Saturday, November 30, 2013

Soaring… in Shadowed Lights

from Pinterest

Shadowed Lights is the official title of the next Ella M. Kaye novel. As of November 29th, the full first draft is complete with 67,840 words (145 paperback pages).

Of course it needs rewriting, filling out, shifting a few scenes around and such, but the story is there, the characters are real and fully fleshed, and the setting is so active in my mind (and the story) that I’m nearly surprised when I look out the window and find where I truly am.

My debut novel, Pier Lights, was called “a visual kind of story” and this one is no different. Set in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey a few months after being by Superstorm Sandy, imagery is a big part of the story. The beauty of the Jersey Coast has been shadowed by destruction, mirroring Delaney’s destructive shadow over her own life. Delaney Griffin is a Jersey Seabird with heavy wings who longs to soar.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to step in and see the bare glowing light emanating from within the rubble and pull it out.

Eli was the man for the job. A hard-working construction expert from Indiana with plenty of experience in rebuilding, Elijah Forrester steps up to the task. He only means to help with the Jersey rebuilding and see a few undamaged sights, but the sand shifts under his feet swift and strong and puts him on a path he couldn’t have expected.

Maybe I shouldn’t share excerpts from the first draft, but I’ve never been one to be held down by someone else’s shoulds and shouldn’ts. The following excerpt is the beginning as it stands right now; it’s what came out when I sat down to write this story. Remember, it is a first draft and may change in editing, so do me a small favor and send your friends here to read if you’d like, but do not quote.

More to come as I work out the rewrites. I don’t at all mind sharing my process with readers. Have questions? Ask away! As long as it won’t give spoilers, I’m glad to answer.
-- -- ---

Eli felt his shoes sink into the damp sand as he stared out at the abandoned flooded house swept into Barnegat Bay several months ago. He should have gone out with the crew, his crew. Instead, he studied the structure from the shore. A beautiful home, former home, with an enclosed porch. One he could imagine living in, if it was farther from the water. At least far enough it would never get swept up and taken into gaping, consuming, drowning level water.

He knew, and had been told often, that you could also drown in only a tablespoon of water, but thought was so ridiculous, he brushed it off easily. As long as his feet touched something firm and his head was in the air where he could breathe, he was fine with water. He could wander the shoreline up to his waist, even up to his shoulders. But he didn’t swim. His parents had tried. Panic always ensued when his feet lifted off the bottom of the pool or lake or pond. It was impossible to swim that way.

Dread had knotted his stomach when his Indiana crew decided to go to the east coast to help with cleanup. Work was slow in his area. The idea of helping with cleanup sounded right. But ... the ocean.

Eli had never in his life been to the ocean and he hadn’t wanted to come, although he wanted to help. He wanted to work. He always wanted to work. Even when he was no more than ten years old, his greatest pleasure had been going to work with his father, helping to stir mortar and learning to apply it neatly and carefully. The praise he got for a job well done, the only time his father said much of anything, stirred his blood. Construction was in his blood. It was his life.

This... A shudder consumed him as he stared out at the vast blue green brown of Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. This was a whole hell of a lot of water. Unpredictable water. Life taking water.

An irony, he knew, even as he thought it. Water was the ultimate survival need. But like anything, too much of a good thing was still ... deadly dangerous.
-- -- --

PierLights2012-dark72medInterested in Shadowed Lights? How about checking out Pier Lights in the meantime? It is adult fiction recommended for 18+, available at most major ebook retailers for $2.99. Or get it directly from for only $1.99 with coupon code EL89S in any format you choose.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11-12-13 and counting…

©LKHunsaker.comIt’s not the size that matters; it’s the way you pull it out, stretch it and push it back, the way you bring it to life with gentle caresses and strong strokes and plenty of discipline. It’s all in the handling of the thing until it’s fulfilled to your best ability.

The novel, I mean, the one you write because it’s Nanowrimo month, that glorious, intoxicating, addicting, frustrating quest to bring a new life into fruition.

As any new life, your new novel will need plenty of coddling, coercing, molding, and patience to take it from the fast outpour of full-on creativity to its adulthood, that being you made out of passion from thin air, so it seems, and got ready to share with others, to send it out to the world to see where it might go, what it might achieve.

But for this month, what comes next doesn’t matter. What morning brings is besides the point.

The process of doing it, of purging your insides onto paper, is not about anyone else. It’s about yourself. It’s for your enjoyment, for your pleasure, even for your frustration and hair-pulling and fist-pounding.

It’s because you can. And you d**mned well will, too.

It’s because the pulsating, throbbing, unending need is inside begging to be let out and full satisfaction only comes with going all the way to that culmination … The End.

Sorry, Delaney and Eli have stolen my daily thoughts. 24,697 words into the push and things are heating up fast. It looks like a full first draft of a book I plan to call Shadowed Lights will come to life this month. There’s far more coaxing, worrying, pleading, and plenty of hair-pulling, heart-pounding struggle left to come, both for author and characters, but it will come. That glorious culmination.

I’m doing a few sneak previews of the first draft over at Facebook, but since I did a @NanoWordSprints 10 minute session on Twitter today and they asked for my favorite line of what I wrote, here it is:

She was over thirty and could d**n well do what she wanted with him.
(The stars are for social media only, not in the book.)

Take from that what you will.

Back to playing word passion… or Nanowrimo. Are you playing? Let me know how you’re doing.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

On to the next…

InspirationCoverThe lighthouse in this photo is implied. Actually, this is the deck of the lighthouse at Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, the setting of the next Ella M. Kaye novel.

I did title it last night, but I’m keeping the title to myself for now. The photo I used for this temporary cover was found on Pinterest, photographer unknown, and it’s on the board I set up while thinking about the story. A story board, if you will – images that will not only inspire me as I write, but will let the reader know the vague story line.

The story line is still vague to me, as well. I have my characters and the setting and basically where they will end up. The rest remains to be seen, uh, written.

That will happen this month during Nanowrimo (click link to go to my page). On Day 1, I wrote the first 2,220 words of the story. My aim is to again get a full first draft by the end of November. This is the second of the dancers in lighthouse settings book: spicy romance, but not erotica.

A short introduction to the characters (or what I know so far): 

Delaney: a New Jersey girl, protector of sea life, self-taught dancer who won’t let anyone see her dance
Eli: a small town Indiana boy, construction worker, in NJ helping with Sandy cleanup, except Eli does not like water

Yes, that’s the whole basic concept. The fun is in seeing where it will go from there!

Join me on Facebook to follow my progress!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Magic Moment Monday: Cover Reveal–Cate Masters


Betting It All by Cate Masters
Historical romance novella

Coming soon from
Decadent Publishing

Can the daughter of a well-known prostitute start a new life where no one knows her family history? Norah Hawkins is sure going to try. When a letter arrives deeding her property in San Francisco, she packs her bags.

Irishman Gerard MacKenzie likes his life free and easy, but is tired of the snobbish East Coast folk. San Francisco has enough vice and folly to suit his needs. Meeting Norah gives him the opportunity to bartend in her saloon. Maybe he can convince her to let him play the piano, too. She’s a shrewd businesswoman, and negotiating with her makes his blood boil. Damn if she doesn’t make his blood boil in other ways.

The morning of April 18, 1906, a terrible earthquake buries their dreams beneath the city’s ruins. Can Norah and Mac rebuild their lives? Will rebuilding their dreams bond them forever, or tear them apart?

About Cate

Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Cate loves to hear from readers! Email her at:

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Magic Moment Monday

dance-elegantThat moment when you’ve been training for weeks for something you’ve never done before and may never use again and still push as hard as you can physically and mentally and spiritually…

And it comes together well enough you make your professional teacher cry from unable to express otherwise happiness and gratitude because it was impossible to tell student from teacher and you made everyone else cry, too, with the pure love and emotion of what you’re doing.

That moment is a pinnacle.

I saw it tonight in Kellie Pickler’s contemporary freestyle with pro Derek Hough.

Contemporary is at the top of my dance love list and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done better, more emotionally, more spiritually, more… Wow.

Just wow.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Whispers with Stephanie Burkhart

StephanieBurkhart-TheSecretDoorWelcome to my first Wednesday Whispers – where I’ll be chatting briefly with writers about their lights in the dark.

Today I’m glad to host author
Stephanie Burkhart. You’ll find her bio at the end, along with where you can find her work.

Stephanie was happy to turn this interview over to the hero of her newest release, The Secret Door, book four of the Budapest Moon series. Let me introduce you to Lord Zoltan Kristos by asking him a few questions:

EMK: Lord Kristos, since your story is set in Budapest, I’d first like to ask if there is anything about the Hungarian city that makes your life more difficult?

Zoltan: Budapest is a city that never sleeps and I have a very important job in the government– I'm the Minister of the Interior. The Regent, Miklós Horthy, is the closest man I have to a 'friend,' but I always have to be on my guard around him and others. I'm a werewolf. It's a secret I must keep from the world or I would lose everything I've worked so hard to earn. I must constantly be on guard when I'm in the city and when the moon is full in Budapest, I keep to myself in my residence, Darkhölme.

EMK: Ah, and what do you like best about Budapest?

Zoltan: That it never sleeps. There's always something to do. Budapest is home to Hungary's budding movie industry and I like going to the movies to escape from my problems, if just for a little bit.

EMK: You have help from a friend, so I hear, but even friends can have their dark side. What is Sophia’s worst feature or characteristic?

Zoltan: (chuckles) Sophia? A worst feature? Never. I love everything about her. (smiles) She can be quite obstinate – and stubborn – though. I find the trait endearing. She makes me see outside my world. She takes me to places that are uncomfortable.

EMK: What is her best feature?

Zoltan: Her aura. The light that surrounds her sooths my soul – it tames my restlessness – it calms me. I've never known that feeling of peace until meeting her.

EMK: She sounds like a wonderful partner. So what does Sophia have to deal with on the other side of the coin? What is your own worst characteristic?

Zoltan: If I dwell on my problems, I can be very demanding. I'm used to getting my own way and when I don't get my way I can become very 'bossy,' as Sophia puts it.

EMK: What is your best?

Zoltan: It is not easy for me to trust – trusting Sophia is the hardest thing I've ever done. Allowing myself to trust her has allowed me to see the world in a better light.

EMK: Finally, when the tunnel feels too dark to crawl out of, what makes you keep going?

Zoltan: Knowing that others depend on me. When the Great War ended, I traveled from the front lines in Germany to Hungary on foot because I knew I had to get back home. My father needed me to help him, but on the way, I was attacked by wolves who turned me into a werewolf. I was scared, but I knew my father would accept me regardless, only when I got home to Miskolc, my father and sisters were on their death beds from influenza. Thank the Heavens for Konrad. He was my father's friend and discovered I was a werewolf. He accepted me for what I was and helped me to bury my family. My father owned a store, Kos, that employed a lot of people, but the Communists who took over Miskolc confiscated everything everyone in the city owned. I had to help them. They depended on my family for security and I was all they had left. I helped them regain our city back. My hard work in helping Miskolc recover from the war was noticed by the Regent who asked me to become the Minister of Reconstruction and then the Minister of the Interior. His confidence in me inspired me. I wasn't just helping my city now, I was helping my nation. Still, I needed help to deal with the full moon. It wasn't easy finding a witch to attend to my needs, but Inna came into my life just when I needed her. I kept her safe and she taught me how to deal with my lupine condition. Then there's Sophia – her light drives to me go outside of my comfort zone and meet the challenges I encounter now.

EMK: Thank you, Lord Zoltan Kristos, for spending some time with us.

If you’d like to find more of Zoltan and Sophia’s story, you can find The Secret Door by Stephanie Burkhart on the publisher’s site, with excerpt and reviews, or from most major ebook retailers.

StephanieBurkhartStephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. Born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire she now lives in Castaic, CA. She spent 11 years in the US Army as an MP (military police), and earned a BS in Political Science from California Baptist University. She loves chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She enjoys being a cub/boy scout mom and just signed up to be an assistant den leader for her son's Tiger den.


Friday, April 19, 2013

4 Day Contemporary Book Fair

I’m glad to be part of Romancing The Blog’s celebration of Contemporary Fiction. There are 22 of us in different contemp genres, so be sure to go look around!

I’ll choose a winner from the comments here to win a copy of Pier Lights as a thank you for coming to play. Either leave an email address or check back on Tuesday to see who won.

Here’s my debut novel, Pier Lights. It is first of a series of dancers in lighthouse locations.


Caroline was a relevé away from becoming prima ballerina when, partly due to her own actions, she was damaged enough to never be allowed en Pointe again. Returning to her hometown area, she finds a grittier dancing job and determines to land on top this time.

Dio hides away on his farm near Charleston, South Carolina, and ventures out only when he can be in disguise. He uses his swordsman skills to work out aggression and connect with others while he maintains distance.

When the two collide on the beach in the glow of the lights from the pier, their personal scars push them away, and pull them in, just as the ebb and flow of the Atlantic.


A sparkle in the water caught her eyes and she paused, then wandered closer, slowly. He was there. Out farther in the water and harder to see. But he was there. Caroline got as close as she could and spread her towel on the sand. Lowering, again slowly, so as not to catch his eye the way he’d caught hers, she crossed her left leg in front of her, the right leg out straight, and gazed out at his motion, his elegance, his skill. His dance.

He was a Man of La Mancha dancer except with more focus on the sword movements than on the dance techniques. Caroline frowned. Maybe that wasn’t true. The dance technique for him was the sword movement. The sword was an extension of him. His skill was every bit as trained as her own, his body every bit as controlled and precise. He would be a good dance partner.

And if his big sword, the shiny hard long extension of his body, was any clue as to the rest of him, he might be good at other things, also. She was tempted to swim over to his boat and find out.

Then again, he could be as much putty and bluster as nearly every other man she’d met. Better to admire him from a distance and make believe he would be worth sleeping beside, worth her energy and patience and skill.

Not that she was terribly skilled in that way. She had other skills she cared more about and skill in that department wasn’t terribly necessary, that she’d found. As long as she complimented her mate, she came off as skilled enough. They cared more about their own skill, real or not, than hers. She just had to be there.

Putty and bluster.

Maybe Mr. Big Sword wouldn’t be either. But some things were better left unknown.

She needed to leave. A yawn told her she’d reached her limit for the day’s energy. Rising slowly, still watching the man she could barely see, she froze when he stopped. He set the tip of his sword down, again between his slightly spread thighs, or just in front of them. And he stood still, faced her direction.

Read the beginning Here

Check the early reviews

Pier Lights
Ella M. Kaye
$1.99 Sensual/Spicy Contemporary Romance 
Buy Links

Monday, April 15, 2013

Magic Moment Monday: spring garden

Spring flowers

That moment,
not officially the first spring day,
but that day
when it’s warm enough
and the forecast
is promising enough…

and the sun shines heavenly.

Sore, aching muscles
and renewed.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Magic Moment Monday: Kellie’s dance for love

Dance is far more than a sport. It’s more than strength and stamina and balance and technique and work and more work and sacrifice and competition. Dance is expression. It’s art.

A dancer can have perfect technique, perfect choreography, perfect lines … and still not truly touch her audience. In order to touch, you have to be touched. In order to truly love what you’re doing, you have to truly love who are and why you’re doing it. In order to have others truly love what you’re doing, you have to love it first, and love it deeply.

Kellie Pickler’s dance on Monday night’s DWTS as her husband sang a song he wrote to her was a truly Magical dance. You can see her feel the song, the emotions, the movement, the dance.

Making the viewer, or the reader, truly see and feel the emotion… that’s true art.

And then we get the added emotion of that sweet kiss at the end, where she had to be called away from him because she was so lost in the moment.

That’s true romance.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Magic Moment Monday: dipping toes in the water

Lake Erie 2012Have you ever dipped your toes in a lake or an ocean? Remember that feeling of being a small part of big nature, of how vast the body of water, of how much lie underneath its surface we never see? Or maybe you only thought of how the cold nipped your skin or how the moss was slimy under your feet.

I think I may have been a fish in a previous life. Or a mermaid, perhaps? The water calls to me and I feel a much larger part of the world when actively engaged with it, whether on a boat on a lake, ambling along the ocean’s edge, or swimming in a crystal clear pool, even in the shower. That first dip of my toes in water, any water, even in muddy rain puddles as a child, is a magical experience.

Caroline, from Pier Lights, feels the same. The Atlantic is more than only a way to cool off from summer’s heat. It’s a connection.

~~ ~~ ~~
With a shake of the head to rid herself of the thoughts, Caroline crossed the street with a slow jog and sank into the sight of the water, the beautiful blue green gray expanse stretching to the sky, held back softly by the gray white brown sand. There were the irksome couples hand-in-hand again but she looked past them. It was quieter without the dance on the pier, a special occasion locals and tourists looked forward to and Caroline both enjoyed and detested. The music she loved. The people she didn’t.

Caroline dropped her sarong and her towel near one of the wooden sentries and heal-toed into the water. She walked in up to her knees, waited to let her body get used to the cold, then up to her thighs, then bent and lunged in with an easy breast stroke. She swam under the pier, in between the large poles, her favorite place on the beach, even as a child. Her mother warned her to go out into the sun; there were more likely starfish to bother in the coolness of the shade from the pier. It only made her more determined to stay in the shade and keep an eye out for starfish to add to her collection. Her mother hated when she took the things out of the water or off the beach.

Not today. She didn’t look for starfish today. She wanted the stretch of her muscles, the exertion of her body, the physical activity that was second only to dance on her love list.
~~ ~~ ~~

The photo above is from Lake Erie, off Presque Isle.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pier Lights Excerpt: The Beginning



Caroline curled the toes of her right foot in the sand and dug them in as far as she could. Her polish would scratch, she supposed. As late as it was already, she didn’t want to go home and repaint her toenails. Still, she dug. The lights of the pier sparkled in the dark to her right: a long string of lights beckoning her to join the festivities under the pavilion. Soft streams of jazz floated over along skimming waves and pulled at her soul.

Gripping the cold, damp sand firmly with her right toes, Caroline raised it up from its hole, extended her foot and leg behind her, let her body drift forward in balance. Balance was difficult in the sand. Still she managed a decent arabesque with her arms extended, one over her head, the other reaching up to the sky.

She should dance on the pier, she supposed. Normal dance. Not trained danced. Bringing her right leg and foot back to the ground, Caroline felt a long aching wail ready to stream forward from her tired soul. The soul that longed to dance. Trained dance. Not normal dance.

With a cleansing breath of ocean air, she decided it wouldn’t hurt to at least get close enough to the pier to hear voices. There was no reason to make the decision until morning. He’d given her that long.

Sand shifted under her feet and she moved closer to the water until waves brushed up over her toes, over her ankles, and deeper still until it splashed up onto her calves. Normally, she would never walk where she couldn’t see what her feet might find. Her feet were her lifeblood. Or they had been.

Now, she could walk where she pleased. Caroline did her best to convince herself the freedom would be worth it, it was the good side, where others had told her to focus. The good side. All in all, she would rather go back to watching every step. The good side had never been much of a friend, that she’d been able to tell.

A sting on her arch made her jump and she pulled her foot up to survey the damage. It was too dark to see whether there was blood or a protrusion. Rubbing her hand gently over the spot, she didn’t feel anything other than moisture, and the pain felt only surface deep. A prick from a sea shell, Caroline guessed. Karma was, after all, a true bitch.

Swishing her foot, her right foot, around in the water to soothe the pain, Caroline continued toward the lights, the music, the voices. She wouldn’t go up on the pier. That was far closer to people than she had any need to be. Instead, she stayed in the water and made her way to the large wooden posts holding the pier like three rows of silent sentries from high on the beach to far into the waves. Not terribly far, considering the size of the Atlantic and that the pier, huge compared to humans, was only a little speck of minor interruption of the ocean’s flow.

Hand-in-hand couples nearly made her turn back. She rolled her eyes. Wait until reality slaps in, little ones, she thought as she moved away from them, farther up the beach. She made her way to the path underneath the long pier where locals and tourists talked and laughed and stomped against the wood planks above her head. Time to go home. She had an interview in the morning. Her looks mattered; bags under her eyes wouldn’t do any more than would scratched toe nails.

Home. Caroline laughed at herself. The bed and breakfast barely off the beach wasn’t home. The three days she’d hidden inside didn’t make it hers. Especially since she sounded like a visitor to South Carolina, which used to be home. Her voice training had been worth the cost. Her accent was all but gone. If anyone guessed, they guessed she was Canadian. She refuted it but never said where she was from. Caroline from South Carolina was far too worn out to have to listen to it one more time.

She moved back down the beach, out from under the pier, still along the water as it splashed her ankles. Just before she turned off to head back to her room for the night, a flicker of light over the water caught her eye. It was a moving flicker, similar to the lighthouse off and on glow as it turned its continuous circles around Sullivan’s Island, but far smaller. And far closer. She headed that direction. Caroline had always been too curious. Her mother had told her she was many times. It killed the cat, so the story went. Caroline figured she was safe enough since she wasn’t a cat. She’d gone well past her nine lives of curiosity and it hadn’t killed her yet.

As she got close enough to find the source of the flicker, out on the water but not too far out, she decided it might not be all that safe. A man. With a sword. On a small boat. Alone.

And mostly naked.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Magic Moments Monday

She listened to silence. Except the birds. The waves. A few voices in the distance. She would not turn to him. He had to come to her. He had to come to her.

The electricity sparked in her body. Her skin tingled. Her heart rate accelerated as she felt his legs close to her back, as she felt him crouch behind her. His fingers sent a shock through her soul as they reached up to smooth her hair from the side of her face.

Pier Lights
Ella M. Kaye