#HobbyCareerPassion: 911…What’s Your Emergency? by D. V. Stone

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, D. V. Stone…

 

911…What’s Your Emergency?

Hi, Alicia. Thank you for hosting me today on your passion blog. I am so excited to talk about First Responders. Though I haven’t been one for many years, I’ll never forget the times I did. It followed naturally that in my book Rock House Grill the main character is an EMT.

Here’s a bit of personal history. I became an EMT while working at the Hunterdon Developmental Center, working with the disabled. There’s a special place in my heart for these often-forgotten group of people. At first, I was a personal care attendant for my patients. When a position opened in the on-site clinic for an ambulance driver, I applied. Soon I was a certified EMT.

Our local volunteer squad always needed help. I joined and ran a routine duty night as well as picked up other calls when available. Only two blocks from the squad building often I was the first there to pull out the rig. Over the years, I worked and volunteered as an EMT, including in a women’s state prison and a hospital emergency room.

So, what is a First Responder? According to Merriam Webster, the definition of first responder is a person (such as a police officer or an EMT) who is among those responsible for going immediately to the scene of an accident or emergency to provide assistance.

Who is a First Responder? First responders typically include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, firefighters, rescuers, and other trained members of organizations connected with this type of work.

How many are there? There are over 1 million firefighters in the United States, of whom approximately 750,000 are volunteers. Volunteers in many places undergo a minimum of 110  to 171 hours of training. They continue that training throughout their careers via drills, meetings, and seminars.

Local police departments have an estimated 556,000 full-time employees, including about 436,000 sworn enforcement personnel.

Sheriffs’ offices reported about 291,000 full-time employees, including about 186,000 sworn personnel.

There are over 155,000 nationally registered emergency medical technicians (EMT).

My husband is also a volunteer firefighter. Though he is no longer active at a fire scene, he’s known to the children in our area as Fireman Pete. He and several others go to schools and daycare centers and teach fire prevention to the kids.

So many of these people run to danger instead of away. They miss time with their families, holidays, special occasions, etc. Unfortunately, First Responders are often targeted. Many years ago, when I volunteered, the danger was rampant. My partner and I both females responded to a man down. When we arrived, he was high and combative. Not only that, but those around him also had impaired judgment. My partner was knocked to the ground and I had to radio for assistance. Luckily for us, help arrived before we were further assaulted. One of the cities not far from us provided bulletproof vests to their EMTs. This was in the early 1990s.

Next time you see red and blue lights, I’d like you to remember the men and women who are manning the front of the line, which is often the line between life and death.

I hope this gives you a small peek inside the life of a First Responder.

One man’s choices—One woman’s impact

 Rock House Grill

 Coming in 2020

 Aden House, successful but driven chef and TV personality, refuses to slow down. His life implodes one night, damaging him both physically and emotionally. He’s rescued by a woman he thinks of as his angel.

Shay McDowell has rebuilt her life after her divorce. She juggles volunteer EMT duties and her job, while dreaming of becoming a chef. She finds her way to Rock House Grill and back into the life of the man she helped save.

Can love be the ingredient needed to survive the many obstacles they face?

Bio

Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. Recently, Rock House Grill, a contemporary romance, has been signed with Wild Rose Press. I host Welcome to the Campfire, a weekly blog. I am also a multi-genre author of two independently published books. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal.

Born in Brooklyn, D.V. Stone has moved around a bit and even lived for a time on a dairy farm in Minnesota before moving back east. Throughout her wandering, she always considered herself a Jersey Girl. She met and married the love of her life, Pete—a lifelong Jersey Man.  They adopted Hali, a mixed breed from the local shelter.

D.V.’s career path varied from working with the disabled to become a volunteer EMT, which in turn led to working in hospital emergency rooms and then in a women’s state prison. After a few years, she took a break from medicine and became the owner of Heavenly Brew, a specialty coffee shop and a small restaurant. Now, when not writing, she is a medical receptionist.

“Thank you for taking the time to read about me. Each time you open the pages to one of my books, I hope you’ll be swept away by the story and find encouragement in your own life, never to give up on hope.”

 

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#HobbyCareerPassion: The Mint Invasion: Out Of Chaos Comes Jelly…And Romance by M.S. Spencer

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, M.S. Spencer…

 

The Mint Invasion: Out Of Chaos Comes Jelly…And Romance

Up until my thirties, I traveled a great deal, living in many countries with amenities that many would consider below standard. So it wasn’t until I married and settled down in an old farmhouse with an acre of land that I could indulge my fantasy of growing my own food. We planted apple, plum, peach, fig, hazelnut, and cherry trees; gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries; all kinds of vegetables, including an ill-fated attempt to grow artichokes; and finally, lots and lots of herbs. I built a formal herb garden and planted thyme, lovage, rosemary, chives, tarragon, sage, and lemon balm. The one thing I couldn’t get to grow was mint. Yes, the gardeners among you will scoff, but it took me years to get a plot to flourish. Be careful what you wish for. When it finally got going, I had to do something before it took over the entire acre.

So I called upon my sister-in-law, to whom Whirlwind Romance is dedicated. She directed me to an old recipe for mint jelly. Once I’d mastered it, I went on to work up jelly recipes for all my herbs. Good thing we had a basement.

In Whirlwind Romance, my heroine, Lacey Delahaye, moves to an island in Florida and wants to reestablish the herb store she’d owned up North. Florida boasts innumerable ecosystems, from pine uplands, to coastal plains, to palm hammocks—all of which are host to many wild fruits, most of which can be made into jelly. Whirlwind Romance opens as she returns from a foraging trip, unaware that a hurricane had swept through, leaving an unexpected visitor in her mangrove swamp.

Woven throughout the story are descriptions of the wild fruits of Florida and the western Caribbean. For fun, I added recipes to each chapter. Here’s one for a common tropical wild fruit:

 Cocoplum Jelly

The cocoplum is native to South Florida and occurs naturally in cypress hammocks and wetland areas. Evergreen, it forms a dense, clumping bush. Fruit is a dark purple drupe one to two inches in diameter, and ripens May through August. The nut is also edible.

200 cocoplums to make 2 cups juice

2 cinnamon sticks

4 cups brown sugar

1 box (1.75 oz.) powdered pectin

Place peeled plums and cinnamon sticks in water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 ½ hours, or until liquid is dark purple. Remove from heat and strain, reserving the nuts. Add water if necessary to make 2 cups of liquid.

Shell the nuts and chop. In a jelly pan add the juice, nuts, and pectin and bring to a rolling boil. Pour in sugar all at once and bring back to a rolling boil. Boil exactly one minute. Remove from heat, skim off any foam, and ladle into hot, sterilized jelly jars to within ¼ inch of the top. Wipe rims and place the two-piece canning lids on the jars but do not tighten completely. Turn the jars over and leave upside down for five minutes on a padded rack. Turn upright and tighten the lids completely.

Alternative method: Process filled, tightly closed jars in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Cool.

Makes about 4 pints.

I give other jelly recipes in the book for Sea grapes, Kei apples, Beautyberries, Passionfruit, Roselle, and Shining Sumac.

Pirates, Puritans, propaganda, and princes—pieces of the puzzle in the whirlwind romance between a beautiful jelly maker and a mysterious castaway:

Whirlwind Romance by M. S. Spencer

Blurb:

In the aftermath of a hurricane,  jelly-maker Lacey Delahaye discovers a man washed ashore in her mangrove swamp, and tumbles into a sea of troubles. Kidnapped along with her shipwrecked sailor, she is taken to a tiny island in the western Caribbean. There, the two must escape from pirates, defeat a power-made ideologue, deflect a jealous ex-husband, and prove her companion’s birthright.

Excerpt (PG): Slipping Briskly

As she turned to leave, he touched her arm. “Stay a minute?”

How could she admit she had to get out of there quickly or she wouldn’t be able to go at all? His handsome face—the strong chin covered with stubble, the pearly teeth contrasting with his tan skin, not to mention the long, graceful fingers he held out to her—all conspired to lure her closer. Her heart led the way, propelling her to his side. She sat down. “What is it?”

“Lacey…um.”

Her body tensed as desire fought to get out, and she fought just as hard to keep it in. I have to go. I have to…go. “What?”

His words came out in a rush. “Lacey, the other day—the first night—when you rescued me. When we…we…”

Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Christ.

“I…uh…want you to know I don’t do that on a regular basis.”

His air of shy ambivalence gave her courage. “I see. You don’t have sex on a regular basis?”

“No, no, it’s not that.” He stopped, flustered. “Er, I mean… I don’t sleep with women indiscriminately.”

Should she let him off the hook? Nah. “But you do sleep with a lot of women?”

“No! Lacey, you’re being difficult on purpose. I meant, that I didn’t mean to…you know. It just happened. Forgive me?”

“I—”

Armand interrupted her. “Not that it wasn’t enjoyable.” He seemed distracted, running a finger down her arm. “Wonderful. Fantastic. Too short.” He peered at her. “Lacey, you must know how beautiful you are. You have the most perfect cheekbones I’ve ever seen.”

“Cheekbones?” What the hell is he talking about?

“I’m an amateur photographer. Those cheekbones could belong to a supermodel. Perfectly sculpted. And your nose…” He tapped the tip. “A little pixie nose. It even turns up slightly. Your long, fine hair is the russet-gold of burnished copper pots I once saw piled high in a shop on Martinique. Your eyes…” He closed his. “Your eyes are the blue-green of a freshly mowed cricket field, of the emeralds that grow deep in the mountains, of the lagoon near my home on a blustery day.” He touched her hand. “Then there’s your body—as I remember it—a soft, comfortable, pillowy—”

“Hey!” Lacey shook her head to break the spell. “I think you’ve said enough. Get some sleep.”

She tried to rise, but he slipped his arms around her and drew her close. She wanted to struggle. She tried to struggle. It was no use. The long kiss filled her with a warmth that matched a fire on a cold night, a cup of cocoa, or a hot bath. When he lay back, the warmth turned to blazing passion. The power of it frightened her. I’ve got to go. She ran out of the room before he could stop her.

Whirlwind Romance

Wild Rose Press (2016)

Contemporary romance/Action Adventure
Rating: Hot (R)
358 p.

Buy links:

Wild Rose Press 

Amazon

Bookstrand

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Google

ITunes

Walmart

Indigo

About the Author

Librarian, anthropologist, Congressional aide, speechwriter—M. S. Spencer has traveled the globe. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago.  All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.

Ms. Spencer has published thirteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Blog: https://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/msspencermysteries

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/msspencerauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/msspencerauthor/

Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-s-spencer

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/M.S.-Spencer/e/B002ZOEUC8/

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Reader Interview with Crystal Stewart

Please help me welcome Crystal Stewart…

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#HobbyCareerPassion: Write What You Know – Horses by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Pamela S. Thibodeaux…

Write What You Know…

Horses

Horses have always been my passion. I’ve loved them as far back as I can remember, even owned a few in my lifetime. In memories of dreams past, I recall the desire to be a Veterinarian and work with horses. I’ve also held Bandera, TX near and dear to my heart since I visited the area as a small child with my grandparents. And, as most women, young and old, romance, and the desire for it, is a passion of mine. So how does all of this pertain to my writing?

I write contemporary romance and women’s fiction and my Tempered series is set in none other than, Bandera, Texas!

In Tempered Hearts (book 1), Tamera Collins is the culmination of that long-ago dream and obsession with horses.  A large animal Vet, she describes her love of these majestic animals like this…

“I’ve always had a passion for horses, much to the dismay of my mother. From the time I was very little, my daddy swore I was part horse. He said I squealed with delight every time I saw a pony.”

Hero, Stanley Morrison is the horse lover in Tempered Fire (book 3). His desire is to raise horses… “Not many, but well bred, well trained, high-quality horses. Quarter, Thoroughbred, Walkers, and Arabians; horses for speed, strength, show and beauty.”

Horses play a large part in any contemporary, cowboy series set on a ranch, but the Tempered books are not the only place horses appear in my writing.

In Circles of Fate, the heroine, Shaunna owns a horse. Keri’s Christmas Wish depicts a horse on the cover, one that Keri owned as a child which died when she was a teen. I’ve even written a story of how being around horses while living/working on a ranch in (you guessed it!) Bandera, TX during one of the darkest times of my life virtually saved me. The story is included in The Horse of My Heart anthology (Revell, Oct. 2015).

My love for horses has not dimmed over the years despite decades of not owning and years of not riding, however horses will most likely show up in books and stories for years to come.

All of these books can be found on my Amazon Author Page

Author bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story!

 

Links:

Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/psthibnewsletter

Face Book Personal: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux

Face Book Author page: https://www.facebook.com/pamelasthibodeauxauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/psthib @psthib

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pamelasthibodea/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/pamela-s-thibodeaux

Instagram: https://instagram.com/pamelasthibodeauxauthor

 

 

 

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January Featured Books – Find New & Amazing Authors!!!

Looking for something new and fabulous to read? Try these…

Young, overworked medical intern Sarah James has no time for sleuthing. Her elderly neighbors, the spunky Fog Ladies, have nothing but time. When, one by one, old ladies die in their elegant apartment building in San Francisco, Sarah assumes the deaths are the natural consequence of growing old. The Fog Ladies assume murder.
Mrs. Bridge falls off a stool cleaning bugs out of her kitchen light. Mrs. Talwin slips on bubbles in the bath and drowns. Suddenly, the Pacific Heights building is turning over tenants faster than the fog rolls in on a cool San Francisco evening.
Sarah resists the Fog Ladies’ perseverations. But when one of them falls down the stairs and tells Sarah she was pushed, even Sarah believes evil lurks in their building. Can they find the killer before they fall victim themselves?

************************************

Desperation fuels freelance news photographer Tempest Raines when Russian rebels kidnap her adult son. Out of options to rescue him, she dredges up her past and turns to the only man she believes can help her.

Navy SEAL Commander Chance Adams has sworn off women, but when Tempest comes to him for help, his past haunts him once again. What is it about this woman that makes him want her as much as he loathes her?

The rescue mission they undertake is fraught with danger for both Tempest and Chance, but if Tempest’s secret gets out, she isn’t sure if getting killed might not be her best option.

************************************

The year is 1856. White pine is king of the forest.
The last thing Jonathan Wain wants to do is ride miles through Pennsylvania’s wilderness to help his father’s logging partner in the small settlement of Clearfield. His family owns clipper ships in the Chesapeake Bay that carry the coveted logs to the markets each spring, and they can’t afford a loss.
The last thing Wilhelmina Wydcliffe wants is a handsome sea captain from Maryland meddling in her father’s logging operations under attack by unknown enemies. A feisty tomboy and better known as Willie to her crews, she has a dream to be the largest logging operator east of the Mississippi River.
When both Willie’s and Jonathan’s lives are threatened, they are forced to work together to find their enemies before both of their companies are in shambles. But as their attraction to each other escalates, can they set aside their differences, unearth the truth and troublemakers, and discover contentment in each other’s arms?

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#HobbyCareerPassion: A Fine Line Between Passion and Obsession ~ Linda Nightingale

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Linda Nightingale…

A Fine Line Between Passion and Obsession

Morgan D’Arcy

How closely does your passion border on obsession? Quite frequently, for very passionate people, their passion in life is an obsession, particularly those cursed with creativity.  I freely admit that I am one of those people.  For centuries I have dreamed of a woman to be my wife, the first to bear the title of the Lady of St. Averil since 1685. There’s a problem or two with my dream. You see, a vampire siring a child from a human woman is prohibited by Les Elus, the ruling council of the Vampyre.  In fact, such a child is removed from the Vampyre Gene Pool as soon as his/her existence is known. Not only is the offspring killed but both parents suffer the same fate.

The ritual of conception is very exact and very dangerous for the mother. She must be fed the vampire’s blood three times over a short period, then drained near death when she is impregnated.  If the father fails, he loses not only his dream but the woman he loves.

My hope was that my vampire/human child would have the powers of the vampire and the morals and sensitivity of its human ancestors.  The Vampyre have gifts to offer to humankind. Our blood will heal grievous human ills, and temporarily slow aging. I’m sure there will be quite a call for vampire doctors. I hope my child will be a bridge between two different species. Make no mistake—vampires and humans are different species. The Vampyre Effect alters the mortal’s DNA (Isabeau could explain this better than I) and grants immortality to a predator.

All lofty dreams aside, now a mortal woman has become my passion….Isabeau. She’s beautiful and brilliant—a gifted geneticist (which will come in handy). She loves me, too, but enough to stand the test of eternity?  I never dreamed that the woman who’d be my partner in crime would become my passion.  Oh, I still cherish my dream of a race of half-breeds, but she is my focus, and I find it difficult to even think of risking her life to make my dream come true.

Sinners’ Opera tells the story of our folie a deux, our double madness.  Read but do not judge. Les Elus will sit in judgment one day too soon.

Love is a passion. Obsession is a passion. Love and obsession tread the same fine  line as  between genius and insanity. Passion means standing naked before the mirror of one’s desires.  Do you have the courage? I’m not sure I do.

Any ideas?

BLURB:

Morgan D’Arcy is an English lord, a classical pianist, and a vampire. He has everything except what he desires most—Isabeau. As the Angel Gabriel he’s steered her life and career choice, preparing her to become Lady D’Arcy.

Many forces oppose Morgan’s daring plan—not the least of which is Vampyre law.

Isabeau Gervase is a brilliant geneticist. Though she no longer believes in angels, she sees a ticket to a Nobel Prize in Gabriel’s secrets—secrets that have led her to a startling conclusion. Gabriel isn’t human, and she fully intends to identify the species she named the Angel Genome. Morgan is ready to come back into Isabeau’s life, but this time as a man not an angel. Will he outsmart his enemies, protect his beloved and escape death himself? For the first time in eternity, the clock is ticking.

EXCERPT:

Razor-sharp memory sliced through me, jerking me upright.  “’od’s teeth!”

Before the fall, I’d been shot.

Rapid-fire images snapped before my eyes.  I saw my Jag plunging over the guardrail at the top of the Old Cooper River Bridge.  Now, in the silence of a church, I felt the wind whistling past my face as the force of the fall sucked the breath from my lungs and tried to pluck me from the convertible.  Irrationally, I’d clung to the wheel while my beloved roadster sank, in a slow rocking ballet, to the river bottom.

During that interminable swift plunge, I hadn’t been afraid of dying.

Mary touched my arm.  “Be still, hon, or you’re gonna start bleeding again.”

I was in no danger of bleeding to death or dying from any natural cause.  I knew why I’d heard her thoughts, why the aroma of her blood bedeviled me.  I knew who and what I am.

The blood staining her blouse was a miracle drug that could cure the most grievous of human diseases—and secure eternity for a predator. The wound that would have been fatal to a mortal had almost healed.  Within hours after the ritual blood exchange, a fragile yet potent virus had mutated my DNA.  I’d never actually died; would never feel death’s cold hands.  The Vampyre Effect was a transformation from one species to another.  For almost four centuries, I’d been a vampire.

The woman leaned over me.  I heard the blood whispering in her veins, saw the jugular bulging with each strong heartbeat.  Even the scent of my own blood fed the craving.  Hunger wrenched my stomach, the need for blood shuddering over me in flashes of heat.  The pain twisting inside me was a living thing—ugly, urgent, older than the world.  In a vain attempt at control, I ground my teeth until my jaw ached.  My hands clenched into fists, the tendons bunched like steel bands beneath the skin.  I was losing it, my eyes turning red.

“Run, Mary,” I panted, shoving her.  “For God’s sake, run.”

Her hands branded my shoulders.  Need coursed through me.

Her brow puckered.  “How did you know my name?”

“You look like a Mary,” I gasped, trying to crawl away.  “Bloody hell, run, woman.”

 

BIO :

After 14 years in Texas, Linda just returned home to her roots. She has seven published novels, four of which are available from Audible.com in audio. For many years, she bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses. So, she’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer. She retired from a career as a legal assistant at MD Anderson Cancer Center to write full time.

She has 2 wonderful sons—one in Texas; one in England—and 4 equally marvelous grandchildren.

She loves horses, sports cars, music, and piano, and enjoys dressing up and hosting formal dinner parties.

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LNightingale

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LindaNightingaleAuthor

Web Site:  http://www.lindanightingale.com

Blog:  https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4839311.Linda_Nightingale

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lbnightingale1/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Nightingale/e/B005OSOJ0U

BookBub:   https://www.bookbub.com/profile/linda-nightingale

 

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#HobbyCareerPassion: My Secret Rose by Kara O’Neal

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, author friend, Kara O’Neal…

My Secret Rose:

My name is Corinne Taylor, and when I was twelve, I was given a piece of land near an offshoot of Pike’s Run, one of the rivers that runs through my hometown. I’ve always loved nature. Its beauty has helped me escape a strained and unloving environment. And this tract of land is surrounded by pine, oak and maple trees. It’s magnificent. It’s inspired me to create, to nurture, and in this idyllic space I made a garden of roses. Over time it’s grown into an ethereal hideaway with numerous paths of all different types of roses. Ones that climb, ones that sit low, ones that stand tall. Pink, white, purple, peach, yellow, every bush is a surprise of color, and has turned my garden into a riot of exquisiteness.

I didn’t know I had a talent. It came from love, from a yearning deep inside me to be my own person. My mother is stifling and does everything within her power to control me. She even chooses my fashions, which are ruffled monstrosities. I can’t explain to you why I can’t break her hold over me, but at least I’ve found a way to be happy.

I’ve learned so much about roses. There are many different breeds, and each has its own identity. My favorite are the Madame Hardy, from the Damask family. Mr. Hardy bred them for his wife and named the white flower after her. Every time I see the blooms, I think of the love he had for her, and it warms my heart. I hope I’m as lucky as she one day.

Right now my garden is hidden away from the world. Only a select few know about it, which is very wrong. I should share it, and I long to do so, but as soon as my mother finds out about it, I know she’ll do everything in her power to rip it from me. One day, I’ll be strong and fight her. One day, I’ll share my love with all of my friends and the town. For it deserves to be seen in the light.

My roses. So beautiful. And I can make them grow.

 

Blurb:

Corinne Taylor has a secret. And it must be protected. If her mother discovers what Corinne has been hiding, Hell will not describe the place in which she will find herself. Beulah, Corinne’s mother, has proclaimed herself “queen” of Pike’s Run, and no one crosses her, especially not her daughter.

And while Corinne does what she can to guard her secret, her best efforts aren’t enough. War comes to Pike’s Run and the Taylor household when Beulah learns of her daughter’s betrayal. The battle that ensues forces Corinne to seek help from a new arrival.

Jonathan Pierce, a successful lawyer, has come to Pike’s Run looking to find solace from his past. When Corinne asks for his support, her innocence and bravery call to the needs within his broken spirit, and he can’t turn her down. She is capturing his heart, but if she ever learns of his cowardice, she will reject him, killing any hope he has left of finding love.

Excerpt:

She let out a slow breath then drew in another deeply. After a few moments, she lowered her arms to her sides and lifted her chin. “Would you like to see them?”

“Your roses?”

She nodded.

Pleasure spread through Jonathan. “Of course.”

Aware she gave him an opportunity only a handful of others had experienced, he didn’t dare turn down her offer. He should, though. In fact, he should be going on his way, putting distance between himself and a woman who tugged at his basic needs and protective side.

But instead of heeding good sense, he followed her.

When hedgerows appeared, she unlatched a gate and let him in. He hadn’t gone two steps before amazement struck him. He stopped in his tracks and stared at the beauty.

Was it acceptable to even breathe amidst this labor of love? The blooms were open to the five o’clock sun streaming in. The bright orange light danced off of shades of purple, pink and red. Yellow dazzled the eye, along with peach and white.

He felt a nudge at his elbow. He looked down, and the smile directed up at him put the flowers to shame.

“You can walk around. You won’t hurt them.”

The teasing glint in her eyes made his mouth tip up at the corners. He couldn’t stop himself from glancing at the luscious curve of her lips. Warmth spread through him, but he turned away, avoiding the lust curling inside. Instead of a reply, he went down the stone walk, allowing the glory of her handiwork to delight his eye.

He paused at different varieties, noting the shape of the petals or how they lay against each other. Their fragrance wafted around him, making him want to sit and soak up their loveliness. Which was odd.

When he reached the center, he turned and found her several paces behind him. She hadn’t said a word as he’d explored. He could only describe the expression on her face as one of pleasure. She seemed glad she’d shared her haven with him.

“You did all this?”

She nodded, a blush staining her cheeks.

Even standing amidst the evidence of her talent, modesty enveloped her. He couldn’t help the slight smile that formed. “It’s magnificent.”

“Thank you.”

Should he venture into her world and help her? If he did, he feared the safety of his heart.

Bio:

Born and raised in Texas, the state had to be the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Please visit me at www.karaoneal.com.

 

Social Media Links:

Website –  http://www.karaoneal.com

Bookbub –  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kara-o-neal

Amazon –  http://www.amazon.com/Kara-ONeal/e/B00FL19TH8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1465007993&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble –  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kara+o’neal?_requestid=845025

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/KaraONeal84/

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/KaraONealAuthor

Pinterest –  https://www.pinterest.com/karaoneal7/

Goodreads –  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278350.Kara_O_Neal

Blog — http://www.karaoneal.com/blog

 

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#HobbyCareerPassion: Finding Your Roots with Family History by Heidi Wessman Kneale

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Heidi Wessman Kneale…

 

Finding Your Roots with Family History

Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay

Family History is one of the biggest hobbies in the world, inspiring millions to learn where they came from. Any famous people in your history? Any amazing stories? You could even be descended from a king.

In my book “For Richer, For Poorer”, Beatrice Nottham has traced her family roots back over a thousand years. Turns out she is descended from Norman nobility, but her roots also come with a family curse…

I can’t claim to have gone back quite that far in my own family history but have been able to trace my line back to French and German nobility and even a Swedish king.

It’s not so much the blue blood flowing in my veins that makes family history so fascinating but the stories of everyday people. Our families did not live boring lives!

A great-great grandmother of mine, Elizabeth Pugsley Hayward, was a Suffragette. She was one of the first women to be elected to a State political office before women were even allowed to vote. This meant she was successfully elected by a hundred percent male vote. She served as a State Representative, then later as a State Senator. She was even introduced the bill to ratify the 19th Amendment to the State Senate, successfully.

There’s a history of strong women in my family, even one who wasn’t a woman.

A 19th Century ancestor of mine was Edwin Pettit, an American Pioneer. When his family emigrated out West, he had to remain behind, as he was apprenticed to a cruel master.

One night, Edwin managed to sneak out and make his way to a pioneer camp. There, everyone conspired to dress Edwin up as a girl, skirts, curls and all. He remained in this disguise for as long as it took until his master, who had come looking had given up.

Not many people can lay claim to a cross-dressing ancestor.

How can you get started in your family history?  Ask your parents, your grandparents, your aunts, uncles and other family members for their stories. Write them down. Get as much information as you can, for once they die, they take their stories with them.

For those who have passed on, you can look them up in Census records, on Family History sites like FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com. Many public libraries and family history centres offer free access to Ancestry.com.

Don’t feel discouraged if you’re not able to immediately find records of your family. Every month more and more records are transcribed and made public, even records for families that, until now, have been almost impossible to track and trace. For example, the family histories of many African Americans are coming to light, thanks to the tireless work of historians like Amy Tanner Thiriot and genealogists like Thom Reed.

Knowing your family history can give you a sense of belonging, a sense of place. Join millions of fellow human beings around the world who are learning where they come from.

 

For Richer, For Poorer is available in ebook format and as an audiobook.

 

 

Blurb:

The Deveraux line is famous…for a family curse. The rich must marry the poor or lose their prosperity. Peter Baring is the last of the Deveraux and sinking slowly into poverty. But will marriage to his icy business partner save him?

Beatrice Nottham dreams of leaving Earth for a fresh start. But only married couples are allowed to move off-world. Marrying a man she’s unsure she loves will solve that problem…but at what cost?

When Beatrice visits England to research her branch of the Deveraux family tree, she meets Peter and sparks fly. Both question everything they ever believed would fulfill their dreams. If they dare to be together, will the Curse follow them beyond the stars? The answer to breaking its power could lie in the heart of a crumbling tapestry…if they have the courage to try.

Excerpt:

What were the exact conditions of the Curse?

That the richest must marry the poorest? Sure. But other than that? Peter wondered, did Gytha love Phillippe?

She must have, to stay for so long. Or was it love? Did she stay simply so her family could be provided for? If she loved him, would she have cursed him thus? Or was she thinking of her sons? Clearly, she loved them more than anything.

“Peter?” Beatrice’s voice broke into his thoughts.

“Whether or not my marriage to Francie will break the Curse is irrelevant, because last night I decided I’m not going to marry her.” He hung his head. “And forgive me,” he murmured, “I haven’t told her yet.”

He wanted to take Beatrice’s hands, but thought that most improper. He did not know how she was taking this news. She stood as she had through the story of the Curse, one hand wrapped about her waist, the other hand pressed to her lips.

“I don’t love her,” he confessed. “Not one whit. I never did.”

Beatrice closed her eyes and slowly shook her head. “Yet you were going to marry her.”

He shrugged, at a loss for an answer. “I thought she loved me.”

“But you didn’t love her.” Was that disappointment in her voice?

“I liked her,” he hedged.

There was pain in her voice. “But you love the land more? You’d marry her so not only would the prosperity return, but she’d know how to develop the land properly so it’d turn a profit.” She hugged both arms tightly about her. “Or perhaps you love money? Perhaps you see this as the only way of restoring your fortune.”

 

BIO:

Heidi Wessman Kneale is an Australian author of moderate repute. By day, she wrangles computers as a way of supporting her writing habits. By night she stares at the stars in the sky. Noble blood flows through her veins; she is the daughter of kings and can prove it.

Links:

@heidikneale

http://RomanceSpinners.blogspot.com

http://tinyurl.com/heidikneale/

mailing list: http://eepurl.com/c9vM9L

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#HobbyCareerPassion: Animal Love and the Internet by Emily Heebner

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters. And Merry Christmas!! 

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Emily Heebner…

Animal Love and the Internet 

I’m grateful for the internet. However flawed, it lets folks research any topic at any hour in the comfort of home. It allowed me to write about puppies being born.

I had married into a family of animal lovers. Not that I didn’t already love animals, I did! I grew up with a beloved dog, Cookie, a great friend and confidante. But in typical suburban fashion, my mother did most – okay – all of the animal care herself.

So when I became matron of my home plus dog, I put my foot down. “Everybody helps!” I declared.

Now that we have our third dog, Sally, plus two cats, plus lizard who’s determined to out-live us, I continue to study. Especially that night I arrived home late and almost drove over a furry larva in our driveway.

It was to be the night we switched from cat loathers to cat lovers.

I was opening our gate so I could pull my car in when I noticed a fluttering leaf out of the corner of my eye. Exhausted, I wanted to ignore it, but the night was hot and still, so I looked again. Lit by my car’s headlights was a furry larva near our hedge, squirming across the driveway. I left the car running, ran for the house and called, “Honey, come quick! Leave Sally inside!”

“Is it a rat?” I asked.

“A cat.”

Umbilical cord attached, the wee one was brand new, probably dropped by her mom when I opened the gate. We learned from the internet we should’ve given the mommy time to retrieve her baby. But we were unschooled and quick to adopt hero mode.

Soon “Solo” was swaddled in clean towels, with a ticking clock and a heating pad close by her box.

The internet taught us much. Since the mommy wasn’t there to lick, my husband assumed operation poop training, which entailed wiping Solo’s butt with warm, damp cotton balls. I was better at bottle feeding, getting her to latch onto the hummingbird like nipple as she sucked and “swam” in the air with her arms.

On the third day, the vet said to bring her in. While he checked her, our larva-kitten pooped on the table. I watched the vet pick up the piece of poop, throw it away, then stick his finger in her mouth. What? The moment flashed so fast, just like the wiggling leaf on the driveway that was now our tiny pet. Did I really see the vet stick his finger in her mouth? The same finger that picked up the poop?

Next day, Solo was lethargic. I put her on our bed to play but she lay still, then moved, dragging her back leg. I quickly put her inside my shirt, looked up fading kitten syndrome, phoned the vet, got in the car, and phoned Eric.

It was a different vet on call so we squealed about the other vet’s poopy finger moment. This new vet explained that without her mother’s milk, Solo was extra vulnerable to infection. He loaded her up with more than the recommended antibiotics and with a doubtful smile, wished us well.

Flash forward: Solo will be four years old this spring. She’s healthy. She and Sally are good friends.

In Seneca Lake, Arthur helps a Labrador deliver her puppies in a saloon. One gets stuck but survives. The internet and Solo taught me how to write that scene.

Blurb:

It’s 1944, and high school senior Meg Michaels has always obeyed her grandparents’ wishes, till now. They’re urging her to give up her dream of Cornell University and accept a ring from wealthy Hank Wickham before he deploys overseas.

But Meg has studied hard and yearns for something better than life in the rural Finger Lakes. Plus Meg’s suddenly fascinated with her childhood friend, Arthur Young, a handsome Seneca Indian farm worker. When Meg and Arthur nurse a sick puppy to health, their friendship transforms into love.

But locals look down on “injuns” and resent the fact that Arthur’s farm job exempts him from military duty. While the war rages in Europe, Meg and Arthur must fight their own battles at home…

Excerpt:

They all watched, hoping a puppy would begin to appear. Brandy grunted and contorted, but nothing changed.

“Dang it.” Arthur wiped his forehead into the upper part of his sleeve. Then he carefully slipped the fingers of one hand inside Brandy’s swollen vagina. She squirmed at first, even growled some. But as Arthur’s hand made its way farther inside her, she breathed through her nose, poised, as if she trusted him, painful as it was. Her eyes fixated at the towel beside her head.

“Good girl,” he murmured. “I’m gettin’ him, Brandy.” Her belly lurched. “Hold still now, girl.”

Arthur’s hand began to reverse direction. He pulled so slowly, Meg wasn’t sure at first. A tingle of dread ran through her. Minutes seemed to pass. Then his forearm tightened.

He shook his other hand toward Meg.

“Towel!”

She grabbed some clean ones from the whelping box.

“Sac’s broke.” He was pulling a wet tail and tiny paws from Brandy’s birth canal. He wrapped a towel around them. Brandy’s belly contracted. Then swoosh, the puppy slid out. Meg handed Arthur a dry towel which he wrapped around the pup. Brandy watched and panted, then gnawed on the cord and began to eat the afterbirth. But the puppy lay still.

“Gol dang it—”

Arthur picked up the lifeless pup and rubbed him vigorously in the towel. He stood and stepped back from Brandy, swinging the pup belly up, over his head, then down between his knees in an arc. He did it again, then checked the puppy’s nose and mouth.

“Dang it!”

He swung the puppy again, then checked his mouth. A soft gurgle could be heard.

“Atta boy—” said Charley.

“C’mon, big guy.” Arthur rubbed him roughly in the towel. “Wake up.” He wiped the pup’s nostrils and blew on his face. The puppy squirmed just slightly. Arthur rubbed and rubbed, as if summoning a genie from a magic lamp.

Meg stood beside them. “If you can wake up,” she said, “we’ll make you fat as Ol’ Pete.”

Arthur stopped rubbing and studied the pup’s face. “We’ll call you Li’l Pete, how’d you like that? Folks’ll think you’re one part hog.”

Brandy moaned.

Charley tried to grin. “His ma swears he’s pure pup, Art. She ain’t been near no hogs.”

“Keep rubbing and talking.” Arthur handed the puppy to Meg. He stooped down to check Brandy. “Comin’ head first. This one ain’t stuck.”

 

Bio:

Emily Heebner, MFA is a fiction writer, professor and theater professional. A Cornell University graduate, she worked extensively as an actor, then wrote documentary scripts for dvds including The Hours, Tuck Everlasting, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Passion. Seneca Lake, her Coming of Age novel, explores interracial romance. Published by The Wild Rose Press, it’s available in Print, ebook and Audiobook formats.

website: emilyheebner.com

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emily.heebner.90

https://twitter.com/EmilyHeebner 

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Christmas Frost – Four Sisters Find Romance at Christmas

I’m pleased to share these four sweet, holiday stories from The Wild Rose Press…

 

 

Joy Frost Burton lives a busy, successful life, finding comfort in the lovely home she shares with her three little boys. A widow, she isn’t looking for love again, in spite of her three younger sisters’ rather pushy encouragement.
Mysterious fate has other ideas and throws charming Sean Summers into Joy’s world again and again. Soon, however, ghosts from the past and a challenging family crisis create difficult complications.
Does Joy dare risk loss and sorrow a second time by following her wounded heart’s new rhythm?

Excerpt

As I arrived at the doorway, I took a quick look back and BAM—ran smack into a man coming in. An indelicate “Oomph” escaped my lips as we both reached out to steady ourselves. His hand covered mine on the door frame. Warm—very warm.

He kept it there, and I didn’t struggle to free myself at first. I was turned sideways and couldn’t see his face, but my senses—all of them—responded to his closeness.

Finally, I breathed again and pulled my hand out from under his, mumbling a weak, “Oh, so sorry.”

“No, I didn’t see you there. It was my fault.” He had a deep voice with a little rumble in it. I looked up and saw a ruggedly handsome face and dark blue eyes. He looked vaguely familiar, but I forced my eyes away too fast to think about that.

“Excuse me.” I tried to scoot past him, brushing my shoulder against his chest as we both turned to maneuver through the small open space. Unfortunately, we’d moved in the same direction, and then we bumped knees. I was mortified.

“Oh, sorry again,” I yelped. At that point I noticed his enticing aroma—a mixture of cool autumn air and spicy leather. Definitely masculine.

I couldn’t see his face now; mine was practically smashed into his neck. But I didn’t mind lingering in his scent. I may or may not have murmured, “Mmmm…”

 

 

TV Reporter Noelle Frost enjoys life now that she’s free of her abusive ex-husband. She and her young daughter are doing quite well without a man in their lives. Then she meets a giant of a man, six-foot-ten Zave Trayce, a basketball legend. Her trust in men is damaged. Zave seems like the ultimate player on and off the court. She will have to decide if she’s brave enough to risk her heart in the game of love.

Excerpt:

A shot of energy warmed my cheeks. This was undoubtedly the most incredible physical being I had ever seen, and he was looking at me. I continued to stare back, not knowing what to say, but certainly enjoying the moment, until that annoying college student interrupted my view by handing me my hot chocolate.

“Here you go, miss. That will be four dollars and twenty-five cents, please.”

“My treat.” Gorgeous Man’s low voice had come from those lips that turned up at the corners, hip still against the counter, his eyes dancing with amusement.

“Oh no, you don’t need to pay for mine.”  I pulled myself together, proud for uttering a complete and coherent sentence.

“I’m happy to do it, Ms. Frost.” He pushed his at least six-foot-ten frame away from the counter and winked at me, sending warm honey gliding through my body. Oh, my goodness. He actually winked at me, and it wasn’t cheesy. It was absolutely hot. Then a light flashed in my mind. He knew my name.

I took a step back. “Umm…have we met?” Although intrigued, since my divorce I was over cautious where men were concerned.

“CBS 4 Denver, TV reporter Noelle Frost. Everyone in Colorado must know who you are by now.”

He had an adorable lopsided grin. I could get used to that. I relaxed a little. I had only worked for the station for a few months, and it still surprised me when strangers recognized me. 

Holly Frost has suffered from unrequited-love since she turned down Elam Holmes in high school. Years later they are still doing the “friend zone” dance. They’ve seen each other through heartbreaking loss and shared everything–except the truth. Can they break down the walls they’ve built to find love beyond friendship?

Excerpt:

I had to be dreaming, but I was wide awake. Elam pulled on me some more, and the warmth of his hand made my arms and legs tingle. I floated up on the couch.

He sat beside me and touched my arm. “Holly, you feel cold.” He lay down and pulled my back against his chest, his arms wrapped around me.

Minutes crawled by while I struggled to breathe normally.

“I can feel your heartbeat through your back,” he whispered.

“I’m a little—”

His breath had warmed the back of my neck. “Are you warmer now?”

A shiver rippled over my skin from my toes to my head. “Almost,” I managed.

“Almost isn’t good enough.” He leaned up on one elbow, looking down at me and stroking the side of my face with his fingertips. “You are incredibly beautiful, Holly. No wonder Marco went after you.”

I rolled over on my back and looked up into his eyes. “There is no…”

He leaned down and skimmed his lips over mine in a friendly kiss. “I am so happy you came this weekend.”

I tilted my chin and gently kissed him back. Elam, Elam, Elam…“So am I.” I wanted more. I yearned for more. I shivered again.

Elam cleared his throat, moved over and stood up. “It is cold in here.” He grabbed my pillow and the blanket off the floor and spread it over me. “I’m not sure L.A. warmed you up as much as you’d hoped.”

“Maybe nothing is as much as I’d hoped.

Chrissy Frost’s self-identity has changed from “happy-go-lucky” to “broken” after losing her parents in a tragic accident the day after Christmas nearly four years ago. Every aspect of the holiday season, especially snow, has a devastating effect on her.
A work assignment where she is able to change others’ lives for better, in addition to meeting handsome, caring, caramel-delicious Decker, might spark a flame of hope in her wounded heart.
Yet there are so many bumps in the road, Chrissy’s not sure she can handle the risk of getting burned.

Excerpt

Gathering up all my ammo, I ran straight into him, shoving snow into his chest and face. He fell backward, and I came down on top of him. I tried to prop myself up, but he pulled me back into his embrace. I shivered, but he rubbed my back, warming me instantly. My heart thudded at a rapid pace, and every nerve in my body tingled. He loosened his grip enough for me to look at him.

You might think you’re playing fair, but this is not fair.

In one smooth motion, he lifted me off and sat up, pulling me with him. His arm remained around my waist, our faces inches apart. Those eyes that were always watching out for me locked with mine.

“I missed you on Wednesday.” Before I had a chance to respond, his warm lips were on mine. I didn’t resist. I let my arms slide around his neck. I’d never felt so safe in my life. What was happening? He was taken.

When the lusciously long, but not long enough, kiss ended, I collected my wits, which were strewn all around the kennel.

“Decker? But what about—”

“I’ve wanted to do that since the first day I met you.” The words vibrated against my willing lips, shaking the earth, or at least my heart.

Never mind the snow or Bre…what’s-her name.

I went in for more delicious kisses from the gorgeous man holding me.

 

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