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Sunday, September 30, 2012

10 Writing Tips From The Masters by Joan Reeves

The masters of the written word are often quoted -- especially the quotations that follow.

When I started writing, about the time Conestoga wagons rolled across the mountains, I found the following bits of advice not only inspiring and useful but also entertaining and witty.

Times Change

Of course, times change. To reflect our current world, I've inserted my editorial comments where appropriate.

1. You must write. You must finish what you write. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order. You must put it on the market until sold. (Robert A. Heinlein) Joan says: True in 1949. Not so true today. Sometimes, a good book just won't sell. TGFI. That's Thank God for Indie!)

2. I try to leave out the parts that people skip. (Elmore Leonard) Joan says: Amen!

3. When in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns. (Raymond Chandler) Joan says: I'm going to try this with my next romantic comedy.

4. Never let a domestic quarrel ruin a day’s writing. If you can’t start the next day fresh, get rid of your wife. (Mario Puzo) Joan says: Or your husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, dog, cat, or Internet addiction.

5. The difference between using the right word and the one that is almost right is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. (Mark Twain) Joan says: Absolutely still true.)

6. Never mistake emotion for action. (Ernest Hemingway) Joan says: Also true.)

7. Never look at a reference book while doing a first draft. (Stephen King) Joan says: Yep. Research and fact checking: great ways to bog yourself down.

8. If you wish to be a writer, write. (Epicetus) Joan says: Oh, yeah! Writers write. Everyone else makes excuses.

9. Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window. (William Faulkner) Joan says: No. Print on the second side then shred and put in recycle bin.

10. There’s no such thing as a born writer. It’s a skill you’ve got to learn, just like learning how to be a bricklayer or a carpenter. You’ve got to write X number of words before you can write anything that can be published, but nobody is able to tell you how many words that is. You will know when you get there, but you don’t know how long it will take. (Larry Brown) Joan says: Oh. My. God. So true.

Post Script

Go forth and write.

(Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy romance with a chick lit attitude. She's a bestselling Kindle author and is multi-published in print. Now her popular romantic comedies are available on audio book at iTunes and Audible.com. Joan publishes the popular blog SlingWords and Writing Hacks, a free newsletter for writers.)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

DragonCon, a Must for Me Every Year!

Writing conferences and fan conferences can be fun and educational.  Every year I work at DragonCon in the Writers Track. DragonCon is a HUGE fan-based conference for fans of everything paranormal, from Harry Potter to Steam Punk to Star Trek fans. Fans of all things Sci-fi and Horror movies, comics, books or TV shows roam around in costumes. Modern vampires sip synthetic blood beside Dracula and his love for real blood. And there are workshops and panel discussions galore for a LONG weekend.


 I have been a fan of Carol Nelson Douglas for more than 20 years and now I know her very well!

 What can I say?
 Even fairies want to write stories and learn about marketing their tiny, magic books.


That little lady looks lost wandering the streets of Atlanta, Georgia.

More photos and comments will be on my personal blog later today! www.MaryMarvella.com.http://www.MaryMarvella.com

Tell us about your own favorite conferences. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

50 Shades of Candles? You decide!

Last Christmas a call went out to us Victory Tales Press for Christmas stories – all heat levels from sweet to spicy.

I write all heat levels. I can do sweet. I can do spicy. So last Christmas I wrote a spicy contemporary romance called "Feast of Candles."

The plot had my hero, Drake, traveling to Napa Valley, CA during the advent season to meet California vintner, Lily Marquand. Intrigued by her wine, he wants to meet her, and when he meets her, he wants to have a relationship with her. Drake is easy going, kind and patient.

My heroine, Lily, has been haunted by loneliness all her life, but once Drake breaks through her battlements, she's willing to take a chance for love.

I've always said this is a spicy romance, but there is a substance to the plot. Drake has to prove he's not using Lily to build a brewery, and Lily has to come to believe Drake's desire to stay is sincere.

I'm appreciative of reviews, but even I was a bit surprised to see a review that said: "It turned out to be a sex story!" Knowing stories like "50 Shades of Grey" have inspired the reading public this summer, I thought I'd found a good balance between spicy and plot with my story.

That said, I'll let you decide: Would a review that said "It turned out to be a sex story" intrigue you to read it or turn you off to reading it? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

FEAST OF CANDLES:

BLURB: Drake takes the biggest chance of his life all because of a bottle of wine. Can he break through the battlements surrounding Lily's lonely heart?

Small Excerpt:

He stared into her eyes, keeping his hand on her waist. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." She hesitated. "Everything. You..." her voice trailed off. Silence grew between them. God, what had she been thinking? Was it possible to have a future 5 with him?
5 Stars, Loves Romance Reviews:
The ending with the feast of candles is so romantic, you'll want your own.

BUY LINK:
http://amzn.com/B008NXELPG

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Excitement of a New Release

Releasing a new book is always an exciting time, and being an indie author, I now experience this excitement more often. One of the things I love about having full control of publishing my own books is the freedom to set my own schedule. No longer do I have to go through the months of waiting that is inherent in traditional publishing.

I book my editor and cover artist well in advance so when my story is written it only takes a few weeks before I have it up for sale on Amazon. My patience with waiting for a traditional publisher to grind through the process is much less than it used to be. Although my latest experience of working with a traditional publisher is with Carina Press and they seem to be very efficient and bring books to publication much faster than other publishers I've worked with.

One of the other benefits of indie publishing is being able to choose to write whatever I want. This year, for the first time, I decided to write a Christmas story. I absolutely adore the cover my wonderful cover designer Su Kopil at Earthly Charms made for this book.

All I have to do now is work through the file I've just received back from my editor Pam Berehulke and A Family For Christmas should be live on Amazon by tomorrow night!

Find book by Helen Scott Taylor on Amazon. Many are only 99cents, including A Family for Christmas.


Friday, September 21, 2012

First Anniversary


I joined the Indie Romance Ink a year ago, mostly out of curiosity, to verify the rumor that well-known authors were now self-publishing. I read every email, checked every link, and took notes. A month later I was convinced indie publishing was worth trying.

Gathering my courage, I asked my publisher to revert my author’s rights for one of my books that didn’t do too well in sales but received great reviews and was a finalist in the Eppy contest.

I re-titled it NO MORE LIES, and then created the book cover, and spent days formatting for Smashwords and Amazon. A price $0.99 seemed adequate for my first trial at indie publishing. Uploaded on October 2012, the book sold 54 copies on Amazon and 3 on Smashwords. In November, I uploaded a new book that was never published, RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN, and sold 96 copies in November and 76 in December for both books.

When Amazon started the KDP select program I signed in both books and withdrew them from Smashwords. On January 19—my birthday— I put NO MORE LIES in the Free Promotion. Pixel of Ink picked it up. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the downloads multiply themselves up to 45,000 in three days. Would there be enough readers to buy the book!

NO MORE LIES hit #1 in Contemporary Romance. Encouraged by this result, I entered RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN in the KDP Select, and published BABIES IN THE BARGAIN in January, then SAILING WITH YOU in March, and more recently NEIGHBORS AND MORE in August 2012.
In one year, I sold a total of 54,000 ebooks. I never reached a NY or USA bestselling status, but I can’t complain. Self-publishing exceeded my expectation.

Jan: 7,819;
Feb: 15,198;
Mar: 10,460;
Apr: 6,768
May: 4,299;
Jun: 3,241;
Jul: 2,912;
Aug: 3,053

 
As you can see sales soared during the winter months, slowly decreased over the spring and were pathetic during the summer.

Here are the statistics by title:
NO MORE LIES: 14,239
 
RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN: 11,878 
 
BABIES IN THE BARGAIN: 20,093   
SAILING WITH YOU: 4,787

Being a shy person, I hesitated a lot before going public with my statistics, but maybe my journey, efforts, and results can help other writers.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's party time again!!





It's FREE PARTAY Time once again!!!
September 20th
"Partners"Book one in the new Romantic Suspense Vegas Series.


Riveting and fast-paced, this short blockbuster will introduce you to Aurora Morelli and Kai Lawson, the characters who are the stars of the Vegas Series.




In this novel, Aurora is forced to accept one very difficult fact—she's lonesome for her partner Debbie. An attack by a maniac put paid to their working together and Aurora is pissed. She's out to get the madman who hurt her friend and God help anyone who gets in her way.Therefore when a new partner is forced on her, a bloody hotshot no less, the kind of dude she always stays as far away from as possible, she's even more pissed.

This action–packed short is humorous and will sweep you into the lives of these Las Vegas Detectives.



Short Excerpt – Chapter One





Two weeks ago, life had been normal. Aurora had gone to get a cup of the sludge they called coffee and left her partner Debbie working on their backlog of case files. Lieutenant Cory Ashton had caught up with her on the way back to her office and they’d stepped into the room together, both coming to a dead stop. Debbie, who’d lately taken to the layered look with sloppy clothes, had bent over to pick something up from the floor and everything had draped open— her pregnant belly had been revealed for all to see.

"What the hell?" Cory erupted and his explosion cut off Aurora's absurd exclamation.

"You're pregnant." Soon as the words left her mouth, Aurora wished them back. No need to worry since Cory's voice rose to a bellow and drowned out her obtuse remarking on the obvious.

"Girl, why didn't you tell me I'm going to be a father? A guy appreciates knowing these things." The excited man swept the curvaceous blonde into his arms and hugged her until a smile wiped the horrified expression from her face. Flying high, happier than Aurora had ever seen him, Cory continued. "We need to celebrate. A man doesn't find out he's going to be a daddy every day."

Shock zipped around inside Aurora and the memory of the horror eight months ago emerged and wouldn't be squashed. Was this Cory's baby? She watched her partner closely. No one knew the girl in the same way that she did. For the first time, Aurora couldn't read her. Innocent pleasure had wiped away all traces of wariness and Aurora had to accept that adoration shone in eyes that were empty of treachery.

"Roll the Dice" Book two in the romantic suspense Vegas Series.





“You shot me!” Aurora is incensed. Her new partner shrugs and answers. “I saved your life.” From the very first page of this riveting story, these two battle for supremacy in trying to catch the serial rapist who ripped both their lives apart. With all her might, she fights the attraction to his baby blues that tease and start her internal warning devices humming. After all, her job is her life and determination has always been her lifeline.




Kai has a mission of honor to undertake. The man who’d raped his sister can’t be allowed to live. After all, she hadn’t! Revenge fills his soul while visions of his new partner fills his heart. The sassy woman rattles his calm, and he can’t keep his hands to himself. Doesn’t mean she has the power to stop him from doing what has to be done.




Short Excerpt – Chapter One




“You shot me!”


“You told me to.”


“Dumb shit!”Aurora pushed her new partner from hovering over her so she could sit up. “I didn't mean it. I just wanted you to scare Rhondo.” She felt blood poring from the wound on her arm and purposely kept her head turned away.


“Shooting you did scare him. He let you go, didn't he?”


Aurora frowned at him. Why did his voice have to sound so damn reasonable?


“What-ever!” She hoped her scorn would get to him.


“Hey! I saw his eyes, you didn’t. He had every intention of using that knife. You know, the sharp one he had pressed against your throat. If I’d shot him instead of you…”He shrugged.


Aurora shuddered, fighting off nausea. She didn’t want to listen to reason. Being angry made the situation a whole lot easier to deal with. Sarcasm, the best weapon she had in a macho man's environment, replaced whining.


She glared at him and saw his shapely eyebrows rise. The light of the bulb hanging from the ceiling of the cruddy apartment haloed his head making the bare skin shine. “Just my frigging luck to end up with a partner who thinks and looks like Bruce Willis."


Kai chuckled. Her glower put a quick end to his merriment. He tried changing the subject with sweet talk. "I've been told I have a nicely shaped head for being bald."
"Sure and it goes swell with your baby-blue eyes." She sneered on purpose. No way would she admit he did look good.






"Vegas" Contest Rules


(Sept 15 – Sept 30th)



1. Read the book called "Roll the Dice".


2. Write an HONEST review for Amazon.


3. Send a copy of Amazon's notice to


mimibarbour@hotmail.com




Then…


you'll have a chance at being the lucky winner of a


$50 Amazon Gift Certificate




I've purposely set the price of the book down to $.99 for this contest and on Sept 19 & 20 it will be promoted in the










and will be …




…you guessed it!




FREE!!!




Good Luck Everyone!!!
***

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What is Your Inspiration?


What stimulates your inspiration? Is it an article in the news, a book you might have read, a couple’s passionate kiss, or just one of life’s multitudinous situations?  Plain old history is quite often my inspiration especially in the time travel context.  So many mysteries yet to be unraveled! Not only am I caught by some interesting fact, but I will spend hours and hours researching the subject and the more I research, the higher my inspiration soars.

            Ancient history especially draws me. I love discovering that one small tidbit about a people, a place, a time, etc., and then I’ll find everything I can about it. The Urumchi Mummies and Oetzl were my inspirations for Fiona and Riley’s Journey. Who would have thought ancient Celts would have made it to China long before Marco Polo was a merely a light in his daddy’s eye! And what of poor Otzi, a prehistoric man murdered for some unknown reason, entombed in a frozen grave for countless generations. What wrong had he committed and why such a terrible end?

            I wish I could go back, not to stay but to visit, to see history with my own eyes and perhaps verify that which now is only speculation. History is constantly changing. Many of those facts we believed in my youth have since been thrown out as new information surfaces. Writing time travel allows me to experience history as I would have envisioned it if seen through my eyes.

            What inspires you?  

P.L. Parker is the author of numerous novels on time travel, both back and in the future as well as dabbling in scifi.  Two 99 cent books are offered on Amazon - Fiona and Riley's Journey.









Buy Links:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Short and Sweet by Morgan Mandel

Everyone's rushed these days. It's the culture of our time, and we're right smack in the  middle of it. Years ago, I started reading a Stephen King book called It. I actually made it to into the 900s. I was almost through, but then decided I couldn't bear reading another word. Fortunately, the movie came out, and that was much easier to assimilate, although I must admit, very scary.

I don't have anything like that kind of patience these days. I enjoy reading full length, but not lengthy novels, of less than 400 printed pages, and write that length as well.

I'm also getting into the swing of reading and writing novellas, which run one-third to one-half the length of full length novels. They're short and sweet, with just enough words to tell a story and bring it to conclusion.

Novellas seem to be catching on these days, so I designed Her Handyman with that preference in mind. It was a challenge, yet fun to tell the story of  two very different individuals: a down-to-earth handyman and a rich, quirky artist. For special effects, I added a crazy canine. I enjoyed the experience so much, I'll be doing another in the short and sweet mode!

If you also prefer novellas, you can find Her Handyman for 99 cents on kindle at http://amzn.com/B0097EVXBK

Before doing a new novella, I've got a three-quarters ready sequel to Forever Young: Blessing or Curse to finish. This one's called Blessing or Curse, and contains the same villains, plus separate stories mapping the progress of people from various backgrounds who take the spin-back-the-clock pill introduced in the first of the trilogy.

Right now, I'm also offering Forever Young: Blessing or Curse for 99 cents at
http://amzn.com/B006MO28CQ

This book is also available not only on kindle, but also other formats, including print. For excerpts and other buy links, see my stationery blog at
http://morgansbooklinks.blogspot.com.

Morgan Mandel
http://www.morganmandel.com


Friday, September 14, 2012

WHAT FRIGHTENS YOU MOST?




What is your greatest fear? I don’t mean rational fears like losing a loved one or having a car crash. I mean those for which we have no explanation. For me, one is claustrophobia, so I do not like elevators. Yes, I ride them, and I don’t run screaming when the doors open. Only my family members (and now you ) know each ride in that tiny closed in box has me forcing myself not to panic. And we won't even talk about the small private elevator in my cousin's home.

When I wrote THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND: The Kincaids, Book Two, I tried to think of the most frightening things to torture my hero. I remembered my father telling me my grandfather had known a man who was buried alive and clawed his way up from the grave. Even thinking about it has me shuddering. So, that’s what I did to my hero, Nathaniel Bartholomew to open this book. Not only does he face his claustrophobia once in the opening, but two more times in one book. After all, a hero is not someone who is unafraid of danger; he is someone who faces fear to do what is right.

Now don’t think that Nate is immediate hero material. Not at all. He has the innate qualities, but the process of discovering who he is takes him most of the book (as you knew it would, right?). He’s lived most of his life in rebellion and scorned those who daily labored in honest toil. In short, he’s a gambler and a con man. His friend Michael “Monk” Magonagle is a steadying force in Nate’s life. In spite of Monk’s watch, trouble and Nate are well-acquainted.

Sarah Kincaid is Nate’s opposite. She has always led an exemplary life and tries to please those she loves and admires. Her half-sister Pearl (heroine of THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE: The Kincaids, Book One) is the person Sarah most admires. To fit in socially, she also emulates the dress and deportment of her adopted aunt, Lily Stephens. Lily is not easy to love, but Sarah is so kind she even loves the waspish woman. Well, at least she tolerates her. Sarah needs to discover her identity, too, and learn to be her own person, not a reflection of others.

Sarah, Pearl, and their half-brother Storm shared the same father with very different mothers. Sarah’s mother was a bordello/saloon owner who married a man she loved and together they owned a casino in St. Louis, Missouri. Sarah overcompensates for the taint of her birth by being blameless. No wonder she is her adopted grandfather Judge Rob Kincaid's favorite. As we meet Sarah in THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND, she is at her mother’s funeral after nursing her tubercular mom’s last days. Since no lady can travel alone, Aunt Lily has accompanied Sarah on the trip.

What would bring Sarah and Nate together? How about a trio of homeless orphans on their own in winter? Sarah is determined to take the orphans home to Texas with her and needs help. Of course, Nate volunteers. Don't worry, Sarah hires a pleasant woman for the journey home.

THE BLURB:

Sarah Kincaid wants only the simple things: a home, a family, and a place in the community where she can set a good example and lead a moral life. She launched her plan by establishing a school for the poorest children in the county. When she discovers that the terms of her mother’s will have made her the owner of a saloon, she is surprised. Even more shocking, is Sarah’s reaction to Nate. She doesn’t realize he is the son of her mother’s husband and his real name is Nathaniel Batholomew. He uses Barton in his con game with the Kincaids and their neighbors. Tall, dark and unmistakably tempting, Nate is a gambler by trade--and hardly an upright citizen.

Taking in a trio of starving orphans is not the way to conduct a romance. Sarah and Nate soon learn that the only proper thing to do under the circumstances is to let love take them where it will, and get ready for a passionate adventure. Sarah vows to reform him and finds him an eager pupil. Reforming a rogue is easier said than done and Sarah and Nate learn a great deal about themselves and others in their journey!


Yes, it's another Jimmy Thomas book cover
 AN EXCERPT:

Set up: Sarah Kincaid is on her way home from her mother’s funeral in St. Louis. She repeatedly encounters a strange man and wonders if he’s following her. She’s traveling with an odious couple as chaperone’s, the Welborns, and they chose the hotel. In 1885, respectable hotels put single women and families on separate floors from single men.



That man in black--he'd introduced himself as Nathaniel Barton--had been at the cemetery. He was always around on the boat, too, and now he was here in their hotel in Memphis. He trailed behind her as if he hadn't a care in the world. Surely it was coincidence. Lots of people traveled from St. Louis to Memphis every day.

The porter stopped in front of a room and opened the door. He stood back for her to enter, but not before she saw Mr. Barton at the next door. He even glanced her way and smiled as he nodded in greeting.

My stars, he's staying in the very next room to mine.

What kind of hotel would allow a single man on the same floor as a single woman? She fought down panic as she dealt with the porter, then locked the door behind him and slid the bolt. Alone in her room, her imagination ran its course as she paced. Had she strayed into a den of iniquity?

No, that couldn't be. Mrs. Welborn assured her this was a family hotel suitable for a young woman. After all, the Welborns registered here, too. How did Mr. Barton come to be in the very room next to her? It wasn't proper. What would people think? What would they say?

She caught herself. The Welborns were the only people here she knew, and she hardly cared what they thought other than their reports back to the Vermillions and Aunt Lily. Even they could hardly blame her for the hotel's room assignments.

This Mr. Barton could not mean her harm. There'd been ample opportunity on the paddle wheeler had he intended to hurt her. They'd never had a conversation on a personal level. His comments had centered on the trip and the weather, not a hint of anything improper and always with others nearby. Perhaps his constant presence was a coincidence. Just the same, he made her nervous. She felt like a rabbit waiting for the wolf to pounce whenever Mr. Barton was near.

In the midst of her concern, she admitted his presence offered reassurance to her that she was protected from others. Surely he would rush to her aid if she needed assistance. Her instincts proved right regarding Mr. Welborn. Perhaps she should rely on intuition in this instance. She wished she were more decisive, not a victim of warring emotions.

She raised her skirt and checked the little double-shot derringer given her by her brother, Storm. Best to be prepared. The little gun still rested securely in its garter holster on her thigh. Storm had insisted she practice until she was a fair shot. Would she have the courage to use the weapon against a human? She doubted it, but its weight reassured her.

Sarah spied the door connecting her room with the one in which Mr. Barton resided. Rushing to check the lock, she stopped. She must not let him know she suspected him of following her. Very slowly she turned the knob of the connecting door. Locked. She released a heavy sigh.

Curiosity nudged her. Kneeling, she peered through the keyhole. The opening framed him as he pulled a fresh shirt from an open valise on the bed. Shucking his jacket and waistcoat, he took a pistol from his waistband and placed it on the bed beside the satchel. He unbuttoned his shirt.

She knew she should move away but couldn't. Oh, my stars!  He might dress like a riverboat dandy, but this gorgeous man was no weakling. Trouser fabric pulled taut against trim hip muscles when he turned and bent over the things on the bed.

Her mouth went dry as a Texas dust storm. She watched him turn back to face her. He removed his shirt and tossed it behind him on the bed. Then she saw the bandage across his shoulder and another at his waist. She wondered which side of the law he was on when he got those, but thought she knew. The wrong side, of course.

He picked up a fresh shirt and she caught the ripple of muscles across his chest as he slipped the shirt on. His movements were swift and powerful, not the sluggish ambling she had witnessed in public.

Occasionally in summer she had caught glimpses of her brother, her brother-in-law, and the hands at the ranch with their shirts off. Unlike their tanned torsos, Mr. Barton's pale skin made her fingers tingle to touch the brown chest hair that converged in a vee at his belt. She wondered how far below his waist the pelt descended. A pool of warmth gathered at the base of her stomach.

My stars, what disgraceful thoughts.

Where did they come from? They weren’t proper. No, not at all suitable. Being away from home must be having a poor effect on her.

Never before had such scandalous ideas entered her head about any man. She didn’t have these thoughts about Peter Dorfmeyer, and everyone expected her to marry Peter. Mr. Barton was the most attractive man she’d ever seen, but she must get her wayward thoughts under control.

Buttoning his shirt, Mr. Barton stepped from her view. When he returned and glared at the keyhole, she froze. Surely he couldn't know she watched him. She sank further to the floor and sat with her back against the door.

Sarah pressed her hands to heated cheeks, shocked at her own behavior. She was no better than a window peeper. What on earth had come over her?

A sudden thought assailed her. What if he planned to look through the keyhole as she had? Taking a hanky from her cuff, she draped it over the doorknob so it hung across the tiny opening. No, that wouldn’t do. It kept sliding off. She rose and opened her traveling bag and took out a shirtwaist. Hanging it on the knob, she stepped back. Perfect. It looked as if she used the handle for a hook.

She crossed to the vanity. Not taking time to change from her traveling suit into a dress, she contented herself with pushing stray hair back into her chignon and grabbing her shawl. With any luck, she could purchase her train ticket while her neighbor had his dinner.

Sarah walked briskly to the train station. A line greeted her at the ticket window. Oh, well, she loved watching people, so she wouldn't mind the wait. Taking her place in the row, she surveyed the other prospective passengers wandering to and fro. She studied the clothes of other women, compared them to her own black clothing. In her head she made up stories of who they were and where they might be headed.

A young boy bumped with a wham into the man in front of her. The child's hand darted into the man's pocket and out with a flash and secured the lifted wallet under his shirt. Probably no more than seven or eight, the lad wore the dirtiest clothes Sarah had ever seen. His hair might have been blond at one time, but it and his skin had gone a long time without touching soap and water.

"Oh, excuse me, sir." The boy's large blue eyes were the picture of innocence when he gazed up at the man.

Sarah gasped. What should she do? She couldn't bring herself to cause a scene by screaming, but neither could she stand by and let the child rob this man.

"Steady, you little ragamuffin.” The victim placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Slow down and see you're more careful next time.”

"Yes, sir, sorry. I will, sir.” The boy moved swiftly away into the crowd.

Sarah took off after the little thief. He looked over his shoulder and she motioned to him. His eyes widened in alarm and he ran. She gathered her skirts and rushed after him, weaving around groups of people.
When she had almost caught up with the light-fingered boy, she thudded against a solid wall of chest.

Mr. Barton grunted and clutched Sarah's shoulders, then dropped his hands and made a slight bow. "Why, I believe it's Miss Kincaid, is it not? Are you in some sort of distress?"

"No, it was nothing.” She peered over his shoulder but the thief was nowhere in sight. "I thought I saw someone I knew, but I was mistaken.” She felt her cheeks flush again with guilt. Their collision must have jarred his injured chest, but she couldn't ask him about it. How could she explain that knowledge?

"Your traveling companions--Welwoods or Welworths--are they with you?"

"No. The Welborns were tired and planned to have dinner sent to their room.” She thanked heavens for that. Eating with the odious Mr. Welborn soured her stomach. But now this man who, for all appearances, followed her everywhere had neatly trapped her. A shiver of apprehension skittered down her spine, but she stood mesmerized by his tawny eyes.

As if he sensed her fear, he offered a crooked smile and proffered his` arm. "May I escort you back to the hotel?"

"I was..." she stopped. Her nerves jangled with alarm, but she strove to appear calm. She preferred buying her ticket in private. If he hadn't yet learned where she headed, she didn't want him to know her exact destination. "That would be very kind, um, Mr. Barton.”

"Bit cool this evening, isn't it?"

My stars, didn't the man ever talk about anything but the weather? Maybe he was one of those gorgeous physical specimens with the brain of a rock.

She sighed and answered, "Yes, there's a chill in the air. I suppose we're in for more winter.”

What should she do? Panic twisted her stomach in knots. She should send him on his way, but didn't know what to say or do. Hating herself for her timidity, she once more flowed with the easiest course and allowed herself to be escorted back to the hotel.


If you’re intrigued (and I so hope you are!), THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND is available for--you guessed it--only 99 ¢ at these urls:

Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/37792?ref=CarolineClemmons
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/MOST-UNSUITABLE-HUSBAND-Kincaids-ebook/dp/B004M8T1D8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1347332296&sr=1-1&keywords=caroline+clemmons

You can learn more about me and my other books at www.carolineclemmons.com

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Free Medieval novel today - by Vijaya Schartz

If you like a gritty medieval series, the CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE is for you. PAGAN QUEEN is book 2, and you can find it free today and tomorrow in kindle at:


Book 1 is PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE, and Book 3 is SEDUCING SIGEFROI. I would strongly advise to read the books in the right order. There is also a special edition that comprises the firs three books (Book 4 is coming out later this year, to be followed by more in 2013).

Find all my kindle books HERE

Here is the theme of this 5-star series:

From history shrouded in myths, emerges a family of immortal Celtic Ladies, who roam the medieval world in search of salvation from a curse. For centuries, imbued with hereditary gifts, they hide their deadly secret... but if the Church ever suspects what they really are, they will be hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake.

810 AD - Alba (Ancient Scotland) - Queen at last, Pressine brings victory to her beloved Elinas and prosperity to their growing kingdom. But she has to contend with the intrigues of Charlemagne's bishops, spurred by her Christian stepson. She also fears the curse that could bring her downfall. For the love of Elinas, she will tempt fate and become with child. But when her indomitable passion challenges the wrath of the Goddess Herself... can she win that battle?

Roberta at Manic Readers says in a 5-star review of Pagan Queen: "Schartz is an accomplished writer, whose pacing, conflicts, and goals are always complex and whose good characters are always likeable, and whose villains are evil incarnate. You have to like her villains as much as the good guys! Mattacks is a magnificent example of this!"

PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE
806 AD - Alba (Ancient Scotland) - As the Vikings raid the coast of Alba, Pressine of Bretagne sets out to seduce King Elinas of Dumfries, chosen by the Goddess to unite the tribes against the foreign invader. Elinas, still mourning his departed queen, has no intention to remarry. Head strong and independent, Pressine does not expect to fall for the very attractive, wise and noble ruler... Furthermore, her Pagan nature clashes with the religious fanaticism of the king’s Christian heir, who suspects her unholy ancestry and will stop at nothing to get rid of her.

SEDUCING SIGEFROI - Book 3

Luxembourg - 963 AD - To offset the curse that makes her a serpent from the waist down one day each month, Melusine, exiled Princess of Strathclyde, must seduce and wed a mortal knight, the shrewd and ambitious Sigefroi of Ardennes. Sigefroi, son of the Duke of Lorraine, suspects Melusine is not what she appears, but her beauty, her rich dowry, and her sharp political skills serve his ambitions. He never expected her to soften his stone-cold warrior heart. So close to the Imperial court, dangers and intrigue threaten Melusine. War looms on the horizon, a Mermaid was sighted around Luxembourg, and Sigefroi's bishop brother questions her ancestry. If anyone ever suspects Melusine's true nature, she will burn at the stake... 
SPECIAL EDITION THREE NOVELS IN ONE KINDLE BOOK
And if you want to have the first three novels together for a very friendly price, just get the special edition.
Book 4, LADY OF LUXEMBOURG, is coming out next season, so hurry to catch up.
Happy Reading.
Vijaya Schartz
Swords, Blasters, Romance with a Kick
FIND ALL MY BOOKS IN KINDLE HERE
Also find me on FACEBOOK
Follow me on Twitter @vijayaschartz 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Bearwalker's Daughter by Beth Trissel


 












The Bearwalker’s Daughter  is a historical romance novel interwoven with an intriguing paranormal thread, set among the clannish Scots in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies. The story is similar to others of mine with a colonial frontier flavor and also features Native American characters. My passion for the past, and some of the accounts I’ve come across while researching my early American ancestors and the Shawnee Indians, is at the heart of my inspiration.

 
A particularly tragic account is the driving force behind this story, one I discovered while researching my early American ancestors, the ill-fated romance of a captive woman who fell in love with the son of a chief. As the result of a treaty, she was taken from her warrior husband and forced back to her white family where she gave birth to a girl. 

Then the young woman’s husband did the unthinkable and left the tribe to go live among the whites, but such was their hatred of Indians that before he reached his beloved her brothers killed him.  Inconsolable and weak from the birth, she grieved herself to death. Heart-wrenching, that tale haunts me to this day. And I wondered, was there some way those young lovers could have been spared such anguish, and what happened to their infant daughter when she grew up?

Not only did The Bearwalker’s Daughter spring from that sad account, but it also had a profound influence on my historical romance Red Bird’s Song.  Now that I’ve threaded it through two novels, perhaps I can let go. Perhaps…

Story Description: Timid by nature–or so she thinks–Karin McNeal hasn’t grasped who she really is or her fierce birthright. A tragic secret from the past haunts the young Scots-Irish woman longing to learn more of her mother’s death and the mysterious father no one will name. The elusive voices she hears in the wind hint at the dramatic changes soon to unfold in the mist-shrouded Alleghenies in Autumn, 1784.


Jack McCray, the wounded stranger who staggers through the door on the eve of her twentieth birthday and anniversary of her mother’s death, holds the key to unlock the past. Will Karin let this handsome frontiersman lead her to the truth and into his arms, or seek the shelter of her fiercely possessive kinsmen? Is it only her imagination or does someone, or something, wait beyond the brooding ridges–for her?

“Ms. Trissel’s alluring style of writing invites the reader into a world of fantasy and makes it so believable it is spellbinding.” –Long and Short Reviews

What’s a bearwalker, you may ask? For that you will need to read the book. The Bearwalker’s Daughter is Free from Sept. 9th –Sept. 11th at Amazon kindle

After that it will be on sale for .99.

*Cover by my talented daughter Elise Trissel

For more on me my blog is the happening place: http://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Colors and Highlights

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Free today and tomorrow

NEIGHBORS and MORE http://tinyurl.com/96bjqcm

Did you notice how you are immediately attracted to a bright colored display? Or how you smile at a little girl prettily dressed in pink? Or how your significant other’s head swivel right and left when a flashy blonde or redhead pass by?

Like many I’m sensitive to colors. Since my daughter was six I let her free to choose her clothe as long as she coordinated her colors. She’d often asked, “Is this sweater matching my blue pants?” and then add, “But I can’t find blue socks to go with it.”
My predilection for colors leads me to buy books simply because their covers appeal to me—Big mistake, I may regret later! Anyway, I don’t just like colors I use them a lot in my work. My critique partners can tell you that my manuscript is often decorated with highlights.
 
Yellow=newly revised, to be carefully checked;
Green=repetitious words or idea, needs rewrite;
Pink=sensorial, smells, noise, touch, I make sure I have enough in each chapter to grind the reader in the setting;
Blue= emotion

 The multiple pink, blue, yellow, purple post-it stuck on my desk around my computer attest to my need of colors to remember things. Even when I read on my Kindle, I hold my little pointer and highlight the lines, words, or paragraphs I particularly like or dislike, in case I need to refer to them later—not that I ever go back to look at them! But I have developed a compulsive habit to highlight.

 Do you ever use color while working?

My romantic suspense, NEIGHBORS and MORE, is FREE at  


So please grab a copy, enjoy it, and reward the author with a review.

Reviews are the daily bread of authors. They need them for moral sustenance.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Divided Loyalties



When someone experiences a situation where their gut instinct tells them to go against everything they have been taught and 'break the rules', it is always interesting to see how the person, or in the case of fiction, the character, handles the experience. They have to reconcile what they thought they knew and believed with what they are compelled to do. This is often when characters grow and learn the most.

Often this situation can arise when someone's duty conflicts with their personal wishes or desires, as is the case in A Clockwork Fairytale. The young hero, Turk, has been taught a clear and uncompromising set of principles, one being that women are not trustworthy or even worthy at all. This belief falls apart when he meets the heroine and he starts to think for himself.

In A Clockwork Fairytale, Turk has to go against those he considers to be his olders and betters to do the right thing, but it is a difficult decision for him to make. I love putting characters in circumstances where there is no clear right and wrong and they have to make difficult choices.

A Clockwork Fairytale

A rags to riches fairytale about a lost princess and a maverick young spymaster who must foil the plans of an evil magician bent on stealing her throne.

Praise for A Clockwork Fairytale

Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer's Choice Award Winner! "I would most definitely recommend this to anyone, young or old, who enjoys a good clean love story..." Penelope Adams, The Paranormal Romance Guild

"Her lyrical writing and amazing imagination give you characters you'll remember for a long time, along with stories that take you away into a land of magic that dazzles with danger and romance." Sandy M--The Good, The Bad and The Unread A+

Normally only 99cents, but for two days, September 5th and 6th it's Free on Amazon.

Other Paranormal or Fantasy books at 99cents by Helen Scott Taylor

Wildwood



A fifteen-year-old boy is sent to stay in a spooky English village with his grandfather for the summer vacation. He always knew he was different from other kids, he just didn't realize how different until he discovers his father was linked to an ancient pagan cult. If he doesn't get out of the village soon, he might be trapped there forever.


Warriors of  Ra



Christian Lefevre broke Trisha’s teenage heart, but twenty years later she must seek him out to identify a rare Egyptian artifact. The fire-filled pyramid holds the secret to the danger that caused Christian to send her away, the secret to his roots buried deep in the mythology of ancient Egypt. He wants to claim her in an ancient ritual, to love her and protect her. But Trisha won’t become any man’s property. She wants love on her own terms.


The Feast of Beauty



Kate’s grandmother’s dying wish is that she should return her pearl pendant to the tiny fishing village in Ireland where she was born. At the village’s Midsummer Feast of Beauty, the unearthly silver hair and emerald eyes of Esras, the wealthy local landowner, mesmerize Kate. But how can she trust her heart to a man who claims to be a sea fairy king?