Thursday, May 31, 2012

Guest Judy Nickles Remembers Times Past


Times Past, Times Remembered



            When I started to school in 1950, I already understood that many of our fathers had gone to a war we couldn’t quite remember, and some hadn’t returned. Being patriotic wasn’t questionable in any sense—rather, patriotism was ingrained in us from birth.

            My hometown in West Texas had been the home of an air force base (it remains today) and a bombardier training school (now the regional airport) where my father flew a desk until he shipped out to California to await the invasion of Japan. Fortunately for him and hundreds of thousands of others, the men were ordered off the ship and back to barracks because the war ended before sailing got underway.

            My mother kept the newspapers from December 7, 1941, V-E Day, and V-J Day. They are full of pictures of young men who were not so fortunate as my father. The brittle yellow pages, crumbling now with age, are still a reminder of a generation to whom we owe so much.

            Though I got the idea for Dancing with Velvet from an old photo of a now-demolished hotel where people, both young and old, danced to the music of live bands in the Roof Garden overlooking the quiet downtown streets, there was no question the story would take place during an era that shaped my life and those of my friends—the years known as World War II.

            Today, when I fly in or out of the small airport, I am greeted by an oil painting prominently displayed: two brothers, Jack and Mark Mathis. Jack received the Medal of Honor posthumously and is buried in the local cemetery. Shortly afterwards, Mark’s plane went down on a bombing run. His body was never recovered.

Read their story at  http://www.homeofheroes.com/wings/part2/05_mathis.html It’s a long story but well worth the time.

            Dancing with Velvet is a love song to my hometown and a salute to the brave young men who passed through it from 1942-1945.



In the waning days of the Great Depression, Celeste Riley wonders if life will always be the same: going to work, coming home to keep house for her widowed father who ignores her. She clings to her married sister, Coralee, and the recurring dream of a blue velvet curtain and a faceless lover who beckons her beyond it. Then a blue velvet dress in the window of a local department store seems to promise the change in her life she so desperately longs for. When she dances in the arms of traveling salesman Kent Goddard at the Roof Garden, she is sure she has found the man of her dreams and is crushed when he disappears from her life. Then, soon after Pearl Harbor propels the United States into war, he returns in uniform as a student at the new bombardier training school. A wartime separation threatens their deepening relationship. Then Celeste realizes that what she doesn’t know about the man of her dreams may become her worst nightmare.



With the world at war, it’s tempting to live only for today, because tomorrow may never come. But Celeste wants more. Read the first chapter of this vintage romance and view the video trailer at my website.



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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Things My Mother Taught Me...

By Glenys O'Connell ( @GlenysOConnell )


Even though we deal in dreams and fantasy, every now and again Real Life intrudes even on the lives of fiction writers. I've just been through such a patch, tossed around by a mischievous Universe, to land gasping on the shore of what I hope will be a wee bit of peace and quiet. Time to write again, please!
The result is that I've missed several of my Roses of Prose blog dates. Gee, guys, I hope you missed me….

Anyway, this means that I'm chasing my tail to catch up and so this blog post is quick and simple, inspired by the words of a friend who once told me: "Suddenly, out of the blue, I found myself talking (or yelling) at my kids in my mother's voice. OMG, it was very scary." Well, yes, been there, done that.

Mother's Day was one of the themes for this month and I'm happy - and relieved - to say my kids remembered it with flowers, cards and chocolate. Yes, they know my weaknesses well.
And then in church, the minister handed out these words of explanation which I'm going to share with you now. I'm afraid I don’t know who write them, but whoever you are, you are a very wise soul. So, here goes:

WHAT MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME:


My mother taught me RELIGION: When I spilled grape juice on the carpet, she instructed: "You better pray the stain comes out."
My mother taught me LOGIC:  From her decisive words: "Because I said so, that's why."

My mother taught me FORESIGHT: "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident.
My mother taught me IRONY: "Keep laughing, and I'll give you something to cry about."

My mother taught me about STAMINA: "You'll sit there 'til all that spinach is finished."
My mother taught me about WEATHER: "It looks like a tornado swept through your room."

And last, but by no means least:


My mother taught me about the CIRCLE OF LIFE: "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out…"


Yep, sometimes I've heard my Mother's voice when I've been talking to my kids. Fortunately, they never did listen to me, so no harm done.  Right?

So here's a belated Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there - may you speak in your own voice, but with the wisdom of all your fore-mothers.
Glenys O'Connell has survived the growing up of all four of her children, plus countless pets of all varieties. She thinks she's still speaking in her own voice, except when she gets too involved with her imaginary friends, er, characters. Her latest book, Naked Writing:The No Frills Way to Write Your Book, is now available in print on Amazon, here

Monday, May 28, 2012

Guest Ute Carbone and Double Trouble

I started the P-Town Queen in third person. Traditionally, romances are written this way and P-Town Queen is a romantic comedy. I ran into trouble about fifty pages in. The hero was doing fine, but the heroine…not so much.  I was having a hard time relating to her and couldn’t quite figure out why. It finally occurred to me that it was because, in third, I wasn’t getting to see the real Nikki.  On a whim, I switched to first, telling the tale from the heroines point of view and then the hero’s in alternating chapters. The story started to take off and I knew I’d done the right thing in switching.

But now I had another niggling problem. The hero and heroine don’t know each other in the beginning and, in fact, live entirely separate lives.  Because I was using two first person POVs, I had to have not one but two hooks to open the book.   This was a little tricky and took several tries.

The story begins with Nikki in Chapter one:

I did not blow up the Mona Lisa. Not only did I not blow up the Mona Lisa--an old leaker  of a boat whose blowing up could be construed as a favor to the aptly named Rusty Cook--I did not blow up any part of Rusty’s marina. My brothers will, of course, say otherwise. They had quite the laugh at my expense over coffee at Ella’s Place.

Rusty had been on the lookout for a boat for me. It had taken a lot of gumption and crow-eating to get to a place where I could consider buying a boat. I needed a cheap one, because God only knew how much money I’d be able to squeeze out of the Massachusetts Bay Commission via the research grant proposal I’d spent three long months laboring to produce.

The head of the commission was Ned Anderson. Ned, a brilliant shark researcher in his own right, had tumbled a long way: to full time administrator of a bullshit state commission. Though to hear Ned say it, it wasn’t a tumble but a reward for all the years he’d spent roughing it on a California channel island-- an island that only had electricity every other day-- in order to unlock the mystery of white shark feeding behavior. I had spent five years on that island with Ned. We were married at the time.



And here’s the start of Chapter Two, where Marco is introduced:

I’ll never make gnocchi again. Don’t get me wrong, I like a nice gnocchi and I do it up pretty good, if I do say so myself. With just the right balance of cream and garlic, it’s food for the angels as my Nona would have said. But some foods, they have memories attached, and gnocchi, that’s a memory I’d just as soon forget.

It was me and Angelo Del Rossi in the kitchen at Roma’s. Angie, he’s this big slow thug of a guy. Jesus and Mary, he didn’t know a paring knife from a carving knife and was not likely to learn anytime soon. I was cooking for my silent partner, Fat Phil Lazario. Fat Phil would have owned the place outright if he didn’t need somebody who knew what was what in the kitchen. Fat Phil was also my father-in-law, being as I had been married to his daughter, Lark, for a few months. Only, by then, things with Lark and me weren’t so good and the week before all this happened, I’d moved out of the apartment. Lark wasn’t about to tell her old man that I was living in the storage room on account of the fact that she had lied and cheated. But I got to thinking that if I came clean, Phil would recognize my value and see that Roma’s could be a real jewel in downtown Newark, an up and coming area, and he’d keep his end of the bargain we’d struck and finance the place until I could buy it outright. Truth was that he’d probably keep up his end because then he could continue meeting with questionable people about questionable business propositions about which I would plead ignorance. Which was my end of the bargain. I just hoped, that after hearing my side of the story about what happened between me and Lark, Phil would think twice about meeting with some questionable guy about ending our partnership on a permanent basis.



Do you like books with multiple first person points of view? Or does it drive you to distraction? I’ve heard reactions both ways.

The P-Town Queen will be available on June 4!



Here’s the blurb:

Nikki Silva feels like she’s blown up her life even as her brothers tease her about blowing up a boat called the Mona Lisa. Divorced, funding for her shark research cut off, she’s moved back to Provincetown to live with her father in her childhood home. Nikki hopes to regain herself. She’s written a grant proposal for the newly formed Massachusetts Bay Commission to fund a study that will get her back to the sort of research she loves. The commission is run by her ex-husband Ned, who would rather have a migraine than give money to his ex-wife.



            Marco Tornetti wants to turn a hole-in-the-wall Newark spaghetti joint into a trendy bistro. His silent partner, Fat Phil Lagosa, wants to use the place to solicit questionable business deals.  When Fat Phil accuses Marco of a double cross and has him taken for a ride by one of his hit men, Marco knows he’s in too deep.



            Marco escapes the hit man and takes the first bus out of the New York metropolitan area, a bus chartered by the Greater Teaneck Gay Men’s Choir and headed for Provincetown. Marco figures that Phil would never look for him in Provincetown‘s gay community. But when he meets Nikki and falls hard for her, he finds that pretending to be gay isn’t as easy as it would seem.


Ute Carbone Bio

I'm a novelist and sometimes poet who lives in Southern New Hampshire. I’ve been married to the same great guy for a lot of years. We have two grown sons. I love hiking, skiing, and generally communing with nature. I'm a big fan of wine, chocolate, theater, and really good stories.

I write women’s literary fiction, romantic comedy, and just a bit of romance. My women’s literary novel, Blueberry Truth, was published in August of 2011.  I have two romantic comedies due for release: The P-town Queen,   in June 2012 and Afterglow, in January 2013. My novella, The Whisper of Time  is to be released in summer 2012.   And my short story trilogy, I’ll be Seeing You, will be released in summer 2013.

You can find me at:  http://UteCarbone.com ; or at my blog:  http://ute-carbone.blogspot.com/  on twitter at  http://twitter.com/#!/Wildwords2 and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ute-Carbone/234417796596443




Sunday, May 27, 2012

Honoring Those Who Have Gone Before Us

--By Vonnie Davis
Last weekend Calvin and I went to an Indian Powwow (Monacan Indians, Amherst, Virginia). Both of his grandmothers were members of this tribe. There we viewed Native American tribal dances and examined hand-made crafts that were for sale. On one vender’s table I found a stack of papers on each of which someone had printed a poem.

I was struck by its beauty, both in imagery and thought. I had never heard of the poem, but after Googling it, I found it has been around for decades, a favorite for eulogies. I think it a powerful, comforting piece. 

Don’t stand at my grave and weep
For I’m not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,


I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush


Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.


 
AS YOU CELEBRATE MEMORIAL DAY, REMEMBER
OUR FREEDOM DID NOT COME CHEAPLY.


REMEMBER OUR FALLEN MILITARY PERSONNEL.
(To my grandson serving in Afghanistan: Stay safe, Joshua)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Return to your childhood with a new twist on an old story!

Happy weekend! Happy especially for me because the Oz book is out! Twistered is finally here -- I had a lot of angst about this book because it was all ready for release then suddenly I realized: oops. Better check on the copyright status!

I had a hurried but thorough discussion with a copyright attorney and lo, and behold, I discovered that I am good to go with my book -- I based it on the novels of L. Frank Baum, not the movie(s), so I'm okay.

::whew::

So here's the Oz book for anyone who wants a fast and fun beach read for the weekend. It's out in digital now on Amazon, will be in print very soon (like tomorrow, probably) and it will be on Barnes & Noble, etc. later this summer.


This is my own take on the Wizard of Oz books in which Dorothy (our heroine) has to cope with Jack Tinsley (the Tin Man), Drew Strawn (the Scarecrow) and the Wickeds motorcycle gang -- and let's not forget the Wicked Witch (Wanda W. Wickman), the Professor, and Leo, Dorothy's best friend.

They all collide on a crazy Memorial Day weekend -- a perfect time to Get Caught Reading an old childhood classic -- with a new Twist on the story ☺

Have fun!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Guest Mary Campisi Talks About First Drafts and Fish Tacos

Mary Campisi
What do first drafts and fish tacos have in common? Well, they both have a distinctive odor…I mean smell that identifies them…but it’s more than that. First drafts are a lot like an untried recipe…which for me was fish tacos. I’d never made them before but when I received an online recipe from my local grocery store, I decided to give them a try. I printed the recipe and planned to make them Monday but an urgent dry eye issue sent me to the ophthalmologist and two hours of waiting. No fish tacos that night. I proceeded to plan B; tacos for Tuesday. Catchy little ring, isn’t it? Not intended, I assure you.
I must confess, I have a very bad habit of not measuring exactly, substituting at will and maybe a tad bit too liberally. Oh, and not reading the recipe in its entirety before I dive into it. In writing terms, that might be called panstering because I’m making it up as I go along instead of following a well laid plan, step by step. Case in point; the recipe called for mahi-mahi, swordfish or cod. I had none but I figured the white fish in the freezer that started with a B and reminded me of the word ‘baracuda’ would be fine. I did have the plotting foresight to remove it from the freezer in plenty of time to defrost. I spent the rest of the day at my computer, writing away in utter oblivion. At 4:30, I realized I better get moving because I still had to shower and get those fish tacos going before my husband got home. I’ll share a secret – if I’m showered and dinner is at least started, he has no idea I’ve once again been sucked into my writing world and lost track of time. Therefore, the shower wasn’t optional. I scanned the recipe and darn if I wasn’t supposed to chill the fish in a lime juice concoction for 30 minutes. Panster time again; olive oil for vegetable oil, chili powder for ancho chili powder. What the heck is ancho chili powder anyway? I did have a lime or I would’ve substituted a lemon… I mixed up the ingredients, plunked the fish in it and stuck it in the fridge.
Next came the quick shower and minimal makeup – I mean, I can’t wear my contacts anyway and between the steroid drops and the ointment what’s the use? Besides, I was really running late now. I finished up, complete with my 5 minute hair styling and 30 minutes later, I’m dicing onion, tomatoes, and red cabbage for toppings. I also decided we needed black beans and rice—to round out the meal—and a few shrimp thrown into the mix might be good too. I had it all underway and was feeling pretty good about it, when my husband got home. I didn’t admit that I’d just winged most of the meal because then his very logical brain would say maybe I should have followed the recipe….I loaded his taco, the hard shell kind, and waited for his response. He called it good—pause—but bland. Dang! I pulled out Frank’s Hot Sauce. Better. I tried mine—darn but the man was right! I confessed to my panstering the recipe. Honestly, most of the time I can get away with it but not this time. My very honest husband said maybe next time we should try it with chicken and hot sauce! Okay, that would not be fish tacos.
The point of this convoluted story is that first drafts are like that—messy, inconclusive, bland, and unfocused. But you would never know that if you didn’t try them just like I now know I will not use this recipe again until I discover what ancho chili powder really means. First drafts are just that, and even with all the proper ingredients, like total plotting and writing know-how, and great characters, you might still get a bland result which will then require a bit of Frank’s Hot Sauce, or in simple terms, spice and rewrites . . .aka a chicken taco.
INNOCENT BETRAYAL, my latest Regency historical romance with The Wild Rose Press has lots of spice, rewrites, and not a hint of fish taco!  
Love & Betrayal…Regency style…
English noblewoman, Emily St. Simon wants nothing more than to escape the constraints of a society that demands she turn in her breeches and secure a husband. She cares nothing about men or love until she encounters daring sea captain, Noah Sandleton, a man who steals her heart and her innocence with searing kisses and bold touches.
Noah Sandleton sails the sea avoiding anything that resembles commitment - until he meets the golden-haired temptress with a will to match his own. One night of passion binds them together but a debt of honor forces Noah to abandon his bride. When he discovers Emily is caught in a dangerous game of intrigue, Noah devises a secret plan to return to her side where he will risk his life to protect her and earn the chance to rekindle the greatest love either has ever known.

Excerpt: “I was thinking of a bath myself,” Noah said, turning toward her, his expression unreadable. “Would you mind?”
The thought of him naked made her hot and cold all at once. When she could find her voice, she stammered, “Why no,” with as much matter-of-factness as she could muster. If he could appear so nonchalant about his nakedness, then why couldn’t she? The truth smacked against her bravado; she’d never, in her entire life, seen a man naked. The very idea was petrifying – and intriguing. “I wish I’d known,” she mumbled, grabbing for something to say, “I wouldn’t have put the lilac water in the tub.”
He smiled tightly. “Consider it just one more step in our ruse.”
She looked at him blankly. “I don’t understand.”
“Don’t you? When my men smell your scent on me they’ll have no doubt that we’re lovers. That’s our plan, isn’t it?” he asked, his voice soft as silk. “Pretend to be lovers?” Without waiting for her response, he turned and began unbuttoning his shirt.
Emily hesitated a moment, unable to look away as he pulled off his shirt to reveal a darkly tanned, well muscled back. When he bent to remove his boots, his tightly clad breeches stretched to expose the finely carved muscles of his thighs and buttocks, leaving Emily a vision of what his unclothed body would look like.
She swallowed. He bent his head as he worked the buttons on his breeches. The breath stuck in her lungs as his strong hands worked the fabric over his slim hips. He stopped and jerked his head around, his dark eyes boring into her.
“Unless you’d like to help, you’d better turn around now,” he said gruffly.
Emily gasped and buried her head in the pillow, but no matter how deep she burrowed, she couldn’t block out the rich sound of Noah’s

mary@marycampisi.com
http://www.facebook.com/marycampisibooks
https://twitter.com/#!/MaryCampisi
link for Innocent Betrayal on Amazon  http://amzn.to/KwCS2p
INNOCENT BETRAYAL is on sale for 99 cents through Sunday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Needed Gifts from the Garden by Brenda Whiteside

I've had an absolutely unexpected month with sorrow and joy, frustration and accomplishment. I looked at the May topics and realized what's kept me going are Gifts from the Garden. But I need to make that plural - Gardens. My gardens come in several forms. I have a perennial garden, a vegetable garden and one of my publishers considers their authors a garden.


We moved into our home right after the first of the year. The house had been vacant for two years and the work it took to clean the place up has been back breaking. We have two and a half acres with fruit trees and a garden but of course it all had gone to weed.

So, like I said, this month has had its ups and downs. Spring descended on the northern prairie this month and the gifts helped make up for the downs. It's such a surprise to wander outside and discover perennial plants that I didn't labor over. A gift!

In the vegetable garden, asparagus popped up. What a surprise. Asparagus takes three years to get a good crop. How great the former owner planted them and how great Mother Nature was to keep them lurking and happily waiting for water. We have asparagus every other dinner.

And in my final garden, The Wild Rose Press garden, my latest book will release on July 4th. It's part of a series, The Honky Tonk Hearts. Other books in the series from other authors began releasing in April.

In my world, Spring has sprung and gifts abound.

Blurb:
Can there really be love at first sight?

Abigail Martin doesn’t think so. Unless the sexy redheaded stranger she wakes up with the morning after her best friend’s wedding is telling the truth.

Bobby Stockwood fell cowboy-hat-over-boot-heels for the brown-haired beauty, and married her in an impromptu wedding ceremony.  Now he just has to convince his new bride that the morning after can be the first day of the rest of their lives.

But just when Abigail starts believing the fairy-tale is real, she finds out exactly who Bobby is, and the walls of make-believe start crumbling down.

Excerpt:
A moan.
The man rolled to his back, kicking off covers.
Abigail gasped. Her gentleman visitor wore only a bow tie and black socks.
She crept to the edge of the bed. His face was turned away, further hidden by red curls hanging down the nape of his neck and onto his cheek. A visual sweep of the attractive body brought a smile to her face when she paused on his more than ample endowments. A true redhead. An encounter of this magnitude should be easy to remember.
Abigail smiled in spite of her throbbing temples. Inching closer, she nudged his boots aside with her foot and leaned over to see his face. Mmm. He smelled good, like rich leather and fresh cut wood. As she bent to get a closer look, Kirby, her sixteen-pound Siamese cat, entered her room and announced his hunger.
The visitor stirred, grasped her arm, drawing her down across his hips.
He rose up on his elbows and looked at her. “So, Abby, you’re a morning person, are you?”
Abigail launched off the bed, trying not to come into contact with anymore of the warm body than she already had. Tripping over the boots, she ended up sprawled on the floor. “Who…” She gulped. “Who the hell are you?”

Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com.
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com
She blogs about prairie life on her personal blog http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

MEMORIAL DAY - LETTER FROM THE TRENCHES






LOVE LETTERS FROM THE TRENCHES - Margaret Tanner
With memorial day coming up on the 28th May, I thought I might post a letter written by Captain Ross Calvert to his wife Harry. It is written in 1916, from the trenches of France. (Ross and Harry are the hero and heroine from my novel, Daring Masquerade.)

Dear Harry,
I have received several letters from you. Keep up the good work, you can't know how anxiously I wait to receive them. At mail call it is awful not receiving anything. The disappointment is absolutely crushing. I am one of the lucky ones. I don't think there has been a time when I have not received something, although some of the chaps are not so lucky. There are a few in my unit who have received nothing. Must be terribly disheartening for them.

We are in France as you will guess. I spent a couple of weeks in England, or Blighty, as the men call it over here. Didn't see much of it, spent most of my time training at Salisbury Downs.

There is a church called Notre Dame des Brebieres in Albert that was damaged by the German shells in 1915. A golden Madonna lies at an angle across it, looks ready to topple off at any moment, but somehow she still manages to cling on. It is a fascinating sight really, and has caused a lot of superstitious talk. The English soldiers say the war will end when she falls, while the Germans think who ever knocks it down, will win the war.

I did get to see Paris, had a couple of days leave and went to the Moulin Rouge. Saw the can can a very naughty dance where the chorus girls kick their legs up high and lift their skirts up over their heads to show off their fancy knickers. Some of the young soldiers nearly caused a riot, well you can guess, I suppose, how it affected them.

Don't worry, I enjoyed watching them, (what man wouldn't), but that was all.

Give my love to Mrs. Bates and Hughie, tell Jack I'll be writing soon.

All my love. Ross. 

                                        
Ross opened Harry's letter and a few tendrils of dark baby hair almost fell out. A separate sheet of paper displayed a tiny brown handprint with a little note underneath. I mixed some cocoa into a paste and dunked his hand in it. How small it was, and how clever Harry was to think of it.

My darling Ross,
I hope you heard from Andrew about little Gilbert's birth, just a few days after the 'No' vote for conscription. I didn't have too bad a time of it and we are both fit and well now. Elsie was a great help. The doctor was nice. I thought I would be embarrassed about, well you know, but I wasn't. He said he had delivered dozens of babies. He was fairly old. The young doctor has enlisted in the Medical Corps, thank goodness.

Mrs. Bates' arthritis is so bad, she doesn't do anything much. Elsie and I are having a competition to see who can knit the most things for you and Ted. Loser has to do the ironing on their own for a month. My goodness, Ross, I hate ironing, so I am knitting my hardest but I think Elsie will win.

Everything is quiet here, like Jack says, we are just doing the main things; there's only us and Hughie now. Alf is still riding the boundary and Mr. Wu works non-stop in his garden.

They are still taking some timber but are selective in the trees they do chop down, not like you know who, he took everything. The grass has grown back where he burnt it. They use the track, but not as much. Jack planted some fast growing trees on our side of the track to block it off, so it is not really too bad.

Well, my darling, I know you said don't write about the war or politics because the letter might be censored, so I won't. We will have a quiet Christmas, not much to celebrate with you being away, but next year, hopefully, you will be home and we will have the best Christmas ever.

Baby is starting to cry. I am feeding him on demand. I don't care what people say about four-hourly feeds, he knows when he is hungry. Your son has a good pair of lungs, not that he cries much. I can't stand to hear him so I pick him up, that's if I get there before Jack. He spoils him something dreadful, but it is lovely to see them together.

Oh, if only you could come home to us for Christmas, I would never ask for anything else. It would be the best present ever. The doilies you sent are lovely, I used them straight away. It makes you seem closer somehow. Mrs. Bates and Elsie liked their handkerchiefs.

Well, my darling, I must go. Love and kisses from me and little Gilbert. Harry. She had drawn a circle on the bottom of the page. This is where I kissed the letter, she told him. He closed his eyes and touched his mouth to the spot, trying to pretend he was kissing Harry's soft, sweet mouth.

Daring Masquerade is out on Kindle now.





Monday, May 21, 2012

Memorial Day is for Every Soldier by Barbara Edwards






The Trail at Minute Man National Park
Memorial Day is for every soldier in every conflict. It’s about more than parades, red poppies and barbeques.  Memorial Day honors sacrifice. So visiting the Minute Man National Park in Lexington-Concord Massachusetts has special meaning.

 The shot heard around the world happened in a tiny village where a handful of men gave to the 350 million Americans alive today their freedom. 

As I followed their path, my heart was in my throat. We don’t appreciate the struggle they endured. They lost their farms and businesses, their men died. Their families went hungry while they fought.

Rebuilt bridge 
The area is charming with a few period houses still open. The park has two visitors’ centers and interpretive guides dressed in period attire. The path followed by those resolute men goes for miles. I’m going back with my younger grandchildren. I want them to know where they got their freedom.

Would you be willing to sacrifice so much? I hope I would.

I came from a family that fought. My Father’s and Mother’s brothers (seven in total) all went overseas in World War Two. They marched through France and Italy, North Africa, Japan and the Pacific Islands. They serve on ships.  My Father built ships at the Brooklyn Navy Yards. My Aunt Edna was a riveter putting airplane wings together.

Interpretive guide 
My daughter and her husband served in the United States Army. Two of my sons and a daughter-in-law served in the United States Navy. My grandson and granddaughter are in the Navy with number three in the early enlistment program for next September.

I am the grandchild of emigrants. My family appreciates the freedoms here. They escaped the religious suppression, forced military service and virtual slavery of a serf type life. 

I love this country.

Minute Man Statue at the Park, with my husband Bill
My husband’s family has been here since the 1600s. One of his ancestors joined the minutemen. A company of armed men journeyed overland from New Haven, Connecticut to Lexington in two days, an incredible feat. My eyes fill with tears as I picture their hardships. It was all for my family and me. And yours

Take the time to visit The Minute Man National Park. Walk where those patriots marched and died. Listen to the lectures and learn why you enjoy the freedom you do.

Salute the flag and stand during the National Anthem. 

Barbara Edwards at monument
Put flowers on the grave of a soldier on Memorial Day. 

Say “Thank You” to our military.

And register to vote. 

Use the greatest privilege they sacrificed for: Vote for a free and responsible government. 

Visit my website: https://www.barbaraedwards.net

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New Release - Dancing in a Hurricane


I love it when a new book comes out. It gives me a chance to show off my beautiful cover art. This one features a very steamy picture of Jimmy Thomas. 


Book Blurb: A Seduction as Overpowering as a Hurricane

When her twin sister dies, Bree Prentis moves from Seattle to Miami to inherit a shadowy business, an upscale house, and her sister’s sexy Cuban business partner and housemate, Sixto Doria. She adjusts to the vivid culture of Miami, but constantly bumping into Sixto is straining her hands-off vow. Bree is looking for a man to give her a happily ever after, and Sixto has sworn off relationships. He knows it’s wrong to want her, but she makes him forget why he's not right for her, makes him crave her natural honesty and wholesome beauty.

When he teaches her to dance the Salsa Cubana, then suggests she spend the night in his bed, Bree is shocked—and tempted. In the midst of a hurricane, Bree surrenders to her reckless desire and makes love with Sixto. Could Bree be the one Sixto's been waiting for? If she finds out he’s hiding a nasty truth from her—their company is a fa├žade for a semi-legal business—she will shut it down, and Sixto will lose the income his family depends on. And more frightening for Sixto, he would lose Bree.

When she researches their company’s outrageous revenue, she sees a pattern of untruths leading back to Sixto. The word ‘love’ enters their relationship, and she prays his duplicity is all a misunderstanding, and his seduction is not merely a distraction to keep her from discovering the truth.

~ ~ ~ ~
Picture it, Miami, Florida, a hot, seductive night. Bree and Marisa are at the nightclub where Sixto works as a bartender. Since she's met him, she's tried hard to keep her distance. He's sexy, tempting, and too much for her to handle.

Excerpt: James turned to Sixto. "Your roommate here doesn't think she can dance."

Sixto glanced at Bree. "Anyone can dance."

She couldn't read his mood, but he seemed closed in, somehow.
Marisa and Rico came back to the bar, breathless. She asked Bree, "Why aren't you out there?"

She made a face. "Too fast for a first-timer."

"No it's not." Marisa eased onto her stool. "Sixto, take her out there. Show her how to Salsa Cubana."

He reached down into the beer cooler and opened a fresh one for Rico. "Too busy."
"Busy?" James laughed. "It's dead in here, bro. Go on, I can handle it."

Bree caught Sixto shooting a meaningful look at Rico. Great, not only were Marisa and Rico conspiring, now Sixto and Rico had secrets, too. She shook her head. "I'd rather watch. Thanks anyway, Sixto."

Marisa scowled at her brother. "You leave James alone at the bar all the time to dance with the chicas."

Sixto sighed and stalked away.

Bree released her pent-up breath and took a sip of wine. That was uncomfortable.

Sixto appeared on her side of the bar, right in front of her, his hand out. "Dance?"

Bree considered saying no, but would that give everyone the idea that she was avoiding him? That there was something going on between them?

She set down her glass and put her hand in his. His big, warm hand. The tingling sensation started in her palm and raced up her arm, spiraling through her to end low in her belly.
He led her to the floor. He stood stiffly, put his hand on her waist, and took her other hand in his. The other couples pressed against each other and she waited, breathlessly, for the crush of his body to hers. It didn't come.

He danced slowly, their hips a foot apart. His face seemed pinched, his eyes unreadable. She followed his lead, he told her when to step a different way, or turn under his arm. She forced herself to forget that where he held her hand, her palm warmed at his touch. She tried to ignore where his palm pressed hot and firm against her hip through the thin fabric of her dress. Her hand on his muscular bicep felt every sexy flex of each tempting muscle in his arm. She made herself forget that, too.

In less than a minute, the song ended and she stepped away from him.
They dropped their arms, and Bree sucked in air. Without his touch on her skin, her heart slowed from its manic race, and the heat drained from her cheeks. The next song started. A slower, song with a tantalizing rhythm.

She looked at him, his face looked fierce, his eyes severe.
"One more?" he grumbled.

He wanted her to say no, wanted her to run from him and be her usual cautious, conservative self. Well, she'd had enough wine tonight that her backbone was right where it should be. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction of saying no. She nodded and stepped closer to him.
A muscle in his jaw worked for a moment, as if he considered walking away. Taking her hand in his, he put his other palm on her waist. He taught her the steps. They were easier than the last dance and she didn't have to concentrate as hard. The song grew more intense, the primal beat stirred her soul, made her warm deep inside, made her feel sexy. She watched other women gyrating their hips and she let her body move to the rhythm, taking away her inhibitions.

"Goddamnit, Bree." His eyes burned with passion. "What the hell are you doing to me?" He stared into her eyes, put his hand on her lower back, and pulled her tight against him. Pausing for a moment, he groaned and began moving again, sensually, demanding her response.
She gasped, his hard body pressed along her soft one. Breasts, stomach, thighs. A mudslide of sexual awareness covered her, tingled in her nerve endings. He moved his hips the same way she was grinding and she felt every inch of his hardness against her stomach.

She told herself to move away, but it was too intoxicating for her body to ignore. He spun them to the middle of the floor, away from the prying eyes at the bar. His breath caressed her face, hot and fast. He stared down at her, her gaze collided with his.
"You shouldn't be in my arms." He tightened his hold on her. "Next time I ask you to dance," he said between clenched teeth, "say no."

~ ~ ~ ~

¡Muy Caliente! Hope you like the book!
Laura
LauraBreck.com
Dancing in a Hurricane is available at Amazon

Friday, May 18, 2012

Beginning with a Bang by Jannine Gallant

We're celebrating Creative Beginnings this month, so I thought I'd talk about the beginnings of books. How many of you agonize over the opening scene in your book and rewrite it countless times? It’s the hook that catches the reader’s attention, so it has to be perfect. At least that’s the way I look at it as I revise the first page of my WIP for the 120th time, changing one word here and one word there… You get the picture, and those of you who write can probably relate. The opening scene does more than you think. It doesn’t just introduce your characters and setting. It sets the tone for the book. It shows off your style.

The first scene in Nothing But Trouble came to me in a flash of inspiration. I could see the setting, a dusty highway in Texas in front of a honky tonk bar. My heroine is stranded by the roadside. She takes one look at the cowboy offering her a ride and knows he’s nothing but trouble. But creating a picture isn’t enough to engage potential readers. As an author, it’s your job to show them what kind of book you’ve written. Is the stranded woman frightened, sad, or spitting mad? Do you get a feeling of danger or one of humor from the situation? By the end of that first page, the reader should have a good sense of your voice.

Now, take everything you want to convey in your opening scene, and condense it into one sentence. The oh so important first line of your book. A daunting task to be certain. I’ll admit I’ve written some less than stellar first lines. But I’ve read some true beauties, both in classic books and new favorites.

From Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.

From Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts: The air was raw with February the morning Bobby Lee Fuller found the first body.

From Try Just Once More by Kat Henry Doran: Maggie McGuire didn’t have time to die.

It took me several tries, but I finally wrote a first line for Nothing But Trouble that satisfied me. Chase Paladin slammed on the brakes and prayed.

It may not be the best first line ever written, but I hope it will hook readers and make them ask, “Then what happened?” So, let’s hear your favorite first lines, one’s you’ve read or written.


Opening scene from Nothing But Trouble:

            Chase Paladin slammed on the brakes and prayed. Momentum, and the heavy livestock trailer he was towing, sent his pickup careening toward the red sports car idling in the middle of Route 66. With tires smoking, he rocked to a stop inches from its rear bumper. He peeled his fingers from the steering wheel and spared a glance for Bo, who had slid off the seat onto the floor of the truck. The hound shook himself.
            “What kind of freaking idiot stops in the middle of the road!” he shouted. Pushing his hat to the back of his head with a shaking hand, he leaned out the open window. “Hey, buddy—” The passenger door of the Porsche swung open, and the complaint lodged in his throat.
Long, long tanned legs topped by a pair of frayed denim shorts shot out. He dragged his gaze upward as the woman stood. A green ribbed tank top hugged a slim waist, and thick brown braids dangled over each shoulder. Fists clenched on her hips, she yelled something Chase couldn’t quite hear at the driver.
A pink flowered duffle bag flew through the open door and landed at her feet. She kicked the door shut and flipped the driver the bird. With squealing tires, the car tore off down the highway.
            Bending, the woman grabbed the handle of the duffle. Faded denim cupped a world class ass. Chase let out a low whistle as his pulse picked up speed. She glanced in his direction before dragging the bag toward the side of the road. He edged his pickup forward a couple of yards and lowered the passenger window.
            “Need a ride?”
            Her eyes were hidden by oversized sunglasses with leopard spotted frames. They perched atop a short, straight nose covered with a sprinkling of freckles. Color tinged high cheekbones, and a pink mouth with a full bottom lip drew into a tight line. She bared an even row of white teeth.
            “Not a chance.”
            “You sure? Mornings, there isn’t much traffic along this stretch of highway.”
            Her fist clenched around the canvas handle of the bag. “I’m not in a hurry.”
            “Look, I’m harmless, I swear.”
            She eyed him for a long minute. A warm Texas breeze ruffled tendrils of loose hair, blowing it around her face. She pushed a strand off her cheek. “You look anything but harmless. If I had to guess, I’d say trouble is your middle name.”

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Can't Get There From Here!

I went home for Mother's Day and surprised my mother. It was wonderful. She never suspected because in the twenty-six years I've lived up here, I never have been home for Mother's Day! A quick trip down home- much needed I might add. I was without a computer for three days! Three days! A break. An adventure. Well for some of us sitting waiting at the airport is an adventure. The good news is that I got to read...a lot!

Got up at 3:30. The first flight went fine; the second not so much- a two and a half hour delay- but I got home, surprised my mother and had a wonderful weekend. Living in a rural part of Mississippi doesn't make for easy travel, but it does make for a great trip. Going home brings back a simpler time for me. I loved growing up in the country on a farm. One of my favorite things was lying back in the grass and looking up at the wide blue sky and make people and animals out of the clouds- big fluffy clouds. The exact kind of clouds I found myself flying through over Texas when I  was coming home to Boston.

Now you may ask what I was doing flying over Texas. I asked myself the same question when I got to Huntsville Airport after driving from Northeast Mississippi. It was one of those 'Can't get there from here!' moments. According to the board, my flight was on time, but in reality it was late- at least an hour if not more. There wasn't a chance I was going to make my flight from Washington, D.C. to Boston in time and it was the last flight out. Now this is why I love the South. Instead of asking me where I wanted to spend the night either Huntsville or Washington (driving back another 2 hours home wasn't an option), the lady behind the counter went on her computer. The next thing I know I'm on a flight that was leaving in 20 minutes...to Dallas, Texas. The lady didn't even tell me what she had done. I was handed a ticket and told to get to the gate as soon as possible. Looking down at my tickets, I couldn't believe I was going to Dallas. Just didn't feel right. Going backwards to go forward. Can't get there from here you know! My husband laughed. But do you know - it worked! I guess sometimes you can get there from here! I got to Boston just a little behind when I should have. I know people have horror stories to tell about the airlines. I know I've lived through a couple, but this time I really appreciated the efforts both United and American Airlines made to make sure I got back to Boston even when I thought I was going to get stuck in Dallas. I could just see me trying to explain that one!

THE PROMISE
So it keeping with this spirit of adventure- I have a new release. The Promise, Part II of the Tides of Charleston Series.

Blurb

Cathryn Blankenship Eversleigh suffered greatly in England. Returning home to Charles Town widowed and with child, she seeks safe haven from the heartache she left behind. She quickly finds that much has changed since her departure. Now she is caught in the midst of the rebellion against the Crown. Jake Pennington is determined to convince Cathryn to return to England. Rekindling the flames of their love, Jake promises Cathryn he will return for her. Only now the tide of war has shifted and Cathryn lives in constant danger. Can Jake keep his promise to Cathryn before it's too late?

THE JUDAS KISS
If you missed the first part, The Judas Kiss, here it is! The third part, Another Night Falls, will be released in September!