Category Archives: For Writers

#HobbyCareerPassion: Debby Grahl ~ Sundae My Love ~ at Sand Lake, Where Ghosts Bring Two Lovers Back Together ~ #WRPgrp #Blog #AHAgrp

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, Debby Grahl…

Sundae My Love – at Sand Lake,

Where Ghosts Bring  Two Lovers Back Together 

 Hi, I’m Samantha Murray, and Sundae My Love is the story of my family’s ice cream business. The Murrays have called Sand Lake, in the Irish Hills of Michigan, home since the nineteen fifties.

After my grandparents retired, I took over the running of the Dairy Delight. Lake-goers have enjoyed our Neapolitan Nectar milk shake for generations, but now Zack Hunter, the love of my life and the man who broke my heart, is back in town and threatens my business.

Hey there, I’m Zack Hunter, and I also grew up on Sand Lake. I left to go to college out west and have returned with a degree in architecture. You see, my grandparents built Frontier Town, a tourist attraction near the lake. The buildings have stood empty for years, and it’s been my dream to restore them and add an old-fashioned ice cream shop. The problem is the land I need to use adjoins the Dairy Delight. I have to confess I messed up pretty badly and hurt Samantha when I left. But I’ve realized my mistake, and I’m home and plan on winning back the woman I love.

When Wild Rose Press requested stories for their Two Scoops or One anthology, I knew my family’s home on Sand Lake was the perfect setting. Even though I’ve changed the characters’ names, the people actually exist. The house, built in the late nineteenth century, is as I describe, including the ghosts. I haven’t seen them, but, along with my cousins, we’ve heard them. Doors slam, floorboards creak, and footsteps go up and down the stairs.

Across the lake on US 12, there’s a drive-up ice cream shop, and down the road the empty buildings of a frontier town still stand. When I was young, my cousins and I would sit in the saloon wearing our western shirts and moccasins drinking root beer. We’d hop on the stagecoach which was always held up by outlaws. 

The Irish Hills is a rural area in southeast Michigan. There’s farm land, a number of lakes, woods of maples and oaks and dogwoods. I now live on Hilton Head Island, SC, but each summer I go home to the lake where I enjoy spending time with all my cousins, going out for ice cream, and reminiscing about growing up in such a beautiful place.

Can ancestral ghosts bring Samantha and Zack back together to fulfill all their dreams?

Sundae My Love Blurb

As manager of the Dairy Delight, Samantha Murray is dismayed to discover her past love is back and plans on building a rival business next door.

Zack Hunter returns to Sand Lake to win back Samantha and fulfill his grandfather’s dreams by restoring Frontier Town, a tourist attraction once owned by his grandparents, and adding an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.

Samantha is heartbroken over Zack’s past betrayal and struggles, conflicted over the love she can’t deny, but resolved to stop his building plans.

Zack is torn between his love for Samantha and his determination to follow through with his grandfather’s legacy.

Convinced the two are desperately in need of help, the family ghosts intervene to bring them together and solve their differences.

Sundae My Love excerpt

In the living room, a female shape materialized. Her     long dress swirled around her ankles, and the heels of  her high button shoes tapped across the hardwood floor. “Good grief, Angus, I wanted you to make them meet on  the lake, not have Zack run Samantha down,” Patricia Murray said with exasperation.

In a Queen Anne style chair, a male form appeared. “Patricia, it wasn’t my fault. Thaddeus was sitting next  to Zack and took control of the wheel.” He removed his pipe from his shirt pocket. Puffs of translucent smoke soon filled the room. “But it worked out.”

Hands on her hips, Patricia glowered. “Worked out! Are you kidding? What should have been a romantic reunion has made Samantha even more upset.” Patricia shook her head. “Samantha and Zack are perfect for  each other. It’s beyond me why that boy broke her heart and now is making matters worse by threatening the  Dairy Delight.” She narrowed her eyes. “You don’t seem too surprised over Zack’s plans. Did you already know about this?”

Angus squirmed in his seat. “Ah, well.”

“You did. Angus Murray, I can see it in your eyes. You’ve known all about this and didn’t tell me. This is why you’ve been gone so much lately. I’ll bet you and Thaddeus have been over there watching every move he’s made.”

“The boy is doing a top-rate job restoring the buildings. I can’t tell you how pleased Thaddeus is. You  know how much that place meant to him.”

“What about Zack’s disregard for Samantha and the  Dairy Delight?”

“Patricia, we’ve watched over our family for three generations. And no matter what problem occurs, they manage to work it out.”

Patricia threw up her arms in exasperation. “Sometimes situations need to be helped along. Samantha is on her way to confront Zack. Go over there and see what happens.”

“You want me to spy on my great-great-granddaughter?”

“Yes. It’s for her own good.”

 “Why don’t you go?”

“Because Thaddeus is your friend, not mine.      Besides, I promised Virginia Bradly I’d visit this afternoon. You know how lonely she gets when her  family is gone.”

Angus sighed, then stood. He placed his pipe in his pocket, adjusted his suspenders, straightened his bow tie, kissed his wife’s cheek, and vanished.

  Amazon Author Page — https://www.amazon.com/Debby-Grahl/e/B00B34HM26

 

Bio:

Debby lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach and a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are New Orleans, New York City, Captiva Island in Florida, the Cotswolds of England, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and, of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books.

Sundae My Love, in the Two Scoops or One anthology from The Wild Rose Press, will be  released June 30. Her other books  are Mountain Blaze, His Magic Touch, Decorated to Death, Rue Toulouse, and The Silver Crescent.

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/debbygrahlauthor?ref=br_rs

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

#HobbyCareerPassion: “Dance to a Wylder Beat” ~ Author Marilyn Barr ~ Leather Tanning #WRPgrp #Blog #AHAgrp

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, Marilyn Barr…

Leather Tanning

Nartan Sagebrush has the most revolting job in Wylder, Wyoming Territory but in 1878, his prospects were limited when he chose to join the setters instead of head to the reservation. As an Arapaho Shamanic apprentice, Nartan grew up enjoying his vision quests in the forest and the freedom to follow the bison as they migrated around the US. However, in 1874, this all changed. The US Government placed his tribe on reservations and banned the teaching of all Shamanic practices. Nartan and his brother, Ikshu, claimed a piece of Wylder and struggled their way to a thriving leather tanning business, sheep flock, and homestead.

Nartan Sagebrush lacked the chemicals used for commercial leather tanning (invented around 1902), so he relied on cow brains and urine to soften the skins. He’s ahead of his time in that he creates a system of vats and frames so three skins are ready for shipping every day even though only two men are working. Every day six skins, staggered three and three, are rotated through vats of urine. When they are pliable the skins are stretched on frames to dry in the sun. This is the worst smelling part. Three skins are dry each morning and ready for tufting (hair removal) and fleshing. Nartan describes the way his new bride, Olive, fleshes leather in Dance to a Wylder Beat:

“The steer’s horn handle of the flesher looks longer than her forearm. I always thought I made the tool too small, but maybe I serendipitously made it for her. Her tiny hand almost fits around it. She kneels before the hide and begins to hammer the center with deft strokes. She has the perfect corner angle to release the fats and flesh from the skin. It rolls into a neat coil using the same gravity that pulls my jaw to the ground.”

 Just when the smell of urine threatens to burn off her nose, Nartan introduces her to the next step in tanning. Braining. Nartan doesn’t have the land for a cattle herd, so he barters lamb chops and steaks to the butcher for cow brains. From the brain, he makes the conditioning liquid which changes rawhide to leather.

“Olive, to her credit, doesn’t flinch when I scoop the sheep’s brain from its skull and add it to the boiling fat. She even holds the scalp back so I can use two hands. It isn’t until we added the half-pound of soap shavings and cedar oil the smell subsided.”

The braining fluid must be massaged into the leather before fluffing which breaking up any hardening parts of the skins. If tanning leather is gross, how does the leather itself smell so good? The secret is in the final step where the leather is smoked. Nartan uses a mixture of spruce and hemlock wood chips in a smoking teepee. Nartan is proud of the finished product and the business he has built around it. However, it will take a special type of woman to appreciate his efforts. Will Olive live in the stench for him? Find out in Dance to a Wylder Beat.

He was uncomfortable in his skin before she crawled under it. Now he burns…

Blurb:

Nartan Sagebrush’s name may mean “to dance” in Arapaho, but he dances in secret. Forced to abandon his Shamanic apprenticeship, he is overwhelmed with homesteader life, and even his spirit guides are at their wit’s end. Nartan takes fate into his own hands. Instead of divine intervention, a wife will help with his responsibilities and in assimilating into the Wylder community. 

Olive Muegge answers Nartan’s “wife wanted” advertisement. Fiercely independent, she has secretly dreamed of a family to call her own. The secret she carries inside makes her an outcast and her wild ways don’t fit the quiet wife Nartan thinks he desires.  

Despite their differences, they are drawn to each other but a mistake may drive them apart.  Will Nartan embrace his Shamanic past to save them both or will he choose to rid himself of Olive forever? 

Excerpt:

When I turn back, the men are wrestling in a cloud of dust. Dead Eyes’ friends hoot like owls while a small crowd gathers around the scene. Being half-drunk, Dead Eyes is two steps slower than Nartan, who is landing punches on both sides. When Dead Eyes slams his gun on the ground in surrender, the dust settles, and I can study my future husband.

Nartan’s muscular body straddles the smaller man while his broad chest billows. His hat has blown off in the scuffle, revealing two thick black braids adorned with feathers. Tendrils of raven-black hair wave around his head. “Quiet wife for a quiet life” my bloomin’ butt. This man is a sweet lick of passion wrapped in a delicious exterior. I think I’m gonna like being Mrs. Sagebrush just fine. I can handle an odd stick as long as he has the countenance of Nartan because I’m not as normal as I appear myself.

Author Bio:

Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, published microbiologist, special education/inclusion science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, certified spiritual & energy healer, and advocate for the autistic community. This puts her in the position to bring tales containing heroes who are regular people with different ability levels and body types, in a light where they are powerful, lovable, and appreciated.

When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula. She is a sucker (haha) for cheesy horror movies, Italian food, punk music, black cats, bad puns, and all things witchy.

Social Media Links:

website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Amazon author profile

Goodreads

BookBub

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

How to Catch An Editor’s Eye, or Ear, or Heart by Editor Kaycee John ~ #AHAgrp #Blog

How to Catch An Editor’s Eye, or Ear, or Heart

Writing is difficult, and rewarding. It is lonely, and feeds the creative urge we were all born with. For some it looks easy, effortless. For others, writing is like pregnancy: never ending in the duration and brutally painful in the delivery. In the end it is the best feeling in the world when you hold your ‘baby’ in your hands.

Presenter Bio:

Published author and editor Kaycee John honed her presentation skills the same way she learned most of life’s lessons–the hard way.

As the director of a victim advocacy agency she often found herself standing at the front of classrooms filled with raw police recruits, women’s studies and criminal justice majors, and emergency medicine providers, dispelling the myths that surround sex crimes and teaching effective techniques for dealing with victims of violence. Then came press conferences, op ed pieces for the local papers and news bites on the nightly news. All this while raising three terrific kids and working weekends as a nursing supervisor.

These days she speaks from a different POV: as a once fledgling author who survived the trenches of rejection and learned how to turn her stories into award winners. She knows the pain of less than encouraging comments from contest judges and acquiring editors so is determined to pay it forward and help others turn so-so submissions into contract offers.

  1. Follow the rules of the publisher you are submitting to. If they ask for a double space partial, one inch margins on all four sides, written in Courier or Times New Roman font, do it. If they don’t publish inspirational or erotica, do not submit the hottest, sexiest thing ever to come down the pike because it’s the best thing you’ve ever written and all your pals think it’s the bomb. If the publisher asks for a partial [usually the first three chapters not to exceed fifty pages], send the first three chapters and don’t go over fifty pages. Trying an end-run doesn’t work.
  1. Great characters are unique and believable, right down to the warts on their big toes. They hang with interesting people and live in cool places–real or invented. And while we’re talking about where a character lives, treat the setting as another character in the book. For each lead, use their choices in food, movies/TV, reading for pleasure, sports heroes [or anti-sports] and style of underwear as a way to flesh them out. Don’t be afraid to take risks. A woman who routinely dresses in severe dark colored suits, ankle breaker heels and pristine white blouses paints a picture of a no-nonsense ball-buster career woman. What if she wears sheer lingerie underneath the suit, or maybe none at all. What if that same no-nonsense professional is drawn to a man in hip-hugging jeans, wrinkled flannel shirt over a ratty t-shirt and muddy boots? To me, her tastes in men make her a three dimensional character over a woman who plays it safe by sticking to her side of the professional fence. Trust me, opposites do attract in real life and in fiction.
  1. Keep things, like the setting, simple. Draw yourself a map if you like and refer to it as often as you need in order to keep characters’ actions logical and purposeful. On this map, mark in the churches, schools, laundromat, bars, post office and grocery stores. Have a working knowledge of what the area is like during each season. There’s nothing worse than an author who has her characters taking a quick dip in the outdoor pool in the middle of May in Western New York. As a long-term resident of Western New York, NO ONE deliberately swims in an outdoor pool at this time of year–unless they certifiable or card carrying members of the local Polar Bear club.
  1. Pay attention to the voices of each character, both primary and secondary. A person with little formal education or who is still in their teens is not often going to use multi-syllabic words–unless they possess an off the scale IQ. As an editor I don’t need to be reaching for a dictionary because I don’t know what a word means. Likewise, don’t have each character use the same vernacular. For example, the word “Aye-yuh” is a commonly used phrase in Central New York where I was raised. Perhaps in reality every adult in the small town of Fabius NY says “Aye-yuh” when trying to convey they agree or understand what the speaker is saying. As much as I don’t like reaching for a dictionary; I don’t like needing a score card in order to keep characters straight.
  1. Build the story around characters who have well-defined Goals, Motivation and Conflict. If a character doesn’t have a logical and realistic goal, with logical and realistic motivation, I don’t want to read about them. If a story doesn’t have conflict, internal and external, don’t send it my way. To simplify: Hannah Heroine wants ____ [goal] because ______ [motivation] but ______ is preventing her from achieving or attaining that goal [conflict]. It works really well if Henry the Hero has goals and motivation which are in direct conflict with what Hannah wants.
  1. I’d like to talk a bit about sexual tension. If you plan a romance or perhaps a romantic suspense, carefully and slowly work the attraction into the story. Personal interest is one thing–and is important to mention by the time page 20 has rolled around. Don’t have your characters, especially those who just met five minutes ago, be thinking about what the other looks like naked. Too Much Too Soon.
  1. Show don’t tell. Don’t tell me Allison, age fifty, is exhausted and leave it there. Show me her pale, pinched features; the slow drag in her gait and slumped posture. Don’t tell me the meal Hannah and Henry shared was delicious. Show me the juices seeping from the cut of steak, the steam rising from Henry’s baked potato, the burst of tart cranberries filling Hannah’s mouth with the first bite of a fresh from the oven muffin. It might be cold as a witch’s butt in Western New York in February. Show me the frost on the windows, the impassable roads and bitter bone-wracking chills that make sleep impossible.
  1. Point of View. On a personal level, I prefer reading third person POV. As an editor, first person makes me sigh and ask ‘why did the author do this?’. Omniscient POV–like some unseen, all knowing being floats over the action, telling the reader what each characters thinks and feels, gnashes my molars into dust. And head hopping makes me nuts. Some NYT’s multi-published authors pull it off–and do it well. When you’re first starting out, keep it simple. Stay in one character’s head. It’s safer for all concerned.
  1. Passive Voice. In the words of Stephen King: adverbs are not our friends. Please don’t have a character ‘jokingly ask’ or ‘laughingly remark’. Let them joke–straight out. Have them laugh, long, loud and deep. Keep the adverbs in the desk drawer where they belong. Make your sentences strong and active. Keep ‘was’ ‘were’ ‘could’ ‘would’ out of your prose.

Examples: Jane could hear the fear in Dick’s voice. BETTER: Jane heard fear in her lover’s voice, saw angst in his furrowed brow and hunched shoulders.

Dick was standing there, waiting impassively for the train to arrive. BETTER: Frozen in place,  Dick waited in line with the rest of the late evening commuters for the last train to arrive.

  1. Please, please, please remember: evaluation of any submission is one person’s opinion. Before I am an editor, I am a reader. If a story doesn’t grab me, I’m likely not going to offer a contract. Following the Wild Rose Press philosophy, as well as my own, it’s my job to tell a reader why the story doesn’t ‘work’ for me. It’s not personal. But . . . if different people, such as critique partners or other editors are saying the same thing about your writing, pay attention to it. As one person, my opinion might be off the wall; three people who make the same observation make a difference. Listen.

Lastly, here are two excellent references for authors, new and maybe not so new:

Revision and Self Editing by James Scott Bell

Fire Up Your Fiction by Jodie Renner.  Both are excellent sources.

 

Thanks for letting me run my mouth, Alicia. It’s been great.

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#HobbyCareerPassion: “A Passion for Honor” ~ Author Alina K. Field ~ The Comtesse of Midnight, in Storm & Shelter, a Blue Stocking Belles Collection with Friends #Blog #AHAgrp

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, Alina K. Field…

A Passion for Honor

Susenier, Abraham; A Storm at Sea; The Fitzwilliam Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/a-storm-at-sea-5530

Malcolm Comyn, the hero of The Comtesse of Midnight, my contribution to Storm & Shelter, A Bluestocking Belles and Friends Collection, has had little time to pursue hobbies or distractions. His duties as the Earl of Menteith running his Scottish estate have occupied most of his time since the death of his father a year earlier. He’s barely had time to pursue the ladies—until now, when he’s in pursuit of a very particular lady, The Comtesse de Fontenay.

Weeks earlier, an anonymous threatening letter led him to London, and a search for both the author of the letter and the truth of his birth. For if he isn’t the true Earl of Menteith, by all honor, the title should go to his cousin, Finnley Macbeth.

Though he can’t uncover the source of the threats, he does find evidence that the woman who gave birth to him was not the last Countess of Menteith, but a French émigré, wife of the Comte de Fontenay, his late father’s mistress.

Honor demands he uncover the truth, whatever it might be. His quest leads him through Sussex and Kent and finally into Suffolk where in the midst of a terrible storm, he goes to the aid of a lady smuggler, helping her save the last of her cargo. With the roads impassable, they find their way to the isolated town of Fenwick on Sea. When the lady refuses to share her name, he senses that she is also running from scandal. With the inn completely filled with refugees from the storm, he and his anonymous new companion agree to wait out the storm together in the parlor of the dilapidated Elizabethan wing of the Queen’s Barque Inn.

Malcolm has no quarrel with the lady’s free trading of spirits, nor any need to uncover the secret she’s running from. But, when he wakes to find her going through his belongings, he presses her for her name. What he learns brings him to the end of his quest, an old enemy, and a promise of a future he never expected.

Blurb:

A Scottish Earl on a quest for the elusive Comtesse de Fontenay, rescues a French lady smuggler during a devastating storm, taking shelter with her. As the stormy night drags on, he suspects she knows the lady he’s seeking, the lady who holds the secret to his identity. When she admits she herself is the Comtesse Fontenay, she dashes all his hopes—and promises him new ones.

Blurb for the Collection:

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

Pre-order now for 99 cents:

Excerpt

The Scotsman, however, was dead on his feet. She could almost feel sorry for him. He was far from home, and had been traveling for several days. His neckcloth was limp, his cuffs soiled, his coat wrinkled. His boots, well and carefully crafted, if not by Hoby then by some equally fashionable bootmaker in Edinburgh, had not been properly polished in the last few days.

He’d shaved though, probably very early that morning, because a delicious dark stubble had sprouted along his strong jaws.

Did he have a razor in his interesting valise? She wouldn’t molest him, unless he thought to do the same to her. If it came to that, and she prayed that it wouldn’t, she would use her own blade and not some unfamiliar shaving instrument.

“Is this one of your imports?” he asked, swirling the amber liquid. “It’s very good.”

His words stirred her out of her imaginings about handsome young men, and she realized she must manage the conversation else she’d slip into sleep, or perhaps something more inconvenient, without thinking.

The Comte had always succumbed to sleep when they’d conversed, no matter the topic. She must soothe this fine-looking and very fatigued man the same way.

Outside, the thunderstorm had moved on, and the rain pounded in a comforting downpour. With the warm fire, and the heavy blankets, and the sleeping dog, it was quite cozy.

But what to talk about? Most certainly not the free trade. It would be far too diverting to put him to sleep, and besides she had no idea what he would do with the knowledge.

The countryside? She might slip and drop a hint about her home at Bloodmoor Hill.

She thought back to her time on the fringes of a London society that she’d found unbearably dull.

The weather.

“I am glad you are enjoying the brandy,” she said. “But I daresay you are not liking this weather. It is quite the worst storm in many seasons, people are saying. Normally at this time of year the sea has quietened.” A lie, of course, but how would he know?

He sipped his drink, eyeing her over the glass.

Oh. Given that it might remind him of her activities that evening and spark questions, the sea was an inappropriate topic, whether or not one was fudging a weather report. “Winters, however are generally mild.”

He yawned, and she went on, discussing the number of rainstorms in March and going back to February, and then January, and making up the story as she went along, until his eyes drooped and the empty glass fell into his lap and lodged itself next to his fall.

Warmth uncurled in her. His trousers were tight in the usual fashion for gentlemen, outlining masculine endowments that sparked her interest far too much. Retrieving the fallen tumbler was out of the question.

She set down her own glass and fought the urge to join him in slumber.

Buy links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kgRmLG

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3lZYHja

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storm-shelter-bluestocking-belles/1137958115

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3o0z977

About Alina:

Award-winning and USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but she prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California where she shares a midcentury home with her husband and a golden-eyed terrier, and is hard at work on her next historical romance.

website  https://alinakfield.com

Blog https://alinakfield.com/blog

Twitter https://twitter.com/AlinaKField

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

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/alinakfield

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

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/alinak.field/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alina-k-field

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY

Get to know Alina K. Field better by signing up for an email newsletter https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z6q6e3

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

#HobbyCareerPassion: Jennifer Wilck ~ A Reckless Heart

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

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guests, Jennifer Wilck and Simon McAlter…

I’m Simon McAlter, and I’m the hero of Jennifer Wilck’s latest romance, A Reckless Heart. Ha! Just writing that line makes me uncomfortable. Hero? No, I’m not a hero. If I were, I would have been able to save my family. And a romance? Not with this face. Jennifer told me I had to write about my passion, which is landscape architecture. I wanted to tell her, “You’re the author, you do it.” But since she is the author, that means she can get rid of me, probably easier than she was able to create me, so it’s in my best interest to listen to her. Not to mention, it gives me a reason to hide in my office while Meg, my way-too-pretty tenant, makes use of my house. She’s not supposed to be here, but the place she rented from me was damaged in the storm, and until it’s fixed, she’s here. So I’m trying to avoid her. Mostly unsuccessfully.

Anyway, landscape architecture. I’ve always loved plants and nature. Their beauty, their medicinal elements, their ability to thrive in the harshest conditions. When I went to college, I studied plants, learned computer design programs, and worked with master gardeners and architects. I learned how to design landscaping that compliments existing buildings and natural features. I thrived, and became more successful than I could have possibly imagined. I traveled to Europe and Asia, and brought my knowledge back home. I’ve designed college campuses, palace gardens, and city parks. I teach students to create beauty. My favorite thing to do is dig in the dirt and see my designs come to life.

My accident changed everything, though. The scarring on my hands makes fine motor skill difficult. Luckily for me, I found a therapy garden, and worked on my hands while designing plantings for the botanical garden. In the beginning, they scheduled my work when people weren’t there—not because of my face, although I was happy not to have anyone see it, but because I, um, tend to curse a lot when things don’t go my way, and they were afraid I’d scare off everyone else. Probably right—what my face doesn’t scare away, my language does. The therapy helped not only my hands but my mind. I created a garden that when fully in bloom, looks like flames. And in the process, I made the nightmares disappear.

I still have fine motor difficulties, but my hands are probably as healed as they’ll ever be. Things take me longer, but I get them done. I avoid people as much as possible. This solitary life on the Maine coast suits me well. I teach my students remotely, design plans—both lesson and garden—on my computer, and live as full a life as possible.

Only lately, my designs are lacking inspiration. I’m supposed to helping the town library committee develop a garden on the property next to them. Somehow, they want to buy the land, rather than let the town sell it to condo developers, and use it for a community garden. My friend, Claire, asked me to design something, and I said yes. Except, every time I sit down to work on it, my mind blanks. Even the designs I’ve made for clients in the past few years are dull. Claire tells me I need to get out more. Yeah, right. One look at my face and everyone runs screaming.

Except Meg. She doesn’t run from me. I wonder why.

 

Blurb:

Meg Thurgood, former society girl, took the blame for her friend and paid a steep price. Now all she wants is solitude and a chance to rebuild her life. She thinks she’s found that in an isolated house she rents from a mysterious stranger.

Simon McAlter has hidden in his house on the coast of Maine since a fire left him scarred. A successful landscape architect who conducts his business and teaches his classes remotely, he’s lost his inspiration and is trying to pretend he’s not lonely. 

Simon’s new neighbor is more than he bargained for. When he learns Meg’s secret, will he retreat into the shadows or will he learn to see past the surface and trust in Meg’s love? 

Excerpt:

Meg spoke. “These gardens are beautiful.”

“Want to see what I planted when I was here?”

His work was here? “I’d love to.” She hadn’t seen any of his finished projects, just his plans. She was eager to see what he’d done. He led her once again toward the pavilion. In one area, sweeping in an arc, were leafy plants and flowers. At first glance, they looked as if they’d landed there any old way, but as she studied them, a pattern and a purpose emerged. Varying shades of greens and golds merged with reds and oranges.

She gasped. “They look like flames! They’re beautiful.”

He smiled. “When they’re in full bloom in the summer, you can see the design more clearly.”

He’d created this because of his accident. To think he’d intentionally planted to make a thing of beauty out of destruction…her chest swelled, and she blinked away unwanted moisture. She wrapped her arms around him. “Does it help you to look at it?”

He shrugged. “Now, it matters less to me. Then? I needed to remove the image from my mind and this formation helped. Instead of seeing the fire that destroyed my family, I turned those visions into something that created life—flowers that stunned and soothed at the same time. Plus, the ability to do the work myself was therapeutic as well.”

“You’re amazing.” She looked around, turning in a slow circle. “I don’t think I could ever do anything like this.” The car accident and flash bulbs flickered in her mind once again. What beauty could she possibly create from her experience?

He massaged his hand. “Took way longer than it should.”

“And probably involved a lot of cursing.”

Simon huffed. “In the beginning, I made sure to only be here alone. Toward the end, Jed allowed a few select people to work here at the same time as me. But never children. Because, you know, language.”


He draped his arm around her as they meandered along the pathways. At the sound of voices, Meg turned toward them, but Simon steered them away from the other visitors.

She wanted to protest, to convince him he had nothing to fear from strangers, but she acquiesced. She, of all people, understood his fear. Instead, she followed him and absorbed the beauty of the flowers and the gentle scents that mixed and mingled around them.

Bio:

Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open in the first place. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.

She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters. She’s published with The Wild Rose Press and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jenniferwilck.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Wilck-201342863240160/

Newsletter: https://www.jenniferwilck.com/contact.html#newsletter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JWilck

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

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jennifer-wilck

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

Love and Murder with Author Brenda Whiteside

Please help me welcome today’s guest and one of my author friends, Brenda Whiteside…

How do you feel about series books? I don’t read series exclusively, but when I find one I like, it’s like hitting the lottery. I want each book to be a story in itself, but I love steeping myself in a setting or a family or a culture. I love getting involved with characters who will appear in subsequent books, even if in minor roles.

Born and raised in Arizona, the setting was a natural choice for my Love and Murder Series. My cast of characters for the first three books came to me like they’d been hanging around, waiting for me to notice them. I committed for five books to my publisher…and that’s the contract I got. Yikes! Set in stone. With only three storylines in my head, I dug in and tried not to worry about books four and five.

Luckily, someone emailed me after reading book one and commented that they hoped Penny (nick-named the Black Fairy for her Goth style) would have her own book. Book four took shape. I had no idea when she did her walk-on part in book one what a past she’d had—thirteen years hiding from a murderous FBI agent hired by a presidential candidate. And they come after her in book four, The Power of Love and Murder.

Unfortunately, no one came forward with a comment to get my muse inspired for book five. As is the usual way I work, the two main characters stepped forward, but their stories were hard to squeeze out of them. As it turns out, the blood, sweat, and tears of wringing out a story for book five proved worth it. The Deep Well of Love and Murder is one of my most complicated plots to date, and I managed to bring in all the main characters from the first four books.

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

I agree, Brenda. I love series. And yours is a great one. I have read most of the books in the series and plan to read the ones I haven’t. Thanks so much for joining me!

If you haven’t read the Love and Murder Series, now is the time. Books 1 and 5 are on sale for $.99 and books 2, 3, and 4 are on sale for $1.99:

The Art of Love and Murder

When the past and present collide, Lacy discovers her future mired in secrets, threats and murder.

Southwest of Love and Murder

Writing murder mysteries is all in a day’s work until an obsessed fan brings Phoebe’s stories to life.

A Legacy of Love and Murder

Inheriting an Austrian Castle is an Alpine fairytale for August, until someone begins killing the heirs.

The Power of Love and Murder

Penny’s secrets can ruin a presidential contender, got her family murdered…and mark her as the next hit.

The Deep Well of Love and Murder

A vengeful ex-husband isn’t the only obstacle to happiness for Laura Katz and Randy Silva…a high stake, bloody fight for his land puts them at risk.

BOOKS ON SALE AT AMAZON

BOOKS ON SALE AT BARNES & NOBLE

BOOKS ON SALE AT iTUNES (APPLE)

Brenda Whiteside is the author of suspenseful, action-adventure stories with a touch of romance. Mostly. She and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. For now they’ve settled in Central Arizona, but won’t discount the possibility of another move in their future. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW is fishing, Brenda writes.

Visit Brenda at https://www.brendawhiteside.com

Or on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brendawhitesid2

She blogs and has guests: https://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003V15WF8

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3972045.Brenda_Whiteside

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/brenda-whiteside

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

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#HobbyCareerPassion: “Basic Self-Defense” ~ Author Chrys Fey ~ A Fighting Chance

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, Chrys Fey…

In A Fighting Chance, Amanda is an assistant self-defense instructor at Beth Goldwyn’s studio The Fighting Chance. Amanda is a survivor of domestic/sexual abuse. For years she has been a student at The Fighting Chance, building her courage and self-esteem and strength. Now she helps to teach others how to defend themselves and how to heal from trauma. In A Fighting Chance, we see her get to use some of the techniques that she teaches in a real situation.

I believe all women and girls, as well as young/teen boys should know how to defend themselves. Here are 20 basic self-defense and safety tips that you can begin implanting now and learn.

20 Basic Self-Defense and Safety Tips:

  1. When you’re walking by yourself in a dark garage, parking lot, or neighborhood and you don’t have something that can be used as a weapon (umbrella, cane, etc.), make a fist and hold a key or pen between your fingers. If someone tries to grab you, punch him with that fist, aiming at the shoulder or other limb.
  2. Carry mace or a pepper spray keychain while walking by yourself. No mace or pepper spray? Carry perfume, room spray, disinfectant spray, or hairspray. Aerosol works best.
  3. If someone starts following you when you’re walking alone, call a friend or family member on the phone. Tell them you’re by yourself and where you are. As soon as you see other civilians, go up to them, or enter a store.
  4. If you get away from your attacker, run in a slight zigzag pattern, in case your attacker has a gun. This makes aiming more difficult.
  5. Wear a whistle around your neck or have a whistle keychain. Use it to get someone’s attention.
  6. Scream! Get someone’s attention.
  7. Bite, pinch, and scratch. All of these things can hurt.
  1. Grab anything you can get your hands on and use it against your attacker. Even dirt or sand. Throw it in their face.
  2. Kick your attacker’s shins. If you’ve played a sport, you know this can hurt.
  3. Hit your attacker’s ears with your fist or elbow. A good hit can rupture an eardrum.
  4. Kick the front or back of your attacker’s knees. Doing so will cause him to fall.
  5. Lift your arm with your hand rigid as if it is a butcher’s knife and chop (karate chop) your attacker’s neck.
  6. Hit the nose. Noses are sensitive and can easily break. Give the nose a good punch or even hit it with your elbow. If you don’t know how to punch, try creating a fist and pretending it is a hammer. You can also drive his nose up with the heel of your hand.
  7. Go for the throat. No, not with your teeth but with your fist. Doing so could collapse your attacker’s windpipe. I was hit in the throat with a football…it’s not pleasant. You’re gasping for breath, your eyes are tearing up, and pain is radiating.

CHOKE HOLDS:

  1. If you’re attacker is in front of you (choking you), take your thumbs and gauge his eyes by applying as much pressure as you can. Once he backs up and releases you, run.
  2. Also if you’re attacker is in front of you, grab his shoulder and lift your knee with as much force as you can to strike him between his legs. Even if you’re aim is higher, you’ll hit him in the gut or sternum.
  3. Another technique if you’re in a choke hold is to bring your arm between your attacker’s arms and flatten your hand in the middle of his chest by his collar bones. Push hard while turning your body away from him. He should release his hold.
  4. Yet another move is to swing your arm across your attacker’s arms almost like a windmill to break his hold. You can do the same thing if he’s behind you but you’ll just swing your arm back.

BEAR HOLD/WRIST HOLDS:

  1. If you’re ever in a bear hold with your back to your attacker, lift your arms and swing your elbows back, striking him repeatedly until the hold loosens and you can free yourself.
  2. If someone grabs your wrist, bend your knees so you’re in a squat, lean forward slightly while you bend your elbow, bringing your fist toward your body and your elbow to your attacker’s elbow. Doing this will force him to let go.

BLURB:

*A FIGHTING CHANCE is Book 6 in the Disaster Crimes series, but it’s a spin-off featuring a new couple, so it can be read as a standalone.*

Thorn has loved Amanda from afar, giving her whatever she needs as a survivor of abuse—space, protection, and stability. He yearns to give her more, though, to share his feelings, kiss her, love her, but he’s worried the truth will frighten her away.

And Amanda is afraid. She’s scared of her attraction for Thorn. Most of all, she’s terrified of her ex-boyfriend, who is lurking nearby where no one can find him. When she grows closer to Thorn, Damon retaliates, jeopardizing their happy ending.

Up against an abusive ex and Mother Nature, do Thorn and Amanda have a fighting chance?

Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

EXCERPT:

Amanda looked up from the current list of up-to-date payments for classes. A movement outside the glass storefront caught her eye. She tilted her head to see a man coming up the sidewalk from the side where the picnic bench sat. Through the vertical blinds, she glimpsed a square face—a short, rugged beard and long, dark hair pulled into a man bun. Her breath fled from her lungs. Her body went from icy cold to flaming hot in the span of a millisecond. She dropped to the floor and slid under the counter, beneath the ledge where they put their purses and cell phones.

“What—” Beth peeked at the windows. Then she snapped her fingers at April and pointed at the stools.

April jumped into action. She pushed the stools in so they blocked Amanda. The bell attached to the door jingled as April removed the jacket she wore and draped it across the stools, creating a curtain to shield Amanda.

From a crack, Amanda watched Beth move to stand in front of the twins, who were in their walkers playing peacefully. “I’m sorry, but we’re going to be closing.”

“I don’t give a shit. I’m here for Amanda.”

The sound of Damon’s voice had her heart beating even harder. That voice had haunted her nightmares, had come back to life in her memories.

Beth cocked her head to the side. “Who? There’s no one by that name here.”

“Don’t bullshit me. I know she works here.”

His voice was closer now.

***FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME***

THE DISASTER CURSE

Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

Author’s Note: I wrote The Disaster Curse to answer a few lingering questions readers may have after reading A Fighting Chance, and to tie the whole series together with a neat, shiny, perfect little bow. Plus, there was one disaster that I hadn’t written about yet. *wink*

The Disaster Crimes Series:

*The Crime Before the Storm (prequel)

Hurricane Crimes (novella, #1)

Seismic Crimes (#2)

Lightning Crimes (free short, #2.5)

Tsunami Crimes (#3)

Flaming Crimes (#4)

Frozen Crimes (#5)

A Fighting Chance (spin-off, #6)

The Disaster Curse (short story, #7)

*Free exclusive story to newsletter subscribers.

***LAUNCHING A WEBSITE***

TheFightingChance.org is a website dedicated to domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. Inspired by the Disaster Crimes series.

***GIVEAWAY***

Prizes: Hurricane Crimes (Disaster Crimes 1) and Seismic Crimes (Disaster Crimes 2) eBooks (mobi or epub), Hurricane Crimes Playing Cards, Girl Boss Sign, and a Volcanic Blast Scented Candle

Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/23d974a92670/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press. https://www.chrysfey.com

Author Links:

Newsletter / Website / Facebook Group /Blog / BookBub

Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

#HobbyCareerPassion: “Highland Brigade” ~ Author Alina K. Field ~ Fated Hearts

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,  Alina K. Field…

“Highland Brigade”  

Finnley Macbeth, the hero of my latest release, Fated Hearts, A Love After All Retelling of the Scottish Play, is a major in the Highland Brigade, now back in Britain after lengthy service in the Peninsular Wars.

For the past twenty years, his career has been leading men into battle against the French, both in Flanders and Spain. He fought in brutal battles in Badajoz and Salamanca, was welcomed with other troops into Madrid, suffered through the humiliating retreat from Burgos, and with the rest of the army, licked his wounds during the winter lull that followed. His focus had always been the next march, the next battle, and he preferred that to the dark moments when he had time to think.

With the war over, he’s had too many of those dark moments. At loose ends now, he’s recovering from a wound and suffering from memories of past battles and troubled by the Sight, which is bringing him terrifying visions of future dangers.

He fled Scotland after a devastating divorce from a wife who believed betrayed him. Upon returning to Britain, he went directly to London seeking another way to serve, in the army or in government, another way to turn his attention away from the past, to hide from his self-doubt and self-recrimination. He’s landed in a London embroiled in riots and civil unrest, and his sword is needed.

But, at a society event, he encounters a ghost from his past, his ex-wife, and then he meets the daughter he denied was his—and knows that everything he believed to be true was a lie.

As he comes to grips with his past, and his need for redemption before he can move on to the next battle, an old enemy surfaces and Macbeth the warrior is called to battle again.

 

Buy link:

Universal link: https://books2read.com/u/bQdyPP

Fated Hearts, A Love After All Retelling of the Scottish Play

Part of the Tragic Characters in Classic Lit Series.

Blurb:

Plagued by hellish memories and rattling visions of battle to come, a Scottish Baron returning from two decades at war meets the daughter he denied was his, and the wife he divorced, and learns that everything he’d believed to be true was a lie. What he can’t deny is that she’s the only woman he’s ever loved. They’re not the young lovers they once were, but when passion flares, it burns more hotly than ever it did in their youth.

They soon discover, it wasn’t fate that drove them apart, but a jealous enemy, who played on his youthful arrogance and her vulnerability. Now that old enemy has resurfaced, more treacherous than ever. When his lady falls into a trap, can he reach her in time to rescue this love that never died?

Excerpt:

A crush was what they called these suffocating occasions, and the term was apt.

Major Finnley Macbeth, Scottish baron and late of his majesty’s Highland Brigade, shifted his weight from the leg that still ached like the devil, and scanned the room for his quarry, an undersecretary in the Home Office who he’d met at the army’s winter quarters in Frenada.

From his spot near a damask covered wall, he measured each breath, trying to calm his rising unease. The heavy scent of perfume mixed with fine beeswax and hothouse florals unsettled more than his stomach. The shimmering silks and waving plumes threatened to stir the disquieting visions plaguing him lately.

Fire, explosions, rain, the screams of men and horse.

He squeezed his hands into fists. These were not the hellish memories of the recent past, dammit, but rattling visions of some battle yet to come.

Or not. Foretelling the future was for Travellers and crones, wasn’t it? Not battle-hardened men like himself. Best keep his purpose in mind—he was here to track down Sir Thomas Abernathy.

His gaze swept the room, seeking the distinctive bald pate. In spite of his own forty-three years, his eyesight was still keen enough to make out a sniper or spot the dust of a fleeing stag. Keen enough as well to relish the deep décolletages and clinging, delicate, almost transparent skirts on display this night, a vision far more cheering than the one the Sight was showing him.

A more modestly clad woman stood alone halfway across the ballroom, her back turned to him, surveying the room as he was doing.

A memory stabbed him. He’d once known a lass with hair like this, so abundant, so near to black. The lady tonight had crowned all the loveliness with dark feathers, like a glorious cormorant. His hand itched to pull out those feathers and rake his hands through the tumble of hair, as he’d once done…

He caught a steadying breath. It couldn’t be her. He’d simply been without a woman too long.

And these visions plaguing him of he knew not what? That foolishness grew from naught but fatigue, the wages of war, and the steady company of too much death.

Yet he couldn’t turn away. As he watched, she pivoted one way, and then the other, allowing a glimpse of dangling earbobs and a firm chin.

Drawn to her, he stepped out on his bad leg just as she turned.

Pain shot through his hip. The room threatened to fall away but he held onto the pain, let it shore him up whilst he swore a silent curse.

It was her.

 

Author Bio and links:

Award winning and USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California, where she shares a midcentury home with her husband and a spunky, blond rescued terrier. She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. Though hard at work on her next series of romantic adventures, she loves to hear from readers!

Website: https://alinakfield.com/ 

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlinaKField

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alina-k-field

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alinak.field/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field

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

Newsletter signup: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z6q6e3

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

#HobbyCareerPassion: “For the Love of Baking” ~ Author Amber Daulton ~ Arresting Jeremiah

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,  Amber Daulton

“For the Love of Baking” by Calista Barlow, the heroine from Arresting Jeremiah

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to bake. And not just simple sugar cookies. My dream was to run a bakery or maybe manage a fancy restaurant. I spent my childhood learning everything I could from a master chef. I was definitely lucky, at least in that regard. But let me back up…

My mother and I lived in this gorgeous manor when I was a child, but we weren’t the homeowners. Not even close. Mom was a maid, and I was the maid’s daughter who always snuck into the kitchen to “help” the moody head chef, Pascal Caron. After a while, Chef Caron realized I seriously wanted to learn how to cook and bake, and I wasn’t just there to annoy him. He took me under his wing, and my eyes opened to the world of culinary and artsy dishes.

Then I grew up. After my secret boyfriend dumped me and left me pregnant when I was eighteen, I learned quickly that life wasn’t fair and my dreams had to go on hold.

For the next ten years, I worked dead-end waitressing jobs with no end in sight, but I never stopped whipping up fantastical creations in my meager kitchen. I make everything from scratch, and I use graham cracker crusts for my shells. What do I make? Well, let’s see…cheesecake, doughnuts, muffins, tarts, pies, cakes, brownies, and more. Hmm, I would love something chocolatey right now. Sorry, but I skipped lunch and my belly is growling. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, your mouth will water from one taste of any of my desserts—I guarantee it. I’m not normally an over-confident person, but I know I rock in the kitchen.

Mom, my daughter Lacey, and my best friend, Shana, are the best! They’re so supportive. Then there’s Jeremiah—better known as Jim. He’s unlike any man I’ve ever met. He’s so sweet and sexy, and more than determined to fulfill my dreams of opening a bakery. How could I have lucked out with him?

Now, I’m off to bake Jeremiah and Lacey a yummy surprise. He loves anything with blueberries in it, so we’re having a torte for dessert tonight. But don’t tell him, okay? First things first, though, I need to make a sandwich or I might just eat the dessert all by myself. It’s been known to happen, and yet I complain about my waistline. *sigh* Anyway, thank you so much for reading!

Blurb

Injured Parole Officer Jeremiah “Jim” Borden never expected Calista Barlow, the sassy blonde waitress he’s craved for months, to ring his doorbell. She slips into his heart—and his bed—but he’s obsessed with a gangland investigation that threatens his career and maybe even his life.

Calista doesn’t trust easily, not with a daughter to protect and the stalker who keeps calling her. After her violent ex-boyfriend returns, she finds solace in Jim’s arms.

Jim may have to forego his need for answers to protect the ready-made family he adores, but how will he and Calista escape an unseen enemy that is always one step ahead of them?

Excerpt

“What were you thinking when you tried on the necklace?”

Air whizzed through her teeth. Silence stretched between them as they walked toward the diner. She sighed, her voice soft. “No offense, but I don’t know or trust you enough to let you in that much. I’ve made some mistakes—things I don’t want to talk about. Give me some time.”

Trust? He couldn’t blame her for that. If he demanded to know her secrets, he had to tear down the barbwire he’d erected around his.

No. That couldn’t happen. His life depended on his silence. Did her private thoughts and memories hinge on life and death too? His stomach twisted. Nothing bad would happen to her, not if he was around to stop it.

“What can you tell me?” Hell, only an asshole would ask something like that without opening up in return.

“The necklace reminded me of something I once wanted more than anything. Not the pearls itself, but what it represented. I couldn’t have it because I wasn’t good enough.” She pulled from his grasp and wrapped her arms around her middle.

“I’m sorry I forced you to try on the necklace. I thought you liked it. All women deserve something that makes them feel pretty.” The stench of oil filled his nose and he sneezed. He glanced at the noisy passing cars and pulled Calista farther back along the sidewalk, away from a puddle in the road, before a vehicle splashed them. “I understand about lack of trust and the need for secrecy. I hope someday you can tell me what happened, but I do know one thing, even if you never tell me. You were good enough. You always have been and will always be.”

Her blue-green eyes widened. She traced her fingertips over his smooth jaw, leaving sparks in her wake.

“You’re so kind. I almost believe it when you say it. God, I wish I’d met you years ago, Jeremiah.”

“Why do you call me Jeremiah? Everyone else calls me Jim.”

“It feels more personal, as though you belong only to me. I may have to share Jim with the rest of the world, but Jeremiah—the strong, kind man I’ve admired over the past several months—is all mine.”

Her admission branded him like a fire poker to his skin. If he were alone, he’d beat his chest and roar. No woman had ever wanted to claim him. No one but her ever called him Jeremiah.

Amazon Buy Linkhttps://amzn.to/32vAlqu

About the Author

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

 Social Media Links

Website – https://amberdaulton.wordpress.com/

Newsletter – https://emailoctopus.com/lists/9d60a166-f2ea-11ea-a3d0-06b4694bee2a/forms/subscribe (Sign up and get a free ebook!)

Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AmberDaulton1

Pinterest – https://pinterest.com/amberdaulton5/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624921.Amber_Daulton

Book Bub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/amber-daulton

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amberdaultonauthor1/

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

#HobbyCareerPassion: “I’m an Artist” ~ Author Pamela S Thibodeaux ~ My Heart Weeps

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,  a good friend, and a wonderful writer, Pamela S. Thibodeaux.

 

Hello, my name is Melena Rhyker and I’m an Artist…..

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved to draw and paint and work with stained glass. Although I took a few art classes over the years, mostly leisure learning and have used my talent to gift others, I never thought of myself as an artist. You see, I married young and worked as an Administrative Assistant in an accounting firm most of my adult life. I even got my Accounting Degree courtesy of my boss. But when my husband died, I just couldn’t fathom living the rest of my life in that same old rut. Before he passed, the rut had meaning and purpose. After, my life was meaningless and empty.

My best friend Pat told me that if I didn’t change the status quo, I’d never make it out of the valley of the shadow of death. That’s what grief is you know. Anyway, I quit my job and decided to pursue my art, thinking that if I put as much energy and passion into that as I had my marriage, my and Jon’s life together and our family, I might be able to get by with the money I earned and what savings I had.

For a while at least.

I began writing art-related articles and selling a few old paintings and greeting cards online and that was encouraging but not enough to count as substantial income.

They say God works in mysterious ways and I can attest to this because an application for a grant to an artist’s retreat popped up in my email one day and I won! That retreat and a subsequent job working on the Crossed Penn ranch (where the retreat was held) opened my eyes to the possibilities that lay before me. Leaving home and family for a couple of months was not easy, but necessary for my mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Leaving Jon took a huge leap of faith, but it paid off. My art flourished and the ranch owners, Anne and Bill Penn, offered to host a show for me and manage my career. From that moment on, I was no longer an Accountant/wannabe artist, I was a gallery-worthy artist and well paid for doing what I love.

We all have gifts and talents the Lord has blessed us with. Find yours – albeit painting or writing, sewing or needlework, carpentry or dance – pursue it with passion and dedication and most of all, with love and let God take you and your career places you’ve never dreamed of.

My name is Melena Rhyker and I am an artist.

 

Blurb: After thirty years married to the man of her dreams, Melena Rhyker is devastated by her husband’s death. Relief comes in the form of an artist’s retreat at the Crossed Penn ranch in Utopia, TX. She rediscovers a forgotten dream as her artistic talent flourishes into that of a gallery-worthy artist. Will she have the courage to follow the path she was destined to travel?

Garrett Saunders has been on the run most of his life. Abused and abandoned as a child, he escapes the clutches of a past filled with pain and shame, and hides from his calling as a Native American healer. His years as a CIA agent aid in overcoming his childhood and honing his talent and skill as a fine art photographer.

Follow their journey as two people who come from totally different backgrounds, but share gifts of gigantic proportions, find meaning and purpose in the Texas Hill Country.

Excerpt: She went into the private studio tucked away in an alcove on the third floor of the lodge, surprised to find her work arranged in an attractive display. Direct light shone on some, muted on others.

Melena wandered around the room. Her gaze rested on each individual piece of art, amazed again at what God had seen fit to express through her.

Her easel stood in the center of the room. She made her way to the stool and sat. Her mind whirled with visions, yet she hesitated to put images to paper. She closed her eyes and heard the voice of her art instructor from years past.

“What do you see? What do you feel? Delve deeper.”

One word came to mind, echoed in her spirit. Serenity.

Melena rose, wandered around the room once more and gazed upon her creations with a new set of eyes.

The eyes of her spirit.

She tugged on frames, readjusted light, and rearranged pieces until her theme fell into place.

Serenity.

She placed a fresh canvas on the easel, filled her palette with color, mixed shades and, with soft strokes of the brush, painted.

My Heart Weeps is on sale for a limited time @ 99cents and FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Purchase Link: https://bit.ly/MyHeartWeeps

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: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux

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

Pam is giving away 1 Ebook, 1 Autographed Print Book, 1 Audio Book, a $15 Amazon Gift Card, a 1-month Audible membership and a SURPRISE Giftpack to 6 lucky winners! (1 prize per person) Names will be collected throughout the tour which ends Sept. 30th. Winners will be notified, and prizes awarded by October 10th so be sure to leave your EMAIL Address!

Blog Tour Dates/Stops:

8/11 Gail Pallotta’s Peering Through Life’s Window

8/13 Liz Flaherty’ Word Wranglers Blog

8/15 Clare Revell’s The Word Can Wait Blog

8/18 Southern Writers Suite T Blog

8/18 Alina K Field’s Simply Romance Blog

8/20 Penelope Marzec’s Bookish Thoughts Blog

8/25 Jana Richards’ Romance Story Board Blog

8/27 Beverly Bateman’s BLOG

9/1 Valarie Goree’s Facebook Page

9/5 D. V. Stone’s Campfire Blog

9/9 Jacqueline Seewald’s BLOG

9/11 Linda Rondeau’s Snark & Sensibility Blog

9/14 Patricia Kioyno’s Four Foxes, One Hound Blog

9/18 Diane Burton’s BLOG

9/22 Alicia Dean’s BLOG

9/25 Jeny Hickman’s BLOG

9/30 Linda Nightingale’s Author…Musings Blog

 

 

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