Contest winner!

Contest winner!

The winner of the fabulous Beauty Bath Basket and a copy of my book, DEMON SOUL, is SHANNON ECKRICH! Congrats, Shannon!

If you entered the individual blog contests, check around – you too may have won! The big prize of a Kindle or a Nook will be announced on June 4th at the Crescent Moon Press Blog.

Hope everyone is having a safe, relaxed and happy Memorial Day holiday. To those serving both here and overseas, a heartfelt “thank you” from this wife and mom!

My go-to Pinot Noir, under $10

My go-to Pinot Noir, under $10

Welcome back to Wine Friday! It’s Memorial Day weekend and you’ll probably have something on the grill at some point, unless it’s still snowing/raining where you live. I’m currently loving the So Cal sunshine! So let’s get to it.

Talking about wine…It cracks me up to read Food & Wine Magazine, and see what they recommend to drink. The May 2011 issue touts “discovering fantastic pinot noir” on the cover. As it turns out, that article is about some great winemaker in Italy making Patagonian Pinot Noir. Not, I think, something I’ll find at Vons for under $10.

Looking further in the magazine, I think maybe I’m going to get lucky – there’s an article on page 70 about “Finding Tasty Wine on a Public-TV Budget”, so I head over there to check it out.

The article is well written but I skim it, looking for the prices…aHA! Found them! To my surprise, all the wines are at the $15 or lower price range. Hmmm. There’s a 2009 Bibi Graetz Bianco Di Casamatta for $11 – apparently it’s a vibrant, citrusy Vermentino.

Um. What? Any wine that makes me think of rats and cockroaches isn’t on my radar (Vermentino – vermin – get it? lol…).

The next one is a 2008 Argiolas Perdera at $12, from the Monica grape (who knew?), and this is a juicy red that’s now grown in Sardinia. Ooookay.

Well now here’s one that I understand. More or less. It’s a 2008 Michele Chiarlo Le Orme Barbera D’Asti for $12. This is an aromatic, berry-rich wine, which according to the author has a fantastic price tag.

Okay now I’m just tired, lol! I’m a busy woman. I pick up my wines at the grocery store, and I search out those well under $10 a bottle. Am I the only one? Don’t think so. All the above wines can be found in several NY City wine shops which is great if you live in NY City. We don’t have a wine shop where I live. Oh, WAIT – we DO! BevMo! Okay, consider this whine cut short.

Still…when I get dinner, and need to pick up wine to go with, I really don’t want to hop on the freeway at rush hour and question the BevMo staff about wines made from the Monica grape that are in my price range.  I buy 95% of my wine at my local grocery store, so getting a well-made wine for as little as possible is always my goal.

(Before I go further, I do adore Trader Joe’s and still shop there for wine, but I outgrew Two Buck Chuck about ten years ago. I still try $2 bottles of wine, though. You never know when you’ll hit on a winner.)

I have a definite go-to wine that I buy when I don’t want to think and don’t want to spend over $6. My go-to wine is the Smoking Loon Pinot Noir. It’s usually $5.99 at Vons, sometimes it goes up to $6.99 – but even when it’s NOT on “special”, it’s a $9.99 bottle of wine – at least, it is in California.

As a matter of fact, when I go wine tasting up in Paso Robles, if a wine isn’t considerably better in my mouth than a Smoking Loon Pinot, I won’t buy it. I really don’t want to spend the money, especially now.

Why Smoking Loon Pinot Noir? It’s consistent over vintages. It’s an easy sipping wine that goes with a lot of different foods. It’s got depth, flavor, and a nice lingering taste (plus, goes great with either a campfire or at the beach). It’s perfect with an elegant chicken dish, vegetarian offerings, or hamburgers and dogs off the grill. It’s unpretentious, a nice bottle of wine. Kind of like the unspoiled girl next door.

Okay – I understand that I’m not talking of the taste of the wine, the aromas, the flavors that I sense – I guess because my tastebuds will vary from yours. I will include those things when I write while I sip, and that’s not the case currently – but always remember, when it comes to wine? Your mileage may vary.

Oops, and I forgot! I rate the Smoking Loon Pinot Noir as ~Very Drinkable~ mainly because it has been consistent over the past five years. Plus – I just discovered that Smoking Loon is owned by the Sebastiani family, and has been in existence since 2000. So there are their bona fides!

Anyway – to further my wine education (which began many years ago with a trip to Napa Valley), I will continue to read Food & Wine Magazine (as they highlight expensive wine and fouffy food, for the most part, also NOT CHEAP to make, tho in their defense they never promised CHEAP dishes, now did they?) and stop by at BevMo for tastings. Plus have tastings with friends – that way, you get more opinions than just mine.

In the meantime, if you’ve got a wine you like that’s under $10 a bottle (and I’m not talking box or jug wines – I’ll get to those in a year or so), give me a holler!

Coming next week (probably): Three different Chardonnays, under $10

P.S. Oh, one thing I should mention – these wines are mostly grown in California, and I live in California – so my prices will be lower than yours if you’re in the Central states or on the other coast. I can tell you that every time I visit my friend Tammy in Snowmass, Colorado, I am shocked at the wine prices – one bottle of Smoking Loon there is around $15!

CMP Blog Hop Stop #3!!!

CMP Blog Hop Stop #3!!!

Hi y’all! This is Day One of Crescent Moon Press’ Memorial Day Blog Hop! You can find the entire itinerary at CMP of course. Here are the details: Following this section I’ll be putting up the blurb and a brief excerpt of DEMON SOUL. At the end, I’ll ask you a question. In order to qualify for the GRAND PRIZE, you need to EMAIL me with the answer (PLEASE do not put it into comments!) at Of course, I’d LOVE it if you would subscribe to my RSS feed, too!

Then hop along the rest of today’s trail, and Wednesday and Thursday. You have until the end of the day May 26th to submit all your answers to the quests for the grand prize of a KINDLE or a NOOK, plus a dozen Crescent Moon Press titles!

From all the correct answers on MY blog, I’ll be giving away a relaxing bath basket filled with a bath pillow, fabulous bath salts, a scented candle, and of course a copy of DEMON SOUL. So…here we go!


…to retrieve his soul, she’ll become fire…

Gabriel Caine stands on the edge of the abyss. A bitch vampire has taken his soul and if he doesn’t get it back soon, his next step will be into Hell.

Rose Walters has been sent back to complete one task; save Gabriel Caine. She’s drawn to Gabriel on the most basic level, but restoring his soul may be at the price of her life.

Rose has touched the whole of Gabriel, making him yearn for a love he believes he can never have. Her willingness to put her human life on the line for him forces him to bring all three parts of himself into harmony – demon, human, and Fae bloodlines, and the strengths of each – to the fight that decides their fate.


A sound came out of Rose then, a half-whimper. “It hurts. Gabriel, it hurts.”

“What hurts?” He turned to her, shocked to see three claw marks deep on her left shoulder, ripping her tee shirt and reaching to her elbow. Blood dripped from her arm down onto the grass. “Damn it. Let’s get inside, I’ll fix you up.”

“What? Oh, my shoulder.” She winced. “Yeah. But that’s not what hurts.” Rose put her right hand just above her hipbone. “There. It hurts there.”

Frowning, Gabriel knelt in front of her and gently lifted her hand away. He tugged at her damp black tee shirt, bared the pale skin of her flat belly. A spiral of runes rippled and moved there, a mesmerizing magical dance. Made of colored ink, and yet not ink…a tattoo, but no human hands had a part in its creation. Gabriel narrowed his eyes. If he looked closely, he could see flickers of flame and a familiar pair of eyes sliding through the runes, not quite daring to meet his gaze.

A shudder of recognition went through him as his fear came true.

The demon scent, the fire, the runes. Mephisto.

The last time all three had been in front of him, he’d killed Marianne, the girl he’d loved, while trying to kill the demon Mephisto. Ten long years ago.

Now here he was, full circle, back home with as much bad hanging around him as the last time. Mephisto was back, loaning Rose his powers. Satine was somewhere near, coming to kick his ass. And Rose, the sexy little redhead in front of him, not only carried Mephisto, but she also held part of his soul.

Gabriel had always suspected Los Angeles would be the death of him. He just hadn’t expected it to be quite so soon.

*  *  * Your QUEST will be at the end of this posting!

Today’s participants are as follows:



ME!!! and then


and Tracy Farrell at

Stop off at Crescent Moon Press for the rest of the information!

Your Quest: What is on Rose’s belly? Please EMAIL me your answer at !

Now head on over to TRACI BELL at for the next stop!

Crescent Moon Press Memorial Day Week Bash!

Crescent Moon Press Memorial Day Week Bash!


Crescent Moon Press Memorial Day Weekend Bash~! Three Day Blog Tour

May 24th, 25th & 26th

Prizes at every stop!!! Grand Prize ~ Nook or Kindle, Your Choice!!!

Every stop along the way will have a posted quest. Sign up for the newsletter or blog (on mine, it’s going with the RSS feed!) then email your quest answer to the author to enter for great prizes.
Complete all blog tour stops, all three days, to enter into the grand prize drawing… A Nook or Kindle, Your Choice plus BONUS a dozen digital CMP books!!!

My participation begins tomorrow TUESDAY May 24th, so come on back!

Full itinerary will be posted on the CMP blog.  All stops must be completed to qualify for the Grand Prize. You can join the games late, no problem! All quests must be completed by May 26th end of day.

All Winners Posted on CMP blog by June 4th. Good luck!


Wine Friday, Post One

Today I’m talking about the Naked Grape wines. Specifically, their Pinot Noir. Again, it’s on special at my local Vons grocery for $5.99 but usually retails for close to $10.  They have a gamut of wines, which I’m sure I’ll get to, as long as the price stays below my $10 mark.

By the way – every now and then I will pull out a good to great bottle of wine, either one given to us, drunk with friends, or in our stash from dashing up to wine country. And occasionally I may highlight a $15 bottle of wine – but in this economy and with the current income level of all my friends, I’ll be keeping it mostly under $10.

So, to get back to the Naked Grape. I’m not sure why they came up with this name, unless this is the company that bought the name of Naked Chardonnay from the then Four Vines Winery (now it’s Cypher and they’re located on highway 46 in central California, Paso Robles – not that they’re one of my FAVORITE wineries or anything – ahem). If so, then all right, I understand. At any rate, their label says they are “Vinted and bottled by Grape Valley Wine Company in Modesto, California”. So it sounds like they don’t have their own vineyards but buy grapes and make wine.

Hey, they’re not alone.

Their Pinot Noir, according to the label, is “medium bodied and rich with aromas of black cherry and blueberry”.

Excuse me while I inhale.

Um, I’m getting nothing but cold waftings. Pardon me while I go test the wine that I opened 30 minutes ago rather than the dregs left over from last night’s dinner.

Ahh, that’s better…now as soon as someone can tell me how to get my wine glasses clean WITHOUT the scent of dishwasher soap in it, I’ll be grateful.

Back to the scent of the wine…okay, I admit, I smell fruit. And yes, I know what a blueberry and what a black cherry smells like. This just smells like – fruit. Not even especially grape.

My take on the wine? It’s drinkable. (taking a quick taste…) Yep, drinkable. Not, maybe, as good an all around sipping wine as the Smoking Loon, but definitely drinkable and fine with food (we had it with dinner last night, and since there’s a new bottle open and dinner is in the oven…my guess is we’ll have it with dinner tonight).

So if you’re looking for a wine that doesn’t break the bank, try the Naked Grape Pinot Noir. If you like it enough, it might even make a good bottle to take when you’ve been invited over to a friend’s house for dinner.

At any rate, it couldn’t hurt!

My Rating:  The Naked Grape Pinot Noir (not dated) is >Drinkable<

My Rating System:


Barely Drinkable  (best if it’s the second or third bottle of the night)


Very Drinkable

This is MY wine, you slut! Stay away!