Sunday, November 15, 2009

Guest Blogger - Sandra Sookoo

Hi everyone, please welcome the wonderful Sandra Sookoo. She's here celebrating the release of her newest book, Exiles from Christmas, which is on sale from Lyrical Press starting today!

First off, I’d like to thank Antonia for allowing me to post on her blog. I always love visiting other folks around the web and in this instance, I get to share my latest release with you!

The inspiration behind this book was a fascination with Santa. It’s not what you think. It amazes me that the Santa myth still holds strong today and I find it amusing that sentiments are so strong regarding the issue: does he or does he not exist?

So, I decided to turn the jolly old man on his ear and Exiles from Christmas is the result. It’s my take, or explanation on the Santa scene. What’s more, I didn’t just stop with the jolly elf. I’ve taken a lot of the myths and childhood stories and created a sort of “what if” scenario in my Holiday Magic Series.

Here’s a blurb and excerpt for Exiles for Christmas:

Blurb: Santa’s nephews have come to Crystal Falls to run a cookie business. If they fail, they’ll have to go back to the North Pole and fill their uncle’s black boots when he retires. But sick of toys, elves, and the North Pole’s influence, that’s the last thing Landon and Aaron want. They’re looking for love.

Jayne isn’t much for sentimental family holidays and she certainly doesn’t believe in magic. Working in the Crystal Falls post office, she is mystified when she handles mail bearing a North Pole postal mark.

When Landon and Jayne meet, their attraction for each other is undeniable, but will the truth about Landon’s life make Jayne a believer, or will it be his love that finally melts her heart?

Excerpt #4:

Landon was glad when Peg finally walked away. “Tell me why you hate Christmas.” Pleasure snaked through his gut when Jayne’s cheeks infused with a rosy stain. He had the insane desire to see her smile. He wondered if the back of her wrist was ticklish. “Or is it just the commercialism of the holiday that turns you into Scrooge?”

Her lips twitched but she didn’t follow through with a full grin. “Why don’t you tell me why I should like this holiday?” She dipped a triangle of her golden sandwich into her orange-red soup then took a delicate bite.

“Everyone likes Christmas.” He floundered for words. “It’s... It’s...magical.” He broke open the flaky crust of his chicken pot pie to let the steam escape.

“What’s so magical about the whole population of the world succumbing to avarice and greed?” She pointed her spoon at him. “And don’t get me started about that jolly old fat man in the red suit.”

“How do you know Santa is old or fat? Have you seen him?” Her abhorrence to Christmas fascinated him, but the information he was about to tell her would make or break the new friendship.

“Have you?”

It was now or never. For some reason, he trusted her. “Actually, yes. In fact, I know him pretty well.” He kept his gaze glued to her face, alert for any outward signs of derision or ridicule. Prior relationships usually broke down at this point. Some had even ended with drinks to his face or upended dinners in his lap. When Jayne did nothing more dramatic than blink, he released his held breath. Maybe it’d be different this time.

“How can you possibly know him? He’s a make-believe character from story books.” She narrowed her eyes. “Unless he’s an invisible friend of yours.”

Very witty, Jayne. Funny and sexy. A great combination. He fought a smile. “He’s definitely not invisible.” No longer hungry, Landon pushed his mostly untouched plate away. “You never believed in Santa when you were a kid?” He watched as hope briefly flitted across her face but that moment of vulnerability vanished as quickly as it had come.


“Why?” He wasn’t about to give up. He felt a tiny seed of belief buried beneath her protests and he wanted to draw it out. He needed to draw it out, if only to justify his own determination to remove himself from his own issues.

Jayne busied herself by crumbling little bits of her sandwich into her soup bowl. “Santa has always been a disappointment to me.” She captured her bottom lip between her teeth. “When I was eleven, I desperately wanted a microscope. I loved science and thought it would be fun to look inside living things.”

“And you didn’t get it, I assume?” He wrenched his gaze from her invitingly wet lips to focus on her face.

“Of course not.” Bitterness crept into the confirmation. “Not only that, a few months after that, I found all the letters I’d written to Santa in my mom’s underwear drawer. She never mailed them. I understood why later—there was nowhere to mail them to. Santa’s a fake.” She shrugged. “I found all but one letter. She must have lost it.”

“I’m sorry you had a bad childhood. What about now? You’re older and wiser. Do you believe in Santa now?”

“Are you kidding me?” She gaped at him as if he were a car wreck. “Why should I believe now? What’s the point?”

“Because.” Landon cleared his throat. “Santa Claus is my uncle.”

Book video:

Promo video for Crystal Falls:

Buy link:

Or visit my website for more information

Keep your eyes open for more books in this series.

Thanks again for having me here. I love to hear from readers and other authors so look me up on Facebook or email me at

Also, one lucky poster on this blog will receive a goodie bag. Name will be selected by random drawing at 5:00 p.m. EST.

Thanks Sandra! It sounds really interesting. I love Christmas so I for one will be on the lookout for more! Remember to post so you can be entered in the drawing!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update

So NaNo is going well this year! I went into it as excited as I was for my first year (2007), which I can honestly say I wasn't last year. So I think this year I'll make it to 50k again. The story is kinda jumping all over the place BUT that'll be fixed in edits. A lot of my prep time is spent looking for pictures as well as songs. I already shared the songs, now time to share the pictures!

Gareth Le'Vale

Gareth is a mage born in Shift. He is almost forty but the magic of Shift keeps him looking very young. He was the one sent to find Cael and Caim and has become their teacher. His elemental strength is fire and his weak element is wind.


Mallory is a seer. She is in her 60s but as with Gareth the magic of Shift makes her look much younger. She is Chance's teacher, even though she has no magic of her own. She loves books, her house is filled with them and when not teaching Chance, she can be found reading. She does not venture much from her home in Shift.

Elizabeth "Chance" Maddox

Chance came by her name because of the uncertain nature of her magic. She has little control over the results and has no affinity for one element over another. Gareth bestowed the nickname upon her and for years she was a thorn in his side. Now, however, they've realized their feelings for one another and are a couple. Chance is almost always in a happy mood.

and I have two pics of the twins, one put together for me by Delilah and the other by Elle.

by Elle

by Del

Cael and Caim O'Conner

Caim is the ghost. He died at childbirth and his spirit became attached to his twin. He exists somewhere between the realm of the living and the realm in which other spirits and ghosts exist. He can see auras and lines of magic, making it easier for him to manipulate them. He can transfer some of his ability, both passively and actively to his twin. Caim's affinity is water and his weak element is earth. When Cael uses magic, the power flowing through Caim makes his eyes glow with white light. Caim has for the most part accepted what he is, but for the longing of touch.

Cael spent six years in mental institutions due to misunderstanding of his "talking with his dead twin." Cael seems to have affinity for both wind and fire but virtually no control over earth. Cael has violent mood shifts, accompanied by loss of control of his abilities.

And these characters, you'll find out about later! :p


Lil' Bit