Friday, February 14, 2014

Meet D, F. Krieger, Author of Panthers and Precincts, a paranormal thriller

Today we welcome D.F.Krieger to Storyteller's Grove. When D. F. Krieger was banned from writing contests at her school, she immediately set it in her head that she would become a professional writer. Since then, she has thrown away her plans of world domination through books, but she still enjoys writing. Her tastes run from classy urban witches to dragons, space pirates to shape shifters. By the time she pens her final book with a hand ravaged by age, she hopes to introduce her readers to many alternate worlds, lines of thinking, and captivating characters.

You can find D. F. on the East Coast, hiding away from the real world with a gleam in her eye and a plot in her head. She resides with her husband, kids, and pets; who all kindly put up with her random bouts of laughter (over things she can't explain) and journal collecting fetish.

Storyteller's Grove: Thank you for coming, D.F. I have put together a few questions that I hope will let your fans, old and about-to-become, know a bit about what makes you tick.

D.F.Krieger: Fire away!

SG: What’s your sign? How do you think it affects your writing?

DK: I'm an Aquarius. Y'know, the crazy ones of the zodiac. I truly believe that my "outside the box" thinking allows me to come up with stories and ideas that are completely unique, fun, and probably certifiable.

SG: What do you love about writing? Hate?

DK: I love being able to create my own worlds and realities. I love putting them in a form that I can share with other people. What I hate is writing a synopsis. Who the hell came up with this form of torture, anyway? I swear, some evil gods sat around chilling and drinking and one was like, "You know what would be funny? Forcing writers to figure out how to convey the basics of their book in a catching way that spans only one or two pages. If they can't, it's a sin in the writing world. Hey, we should call it a Sin-nopsys." And the rest were like, "Totally! Make it a standard practice that if they want to get published, they MUST write one!"  Curse you, evil gods, and well played. 

SG:  Are you more of a hunter or a gather?

DK: Neither. I'm that clever scavenger that lets others do the work, then steals everything under their noses. Okay, so really what would happen is I'd trip, make a lot of noise, and run like hell screaming bloody murder as the hunters chased me, but we're talking how I see myself, right? 

SG:  If you could throw a parade, what kind would it be?

DK: Oh, oh. Horse parade. Lots of horses and riders, dressed up in themes. Knight in shining armor, fairy princess with unicorn, witch riding a horse with bones painted on. One big kick ass horse dress up parade.

SG:  Do you believe in Bigfoot?

DK: And vampires, hellhounds, ghosts. All that jazz. If I'm wrong, eh. At least I'm living life with a thrill in every shadow. 

SG:  If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?

DK: Be amazed! I've officially lived longer than anyone else on my mother's side of the family. I'm declaring myself old enough to go to war with life. Be prepared for fallout, posting bail, and many tales to tell of Crazy D Krieger!

SG:  If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you, and why?

DK: Sandra Bullock. Her personality and movie roles often reflect various aspects of my life already. Practical Magic really hit home in more ways than one. Not to mention I've been told we kinda sorta look alike. So yeah, she already has me down pat...she just doesn't know it yet. ;)

Again, thank you for coming and your interesting answers.

Please check out D.F. Krieger's latest novel, Panthers and Precincts

Meet Zeara—zoologist, crime solver, and crazy cat lady. Throw a literate panther and a sexy detective into the mix and watch the trouble ensue.

People didn’t just happen to “drop by for a visit” at midnight. Whoever was on the other side of that door either had a good reason, one that she probably didn’t want to hear, or would wish they had once she finished tearing them apart.
Dr. Zeara Faxfire and her side-kick cat, Magic, are on the case when a panther is discovered during a police investigation of a missing boy. The fact the panther can write is only slightly scarier than Zeara's attraction to Detective Markovich. Add a little magic, some mayhem, and scientific proof of the paranormal, and she ends up knee-deep in trouble. Can she find the missing boy, solve the riddle of the panther, and face her own past before time runs out? Or will the only way to give everyone a happy ending come at the expense of the job she loves?\

Sound intriguing? OF COURSE. You can pick up your copy and follow D.F.Krieger:

Social links:

Buy Links:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday Thoughts: You've Got a Friend

On the eve of Valentine's Day, as a single person I focus on friendships. As an author and a friend to musicians, artists, photographers and other creative people, I understand the tough road we are on. We are gripped by our passion and cannot do anything but pursue it. We are half a person, if we do not. But only some truly understand and appreciate that this is like breathing for us.

It is a hard calling and while some think they can go it alone, I will tell you that it is truly the rare person who can.

I write this from the perspective of author, but know that other creatives can substitute similar wording in for their chosen addiction. Of course did you choose it or did it choose you?

As we push on down our road we are subjected to the negative and, I hope, experience the positive.

We hear everything from outright negativity to what I call the placating negative.

Phrases like: Great so you are an author! What do you do for a living?
                    So you can write?
                    That really isn't a job right?
                    How nice.

And then there are the ones, sometimes your nearest and dearest, who voice their support but rarely if ever put that support into action. Do they promote your book, share your blog?

Musical interlude from Carole King

Then there are the real friends, the one's you should have in your inner circle, who are officially or unofficially on your street team. These are the ones who introduce you as the author, the musician (fill in the instrument and band name). Who read your book, write a review and tell all their friends they MUST read it.  Your real inner circle will be there to help you through your moments of doubt, to lift you up. They are the ones who send you links to review sites, conferences, articles or just an inspiring post or song.

So on Valentine's Day and EVERYDAY show some love to those friends and if you are a friend to a creative person, send some love and support their way. Creating can be a lonely job.

What keeps you going when the going gets tough? Feel free to give a shoutout to any those who keep your going.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Winter Triangle (A Sweet & Steamy Novella) by Nikki Woolfolk Astronomy, Steampunk and Surprises

In the small town of Stubborn, West Virginia, 1880, happily single Cassandra Holloway has decided to come out to her father, Walter, on the eve of Valentine’s Day. Before she can reveal being a woman of “two-spirits” her well-intentioned, but offspring obsessed father has set her up on another blind date with someone named Morgan. When Cassandra attempts to cancel the date she is faced with a first. She must choose between a beautiful, deaf Astronomy Professor at the local University or the Professors’ handsome sign-language interpreter— both named Morgan.
With a comedy filled evening that Cassandra’s cupid playing father could not have planned, she must make a choice as the sun rises on Valentine’s Day. Which Morgan will be her Valentine?
Lady Astronomers in Steampunk

As a kid I grew up around science, whether it was astronomy, computers or aerospace engineering in the California Bay Area. When not overseas on deployment, my father would take me out stargazing a few miles away from the naval base we lived on. The beauty about living on the Moffett Field was that it housed the, still functioning, NASA Research Facilities. If I had a question about the stars I only had to walk from Hangar One and ask some of the most talented people on the base.

When I set out to write my Steampunk romantic novella, “The Winter Triangle” I knew that stargazing and astronomy had to be a part of this Valentine tale. Professor Morgan Thibodeaux was created and based on my research about two of the “Pickering” women—Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Annie Jump Cannon. Both ladies worked at different times for Pickering as human “computers” to measure and catalog the brightness of stars.

 These findings were later produced into the Henry Draper Catalogue. Annie Jump Cannon, while an undergraduate at Wellesley, contracted scarlet fever and became partially deaf. Not letting that stop her she went onto invent the Harvard Classification Scheme for stars. Henrietta Swan Leavitt’s discovery allowed astronomers to measure the distance between the Earth and distant galaxies. Her discovery of the period-luminosity law for Cepheids is still used by astronomers today.

That kind of dedication and love for the night sky is what I brought to Professor Morgan and she brings that love to Cassandra with the help of her sign language interpreter, Hunter. Professor Morgan has Leavitt’s cheerful personality and it shows throughout “The Winter Triangle”. Morgan’s silent world is not a hindrance. She sees the world around her in all its vibrancy and brings a sense of fun to Cassandra’s world during the eve of Valentine’s Day.

With good humor and cheer, Professor Morgan inspires both Cassandra and Hunter to look at the night with new eyes. Throughout their evening in “The Winter Triangle”, the trio’s adventures fill them with the same awe and wonderment only a clear West Virginia winter night sky can offer.

An excerpt from “The Winter Triangle”

“What is a Wicked Night Carnivale?” Morgan asked.

Hunter and Cassandra shrugged. The smell of hot maple sugar and popcorn filled the air as they approached the platform.

The black stemwinder train commanded the trio’s view. Lights glowed from the sleeper at the rear of the iron horse and the caboose, but the two middle cars were dark. All of the cars were painted in saffron yellow and rust red vertical stripes with a large bolted sign in the center of each that read "WICKED NIGHT CARNIVALE" in azure blue.

Festive entertainers circulated amongst the well-dressed passengers gathered on the platform. One, a
blonde-haired gentleman wearing a green and blue kilt over tattooed legs rolled a sphere with a glowing blue flame within along his fingers whispering things that made a gathering of women giggle uncontrollably. Elsewhere, an entourage of voluptuous women dressed in handmade winter shawls, silken skirts, and velvet coined scarves twirled through the crowd, the glint of their silver belled ankle bracelets sparkling in the extra lights strung between the speaker columns on the platform. Morgan Thibodeaux was mesmerized.

A very proper looking older gentleman stepped up to Cassandra, Hunter and Morgan with a tray stocked with dazzling trinkets and sweet treats. Cassandra spoke to the vendor, and the man handed her a bag of maple pecan popcorn still steaming in the February chill. She paid him, then turned and handed it to Morgan.

Morgan hadn’t been to a carnival in years and missed it. She missed the colors, the contortionists, and the jugglers. The stilt walkers towering above would always make her Emilie giggle with delight. If Emilie had not been staying with her parents this evening, her three year old would be reaching her chubby little hands into the trinkets and food, and attempting to crawl onto everything forbidden. Her daughter had made it a new practice to close her eyes whenever Morgan tried to give her a discipline speech. Morgan’s mother had told her that was normal for children her age, but it still drove her mad. Morgan smiled. Despite it all, she still missed her little peanut, and could not wait to see her again tomorrow afternoon.

She thanked Cassandra, took a small handful, and offered the open bag to her companions. After they all tasted, the pleasure on their faces made her laugh and thank Cassandra once again.

The entertainers had cleared away from the platform though a few of the vendors remained when a woman with a bright red top hat and matching red stained lips sauntered toward the loud speaker column. Hunter's jaw dropped yet he managed to translate what the scarlet woman said.

“Ladies and gentlemen! We welcome you to the Wicked Night Carnivale! Tonight you will experience sights to intrigue and delight you! I promise," she winked, "you will never be the same.”

The crowd clapped and laughed as they boarded the caboose. The two Morgans and Cassandra did not move.
What had they stumbled into?

Nikki Woolfolk grew up with her southern father’s good cooking and tall-tales and her mother’s science fiction loving influence early Silicon Valley. In 2013, a friend challenged her to mix her two loves, science and writing, the result is the multicultural Steampunk romantic novella “The Winter Triangle” now available on Kindle, Barnes & Noble and

Nikki is working on the next book with more original recipes for the Steampunk Sweet & Steamy series and would love to hear from you. Find her on Twitter @NikkiWoolfolk

Stop by Nikki’s blog to get your free copy of the original Chocolate Mud Cherry Cheesecake recipe from “The Winter Triangle”!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Training for the Winter Olympics Can Be Dangerous: Excerpt from Cold Sweat by JS Marlo

Author's Blurb:  Can they conquer the mountains and the past in time to save Hope?
Seventeen-year-old Hope Craig is deaf and training hard to make the biathlon Olympic Team. But when she is kidnapped from the groomed trails and taken into a remote cabin in the mountains, she must battle more than the elements to survive.

On the hunt for her daughter's abductor, Colonel Amelia Matheson enlists the help of Richmond Morgan, a local Sheriff who once hurt her. To find Hope, Sheriff Morgan and Colonel Matheson must untangle a web of secrets, including their own.

Using her wits and skills, Hope sets out to escape the mountains and save the man her mother had sent to rescue her—a man who is not who he appears to be.

Quest loved the serenity and beauty of winter with as much passion as she loved skiing and shooting.
Her skis glided on the trail, packing the fresh snow into two parallel lines every time she raced down a hill and adding crisscross design to every slope she climbed. Ahead of her, a cute blond guy with dark brown eyes and a smile that could melt a glacier, groomed the trail. The vibrations of his machine sizzled through Quest's body, but as the distance between them grew farther, the sensation faded away.
Her rifle bounced on her back, unloaded, a comforting ally in her silent world. Alone on the trail, Quest didn't bring any ammunition for target practice and didn't wear her transmitter. Later on, once she rejoined the other athletes, she would rectify both situations.
To give her brief reprieves from the white noise she must tolerate in order to hear, Coach Goldman had requested special accommodations. Thanks to him, Quest had been granted permission to train in the early morning solitude of the sleepy mountains, outside the normal hours of operation. She appreciated the consideration.
As she ventured deeper into the forested area, the naked trees cuddled closer against the evergreens, blocking her view of the valley below.
Being invited by her coach to the altitude training camp at Snowy Tip had been a dream come true. Convincing her mother and grandfather to let her take the year off and postpone her entrance to Princeton University in order to train full-time for the Olympic trials had required grueling efforts and perseverance.

White clouds formed around her mouth with every breath she took. After two months in Montana, her lungs had adapted to the lower atmospheric pressure. She no longer felt the effect of the altitude. The trials were three weeks away. She was as ready—mentally and physically—as she'd ever be.
Beads of perspiration trickled between her shoulder blades, quickly whisked away by the microfiber undershirt she wore like a second skin. Every piece of clothing and equipment played a role, down to her gloves from which she'd cut off the tip of the right index finger to better feel the resistance of the trigger when she fired.
The flat section ahead curved around a frozen pond. Red markers delimited the perimeter of the ice surface in case some skiers were tempted to cross over.
A yellow light reflecting over the white blanket of snow caught Quest's attention. Pausing, she looked behind her. Two snowmobiles were headed in her direction. The last one pulled a rake on the ground, mimicking the grooming effect and erasing her ski tracks. Puzzled by their presence on the trail, she moved to the side to let them pass. As they approached, they slowed down, stopping a few feet away from her.
Despite the cold and wind, the ski masks covering their faces weren't common attires among the maintenance crew members. One driver stood up. Big and stocky in his black snowsuit, he looked more like a man than a woman.
Trying her best not to appear intimidated, Quest glanced back and forth between the two of them as she tried to decipher which one led the pack. "Is there a problem, guys?"
The lips of the closer individual moved. "Hope Craig?"
Only strangers—and her mother—called her Hope. "Who wants to know?"

He pulled a gun on her. "No reaching for your rifle. You're coming with us."

Want to read more? Of course you do... 
                   Get your copy here:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thursday Thoughts: Advice from Singer, Lipstick and Powder

Thursday Thoughts: Advice from Singer --The More Things Change…

Recently the following photo was circulating on Facebook.

Responses ranged from laughter to sarcasm to outrage to fond memories of Mom or Grandma. 
After all, we’ve come a long way since 1949.  This is the stuff of dusty attic memories. Right???

I disagree.There is some timely and good advice in this yellowed page.

One of the consequences for better or worse of the technology age is the ability to work from home.

In the 1980s, I was one of the early wave of this new concept of working from home. It was ad-hoc, at first.  Snowstorms such as those we are experiencing in the Northeast would be accompanied by the packing up of files and the saving of documents to 3.5 inch disks so that time would not be wasted.  Of course, many managers still “suspected” that we were all really home with our feet up watching soap operas and Phil Donahue while painting our toenails.

Fast forward to 2014…. The age of the indie, the solopreneur both male and female. One of the consequences of a prolonged recession (is that all it is?) are hundreds of thousands of people trying to earn a living from home-based businesses. Combine that with the struggling authors, musicians and other artists who are pursuing their passion without the resources to have a workplace separate from their home and the combined numbers are probably in the millions.

On December 3, 2008,  not quite 60 years later, the Washington Post published an article called Strategies for Working from Home.  The link to the complete article is here

What it reveals is the wisdom of 1949 updated for the “modern” world.

 Singer 1949:  Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing,

WPost 2008: Many people believe that they lack the discipline to effectively telecommute. They fear that they would be too distracted, lured away from their job duties by household chores, too easily tempted by the television and the bed.

Creating the right mental attitude for work

Singer 1949: When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress…  If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home, and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing,

WP ost 2008: Get ready for work in the morning as if you were about to leave your home. Take a shower, brush your teeth, and change out of your pajamas. I am not suggesting that you slip into an Armani suit, but do wear clothing that you would not be embarrassed to be seen in. This exercise will help you to set the stage for a successful day of work.

Discipline and Focus

Singer 1949: Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do… Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.

WPost 2008:  Although the challenge of remaining focused without the positive influence of a bustling office environment is very real, I doubt that most telecommuters actually spend their work days watching "The Price Is Right," napping and doing laundry.

Working from or at home effectively has not changed.

It requires discipline, a routine, and the right mental attitude, including having a regular and organized workspace and personal approach. You would not wear PJs to work or work on the couch in the reception area. Your home is your workplace act accordingly so that you can do your best work.

I am like many. Without the full-time day job I needed until my writing pays more, I worked from home. I set up a space and organized my day around a routine that started with job-hunting before I turned my energy to writing, editing (privately and for a small publisher), reading submissions and books for review.  I am blessed in that an unmade bed does not cause me any loss of sleep. I make time each week to go out to hear live, local music and schedule other recreational activities to refresh and recharge.

I haven’t got it down to a science but I am always focused on how to be more productive so that I can achieve my dreams.

Ah but you say, Singer didn’t tell woman that sewing was work…. They used words like enjoy and fun.
If you work from home, no matter how successful you think you are, if you do not enjoy it and have fun… are not reaching your potential.  Time to rethink your choices!

Do you work from home? What do you do? What is your best strategy? Where could you improve? 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hot Valentine's Interview Andy from Another Gift to Remember by Diane Thorne

Blog Warning:  Another Gift to Remember and A Gift to Remember contain mature themes. You must be over 21 to purchase.

Valentine’s Day if right around the corner and if you are looking for a HOT read and maybe a gift idea or two, you’ve come to the right place.

Today we sit down with Andy from Another Gift to Remember by Diane Thorne. Andy made a brief appearance in Ms. Thorne’s bestseller A Gift to Remember, but rises *** cough, cough*** to prominence in this sequel. Please give him a warm welcome.

Storyteller’s Grove:   It’s so nice to have this chance to chat with you. So tell us about yourself. What got you in the crosshairs for Ms. Thorne?

Andy:   I own a marketing firm with my best friend, Thomas. We went to college together and played football. He's a great guy and I love his wife. She's smoking hot, funny, and smart. She came up with the best birthday surprise for Thomas. He is one lucky man. Anyway, my 40th birthday is coming up and I guess Diane thought it would be a great idea for me to have an equally special day.

SG:       Did you have any idea what the plan was for your birthday?

Andy:   Honestly, I suspected Thomas had something up his sleeve for me. I knew he couldn't let the day go by without doing something big. But I never in a million years thought he would've put together what he did. I mean… I had the best birthday any man could wish for. You'll have to forgive me, but I don't want to give too much away to readers.

SG:       I understand. Were you stunned by the parties involved with your birthday surprise?

Andy:   I was floored. I couldn't believe… Thomas and I are truly blessed to know such special women.

SG:       I’m sure our readers and fans of the book want to know… Boxers, briefs or Commando?

Andy:   Boxers. I don't like my boys to be too constricted.

SG:       If your partner wants to seduce you, what's one sure fire trick she can play?

Andy:   Dancing. I love when a woman dances close with me. I love to feel her and smell her. Kissing turns up the heat.  

SG:       After your big birthday surprise, did you think you would have problems at work?

Andy:   Well, I thought it might be a little awkward. But I recall Thomas telling me about his situation and how he managed to work it out. I thought I could do the same. We just need to communicate. Be open with each other. But when the problems with reports came up, I didn't know what to think. It was difficult, but I knew my best friend could help straighten out the situation. We came together and resolved the situation. Now, I couldn't be happier.

SG:       Secretly, did you have an interest in Thomas's wife, Lynn?

Andy:   Well, I always thought she was sexy and smart. If he had passed on her years ago, I would've gone after her.

SG:       And what about Carol? Did you ever have an interest in her?

Andy:   Carol is also sexy. She has great curves. I'm not going to lie, I had thought about banging her a time or two. But since we worked together and she was close to Thomas, I discounted ever going out with her.

SG:       Which is better, sex at the office or at home?

Andy:   Well, both are nice. But it's nice to have a stress reliever during the work day.

SG:       Are you happy with the way things turned out at work?

Andy:   I didn't realize I had a problem employee, but yeah, I was glad to get rid of her. And now I have the best women in the world working with Thomas and me. Life couldn't be better.

SG:       Would you like to say anything else to our readers?

Andy:   Thanks for the interview. I probably gave too much away, but I hope readers will check out Diane's novella, Another Gift to Remember. It's a hot read and I'm pleased to be one of the main characters in the story.

Thomas Barrett has it all. He's a part owner of a marketing firm with his best friend of twenty years, Andy. In addition to a successful career, Thomas enjoys the love of two beautiful women, his wife, Lynn, and his assistant, Carol. He couldn't be happier with life.
Tasked with finding a gift idea for Andy's fortieth birthday, Thomas comes up with a perfect one. Not only will it please Andy, Thomas is certain his idea will provide great pleasure to Lynn and Carol. Thomas wants his favorite naughty women to bring Andy into their love nest. But will Lynn and Carol be willing to have sex with Thomas's best friend? Better yet, can Andy maintain a working and sexual relationship with them.

You can purchase Another Gift to Remember at it's Breathless Press page (CLICK HERE) 

While you are at it, also check out A Gift to Remember, the first book in this series.