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Friday, January 30, 2009

Meet Emma Lai

Let me introduce you to one of the best new authors anywhere! Her name is Emma Lai, and she's wonderful. Emma's a new author with The Wild Rose Press. At the moment she has a cover and is doing edits on the book, but you'll have to wait a bit before you can buy it. Personally, I can't wait to read that book. Well, enough from me. Emma, welcome to the blog. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Thanks, Elaine. It's great to be here.

How I became an author:

I can’t honestly say that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. In elementary school, I had a teacher who made us write a book. Mine was Glartian the Martian. It was about a little Martian boy, who was all alone because he was different, but in the end, he found a little Martian girl play mate. I found the writing experience to be somewhat painful, but it challenged me to try to write another story about young love, which bored me to tears after the first three pages. I put away the typewriter and never looked back.

In fact, I got my degree in Electrical Engineering and spent years writing software and doing project management. It was challenging, but I never loved it. I started trying out different things, looking for the one thing that would make me want to get up in the morning and go to the office.
I finally found that thing back in June, and it was writing.

Back in May, after I finished the coursework for my Masters in International Relations, I decided to take the month of June to relax. I caught up on the pile of books I’d been accumulating. Sometime during all my reading, an idea started to form, and it just wouldn’t go away. I’d close my eyes at night and find myself in this whole other world. I decided the only way to get it out of my head was to put it on paper, and that was the beginning. It seemed once I opened the door it refused to be shut.

Experience to date:

I just signed my first contract for His Ship, Her Fantasy with The Wild Rose Press and am eternally grateful to my editor Jamie West and the Futuristic/AE editor Kelly Schaub for working with me to bring out the full potential of Alistair and Ellie’s story.

His Ship, Her Fantasy is a sweet romance. At heart, it fits into the sci-fi genre, but it has inspired a whole series of shorts that cross over into multiple genres to include sci-fi, fantasy, and time travel. The working name of the short series is Mates of the Guardians. To date, I have completed the manuscript for one other short in the series, have started on a second, and outlined a third. I thought I had another short in the series completed, but its characters begged for more attention so it’s evolving, possibly into the first book in a series.

Other works in progress include two books: a contemporary romance and a young adult fantasy. I’m also polishing an erotic Regency short.

Blurb for His Ship, Her Fantasy:

Ellie Woods is in love…with a ship. When an argument with the ship results in a bump on the head, she finds herself in the strong arms of Alastair. But, who is he, and where did he come from?

Alastair has loved Ellie from afar for years, but duty has kept him from revealing himself to her. When a grave threat reveals his true identity, he hopes that Ellie will choose reality over fantasy


She fought to stay aware by focusing her gaze on the intriguing cleft in her rescuer’s chin. After a few moments, she tried to tilt her head back to get a look at the rest of his face, but the action made her dizzy once again. She gave up with a sigh and relaxed against his firm, broad chest.

She shrugged. Chances were she would not recognize him anyway. Over two hundred people served on the ship. She knew the dozen or so engineers who worked the first and third rotations and maybe another dozen crewmates by sight, others who worked the same rotation and happened to eat their meals in solitary silence at the same time she did. She would guess from the fact that he had to ask her name that he was not any of those two dozen individuals.

Maybe she should not have told him her real name. At least that way, when he talked about finding a woman helpless in the bowels of the ship, no one would have known who it was. Yeah, right, whom was she trying to fool? She was the sole person assigned duty to this area during fourth rotation. Her breath caught, and she stiffened in his arms. Who was he, and what was he doing in a restricted area?

“Relax,” he said.

“Who are you?” She tried to sit up in his arms, determined to get a look at him and an answer to her question.

He lifted her higher in his arms, which wedged her head between his head and shoulder and prevented her from getting a good look at his face. “Alastair.” His warm breath fluttered against her forehead and cheek.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Meet Nikki's Rival

This week I'd like to introduce you to Nikki's rival. Nikki is the heroine in The Best Selling Toy Of The Season, but before I do let encourage you to check back next Friday to see what guest blogger Emma Lai has to say. Emma has a new book coming soon from The Wild Rose Press, and judging from the excerpt I read it's a good one.

And as coincidence would have it, I drew Emma's name out of the hat, so she's the winner of last week's blog contest. Emma, let me know what book you want.

Now about that excerpt... Nikki and Tommy are at his house preparing to go to dinner when...

The pealing of the doorbell interrupted them. “Let me get that,”
Tommy said with a smile. “I’ll be right back.”

Nikki sat down on the sofa to wait, and she heard a feminine
voice in the foyer. “Darling, why haven’t you called me? I haven’t
heard from you since Christmas.”

The woman didn’t wait for an answer. Nikki heard her heels
tapping on the marble in the foyer, and seconds later she entered the
living room with Tommy hot on her heels.

“Oh, you’ve got company.” The woman’s eyes narrowed, and
Nikki saw that her presence did not please the new arrival.

She crossed the room and held out her hand to Nikki. “How do
you do? I’m Cherie Blake, Tommy’s girl friend.”

Girl friend! “It’s nice to meet you Cherie. I’m Nikki Lane.”

Cherie made an assessment of her in moments. “I love your
dress, Nikki. Where ever did you find it?”

Suddenly, the green dress looked cheap and tawdry to Nikki, for
the red dress worn by Cherie Blake obviously cost the earth. Probably
designer, Nikki thought. Nevertheless, Cherie snootily waited for an
answer, and Nikki didn’t have it in her to lie.
“I found it on a sale rack at Super Mart.”

Cherie laughed, and it occurred to Nikki that even though Cherie
obviously didn’t think much of her, she couldn’t believe that Tommy
would date anyone who shopped at Super Mart.

“Oh, you can tell me,” Cherie purred. “Is it a JC Penney or Sears

“That’ll have to be my secret,” Nikki replied.

Cherie attacked on another front. “You’ve chosen a good lawyer
for your legal work, Nikki. They don’t come any better than Tommy.
Why, just the other day his mother and I were bragging on him at the
country club. He handles a lot of important clients, you know. Is he
doing pro bono work for you?”

Nikki, who had no idea what pro bono meant, smiled coolly at
Cherie. “Tommy has been my lawyer for years, but right now I don’t
need the services of an attorney.” She saw Tommy try to hide a smile.

“I’m surprised that I haven’t seen you around Fairfield before,”
Cherie continued, still fishing.

“Yes, that is odd.”

“Are you a member of the country club?”

“I’m afraid not. I don’t have time. If I do get a free minute, I’d
rather go riding than spend time at the country club.”

“Riding in cars?”

“No, horses. I enjoy horseback riding.”

To Nikki’s relief Cherie backed off. She probably saw that
Tommy was enjoying the show. “Well, to each his own, I guess,” she

She turned her back to Nikki, excluding her from the
conversation, and spoke exclusively to Tommy. “I stopped by tonight
to ask you to dinner. Mavis and Henry are in town, and they'd love to
see you.”

“I’m afraid I already have plans for the evening, but do give my
best to them.”

“Yes, I’ll tell them you said hello.” Turning to Nikki, she said, “It
was lovely to meet you.”

“Thank you. I enjoyed meeting you, too.”

Tommy hurriedly jumped up. “I’ll walk you out, Cherie.”

“There’s no need to do that, darling. We can say our goodbyes
right here. Nikki won’t mind.”

It didn’t surprise Nikki when Cherie hugged Tommy and kissed
him lingeringly. “I’ll call you next week, Tommy.”

She sauntered away, and Tommy wiped her lipstick from his
mouth as he dropped onto the sofa beside Nikki and took both of her
hands in his. “She isn’t my girlfriend.”

The Best Selling Toy Of The Season is available at

Friday, January 16, 2009

Joy In Small Things

Joy, happiness-whatever you want to call it-is something everyone wants. Would you feel joy if you won the lottery? I sure would! How about if you got a new car? They look all shiny and smell good. What if you reconnected with a friend you’d lost touch with years ago? Wouldn’t you love to catch up?

Here’s a list of some things that have brought me joy in the past week.

1.The students who attend the local high school where I work raised over five thousand dollars to help defray funeral expenses for two students who died in a car accident over the weekend. The accident was a great tragedy which almost breaks my heart, but it brought me joy to know that the students cared enough to help a grieving family.

2.It brought me great joy when so many of my friends and family members remembered my birthday and either called or sent me a card.

3.As I walked into the door yesterday, one of my coworkers stopped me to say how much she enjoyed The Best Selling Toy Of The Season. It made my day.

4.It’s cold in South Carolina, just as it is in the Mid West and the North East. My car was cold when I left work yesterday, but when I got home and went inside I was greeted by the luscious smell of the pot roast I put in the Crock Pot before I left home. What joy to smell such a warm, homey aroma after being out in the cold.

None of these things are especially significant in themselves, and possibly none of them would have pleased you, but I think true joy lies in the small things of life. Most people I know are so stressed and harried they think joy is something they’ll experience in the future when the kids are grown, or maybe after they’ve made a lot of money and can travel to exotic locations. I do it too, so I know how it goes.

Personally, I’ve resolved to do better. I don’t want to come to the end of life and find I’ve missed so many chances to find joy. Okay, what about you? Tell me what gave you joy this past week. Everyone who responds will be entered in a drawing for an ecopy of either Purple Heart or The Welcome Inn. Your choice.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Victorian Fashion Show

In the early years of the nineteenth century, women’s fashion was influenced by the classical simplicity of Greece, a style embraced by Napoleon’s wife Josephine. However, by the end of the 1820’s women shifted back to romanticism. Skirts were belled out by undergarments, shortened sleeves increased in bulk, and hair was curled into ringlets. The simple, classical gown was replaced with myriad bows, ribbons, tucks, and decorative buttons. Clothes were now made of stiff pastel colored fabric, not soft muslin.

In the mid 1830’s the crinoline was introduced to make ladies’ skirts stand out. It was made of horsehair and linen and shaped and wired to make the skirts as big as possible. Women also wore small, tipped-forward hats. Unfortunately, this style was constrictive and artificial.

During this time period each time of day and each occupation necessitated a complete change of clothes. The first separate blouse and skirt combinations were introduced to simplify things somewhat. Fabrics were the same stiff textured cloth of the earlier decade with cotton for summer wear. Daytime colors were brown, rust, gray, and green as well as Scottish plaids. Pale pastels were used for evening wear.

Lace mitts, parasols, and pouch bags with wooden handles were carried by every fashionable lady. Hair was neatly parted and drawn back into snoods. If you wore them for evening wear they had to be ornamented.

During the 1870’s and 1880’s extreme circular skirts were abandoned in favor of full skirts pulled to the rear and supported by a wire cage, the forerunner of the bustle. Corsets were looser, but emphasis was still on the bust. Style innovations included the high collar, long, tight sleeves which eventually morphed into leg-o’-mutton sleeves. Lace jabots and edgings were used at the neck.

As the century wore on costumes were developed for leisure time activities such as croquet.

It might be pointed out that common people and wealthy people didn’t wear the same types of clothes. Those of the common people were far plainer and simpler. They had to be; the common people had to work.

I recommend that you go to and look at Victorian fashion decade by decade. My information for this article came from What People Wore by Douglas Gorsline.

What do you think, readers? Would you have liked to be a Victorian? Not me. I look awful in hats, and I’d rather die than wear a corset. I couldn’t bear the heat in the summer either. All those layers! And have you ever seen a picture of a real puffed horsehair crinoline? Yuck.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Hard Sell

I wish I hadn’t done it. I’ve put myself into a bad position here, and I don’t know if I can sell this to you or not. What am I talking about? My book. The Best Selling Toy Of The Season. Yes, I know that the title and the cover scream Christmas, but I promise you the book won’t make you think of the holidays every time you pick it up. The book has 153 pages, and the last mention of Christmas is on page 25. So, if you haven’t had a chance to read it, please don’t hesitate. I promise it’s more than just a Christmas story.

My heroine’s name is Nikki Lane, and she could easily be someone you know. She works at Super Mart, the local discount store and lives in a single wide mobile home in a trailer park that doesn’t have a very good reputation.

She hasn’t been very lucky in love. As a teenager, she fell hard for her first love, Tim, but he abandoned her after she got pregnant the second time. Nikki doesn’t trust men-with the exception of her cousin Dan. If not for his help she’d have to move back in with her parents, and her Dad drinks.

You probably also know someone like my hero Tommy Price. He’s everything Nikki isn’t-wealthy, socially acceptable, and prominent in community affairs. That didn’t keep him from losing the woman he wanted to marry, though. Tommy’s looking for love, but he’s tired of cookie cutter women who’re more interested in his money and his family name than they are him.

Unfortunately, when you’ve been hurt as much as Nikki has it’s hard to trust again. In this excerpt Nikki is talking with her friend and reveals her confusion about her relationship with Tommy.

Nikki counted the hours until Saturday. It had been a long time
since she had wanted to go out with anyone, and of course she felt
flattered that a handsome, wealthy man like Tommy Price had singled
her out.

It felt odd not to discuss her date with Dan, but in this case she
couldn’t. Hopefully, if everything went well, Dan would see that he
was wrong about Tommy.

No, she couldn’t talk to Dan about Tommy, but nothing
prevented her from discussing it with Mandy Wingo, her best friend.
The girls had met at Super Mart where they both worked and had
immediately hit it off.

Mandy wasn’t as pretty as Nikki, but she still had lots of dates. In
fact, more. Both Dan and Mrs. Lane approved of Mandy very much.
They felt that she was a good influence on Nikki, for she had a level
head on her shoulders.

On Friday afternoon after the girls got off work they lingered in
the Super Mart employee break room to discuss Nikki’s date. “I feel
bad about keeping secrets from Dan,” Nikki confessed, “but if I tell
him about Tommy he’ll be so mad. I know that Tommy isn’t
interested in a long-term relationship with me, but Dan’s afraid that
I’ll either get hurt or get pregnant. I don’t blame him; my track record
isn’t too good.”

“Oh, Nikki, I don’t know. Dan’s awfully good to you, isn’t he? I
think you should tell him about Tommy.”

“No way. He’d lecture me for days if he got wind of this.

Anyway, my mother thinks its okay for Tommy and me to go out. She
told me to marry him.”

Mandy shrugged. “I think it’s a good idea myself.”

“Dan said a man like Tommy would never marry somebody like

“Maybe Dan’s wrong. If you like Tommy, Nikki, go after him.
See what develops.”

“Dan’s usually right,” Nikki said gloomily. “Why would a man
like Tommy Price be interested in me? Millionaires don’t marry girls
who work at Super Mart. Anyway, what would he and I have in
common? I don’t know anything about opera and ballet and stuff like
that, and I don’t have bunches of glasses and forks on the table when I
eat either.”

“He might not like opera or ballet either, and anyone can get a
book to find out which fork to use.”


“Nikki, stop making excuses. I’m thrilled for you, and you should
be thrilled too. Your mother’s right. Remember that movie, Pretty
Woman? She got a fairy tale ending; why shouldn’t you?”

Nikki scowled at Mandy. “Because that’s a movie. Real life isn’t
like the movies.”

She decided to keep that thought in mind. She’d made a lot of
mistakes in her life; she didn’t want to make another one.

On Saturday, Nikki hadn’t thought to ask Tommy where they
were going for dinner, but it seemed safe to assume that she needed to
dress up. She spent an hour going through her closet, but truthfully,
she had very little to wear. She couldn’t afford it, but she’d have to
buy a new dress.

So, the next afternoon when she clocked out at work Nikki made
her way to the Super Mart ladies’ department instead of her car. Super
Mart had put their Christmas finery on sale several days earlier, and
customers had picked it over. She hoped she could find something
anyway, for shopping at a more expensive store was out of the

After perusing the racks, Nikki found one dress she liked, a
simple, form-fitting garment made of forest green crushed velvet, and
even though the neckline did plunge a bit, she thought it would do.

She went into the dressing room and tried on the dress, turning
critically from side to side to see how she looked. I like it, she
thought, and with a surge of happiness, she kissed her reflection in the

The lipstick on the glass brought Nikki’s spirits crashing down.
She was an idiot. Tommy paid her a little attention, and she spent
money she didn’t have to impress him. She needed to remember that
fairy tales didn’t really come true. Michael and Teddy proved that,
right? If only he didn’t give her butterflies in the stomach every time
she saw him.

She quickly changed into her own clothes and went through the
checkout to pay for her dress.

The Best Selling Toy Of The Season was reviewed by LASR and is up for book of the week. I'd appreciate your vote. That address is Voting is 1/3-1/4.

Thanks for reading!