Monday, February 28, 2011
My guest today is Alexis Craig, author of Imminent Danger. Alexis, tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing.
I could say that I write erotica, but that’s kind of a cop out. My goal was to write the kind of stories that I enjoy reading. My preferred genre is ‘sex and a stack of bodies’ or erotic suspense, so that’s the platform from which I started writing. I’m a longtime romance reader, and I work in a place where I have the downtime occasionally to read at my leisure (police dispatch). I’m a somewhat hyper woman who likes my cinema and reading material fluffy, violent, and sensual, because my real life is so very serious. I prefer to write after the sun goes down because it seems my muses, like me, prefer the cover of night to ply their trade.
I think you've already partially answered this question, but what did you hope to accomplish with your books?
I like a strong female character and a male who is secure enough in his own right that he’s not threatened by that (think Joe from ‘Say No To Joe’ by Lori Foster or Owen from ‘Midnight in Ruby Bayou’ by Elizabeth Lowell). Those are the spaces I want my characters to inhabit. I want to write female characters that working women can identify with and men wouldn’t mind dating. I write with a man’s perspective in mind, actually, and test out some of my scenes on men to see if they ring true to their mindsets, because I would eventually like to cross the gender barrier in terms of overall readership.
Good luck. Who can understand men? What is the greatest test you ever faced as a writer?
Editing was hard, because you really have to separate yourself from your work to look at it objectively. Your editor is not your enemy, and they get paid good money to make sure that you put out a good product that reflects well on all involved, so you have to arrive at a sense that ‘they’re helping you and you are not married to every word, do as you’re told.’ That’s not to say that if there are certain points that you want to convey that you should take them out if the editor says so, but picking your battles is crucial, and the editorial process needn’t be a protracted battle from word to word.
Wise advice. What’s the best advice you ever got about the publishing industry?
Be polite: the publishing industry professionals move around quite a bit, and they also talk amongst themselves. You don’t want to be labeled as ‘difficult to work with’ or a ‘primadonna’ because that will, in turn, make your life as a new author harder than it needs to be. (I got that from the RWA)
If you could meet two authors, which ones would you pick and why?
Gabriel Garcia-Marquez-because his works are so fanciful and fully of color and life. I think he would be wonderful to discuss how he arrives at his ideas and learn what it is that makes him so expressive and vivid in his prose.
Henry Miller/Elmore Leonard (tie)-because their prose and dialogue are so vivid and I think that either would be a damn good time to hang out with. Drink some, shoot some pool, and shoot the breeze about anything and everything that comes up. The ultimate in learning/relaxation experience.
Relaxing. That sounds good. I'm up to my neck in edits for two different books, and it's driving me freaking crazy! Could you share your links with us?
alexisdcraig.net, Alexis D Craig, Author on Facebook, and @Dispatchvampire on twitter.
7.We’d love to read an excerpt. Be sure to give us a buy link.
Jacen got out his wallet as Vince got up from his seat. He took a moment to listen to his radio to make sure he hadn’t missed anything. “What’s up?”
Vince nodded towards the gaggle of dispatchers at the back of the room. “I’m gonna go over and talk to Grace. It’s her birthday.”
Jacen shrugged and watched his friend wade into collection of gregarious and mostly intoxicated communications workers. He hadn’t paid too much attention to them, he didn’t see the one he was interested in and that was all he needed to know. He turned back around accordingly to wait for their food.
He heard his name behind him and turned around to see Vince walking up with a dark-eyed, curvy brunette that Vince would ticket in a hot minute. “Aww, I didn’t get you anything.” Jacen grinned with open appreciation.
Vince narrowed his eyes and then smiled. “Grace, this is my buddy Jacen. Jacen, this is Grace, she works East Middle.”
Like someone else they both had in common. Though he’d never say so out loud, he was willing to stake good money that Vince, good solid family man, had a thing for Grace. “Nice to meet you.”
“You too. Why don’t you and Vince come over and join us? We have the room.”
Jacen and Vince exchanged looks, Jacen’s inquiring, and Vince’s stating unequivocally that they were going to sit across the room and Jacen was going to have to deal. “Sure, no problem. Soon as Gayle finishes up.” He turned back around to find two large tenderloin sandwiches and a ton of fries. “I guess that takes care of that.”
Grace started back for the table and he and Vince hung back, him a little hesitant, and Vince just enjoying the view of her retreating form. “Is this a good idea?” he whispered out of the side of his mouth.
Vince nodded emphatically. “Oh yeah. Definitely. Plus there’s something you gotta see over by the pool table.”
Ooookay? They made their way over to the table and Jacen waited until Grace was seated before sitting down himself and tearing into his food. The music was loud as hell by their table and he listened as Grace’s drunken friends sang loudly and off key to The Black Crows. One voice in particular caught his attention. He looked over at the pool table to see Dani switch from leaning over the pool table to doing a karaoke version of ‘Jealous Again’ into the pool cue that had him completely abandoning his food in favor of watching her.
She moved like a jellyfish, writhing to the music and prancing around in a way that had him glad he was sitting down. Her nod to the dress code at her work was a pair of black cargo pants that showed off her belly button and a form fitting white t-shirt that made her breasts a marble work of art. She finished her song and came back over to the table, grinning like a pirate and cheeks rosy from the singing and dancing.
Dani hugged Vince first and then came over to him. He got to his feet slowly, hoping that she wouldn’t notice how hard he’d gotten just watching her move, but she seemed oblivious, sliding against him, and beaming up at him as she threw her arms around his neck. “Hey, Jacen.
This was new, this unfettered affection. Jacen returned the hug cautiously, and eyed her with suspicion as she stepped away. “Looked good out there, sweets.”
She took the seat next to him and flounced down. “Thanks. Just being silly.”
She and Grace shared a look, and Grace leaned over and stage whispered to Jacen, “She’s had chocolate.”
Dani giggled maniacally, “Correction, luvvie, I’ve had a lot of chocolate. And frosting.” To illustrate her point, she swiped her finger through a dollop of fluffy white frosting on the cake tray and brought it to her lips and sucked it off, licking her finger clean.
Jacen watched her raptly, his ears starting to ring. His vest was feeling way too tight. “I think someone needs to cut you off,” he rasped, his voice suddenly very rusty.
Grace laughed, “You’re welcome to try, but I don’t think she’s gonna go for it.”
Jacen looked at Dani for verification, but she was already up and moving again to put more money in the jukebox. He hadn’t noticed before but she was missing something. “Where’s your cane?”
A hot salsa beat filled the air and she danced back over to his chair. “At home in a closet. Exactly where it should be,” she replied as she pulled him to his feet.
“Where’re we going?”
She looked around them, her hips and feet already moving to the rhythm. “Right here seems good.”
Vince about fell out of his chair laughing. “You want him. To dance. Have you lost your mind?”
“It’s the sugar talking, obviously,” Jacen laughed nervously, but Dani took no heed, sidling up next to him. He was mesmerized by the way she was moving against him. Hips that moved like that could found a new religion. He was a convert. His hands found their way to her hips and when she turned around and ground her ass up against him, he was a goner.
The smell was what got to him, her perfume, sweat, and the slight undertone of sugar. Dani had her hand on his neck, lightly dragging her nails across the sensitive skin at the nape, and giving him a view down the front of her shirt so scandalizing, that he could tell that her bra was red with black lace edging. He was saved from drooling down the delectable arch of her neck when the song ended and she stepped away to take a drink from a glass on the table.
“I’m hot, y’all. I’m gonna step out for a minute and get some air.” She looked in the direction of Grace and Vince, who had their heads together in some sort of deep and meaningful conversation and headed for the door.
Jacen slumped into the closest chair, and simply stared after her, stunned at her ever-shifting moods and the riot she caused with his libido.
Vince leaned away from Grace with his arm draped casually across the back of her chair as he looked at him appraisingly. “Well, I will give you this: it looked vaguely like you were dancing, but more that she was pole dancing and you were the pole.”
Jacen waved his comment off and blew out a deep breath. He had no idea what to make of Dani at all and trying to figure it out was leaving him too exhausted to cope with the next onslaught. Normally, if a woman was this much work, he was out the door, no explanation needed. Right now, he knew that he couldn’t leave if he wanted to; he had to know where the story ended. “I don’t like her out there in the parking lot by herself.”
Vince frowned. “You know as well as I do that she’s a big girl and can more than take care of herself.”
“Besides, there are at least five police cars out there right now,” Grace added, looking around the room to tally up the total.
Jacen conceded the point and rubbed the back of his neck. “I know that, but still, we all know this neighborhood and what can be and often is lurking out in the parking lot. Even with the police cars out there. I’m gonna go check on her.”
Vince shrugged and Jacen was halfway to the door. “Suit yourself.”
“I think I will.”
The wall of smoke free air that accosted him as soon as he opened the door was a little startling, but what got his pulse racing was the fact that Dani was nowhere to be seen. He was halfway out in the parking lot when he heard a voice behind him.
“I’m over here.”
Jacen turned around, faced the dark façade of the building, and still didn’t see anything. “Where’s ‘here’?”
Dani stepped out from a niche between the FOP and the Vo-Tech school next door underneath the fire escape from the second floor. Even in the pale light of the lamp above the door, she was a barely visible silhouette. “Over here.”
She disappeared again as he walked over and he reached out a hand to make sure he didn’t run into her. His hand met her arm and he pulled her up against him. In the darkened alcove, it was like they were completely isolated from the world and not outside in public. His mouth crushed down on hers as he backed her into the wall. Her free hand slid up his chest, to his neck and then on to play in the velvety soft peach fuzz on the back of his head.
Thaks for coming today, Alexis. Good luck with your book.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
My guest today is Cassandre Dayne. Cassandre, welcome to my blog. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work?
I am a publisher author writing under Cassandre Dayne in the erotic romance genre. I have two short stories (14,888 and 20,678 words) out from Rebel Ink Press and have six more novellas/novels under contract for 2011 releases. I also write under Bethany – a vampire series called In the Shadow of Darkness – with four long books complete. I also write under Dakotah Black – a campy murder/mystery series set in community associations called Pinked. I live in Central Virginia with my husband and two gorgeous pups – Goldie Hawn and Macgyver and we own two companies – general contracting and association management. When not writing, I enjoy reading and cooking.
You write in many different genres. Is one easier than the other to manage?
No, I don’t honestly think one is easier to manage although because my vampire series is based around an American Indian vampire hero and brings in elements of the devil and the knights of the roundtable, I have had to do significant research. The erotic seems to flow easily. With the ones involving community associations – oh I have truly real stories that are funny and utterly ridiculous so it gives me plenty of fodder to write about!
What do you think makes a book a page turner? A story line that has not been done before, a conflict that is something we all have experienced and can relate to and characters that give you pause – what’s hiding behind those baby blues?
How many WIP do you have going?
Oh my – I have about 15 novels, 8 novellas and at least 10 stories that have been completed and need editing. I seem to have so many stories that bubble to the surface that I must write them. I keep a notebook at all times and it’s filled with ideas. I will type the ideas into a long synopsis and try to work on a new story/novel as well as editing at least two at the same time. The schedule keeps me energized.
What other authors if any have influenced your writing?
I love so many genres and read everything from Carl Haissen to Dean Koontz and all things sensual and erotic as well to learn my craft. An enchanting story teller gives me the tingles, sending my imagination soaring and then I have to read everything he or she writes.
6.Would you share your links with us?
www.bethanyhalle.com and www.cassandredayne.com. You can also find me at www.manicreaders.com/cassandredayne Dakotah Black’s site in the beginning stages. Anyone can also email me at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
7.We’d love to read an excerpt. Don’t forget to give us a buy link.
You can check my links for excerpts. Here are a couple of them. You can also buy them at www.coffeetimeromance www.bookstrand.com and Barnes & Noble.
Thank you so much for the interview! I really enjoyed it.
So did I. Come back and see us soon.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Today's guest is author Stephanie Burkhart. Stephanie, welcome to the blog.
Thank you, Elaine, for having me on your blog today.
Just a little about me: I was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, I joined the US Army. I spent 11 years in the military, 7 in Germany. While in the military, I earned a BS in Political Science from California Baptist University in Riverside, CA in 1995. I left the Army in 1997 and settled in California, but my favorite football team is still the New England Patriots. I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. I've been married for 19 years. I have two boys, Andrew, 8, and Joseph, 4.
ELAINE: I bet you have some stories to tell! Could you tell us a little about your writing?
STEPH: I've been writing for about 10 years now. My first novel was "Destination: Berlin," a sweet military adventure romance. It's with iUniverse and the reviews for it are quiet good. I've dabbled in some horror short stories which I publish under my pen name. In romance, I've also written contemporaries and a time travel. With Desert Breeze Publishing, I've explored the paranormal subgenre. I've also got a sci-fi short story romance in the Borealis Anthology, Book 2. I enjoy working with small press because of the wonderful editorial support and most authors are supportive in sharing marketing and advertising tips.
ELAINE: Can you tell us five things about you that nobody would ever guess?
STEPH: I've been married over 19 years and I was married in Nykobig, Denmark. My marriage certificate is in five different languages. I took 3 years of high school French and I adore the language. It's very beautiful on the ear. I love to play racquetball. I stuck my hand in a beehive when I was five. It was so traumatic, I don't remember it happening.
ELAINE: Ouch on that beehive thing. What do you think makes a book a page turner?
STEPH: Engage me! One author I really enjoy is Melanie Atkins. She puts me right in the scene with the main characters. She uses a good, strong, active voice in her writing.
ELAINE: Which genre of books appeals least to you? Why?
STEPH: That's a toughie because I find enjoyment in most genres. Let's see…what's not on my shelf? Hard core Science Fiction and Fantasy. I did however enjoy the Lord of the Rings movies, and I like the Star Trek books.
ELAINE: On the average, how long does it take you to write a book?
STEPH: I've got it down to about three months, give or take 2 weeks for prep work which includes research, crafting my characters, outlining, etc.
ELAINE: Would you share some of your links?
STEPH: Sure you can find me:
ELAINE: We'd love to read an excerpt from your latest release.
STEPH: Sure. This is from "The Count's Lair," a paranormal romance set in Budapest, Hungary during Christmas 1901.
Amelia went inside. The room was cast in obsidian shadows by a single candle burning on her dressing room table. The air was laced with the scent of mulberries. She grew warm. Her heart beat faster. Her defenses cracked.
"Anton?" she whispered.
He stepped out of the darkness behind her, placing his hands on her upper arms, pressing his chest against her back. His lips brushed against her ear, sending a shockwave through her. "You look wonderful tonight, Amelia."
She dared to close her eyes and enjoy his embrace. "Anton."
"Yes, it's me."
Warm feelings of longing stirred within her, only to be quickly doused by the sting of anger at his sudden departure. She stepped out of their embrace and spun to glare at him. "How dare you."
He backed away, confusion pooling in his unusual eyes. "I thought--"
"You thought what?"
"That you'd want to see me."
"It's been two months since I last saw you, and you didn't even try to seek me out. I had no idea if you were dead, alive, or just too busy with your life to think of me."
"I'm sorry." His expression softened. "I had hoped to avoid the cool look in your eyes just now."
Exasperated, she let out a quick breath. "You're infuriating."
"So I've been told."
She crossed her arms and struggled to keep her crumbling battlements up. He had a lot to explain. The candlelight cast dark, almost satyr-like shadows over his chiseled face. If his explanation made sense, she'd will her heart to believe him. "So, Anton, how do you explain your absence? I thought I'd found a friend."
He paused and drew in a deep breath. His eyes grew translucent. "I am sorry. I had a lot to think about. I thought you would understand. I wanted to give you time to mourn your husband properly."
"I also wanted to clear my head."
YOU TUBE BOOK TRAILER:
The Count's Lair is avail as ebook for Kindle, B&N Nook, Sony Ereader, and Kobo. You can also download a copy from the Publisher's Website at:
Good Time: Leave me a comment and I'll be back tomorrow to give away a print copy of my sweet military romance, "Destination: Berlin."
Thanks for coming, Steph. Your book sounds like a page turner to me.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Welcome to my blog! You've come just in time to help me celebrate Kim Bowman's new release from Astraea Press. Astraea is brand new, but they're signing some good authors!
This is the way we'll do the party. Kim graciously agreed to do an interview for us, and afterwards she'll share an excerpt from her book. Then comes the really funny part. Madame Zanna, the heroine of Kim's book will be available to read the cards for everyone. Just leave a yes or no question for Madame, and she'll be glad to answer. Everyone who leaves a comment or asks a question will be eligible for a prize. What's Kim giving away? Authors, she's offering a free one chapter critique. Yes, I said free. Kim worked as an editor for a long time, so this is a great prize. She's also giving away a pdf copy of her book Wayward Soul, and she's also offering a copy of Sylvia Browne's Contacting Your Spirit Guide.
These are nice prizes Kim. How does it feel to be a first time author?
I keep pinching my husband to see if I’m dreaming…He assures me I’m NOT dreaming (though I think he just wants me to stop pinching him!)
LOL. I'm sure he'll survive. Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in Indiana with my husband and 2 of our 4 kids (2 are at college). My kids are 23, 21, 19, and 2! Needless to say, the 2 year old was a BIG surprise. I work at home part time as a customer service representative, book editor, and writer (thanks to my wonderful husband who works too much so I can stay home)
Oh, my gosh! I'm surprised you can get any writing done with a two year old at home.
Did you always want to be an author?
In a word – YES! I have books of poems, songs, stories, etc. that I have written since I was in grade school, but I never pursued it until I had my son in 2008.
That's wonderful! How did you find Astraea Press?
I’m in a writing critique group with one of the co-owners, Stephanie Taylor (who is awesome by the way). She posted on our group that she was starting Astraea Press and I submitted my book.
What can the readers expect from your work?
Oh boy! Fun and sarcasm (my hero is VERY sarcastic). Aside from that, my story is original and unique. Yes, I have one of the usual paranormal characters—a werewolf, but I added a totally different paranormal element by having my heroine be a spirit guide. I don’t think that’s been done before. It’s a twist that I think will intrigue and interest readers and, hopefully, make them want more.
Tell us a little bit about your book.
My heroine, Zanna Seoul, is a spirit guide. A spirit guide is an invisible force who watches over a human, called a charge, while the person lives on Earth. Zanna accidentally causes the death of a fellow spirit guide’s charge while trying to save the life of the man she loves. Because of her actions, she is stripped of her position and banished to Earth to die. With Zanna no longer guiding him and his memory of her erased, Owen Nash is left wide open as the target of the vengeful spirit guide who feels he’s been wronged. A guide who also happens to be a werewolf. Once on Earth, Zanna refuses to stand by and watch Owen die, so she intervenes again, setting off a chain of events that could mean death for all of them if she doesn’t go back and undo the mess she’s made.
Would you give us your links so we can find you on the web?
Sure! They can visit me at www.kimbowmanauthor.blogspot.com
We’d love to read an excerpt.
Zanna awoke gasping for air. At first, she thought it was the impact of her spirit body returning to her physical body. The force of the two slamming back together after astral travel was uncomfortable. She expected the heavy pressure on her chest, the elevated heart rate, and the momentary paralysis reentry caused, but she’d never been breathless.
Fear took over when the weight increased, crushing her ribcage. Zanna’s hands flew to her throat where they encountered fingers wrapped around her neck, squeezing the life out of her.
She blinked many times before her burning pupils adjusted to the bright overhead lights. The swirling white beacons made her eyes water, blurring her vision. Tears streamed down her face and her empty lungs screamed.
Panicked, she placed her feet on the floor and bucked. She clawed at the hands around her neck desperate to loosen their grip. The vice-like hold only intensified, continuing to push down until she was sure her neck would break. Biting pain stung her smashed windpipe and deflated lungs.
“Cease,” a male voice ordered. The authoritative sound resonated all around the space.
Her attacker’s lethal hands fell away. Her compressed arteries opened, sending blood coursing through her veins so fast her head spun. She took a deep breath. The air stuck in her crushed throat made her gag and cough. She rolled into a ball, clutching her chest. Several agonizing moments passed before her aching lungs filled with oxygen.
As her physical pain subsided, the dam in her mind broke, flooding her senses with the sound of gunfire, the smell of burning gunpowder, and the sight of blood spraying. Her heart cried out in grief as the horrible memories assaulted her mind. The man she loved was dead.
Wow, Zanna has problems. Readers, Kim will post a new excerpt later this afternoon. Don't forget to leave a comment or ask a question to enter her contest.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
My guest today is Maggi Andersen. Maggie had a new release on February 14, so I asked her to stop by and talk to us about it. Maggi thanks, for coming.
Hi Elaine, thank you for inviting me. I am an Australian author. My husband, a retired lawyer and I live in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales in a historic town surrounded by green hills. The local wildlife rule our lives along with our champagne Persian cat, Affie. Possums knock on the door at night for fruit and ducks visit from the stream at the bottom of the garden in hope of bread, while parrots cluster around the bird seed. The neighbours’ chickens scratch in our yard and we are given wonderful eggs. I began writing at eight, beginning with adventure tales involving witchcraft. My stories still contain adventure, murder or intrigue, although now I write romantic suspense, historical romance and young adult fantasy novels.
Honestly, Maggi, that sounds wonderful! How long did you write before you got published?
I began to write in earnest ten years ago after raising three children and completing a couple of university degrees. I wasn’t published until 2008.
LOL. That's pretty much the way it went for me too. What is your favorite scene from latest book?
The Reluctant Marquess is a Georgian Romance coming out with Embrace Books in the UK on 14th February. I enjoyed writing it and I think when a book is going well it generally has that extra spark. There are many scenes I like in this one. This is from the first chapter where Miss Charity Barlow, a penniless orphan, comes to her godfather’s castle home in Cornwall, not knowing what to find from a man she barely knows and finding something completely different from her wildest imaginings.
Sounds intriguing. What advice would you give to new authors?
Persist! Keep at it, no matter how many rejections you get. All the famous authors got rejections, hundreds in some cases. Learn the craft and improve your writing by listening to advice, (preferably from those who have some knowledge of writing rather than your friends and family). Do as many courses as you can afford – there’s some great free ones out there. Read ‘how to’ books and join a critique group, but choose it carefully. And of course, read widely and in the genre you intend to write.
Would you dare to share 5 things that nobody knows about you?
I haven’t admitted to anyone, including my husband, of my romantic fascination with naturalist David Attenborough, now aged 82, but very well-preserved! That I dance wildly to It’s Raining Men on my Wii and cross fingers, so far haven’t done any permanent damage. That I cry watching old movies – love the black and whites. That I can’t kill anything including spiders, slugs and snails, which means my vegetable garden was a complete disaster. That I love the sound of rain on a tin roof, preferably curled up in bed with a good book!
Delicious! Would you share your links with us?
We’d love to read an excerpt. Be sure to give us a buy link.
Buy Link: http://embracebooks.co.uk Available on Amazon Kindle and PDF.
Excerpt of The Reluctant Marquess: Recently orphaned, Charity Barlow has arrived at her godfather’s castle in Cornwall, not knowing what she will find there.
‘I am the Marquess of St. Malin. My uncle passed away a short time ago.’
‘Oh. I’m so sorry.’ What she feared was true. Charity had an overwhelming desire to sit and glanced at the damask sofa.
He reacted immediately, taking her arm and escorting her to a chair. ‘Sit by the fire. You look cold and exhausted.’ He turned to the footman. ‘Bring a hot toddy for Miss Barlow.’
Charity sank down gratefully, her modest panniers settling around her.
‘I find the staff here poorly trained,’ he said. ‘I don’t know what my uncle was about.’
‘Why did you send a carriage for me?’ she asked, leaning back against the sofa cushions. ‘I wouldn’t have come had I known.’
‘I thought it best to sort the matter out here and now.’ He rested an elbow on a corner of the mantel and stirred the dog with a foot. ‘Shame on you, Felix. You might accord Miss Barlow a warm welcome.’ He looked at her. ‘My uncle’s dog; he’s mourning his master.’ He raised his brows. ‘Notice of my uncle’s passing appeared in The Daily Universal Register.’
‘We don’t get that newspaper in my village.’
‘You don’t? I wasn’t aware of you until the reading of the will. Then I learned of your parents’ death from my solicitor. I’m very sorry.’
‘Thank you. I’m sorry, too, about your uncle.’
‘My uncle fell ill only a few months ago. He rallied and then …’ The new marquess’ voice faded. He sighed and stared into the fire
‘You must have been very fond of him,’ Charity said into the quiet pause that followed. Though, if she were honest, she felt surprise that the cool man she remembered could have provoked that level of affection.
He raised his eyes to meet hers and gave a bleak smile. ‘Yes, I was fond of him. He always had my interest at heart, you see.’ He sat in the oxblood leather chair opposite and rested his hands on his knees. ‘I am his acknowledged heir, and the legalities have been processed. I’ve inherited the title and the entailed properties. The rest of his fortune will pass to another family member should I fail to conform to the edicts of his will.’
‘His will?’ Charity gripped her sweaty hands together, she couldn’t concentrate on anything the man said. Her mind whirled, filled with desperate thoughts. With her godfather dead, where would she go from here? Her heart raced as she envisioned riding off along the dark cliffs to join a theatre troupe, or become a tavern wench.
‘This must be difficult for you to take in, and I regret having to tell you tonight before you have rested. But I’m compelled to move quickly as you have no chaperone and have travelled here alone …’
She raised her chin. ‘There was no one to accompany me.’ She would not allow him to make her feel like a poor relation, even though she was quite definitely poor. And alone. She hated that more than anything. What had her godfather left her? She hoped it would allow her some measure of independence and wasn’t just a vase or the family portrait.
The footman entered, carrying a tray with a cup of steaming liquid. Charity took the drink and sipped it gratefully. It was warming and tasted of a spicy spirit. She found it hard to concentrate on his words, as her mind retreated into a fog and her eyes wandered around the room. She finished the drink, which had heated her insides, and allowed her head to loll back against the cushions. Her gaze rested on her host, thinking he would be handsome if he smiled. She was so tired, and the warmth of the fire made her drowsy. What was he saying?
‘It’s the best thing for both of us, don’t you agree?’
She shook her head to try and clear it. ‘I’m sorry, what did you say?’
He frowned. ‘The will states we must marry. Straightaway, I’m afraid.’
‘I … What? I’m to m-marry you?’ Placing her cup down carefully on the table she struggled to her feet, fighting fatigue and the affects of whatever it was she’d just drunk. Smoothing her gown, she glanced at the door through which she intended to depart at any moment. ‘I have no intention …’
His lips pressed together in a thin line. ‘I know it’s perplexing. I didn’t intend to wed for some years. I certainly would have preferred to choose whom I married, as no doubt would you.’
Her jaw dropped. What kind of man was this? She had been raised to believe that marriage was a sacred institution. He made it sound so … inconsequential. She stared at him. ‘The will states I must marry you?’
‘Yes, that’s exactly what it states.’ He rose abruptly with a rustle of silk taffeta and moved closer to the fire. She wondered if he might be as nervous as she. ‘Unless I’m prepared to allow my uncle’s unentailed fortune go to a distant relative. Which I am not. As I have said.’ His careful tone suggested he thought her a simpleton. Under his unsympathetic gaze, she sank back down onto the sofa. ‘You are perfectly within your rights to refuse, but I see very few options open to you. As my wife, you will live in comfort. You may go to London to enjoy the Season. I shall give you a generous allowance for gowns and hats, and things a lady must have.’ His gaze wandered over her cream muslin gown, and she placed a hand on the lace that disguised the small patch near her knee. ‘What do you say?’
She tilted her head. ‘I shall receive an allowance? For gowns, and hats, and things a lady must have.’
‘Exactly,’ he said with a smile, obviously quite pleased with himself. ‘I see we understand each other perfectly. So … do you agree?’
What was wrong with this man? Slowly, Charity released a heavy sigh. She could barely contemplate such a thing as this, and yet he acted as though he’d solved all the problems of the world with fashion accessories. She had hoped for a small stipend, but marriage! And to a complete stranger. She couldn’t! Not for all the gowns and hats on earth. She straightened up in her chair and lifted her chin. Her words were clipped and precise, and she hoped beyond hope he would accept her decision gracefully. ‘I say no, Lord St. Malin.’
‘How disappointing,’ he said quietly.
She gulped as his heavy-lidded eyes continued to study her from head to foot. She was uncomfortably aware that the mist had sent her hair into a riot of untidy curls, and she smoothed it away from her face with both hands as she glanced around the room. She tucked a muddy shoe out of sight beneath her gown and then forced herself to meet his gaze. Might he like anything of what he saw? Her father loved that she had inherited her mother’s tiny waist, and she thought her hands pretty. His lordship’s gaze strayed to her breasts and remained there rather long. She sucked in a breath as her heart beat faster. When their eyes met did she detect a gleam of approval? It only made her more nervous.
Maggi, this is fabulous! No kidding, I love it. Readers, I'm checking this one out. Thanks for coming, Maggi. Come back and see us again soon.
Thank you for this opportunity.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Happy Valentine's Day! Welcome to my blog. Thanks so much for stopping by to share a day of romance with me. In honor of the day, I'm involved with a scavenger hunt that'll begin tomorrow. Kim Bowman an Astraea Press author is coordinating a blog hunt that offers a lot of nice prizes. Here's a note from Kim herself telling you what to do.
To celebrate the launch of her new book Wayward Soul, Kim Bowman is holding a BLOG SCAVENGER HUNT February 15, 2011.
The contest will start at 9 a.m. EST at the Astraea Press blog http://www.astraeapress.blogspot.com/. Every half hour (9:30, 10, 10:30, and so forth) Kim will post a comment letting you know which blog to visit next. You will visit a total of 8 different blogs through the day. YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT ON EVERY BLOG IN ORDER TO WIN!
There will be a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place winner!!
First Place will receive an ebook gift basket that will include a copy of my new release Wayward Soul as well as two other Astraea Press releases, Rebekah Purdy’s Seeking Shapeshifters and Bri Clark’s Familial Witch, the future Astraea Press release Spartan Heart by Kristine Cheney, Stephanie Taylor’s new release My One True Love, a hard copy of Sylvia Browne's book Contacting Your Spirit Guide, and a $20 ecoupon to use for future purchases at http://astraeapress.com/!!
Second Place will receive 3 future Astraea Press ebook releases (Sucker for a Hot Rod by Joselyn Vaughn, Legend of the Oceina Dragon by J. F. Jenkins, and Therese Gilardi's Matching Wits with Venus) , an ecopy of my book Wayward Soul, and a $10 ecoupon to use for future purchases at http://astraeapress.com/!!
Third Place will receive 3 future Astraea Press ebook releases (Vanessa Barger's Into the Ether, Elaine Cantrell's A New Dream, and Kay Springsteen's Heartsight) and an ecopy of my book Wayward Soul.
Fourth Place will receive an ecopy of my new release Wayward Soul.
Check out my Astraea Press Books offered in the contests http://astraeapress.com/.
It's going to be a ton of fun! I hope to see all of you!
If you have any questions, post it below in the comment section and I’ll answer!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Hi, Catherine. Welcome to the blog. Tell us a little bit about you.
I’m a mom, a grandmother and married fifty years to the same guy. We’re both Air Force veterans. My husband was the one who processed me in on base, Valentine’s day February 14th 1960.
Wow, that's very romantic! Your first book comes out this month. Can you describe the time you first realized you were a “real” writer?
I’m not sure I’ve really come to that realization yet but I must be on the right track since Whiskey Creek offered me a contract.
Absolutely! What can we expect when we read your book?
Family crisis, action, romance, reaffirmation of love, redemption and most of all great courage of more than one family member. This book is a page turner.
It sure sounds like it. Why did you decide to be a writer? It’s hard work.
I had been writing short stories for many years but when I started writing fan fiction I realized I really could write something others wanted to read. I had all these stories in my head and I needed/wanted to get them onto paper.
I felt exactly the same way. What are your future goals for your writing?
I’m working on a spy novel at the moment after that I have more stories I want to tell some of which are about my family and others that lurk in my dreams.
Would you share your links so we can find you on the web?
Glad to share the links to my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1488077666 and my blog page http://mom.davidmlawrence.com. I don't have a buy link yet.
We’d love to read an excerpt. Don’t forget to tell us where we can find the book.
What followed next was a test of wills; the storm vs. the Thornton family. The family was determined to win. Clare had whoever was on communications radio their coordinates on more than one channel so it could be monitored by sea or air communications. At one point the lightning was illuminating everything for miles.
The buffeting of the plane was very intense. They were bouncing up and down like a ping pong ball. The hail beating on the hull of the aircraft was so loud they shouted at each other. Clare tried to rise above it but try as she might they could not break through the cloud tops. At one point Paul picked up ship to ship communication that said they were experiencing the storm of the century in the Pacific. “It’s a fine time for that to happen,” he mused.
Then it happened. Something snapped and the radio went dead. Paul looked over the trouble shooting list. All they could figure is that the antenna wire must have come loose. That was why Clare always carried a secondary communications device.
Paul sent out a call on the auxiliary radio: “We’ve lost our primary radio and we are using our alternative radio. Do you read us? This is MD-19924.”
Catherine, I love it, and believe it or not, I have two books already written with storms and equipment failure in airplanes. Come back and see us again anytime.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
My guest today is Annette Snyder. Annette and I are both Whiskey Creek Press authors. Annette, thanks so much for coming. I can't wait to hear what you have to say, so I'll turn it over to you.
Just a bit over the first month of the New Year and I’ve abandoned my resolutions. It’s a new record for me. The new record being that I’ve never lasted this long before tossing away my vow to change my bad habits.
Stop over eating, be less critical and behave in a manner acceptable by nuns—those were the three small changes I attempted.
Declaration One-Overeating. Well, leftover pie shouldn’t have been left sitting out and available.
Number Two-Be Less Critical. Have you even listened to the news about America’s political system?
Vow Three-Behave. To be honest, I forgot who I was when I made that resolution two seconds before midnight on New Year’s Eve so it really shouldn’t count!
I have, on the other hand, begun readjusting the final draft of a story I’ve been writing for a solid year. Respectable Affair is the last of my Viveka’s War Trilogy. Viveka’s War, an historical set during the Depression, follows the struggles of a woman as she uses learned abilities of strength, character and survival choices to build a life of independence.
Eureka Springs is the second novel in that series. Beginning life in a new direction is harder than Ruth Seidle realizes when hidden secrets surface. With an obscure past exposed, can Ruth forsake lies for honesty in effort to change previous behavior?
Respectable Affair is a prequel story and the idea came from a four book review from LASR for Eureka Springs when the reviewer said, “Annette Snyder gives the reader an excellent glimpse into the morals of society, the quest for material gain and social position that flourished after World War II. She also gives a glimpse into Aunt Virginia’s life, a heartfelt love story of a single woman.” I began to think of Aunt Virgie and how she got to Eureka Springs and, for heaven’s sake, why was she single?
I also started a new blog, Fifty Authors from Fifty States, http://annettesnyder.blogspot.com
You can also access it through my website http://annettesnyder.atspace.com
When you get there, you’ll find an assemblage of many writing professionals from all over the USA and some special guests from overseas. Fifty Authors from Fifty States showcases many genres, writing styles, promotional companies and reviewers. Each week presents a new experience, a new chance to learn about another section of our country. Discover the amazing amount of talent our country has to offer readers by visiting. There’s also a pretty cool contest for people who comment and some of my guest bloggers are offering their own prizes. Its well worth the few minutes it takes to click, read and comment. And here’s a hint-Elaine Cantrell Guests the week of October 2nd.
So, I’ve still got some resolutions in the fire even if the big ones have been tossed to the curb and I don’t actually feel bad about that. Well maybe I do for Number Three but even a little effort in that area is an improvement.
For more information on my work, visit my website or go to www.whiskeycreekpress.com where you’ll be able to read the first chapter and purchase each of my novels.
"Behave in a manner acceptable by nuns." That cracked me up. Thanks for coming, Annette. Good luck with Respectful Affair, and come back to see us soon.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Back In The Saddle
Now many of you who don’t know me will be wondering what I’m talking about. Those of you who do wonder when I was ever out of the saddle.
Well…for both of you groups, I was definitely out of the saddle. What do I mean? you may ask. For me it is obvious. Quite a few years ago, I became disillusioned with life. And writing.
Not that I didn’t want to do either…no, I wanted to write and live life to the fullest. I was disillusioned with the fact that all I did was work. All I did was have a business. I never seemed to have time for any of the things that I loved. Or those that I loved.
Then 9/11 happened. I along with millions watched in horror as icons for our freedom and financial well-being were toppled in front of my eyes. To top it all off, it was my niece’s birthday. I can remember thinking, Oh hell…what a day. I can remember thinking, My god…what’s this world coming to? I can remember thinking, This changes everything.
And suddenly, I was thinking much clearer. I was thinking with the part of myself that had been shut off by business deals and bottom lines. Suddenly, I thought about what mattered most in my life: my family and my writing. I had neglected both for many months.
My husband and I no longer took those long walks. My youngest son and I only argued about homework leaving very little time for anything else. My oldest was a stranger I barely knew. One of my good friends, who I considered a sister, and I fought constantly about the business. God only knew when I had last called my brother and his family. And my latest characters at the time, Trista and Alfred, were languishing in the limbo state of barely finished with many chapters waiting for revision.
Suddenly, I found myself on the road to recovery. Recovery of my craft.
The business, which printed financial documents for a mainstay, suddenly couldn’t earn its keep and the following April it was decided to close it at the end of May. I started to reconnect with those I loved. I now try to take a walk with my husband at least once a week. I care for my youngest everyday…and he drives me crazy but I love it. I love it when my oldest comes in to tell me about his latest accomplishment. Currently, they are his two new sons! My friend and I planned critique sessions.
Trista and Alfred are also on the road to recovery. Along with them, I write at least one article, possibly one poem, come up with some ideas and plan for my next full day, or week if it’s Sunday, of writing. I’m going to write for a living…even though I may need an outside job to keep the hubby happy and pay for my share of the bills. (As of this update, this has come to pass and I can say I’m happier than ever...woohoo!)
This time I will make it…I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Now having said all that, here are some tips to keep the writing muse alive. Because, even with all I’ve been through, the muse never left me.
1. Writing doesn’t take as much time as you think.
All you need is to give it a little portion of each day. Are there times when you are waiting for something? Like a doctor’s appointment? Your kids? Is there a television show you can live without? If you answer yes to any of these questions, writing can be part of your daily routine. Write things down in a journal, then transcribe them when you used to watch that TV show.
2. Look at the markets weekly.
The markets change daily. This is because of the Internet. Today, writers have more opportunities than ever before. Exploring those markets will usually kick start an idea which will then lead to you finding more time to write. I personally get up each morning and head for my computer. Once I’ve waded through the junk mail, I start looking for new and interesting markets for my work.
3. Make a weekly plan.
I say weekly plan, because life can be so uncertain any more. I tend to plan my life at least 6 months out but for writing I do it weekly and sometimes even daily when I have a deadline. I start on Sunday evening looking at all the guidelines I printed during the week. I then check to see if I’ve written anything that will fit the guidelines. If I don’t have anything, I ask myself if I want to write it. If I do, I put it in the weekly calendar. I plan to have the article done that same day. I then put it down for revision the next day and submission the day after that.
While this may seem ambitious, it’s the only way that I can keep focused and on track. Otherwise, I tend to never get anything done.
I try to read something new everyday. With the Internet, you can read articles and reviews or just about anything. I reserve my evenings for my pleasure reading or study.
I have certain things that interest me…such as medieval medicine. I have always been fascinated with how today’s medical system works in relation to how it really started. Because of that I am constantly reading on this subject. It gives me get ideas for some stories as well a good read about something I thoroughly enjoy.
Like attracts like. I cannot stress this enough. We are what we eat and whom we hang out with. Laugh you may but it is true. By this I mean, if you truly want to be a writer you will need to network with other writers. This can be done through meetings or conferences, both formal and informal. If you want to write…hang out with writers. Strive to do…not just be a wannabe.
Remember to write, write, write. It’s what makes you a writer.
Hopefully, I’ve given you some bits of wisdom that you can use in your writing life. Life is what life is…we can’t always change it, but we can shape what comes our way. We can make things happen…positive things. And like the old saying goes, it has to start with you. You have to make the changes, you have to want to write, and you have to do it.
And for this woman…I’m back in the saddle again. Permanently.
Anybody got any bag balm?
Lynn, thank you so much for coming! I enjoyed your article so much. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lynn's work, I urge you to check out her web site for a listing of books and excerpts. You can find her at http://www.lynncrain.com
And last, here's a short excerpt from The Haunting Of Maggie Grey.
The Haunting of Maggie Grey
Excerpt – The Haunting Of Maggie Grey
“Maggie,” came the seductive whisper, “don’t turn away from me, girl.” His hand wrapped completely around her head, dwarfing her as if she were a small child, holding her where he wanted. He was so large and she was so small. Never had he felt like he held a fine piece of fragile porcelain. Slowly, he forced her to face him, looking deeply in her brown eyes. “I’m going to kiss you now.”
He lowered his lips to hers, devouring her bottom lip in one swoop. Nibbling at the edges, he gained access to her mouth and groaned. Conall didn’t want to scare her off. But he needed her in the worst way and he was sure that if she’d just press herself against him, she’d feel his hard shaft, would know that his body wanted her much in the same way he was sure she wanted him. The woman acted like a virgin instead of the widow he knew her to be. The deep red color of her hair should indicate her passion ran hot instead of the shyness she displayed with him.
“Open up completely, girl,” he whispered even more seductively than the first time.
Slowly, Maggie closed her eyes…why did she feel like a shy little girl with this man? He wasn’t that much older than her but he was wise in ways she could never understand. And she wanted him. Justin had never told her it could be this way, had never warned her about the hot feeling of need she would get in the pit of her stomach. A need that this man and his body could only fulfill.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Hey, ya’ll. There’s a new publisher in town! The inspiration for Astraea Press was born in 2010 when two friends Stephanie Taylor and Jane Paxson saw the need for a quality, non-erotic publisher who’d offer quality mainstream fiction. They put their heads together and came up with Astraea Press. Then, they persuaded Elaina Lee to be their cover artist and Jane Alice Bennett to be their marketing director. Elise McCallister is their reader. I’ve seen Elaina’s first covers on the Astraea website (www.astraeapress.com), and they’re gorgeous. The woman is so talented.
Authors, why should you consider Astraea? I copied this directly from the website.
• Working one on one with our cover artist to develop a cover you can be proud to display
• 50% royalties on AstraeaPress.com site sales
• Individual, customized marketing plan for each author to help your sales that combine with our own marketing efforts for your book
• Direct communication lines between owner, editors, cover artist, and authors. No middle man here!
They’re looking for :
• Any genre of romance or sub-genre of romance
• Young Adult
• Fiction of all shapes and sizes
• Clean manuscripts with no language and no graphic sex
Submissions are easy too. They don’t give you a thousand hoops to jump through. Here’s the link to the submissions page: http://www.astraeapress.com/submissions.html
I do have a special reason for promoting Astraea. They just happened to offer me a contract for my manuscript A New Dream. They won my heart when they told me how much they liked it. You’ll see more about A New Dream in the near future.
Readers, why should you consider Astraea? If you like clean romance this is the place to go because that’s what they offer: clean stuff full of romance, intrigue, and happy ever afters.
February 1 is Astraea’s opening day, so drop by to see what they have ready for you. You can also check out their blog at http://www.astraeapress.blogspot.com/