Friday, June 28, 2013

Super Book Blast: Spring's Surprise by Cynthia Gail


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cynthia will award one $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter and a $15 Starbucks GC to another randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sara Michaels is single again. And she’s celebrating her thirtieth birthday with a complete spa makeover and a day of boutique shopping with her two best friends. After a ten-month battle for freedom, a long weekend in Nashville, Tennessee is just what she needs to erase the memories of a broken heart.

Jack Tanner is the soon-to-be new partner at Chester & Dorsey Development Firm. Jack’s love life has been on the back burner for years as he’s built a successful career. But the moment he meets Sara, he takes a hard look at his life and his priorities.

Sara steps out of her comfort zone and spends an unforgettable weekend with Jack. She’s never felt so carefree. Until she realizes too late that three days can change everything.

Excerpt

Jack was leaning against a post, about halfway between the barn and the porch, when he saw Sara come out of the house.

God, she was gorgeous. Every inch of his body stirred as he watched her approach him in a pair of form-fitting black jeans. She had her hair down and wore a long necklace that hung low on her neck, bringing his eyes to the low cut of her shimmery blue blouse.

If that wasn’t enough to make his blood boil, she was wearing a pair of high-heeled black sandals that showed off her sexy red toenails he’d noticed the previous night.

He felt like a teenager going on his first date. He didn’t know what to say. You’re pretty didn’t seem to do justice, but he hated to be the slobbering fool, constantly telling her how beautiful or amazing she looked. Even though she did.

He wished their situation wasn’t so complicated. He was getting ready to make a huge move in his professional life that would take him farther away from her.

How could life be so cruel, to introduce him to such an amazing woman, the kind he could really see himself falling for, just to say that he couldn’t have her?

Or maybe life wasn’t saying he couldn’t have her. Maybe long distance was just temporary. Maybe . . .

About the Author:
My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our eighteen-year-old son and three dogs. When I’m not working or writing, I can be found with family and friends. I love to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, I sneak away from everyone and curl up with a good book.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to open. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.

www.CynthiaGail.com
Buy the book at Amazon


Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Writer's View by Casey Dawes


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.Casey will be awarding a bottle of Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir (a wine served in California Homecoming)(US ONLY) OR a $25 Amazon gift certificate (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her Virtual Reviews Tour, as well as donating $20.00 to Fisher House (http://www.fisherhouse.org/donate/) in honor or memory of a serviceperson of the winner's choice. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

~~~~~


After a great deal of pain and moving, my husband and I have managed to wind up in paradise. We've rented a house in Missoula, Montana, on the banks of the Clark Fork River. I have the entire upstairs of the house for my quilting, writing, and dreaming.

I've positioned my desk so I can look out directly at the river and watch the seasons change. The contrast between winter and spring is quite dramatic, but it can happen slowly. As spring turns to summer the subtle variations in green meld into the darker hues of summer.

I can watch the arrival of a dramatic thunderstorm or hide from the blistering heat of a summer's day.

Best of all, I can watch the parade of animals and birds. We have a fox that slips through, too fleet for picture-taking. The chickadees, goldfinches, and house flit through the branches of the tree outside on their way to the bird feeder. I can catch a glimpse of the pileated woodpecker, a bird my husband fondly refers to as a “pileated jackhammer.”

My favorite winter bird is the kingfisher. His jaunty perch in the frozen weather reminds me the weather will change, and the best fishing is to be had when conditions are difficult. On the other side of the river, the heron stalks to a spot, takes a stance, and seemingly doesn't move for hours. This might change if a deer decides to join him on the sand bar, each trying to determine what strange creature has wandered into their territory.

The large birds—hawks, ospreys, and eagles--scatter the smaller ones merely by flying overhead. Before summer's leaves cover its branches, I can often watch the stoic figure of a hawk or eagle competing with the kingfisher or heron for a meal.

These are distractions from my work, true, but they provide the rich fertilizer for my imagination and bless me with their presence.

When I'm heavily in a story, I'm immersed in that world, whether its the Central Coast of California or the barren nothingness of Nevada. When I need to take a break, all I need to do is look up and nature delights me with her ways.

About the Author:
Author Casey Dawes lives and writes on the bank of the Clark Fork River in Montana with the love of her life and two cats who think they own the joint. To learn more about Casey, visit her website: www.stories-about-love.com.




Twitter: @CaseyDawesAutho
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/wisewomanshining
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Casey-Dawes/177311175677765
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/caseydawes/
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5313263-casey-dawes


When Sarah Ladina purchased an old Victorian in Costanoa with plans to turn it into a high-end destination inn, she had no idea life could get so complicated. Well, maybe she did. As an unwed pregnant woman who couldn’t cook, she had her work cut out for her. A good-looking disabled veteran, a doctor who orders modified bed rest, and an ex who’s trying to get back into her life make her wonder if she’ll ever be able to stand on her own and open the inn in time for her mother’s best friend’s wedding.

After returning from duty in the Middle East wounded in both body and spirit, Hunter Evans is in search of employment and a home, but finding a job has been tough and housing doesn’t come cheap in Costanoa, the town that he loves the most on the California Coast. Can he strike a deal with the pretty innkeeper to trade a room for handy work?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SUPER BOOK BLAST and giveaway: The Disillusioned by D.J. Williams


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will win a $30 Amazon gift certificate. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A mother’s suicide threatens to destroy a family legacy. Her sons, Sam and Daniel, are forced to leave their comfortable worlds behind and search for a woman they believe can unlock the secrets that have remained hidden. They are propelled into separate journeys from Los Angeles to the heart of the Zambezi where they are forced to confront a man known as Die Duiwel, the Devil. On their adventures they will find themselves in a place where death is one breath away, where thousands of children are disappearing into the darkness, and where the woman they are searching for is on the hunt for revenge. When they stand face-to-face with the forgotten slaves of Africa they will fight to redeem what has been lost.

Excerpt

Ten years later I had my hands full with two young boys while John was busy traveling the world. I went with him on occasion, but for the most part I stayed home and watched my babies grow into young men. At times it was as if I were a single parent. I could’ve spoken up. I could’ve objected to the sacrifices we made in the name of God. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t. Instead I enjoyed the comforts of being a wife, our beachfront home, a private jet leased by the church, a cabin in Lake Isabella, John’s seven figure salary, as well as his book royalties. A bonus was the respect given to us whenever we entered a room by those who didn’t know us. It was flattering, and addicting.

This isn’t my life anymore.

I’ve been locked up here for one thousand and ninety five days. I’ve had time to think about the choices I’ve made. I’ve thought about what is best for everyone. I’ve become a burden. I know it. I feel it. I hate it. The whispers inside tell me there’s only one decision to make, undoubtedly the hardest one of all. It goes against everything I’ve believed.

But nothing is the same as it once was.

God forgive me.

About the Author:With the DNA of a world traveler, Williams was born in Hong Kong, has ventured into the jungles of the Amazon, the bush of Africa, and the slums of the Far East, to share stories of those who are overcoming incredible odds. He is the co-author of Restoration Road with Mitch Kruse and has produced and directed over 140 television episodes syndicated on NBC, ABC, FOX and various cable networks worldwide. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife.

www.djwilliamsbooks.com
www.twitter.com/djwilliams316


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Super Book Blast: The Esposito Series Boxed Set by J.M. Griffin


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.M. will be awarding Tea and Chip Nuts to three randomly drawn commenters (US/CANADA ONLY) during this tour and her Reviews Tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Esposito Series Box Set:

Now you can own the first three books in the sassy and suspenseful Vinnie Esposito Series by J.M. Griffin!

By day, Lavinia (Vinnie) Esposito is a criminal justice instructor at a college in Rhode Island. By night Vinnie is an amateur sleuth, solving murders while trying to avoid getting yelled at by her Italian father, her hunky protective boyfriend Marcus Richmond, and her sexy upstairs tenant, the mysterious Aaron Grant.

For Love of Livvy (Book 1)

Vinnie investigates the death of her beloved aunt, and a mysterious box is left on her doorstep.

Dirty Trouble (Book 2)

Someone is stalking Vinnie and that’s just the beginning of her troubles.

Dead Wrong (Book 3)

Vinnie is out to save her brother from being framed after a valuable painting is stolen.

Excerpt:

The front door knocker rapped twice after the door bell rang. I hustled from the rear deck of the gargantuan house to answer the summons. Someone seemed impatient, and I was curious as to who it was. My watch read just after eight o’ clock. I swung the heavy door open to find my prospective visitor absent.

It was so quiet, the town ghostly in its seemingly deserted state. Sundays were always lazy days in Scituate, once church was over. With a glance up and down the street of the small historic Rhode Island village, neat colonial homes stretched along the sides of the road in both directions. No one came into view.

On the doorstep, a package addressed to my recently deceased Aunt Livvy sat wrapped in brown paper. Again, I gawked up and down the street, but only empty sidewalks and barren roadway appeared in the waning light. The idea of a jaunt along the main drag entered my mind. I figured it would be senseless since the street was visible for about two hundred yards in either direction. Whoever had left the package was gone, long gone.

An eternity passed, or so it seemed, while my gaze locked onto the square, little box. Reluctant to touch it, I decided to call the local fire company to come take a gander. Call me paranoid, but as a criminal justice instructor, a recent audit of a class on bomb components remained fresh in my mind.

I quickly stepped to the living room and grabbed the phone. I dialed the private number of the fire station up the street. A grunt came across the phone line that could only be Bill MacNert.

“Hey Nerd, its Vinnie,” I said. “A package was just left on my doorstep, could you come down and check it out for me?”

“Sure, you got a secret admirer or somethin’?” He cackled, as only senior men can.

“Not likely, but you never know. This package is addressed to Lavinia Ciano, not Lavinia Esposito and is wrapped in brown paper. Nobody’s here to accompany this little surprise either.”

“I’ll be right down, Vinnie, don’t touch it.” He warned.

“Okay.”

Anxious, I paced back and forth across gleaming hard wood floors in the spacious living room of my newly acquired colonial. My fingernails tapped the enamel on my teeth as I wandered to and fro. As irrational as it seemed, I finally leaned against the door jamb inside the entry to wait for MacNert to arrive.

It wasn’t long before the limber old guy came into view as he hot footed down the street with a stethoscope in his hand. This particular piece of equipment wasn’t quite what I’d expected, but then he wasn’t a bomb expert either.

When he arrived on the doorstep slightly out of breath, he glanced at the parcel, and then turned toward me.

“This was just delivered, you say?” MacNert squinted toward me with wizened brown eyes that twinkled all the time. It was as though there was a private joke going on inside his head.

“Yeah, someone knocked on the door, and when I got here to answer, there was nobody around. It didn’t seem prudent to mess with it, so I called you.”

“You just finished that bomb class, eh?” He chuckled and then sobered quickly. Since 9/11, everyone took stuff like this with a serious attitude. While he chuckled, I knew MacNert was no different.

The stethoscope ends plugged into his ears, Bill laid its diaphragm on top of the package. Removing it, he gingerly set it against the sides and listened again. I didn’t make a sound as he stood and glanced up.

“There’s no tickin’ but that doesn’t mean it’s not an explosive. You should probably call the state police barracks up the road. Have them send their bomb guys down for a lookie see, just to be on the safe side.”

“Geez, I hate to do that. I’ll feel stupid if it’s a joke,” I whined.

“It’s up to you, but if you were nervous enough to call me, then you should call them. It’s just my opinion, Vin.” He stepped over the box and wandered into the entryway. “Got anythin’ to eat? Wifey’s out of town visitin’ her sister and I’m starved.”

Bill didn’t seem over concerned, but then again, he hadn’t recently taken a bomb class either. My eyes never left the box as I answered him. “There’s food in the fridge, help yourself.”

I’d known the homely man and his family for years and respected his opinion. Tapping my fingers against my lips, I called after him, “You’re right. I’ll ring the state police now, but stick around okay?”

Unwilling to be nailed as over-dramatic by the staties, I reluctantly punched in the numbers. It was bad enough that the local cops had bugged the shit out of me for the first month after Aunt Livvy’s death. They still stopped by now and then, annoying me even more with stupid questions. Questions to which I had no answers.

After the trooper covering the desk answered, I explained what I’d found on the doorstep. He seemed unconcerned until I mentioned my name and address, and then he stated someone would be down momentarily. The swift change in his manner piqued my curiosity. I wondered why he’d suddenly capitulated when his initial response had been of disinterest.

In the living room, I paced while awaiting the arrival of the state police. Within minutes a sleek, grey Crown Victoria pulled up to the curb out front and a tall, lean trooper got out. Broad shouldered and well built, he walked with assurance and a certain amount of swagger. I stepped into the open door entry and watched him saunter through the front gate onto the walkway. He stared at the package and then at me.

“Did you call about this box, ma’am?” Keen hazel green eyes traveled over my face and down my body.

Craggy features, sculpted from granite, faced me and I felt my blood run hot as the breath caught in my throat. What was this about? I gazed at him admiring the neat package wrapped in the trim uniform.

“I did. Bill MacNert from the fire station thought it would be a good idea since it was mysteriously left on the doorstep. He checked to see if it was ticking, but it isn’t.”

“Are you Lavinia Ciano?” The trooper’s glance strayed from the name on the wrapper to me as his eyes showed a glint of humor and his mouth twitched.

Could that humor be over the name? I wondered, as I said, “No, my name is Esposito. Livvy was my aunt.” Our eyes held and my heart pounded. I licked my parched lips and then glanced away.

An oversized van idled up behind the patrol car and the trooper glanced back. Two men stepped from the vehicle dressed in heavy gear and acknowledged him. He turned to the lead man, mumbled a few words and then stared at me again. If this was an action film, I would have expected Bruce Willis to jump out of the truck announcing he was about to kick someone’s ass. This wasn’t an action film, but a real life situation instead.

The two guys angled through the front gate and hitched their gear as they hauled a peculiar looking lidded barrel toward the front door. By this time, a few neighbors had taken notice of the activities. Several people straggled along the sidewalk across the street to watch.

You’d think it was a freakin’ sideshow. I smiled and waved. Nobody responded, they just continued to gawk. A little excitement for them on an otherwise dull Sunday, I guessed. The trooper stood aside and watched the crowd, but said nothing.

The overdressed bomb guys corralled the box between them. With delicate finesse they lifted and stowed it into the metal container, loaded it into the truck and drove off. I stared in disbelief. Hell, I wanted to know what was in the package. I had a right to know, didn’t I?

The trooper turned to leave and I stepped forward.

“Uh, I’d like to know what’s in the box, if it’s not too much to ask.” My hand snuck up to my hip as my cocky Italian attitude slid into place.

Tall and Curious stiffened at my tone and turned to stare at me. It seemed he wasn’t used to being spoken to in this manner, which wasn’t any big surprise. Women tend to respond differently to men in uniform, especially a man such as this luscious creature. Well, not this chick. I teach guys like him all year long and the “I’m so wonderful” thing gets old fast.

“I’ll be sure to let you know, Miss Esposito. If we have any questions, you’ll hear from us right away.”

I gawked a moment and my eyes narrowed. His opened wide in contrast and he waited, his body tense. Maybe he thought I’d pitch myself off the steps onto his perfectly toned frame and pummel the daylights out of him or something. It was a thought, but I really wanted to know what was in the package. Besides, his muscles were bigger than mine.

In an effort to change tactics rather than be handcuffed and dragged off to jail, I smiled and spoke in as nice a manner as I could muster.

“I’d appreciate any information you could give me officer, since the package was left in such an alarming way. Should I call headquarters tomorrow?”

His look narrowed. I suspected he was unsure of where this was headed. There was a moment’s hesitation before he answered the question.

“Sure, that would be a good idea.” He gave a nod of the stiff brimmed campaign hat that covered cropped brown hair.

“All right then. I’ll call the colonel first thing.” My voice remained light and sweet, and the smile was charming, at least I hoped it was.

The colonel runs a strict police force and is a tough disciplinarian with an intense dislike for any impropriety, implied or otherwise. I’d gleaned that much from the cops in my criminal justice classes.

A tight lipped smile crossed his face. I figured he couldn’t decide whether I really knew the colonel or if this was a ploy. To be truthful, I lied by omission. I hadn’t said I knew the colonel, I just said I’d give him a call.

“That won’t be necessary ma’am. As soon as there’s any information, I’ll get in touch with you.” With a nod of his head, he turned and left.

Don’t you hate that ma’am thing? It makes me feel old. I know I’m thirty-something, but really.

Bill MacNert stood near the doorway sucking down a sandwich filled with sausage and peppers. My mother had sent the food home with me the day before. The smell of rich tomato sauce and fragrant sausage tantalized my taste buds.

“Guess it wasn’t that serious then?” Slurp noises preceded a sauce blob that dripped down his uniform shirt.

I glanced at Bill’s shirt, snagged a tissue from my pocket and dabbed at the drip.

“I won’t know until tomorrow, but if I’m the town laughing stock you’re in for it and don’t forget it. By the way, did you leave me any food?” I chuckled at his expression.

Bill’s guilt ridden grin assured me that he hadn’t, but he swore that he had. He handed me the empty plate before he headed toward the fire station. I watched the stethoscope bob up and down from the back pocket of his pants. He trotted up the street, and I felt sure the story would make the rounds since Bill was an avid gossip.

The crowd had dispersed, and I was alone again. Livvy would have had a fit over the whole affair had she been alive, but I figured there was no sense in being stupid. I act that way often enough, thank you.

Mystery still surrounded Livvy’s non-violent death. While the police weren’t forthcoming with information, the state troopers’ attitude on the phone caused me to reconsider the promise to my father to not investigate on my own. I wandered through the house deep in thought over the situation.

Darkness had descended as I headed toward the bedroom. Changing into a t-shirt and boxer briefs, I climbed into bed with a notebook. The troopers’ attitude niggled at me. I leaned back against the pillows scribbling notes about the package delivery. Words ran across the page as the scene and the trooper came to mind. The trooper’s name wasn’t on his badge, but I remembered the badge number.

The pad propped against my knees, my mind drifted over the parcel and the officer’s attitude. Warm hazel green eyes along with the trooper’s cool manner had drawn my interest. It wasn’t really just his bearing that caught my attention either and it was a struggle to stay focused.

Intense eyes sat above a strong, chiseled nose and firm jaw. I sketched the features onto the pad of paper. His lips weren’t thin, not too wide, but just right for kissing. Wondering what it would be like to taste those lips, I gave myself a mental head slap. A cop is the last thing you want or need, my inner voice echoed. This voice always echoed dire warnings through my head. It had a bad habit of doing so at the worst possible moment. Just stay focused on Livvy, I lectured myself.

Snuggled under the lightweight blanket, thoughts about Livvy and our life played in my mind. Muscles relaxed, and I realized I needed to talk to her tomorrow. The graveyard was about two blocks away from the house. I often went to her grave for a conversation when I’d become involved in one issue or another. That’s what my life consisted of, one issue or another. Most of the time the issues were huge, never mundane, not ever.

I sighed, sniffed the sweet summer scents that wafted through the open window and wondered how this summer in Rhode Island would be. The pillow slipped lower and so did I as my mind wandered over life, the package and my aunt.

About the Author: As a humorous, cozy mystery writer, J.M. adds a touch of romance to every story. She believes in fairies, doesn't believe in coincidence, and feels life is what you make it. Believe in yourself and look at the positive, not the negative, to bring about success. AND. . .never stop trying.

J.M. lives in rural New England with her husband and two very mysterious cats.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/JM-Griffin/246751368685078
Website: http://www.JMGriffin.net Twitter: mycozymystery
Blog: http://mycozymysteries.blogspot.com
Buy Link: http://www.lachesispublishing.com/proddetail.asp?prod=EspositoBoxSet1-3E


Monday, June 24, 2013

The Writer's View: Sharon Struth


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sharon will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

My Room’s Special View


My writer’s cave is nothing snazzy. A small fourth bedroom that I converted into an office, with a twin bed tucked in the corner for overnight guests. I can see into my backyard, a standard neighborhood view of trees, bushes and a partial an obstructed peek my neighbors back deck.

The special views, however, are inside the room.

When I finished my first manuscript (my “practice” manuscript), I entered writing contests. I learned a lot from the feedback, but never became a finalist in any. When I completed my recent release, The Hourglass, I eventually did become a finalist in a contest. Then it happened again. And again…until, all told, I had six RWA Chapter sponsored contest finalist spots to my name for The Hourglass! Each time I received the honor, a certificate arrived in the mail to honor the achievement. My pride would swell, but the certificates accumulated in a pile beneath other papers.

As I submitted The Hourglass to agents and publishers, every rejection made me forget about my achievements with this book. How easily negative news can outweigh any prior positive! Then one day, after another agent sent a rejection letter, I happened to stumble upon one of my contest certificates. I recalled my success and how good I’d felt. How hard I’d worked for that second place finish and it slipped under the radar with an agent’s negative response. So, I had an idea.

I mounted a corkboard on the wall behind my computer monitor. With pushpins, I secured each and every contest certificate to the cork. The result: with a simple shift of my gaze, I could feast my eyes on my accomplishments and easily relive the positive feeling I’d had each time my work had succeeded. Here’s a picture of my little “shrine to success.” It still provides me motivation as I continue onto new work.

I have another unusual view. Something that brings me an unexplained measure of peace while I plot, develop characters and edit scenes. As I sit at my computer, a quick glance to the right makes me smile, lowers my blood pressure and brings me special joy. One look at the picture should show the reason why my constant writing companion is something I consider a view worthy enough to share with all of you. In fact, she’s snoring right now.

Nope. It’s nothing snazzy. But to me it’s where I feel at home, happy and productive.

About the Author:
Novelist Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, received first place in the Dixie Cane Memorial Contest and second place in the Golden Heart. She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut, along with her husband, two daughters and canine companions. For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit www.SharonStruth.com.


Discover more about Sharon Struth here:

Blogs at "Life in the Middle Ages”
Facebook Author Page
THE HOURGLASS Webpage and Trailer

Can forgiveness survive lies and unspoken truths?

Until Brenda McAllister’s husband committed suicide, she appeared to have the ideal life: a thriving psychology practice, success as a self-help author, and a model family. But her guilt over her affair with Jack’s best friend prevents her from moving on. Did Jack learn of her infidelity? Was she the cause of his death?

The release of Brenda’s second book forces her into an unexpected assignment with arrogant celebrity author CJ Morrison, whose irritating and edgy exterior hides the torment of his own mistakes. But as she grows closer to CJ, Brenda learns she wasn’t the only one with secrets—Jack had secrets of his own, unsavory ones that may have led to his death. While CJ helps Brenda uncover the truth about her husband, she finds the path to forgiveness isn’t always on the map.

Buy the book at Amazon           Barnes and Noble                   All Romance Ebooks                Kobo

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Writer's View: Joanne Sydney Lessner


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Joanne will be giving away the following prizes: At each stop, one ebook copy of her novel Pandora's Bottle, inspired by the world's most expensive bottle of wine. A grand prize of a $25 Amazon GC will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the banner to see the other stops on the tour.

I Happen to Like New York
By Joanne Sydney Lessner


If you look out my window, you’ll see a fairly typical street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, with leafy trees overhanging a row of identical converted brownstones. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to live in New York City. I grew up in Newburgh, New York, a Hudson River town about sixty miles north— close enough for regular visits to my grandparents, but tantalizingly out of reach for the acting classes I was dying to take. We had moved to Newburgh from Westchester when I was eight, and at the time I made my parents promise that our next move would be to the city. They kept their word, but it took them almost forty years to leave that house. By the time they retired here, I’d been a New Yorker for two decades.

Living in New York City has lived up to my expectations—and then some. One thing I never anticipated was the extent to which my early years pounding the pavement as an actress would influence my writing. Isobel Spice, the heroine of my novels The Temporary Detective and Bad Publicity, arrives in the city eager to take Broadway by storm, but she finds it even harder to land a temp job than it is to get an audition. Like Isobel, I showed up in New York fresh out of college with no office experience, and it took all my charm and ingenuity to strong-arm a kind-hearted temp agent into giving me a chance. Unlike Isobel, however, I never stumbled across a dead body on the job—although I have to confess, there have been a few co-workers I was tempted to bump off over the years. But since I never relished the idea of doing time, I decided it was safer to kill them in fiction. So far I’ve dispatched an impossible-to-please client and the secretary who got me fired from my first temp job for talking on the phone too much. I’m like Ko-Ko in The Mikado: I’ve got a little list.

The Temporary Detective series follows Isobel as she goes from job to job solving mysteries. As fun as it is to devise whodunits, however, my favorite thing about writing the books is drawing on my life in New York. Although many things have changed since I first moved here, there are certain constants in the life of any aspiring artist: finding affordable housing—often with strangers; juggling work that pays the rent with work that feeds the soul; and making a community for yourself. I’ve lived in the city for almost twenty-five years now and am raising my kids here. They love being born and bred New Yorkers, although neither of them is inclining toward the theatrical. That’s fine with me. It’s a difficult life. But I can’t help thinking that their experiences living in this propulsive, compulsive, never-sleeping city will inform whatever it is they choose to do, just as it has for me.

About the Author:
Joanne Sydney Lessner is the author of BloodWrites Award-Winner and Awesome Indies Mystery Pick The Temporary Detective, which introduces Isobel Spice, aspiring actress and resourceful office temp turned amateur sleuth. Isobel’s adventures continue in Bad Publicity. Joanne’s debut novel, Pandora's Bottle (Flint Mine Press), which was inspired by the true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine, was named one of the top five books of 2010 by Paperback Dolls. No stranger to the theatrical world, Joanne enjoys an active performing career, and with her husband, composer/conductor Joshua Rosenblum, has co-authored several musicals, including the cult hit Fermat's Last Tango and Einstein's Dreams, based on the celebrated novel by Alan Lightman. Her play, Critical Mass, received its Off Broadway premiere in October 2010 as the winner of the 2009 Heiress Productions Playwriting Competition.

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Phones, light typing...and murder.

Think breaking into show business is hard? Try landing a temp job without office skills. That's the challenge facing aspiring actress Isobel Spice when she arrives in New York City, fresh out of college and deficient in PowerPoint. After being rejected by seven temp agencies for her lack of experience, Isobel sweet-talks recruiter James Cooke into letting her cover a last-minute vacancy at a bank. New to his own job, and recently sober, James takes a chance on Isobel, despite his suspicion that she's a trouble-magnet. His misgivings are borne out by lunchtime, when she stumbles across a dead secretary in a bathroom stall. With her fingerprints on the murder weapon, Isobel sets out to prove her innocence by investigating the crime herself. While learning to juggle phone lines and auditions, she discovers an untapped talent for detective work--a qualification few other office temps, let alone actresses, can claim.

Buy The Temporary Detective
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Virtual Book tour and Giveaway: Suspense from Joan Hall Hovey


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Joan will award one randomly drawn commenter a $50 gift certificate for sunglasses at Sunglasses Shack (US/Canada only). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour and then comment to increase your chances of winning.

Eppie Winner ~ Best Thriller - 1992

SHE DARED TO CHALLENGE A MERCILESS KILLER

Raised in an atmosphere of violence and unpredictability, Ellen and Gail Morgan have banded together, survivors of a booze-fertilized battleground, forming a fierce united front against an often cold and uncaring world. When their parents are killed in a car crash, Ellen becomes the mother figure for Gail.

When fifteen years later Gail is brutally raped and murdered in her shabby New York basement apartment, practically on the eve of her big breakthrough as a singer, Ellen is inconsolable. Rage at her younger sister's murder has nearly consumed her. So when her work as a psychologist wins her an appearance on the evening news, Ellen seizes the moment. Staring straight into the camera, she challenges the killer to come out of hiding: "Why don't you come after me? I'll be waiting for you."

Phone calls flood the station, but all leads go nowhere. The police investigation seems doomed to failure. Then it happens: a note, written in red ink, slipped under the windshield wipers of her car, 'YOU'RE IT.' Ellen has stirred the monster in his lair … and the hunter has become the hunted!


Therapist Melanie Snow is driving to her office when her Honda is struck by a dark-colored van and sent spinning into a ditch, where it catches fire. The driver never stops. A passerby pulls Melanie from the car just seconds before it explodes. Waking from the coma nine days later, she is devastated to find she is blind.


As Melanie struggles to cope with her new reality, life as a blind woman, her fragile state of mind is further threatened by a madman who is stalking and strangling disabled women. The first two victims were mentally challenged and Detective Matt O’Leary, who carries a torch for Melanie, (even though Melanie is engaged to someone else) tells himself she is not the killer’s targeted prey. But then a woman who lost a leg to cancer is murdered, and another physically disabled woman is stalked. Even with a whole town in terror, Melanie refuses to live her life in fear and reopens her practice in the basement of her home. She has a living to earn.

And Detective Matt O’Leary must find a way to keep Melanie safe until the monster is caught. But how? Her door is now open to the public and the killer can just walk through anytime he chooses.

And he does.


Excerpt from "Defective":

It was mid-afternoon, overcast, and The East End Mall in Kingsdale was crowded with shoppers. The Eraser, as he liked to think of himself, sat at one of the molded plastic tables by himself, nursing a Pepsi and eating fries from a small cardboard plate, and people watching. It was one of his favorite things to do, especially in nice weather when the girls wore shorts or tight jeans, some with their tanned midriffs bare, skimpy tops that showed off their boobs and skinny jeans that accentuated their tight little butts. Why not? He was a normal guy, he told himself. He avoided looking at the ones with flab hanging over their waistbands. He had girlfriend once or twice, but it didn't last. The last one said he was weird and just stopped returning his calls. Well, to hell with her.

His eye strayed momentarily to the big screen monitor advertising Nike sneakers. Then it changed to a rent-a-car commercial and on to something else, but he'd already looked away. Idly dipping a French fry in the small pool of ketchup on his plate, he popped it in his mouth and went back to girl-watching. They did little for him today. His hand moved to cover the scratch that the retard left on his cheek, though it was fading now. That Polysporin ointment was good stuff.

Music played over the sound system, competing with the jabbering of shoppers, nothing he recognized. Probably supposed to keep people shopping, buying junk they didn't need. His gaze narrowed ever so slightly as a young girl with a silver ring in her lower lip and wearing black eyeliner got up from a table not far from him and limped heavily to the waste bin and dumped in the remainder of her meal, a half-eaten hamburger, fries. She sat the tray on top of the stack. Behind her, someone called out, "Hey, Lana," and the girl turned in his direction and took a step forward so he could see her full-length; she looked past his shoulder and waved. He felt his heartbeat rev up, his throat go dry.

She had short dark hair, and was wearing a khaki skirt and cream-colored blouse. Her dimpled smile, the gleam of white, even teeth barely registered on him. He didn't even glance behind him at the woman who had called out to her. He had no interest. As he had no genuine interest in the woman who returned the wave, really.

No. It was her foot in its big brown shoe that drew and held his attention. Not brown exactly, but like tea when you put milk in it. Taupe. Yes, that was what his mother called that color. It was all he could see when he looked at her: that big clunking shoe. So ugly it offended him, as deformities of any kind offended him. Even horrified him. A chill had crept down his back. He had to work extra hard to keep the disgust and pity from his face. She was a mistake. A blight, a tragic spawn. She must be erased. Like when you're a kid and you draw a picture of something and it doesn't come out right. You just erase it. Or rip out the page, and start again.

He was the eraser of mistakes. The good Lord had chosen him to do this work. Not that he was blaming God. No, there was no blame to be handed out here. Some small voice told him his reasoning was flawed, that that wasn't why they had to die. But he wasn't listening. As people were born of sin, women carried the faulty limbs, twisted features and minds within them. Carriers. As his mother had been a carrier, her womb spewing forth a defective, barely human—thing. Not the defective's fault either. But since the flaw couldn't be repaired, the whole issue had to be erased. The burden lifted. The Eraser held that kind of power; he could end suffering, change lives for the better. He remembered well the very moment he had changed his own life but no time for that now. She was heading for the exit doors. He rose casually from his chair, tossing the remainder of his own fries and drink into the trash, dropped his tray on top of hers, and followed. He was really following the 'shoe'. His eyes were riveted on the shoe. It filled his vision, his consciousness. That big, ugly shoe that rose and fell, rose and fell, her left hip dipping in sync, the shoe dragging it downward, seeming an entity in itself. When she stepped through the automatic doors into the grey, drizzly day, he was right behind her. Close enough to touch her. He buried his hands deep in his pockets to stifle the urge.

The bus pulled up with a hiss of air brakes and a belch of exhaust, and she hitched herself up onto the step. He followed, paid his fare. His bike was chained and locked in the parking lot; it would be fine. She took a side seat near the driver, and he sat himself two seats behind her and pretended to look out the window.

In the grayness of the day, his reflection in the glass was faint, but almost at once he could see his reflection begin to morph into that of another, as she had once been. A raindrop ran down the window and caught one corner of her mouth like the drool he remembered, couldn't forget, and he could not tear his eyes away. The small voice in his head spoke to him, sending the familiar chill through him, as if his heart had just received an infusion of ice water. The voice could form words now, where once it was capable only of mindless gibberish. "You know it's me in there, don't you. I'm watching you. I've come back. I'll always come back. I'll never leave you."

"No! No!"

Fearing he had cried out, he jerked his head around in sudden panic, but no one on the bus was looking at him. One man was reading a newspaper. A woman was talking and smiling at her little boy. Relief swept through him, but he was trembling just the same. A Chinese man seated across from him turned the page in his paperback, paying him no mind.

The girl had put earphones in her ears and her lips were moving to a song only she could hear. Her legs were crossed, the shoe swinging in time, mocking him.

In addition to her critically acclaimed novels, Joan Hall Hovey's articles and short stories have appeared in such diverse publications as The Toronto Star, Atlantic Advocate, Seek, Home Life Magazine, Mystery Scene, The New Brunswick Reader, Fredericton Gleaner, New Freeman and Kings County Record. Her short story Dark Reunion was selected for the anthology investigating Women, Published by Simon & Pierre.

Ms. Hovey has held workshops and given talks at various schools and libraries in her area, including New Brunswick Community College, and taught a course in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick. For a number of years, she has been a tutor with Winghill School, a distance education school in Ottawa for aspiring writers.

She is a member of the Writer's Federation of New Brunswick, past regional Vice-President of Crime Writers of Canada, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

www.joanhallhovey.com

Defective on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Defective-A-Novella-ebook/dp/B00CO81XAW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1367880554&sr=1-1&keywords=Defective

Nowhere to Hide on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Nowhere-to-Hide-ebook/dp/B0045Y2F4G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1335885750&sr=1-1

Praise for Joan Hall Hovey’s Books

“…suspense that puts her right up there with the likes of Sandford and Patterson..." Ingrid Taylor for Small Press Review

"...Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King come to mind, but JOAN HALL HOVEY is in a Class by herself!…" J.D. Michael Phelps, Author of My Fugitive, David Janssen

"…CANADIAN MISTRESS OF SUSPENSE…The author has a remarkable ability to turn up the heat on the suspense… great characterizations and dialogue…" James Anderson, author of Deadline "...a gripping style that wrings emotions from everyday settings. Oh and by the way ...is your door locked?" Linda Hersey - Fredericton Gleaner

"...will keep readers holding their breath until the very end..." inthelibraryreview, Melissa Parcel

"This one is a chiller - you won't be able to put it down - guaranteed!"- Rendezvous Magazine

"If you are looking for the suspense thriller of the year-look no further…you will find it in Nowhere To Hide..." Jewel Dartt Midnight Scribe Reviews

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Fierce Creatures by A. W. Hartoin


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award an ebook copy of either A Fairy's Guide to Disaster or It Started with a Whisper to a commenter at each tour stop, and a grand prize of $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Another day. Another disaster.

After surviving a kidnapping and battling with spriggans, Matilda Whipplethorn finds her life in a suburban human house pretty boring. She’s been excluded from school because of her fire-making abilities and her former friends are afraid of her. Salvation comes in the form of a life-threatening illness. Her tutor, Miss Penrose, needs a medication and there’s only one place to get it, the spriggans. Matilda heads back to the antique mall to save Miss Penrose even though it just might cost her everything.

EXCERPT:

Fire was a friend of mine. I loved how it formed in my palms, pooled, and overflowed, oozing through my fingers to drop down in tiny orange spirals into the basin my father had fashioned out of a metal button. I lay on my stomach, propped up on my elbows, watching my fire, an endlessly fascinating endeavor and a good thing, too. My father was hammering on a needle, trying to make it into hooks for my mother’s pots and pans. It wasn’t going well and I expected to be there for a long time, providing Dad with fire for his forge.

Dad tapped me on the head, and I looked up. “What?”

“I need more,” he said, frowning at me from behind the safety mask he’d fashioned out of an acorn shell and some stuff the humans called Plexiglas.

I formed a fireball the size of my head and dropped it in the basin. Sparks flew out in curlicues and menaced Dad. He jumped back and slipped on his pile of metal shavings.

“Matilda, you did that on purpose,” he said, narrowing his brown eyes at me.

“It was an accident.”

“When it comes to fire, you don’t have accidents.”

A human face came down beside my dad and grinned at me. Judd was one of the few humans that could see us. It was very unusual for a human to see fairies, but Judd had turned out to be remarkable in many ways. As was his sister, Tess, who’d been the first to see me. The two of them surprised me on a daily basis.

About the Author:
A.W. Hartoin is the author of the Mercy Watts mystery series and the Away From Whipplethorn fantasy series. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two children, and six bad chickens.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

BLURB BLITZ TOUR and giveaway: The Gospel According to Prissy by Barbara Casey


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Casey will be awarding a $25 Amazon or BN.com gift card to one randomly chosen commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Three Army veteran misfits, a college dropout, an unmotivated high school graduate accused of murder, a controversial warden of a women's prison, and a little girl with the gift of prophesy – these are the people 31-year-old Lara Kruger invites into her life after suffering a miscarriage, a divorce from an abusive husband, and unemployment.

Excerpt

Miriam walked away from her desk and paused in front of the unframed full-length mirror she had salvaged from the recent renovations in the women’s shower rooms. The edges were chipped and blackened, and there was a fairly large crack that ran vertically from one corner to the other. The condition of the mirror was the result, no doubt, of one of many displays of frustration and anger within the prison walls before she took over. Still, the mirror served its purpose. On those rare occasions when Warden Miriam Temple of the Braden Women’s Correctional Institution needed to be sure she looked her best, at least she could do so in the privacy of her own office.

Studying her reflection, she saw a tall, aging fifty-nine-year-old woman with dark hair streaked with gray cut in a simple shag, myopic brown eyes made evident by the wire-framed glasses, and a raw-boned body that could be considered well-proportioned if it weren’t for the fact that it was about twenty pounds on the heavy side, fifteen of which had settled around her thighs and buttocks. “Pear shaped, as opposed to apple shaped,” she frequently reminded herself, “so that means at least I won’t die of a heart attack.” The fact that her ear lobes were also plump and didn’t have the diagonal creases indicating some type of heart disease seemed to confirm that fact. She didn’t know if these old-wives’ tales she had grown up with were really true, but she liked to keep an open mind, especially when they worked to her benefit.

She normally didn’t wear make-up, but this morning before leaving for work, she had dug out her small tapestry bag that held what few cosmetics she owned and applied a little blush and a touch of lipstick. She rubbed one cheek with her hand now, thinking that maybe she shouldn’t have bothered. She didn’t need to impress anyone. Even if there had been the awkwardness that sometimes comes with being a large woman, it had been replaced years ago by the confidence born from a privileged background and the level of acceptance and comfort from which she viewed herself.

Her dark gray suit and crisp white blouse were clean and unwrinkled, thanks to the prison laundry facilities. The plain black pumps she wore looked both practical and appropriate to complete the over-all appearance of discipline, control, strength, and above all, a positive attitude. It was the attitude within the prison that Miriam had worked the hardest on when she took over as head warden six years earlier. There had been a stifling wave of hopelessness and despair among the female inmates so thick it made it difficult to breathe. This was manifested daily in brawls, food fights, and a behavior of non-compliance in general. “Animals get treated better than we do,” had been the mantra at the prison.

For six years Miriam had been working fourteen-hour days, overseeing the operations of the facility, staying on top of problems, writing reports, and talking to every person she could reach about helping to set up programs for “her girls” as she referred to them. Each of Miriam’s programs offered something to a few of her girls, but not to all, something she struggled with daily. She constantly researched what other correctional institutions were doing not only in this country but other countries as well, trying to come up with new ways to stimulate her girls and help them feel enthusiastic about their lives.

It had worked. She started getting noticed after the first year of her tenure. Complaints from the prisoners dropped, a State audit confirmed that for the first time in over a decade the prison budget would be in the black, and the over-all appearance of the facility was vastly improved. Government officials who previously had been reluctant to show interest now started to open doors for this hard-working, persistent, and obviously dedicated woman.

And then Prissy had been born.

About the Author: Barbara Casey is president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing adult fiction and nonfiction for authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, and Japan. She is also the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award, the Dana Award for Best Novel, and the Publisher’s Best Seller Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, released in 2008, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and her novel Just Like Family received special recognition by the 7-Eleven Corporation. Her latest young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of 2011 Best Books. The Gospel According to Prissy, a contemporary adult novel, was released in the spring of 2013.

In addition to being a frequent guest lecturer at universities and writers’ conferences, Ms. Casey served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003.

www.BarbaraCaseyAgency.com
www.strategicmediabooks.com
www.amazon.com
www.barnesandnoble.com


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Eggplant Literary Productions: Meet the Art Director

This post is a special Publisher Spotlight organized by Goddess Fish Promotions for Eggplant Literary Productions. One commenter at each stop will receive a postcard-size cover art signed by the author or cover artist, and one randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour will receive the full set of cover prints in a custom-made handbag embroidered with the logo. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sam Press is the art director at Eggplant Literary Productions.  She’s the one who makes sure we have striking covers.  You can see them at: http://eggplantproductions.com/e-books/.  Here is what she has to say about her job:

Being an art director is a funny thing.

Most people don't know what I do - the best explanation I can come up with is "an art director at a publishing house does what an editor does, except for all the visual/graphic content instead of the text." Which suffices, I suppose. I evaluate submissions, decide which artist will do work for which publication, direct any changes that need to be made to the artwork, generate the final designs of the cover and interior art from the raw files our artists send us, and create any additional graphics we might need for promotional & web use.

I sit in front of my computer a lot. I almost always have my email open in one tab of my browser, just in case. I've developed an uncanny fondness for spreadsheets that I never would have predicted back when I was pursuing my art degree.

I also have an addiction to Tumblr. This should come as no surprise: Tumblr is an excellent platform for artists to share their work with the world. There are so many great new artists out there that I can't possibly hire them all - but I try to get as many as I can.

There are also the blogs that make me laugh: Escher Girls, Boobs Don't Work That Way, The Hawkeye Initiative, Lousy Book Covers, WTF Bad Fantasy Covers, Bad Ebook Covers, and so on. (Please note that most of those blogs are likely to have some NSFW content; proceed at your own risk.) These blogs make me laugh and cry, and sometimes I forward them to my editor so that we can boggle at entries together.

Every time, I swear that Eggplant's covers will never be on one of those blogs.

It's a tricky thing to mock art, especially art for speculative fiction. There's an artist - a person - behind every cover, after all. Also, there are so many ingrained tropes (chainmail bikinis? really?) that are unquestioned and even defended by some segments of the community. They have their place, certainly, but I always wonder if blindly clinging to these tropes is preventing speculative fiction from doing what it does best: examine the world around us and imagine something different. Better, maybe, or greater, or richer somehow. Speculative fiction, at its best, does not merely ask "what if" but also "why not...?"

So as art director at Eggplant, my primary goal is to embrace new styles of art, new voices in 'genre' art, and stand out from the crowd both among speculative fiction publishing and epublishers. It is, of course, a tall order, and the kind of goal where 'success' is a sliding scale wholly dependent on many factors, some of which are beyond my control. But I try, and I can honestly say that I've succeeded more often than I've failed, and that I have a wonderfully supportive company backing me up every step of the way.

Every title is a new challenge, a new opportunity, to fulfill this goal. That, I think, is the most important part of my job: an enthusiasm for every challenge, a genuine love of the medium and its potential, and a fervent desire to contribute to the speculative fiction field that I love.

So when people ask what an art director does? I often answer, “I enable artists to do their very best work.” Because that's the most important part of the job description, in my book.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Writer's View: Lauren Linwood


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lauren will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banners to see the other stops on the tour.

The Writer's View

Writers love to daydream. We build, tear down, and create new worlds in our minds and on the page every day in countless ways. Where we work this magic can be anywhere. I love walking every morning because I get some of my best plotting done as I pound the pavement. I can be shopping for groceries on the outside while planning weddings, murders, or seductions in my brain as I walk the aisles, coupons in hand. Some of my most inspired thinking occurs in the shower. I truly “write” everywhere.

But every writer needs a little place to do the steady work – working on character sketches; outlining; getting a first draft down; reading over what’s been written; and revising.

I have a corner in my bedroom where I do the bulk of my work. And believe me – it IS work! Oh, some days my fingers do fly across the keys like lightning, but more times than I’d care to admit it can be a painful, sometimes excruciating process. Yet seeing my characters and ideas come alive on the page makes it all worthwhile.

My corner has everything I need, with a super comfy chair that my parents passed down to me. I keep a throw along the back in case I get cold and need an extra layer of warmth. I have all kinds of research books nearby, from life in the Middle Ages to books about cowboys to slang used throughout history. I also have craft books I use as references, with such content as traits that heroes and heroines possess to how to structure a scene and even different poisons that can be used to kill. These books are all within my grasp.

I also have a file cabinet next to my writing chair. The two drawers are packed with all kinds of articles and information from historical research to notes I’ve taken at various conferences and workshops. I have maps of San Francisco’s streets back in the 1870s. Handouts with terms used on a cattle drive. Notes and pictures from a speaker who was a medical examiner for Dallas County. Even verses of Irish ballads from the 19th century. The file folders I use most I keep in a stack tray on top of the file cabinet for easy access.

Also on top are two essentials. The first is a fan for those hot Texas days when the A/C needs a little boost. The second is my noise machine. I find I can’t listen to music as I write because I want to sing along. That pulls me from my imaginary world. So my noise machine acts as white noise to block out any distractions. I set it to waves rolling in and out from shore or to a rain shower coming down. I especially like a brook with running water.

I keep a snack tray beside the chair with my laptop and a pen and pad of paper. The computer usually rests in my lap, while the pen and paper help me work out ideas and make connections between key plot points or characters.

I have a lovely view of my backyard from my writing chair. It’s very green in Texas this time of year, and I’ve watched the scraggly tree we planted twenty years ago grow into a real beauty. It literally stayed a stick in the ground the first five or six years. I’d about given up hope when it finally decided it was time to mature.


Probably my favorite thing to see from my writing chair when I need a break is Jake, lying lazily on the bed. He’s the sweetest dog in the world, a pound puppy with a happy smile now that he’s found a forever home. Sometimes I sit back in my chair to take a brief break and give him a smile in return, glad that he’s come into our lives.



So that’s my little nook in which I create my historical romances.





About the Author: As a child, Lauren Linwood gathered her neighborhood friends together and made up stories for them to act out, her first venture into creating memorable characters. Following her passion for history and love of learning, she became a teacher who began writing on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Lauren’s novels focus on two of her favorite eras, medieval times and the American Old West. History is the backdrop that places her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grows into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love. Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.

Keep in contact with Lauren through her various sites:

www.LaurenLinwood.com
http://laurenlinwood.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/laurenlinwood
https://twitter.com/LaurenLinwood
laurenlinwood@gmail.com

As the third wife of an abusive French vineyard owner, Madeleine Bouchard hasn’t produced the expected heir after three years of marriage. Fearing he plans to kill her, she flees during a trip to England. Unable to make her way home, she joins a troupe of traveling mummers and reinvents herself as the only woman troubadour in the land, captivating audiences with both song and story.

Nobleman Garrett Montayne’s fascination with Madeleine causes him to pay the troupe to bypass their next stop in order to journey to his estate. Though he suspects Madeleine of being a thief with dark secrets, love blossoms between them under the magical moon of summer solstice.

But Madeleine’s past is about to catch up with her, as her husband is set to arrive to conduct business with Garrett. Madeleine determines to free herself from her loveless marriage and make a new life with Garrett, no matter what the cost.

Buy at Amazon.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Writer's View: Rose Gordon


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rose will be awarding a $100 gift card to Amazon.com to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her Reviews Tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. In addition, commenters on this post will be entered into a drawing to receive an autographed copy of her my award-winning novel His Contract Bride

The Writer's View
Over the years, my “office” has evolved.

When I first started writing, it was at the dining table of all places. My boys, who were three and four at the time, would often play with their trucks and Legos on the floor about ten feet away from me until they “got bored” then it was Candyland time. Fortunately, our table was long enough to allow for a small army to sit down to dine at once and I could use the last third without my things being interrupted.

This worked great for a year.

Then one night at dinner, my youngest son who I do love, got a little zealous reaching for something during dinner and rattled the table—sending my laptop to slide right off the edge and to the ceramic tile.

I sat frozen, staring at the fallen laptop. I finished dinner as best I could, then opened the laptop. The screen lit, and I heaved a sigh of relief. I'd been in the middle of my fourth book, Her Sudden Groom (I can still tell you exactly what sentence had just been typed...) and it had been spared. Not wanting to take a chance, I hit the save button. And dum...de...dum, dum, dum, the screen went black and the thing died.

Despite my efforts and that of Geek Squad, I lost all 50-something thousand words I'd written on the book.

That was the last day I used the dining room as an office and moved to a small corner of a bedroom for the next eighteen months. It wasn't fancy. It wasn't spacious. It wasn't “open”. It wasn't clean. It wasn't much of anything, really but it was safe! (Or at least safer than the dining table.)

This last November, however, it had become apparent that I needed a genuine office. I was no longer just writing books and had a few reference books that were stashed on the family bookcase. I had acquired more than one hundred books over the prior eighteen months and they were climbing the wall. Not only were books abundant, I'd begun ordering promotional items to send out to conferences and give to readers.

My kids were now in school and so was my husband, so I thought, “Instead of renovating this bedroom, let's just move into a house that has the room that's needed.”

My husband was not convinced, however, and wanted me to pay $3,000 (yes, you read that right) for a “professional organizer” to come and “fix” the room so it would be functional.

Not to be deterred, I got on the web and the first house that met the criteria I put in regarding square footage, location, and price looked great in the pictures—and I was sold. Oddly enough, after going to see it and a handful of others, it's the one we bought!

Before moving in, I was super excited that I'd finally have enough room to have a nice desk to sit at and a comfortable place to read (reference books, of course!). What I never imagined was how this would change my family life in a positive way.

Before with sitting in the dining room to write or trying to get comfortable in a bedroom, I was often interrupted or had to read and write while someone was watching TV in the same room or some other distraction. But now that's not really a problem.

The majority of the house is downstairs, but there is a portion upstairs that consists of a bonus room and a very small bedroom/office over the garage that I have converted into my domain. Of course this means, nothing “writerly” is allowed downstairs. This is where this arrangement has benefited my entire family and my relationship with them. When I'm upstairs, I'm at work. When I'm downstairs, I'm not worried about my books or writing or emails or anything of the like, I'm there to just be Mom!

Here are some pictures:


Built in bookcase full of reference books. Double stacked in there with more than 1,000 books for various time periods and topics



As you can see, my office is overflowing with swag items! This is just a fraction of what I have stored in my closet. This is the overflow that wouldn’t fit!



This is where I keep MY books. I order cases of them at a time and this is where they sit until I can find new homes for them with book club members, attendees of conferences/conventions, libraries or even just strangers on the street.



Though I do actually have a desk, when I’m able, I like to sit in front of the window to write. I find that moving to different places helps keep the creativity flowing and keeps me on my toes.


About the Author:USA Today Bestselling Author of ten unusually unusual historical romances that have been known to include scarred heroes, feisty heroines, marriage-producing scandals, far too much scheming, naughty literature and always a sweet happily-ever-after. When not escaping to another world via reading or writing a book, she spends her time chasing two young boys around the house, being haunted by wild animals, or sitting on the swing in the backyard where she has to use her arms as shields to deflect projectiles AKA: balls, water balloons, sticks, pinecones, and anything else one of them picks up to hurl at his brother who just happens to be hiding behind her.


Website: www.RoseGordon.net
Blog: http://rosesromanceramblings.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rose-Gordon-historical-romance-author/178033968907233

It's her wedding day and there is no groom in sight. But why should Amelia Brice be surprised? Hiram, Lord Friar is known for having no gentleman's honor to speak of and his jilting her on their wedding day makes it official.

Elijah Banks cannot allow his childhood friend to continue to be shamed this way. It's been almost an hour past the time when the wedding was to start, and that bounder still hasn't shown up. Unable to sit still a second longer, Elijah does the only thing that seems logical from where he stands: kidnap the bride and marry her himself in order to escape this scandal with one far more forgiving for a young lady's reputation.

The only trouble is, she has a secret...but so does he; hers is big...but his is bigger.

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