Monday, December 31, 2012


I am looking forward to 2013.


Simple...I was born on Friday the 13th; My Jeep's license plate ends with the number '13'; the last digits on my lottery Tickets are always '13'.

Do you look forward to the year ahead. (I figure we are ALL ahead since we survived past Dec. 21, 2012)

Enjoy the day and have a very HAPPY HOGMANAY (the Celtic New Year's) 
***If you want to learn more
about the Celtic Hogmanay
check out my article on the

Thursday, December 20, 2012

1st Pgs-UNWRAPPING CHRIS a Holiday Love Story

Jayne sipped her coffee and grimaced while her

sister, Marti, laughed. Jayne ought to apologize, but

the burnt coffee smell—accompanied by the charred

scent of over-baked gingerbread cookies—was horrid

enough to make anyone’s taste buds forget that

Christmas was right around the corner. Marti couldn’t

   boil water, let alone brew a decent cup of coffee.

   I should talk.

   Since Johnny’s death, Jayne barely cooked. Her

kids ate well, but she rarely found the strength to

visit the supermarket or cook a wholesome dinner. A

deep weariness had replaced the bouts of depression

that tainted her bereavement.

   Not much of an improvement, she thought.

   “Sorry. I appreciate the effort.”

   “Just wanted to impress you with my newfound

culinary skills.” Marti smiled at her joke. She ran long

fingers through her short, dark red hair. Her digital

camouflage ACU did little to enhance her skin tone,

or her figure. The bulging pockets of her trousers and

the washed-out green-gray of the weather resistant

fabric detracted from Marti’s pale skin. Only the tiny

freckles that peppered her petite nose heralded their

Scottish ancestry.

   “Don’t worry, sis,” she went on. “Our local

commissary has everything we need for a great

holiday dinner.”

   They both laughed.

   Marti pulled open a cupboard door and grabbed a

large jar filled with a candle. After she lit it, she

placed it between them on the table. The scent of

pumpkins and cinnamon wafted up, obliterating the

evidence of her attempt to cook.

   “Jayne, I’m glad you came for the holiday. We’ll

have fun at my good friend’s wedding on Christmas


   “God. Christmas will be here before we know it.”

   “Your nephew and I feel more alone during this

holiday than any other time of year. Can’t I talk you

into moving in? Permanently?”

   “I do miss living on an army base, but Johnny’s

gone and—”

   “Sorry. I forgot. However, things change, sis. You

finally graduated nursing school. No more nights and

weekends filled with homework and studying. Maybe

you’ll meet another great guy. Think about it?”

   Jayne sighed. She’d love to get back into army

life. When her less-than-stellar marriage faltered

after the birth of their second daughter, she and

Johnny received a needed break when he deployed

overseas. The kids missed their dad, but thrived

under her care. The stress-free home life was like a

breath of fresh air. With no one breathing down her

neck to get dinner on the table, ordering her to run

errands, or treating her like a thorn in his side, things

had started to look up.

  Then her world imploded the morning two officers

knocked on her door. Since losing Johnny, she

and the girls had lived through two years of hell;

leaving the base, finding a new home, hiring sitters,

and completing her degree in nursing. Worse, the

man she truly loved remained a distant memory. A

   memory she had never found a way to shake.


   Staff Sergeant Christopher Hawkins marched

alongside his platoon. Along with two other drill

sergeants, their AIT soldiers finished lunch in record

time. This group had survived basic combat training

and now neared the end of their advanced individual

training. Chris looked forward to filling their heads

with intense survival instruction before sending them

off into the world with their new skills.

   Glancing up, clear blue sky filled his vision. Diesel

exhaust mixed with pine scent from the North

Carolina forest surrounding the army base. He swore

he smelled the tang of the sea, though it was over

one hundred miles to the east.

   Several of the men chuckled as they marched. The

frigid weather under clear skies had put everyone

in a good mood. Too good. Perhaps a ten-mile hike

would give them all a good night’s sleep.

   Nowadays, sleep came hard to Chris. Nightmares

filled with gunfire and blood had gotten to be a habit.

He’d awaken covered in sweat with a curse on his

lips. This proved tiresome. With Afghanistan a recent

memory, he woke today determined to enjoy a march

on paved roads under an American sky. No guns, no

blood, no bodies laying dead and dismembered in the


   “Wake up, fool. You’re safe,” he mumbled.

   “What’s that, Sarge?” his second-in-command


   “Nothing. Just thinking out loud. Quiet today. No


   “Why drive when you can march? The sun is real

bright.” Chris’s sergeant closed his eyes, leaned his

head back, and smiled. “I could get used to this.”

   “Open those eyes. You’re on traffic detail. Can’t

have my boys run down.”

   “Yes, Sarge.” Tipping his cap, he swung his M-

16A2 rifle off his shoulder, and trotted into the next

road. The platoon marched in place until waved by.

Several clapped their hands together for warmth as

their hazy breaths danced in the chilly breeze. Noses,

on several of the men, had grown rosy from the cold.

Chris sighed. Training soldiers on a secure army

base was easy and safe.

   And boring.

   If I had bothered to get me a wife and a couple

of kids, I’d have something to look forward to each

day, he thought as he caught up, and then trotted to

the front of the platoon. An image sprang up, clear as


UNWRAPPING CHRIS, by Nancy Lee Badger, was released by Whispers Publishing and is a contemporary military romance. Ring in the holidays with excitement and spice!
Buy Links:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Free Ebook Giveaway!!!

I am guest author at Star-Crossed Romance speaking about my research into herbs, potions, and the magical properties of stones for use in my Highland Games Through Time series.

Please stop by for a chance to

WIN one of FIVE ebooks
I will be giving away at
*winners will be chosen Friday the 21st!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Alex Granados

 My guest today is author Alex Granados. His book, Cemetery Plot is a horror/sci-fi farce and was released on October 31st. 

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book. 
I like to call Cemetery Plot a horror/sci fi mashup. I can say that because it has two tropes of both genres: zombies and time travel. But more than anything else, what I was trying to do was tell an interesting story. The book has two intertwined stories. In the first one, the world is overrun by graveyards. A virus, transmitted through the ashes of the cremated, necessitates a law banning cremation. As a result, grave space is at a premium, and in place of the strip malls of today, cemeteries have taken their place.  

In this setting, our protagonist, Vanessa, wakes from a decades long sleep. She participated in a satanic ritual to turn her into the living dead, but it didn’t work. Instead she wakes up alive, human, un-aged and miserable. A cemetery tycoon finds out about her and is convinced that he can study her and find a way to raise the dead. If he can do that, he can make room in his cemeteries for more bodies, and, in the process, make more money.  

That’s the first story. The second one, which alternates chapters, is set in the future of the first story. In this future, a zombie apocalypse has taken place. A living dead medium is the protagonist. He can speak to zombies, and he cons rich people into paying him for communicating with their departed loved ones.  

These two stories merge at some point, and you find out how they are inextricably linked.  

Scary thought, but you look so relaxed in your photo. Is this the only genre you write in? 
I hadn’t really intended to write a horror novel for my first book. It just came out that way. I write in any genre. I’ve completed a few other manuscripts, some fantasy, some crime and I think one science fiction, so I’m an equal opportunity writer.  

Diversification. I like it! When did you start writing toward publication? 
I started last November (2011) for National Novel Writing Month. (aka NaNoWriMo) I had never completed a novel, and I decided to give it a go. By the end of the month, I had two 25,000 word stories that I combined to form Cemetery Plot. Then I decided to try to get it published. 
Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
I actually only had the one finished when it sold. I did send it out myself to numerous agents and publishing companies. After many many rejections, my current publisher accepted my manuscript.  

Why have you become a published author?   
I’ve always wanted to be a novelist. From the time I was in fourth grade, and my Halloween story was voted best by the rest of my class. That was my first taste of popularity, and I never forgot it. 

Do you have any rejection stories to share?
Not really. They all uniformly suck.  

I feel for you. I have kept them all. What is your writing routine like?
Ever since last year’s National Novel Writing month, I’ve made it a habit to write 2,000 words a day. I do that until I’m done with a rough draft, and then I try to edit 20 pages a day until I make it through. Then I repeat that over and over again until I’m done.   

Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
My mom took me to a bookstore and I saw the cover a book called Castle Roogna by Piers Anthony. It had a dude with a sword on it or something, and it looked interesting. My mom bought it for me and it sat on a shelf for a couple of years. Then one day, I picked it up and fell in love with the story. I ended up reading almost all the Xanth books by Piers Anthony. I was hooked on reading from that point forward. 

Who influenced your decision to become a writer?
My sixth grade teacher Mrs. Drawbaugh (I think that’s how you spell it) gave us an assignment to write a short story. We turned them in. Later that day, she came and got me out of Home Ec. She demanded to know if I had received help from my parents. When I told her no, she said I was talented and that I should be a writer for a living. That’s what really put the idea in my head.  

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
I tweet, post on Facebook and Goodreads, and I have my own blog. I’ve done numerous blog interviews, set up through my publishing company, and I’ve done one radio interview. I’m really struggling with the whole self promotion thing and am always open to advice.

Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?   
Getting my book in the mail. Seeing the beautiful cover with my name on it was all the reward I ever wanted.  

Even in this age of all-things-digital, there is nothing that compares to holding YOUR book in your hands. What do you see ahead in your writing career?
More novels! I keep writing them. I’m also actively pursuing a literary agent.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
Not currently. I do subscribe to Writer’s Market.  

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
I’ll give you the advice that another writer gave me, more or less. If you can quit writing, do it. It’s frustrating, hard and often minimally rewarding. But if you find you can’t quit. If you just have to write. Then do it consistently and never give up. Write every day. Keep sending stories out. Just don’t stop. 

Good advice. What’s next for you?
My novel Into the Cave will be released April 1 from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing.  
Vanessa Hawthorne is a zombie. . .at least that was the plan. Miserable with her life, she agreed to participate in a fatal ritual that would transform her into one of the Living Dead. Instead, she wakes up decades later alive, unaged and living in a world overrun with graveyards.

But when a real estate tycoon finds out about Vanessa, he will stop at nothing to discover how she cheated death. He hopes that this knowledge will give him the power to resurrect the dead. The money he stands to make is incalculable. And he is willing to do whatever it takes — kidnapping, assault and even murder — to get the job done. Luckily for Vanessa, she has Mark Nimocks and his friend Emily to protect her. . . but at what costs?

A zombie apocalypse is in the works, and it will take a medium from the future to find a way to undo the end of the world. But can he actually help change the past? Or is the world fated to be destroyed no matter what? 

Excerpt from Cemetery Plot
“Hi. My name is Nathan Mickels. I guess I could tell you about the end of the world, and being one of the last remaining humans on earth or some of that apocalyptic crap. But the truth is that the world hasn’t changed much since it ended. Sure, the dead are walking and people are dying. But there’s still money to be made.

“Take me for instance. I specialize in a particular trade. You see, these Living Dead, they’re not the brightest creatures. Any mother hoping that her little Annie was going to come back and sit at her knee had a rude awakening. Little Annie was much more likely to bite her and turn her into a zombie than give her a hug.

“Nevertheless, people find out that the dead are coming back to life, and they just got to see. That’s where I come in. It’s my job to hunt down the Living Dead. Specific ones. If your uncle Andrew died last year, you might hire me to find him and bring him to you. Of course, if you were smart, you already checked out the graveyard. You probably only come to me if you find a hole where your uncle should have been.

“So out I go, and I track down your uncle. But what good is he going to be to you as a grunting hulk of shit for brains? None, that’s what. I have a unique talent that I get paid for. I’m kind of like what people used to think mediums were like. You know, they figured they could talk to the dead and all that crap. Well, I can talk to the dead. It takes some doing and some concentration, but leave me alone with a walker for a good six hours, and I can start getting something intelligible out of them.

“Mind you, it’s not what you’d think of as intelligible, but it’s a language of sorts. Some kind of guttural, grunting and wheezing that resolves itself into meaning in my head. Well, you don’t believe me? Ask me anything? How old was Uncle Andrew when he lost his virginity? What did he really do to lose that sales job? Was he really just being friendly with his niece that time you caught them together in the bedroom? (Here’s a hint. No. You ought to kill that bastard all over again.)

“Anyway. That’s me. The Living Dead medium.”

A little bit about the author
Alex Granados is a producer for The State of Things on North Carolina Public Radio WUNC and the North Raleigh News Columnist for the regionally acclaimed News & Observer newspaper. Cemetery Plot is his first novel.

Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn't in time to switch majors.

Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, walking his dog Zoey and late night dance parties with his wife are some of his favorite hobbies. Alex still doesn't know what he wants to be then he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut. 

How can my readers buy your book? 
EBook at Amazon
Print book at  Amazon     
You can find more information about Alex Granados and Cemetery Plot at

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Marliss Melton

Please welcome my guest author Marliss Melton. Her most recent release book, THE GUARDIAN (Book 2, Taskforce Series) is a romantic suspense novel and was released on July 15th electronically. The paperback will be out by Christmas, 2012. In addition, Marliss just released LONG GONE, A novella based on characters from Navy SEAL book #6, TOO FAR GONE.
Make sure you leave a comment
for a chance TO WIN A BOOK!
I am the mother of a soldier, so your titles caught my attention. Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.  
THE GUARDIAN is the 2nd book in my Taskforce Series. This series revolves around a government taskforce that pulls agents from various agencies to combat suspected terrorism. In THE GUARDIAN, FBI Special Agent Jackson Maddox poses as a parolee in a reintegration program. His deep cover is put at risk when a sexy journalist takes his photograph. What happens when he confronts her?
LONG GONE is a novella based on characters from my 6th Navy SEAL book, TOO FAR GONE. The day Skyler Dulay went into witness protection, Special Agent Drake Donovan lost a piece of his heart forever. Four years later, a desperate phone call pulls Drake back into the fight for Skyler’s future, not to mention his own.
Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?  
My Taskforce series, like my Navy SEALs series, is a romantic suspense novel. Romantic suspense is the only genre I have written in as Marliss Melton. Before I published in romantic suspense, I wrote medieval historical as Marliss Moon. I plan to rewrite and republished these under a different penname.
Wow! I love medieval and will have to watch for yours. When did you start writing toward publication?  
When I was twenty-six years old, I realized I wanted to be a published author. Ten years later, I sold my first book.
Ten years? Most new writers think they can jump right in and get published. Look where you are now! How did you get into romance writing?
Romance is the only kind of writing that’s every really interested me. As an English Lit major, I read all the genres out there and wrote plenty of essays, but romance has always been my first and only love. A story without romance just isn’t a story worth reading!
Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
My fourth completed manuscript was the book I finally sold. It became a RITA finalist for best first book. I rewrote the book before it, a Golden Heart finalist, and that became my second published book, but any previous manuscripts were given to the gods as sacrificial offerings.
Ha! I also have manuscripts ‘under the bed’, as we authors say. Why have you become a published author?    
My second grade teacher wrote in my report card, “Marliss is a natural-born story teller.” I guess I have simply been true to myself. Of course, I was a reader first, but I started writing my own stories in the 8th grade and I never stopped!
This might be a sore subject: do you have any rejection stories to share?
Who doesn’t? One my most motivating rejection letters was a reply from an editor named Cynthia Oh, who wrote, “Your writing just isn’t good enough.” No, pun intended but I owe Cynthia Oh a huge debt of gratitude for her honesty. My writing wasn’t good enough, but one sure way to make it good enough was to tell me that it wasn’t. I’m ornery like that. So I kept practicing. And look at me now, working on my thirteenth published novel!
Wonderful! What is your writing routine like?
I write every weekday for four to six hours. I’d be much more productive if that time wasn’t interrupted by sales calls, doctor visits, my husband desiring to be fed (and, no, he is incapable of feeding himself), my animals wanting to be walked, my youngest getting sick at school, and most commonly my three college-aged students begging for their papers to be proofread. I’m ready for an empty nest, but I have a ways to go yet.
I feel for you. I live your dream. Someday yours will come. Please tell us: who first introduced you to the love of reading?
I have to give credit for that to my mother. All four siblings and I would curl up on mom’s bed and she’d read to us before we all took naps. (Oh, for a good book and a nap!) Once a week she schlepped all five of us to the library to check out books. We had no television growing up overseas, so reading was our chief source of entertainment.
Who influenced your decision to become a writer?
My grandparents believed so much in me that they paid for me to have a babysitter for an entire summer so I could finish my first book. I believe their faith influenced my decision to become a writer. Plus, my father hammered out three books on a typewriter during my teenage years. I think that made an impression on me.
What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
I do it all. I get help for the big stuff from More than Publicity, run by Shannon Aviles out of Orlando, FL. Shannon makes QR codes to put on my books, creates book videos, soft-sell campaigns. She even did a TV commercial for me once. I basically take the time to answer every email that I get, spend time getting to know my readers on Facebook, and I have a street team of fantastic fans called my Special Reconnaissance Team. Truth be told, I hate promoting myself. I’d rather be writing, plus hate waving my own flag. I need someone else for that.
Which is why I offered to host you today. I believe in ‘Paying-it-forward’. Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?    
The most rewarding thing is just getting to write for a living. I love it more than life itself—sad but true. The second most rewarding thing is getting email from fans, like the one I got recently from a gal in Russia. She wrote, “You are my sunshine.” Gosh, what could be more rewarding than that?
How nice! Please tell our readers what you see ahead in your writing career.
I see a movie of THE PROTECTOR. Seriously, it would make a terrific movie, a cross between SHOOTER and TAKEN. I’m having it written into a screenplay in the hopes of that happening. I see a lot more books about heroic warriors and courageous women being written. I intend to rewrite my two medieval historical, finish off a third, and sell a trilogy of those. I also see myself writing inspirational romantic suspense.
I hate to repeat myself, but WOW! Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped.
Yes, I am a member of Romance Writers of America and the Virginia Chapter, VRW. The most helpful group for me is a group of romance authors based in my hometown of Williamsburg, VA. We just started meeting monthly this past fall. I learn so much from my colleagues and peers, plus we understand each other’s struggles and successes. Writing is terribly lonely. Every author should network, not only to advance her career, but to make long-lasting friendships.
Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? 

Folks, if I can do it, anybody can. Truly. All it takes is two things, practice and persistence. Get good at telling stories and you’ll eventually find readers just aching to read them.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on Book #3 of my Taskforce Series and loving it:  When the Taskforce suspects a militia in West Virginia is behind the bombing of federal buildings, Special Agent Tobias Burke goes undercover with his bomb-sniffing dog to incriminate the militia’s leader.  Fiery-haired Dylan Connelly is unlike any woman Toby has ever encountered. Determined, intelligent, and achingly vulnerable, she sparks a white-hot desire in Toby to posses her, body and soul. As the evidence against the militia stacks higher, Toby must choose between loyalty to his country and the impulse to protect Dylan’s future.  
THE GUARDIAN:  FBI Special Agent Jackson Maddox poses as an ex-convict in a reintegration program believed to have ties to terrorism. The last thing he needs is scrutiny. So when he spies a hottie with a camera taking his picture, he resolves to chase her off. But Journalist Lena Alexandra has an agenda of her own—to send her sister’s killer back to jail. As the nights heat up and their investigations intensify, Jackson and Lena discover unexpected benefits to working together. But teaming up means more than looking out for each other—it requires perfect trust and sharing secrets. 
THE ENFORCER:  It’s been four years since FBI Special Agent Drake Donovan fell in love with the daughter of the mob boss he put behind bars. In spite of his efforts to move on with his life, one desperate phone call from the blue-eyed beauty pulls him right back into the fight for her future. Drake will assume any risk to keep Skyler from being lost to him again, but will it be enough to free her from the mob-ties that bind her?  
Excerpt from THE GUARDIAN
   Whirling at the door, Lena pushed it open with her hip as she tipped the liquid she craved to her lips. The last thing she expected was for the door to give way suddenly causing her to stumble into an unyielding, sun-warmed body.
   Gatorade showered her blouse. “Hey!” she cried, her protest trailing off with a gasp as she found herself face-to-face with the subject of her voyeuristic impulse.     
   Oh, my God. He was even more striking up-close. Staring aghast into his gray-green gaze, she found she couldn’t breathe. “Sorry,” she muttered, trying to squeeze past him. But he stepped into her path again, and her wet bosom bounced off his rock-hard chest like rubber balls bouncing off of concrete. A whiff of sweat, soap, and man made her head spin.
   “Excuse me!” She managed to sound indignant when, in fact, she was hoping the sidewalk would just swallow her.    
   “Personal or public?” he inquired, coiling a large, surprisingly gentle hand around her elbow and drawing her farther outside. The door bumped shut behind them.
   “I’m sorry?” She could hardly hear him for the blood rushing past her eardrums. An ex-con was holding onto her!
    “Your reason for taking pictures.” His deep voice held a cadence that brought to mind steel drums and fruity rum beverages, suggesting some Caribbean heritage.
    “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She tried diving past him a third time, but his grip, however gentle, proved unbreakable.    
    “You don’t have my consent to publish those photos,” he stated. Both his warning and his educated-sounding speech astonished her. As Lena gaped at him, his gaze dipped appraisingly toward her soaked blouse. Her nipples responded to his gaze as if he’d stroked them, springing to attention like diligent soldiers.    
    “What photos?” Ignoring her body’s response, she sent him a blank look. “I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.” 

How can my readers buy your book?   
A little bit about the author
Marliss Melton enjoyed an exotic childhood growing up overseas where entertainment meant riding on elephants in Laos, Sunday visits to museums in Paris, and tracking tigers in northern Thailand. Marliss excelled in linguistics, music, and story-telling. She has taught English and Spanish in high school and Linguistics at the College of William and Mary, her alma mater. A Golden Heart and RITA finalist, she has published twelve books, two short stories and one novella as of 2012. Wife of a retired Navy veteran, Marliss finds writing military romantic suspense to be a perfect fit.
Read more about Marliss and her books at:

Want to win a free digital copy of either
Two winners will be chosen on
Friday Dec. 14th.
*Please leave your contact info and prefered Kindle, Nook or Kobo format.