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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beyond the Book: The Fifties

Hello and welcome to this week's Beyond the Book post, Elaine's way of keeping you up to date on her characters after the book ends. I'm Liesel Wolf, Elaine's heroine in her novel Never Trust a Pretty Wolf. I like to cook and often experiment with recipes to change them for the better. The last two weeks we've been talking about 1950's receipes, but today I'm deviating from the recipes to share a picture of my house with you. My husband Andy already lived in the house when we got married. It was built in 1956, and I do love it.

During the 1950's people flocked to the suburbs where they lived in smaller, plainer homes than they had before the war. New furniture styles were developed to fit the new houses. This new style was influenced by technolgy and 'future' themes. Synthetic materials, many of which had been developed in World War II was used to create clean, simple designs. The furniture had straight lines, simple curves, and little ornamentation. It was often mass produced from things like plywood, wire, and moded plastic. The idea was to create things that were useful, affordable, and uncomplicated. Even today a 1950's home-a midcentury modern design-looks best with furniture that evolved right alongside it.  See the chairs in this picture? They're a good example of that midcentury modern style. I don't know if they are original or not, but you get the idea anyway. 

Come back next week, and I'll talk some more about the fifties.  See you then.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors: The President Won't Like This

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. We have about two more weeks in this series, and I'll wrap it up and share something from another work. To recap, my hero and heroine, David and Phaedra, are lost in the Amazon. They've been captured by bad guys who've made a deal with David's father for their release. This is the morning of their departure. A big thug comes to wake David and Phaedra up.

The burly, one-eyed man stood over him, a nine millimeter pistol in his hand.  He kicked at Phaedra’s knee to wake her. 

She cried out as David exclaimed, “Leave her alone!”

The man responded by kicking David’s ribs again.  This time pain blossomed in his chest and almost stopped his breathing.  He could only take small, shallow breaths around the sharp, stabbing pain. 

“David!” Phaedra screamed.  She scared a flock of parrots who loudly squawked to each other and flew away.
Find more lovely sentences from participating WEWRIWA authors here.
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample: Forced to Wed a Stranger

Welcome to Sweet Saturday Sample. Today I want to share a bit from my upcoming release The Enchanted. Mark May 14 on your calendar, please!  In this excerpt, my heroine reflects on her forced marriage to Prince Alan, a man whom she has never met.

"Please, my lady. If you do not sit still I cannot care for your feet."

"You try to sit still if you think it is so easy!" Morgane cried. "The bandage has stuck to the blisters, and the pain is dreadful when you pull."

"I am very sorry, but if we do not keep your feet clean and medicated, you will get an infection."

"Yes, I know." She flinched as Edana applied a soothing ointment to her burned feet. At least it was supposed to be soothing. Truly, it did little good.

A flash of lightning split the sky outside the window. Thunder boomed as the rain started to fall. Over the roar of the downpour, she heard the sound of horses galloping across the cobblestones in the courtyard. The wind caught the heavy brocade drapes, which billowed into the room as raindrops pattered on the stone floor. "I will shut the window," Edana cried. She ran to do so, but instead of closing it, she stared outside at the courtyard.

"What do you see?" Morgane demanded. "Who is out there?"

"It is the queen and Prince Alan. One of the servants told me that the two of them had gone riding."

Morgane jumped up and hobbled to the window, ignoring the pain in her feet. "I cannot see his face."

"Please, come back and sit down. You will meet him soon enough."

Morgane sighed, feeling the animation drain from her face. "All too true."

She returned to her seat in the soft, deep chair beside the fireplace and bit the inside of her cheek until she tasted blood. She
hated her father! Presently, she voiced this sentiment to Edana. "The only good thing that comes from my marriage is that I escape my father. I hate him, Edana."
"I do not wonder, my lady."

"I have always been a dutiful daughter to him. He had no right, no reason to treat me as a slave or worse."

"No, my lady."

Morgane's foot jerked as Edana's gentle touch burned and stung. "Finish them," she commanded. "I cannot bear for you to touch them."

Edana applied the last bandage. "There. It is done. You must be careful, my lady."

"Ha! I am sure I will be expected to dance the night away."

Worry clouded Edana's large, brown eyes. "I have worried about that. If you will allow it, we will add an extra layer of bandages."

"Well… perhaps that is best." Morgane stuck out her right foot. "I am like an animal in a trap. I would chew my own foot off if it would gain my freedom for me."

"Perhaps you and Prince Alan will care for each other," Edana soothed.

Morgane's lip curled. "I doubt it very much."

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Need something to read? What about this one?
Fate: Timeless Trilogy, Book 1

by Tallulah Grace






Death stalks Kris in dreams and in reality. The target of a cunning serial killer, Kris must defend her life and her love. Visions prepare her for what’s coming, but is knowledge enough to change the future? Or will demented mania claim victory over fated love?


The good things in life are coming together for Kristina Collins. She’s found her ideal home, her career is on track for mega success and the man of her dreams has finally come back into her life.


In Fate, the first installment of the Timeless Trilogy, Kris Collins discovers the benefits and risks of having precognitive visions while being stalked by a serial killer. Her friends can’t help her, the FBI can’t save her; she must save herself.


The Timeless Trilogy heroines, Kristina, Veronica and Cassandra, each deal with paranormal abilities as they discover and rediscover eternal love.






The edge of the blade felt like ice against her skin. One breath too deep, one movement—ever so slight—would give the knife a taste of her blood. It’s a part of the nightmare, she thought, even as she felt the breath of her attacker lightly touch her face.


The nightmares that had been plaguing her for weeks warned of this moment. Images, too terrifying to be real, flashed quickly across her mind’s eye in an instant replay of her recent night terrors. Running down a long, empty hallway, filled with doorways on either side, chased by some unknown monster that knew her deepest fears. Running towards a movie, scrolling incessantly with images of those she loved most trapped in a fiery hell. Sepia-toned faces, twisted in pain, were a stark contrast to the blue, red and yellow of the flames engulfing them. The echoes of their screams filled the dark, never-ending hallway. She couldn’t look away and she couldn’t stop running; her only escape was straight ahead, towards the horror show. 


 So far, the nightmares ended with her sitting straight up in bed, breathing hard in a cold sweat. He hadn’t caught her yet.


The all too real feeling of cold steel pressed against her neck gave the nightmare an alternate ending. Kris tried to control her breathing so her attacker would think she slept. Her mind raced as she tried to think of a way to reach the loaded SIG waiting beneath the extra pillow beside her. She didn’t always keep a gun so handy, but recent events, including the dreams, made it a necessity.


“Wake up, Sleeping Beauty.” The familiar voice spoke the words softly in her ear.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Tallulah Grace is an aficionado of anything paranormal, loves to read a good thriller and creates characters that become friends. Tallulah was born and raised in a small southern town located in the foothills of the vibrant Blue Ridge Mountains. When she's not developing characters and weaving stories, Tallulah enjoys antiquing and bead-weaving.
Personal Links:
Amazon Author Page:
 Book Trailer on You Tube:
Book Links
Tallulah will be awarding winner's choice of a backlist eBook to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop, so follow her tour and comment often. You can find her schedule at


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beyond the Book: 1950's Recipes

Hello, and welcome to Beyond the Book, Elaine's attempt to let you know what your favorite characters are up to after the book ends. My name is Liesel Wolf, and I was Elaine's heroine in Never Trust a Pretty Wolf. My husband and I live in a midcentury modern home built in 1955, so I got interested in the fifties.  Last week I shared a meat loaf recipe from the fifties, and today I'll share a recipe for ham salad. My grandmother loved to shop, and one of the department stores that she liked had a coffee shop that served wonderful ham salad sandwiches. She asked them how they made their ham salad, and to her surprise, they said it was made of Treet. If you don't know what that is, it's like Spam, just a different brand of canned meat. Anyway, this is how they made ham salad.

1 can Treet chopped fine
India relish to taste
mayonaise to taste
salt, not much

That's it. They served the sandwichs on toasted white bread. Were they good? I have to admit, they were. Maybe I'll make some for Andy. Won't he be surprised to be served a meal from the fifties?

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Difference a Day Makes



Barbara Longley




Ryan Malloy has lost it all. After his fiancĂ©e dies in a tragic accident, he enlists in the army, only to lose his best friend in a roadside bombing. Wracked with guilt and grief, Ryan finds life unbearable—until a job offer from his former commander gives him a glimmer of hope. And in the tiny town of Perfect, Indiana, the man who thought he had nothing left to live for meets the only woman who can tempt him into risking his battered heart one last time...


Paige Langford has it all: wealth, beauty, and ambition. But when her boyfriend’s betrayal leads to the loss of her job and her reputation, she retreats to her brother’s rural Indiana home to regroup. There she meets Ryan Malloy, a gruff, hard-drinking loner whose surly temper can’t hide the haunted misery in his eyes. He is everything Paige never wanted, yet he may be exactly what she needs—if only they can overcome their personal demons to forge a love strong enough to save them both.



Throwing her shoulders back, Paige knocked on Mr. Weil’s door.
“Come in,” he barked from inside.

Smoothing her face into a professional mien, she opened the door and strode in. One look at his expression, and she faltered. He looked serious. Seriously unhappy. What the hell?

 “Have a seat, Langford.” He moved a pile of folders aside.
She took one of the chairs in front of his huge, imposing desk. “You wanted to see me?”

 “Hmmm.” He scowled her way. “Meyer Construction needed our bid five business days ago. They never got it. They’ve gone with another supplier.”
An adrenaline shock hit her system, and her heart leaped to her throat. She gripped the arms of the chair. “That’s impossible! I sent that bid with a same-day courier two days before it was due.”

“Like I said—they never got it.” He leaned back in his expensive leather chair and fixed her with a baleful scowl. “I’ve also had two other accounts you handled complain that their bids were late, holding them up and delaying their contractors. If it weren’t for Anthony Rutger’s intervention, we would’ve lost those accounts as well.”
“Anthony’s…intervention?” Her mind spun with the implications. Anthony?

Her mind flew back to the day the courier had come to the lobby for the Meyer bid. She’d been in the middle of a phone call, and Anthony had offered to take the envelope down to the lobby for her. At the time, she’d thought it was sweet. Come to think of it, he’d also offered to put a few of her bids into the office’s outgoing mail bin for her. No, he wouldn’t purposefully sabotage her. Would he? They were a couple.

 Heat filled her face. “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
“Damn straight it won’t. You’re fired.”

 “Oh, no. There’s been a mistake. I had somebody else put the bids in the mail for me. They must’ve forgotten, or…” Shit. Shit. Shit. She glanced around the office as the reality of Anthony’s betrayal sank in. “I won’t let it happen again, Mr. Weil. I’ll get the Meyer account back somehow.” She sucked in a breath. “From now on, I will personally put things in the out bin myself, and—”
“Miss Langford, you’re done here.”




As a child, Barbara Longley moved frequently, learning early on how to entertain herself with stories. Adulthood didn’t tame her peripatetic ways: she has lived on an Appalachian commune, taught on an Indian reservation, and traveled the country from coast to coast. After having children of her own, she decided to try staying put, choosing Minnesota as her home. By day, she puts her master’s degree in special education to use teaching elementary school. By night, she explores all things mythical, paranormal, and newsworthy, channeling what she learns into her writing.



Follow Barbara's tour and comment often for a chance to win one of two $10 gift certificates.  Find her schedule at

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors: Phone Call

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. Today's excerpt is a continuation of the manuscript I've been sharing for the last few weeks. To recap, my hero and heroine have been captured by terrorists after their plane crashes in the Amazon. The leader of the bad guys said that he knew David's (my hero) father which doesn't seem too likely because David is the son of an former America president. Turns out they do know each other. I'm picking up today near the end of the phone conversation between the president and the bad guy. The bad guy speaks first.

“I will return your son and his woman and consider my debt to you as paid.”

“It’s paid.”

Rafael pursed his lips. “I have your word you will not ever tell the authorities where I am to be found?”

“You have my word.”

“And you will not come here yourself?” he asked with a chuckle that to David almost sounded nervous.

“If my son is unharmed you have my word.”

“Ah, then we shall do business.”

Find more lovely sentences here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample: I've Got Worries Whoa-Oh

Hello, and welcome to Sweet Saturday Sample. My excerpt is from the same manuscript I've been sharing with you the last couple of weeks. This is from the opening scene of the book when my hero and heroine meet for the first time. Caroline arrives at her Uncle Bill's house to find that Uncle Bill died last Sunday in a car accident. Wes-my hero-is there to greet her. Caroline speaks first. Dylan is Caroline's son.

“Uncle Bill invited Dylan and me to live with him.  I was going to be his housekeeper.”

“There’s no work for you here.  Uncle Bill left this house to me.  It’s small, and I don’t need a housekeeper.”

Animation drained from Caroline's face.  “I…I’m sorry about Uncle Bill.  I wish I could have seen him once more before the end.”

“I’m sure he’d have enjoyed visiting with you.  Now, if you’ll excuse me I have some work I need to do.”

Caroline faced him with a curious blend of desperation, pride, and shame.  “I spent every penny I had getting here.  I don’t have any money for food much less a hotel room.  I was so counting on Uncle Bill.”

Dylan, who’d been sitting quietly on the rug in front of the fire, jumped up and put his arms around Caroline.  “It’s okay, Mama.  I’m not really hungry tonight, and we can sleep in the car again.”

A faint flush spread across the woman’s face.  “We can sleep in the car, but Dylan needs to eat.  If you could see your way clear to loaning me a few dollars, I’d pay you back.”

A particularly vicious gust of wind buffeted the house and whistled around the corner.  Dylan, who was small and pale, shivered when he heard it.  A tired, defeated expression pasted itself on Caroline’s face.

“I wouldn’t put a dog out on a night like this,” Wes gruffly answered.  “You can stay here until morning.”

Fashionista Friday: Favorite Colors

Orange and blue seems to be my favorite color scheme this year. This is a yummy outfit.


Joseph scoop neck tank

J Crew j crew

Real leather handbag

Dolce Gabbana crystal jewelry
$665 -

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Adelle Laudan: Dani

One of my favorite authors is Adelle Laudan. If you haven't read her work, you should. Everything I've sampled so far has been super good, and she has a new book out that sounds just as good as the others. I asked Adelle to talk to us about her new book, and here's what she shared with me.

Women of Strength Series by Adelle Laudan

This series is a collection of stories about real women and the struggles they overcome. The latest release is Dani’s story—a single mom who lives in a small town and loses her job after 12yrs. She needs to find a new job, fast!
As with so many of us, we live paycheck to paycheck. Dani is no different. She is the sole supporter of a 16yr old daughter and quickly learns of the prejudice against women with tattoos as she searches for a job.
This story tells of the options she is presented with, and the choices she makes. I think every mother out there will be able to relate to Dani on some level.
Here is the blurb:
The paper mill where Dani has worked for the past twelve years is closing. A single mother of a sixteen-year old, she quickly learns her tattoos aren't helping her land a decent job. Should she stand up for her choice to have full sleeve tattoos, and settle for a job at Teasers, the local stripper bar? Maybe she should hide her beautiful artwork and try for a steady job in one of the design houses in the city?
Will she listen to Ryan and accept his help, knowing he wants to take their special friendship to another level. Is she willing to take the risk of losing him and cross that proverbial line?
Thanks Elaine for having me. I’d like to giveaway a free ecopy of Dani. Elaine has been kind enough to agree to draw one winner tomorrow from all who comment.
You can check out the other stories in my Women of Strength Series on my Website:
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Editor-Proof Your Writing

Authors, don't you love to edit your work?  LOL. No, we don't, maybe because we need a little guidance to show us what to do. That's where my guest comes in. Please help me welcome Don McNair author of Editor Proof Your Writing. Don's on a blog tour, and he's giving away any book from his backlist to one random commenter, so comment often and follow his tour at

QUESTION: Don, welcome to my blog. Tell us a little bit about your new book, “Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave.”

 ANSWER: Let’s start with this premise. Writers know they should self-edit, but most have no clue what their editing problems are.  And if they don’t know them, how can they solve them? 

I learned this from forty years of editing and writing: as a magazine editor for eleven years, a PR professional for six, and head of my own PR firm for twenty-one.  I always wished my writers could self-edit, but that seemed impossible.

There’s a lot of advice out there, of course—hefty editing manuals, style manuals, and so on—but little of it is of practical value to the beginning writer.  Most editing manuals are like geography books that give great information but don’t show how to get from place to place.  They’re like dictionaries from which one is asked to select words to write the Great American Novel.  Again: if you don’t know what your writing problems are, how do you know what in those big books you should apply?  “Editor-Proof Your Writing” helps them learn that, since it helps them identify their personal problem areas. 
QUESTION: How did you come to write this particular book?
 ANSWER:  The idea hit me as I read a fog-filled paperback on a flight from Chicago to Atlanta.  I was intrigued that editing problems kept repeating themselves. A pattern emerged, and I became excited.  Had I discovered the writer’s Rosetta Stone?
            I spent hundreds of hours after that, recording offending sentences of many other writers and sorting them by problem type.  I eventually identified 21 distinct problems and today call their solutions the “21 Steps to Fog-Free Writing.”  Those problems are actually tips of bad-writing icebergs, and eliminating them resolves otherwise complicated editing problems. 
QUESTION: What is the one part of your book that you believe everyone should read?
 ANSWER:  Actually, since the book shows writers what they’re doing wrong before it offers solutions, they should start on page one and work through.  They’ll find problems they never knew they had.
            Here’s how the system works.  Writers apply the 21 Steps, one at a time, to their manuscript’s first chapter.  Then they use that total experience to finish the manuscript.
            Let’s look at Step 3, for example, which involves changing passive voice to active voice.  It’s a problem many writers have and often don’t recognize. 
            The writers learn why this is a problem, see examples of it, read a “Fog Alert!” sidebar that shows more before-after examples, then edit ten problem sentences.  After every two or three Steps, they edit a mini-chapter of “Sarah’s Perils,” a tongue-in-cheek melodrama, to find and fix the problems they’ve just studied. 

Finally, they search their own manuscript’s first chapter for passive sentences (they now know what to look for) and change them to active.  With many Steps, they’ll learn how to use their word processor’s “search” function to find the problems. 
QUESTION: Who have been your cheerleaders during your writing career?
ANSWER:  I’d have to say my students.  I taught this method for three years to online classes, and got rave reviews.  I show some on my website ( ) and in the front pages of the book. 
QUESTION: What projects are you currently working on?
 ANSWER: To date I’ve written six novels and four non-fiction books, along with my client work.  I now mostly edit novels for others. 
Don McNair is a professional editor and the author of ten published novels and non-fiction books.  His latest, “Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave,” can be reviewed and ordered at his website,
Don McNair
Most editing manuals are like geography books. They give great information, but don’t show how to get from place to place.  Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave is a GPS that leads you through the writing jungle to solve your specific writing problems.
Most editing manuals are like dictionaries from which you’re asked to select words to write the Great American Novel. This book shows what words to use and what words NOT to use. 
Most editing manuals are loaded with mind-numbing theory.  This one presents knowledge a step at a time and asks you to apply what you learned—a step at a time—to your manuscript’s first chapter.  Along the way you’ll also edit a nine-chapter melodrama and check your editing against the author’s.  When you finish, you’ll have an editor-proofed first chapter and will be ready to edit the rest of your book. 
This system was proven to work in three years of weekend and online classes, titled Editor-Proof That Chapter and Twenty-One Steps to Fog-Free Writing. They are parts One and Two of this book. Part Three discusses finding and working with critique partners, professional editors, publishers, and agents.  The students loved the concept! 
This book is perfect for use in classrooms. The information is presented in bite-sized lessons which can be assigned daily. See what students say about their classroom experiences on the back page.
If you’ve never been published, there’s both bad news and good news. 
The bad news is that most unpublished writers will never be published.  Editors receive hundreds of manuscripts each week and ultimately buy fewer than one percent.  We’ve all heard of hapless writers who have wallpapered their home or office walls with rejections.  Perhaps you’re one.
The reason is basic.  Many writers send problem-riddled manuscripts to editor after editor, as Barbara did, believing they are perfect.  In the meantime they blithely build the same flaws into their next manuscript.  They simply don’t know they’re making those mistakes.  Unless someone tells them or they somehow learn on their own, their manuscripts will be rejected the rest of their lives. 
Note, however, that someone does recognize their problems.  Those editors!  They quickly spot them in a manuscript’s first chapter—often on the first page—and reject the submission without reading further. They know the rest of the manuscript contains the same mistakes, just as we know an iceberg’s submerged part is made up of more of the same ice seen on top.  But editors simply don’t have the time or inclination to teach authors writing skills.  So they send out “sorry, it’s not for us” letters and move on to the next manuscript in their bulging “in” baskets.
Don McNair spent his working life editing magazines (eleven years), producing public relations materials for an international PR company (six years), and heading his own marketing communications firm, McNair Marketing Communications (twenty-one years). His creativity has won him three Golden Trumpets for best industrial relations programs from the Publicity Club of Chicago, a certificate of merit award for a quarterly magazine he wrote and produced, and the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil. The latter is comparable to the Emmy and Oscar in other industries. 
McNair has written and placed hundreds of trade magazine articles and four published non-fiction how-to books. He considers his latest, Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave, (published April 1, 2013 by Quill Driver Books) to be the cap of his forty-year writing and editing career. It’s an easy-to-use editing manual that helps writers edit, step by step, their first chapter, then use the knowledge gained to edit the rest of their work.
McNair has also written six novels; two young adults (Attack of the Killer Prom Dresses and The Long Hunter), three romantic suspenses (Mystery on Firefly Knob, Mystery at Magnolia Mansion, and co-authored Waiting for Backup!), and a romantic comedy (BJ, Milo, and the Hairdo from Heck). All are published internationally, and are available at his website, . 
McNair, a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and the Editorial Freelancers Association, now concentrates on editing novels for others. He teaches two online editing classes.