled by attempts to get it right. Technique is  not required if you’re a truly gifted writer, which of course, we all know you are.

• Give lots of back-story information right up front. Use long, involved sentences full of  adverbs and adjectives that will impress the editor with your erudition. Don’t force the poor editor to keep turning the pages to find out why things are unfolding the way they are. Let her know right away and save her the time and effort of reading the rest of your story.

• Keep things interesting for your editor. Make her open her eyes and gasp with astonishment when your historical character from the 1700s says, “Jeez, Louise, that’s cool!” Or have a four-year-old speaking like a short adult--that’s sure to get her attention: e.g. “Mother, I think the pink blouse would be much more becoming on you that the blue one. It brings out the color in your cheeks. The blue one gives you a certain, shall we say... sallowness?”

• Remember to stereotype secondary characters appropriately: For instance, everyone knows that all Vancouver taxi drivers are East Indians who speak very little English, just as all New York taxi drivers are Iranians with secret plots to blow up something big and important. All ships’ skippers are keen-eyed seamen accustomed to seeing long distances and they all have crinkly corners around their blue eyes. All grandmothers are chubby and gray haired and smell of cinnamon cookies. All grandfathers smoke pipes.

• Don’t concern yourself with too much research. Historical accuracy is a waste of time. Most editors have no idea at all what went on in the American Civil War, or the War of 1812. And if someone else notices, too bad. Blame it in the typesetter or the copy-editor.

• Just let yourself go. Write as it flows from your heart. If you wrote it, it must be good. One run through is surely enough. If you go over it again and again, you’ll start second-guessing yourself and probably screw up the next great novel that should be resting comfortably in every electronic reading device and/or gracing the shelves of every home and library in the world.

• Do naught bother giving your work  a proof reed. If you have a spell chequer, just ewes it. Spell cheques pick up nearly all the typos you might have maid. They halve sharper ayes than you do and sea many things you might Miss. And if they do knot, your editor is trained to watch out four occasional miss takes.

• And if you’re already a Champagne author, none of this applies to you, but please pass it on to anyone you know who aspires to join your ranks.

Judy Griffith Gill, looking forward to reading your great books and being able to sale threw them without having to do any work a tall.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Michael Davis
Author of the Year, 2008

Sometimes, the story behind how a novel came about can be interesting as well. Here's an explanation for how our new release VEIL OF DECEPTION was born and its connection between myself and co-author Candace Morehouse. Hope you enjoy it.

It was a gorgeous day in early spring and I was seating on my porch watching a brood of freshly hatched ducklings trail behind a pair of mallards in front of my dock. There were two mourning doves cooing in my cinder tree, the bass were spawning at the back of my cove, and I was sipping on a Killian’s Red in a frosty mug. Live was looking good.

On my radio, I heard a reminder of a horrifying unsolved mystery still haunting the county adjacent to where I lived. It reminded me of the evil that waits on the borders of our civilized world for the opportunity to reach out and destroy innocent lives. At that instant, there was a splash in my cove. When I turned back, where there had been a line of five sets of small paddling feet, now there were only four. Nature, with all her exacting reality had taken a life from an unsuspecting family to feed the blind hunger of another of her beasts.

The parallel between what I had heard on the radio and what was unfolding in my small cove as two parent mallards searched for an offspring they would never find, was quite moving. The juices began to flow for a new story, one based on the hidden dangers all around us, but it had to be anchored in truth and blended with a romantic core, otherwise, why write it. Then it hit me. In many relationships, deception can be the match that burns love to a cinder. Whether it’s an attempt to deceive our mate, or a lie to fool ourselves, deception can only foster pain. In the same way, evil deeds are generally carried out through a veil of deception, and the plot for a gut wrenching romantic suspense was born.

I had previously discussed the opportunity to collaborate on a novel with an author friend. The concept was that I would write from the male POV and she from the female POV. Both of us recognized the difficulty to realistically reflect what was in the mind of the opposite gender. So I offered we attack the VEIL OF DECEPTION as our first project. Problem was, she thought it was too sweet from my verbal explanation. So, I prepared a detailed outline with the finality chapter, sent it to Candace and it knocked her socks off, and we began.

We both recognized the pitfalls of two authors, especially a man and woman, hammering at the others work. Fortunately, we were professional enough to accept constructive offerings, plus didn’t hurt to establish a few rules. Bottom line was, two separate minds were more capable of spotting flaws in a script and we had a ball. We were no longer isolated in a cave visualizing some fiction world, we were there together, and it was better than writing alone. No, it was actually fun. I would write a chapter, she would read it and laugh her butt off, write a response, and I’d wet my pants reading her characters reaction to my character. And the bedroom scene, oh boy did that get hot.

Was the collaboration effective? We thought so, until the publisher submission reviewers read the script and they literally raved about the story. That was a first and validated that the experiment had worked. The romantic suspense VEIL OF DECEPTION will be released in Jan/2010. For a preview, check out the excerpts provided at or, and remember: Sometimes truth cuts deeper than a lie.