Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Free Books - Today Only!

What better way to close out a banner month than offering our readers FREE books!

Today only (January 31), you can get 4 Steel Magnolia Press ebooks absolutely free from Amazon. We hope you enjoy them.

by Lindy Corbin

Regency Romance

The palm reader spoke of two paths. Would one lead Juliet to her gypsy husband?
by Phoenix Sullivan

#2 Medical Thriller on Amazon for 2 weeks this past month!

10,000 years ago a pandemic wiped out much of the world. It's back. "Contagion" meets the science of "Jurassic Park" in this near-future medical thriller for fans of Michael Crichton and Robin Cook.
by Phoenix Sullivan

#1 in Veterinary Medicine and a Top 10 in Pet Essays on Amazon

A charming and insightful coming-of-age story for anyone who's ever had a pet or a dream.
edited by Phoenix Sullivan

Echoes of yesterday touch the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary ways in 18 provocative stories by 18 of the best up-and-coming authors of mainstream and speculative fiction around the world.
Remember, if you don't have a Kindle, you can still read Kindle books on just about any device, even your computer, with a a free app from Amazon.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's Carnival Season!

I finally took down my Christmas wreath this week, but immediately replaced it with an enormous, sparkling fleur de lis in purple, green, and gold. Yes, Carnival season has begun here in Louisiana. You may wonder why I chose to say Carnival and not the more common Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is a French phrase which means Fat Tuesday. But Fat Tuesday is the name given to the last day of the celebration and is on February 21st this year. The “Mardi Gras” season began twelve days after Christmas.

The first day of Carnival season is Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day or Twelfth Night, when we celebrate the Wise Men’s arrival in Bethlehem. It’s then that we begin to see king cakes in bakeries and grocery stores, and people start taking the cakes to work or to social gatherings such as king cake parties. You may have heard that the cakes usually contain a little plastic baby. And you may know that the person who gets the piece of cake with the baby inside is said to have good luck and is responsible for providing the next king cake for the group to share. However, many people don’t realize that the baby represents Baby Jesus or that the circular shape of the cake and the sugar sprinkles on top are supposed to represent a jeweled crown.
Often king cake dough has the texture and flavor of cinnamon rolls, but some bakeries make theirs with the softer, sweeter dough used in Danishes. Both kinds are delicious, especially when they contain sweetened cream cheese or the kinds of fillings found in doughnuts. My favorite fillings are Bavarian cream and strawberry with cream cheese. When those flavors meet the sugary glaze and sprinkles on top, there’s little question why this event ends with a day called Fat Tuesday.

Carnival is so full of symbolism that it's not surprising the official colors -- purple, green, and gold -- are symbolic too. They were chosen in 1872 by the Krewe of Rex, one of the most well-known New Orleans parade associations. In 1892, members of Rex determined that purple would represent justice, green would symbolize faith, and gold would denote power.

Louisiana is famous for its delightful food, customs, superstitions, and pageantry. I intend to feature these and other cultural traditions in a series of romance novels I’m writing about a group of fun-loving folks with big dreams and big plans in a Gulf Coast tourist town. Look for the first book in March 2012.

I hope you find an opportunity to enjoy a king cake this Carnival season, and that you get to see a parade in your local area or in New Orleans. Life is too short to waste every day counting calories or sitting at home. Get out and enjoy yourself and laissez les bons temps rouler!

Want to have a king cake delivered by U.S. Mail to your front door? The best ones come from CafĂ© Perique in Gramercy, Louisiana. Call them at (225) 869-1774. Or if you live in southeastern Louisiana, visit them at 234 East Main Street, Gramercy.


Kathy Faucheux is a former foreign language teacher who married her high school sweetheart, joining a lively, close-knit French family from the New Orleans area. Recently widowed, she’s moved home to North Louisiana to be near her mother, best-selling author Jennifer Blake, and to pursue a writing career. She’ll publish her first book with Steel Magnolia Press in early spring.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Technology is Awesome!"

These are the excited words from my young son when he noticed I had recently purchased a Kindle. (Yes, I'll admit I'm a bit behind times when it comes to such novelties.) But, since most of my books will now be published in e-book format, I thought it might be a wise decision to buy a Kindle and see what all the fuss was about. I've always been a die-hard fan of print books, but with the e-book market now exploding on the scene, I thought I'd give it a try myself.

I'm so glad I did. I love the fact I can hold over a thousand books on one tiny device. I mean seriously, could you ever really say you didn't have anything to read with that kind of collection? The fact some libraries now allow you to borrow e-books the same way you borrow print books is amazing. Although I haven't had time to try that little perk yet, I'm very excited about the prospect.

One reason e-books are so popular is because in this fast-paced day and age, people want instant gratification. Borrowing or puchasing an e-book is definately instant. In less than 60 seconds you can have one purchased or borrowed and delivered to your Kindle. Isn't that fabulous?

I realize you can read e-books on your computer, which is what I did for a while, but I didn't download too many due to the fact I need my computer space to store my writing. Besides, laptops and even netbooks can be a bit bulky to carry around just to read books on.

The Kindle is much smaller and easier to transport. Now, I'll be able to buy and store as many books as I'd like.

Of course, some say e-books will eventually overtake traditional publishing and print books will become obsolete. Do I really believe that? No. There will always be some, like me, who want to have that print book in hand occasionally to read. But, that doesn't mean I won't have a fabulous collection of e-books at my fingertips as well.

After testing out my Kindle I have to say I agree with my little boy. Technology is awesome! The only problem I see now is the fact his next words were, "Can you load children's chapter books on there too?"

Uh..oh...looks like I might have to share, but with over a 1000 book storage, hopefully that won't be a problem.

So even if you are a die-hard print book fan like me, I'd definitely recommend giving the Kindle a try. You'll be glad you did.

Tamelia Tumlin has worked with several online publishers, but is now writing exclusively for Steel Magnolia Press. Juggling motherhood, teaching and writing is a challenge, but one she welcomes to pursue her passion. Her romance novels range from sweet and sassy to dark and dangerous.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pinterest for Writers

Ever done a book collage? It’s a fascinating undertaking. You search through old magazines, catalogs, calendars, etc., ripping out any images that catch your fancy. This is done without conscious direction or intention, though you may think in a general way about your work in progress. When you have a couple of dozen images, you use a glue stick to attach them to poster board in a pleasing arrangement. By some strange subconscious process, you wind up with images that allow you to tap into scenes and themes in your story that you didn’t know were there. Post this where you can see it as you write, and it becomes an idea starter for your book.

The trick to the exercise, of course, is having the right kind of illustrations on hand. In the past, this was not always possible. The problem can now be solved with Pinterest.

Pinterest is a social media site that builds community between people by using selected images as shorthand to indicate similar interests and personalities. The site has thousands upon thousands of images to choose from—beautiful or intriguing, funny or daring, classic or funky—with more being added every minute. Once you are a member, you choose the “bulletin boards,” or topics that say something to you, which will appear on your page. You then browse the site to select images for your boards. The result is an amazingly accurate depiction of what makes you tick.

But the really great thing is that every person can establish personal boards. To assemble a story collage, you create a board and label it with your book title or a heading such as "Work in Progress",  then “pin” images to it that attract you or remind you of the story you have in mind. To find them, you can search by setting (England, New Orleans, etc.), time period (Victorian, Regency) and so on. A few minutes work and VoilaYou have a virtual story collage for constant inspiration.


Since publishing her first book at age 27, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Jennifer Blake has gone on to write over 65 historical and contemporary novels in multiple genres. She brings the story-telling power and seductive passion of the South to her stories, reflecting her 8th-generation Louisiana heritage. Jennifer lives with her husband in northern Louisiana.