Monday, April 07, 2014

Smut For Good: Curves Blog Hop Supporting Parkinson’s UK

This week, I’m participating in a charity blog hop raising funds for Parkinson’s UK, an organization that raises awareness of Parkinson’s Disease, help those with the disease learn to cope with the challenges, give out information and search for a cure.

The blog hop has a theme of “Curves Rule.” So I’m posting cover art, a blurb and an excerpt from “All Work and No Play,” part of the Torrid Tarot series at Ellora’s Cave. I hope you enjoy it! See the end of the excerpt for a giveaway and a surprise.

allworknoplaycoverart

All Work and No Play blurb:

Julie Preston worked hard raising her younger sister Emily after their parents died, and creating a career. She gave up simple pleasures like love and relationships. So when a friend drags her to a singles bar, Julie’s ready for anything. She meets a gorgeous guy and they spend several passionate hours together. There’s real chemistry there, but Julie regretfully sticks to her promise: a one-night stand, no strings.

When Julie hires a tutor to help Emily pass English, she’s shocked to find he’s the man from the bar. Seeing him in her house makes it hard to keep her hands off him, but he isn’t looking for a long-term relationship since he’s a singles bar patron. Right? How many miles can Julie jog before she gives in and jumps him?

 

Excerpt:

“You’ve done a great job of raising Emily on your own,” Tanya said, breaking Julie’s reverie. “No one could be a better mother to her than you’ve been. But that doesn’t mean you can never take a break. Kick back and have some fun. You know what they say about all work and no play?”

“Besides making me the Eight of Pentacles? It makes Jane a dull girl. I know. But who cares?” Julie said and shrugged, maintaining a stony expression she’d perfected over the last few stressful years. “I’m comfortable with my life just the way it is.”

But now, after five years of struggle, deprivation and want, some innately female part of her rebelled, something deep inside wondered if she were still attractive to a man. Had she really turned into the dull “Jane” who was all work and no play? So she’d given in and let Tanya talk her into going out this night.

Unfortunately, the evening had turned into a colossal waste of time as far as Julie was concerned. The music was too loud, the smoke hurt her eyes and throat and the only man who’d approached them had sported a greasy comb-over and smelled like mothballs.

“Time to go.” Julie held up her arm and tapped her watch so Tanya couldn’t mistake her meaning. “I have to get up early tomorrow to get to that board meeting—”

Julie’s jaw dropped and she faltered to a stop in mid-sentence. The most gorgeous man she’d ever seen was heading across the tiny dance floor, straight for their table. He was over six feet tall, with curly dark hair, broad shoulders and a muscular frame, and blue eyes that pierced her soul.

 

Halfway to her table, two women intercepted him, homing in on him like a barracuda scenting blood in the water. One was a blonde with a buzz cut and a mini-skirt the size of a napkin, the other a redhead with a frizzy perm and wearing enough stretched-tight spandex to gird the globe. They each put a hand on his arm, grinning like crocodiles and pressing up against him seductively. Julie could almost see their claws sinking into him.

Rats. Julie felt a stab of jealousy. It figured—she was finally about to meet the only good-looking man in the place and those two floozies were going to bag him instead. But that was what she’d expected of this evening. Total failure. So why was her stomach roiling with disappointment? Maybe she’d hoped and expected him to be too smart to fall for such obvious tactics?

 

But wait. He was peeling their hands off his arm gently but firmly, an annoyed look on his face. They persisted, he shook his head, glancing in Julie’s direction. After a minute or two of back and forth, at last they shrugged, pouted and slunk off. He resumed his path for Julie’s table again, the smile returning to his face as he caught her eye once more.

Tanya glanced over her shoulder in the direction Julie was staring, then turned back and kicked Julie’s shin under the table. “Close your mouth,” she hissed, tapping her chin with the back of her fingers for emphasis. “You look ridiculous.”

 

Julie snapped her mouth shut and swallowed, suddenly disgusted with herself. She was practically drooling, for heaven’s sake. Had it really been so long since she’d been paid any attention? She smoothed her long brunette hair with a trembling hand and took a deep breath to steady her nerves. He was just a man. Admittedly, a good-looking one but just a man. A man she’d like to eat for breakfast…

***

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt from “All Work and No Play.” And here’s a surprise for you: Lila Duprés is the pen name for…me! Shhh. It’s a secret. Winking smile

GIveaway: One lucky commenter, chosen at random, will win a PDF copy of “All Work and No Play.” Be sure to use your e-mail address when you comment if you want to be entered in the drawing.

Smut for Good: Curves Rule is a blog hop with prizes galore to raise funds for Parkinson’s UK as this is Parkinson’s Awareness week. To find more curves, and seek out further prizes please visit http://smutters.co.uk/smut-for-good and if you can take a minute to please visit the Smut for Good: Curves Rule Just Giving Page at http://www.justgiving.com/curvesrule and donate whatever you can to help us reach our target of £100 to raise awareness of Parkinson’s and to support the charity Parkinson’s UK http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/ who help those with the disease learn to cope with the challenges, give out information and search for a cure.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Guest Author Jeff Gardiner

DSCN4961

Please help me welcome author Jeff Gardiner. Jeff is going to tell us a little about his current releases, “Igboland” and “”Treading on Dreams.”

Liz: Hi Jeff, welcome! To start, please tell us a little about yourself, and what inspired you to become a writer.

Jeff: I’m a UK writer and editor, with three novels, a collection of short stories and a work of non-fiction to my name. I’ve also had many short stories published in anthologies and magazines. I’ve always loved reading and I had an Enid Blyton obsession as a kid. Then as a teenager the obsession turned to the fantasy writings of Michael Moorcock. As I got older my tastes widened and changed to writers such as Mervyn Peake and Haruki Murakami.

Liz: Tell us what your current releases, “Igboland” and “Treading On Dreams” are about.

Jeff: I’ve had an exciting year so far, with two novels being published close together.

Igboland cover6

“Igboland” is a tale of passion and conflict, set in Nigeria during the Biafran War. The story is told from the perspective of a young English lady.

Blurb for Igboland:

A new life begins for her thousands of miles from home.

Lydia and Clem Davie arrive in an Igbo village in Nigeria in July 1967 just as civil war breaks out, but Lydia has trouble adjusting to life in West Africa: a place so unfamiliar and far away from everything she truly understands.

Initially, most of the locals are welcoming and friendly, until one or two begin a frightening campaign of anti-white protests.

Lydia’s life is changed irrevocably after she meets enigmatic Igbo doctor, Kwemto, and war victim, Grace. Through them Lydia learns about independence, passion and personal identity.

Conflict and romance create emotional highs and lows for Lydia, whose marriage and personal beliefs slowly begin to crumble.

Will this house in a Nigerian bush village ever seem like home?

Treading on Dreams by Jeff Gardiner - 500

“Treading On Dreams” is a coming-of-age romance about obsession and unrequited love. Donny is at university and the woman he falls for is engaged to another, but their blossoming friendship gives him hope.

Blurb for Treading On Dreams:

Donny is obsessed with his housemate, Selena – but his love is unrequited. He enthusiastically accepts her willing friendship, which only fuels his deepening fantasies.

Jaz is their crazy landlord who likes sleeping with women – lots of them. He takes pleasure in educating the once innocent Donny in the hedonistic pleasures of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. It blows Donny’s mind.

Selena is engaged to Melvin – the perfect man – but is also keen to befriend the ever-demanding Donny ... until she falls pregnant and her wedding looms.

Donny expresses his true feelings at the wedding, causing mayhem and anger. But there remains a chink of hope: perhaps Selena’s marriage to Melvin is not quite as perfect as it seems.

Here’s where you can find more information about me, and order your own copies of “Igboland” and “Treading on Dreams.”

Jeff’s website: http://jeffgardiner.com/

Jeff’s Blog: http://jeffgardiner.wordpress.com/

Igboland Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Igboland-Jeff-Gardiner/dp/1909841528/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396001107&sr=1-2&keywords=igboland

Treading On Dreams Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Treading-Dreams-Jeff-Gardiner-ebook/dp/B00J4Z63PI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396001171&sr=1-1&keywords=Treading+on+Dreams

Amazon Author Page (UK): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jeff-Gardiner/e/B0034QC3H0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Tirgeaar Publishing: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Gardiner_Jeff/treading-on-dreams.htm

Liz: They sound intriguing! Wonderful reads. Now, for some fun…if you were casting the movie version of “Igboland” or “Treading on Dreams,”, who would you choose for the leading roles?

Jeff: For “Igboland” Emma Watson would be perfect as Lydia, with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Kwemto – he actually has Igbo parents!

Nicholas Hoult would be good as Donny in “Treading On Dreams,” and I need someone young, bad and handsome as Jaz … perhaps Alex Pettyfer or Jack O’Connell (a brilliant turn in prison flick ‘Starred Up’).

Liz: I’d like to see those movies! Tell us about a hidden talent you have that most people don’t know about.

Jeff: I have performed quite a bit on stage (all very amateur) – playing roles as varied as Dionysus and Salvador Dali! My greatest moment was as Danny in ‘Grease’.

Liz: I love Dali, but didn’t know he was the subject of a play. Interesting. Now, tell us what’s your favorite comfort food?

Jeff: Peanut butter on anything. Try it on malt-bread – it’s amazing (and gets stuck in the roof of your mouth for hours afterwards).

Liz: A writing question: are you an outliner or do you write by the seat of your pants?

Jeff: I like to have a basic outline, but I never over plan. I need room for flexibility and change. So I’m more of a ‘seat of your pants’ writer. (That makes me laugh because in the UK ‘pants’ means your underwear).

Liz: LOL! Who knew? Here’s a safer one. What’s your favorite season and why?

Jeff: Autumn, because of the beautiful colours (oh, and it’s my birthday). The summer means school holidays, so I get to spend more time with the kids, which is also brilliant.

Liz: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? Unbearable to think of, I know. Winking smile

Jeff: Either an actor – I’d especially love to do voice acting for cartoons – or a rock star. The only problem with the latter is that I don’t play an instrument and my singing range is too narrow. We can but dream.

Liz: Rock star…I like it! While we’re talking about famous people, tell us about anyone famous you’ve met.

Jeff: I’ve met the writer Michael Moorcock and I swap emails with him. My book about his writings is coming out later this year, called ‘The Law of Chaos: the Multiverse of Michael Moorcock’.

Liz: And finally, what’s your favorite non-writing-related website?

Jeff: I love reading about classic rock music and prog rock. The best website is http://www.progrockmag.com/. My other obsession is Liverpool Football Club (soccer). The website I check daily gives gossip and rumours about transfers and players.

Thanks, Liz, for hosting me on you blog. It’s been lots of fun.

Liz: It’s been my pleasure! Can’t wait to read your two amazing novels.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Author Kemberlee Shortland Cover Reveal

Please help me welcome Kemberlee Shortland, the author of the Irish Pride series, Rhythm of My Heart, A Piece of My Heart, and Shape of My Heart. Below you’ll find the blurbs, excerpts, and yes—the covers!—for all three books. Enjoy!

Rhythm Of My Heart by Kemberlee Shortland - 500

RHYTHM OF MY HEART

Irish Pride series, book one

Kemberlee Shortland

http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Shortland_Kemberlee/rhythm-of-my-heart.htm

http://www.kemberlee.com

BLURB

Artist Representative, Eilis Kennedy, gave up a singing career so that other women could have a fair chance at having their music heard. Having suffered rejection from callous men in the industry, she thought she would get away from ‘casting couch’ mentality. But when she finds herself in the office of Fergus Manley, all bets are off. Disgusted by his continual come-ons and lewd invitations, Eilis is looking for ‘the one’ who will take her career to the next level, getting out from under Fergus’s controlling thumb.

Aspiring blues guitarist, Kieran Vaughan, is looking for his big break. But after suffering near bankruptcy at the hands of an unscrupulous business partner, Kieran is left picking up the pieces. He’s unsure if the debts will ever be paid or if he’ll ever have a chance to do something with his music. At his whit’s end, he’s about ready to throw in the towel and find a full-time job with real hours.

When Eilis discovers Kieran playing in a seedy pub in Dublin’s Northside, she knows he’s the one rare talent she’s been searching for. With her know-how and his talent, Eilis will finally get everything she’s been waiting for. Neither of them count on the powerful attraction from first meeting. Eilis is so rocked by Keiran’s forthright words that it sends her running. Kieran risks being arrested as he chases Eilis across Ireland.

Seeing what’s happening between Eilis and Kieran, anger wells inside Fergus and he steps up his pursuit of Eilis. Refusing to let Kieran get in his way, Fergus vows to add Eilis’s notch to his bedpost, whatever it takes.

Will Kieran be able to protect her?

EXTRACT

Dublin's Northside looked far different by day than it did at night. Last night’s storm had been one of the season’s worst. Huge puddles hampered traffic, and trash had collected in the corners of doorways and blocked the gutters. The lingering breeze was still crisp and signaled the imminent winter. Wisps of dark clouds streaked the pale blue sky but remained reminiscent of last night’s tempest.

As the taxi drove through Dublin’s inner city, a blur of tacky euro shops, shoddy newsagents and off-licenses, all with shop fronts that had seen better days, flashed by.

Finglas wasn’t noted as one of Dublin’s prime locations. This was a large blue collar suburb in a rapidly expanding city. Lack in a pride of ownership was evident, as residents struggled to make ends meet, which gave the area a rough underbelly. The Little Man Pub was a perfect example of both.

Eilis wrapped her arms around her middle, instinctively protective. Was this the compromise she must face to get where she wanted?

When the taxi slowed at a junction, she pressed herself back in her seat. A group of out-of-work young men sipping something from a paper bag spun their heads and looked at her.

Just this once, just this once, she chanted to herself.

Just this one trip to find Kieran Vaughan and that would be it. She’d never have to come back to this place ever again. She could stay safely tucked away in her D2 house for the rest of her days. She’d worked hard for that house. She deserved it. She deserved it all the more now by putting herself through this.

Long ago, Eilis had vowed never to set foot in the Northside again. But if it took this one last visit to get what she needed, it would be worth it.

The taxi pulled around the corner and the now familiar entrance to The Little Man Pub came into view. Nicotine-stained curtains were pulled across windows, reflecting the unkempt street. The façade’s red and black paint was weather-faded to pink and gray. The ‘M’ on the sign hung askew and swung in the breeze, and the ‘P’ was missing altogether. Had she not been here last night she would have thought the place was shut.

She pulled some money from her purse to hand to the driver. “I’ll wait fer ye, luv,” he said, waving her money away. “Taxis can be hard to come by ‘round here.”

Eilis was suitably taken aback. “Thank you. I won’t be a moment.”

She swallowed hard, got out of the taxi then entered the pub.

Her eyes slowly adjusted to the dark room. The few men sitting around the bar turned their gazes in her direction. Understandably. A well-groomed businesswoman in the pub was surely a novelty. These men were long since retired, or long since employed. Their stubbled faces meant they hadn’t shaved in several days, or possibly weeks. The dim light hid the worst of their unkempt appearances, but nothing could disguise their unwashed clothes. A pong in the room wafted into her nostrils, causing her stomach to lurch again.

Shoulders back, she strode to the bar.

The same man from last night stood behind the counter. He was short and pudgy with missing front teeth. His disheveled appearance made him look like one of his patrons. Had he not been behind the counter she wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.

His striped brown and white shirt had frayed cuffs and was open to mid-chest, showing a sweat-stained t-shirt underneath. His brown trousers had seen much better days and were held together not with a button or belt, but with a bit of twine looping between his belt loops, his round belly spilling over. The only thing holding up the trousers was his equally round bum. It seemed to push the waistband up in the back as his belly pushed it down in the front. The sight would have been funny if her stomach hadn’t been flip-flopping.

Her voice cracked when she first spoke, but it picked up strength in her determination to make something of this horrid trek. “A-are you the proprietor?”

A broad gap-toothed grin creased the man’s face and, loud enough for his patrons to hear, he said, “I’ll be who ever ye want me to be, luv.”

His friends burst into laughter. Eilis felt the flush rise in her cheeks. Not because she was embarrassed, but from frustration. She just wanted to get this meeting over with and she wasn’t in the mood to spar.

She stood her ground. “I’m looking for the man who played guitar here last night. Kieran Vaughan. We have business. Will you please tell me where I can find him?” She looked the man in the eye, much as she could, considering she stood a good half-foot taller than him, even without her heels.

“No, miss, I doubt you have any business with himself. ‘Speshly a fine lass such as yerself. Now, if ye were to come home with a real man like meself, well . . .” He left the rest unsaid, the insinuation hanging in the air.

Her gaze never wavered as she stared the little man in the eye.

“Sir,” she smiled sweetly, honey dripping from her words. She leaned over the bar just enough to give him a glimpse of the swell of her breast through the opening of her blouse. “I doubt you have anything I would be interested in. Besides, you don’t really want me to find out why this place is called The Little Man, do you?”

This earned the publican long oohs and sniggers from the patrons, who were now on the edges of their seats waiting to hear the disagreeable little man's response.

Obviously taken aback by such a brazen retort, the man stood gaping and red-faced at her for a moment before he got his wits about him. He winked at the men around the bar. “Oy does like me birds feisty!” That only encouraged more laughter.

Eilis could have enjoyed the banter if only the man wasn’t so repulsive. All she wanted to do was meet Kieran Vaughan and get out of Finglas as quickly as possible.

When the laughing stopped, Eilis’s gaze never wavered as she said, “Well?”

“Well what, loov?” he asked, wiping the tears from his eyes with a dirty bar towel.

“Are you going to tell me where to find Kieran Vaughan?” He was trying her patience, but she did her best to keep the frustration out of her voice.

Then she sensed someone step up behind her and straightened instantly. Somehow she knew it was Kieran. The feral scent of him permeated her senses and quickened her pulse. Butterflies replaced the strange ache in her stomach that had been there just moments before.

She slowly turned and looked up at the most handsome man she’d ever seen in her life. She found herself instantly speechless.

She'd seen him on stage the night before and knew he was handsome. But this close up . . . Never before had she seen such blue eyes. As she gazed into them, they changed from the light steel blue to the color of storm clouds heavily ringed with gunmetal. That he had dark brows and thick lashes only made his gaze seem more intense.

“Ye’ve found him, loov,” said the little man, taunting her. “Now what are ye goin’ ta do with him?”

The hammering of her heart and the pulsing blood in her temples blocked out the noise in the room as she looked into Kieran Vaughan’s eyes. To her dismay, her knees actually quivered.

Something in the pit of her belly ached. No, something else. It was like warm melting honey running through her marrow. In that moment she longed to touch him, to brush the unruly wave of his dark hair away from his face, to feel his lips against the pads of her fingers, to . . .

When he spoke she almost didn’t hear him.

“Like the man said, now that you’ve found me, what are you going to do with me?” His eyes sparkled with unabashed mischief.

“Anything you want me to.”

* * *

A Piece Of My Heart by Kemberlee Shortland - 500

A PIECE OF MY HEART

Irish Pride series, book two

Kemberlee Shortland

http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Shortland_Kemberlee/a-piece-of-my-heart.htm

http://www.kemberlee.com

BLURB

Mick and Kate thought they were falling in love. Kate hadn't been just the girl next door. She'd been Mick's life, and he hers. When an unforeseen force draws them apart they're left with wounds that refuse to heal. Now, ten years on, Mick's father's will should have been straightforward, except his addendum was like ice water in Mick's face.

It's essential that Mick and Kate work together to save his family's farm. Mick doesn't count on his new manager being accused of murder, and Kate doesn't expect a dangerously seductive woman from Dublin to claim Mick is the father of her child.

Kate thought she was falling in love with Mick all over again; however this newest revelation is too much for her. She is determined to finally say goodbye to her childhood sweetheart forever, but Mick has other plans for Kate's future. And none of them involve goodbye.

EXTRACT

“What are you doing here?”

“Nice to see you too, Mick.” She opened one eye to look at him.

He stood just inside the solicitor’s office door. He’d expected Kate at the funeral service yesterday, but he couldn’t see any reason for her to be here today.

He scowled in her direction, then strode to reception. The clerk behind the desk turned a harried glance his way, continuing to sort folders beside her computer. “Can I help you?” she asked, not bothering to stop what she was doing.

“Michael Spillane to see Tighe Lynch,” he grumbled.

Finally looking up, the clerk said, “He’s expecting you. I’ll let him know you’re here.”

As the clerk reached for the intercom, he turned back to Kate. If this hadn’t been his father’s solicitor’s office and if today hadn’t been the reading of his father’s will, he would have appreciated the sight of her in her smart dark blue suit, white blouse with the Irish lace trim, and matching blue pumps. She sat calmly, her head against the wall behind her, eyes closed. She bent her shapely legs under her and crossed them at the ankle, her hands folded in her lap.

Her emerald eyes hid beneath lids edged with thick dark lashes. He knew the exact shade of them since he’d looked into them so often in the past. They were eyes no man could forget.

Her normally unruly black hair was pulled back in a twist and away from her heart shaped face.

When they were kids he used to love it when she left her hair down. The tight curls of it bounced over her shoulders like springs when she ran. He’d seen her like that once last year when he’d been home for a couple days during Christmas.

They’d been invited to join the Conneelys, but he’d convinced his father not to go. He couldn’t bear being in the same room with her for so long, but she’d delivered food and he’d suffered anyway.

He recalled how he’d stiffened just watching her walk across the farmyard. As he did now. He mentally shook himself. This wasn’t the time or place to get an erection. The business at hand was the will and what she was doing here now. Not the fact that just looking at her could make him stiff.

Clearing his throat, he repeated, “You didn’t answer my question. What are you doing here?”

Her eyes fluttered open. The look she gave him made his heart skip a beat. His groin tightened again watching her tongue smooth its way over her lips. She had no idea just how erotic that simple act was. She was about to speak when a door opened behind him. Both of them spun to face Tighe Lynch.

“Mickleen,” Tighe exclaimed, using the common endearment and thrusting his hand into his. “Welcome home, lad. I just wish it were under different circumstances. I can’t tell you how much Donal will be missed.”

Mick could only tip his head at the man’s kindness. Words were still too hard to come by.

Tighe grasped Kate by her shoulders as she stood to greet him and kissed her on both cheeks. “Kate. Lovely as ever. Won’t you both step into my office?”

Not one to stand on ceremony, Mick strode through the door ahead of Kate and Tighe and went right into the solicitor’s office. He knew where it was. Was it really only a little more than two years ago he’d been here to discuss his mother’s will?

His scowl deepened when Kate walked through the office door ahead of Tighe. He got the perfect look at her shapely bum as she was forced to step between him and the desk to the seat beside him. He shifted in his seat, crossing his legs and pulling his coat around him to hide his erection. He kept his mind on wondering why she was at the reading of his father’s will to keep his libido under control.

Surely, she’d earned a regular wage for the time she spent cleaning his father’s house and cooking his meals. She was hired help and would have been paid accordingly. So there should be no reason why she should be here today. Unless there was something the solicitor knew and wasn’t telling them. Yet.

“I thought this was just a formality, Tighe. Why is she here?” He couldn’t even use her name. Just the feel of it in his mouth would leave him tongue-tied.

Tighe stopped him with an upheld hand. “If you’ll both bear with me, I will explain.” The solicitor turned to a folder on his desk and opened it, extracting two documents. Holding one before him, he said, “This is your father’s will, Michael. It’s all very straight forward. In it, the farm, the stock, the land—almost everything is left to you.”

“Almost?”

“We’ll get to that, lad,” Tighe said.

Tighe looked at Kate and held up the second document.

“This is the addendum to the will.”

“Addendum?” she asked.

“An addendum means that instead of making up a whole new will, Dad just changed it.” Mick, not looking at her, directed his statement to the solicitor and waited for the shoe to drop.

Leave it to his father to make this more difficult on him than it already was. Wasn’t it bad enough he couldn’t get rid of the tremendous feeling of guilt for not spending more time with him? He never wanted to believe—or admit—his father was that sick. Sure, Kate called him regularly with updates. He heard everything she’d said, but why the hell hadn’t he listened to her!

“Changed the will?” she asked. “Is that right, Mr. Lynch?”

“In a manner of speaking,” Tighe replied. “It means he added something into the original will.”

“When was this?” Mick asked.

“If you’ll allow me, I’ll read what Donal has bequeathed. If you have any questions we can go from there. Right?”

Both Mick and Kate nodded agreement. Tighe read the will as it stood and then the addendum. Mick couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “That bastard!” he muttered. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the wide glares both Kate and Tighe gave him at the curse.

“Mr. Lynch.” Kate’s voice came on a whisper. “What does this mean? I don’t understand it.” Her eyes were big as she clutched the arms of her chair now, knuckles as white as her face. Gone was the cool Kate he’d seen in the waiting room. In a matter of minutes she’d gone from radiant to ashen. He was sure he wasn’t looking too good right about now either.

“Yes, can you explain it in plain English?” he asked. Why do will readings always have to be so damn dramatic?

“In plain English, your father left everything to you, Michael. However, the addendum states if you try to sell the farm, I have instructions to give everything to Kate.”

* * *

Shape Of My Heart by Kemberlee Shortland - 500

SHAPE OF MY HEART

Irish Pride series, book three

Kemberlee Shortland

http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Shortland_Kemberlee/shape-of-my-heart.htm

http://www.kemberlee.com

BLURB

Gráinne has moved back to Dublin to get her life straightened out. She dreams of college and a better life. She’s working for her brother, Kieran, in his newly reopened pub, The Blues Tavern, but the money isn’t enough to support herself and pay tuition. Moonlighting at The Klub! as an exotic dancer seems to be her answer fast money.

John ‘JD’ Desmond is a detective working undercover in the Blues Tavern. The Klub!, owned by Jimmy Malloy, is being used as a drug front, headed by the notorious Taylor Wade. JD had intended to get Gráinne to snitch for him, but when he falls in love with her, things get complicated.

When Gráinne witnesses Jimmy’s murder, she and JD are forced to go on the run until Wade can be apprehended. Wade lives up to his nickname, The Hunter, and JD and Gráinne quickly find themselves at the end of a gun and running for their lives.

EXTRACT

Over the next couple hours JD tread lightly around Gráinne and peace settled between them. He hadn’t had the opportunity to talk to her again with the evening prep, but as he looked at his watch he knew her shift ended soon.

He’d tried almost every tactic he could think of to get her to reveal more about herself and he was getting anxious at her continued aloofness. He didn’t want to have to resort to seducing her. While the idea of getting her into bed was appealing, he just preferred to do it under other circumstances. He fancied her like hell, but he couldn’t let his libido get in the way of his job. She was his best hope at getting the information he desperately needed. So he’d have to resort to another tactic if he was going to get her to talk. Blackmail was one he was loath to use, but at this stage in the game, he had little choice.

There was a lull in the pub now that the afternoon crowds were gone and the evening prep had been done. If he was going to confront her, he had to do it now.

Gráinne stood at the end of the bar flipping through a magazine. The twinkling Christmas lights over the back bar shone on her dark hair. As she moved, the highlights reflected like electric current through the strands curling around her face. His heart thumped a little harder looking at her.

He reminded himself he wasn’t here to bartend. He was here to gather information. His future depended on it. He couldn’t afford another wasted day so it was now or never.

His pounding heart made it suddenly hard to breathe. He hated having to do this to her.

“Gráinne, can we talk?”

“Talk?” She put her magazine aside. “About what?”

“I think you know.” He locked gazes with her. He could tell she was nervous by the way she started fidgeting.

Then she turned away, refusing to look at him for longer than a millisecond. “My love life is none of your concern,” she told him, reminding him unnecessarily of their previous discussion.

“That’s not what I’m talking about.”

“Then I don’t know what you mean.” She spun on her heel, intent on leaving the bar area.

He grasped her arm. To his surprise, she didn’t struggle. But something odd happened as he loosened his grasp. He felt something powerful pass between them. His fingers tingled as he touched her. It radiated up his arm and shot through his body.

For the second time today, he felt himself stiffen, and wished that circumstances were different, that she was naked beneath him and gazing up at him with eyes he knew would undo him.

She glanced over her shoulder, but not directly at him. “Let me go.” Her barely audible words shook him back to the moment. It wasn’t a command, but he couldn’t help noticing her words were tinged with pleading.

“Will you stay to talk with me? I think this is important.” His own voice was softer now. When she relaxed he reluctantly released his hold. She kept her gaze averted, her arms folded protectively in front of her, refusing to look at him. He knew she was waiting for something, anything, to draw her away.

Reaching under the bar, he extracted the black plastic sack he’d brought in with him today. He knew the item inside would shatter any peace he hoped to make with her.

He looked at the sack for a moment, thinking about what could never be between them. There was a job to be done and it didn’t include getting emotionally involved. He hoped the more he reminded himself of this fact he’d eventually come to believe it.

Sighing, he extracted a black velvet bra and held it up for her inspection. She only cast it a side-glance.

“I take it you know where I got this.”

“Anne Summers?”

“No.”

“Well then, I have no idea.”

He saw her swallow hard then move over to the taps to pour herself a cola. She swallowed deeply from the glass.

“I think you do. Let’s not . . . dance . . . around the subject, Gráinne. We both know where I got this, and I’d lay odds at Paddy Powers your brother doesn’t know what you’ve been up to.”

His heart ached as he forced himself to goad her.

The look she shot him would have incinerated the average man, but he wasn’t average. He was a man with a mission, and Gráinne was the only one who could help him.

“By that look, I’d say I’ve hit the nail on the head.”

“So, what of it.”

“Why haven’t you told Kieran?” he asked, trying to keep his voice calm.

“I somehow doubt he’d understand why I’m . . . moonlighting.”

JD chuckled lightly. “Moonlighting? Is that what they’re calling it these days?”

“Just stop. What do you want from me? Not that it’s any of your business what I do on my own time.”

“I need your help.”

A single brow arched over her eye. “With what? Wait, let me guess,” she seethed, throwing her hands on her hips. “You want a private show. Or you want me to entertain some friends. And you’re going to use this,” she fingered the bra he still held in his hand, “as a bribe to get me to do it for free.”

“Not quite. While I wouldn’t mind a private show, it’s not entertainment I’m looking for.”

“What’s this?” Kieran suddenly appeared behind the bar, startling them both. JD saw Gráinne’s face go pale, and thought she would faint then and there.

* * *

Check out these and dozens of other fabulous books at Tirgearr Publishing. You’ll be glad you did!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Interview with Author Annette Drake

Today I’m happy to introduce you to author Annette Drake. She has answered some interesting interview questions, and you’ll also find info on her book CELEBRATION HOUSE, available from Tirgearr Publishing. Annette, take it away!

Annette Drake (Color)

1) Welcome, Annette. Tell us a little about yourself, and what inspired you to become a writer.

Books have been some of my closest friends. I think it’s just a natural extension to write. Also, I have all of these voices in my head. That’s only okay if you’re a writer.

2) Tell us what CELEBRATION HOUSE is about.

CELEBRATION HOUSE is a paranormal romance about a woman who moves to a small town in Missouri and restores an antebellum mansion, which she then opens as an event venue. It combines my love of old houses and the American Civil War with my background in cardiac nursing.

3) It sounds wonderful! If you were casting the movie version of CELEBRATION HOUSE, who would you choose for the leading roles?

It’s frightening how much time I’ve spent thinking about this!

For the main character, I see Sandra Bullock. For Maj. Stewart, only Hugh Jackman. There’s one scene where Carrie walks in on a poker game in the kitchen. In this scene, I’d love to see Ryan Lewis and Macklemore as two of the ghostly Civil War soldiers.

4) Ooh, that’s one movie I’d have to see! On a different topic, tell us about a hidden talent you have that most people don’t know about.

Yikes! I don’t know if I have one. Um, uh. Okay. Got it. I’m a fast typist. It used to be 100wpm, but now more about 60 wpm or so.

5) What’s your favorite comfort food?

There’s a chocolatier in my community who makes these amazing triple chocolate biscotti. I dip them in my coffee in the morning and yum! This is how I like to start my day.

6) Yummy! Getting back to writing, are you an outliner or do you write by the seat of your pants?

I’m evolving. I’m less a seat-of-my-pants and more of an outliner now. For instance, I want to write two sequels to Celebration House, and I have a general idea of how the two books start and end. But to write a strict outline, ugh! I don’t think I could.

7) What’s your favorite season and why?

I love fall because it’s the season of state fairs and the long hot days of summer are behind us and, of course, because of Halloween. This is my favorite holiday. Dress up in costumes and beg for chocolate? What’s not to love!

8) If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

I can’t imagine not being a writer. I’ve often asked myself if I knew I would never make a penny with my writing, would I continue to write? And the answer is yes. I will always write. That is who I am.

9) Tell us about anyone famous you’ve met.

Many years ago, when I was a journalism student at Truman State University, I attended a press conference where Elizabeth Dole spoke. Her husband was running for president. Again. Mrs. Dole was so polished and poised. We were all leaving the meeting room, and I dropped the small recorder I used for note taking. The batteries hit the marble floor, and all of us jumped at the loud noise. For just an instant, I saw the tired woman beneath the façade. I’ve never forgotten that.

10) And finally, what’s your favorite non-writing-related website?

I like CraigsList. Is that crazy? I like to look up farm-related items so I can see what horses might be available or who has chicks for sell. I’m a farmer currently without a farm. Ah, but some day.

3Celebration House by Annette Drake - 1600-300dpiq

Carrie Hansen spent her life caring for cardiac patients. Little did she know she would become a patient herself. After recovering from her own heart surgery, she realizes she has a special gift: the ability to see and talk with the dead.

Now, with her new heart failing, she leaves the bustle of Seattle behind and returns to Lexington, Missouri, the small town where she spent her childhood. Here, she sets out to restore an abandoned antebellum mansion and open it as a venue for celebrations.

Carrie’s work is cut out for her. The 150-year-old Greek revival house is in need of serious repair. Her sister, Melanie, tries to bully Carrie into returning to Seattle, predicting her “little project” is doomed to fail. Finally, Carrie’s health gives out on her, requiring emergency surgery.

But she will not give up. Carrie’s unique gift allows her to build relationships with the mansion’s original occupants, especially Maj. Tom Stewart, the handsome Civil War soldier who died a hundred years before Carrie was born. He encourages and comforts her, though not in the physical way they both desire.

Then there’s the builder of the house, Col. Bartholomew Stratton. If there’s one thing this 19th century horse trader cannot abide, it’s the living trespassing on his estate. He delights in scaring these intruders away, even if they are paying guests.

Will Carrie finish restoring Celebration House or will it finish her? And how can she plan a future with a man who has only a past?

Bio:

Annette Drake’s work is character-driven and celebrates the law of unintended consequences. CELEBRATION HOUSE was published in August 2013. BONE GIRL, due out next month, is her second novel.

Annette is the mother of four children and makes her home in Washington State. She loves libraries, basset hounds and bakeries. She does not camp.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Old Man Winter

I am SO sick of winter already. Not just the snow—we didn’t get as much as some other spots in the US, though we got a respectable amount. But the cold is not only painfully uncomfortable, but potentially dangerous.

A couple of weeks ago, we got up to find there was no hot water. Somewhere along the line,the hot water pipe had frozen. Eventually it thawed, and luckily caused no permanent damage. But now we have to remember to leave the water running (at a drip rate) at night on bitterly cold nights, so we don’t end up with frozen pipes again.

Then we had a day where there was no heat. I called the oil company, and they said, “Oh, you’re out of oil.” Surprised smile Since we’re on automatic delivery, this should have happened. But that’s an argument for another time. They came out within a few hours and put some oil in the tank—due to the demand, they couldn’t fill it. We’re down to 1/4 tank or less again and just hoping they come out tomorrow as promised and fill the tank. I’m not even going to say how expensive that is. Sad smile 

The woodburning stove is getting a real workout. We had it going almost all weekend long. I’d use it myself during the week, but I never earned the Firestarter badge in Girl Scouts. Winking smile So I just end up wearing lots of sweaters and drinking lots of tea.

Shoveling the walk or scraping ice off the car becomes a race against time: can we finish before frostbite sets in?

Just getting up our steep, bumpy driveway is an exercise in terror: how fast do I have to go when I make that 90-degree turn into the driveway, and how much fishtailing do I have to endure to make it to the top?

But there’s one thing that’s positive about this frigid weather, as long as I don’t think what this says about my storm windows:

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Jack Frost was here!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Guest Author Margie Church

Please help me welcome guest author Margie Church, whose novel THE POET’S WIFE is being released today by Tirgearr Publishing.

The Poet's Wife by Margie Church - 200 (2)

Lily Holliway's life is shattered when her husband, Gabe, is killed in Afghanistan. A new job and dear friends aren't enough to ease her yearnings for the love she clings to.

Gabe feels her grief so strongly that his spirit cannot leave the confines of this world. He can't rest in peace until he's sure Lily is going to be okay. In desperation, he reaches out to her using his special gift.

Finding the mysterious haiku makes Lily question her grip on reality. When she sees Gabe face-to-face, can she believe her eyes?

Lily must trust the only man she's ever loved to help her begin again.

I hope you're intrigued enough to read this amazing story. One commenter will win a copy of The Poet's Wife by telling me about their close encounter of the paranormal kind.

Read it now at Tirgearr Publishing, Amazon, (US, UK, and Canada), and Smashwords.

* * *

Here’s an excerpt from THE POET’S WIFE:

In his spirit state, Gabe heard and watched the entire scene between his wife and Jana. He stood behind Lily while she said goodbye to Jana. He walked out of the building to the car with Lily. The wind caught a wisp of her hair, and he wished he could tuck it behind her ear. He used to love stroking Lily's soft, wavy tresses.

Not yet. She wasn't ready to know he was close by, trying to help her cope. Hell, he was trying to cope, too. God had given Gabe a chance to help Lily, and himself, but it was all in the timing. Gabe wouldn't get long. The Shepherd of Souls had been very clear about that.

Lily drove out of the parking lot, but instead of taking her usual direct route to the base exits, she drove through the grounds.

In his spirit form, Gabe followed her.

She slowed down near one of the park benches.

We met there. Gabe recalled seeing Lily with her brown-bag lunch when he'd gone jogging on the historic base. She'd caught his eye immediately. Her long, graceful limbs and full lips captivated him. When she smiled, the sun seemed to dim. Her charming demeanor wiped out all his defenses.

She'd shaded her eyes to speak to him. "I've never seen you before."

"I was in Seattle for training, but I'm stationed here. Are you visiting your husband?"

She'd giggled this wonderful, heart-warming sound, and her face turned the loveliest shade of pink. Gabe knew in that moment, he was pretty much a goner.

"No, I'm not married. I started working at the commissary last week."

"Well, if you have lunch in the park, I'll be seeing you. I jog through here almost every day."

Gabe didn't usually take that route, but he was darn glad he had that day, and every day afterward. Lily had waited for him, sometimes bringing along an extra bottle of water or a piece of fruit for him. They'd talk for a little while, then he'd finish his run, although his mind was never on physical fitness after he saw Lilianna Carston.

Now Gabe sat on that same bench, remembering the delight in her eyes when he'd asked her to dinner the first time. They became almost inseparable. They thought they'd have a lifetime together.

He turned toward her car and saw the strain on her face.

He watched her shoulders rise and fall in a deep sigh before she drove away from the curb.

Gabe didn't get off the bench and follow her. Being dead wasn't exactly halos and fluffy clouds for him.

* * *

Margie Church 5

Margie shares with us the inspiration behind THE POET’S WIFE:

I've thought long and hard about where such an emotional story could come from. Thankfully, I've not been widowed but years ago, my father was violently taken from me. I think anyone who's experienced a sudden loss, recognizes the turmoil it creates. You have a million questions that can't always be answered, and you wish you could have been there in that last instant of life to sooth their journey into the afterlife. I think I was able to tie those emotions to those of being a parent and the sometimes horrible realization your child could die.

So, I had these ideas about not wanting to let go of the one who has died, and the pain survivors must endure. That became the angst Gabe and Lily felt. They were in their early 30s, and married for about six years. Although Gabe had a dangerous job in the military police, Lily and Gabe didn't let that control their future. They had plans to start a family – to have their happily ever after. In an instant, that was taken from both of them.

The Poet's Wife is a ghost story. Gabe is never alive in this book but his spirit is very present. Lots of times, we get the notion that spirits soar into some sort of bliss after death, and spend eternity with a smile on their face. I'd like that to be true, but I really don't believe it. He's as devastated by what happened as Lily is. It's so bad that his spirit can't leave the confines of earthly existence. God grants him the opportunity to help Lily rebuild her life and, in turn, sever his ties to humanity. Don't expect a religion lesson; The Poet's Wife is about two people coping with their grief and finding new ways to be happy.

My friendship with J. Andrew Lockhart led me to choose his poetry as a gentle way for Gabe to reach out to Lily. I found a kinship with Andrew because his own tragedies and together, we really understood the story and the characters. We hope you'll enjoy it. It's also a great gift for the reader on your holiday list that doesn't enjoy foul language or erotic love scenes.

* * *

Thanks for being my guest today, Margie. Best of luck with THE POET’S WIFE.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Charlene Raddon’s Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Today I have something special to share with you. Author Charlene Raddon is about to reveal the new cover for her soon-to-be-released book, TAMING JENNA, simultaneously on multiple blogs. A little about the book:

THE WRONG MAN

Deserted by her father at the tender age of seven, Jenna Leigh-Whittington had taught herself to ride, shoot, brawl…and steer clear of the opposite sex. But now, in a lonely Utah canyon, the Pinkerton agent has drawn her gun on a rugged stranger—only to discover that, far from the dangerous outlaw she’d been tracking, he is Branch McCauley, hired gun…and the most irresistible rascal ever to tempt and torment a woman!

THE RIGHT WOMAN

If there’s one thing McCauley trusts less than a female, it’s a female who packs a six-gun. But what a woman! Vowing to bring the sensuous hellcat to heel, McCauley has no inkling that their passionate battle of wills has just begun. Taming Jenna will be the most seductive—and satisfying—job he’s ever taken on.

* * *

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Here’s an excerpt to tease you a little further:

Jenna scowled as she studied the man by the flickering glare of his campfire. He had the right build and appeared close to thirty, Mendoza's age. But something didn't fit.

The Denver police chief had described her quarry as a spoiled aristocrat, too busy wooing Lady Luck and every other female to be much of a train robber, let alone a killer. But the rogue in front of Jenna looked too lean and hard to be spoiled, too wary and aloof to be a ladies' man.

To Jenna he seemed the perfect gunslinger: cold, tough, and ready to spring. Like a big yellow cougar perched on a ledge. Or a rattler, tightly coiled. Either way, his bite would be deadly.

In spite of the cool night breeze, sweat oozed from her pores. She couldn't forget that lightning draw. Why had she come here? How had she expected to take an outlaw Pinkerton's other agents had failed to bring in? No, she refused to think that way. She was every bit as capable as any man to capture Mendoza. She had to believe that, the same way she had to do what she'd set out to do. Only one question remained: Was this Mendoza or not?

"Who are you, mister?"

"Who am I? Hell, who are you? "

Blast! Did no male exist in this empty wilderness who wasn't so taken with himself that he couldn't cooperate for a change?

She took a calming breath. A body could catch more flies with honey than vinegar, old Charley Long Bow used to say. Jenna figured flies might fancy the hairy creature facing her, so she decided to try being friendly. "Listen, I smelled your coffee and hoped you might spare a cup, is all. You can understand me being a mite leery of walking into a stranger's camp without knowing who I'm hooking up with."

Firelight glinted on the man's straight white teeth as his whiskers parted in a cold smile. "Don't recall inviting company, but I'll play your game. Name's Branch McCauley. Now it's your turn."

His smile unnerved her. It held no humor, only a lethal sort of grimness that cannoned her stomach into her throat and made her wish she'd wired William Pinkerton for instructions instead of going off half-cocked this way. "I'm Jim...Jim White," she lied.

"All right, Jim, how about some honesty? You come here looking for me?"

"I'm not looking for anyone named Branch McCauley. If that's who you are, you've nothing to worry about."

The wide, innocent eyes McCauley studied held honesty. He relaxed. "In that case...be glad to pour you some coffee." He reached for the battered graniteware pot. His visitor's next words froze him in a half-stoop: "I'd feel more welcome if you'd set aside your gun first."

Cool as Montana sleet, McCauley straightened, hand poised above his holster. "Reckon you would. Wouldn't do much for my sense of well-being, though."

So much for trying to be friendly, Jenna thought. What now? She clenched her knees together to still their shaking and swallowed the fear knotted in her throat.

"Look." McCauley shifted his weight to one leg. "Why don't you put your gun away and have a sit? Could be I might know something about the hombre you're hunting.

Hombre. Sounded Spanish. Like Mendoza. It must be him. She had to get his gun away from him. Surprise seemed the best means. She squeezed the trigger of the .44 Starr. The bullet kicked dirt onto the man's scuffed boots. He jumped and let out a yelp as though she'd set his feet afire.

"Dammit, kid, going up against me won't get you anything but a six-foot hole in the ground."

"Shut up and toss over your gun or I'll turn them boots into sieves. 'Course, my sights might be a bit off." She raised the muzzle toward his groin.

"You made your point," he growled as he unbuckled his gun belt and tossed it over.

Instead of the fancy weapon she had expected a gunslinger to own, an ordinary, six-gun lay at her feet. No ivory handle or engraved barrel. Only an ordinary .44 Peacemaker, crafted and worn for one reason—to kill. The thought did funny things to her innards.

"All right," she said, getting back to business. "You aren't going to like this, mister, but I don't know any other way to be sure who you are. Drop them trousers to your ankles."

"Do what?"

* * *

Here’s Charlene’s bio:

Char portrait 2009smer(3)Charlene Raddon began her fiction career in the third grade when she announced in Show & Tell that a baby sister she never had was killed by a black widow spider. She often penned stories featuring mistreated young girls whose mother accused of crimes her sister had actually committed. Her first serious attempt at writing fiction came in 1980 when she woke up from a vivid dream that compelled her to drag out a portable typewriter and begin writing. She’s been at it ever since. An early love for romance novels and the Wild West led her to choose the historical romance genre but she also writes contemporary romance. At present, she has five books published in paperback by Kensington Books (one under the pseudonym Rachel Summers), and four eBooks published by Tirgearr Publishing.

Charlene’s awards include: RWA Golden Heart Finalist, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award Nomination, Affair de Coeur Magazine Reader/Writer Poll for Best Historical of the Year. Her books have won or place in several contests.

Currently, Charlene is working on her next release.

* * *

And now, without further ado, here is the cover for TAMING JENNA:

Taming Jenna by Charlene Raddon - 500

Gorgeous, isn’t it? Check out this fun book trailer: http://youtu.be/ejkEtuTUp8c 

For all of you who have persevered this far, here are the details of Charlene’s giveaway:

Charlene will be  holding a drawing for a $30 amazon gift card for all those viewers who visit each participant's blog and leave a comment with contact info. She will be awarding three copies of her new book to randomly chosen participants.

Here’s the list of blog participants:

http://wordwranglers.blogspot.com/

http://www.charleneraddon.blogspot.com/

http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com

http://elizabethdelisi.blogspot.com/

http://susanhorsnell.com

http://peggylhenderson.blogspot.com/

http://writingdreams.net/?p=1360

http://katerobbinsauthor.com/

http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com

http://alisonhenderson.blogspot.com

http://vintagevonnie.blogspot.com/

http://www.patyjager.blogspot.com/

Thanks for being here for the cover reveal for TAMING JENNA. Check it out; you won’t be sorry!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Shoes

Couldn’t resist sharing this:

Not really Your Shade

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shape and Sharpen Your Fiction: Effective Revision

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because it shortens the time you need to spend revising your prose.

While we’re on the topic of revision, I’d like to share with you this article I wrote for NovelAdvice in 1997. Hope it’s helpful!

* * *

There's nothing quite like the pride and feeling of accomplishment you get when you type the words, "The End" on the last page of your manuscript. But once the euphoria passes, it's time to buckle down and turn that wonderful, creative project into something salable.

When you're writing a first draft, you're using your "left brain" to draw on all your creative powers. Once your story is completed, let it sit for a while before you look at it again. This will give you the necessary distance from the material and allow you time to switch hats from 'creator' to 'editor.'

Return to your material with a fresh perspective, and go over it with a critical eye. Reading it aloud may help; you may also wish to solicit comments and suggestions from one or two trusted friends. Remember, though, that the ultimate responsibility for the manuscript is yours--don't take any suggestions unless you're sure they are sound.

The first thing to consider is your opening. This may be the most important part of your story; often, the first few paragraphs are all you have to "hook" the reader. Your opening must draw the reader's attention by introducing the main character and the main conflict. The reader should identify with the main character, and want to know more about the conflict and how it will be resolved.  Rework your opening as many times as necessary to get it just right.

Think about your overall story. There must be movement, progression; the main character should change for the better or learn an important lesson by the end. Check your character descriptions and interactions to make sure it's clear what the reader is to think of each character, what the characters want, and what they care about. Be honest with yourself--do you, as a reader, care about the outcome of the story?

Be sure the climax you hint at in your opening actually comes about by the end of the story. Don't write a story with a big buildup that leads to a minor, disappointing climax. Tie up all your loose ends--don't drop unexplained hints or leave dangling story lines.

Include everything in the story that your reader needs to know. Remember, the reader doesn't have access to your in-depth knowledge of the characters and story--he only knows what you tell him. Don't leave too much to the reader's imagination.

Check your tone. Is it consistent throughout the story? If you start with a comic tone, then switch to tragic, it will seem as if two different people are doing the writing. If you begin in present tense, don't switch to past in mid-stream. Use active rather than passive verbs. Consistency is also important in point of view. Don't switch from first to third person, or from third person limited to third person omniscient.

Make sure your most important scenes are fully fleshed out. They should usually be written in an action mode, concentrating on dialogue and activity, with very little description or exposition.

Look at your pacing. Does the story move too slowly, or too quickly? When you re-read it, do you find yourself skipping over sections? If you find a section that doesn't contribute to the whole, cut it out ruthlessly, no matter how beautifully written it is. Have you included too much information, or too little? Does the story end in the right place? The reader should be satisfied with the ending--it should be logical, tie up all the loose ends, and flow directly from the story events.

Is your story organized properly? One way to check this is to write a list of the major events in your story on index cards, with one event per card. Place them on the table or floor in the order in which they occur in your story. Then try rearranging them. Is there another sequence that makes more sense?

Check your transitions. For instance, if you have a flashback scene, is it clear to the reader that you are moving back in time? Transitions must be smooth, yet also unmistakable.

When you're finished checking the creative aspects, check the technical ones as well. Use the dictionary, if necessary, to make sure your words are spelled properly. Don't rely on your computer's "spell check" feature--it can't tell the difference between "heel" and "heal," but it will make a big difference in your story! Make sure you've used complete sentences and that your punctuation is correct. Look for repeated words--if you find you've used the word "finicky" twice in one paragraph, get out your thesaurus and find a replacement for one of them. Check your dialogue tags--make sure they're clear and unobtrusive.

After you've checked everything, let the story sit again for a few days, then go through the entire process once more. When you're satisfied with the story as it stands, congratulate yourself for a job well done--and then send it out!

c. 1997 Elizabeth Delisi

Friday, August 02, 2013

What is the Universe Telling Me?

I try not to complain, especially in public. Really, I do.But this past few months or a year have me wondering what message the universe is trying to send me.

First, you need to remember that I have Parkinson’s disease, so everything below is on top of that.

I had a breast cancer scare. My yearly mammogram showed…something. So I went through needle and surgical biopsies, and luckily it was not cancer. Phew. But it was frightening.

I had to have a tooth pulled. It had already had a root canal, where one root was punctured by the dental instrument since the root was crooked. So a few years later when it began to bother me again, the best option was to pull it.

Two days later, I had (planned) shoulder surgery on my rotator cuff to “clean it up” and, hopefully, get rid of the pain I’d been experiencing for at least a year.

Didn’t feel well after the surgery. I was tired to the point of lethargy, my stomach was a pit of acid, my skin seemed yellow, and my abdomen felt…somehow, wrong.

Went to the doctor. She said I was severely dehydrated, so I had to drink a nasty salty solution and then keep drinking clear liquids. Also, my stomach “might be trying to give me an ulcer,” so an additional acid-blocker was added to my medications. And, blood work showed my liver enzymes were a bit off, so I was tested for Hepatitis A, B and C. Luckily, they were all negative.

Felt better for a couple of weeks, then began to feel ill again. Same symptoms for the most part, with an added day of vomiting. Oy. The nurse on call felt it was the stomach flu, and told me to see the doctor if I weren’t improving 24 hours later. I waited a couple of days, wasn’t better, so went to the doctor.

He examined me, said “I think it’s your gall bladder, so I’m sending you by ambulance to the ER.” I’m sure my jaw dropped a mile. Before I knew what was going on, I was having my first ambulance ride (too sick to look around and take mental notes for future books) and ended up in the ER. They were very nice, gave me some tests and pain medication.

Pretty soon, along came a surgeon who said my gall bladder was badly infected and he’d take it out the next morning. He probably would have to do the traditional long incision as it was too badly infected for the less invasive surgery. I was stunned; all I could do was say, “Okay.”

They took me to a private room and…that’s where my memory gets unreliable. The pain med they gave me was VERY strong, and made me hallucinate. So while I’m sure my hospital room wasn’t a cabana on the beach, and the man bending over me was my husband, not Dr. House…I don’t know what really went on.

My hubby stayed with me 24/7 for the 6 days I was in the hospital. Bless him. He was definitely my hero. He also stayed with me at home for the first 3 days, until I was ready to go it alone. He deserves a Nobel Prize.

So now as I recover from all of the above, I wonder what’s coming next. Oh please, oh please, make it a long period of good health! I swear, I’ve learned my lesson. (Whatever it was.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Promote Your Book/Promote Mine Blog Hop

The purpose of this blog hop is to promote Charlene Raddon’s latest release, THE SCENT OF ROSES, as well as the work of each of the participating bloggers. Be sure to read to the end of this page so you don’t miss out on the grand prize. Also be certain you visit each blog and comment to qualify for the individual giveaways, and the big prize.

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Charlene Raddon has been writing historical romance novels for over thirty years. Her work has won several awards and much well-deserved praise. Here is what she has to say about her newest release.

Any day when a new book is released is exciting for the author. I’m thrilled to announce that my eBook, THE SCENT OF ROSES, is now available.

THE SCENT OF ROSES is a sequel to my last eBook, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, but stands alone and does not need to be read in order to be enjoyed. Whip Kincaid, from THE SCENT OF ROSES, is the half-brother of Buck Maddux from TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. Whip also has a twin, Cale, whom readers met in Buck’s story, which gives me an excuse to write a third book for this series.

The Scent of Roses by Charlene Raddon - 200

The added touch of paranormal elements made THE SCENT OF ROSES a fun story to write. Who doesn’t enjoy haunted houses with hidden passageways? When I first moved to Utah, I lived in this house. No, there weren’t any secret passageways, but in every other way, my description of the old house is accurate. The third new element in this book is the subject of polygamy.

Rosalyn Delaney came to Whisky Ridge, Arizona expecting to receive aid from her estranged husband, Josiah Bullock, in escaping the crazed leader of a polygamist cult determined to have her. She’s broke and has nowhere else to go. But Josiah is dead, murdered the very evening of her arrival. The town is in an uproar, searching for the suspected killer, Josiah’s business partner, Whip Kincaid. Rosalyn also learns that Josiah had taken a second wife.

Whip is innocent but to prove that, he needs to stay out of jail. He hides in secret passageways in the old house he and Josiah shared. Smythely, the elderly butler who came with the house, is the only other person aware of the passageways. Lurking between spider-webbed walls and using the abundance of peepholes provided allows Whip to keep up with what’s going on. Sneaking out at night allows him to investigate. He’s particularly interested in Rosalyn Delaney, and for more than one reason. Besides being attracted to her, he’s sure she knows something about the murder.

But does she? Is she safe at Rose House? Will she be safe from Whip Kincade?

I hope you enjoyed this peek into THE SCENT OF ROSES. Find it here, at Amazon.com.

* * * * *

At this point, I’d like to introduce you to my latest release, THE MIDNIGHT ZONE. Here’s the blurb:

Midnight Zone by Elizbabeth Delisi - 500

When Cassie buys an antique compact, little does she know it can foretell the future--her future. Marjorie, a Florida girl unwillingly transplanted to Vermont, learns there's more to fear from the alien snowfall than just the cold. Neil Dallas's jagged descent from rock and roll singer to drug-addicted has-been is unstoppable . . . or is it?

Travel deep into unknown territory, where life and death are not as they seem; where you have to be careful what you ask for, because you might get it. These stories will take you beyond the realm of the solid and real, into the deepest, darkest corner of your imagination. Don't forget to bring your flashlight . . .

For more information or to purchase your copy, visit Tirgearr Publishing.

Everyone who posts a comment here, and leaves an e-mail address, is entered in a contest to win a free copy of THE MIDNIGHT ZONE. So, let me know what you think!

ALSO, BE SURE TO LEAVE A COMMENT WITH CONTACT INFORMATION. AT THE END OF THE HOP, A NAME WILL BE DRAWN FROM THOSE WHO VISITED AND COMMENTED AT EVERY BLOG. THE GRAND PRIZE IS A $45 GIFT CARD FOR AMAZON OR B&N, WINNER’S CHOICE. Other bloggers are also offering giveaways so make sure you hit them all.

Here is the list of participating blogs. Thanks for dropping by, and best of luck in the contests!

May 31,  http://www.heartoffiction.blogspot.com/  giveaway

May 31  http://www.hurricanereads.blogspot.com

June 1  http://www.charleneraddon.blogspot.com - Official blog tour for Kat Flannery (not part of PUB/PM blog hop)

June 2, http://authortammieclarkegibbs.blogspot.com/   giveaway

June 3  http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/     giveaway  

June 4  http://writingdreams.net/          giveaway

June 5  http://ciaragold.blogspot.com/ giveaway

June 7, http://peggylhenderson.blogspot.com/  giveaway

June 8, http://alisonhenderson.blogspot.com /    giveaway

June 9, http://www.pamelaforeman.com/  giveaway

June 10 http://annettedrake.com/annettes-blog/

June 11, http://elizabethdelisi.blogspot.com/  giveaway

June 12, http://www.patyjager.blogspot.com/ giveaway

June 14 http://www.wittyonlineeditor.com  giveaway

June 15  http://blog.cathymansell.com/   giveaway

June 16, www.katerobbinsauthor.comgiveaway

June 17 http://tinafosterspageturner.blogspot.com/  giveaway

June 18  http://ccrawley210.wordpress.com/    giveaway

June 19, http://lynhorner.blogspot.com/   giveaway 

June 21  http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com/  giveaway

June 22, http://www.raintrueax.blogspot.com   giveaway

June 23, http://bethtrissel.wordpress.com giveaway

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How I Became A Writer

Check out my latest guest blog post about my road to becoming a writer, at the fabulous blog, “A Date With A Book.” http://datesbooks.blogspot.com/2013/05/my-path-to-becoming-writer-by-elizabeth.html 

If it intrigues you, please visit my website: http://www.elizabethdelisi.com

My publisher’s website: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Delisi_Elizabeth/index.htm 

And my other publisher’s website: http://www.amberquill.com/bio_Delisi.html

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Midnight Zone

Available now: my speculative short fiction collection, THE MIDNIGHT ZONE. It’s published by Tirgearr Publishing.

Midnight Zone by Elizbabeth Delisi - 500

When Cassie buys an antique compact, little does she know it can foretell the future--her future. Marjorie, a Florida girl unwillingly transplanted to Vermont, learns there's more to fear from the alien snowfall than just the cold. Neil Dallas's jagged descent from rock and roll singer to drug-addicted has-been is unstoppable . . . or is it?

Travel deep into unknown territory, where life and death are not as they seem; where you have to be careful what you ask for, because you might get it. These stories will take you beyond the realm of the solid and real, into the deepest, darkest corner of your imagination. Don't forget to bring your flashlight . . .

THE MIDNIGHT ZONE is available in multiple e-formats. Something for everyone! For more information and to purchase your copy, please visit Tirgearr Publishing .