Tuesday

Tidbit Tuesday

I have two stories running around in my head, and I'm torn as to which one I'll focus my attention on.
I'd like some help. Below will be the book blurb. Let me know which one YOU think I should continue.

Here goes:

JENNA'S JOURNEY
After tragedy strikes at the heart of Jenna McLachlan, she flees her memories and takes a sabbatical to Scotland. After a year, she finally returns home to Ravenwood. Ready for life, but not love, Jenna won’t open her heart to anyone. There’s only heartache and sorrow waiting for her there, and she doesn’t think she could survive that again.
Ian McEwan, Ravenwood’s newest vet, is too busy for life and love, but he’s hit with both head on when he rescues a young woman by the side of the road. It doesn’t take long for him to find out that although Jenna likes his company, she won’t let anyone come close to loving her.
Is Ian patient enough to win Jenna’s scarred heart, and is he willing to share her with the painful memories she’s worn like a security blanket all these years?

GRETCHEN'S SONG
Always the good twin, Gretchen Swanson lives in the shadow of her vibrant sister, Leah. But she has a secret. She writes chart toppling songs for rising country star Laney Richards. With her new found wealth she bought a reliable car, a cute bungalow and quietly invested the remaining money.
Her other secret is that she's in love with the Rafe Crawford, but he's not available. She believes he's still in love with her twin, even though they haven't dated since Rafe graduated high school and left for Chicago.
After ten years as a detective in Chicago, Rafe Crawford returned home to Ravenwood as their new sheriff. Within months of his homecoming, there's a string of break-ins with no leads and he's beyond frustrated. Then he notices that Gretchen Swanson seems to have come into money. With her new car and house, he wonders how she can afford this as she only works part-time at the vet clinic and volunteers the rest of her time with Seniors and church activities.
He makes the decision to keep his eye on her, which isn't difficult because she's always held his attention. She's the reason he broke it off with Leah and left town, but now he's back and needs to get to the bottom of this mystery.
So there you have it. Both are delicious but I'm torn. I love them both.

Help!


Thursday

5 Stars for Man of Her Dreams

Here is the link to a five star review by Arianne Cruz on Man of Her Dreams.
She stated that she 'liked it from the beginning'

Thank you so much!
It's readers that make this whole journey fun.

Click here -> Review

A Day in the Life

8:12 am
Middle cat walks up my body, kneads my stomach for ten minutes, then settles down to sleep.
I am wide awake and can't move.

8:20 am
Middle cat still sleeping soundly, Eldest cat begins to chirp from en-suite bathroom for water. She will only drink running water.
Thinking of water makes me want to pee.

9:00 am
Have woken Middle cat, gave water to Eldest cat and performed all morning functions.
Hard to believe because I haven't had a coffee yet.

9:05 am
Stumble downstairs and make coffee
Middle and Youngest cat have gathered around my feet. They are starving and will die if not fed.

9:15 am
At my desk. Cats are fed, I have a nice hot coffee and am working on next great break-out novel.

11:30 am
Eldest cat chirps again. It has been three hours since she drank and is wasting away on my bathroom counter. I pick her up (she's quite arthritic), carry her downstairs and make sure she goes potty.
While there, I clean the litter. Middle and Youngest wait until I'm done, then proceed to use the clean litter.....

11:45 am
Make myself lunch. All three cats gather around my feet. They are starving and will die if not fed.

12:30 pm
At my desk. Cats are fed, I have a nice hot coffee and am still working on the next break-out novel.

3:00 pm
Frustrated because I can't win any games on my social app, I take my empty coffee cup downstairs.
Middle and Youngest cat gather around my feet. They are starving and will die if not fed.

5:30 pm
Top Gun is finally home from wherever he was flying to this time. Drops his suitcase, has a shower and then asks me if the cats have been fed. All three cats have gathered at his feet. They are starving and will die if not fed.

Tuesday

Kiss Me, My Darling

I love old movies, especially those from the 30's and 40's. Because special effects were not used as much you had to rely on dialogue, and good acting to carry the story. Movies with legendary couples: Hepburn and Tracy, Bogart and Bacall, Gable and Lombard. Absolute gems.

Youngest told me the other day he loves old movies too, but his idea for old is anything in the late 70's, early 80's. I hit him over the head.

Okay, I didn't really, but I wanted to....

My ultimate all-time favorite is 'Gone With the Wind', released in 1939. Captain Rhett Butler is the quintessential, alpha male who is not fooled by the young beauty, Katie 'Scarlet' O'Hara. He has her number the first minute he lays eyes on her, but that doesn't stop him from wanting her.

Scarlet is not the heroine you would find in today's love stories. She was manipulative, cunning and secretive, but when push came to shove, she showed she had a rod of steel beneath her soft, velvet gloves.

I also enjoy the parody Carol Burnett did called 'Went With the Wind'. When she came traipsing down the stairs, with a curtain rod over her shoulders, I laughed until I cried. And the line she delivered, "I saw it in the window and couldn't resist it.", has gone down as one of the great classics.



What's your go-to movie? Any favorites you watch over and over and over again? Like Pride and Prejudice? Steel Magnolias? Top Gun (had to throw that one in there because I loved this movie so much when it first came out)

Monday

Manic Monday - Am I Crazy or What?

 
Yup. I've lost it. I'm participating in the National November Writing Month, #NaNo for short, or NaNoWriMo for more erudite folk. I'll be finishing up Man of Her Dreams (not sure if should add that to my word count or not....) and then I'm puttin' the hammer down on Craven Desires.
Love that story, but the characters are so interwoven, my inner editor always makes me stop. That's why I decided to do THIS story for #NaNo. During the month of November you are supposed to 'vomit' the words onto the page.
NO EDITING!!!
Aw, crap. I just used up my quota for exclamation points for the month. Anyway, I digress, we get the words on paper and 'then' we edit once complete. How hard can it be, right?
I'll find out. Oh, and I'm on vacation for eight days during the month. I don't think I'll want to bring my laptop to the Mayan Riviera - yes, groan with envy - but....I probably will to make myself feel like I could be productive. *snort*
 

Thursday

National Cat Day


Can I tell you a secret?

....I don't really like dogs. I know, I know. Almost everyone I am acquainted with has one, or two and sometimes three, but...they're just not me. I AM a cat person, always have been. I broke down once under peer pressure, when I was twenty, and got a miniature husky. I called him Digger.

If you're my age, you would remember 'Digger the Dog' commercial theme song.

Digger the Dog
Digger he goes with you
When you explore
Just pull his leash
Go for a walk
He's your dog, for sure

I had Digger for almost two months, but we both knew it wouldn't work, so I found a nice family for him and stuck with cats.

Kenzie & Bridgette
My latest fur buddies are Bridgette, McKenzie and another we adopted when our son moved in, Beau. All are good kitties, but Jimminy Crickets - the food we go through. The fur. The litter box!
McKenzie, aka Kenzie
Bridgette, Queen of the House
 




<--- This is by far my favorite picture. I always envision the caption:

Please. I was 50 shades of grey before it was cool.

Wednesday

#1LineWed

Today I left a teaser from one of my works in progress, Dark Desires. This will be book two of the Miatharan Chronicles and focuses on a delicious character - Cian.


An exiled Fae Prince
An Ancient Curse
 
Druid Father
Fae Mother
 
She's the Chosen One
 
 
Gives me goose bumps....
 


Monday

Y'ALL or YA'LL?

We had this discussion a few years ago at an Author/Reader event I attended, and everybody had a different opinion. So here's my question. When writing a southern character, would you write 'y'all' or would you show it as 'ya'll'?

Don't even try to get into the ya'll y'all - double call... My head will split.


Saturday

Sunday Snippet

Welcome. For those of you who are Canadian, like me, Happy Thanksgiving. May we be truly thankful for everything we have, big and small.

Onto my snippet from my WIP ~ Man of Her Dreams.

Lindsay overheard a conversation and knows that Jared read a page from her notebook. The page that had a detailed list of the perfect man. The list had been created after one too many bad dates, and one too many glasses of wine shared with her BFF. The two of them decided they needed to write down what Lindsay was looking for in her ideal man.

Embarrassed, furious, hurt, (did I mention furious?), she's now trying to avoid him and he's trying to figure out why she's giving him the cold shoulder. **this had been modified to fit the 10 line limit

"Will you look at the time?" She glanced down at her bare wrist. By this time she'd reached her truck and hopped into the driver's seat. She closed the door and fumbled with her keys.
"What's the rush?" He placed both hands on the roof of the truck and leaned in through the open window into her space. He thought he heard her cuss as she shoved the key into the ignition, put the truck into gear and finally looked at him.
"The notebook you found was hers."
He had no choice, other than hanging on the side of the truck like a love sick fool, but to stand aside and watch as she backed up, gunned the motor and sped down the normally quiet street.
About to walk back to his house he stopped and swiveled to face the now deserted street, his eyes narrowing as he muttered, "How did she know I found the notebook?

You can find other snippets on the Facebook Group: Snippet Sunday

Gobble Gobble
 

WEEKEND WRITING WARRIOR #9

Welcome to my Weekend Writing Warrior post. Last week I tweeted "what happens when you get your sister hopping mad" and then posted my yummy Laird Craven scene. *sigh* That's what happens when you get a new toy (a program that allows me to set up some posts a week in advance). I knew I'd be busy with Top Gun signing papers for our new house, and... the rest is history.

So, without further ado, I give you the scene from Man of Her Dreams where Lindsay and Jared have been caught making out in the lake (fully clothed) by her brother and most of the slow pitch team.
Her brother, Nick berates her in front of everyone and Lindsay blows a gasket.

This selection has been modified slightly to meet the 10 line requirement. Enjoy.

She stalked up to him and poked a wrinkled, blue finger into his chest.
"Who do you think you are?" Poke.
"I'm a perfectly functioning adult female, past the age of consent." Poke
"I seem to remember you and Tina spending a night up at Snake Hill and did I tell anybody about that?" Poke.
"Uhh...you just did."
She stopped for a moment and looked around at the team and Jared. Oh bother, no one was supposed to know about that; she'd pinkie swore to Tina she'd take it to the grave.

Don't forget to check out my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors and the Facebook Sunday Snippet Group.

Here is the expanded version of my selection.


Lindsay broke through the water’s surface a few seconds ahead of Jared. She treaded in place and watched as he shook water off his face, then placed one hand on his shoulder, the other on the top of his head and pushed him beneath the surface again.

She kicked away and swam as fast as her wet clothes would allow towards a natural sloping in the rocks where it was easy to exit the lake. A cold, firm hand on her ankle stopped her mid-stroke.

Laughing and sputtering, she swallowed more water than should be allowed and tried to kick away, but he kept a tight hold. Hand over hand he dragged himself up her leg, his penetrating gaze never leaving her face.

“That was a very naughty thing to do, Miss Swanson.” His voice, low and exceedingly sexy sounding, sent a thrill through her. They’d reached shallow enough water that he could stand, but she still had to tread water. He snagged a finger in her belt loop and pulled her toward him.

Expecting him to dunk her beneath the water, she gasped when he cupped her face and captured her mouth in a blistering hot kiss. She forgot all about the icy cold water and wrapped her arms around his neck, all thoughts of escape dissipating.

Their tongues danced around each other and he cupped her buttocks, hitching her up so she could wrap her legs around his midsection. Slowly he walked toward the rock, never taking his mouth from hers.

“You are driving me to distraction,” he murmured against her lips.

“You talk too much.” She tunneled her fingers through his wet hair and pulled his mouth back to hers.

She hadn’t been looking for love, and certainly never expected her hopes to be hitched to the boy next door, but here she was, floating in ice cold water never wanting the moment to end.

“Don’t mind us. We’re just going to have a marshmallow roast.”

She and Jared broke away from one another. That was Nick’s voice. What was he doing here? She paddled out so she could see over the rock shelf and inwardly died from embarrassment. Not only was Nick grinning down at them, but almost half the slow pitch team. His surprised gaze caught hers and his lips thinned when he saw who was in the water. Or, to be more specific, whom she was kissing in the water.

Uh oh. The group hadn’t known whom they’d stumbled upon and Nick was about to go into big brother mode. He was only a year older than her, not that he cared at this exact moment, if his thunderous look was anything to go by.

They scrambled up the embankment and stood, dripping wet as the team went back by the logs, acting as though they weren’t about to witness a major blow up. Jared gave a curt nod to Nick and then strode off toward the logs and their gear.

Lindsay twisted the hem of her tee shirt, trying to stop the heavy drip into her already soaked shoes.

“It’s bad enough you played tonsil hockey the other night at practice, but geez, Lins – I thought you had more brains in your head than this.”

She’d been wet. She’d been cold. She’d been a little embarrassed at being caught in a heated moment by her brother. She’d even felt a teensy bit of remorse, but to be chastened by her less than perfect brother in front of everyone sent her over the edge.

She stalked up to him and poked a wrinkled, blue finger into his chest.

“Who do you think you are?” Poke.

“I’m a perfectly functioning adult female, past the age of consent.” Poke.

With each poke Nick took a step backward.

“I seem to remember you and Tina spending the night at Snake Hill. Did I tell anybody about that?” Poke.

“Uh… you just did.”

She stopped for a moment and looked around at the team and Jared. Oh bother, no one was supposed to know about that. She’d pinkie swore to Tina she’d take it to the grave.

“I’m sorry, but I’m mad.”

“It’s okay.” Nick stopped his retreat, but her finger came back into action.

“You have no right to where I kiss, or how often I kiss. You also have no right when I like those kisses a lot.” Poke. Poke.

She lowered her hand. They’d reached the edge of the log circle. Someone had started a fire and Jared sat near it on a log, by himself. Everybody else stood across from him, clearly not wanting to get on Nick’s bad side.

“Oh for Pete’s sake.” She stomped over to Jared, grabbed the towel out of her bag and sat beside him, glaring at everyone around the circle. “Get a set of balls. You’d think I was a child.”

Jared bumped her shoulder and said in a low voice, “You like my kisses.”

She half-turned toward him. “That’s all you got out of this? I like your kisses?”

“Well, yeah. That one kind of stood out.”
 
 
Have a great weekend!
 

Wednesday

#1LineWed

I love one line Wednesday. It's fun to go through you WIP, or published manuscript and find those little nuggets that captures who or what your characters are. The theme this week was dialogue. Now it can be difficult to capture a fun line because without the other 'stuff' around that one line, things could be taken out of context.

However, my one line was pretty straight forward: "Noooo...so unfair. I don't have any hot neighbors, just acres and acres of corn fields.' (technically two lines, but who's counting?)
Here is the expanded version between Lindsay and her BFF, Tina, who is also married to Lindsay's brother, Nick.

The whine of a miter saw became louder.
What was he doing now?
Lindsay minimized the application on her computer and swiveled to look out the second storey window. Her home office overlooked the new neighbor’s driveway. A neighbor who’d become extremely distracting.
She couldn’t make out his features, with a baseball cap covering his face from her elevated view, but she sure could see his body. At that moment Tina’s ringtone sang out.
“Hello?”
“What’s shakin’ bacon? Still watching Hot Stuff next door?”
Lindsay dropped the curtain as if burned.
“No.” She faced her computer, which had gone into screen saver mode. “I’m at my computer.” She jiggled her mouse and a CAD program popped up, displaying a current renovation.
“You are such a liar. I’ll bet you haven’t touched your mouse until right now.”
Lindsay let go of the mouse. How did Tina always know what she was doing? It was like she had a spy camera in her office.
“I shouldn’t have told you what he was doing.”
“Well, you did and now I want to know more.”
“You’re a married woman. You shouldn’t think this way.”
Tina laughed out loud. “I may be married, but I’m not dead. Besides, I can look at the dessert tray as long as I don’t place an order.” Lindsay imagined Tina’s eyebrows waggling while she spoke. “Come on, woman. Feed my avarice.”
“Avarice?”
“I’m doing crosswords at the doctor’s office while I wait for my appointment. Stop stalling. Give me details. Have you figured out what he’s up to?”
Lindsay stood, and partially concealed by her curtains she watched, as she had for most of the morning. What she saw pushed her pulse into overdrive.
All sweaty in a pair of low-rise Levi’s and scruffy work boots, Hot Stuff grabbed a water bottle and sucked back huge gulps. As his thirst was quenched, her mouth became paradoxically drier. His wide shoulders and hard chest looked as though they’d been sculpted by Michelangelo himself. Twin ropes of muscles carved around six pack abs and caused her heart to trip along a little faster.
“Well?” Tina whispered into the phone.
“He’s finished clearing the backyard.” Lindsay whispered back. “Now he’s cutting lumber, but they’re too short for even a deck.”
“More. Give me more.”
“I don’t know if you’re ready for this. He’s shirtless.”
“You’re killing me,” Tina groaned. “Is he built?”
“Like a Greek god.”
“Noooo…. So unfair. I don’t have any hot neighbors, just acres and acres of corn fields.”
 
There you go. I hope you enjoyed.

Saturday

WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS #8

Welcome to my weekly post for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, where all of us who are slogging in the writing trenches come up for air and share a brief snippet of what we're working on.
I've shared from my WIP - Man of Her Dreams, and WIP - Fiancé for Hire, but did you know I was also writing a paranormal/time travel historical romance? <-- say that five times fast.
When I get frustrated with my contemporary folk I take a trip to Scotland-circa 1605 and visit Laird Craven and his wife, Lady Evelyn.

I hope you enjoy this week's selection where Lady Evelyn has entered her bed chamber and discovers Laird Craven bathing in front of the fire. She demands to know why he's there and then has to close her eyes as he rises from the tub....
"Do ye remember when the old priest came out to welcome us?"
He prowled around her, smelling fresh, clean and....very Male. She stepped back and bumped into a wall, her breath quickening at the realization she was trapped.
"As ye ken, poor Father Cleirigh canna speak a word of English and relied on me to translate."
Evelyn knew that, but why did he bring this up now?
"Ye'll also remember I told ye the good Father asked if ye were in want of a good night's rest and warm food."
She did and recalled that she'd answered 'Aye', strangely pleased when the priest smiled a broad, almost toothless grin.
"What ye dinna realize - me Lady - the good Father had just recited marriage vows and ye most readily said 'Aye' to being my wife."
Her eyes flew open and she gasped. Craven stood in front of her, strong arms braced against the wall, boxing her in.
Yum

Be sure to check out my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday friends. Also, when you visit my website, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, get all the skinny on upcoming releases, giveaways, where I'll be (if you want to meet me in person). No spam. Pinkie swear.


Wednesday

#1LineWed

Today on Twitter's #1LineWed I shared a little bit from my paranormal/time travel romance ~ Craven Desires. I thought I'd expand the selection and give you a taste of the novel's villain, Ma'alcom.

Excerpt:
Ma'alcom spat out a curse, turned from the fire and faced the messenger, who recoiled. For the first time he believed the whispered stories about the strange one, who dabbled in the dark arts, twisting his Druid teachings into an evil force.
He took a step toward the him, and the messenger instinctively backed up. As Ma'alcom's eyes darkened, the boy noticed tattoos appear, almost as though a mask were slipping off his face. Behind his eyes, something dark slithered and disappeared. A voice so deep it couldn't be natural rumbled from the druid standing before him.
"Enough. When will the marriage take place?"
The power within Ma'alcom caused the boy to fall to his knees and he choked out the words.
"Laird Craven is at Inverness now. T'would seem her da is most anxious to have her wed, and wed quickly. No one knows why--"
Ma'alcom raised his hand and the messenger stopped talking. The fire hissed and crackled. After what seemed like an eternity, Ma'alcom spoke, his voice normal once again. Relief flooded through the boy and he took a deep, shaky breath. After tonight, he ne'er set foot in this house again.
"Did anyone see ye leave the keep?"
"Nay. I was most careful, as ye instructed. No one saw me leave."
"Good."
Ma'alcom moved behind the messenger, murmuring beneath his breath. A chilling numbness crept through the boy's body, binding his limbs in place, squeezing the air from his lungs. The last thing he felt was the blade of a knife slice between his ribs and through his heart.
I've never written a villain before. I'm usually your fluffy bunnies and white clouds kind of girl, but for an epic such as my Desire Series, you need a good villain. Hope you liked.

Desire Series will be coming out in 2016. Look for it then.



Saturday

WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS #7

I thought I'd take a break from Man of Her Dreams and bring you a snippet from my novella, coming out this Christmas - Fiancé for Hire

Never tell a bold faced lie - unless you can follow through with flawless precision....

Kristen Wainwright was dumped in the most humiliating way possible and to add insult to injury, her ex-boyfriend has taken up with the office mean queen. Unable to tolerate the snide comments and subtle insults Kristen, in a moment of weakness, tells Janine that 'yes, she's coming to the Christmas gala' and 'yes, she's bringing someone - her new fiancé'.

Now all she has to do is find one. How hard can that be?

Here is my excerpt: *Author Note* Stanley is Kristen's one-eyed cat.

"And where did you meet this Stanley?" Carter asked, his eyes narrowing.
I crossed my fingers behind my back and said carefully, "I met him a few years ago and we...ummmm...sort of hit it off, so he moved in with me.
"I presume he meets all points of your 'perfect man' checklist?"
"Nooo....not really, he doesn't have blue eyes, in fact his one eye is green."
"One eye?"
"Yes," I sighed. "He lost the other one in a fight."
"Does he fight often, your Stanley?"
"Not so much anymore, he mostly lays about, waiting to be fed."

I hope you enjoyed. Don't forget to check out my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors.
Also, there is a Facebook group for Snippet Sunday. Check it out.

Fiance For Hire is up on Wattpad, in the #JustWriteIt / #Wattys2015 contest. If you'd like to read more, click on the link and remember - if you like my story - please vote!  Thanks.



WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS #6

At the risk of sounding EXTREMELY repetitious... I'm posting again from my current WIP ~ Man of Her Dreams. Jared and Lindsay have gone on a picnic near a small lake. Jared, a New York native becomes concerned when he hears rustling in the bushes - his mind immediately thinking it could be a bear, etc. When a rabbit hops out, Lindsay teases him about being 'afwaid of a wittle wabbit'. What follows is a bit of payback.... Use your imagination to finish the scene.

He stood in front of her and bending low, placed the palm of his hands on his thighs. This brought him eye level with her and he could see his reflection in her mirrored sunglasses. He looked big, menacing and a whole lot pissy.
"My first thought was to run because I don't have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you." At her outraged gasp he continued, "I run every day, so that would be too easy."
"What was your second thought? She removed her hands from around her knees and lowered them onto the log.
"My second thought--" In a lightning fast move, he scooped her off the log and began to move toward a natural rock shelf diving board over the lake. "--was to jump in the water."

If you would like to read more of Man of Her Dreams, and this excerpt taken from Chapter Twelve, you can check it out on Wattpad, where I've entered Harlequin's #SYTYCW15 contest. Remember to vote if you like my story.



Also, be sure to check out my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors.




WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS #5

Once again I'm sharing from my WIP ~ Man of Her Dreams (Book One ~ Welcome to Ravenwood Series). Thought I'd share a first kiss scene.  Hope you like.

He invaded her space, closed the distance between than and lifting his hand, took her chin in his fingers. "Trouble", was the only word she heard before his mouth claimed hers. The kiss rocketed through her body all the way down to her toes.
She curled her fingers into his shirt, intending to push him away, but somehow they spread open and moved up toward his shoulders. He pulled her close and changed the angle of his mouth, deepening the kiss. His fingers tangled themselves in her hair and she heard a faint moan.
When had she ever moaned while being kissed?
Never, but then she'd never been kissed like this before. Slowly he pulled back and touched his forehead to hers while they both caught their breath.
"I've wanted to do that for days," he said, his voice as gravelly as a dirt road.
If you would like to read more from Man of Her Dreams, I've entered Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write (#SYTYCW15) contest on Wattpad. Please remember to vote if you like my story.



Be sure to check out my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors.




 

WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS #4

 This week I am continuing to share from my WIP ~ Man of Her Dreams. In this scene, Lindsay's best friend, who's married to her brother, has just shared they are having a baby. At first Lindsay is stunned. It had been a lifelong plan that she and Tina would have their children at the same time, that they'd grow up together, etc., etc. and she's struggling with a little bit of jealousy/hurt because Lindsay is still single with no guy on the foreseeable horizon.

“A baby, I’m so happy for you, Tina. And you too, Nick.”
She cupped her brother's face and patted his cheek, something their great aunt always did. Aunt Grace doled out cheek pinches and chocolate bars and lived alone with four cats. Lindsay stopped mid pat, a horrifying thought sliding through her mind like mercury.
She loved chocolate.

And cats.

Lindsay recognized the sympathetic look on Tina’s face. Oh crap. If she didn’t pull up her big girl panties, Tina would set her up on another blind date, and to put it bluntly, she sucked at matchmaking.


If you would like to read more from Man of Her Dreams, I have entered Harlequin's - So You Think You Can Write (SYTYCW15) contest on Wattpad. Please remember to vote if you like my story.


 Be sure to check out my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors.


Friday

FRIDAY WITH FRIENDS #3


Thank you, Susan, for having me as your guest today.

In my opinion, we authors have the best job in the world—although definitely not the most lucrative for most of us. We get to pour out our hearts wearing sweats or jammies with no commute time. Who has a better job?
Don’t misunderstand me, writing is hard. Bless those who write while still working the dreaded day job. I did so early on but, thanks to my supportive Hero, I was able to start writing full time. Even better, since he took early retirement, Hero does the cooking, dishes, and his laundry so I can concentrate on my stories. See why I call him Hero?

When I first began writing, I feared I would run out of ideas. I used to keep a notebook of thumbnail plots to insure that wouldn’t happen. What I didn’t know then was that writers never run out of ideas. The saying goes that writers are either writing or thinking about writing. We’re not quite that bad, but close. ;-)
Granted keeping a fresh turn to the plot becomes more difficult with each book and requires resourcefulness. I think of some twist and then realize, no, I did that in another book. Still, I do have plenty of ideas. Currently, I’ll have to keep writing until I’m at least two hundred to use up all my plots and more crop up all the time. Please indulge me as I tell you what my latest projects involve.
Two of my recent releases involved some scrambling research. Several years ago I wrote a heavily researched book titled THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, McClintock book one (now FREE online here). My editor at the time suggested that I write a book about the heroine’s older brother, Finn O’Neill, and I kept that thought in the back of my mind. This year, I pulled out the idea and came up with a plot.
Finn wants to go in as partner with his brother-in-law, Dallas McClintock, raising fine horses. To do so, he needs land. He strikes a deal to work undercover at the Farland Coal Mine in Lignite, Texas in exchange for help financing the ranch that’s just come on the market next to that of Dallas. There were a lot of coal mines in Texas, but mining has changed quite a bit since 1886. I did my research and launched into the story titled O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE, McClintock book two. This is a sweet romance simply because there is no chance for it to be otherwise, and it involves a lot of detective work on Finn’s part. You can find it here.
Finn’s heroine, Stella, had a sister, so her story is told in the next book, McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE, McClintock book three. This is a sensual romance because the couple are married and that involves the bedroom. The heroine, Nettie, is the reluctant bride. Josh McClintock is a reluctant groom. They have a difficult time learning to trust one another. All the while, a villain is plotting to wreak revenge against the McClintock family rather than accept responsibility for his own mistakes. This one is available here. In the future, there will be at least two more McClintock books. For now, these three make what I hope is a varied and interesting trilogy for readers.
Currently, I’m working on a new series titled the Bride Brigade and the first book of that series is JOSEPHINE. Although she’s nothing like my grandmother, Josephine is named after her. I love writing about strong women who fall in love with men strong enough to deserve their love and respect.
On September 24th, four authors will each release a book about brothers. The four brothers live in Angel Springs, Colorado and the books are called the Surprise Brides. My book is about the eldest, JAMIE, who is a widower with two unruly children. Callie Hutton’s is about the second brother, CALEB. Cynthia Woolf’s book is about GIDEON. Sylvia McDaniel wrote about the youngest, ETHAN. Posing as each of her sons, Mama Fraser writes away for mail order brides. The girls arrive just as a major snowstorm hits the area and they are snowed in. Fortunately, Gideon is a minister and can marry all four couples. At least, they hope him performing his own wedding is legal. These are fun, romantic books.

You can find me at blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest. If you have comments for me privately, please email me at caroline@carolineclemmons.com or message me on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you.
Thank you again for letting me share your time today. Happy reading!

FRIDAY WITH FRIENDS #2


I love hosting other authors. It's a fun way to meet new people and get a taste of what's out there in the way of fun books. I'm so excited to extend a warm welcome to M. Lee Prescott. Take it away, Lee!

A woman is the last thing on Ben Morgan's mind as he comes home to Morgan's Run, his family's ranch in Saguaro Valley. Doctor's orders, he's home to heal, but the sooner he can get back to Santa Barbara, the better. Then he runs into Maggie Williams on Main Street, prompting vivid memories of a magical night, and Ben's ailing heart skips a beat.

Father of her beloved five year old daughter, the eldest of the Morgan son's is the last person Maggie expects to have crash into her car and back into her life. For years, she struggled to forget him and to make a life for herself and her daughter, Emma, the mirror image of a father, who is unaware of her existence. Now, here he is, looking more gorgeous than the day he ran out of town. Maggie swears Ben Morgan will never break her heart again.

This first book in the brand new Morgan's Run Romance series, Emma's Dream will be published in print and e-book on August 25, 2015. Book two, Lang's Return debuts in early October (hoping for a 10/15/15 release!) and book three, Jeb's Promise will be published in early December. Spending time with the incredible Morgan family and their friends and neighbors is always a pleasure for this author!

EXCERPT:
This is a huge mistake. Ben Morgan's chest tightened as he steered the Range Rover over the Arizona mountain pass. Maybe the biggest one I've made in five years.
Then he remembered it wasn't his decision. Doctor's orders propelled him eastward, away from his gorgeous new home in Santa Barbara and a rapidly expanding business, which needed his attention 24-7. On the Coast Highway, halfway home, the pain now excruciating, he called 911 and told the operator he was having a heart attack.
The young whippersnapper cardiologist had smiled. "Fascinating diagnosis, Mr. Morgan, but totally incorrect. You've had a panic attack. I'm not sure what's going on in your life right now, but whatever it is, you'd better see that it stops now, or you'll be dead before your next birthday. Thirty-two is too young to die, don't you think?"
Now, six days later, he was headed to his family's ranch in Arizona, Morgan's run, and his enforced R & R in Saguaro Valley. As he turned right on Main and headed toward Gracie's Diner, a horn blared and the clunker in front of him screeched to a stop. Ben braked, but not in time to stop the Rover before it tapped the rear of the clunker. Ben swore under his breath and backed up, pulling over to park at the curb. As he did, the clunker's driver leaped from her car, screaming and waving her arms. He shook his head. Foolish woman had left her heap in the middle of the street. Tall and slender, she wore Jackie. O. sunglasses, a baseball cap pulled low on her forehead, a faded cotton shirt over blue jeans, and cowboy boots, the uniform for nearly every female rancher in the valley. Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.
As she approached the Rover, Ben noticed her jeans hugged every curve, full breasts not quite obscured by the baggy shirt. He couldn't see her face, but he had to admit the rest of the package was intriguing and also vaguely familiar.
"What's the matter with you?" she screamed, walking in circles, arms still flailing. "Oh my God, oh my God, what am I going to do?"
Ben stared at her back, astounded at what was clearly a huge overreaction. The clunker was fine, hardly a scratch on it, although it would be hard to tell with all the other dings. Then, just as quickly as it started, the fire went out and she flopped down to sit on the curb, head between her legs, sobbing.
"Hey, hey, it's not that bad, is it? We hardly touched each other. No harm done." He sat beside her, wondering whether he should pat her on the shoulder.
Immediately she quieted and looked up at him "Oh my God. This just gets better and better" Ben Morgan, the one person she never expected to see again, sitting beside her in the middle of Main Street. Could things get any worse? She leaned forward, hiding her face, wondering whether he'd go away if she sat there long enough.
"Maggie? Is that little Maggie Williams? After five years, I'm in town less than a minute and the first person I bump into is you."
Maggie groaned and buried her head deeper, praying this was all a bad dream. If she hadn't had to make a quick run to the bank, she'd be at work in the cool, dark stables. "Please just go. I'm fine."
She could fee his heat, his nearness rattling her to her core. A part of her longed to lean against him and draw comfort and strength from his warmth, but the wiser half screamed danger. She kept still, hoping he would disappear.
"You don't seem fine. Look, I'm sorry." Ben placed a hand on her shoulder. It sent shivers of warmth all the way to her toes. "And I'm not leaving until I'm sure you're okay."
Oh, no you don't. Maggie stood and shook herself, stepping away from his electric touch. She put on her sunglasses. Another second near him and she feared she might actually swoon. His soft chestnut eyes regarded her with obvious concern. Although he looked tired and thin, Ben Morgan was still drop-dead gorgeous, in faded jeans and sneakers, his broad shoulders straining the seams of a worn Stanford tee shirt.
"I'm fine, really. It's been a crazy day and you caught me at a gad time. I'm sorry I overreacted."
Ben watched her, wondering why a fender kiss had caused so much distress. "Can I give you a lift somewhere?"
"No, of course not! I mean, thanks, but I'm okay now. Got to get back to work."
"Where's that?"
"Sorry, I'm really late. Good to see you again. Take care."
She hopped into her car and drove away before he could utter another word.
What the hell was that? Ben thought back to his one memorable night with Maggie Williams. they had both left Saguaro shortly after that night, but a part of him always wondered if there was something more to explore with his brother Kyle's beautiful classmate. While he had pushed thoughts of her and their one night of passionate sex from his mind, as he watched her drive away, Ben realized that he had spent five years comparing every woman he met to Maggie Williams.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

M. Lee Prescott is the author of dozens of works of fiction for adults, young adults and children, among them the Ricky Steele Mysteries (Prepped to Kill, Gadfly, Lost in Spindle City), The Roger and Bess Mysteries (A Friend in Silence, In the Name of Silence and The Silence of Memory) Jigsaw, Song of the Spirit, and her newest contemporary romance series, Morgan's Run Romances.

Three of her nonfiction titles have been published by Heinemann and she has published numerous articles in her field of literacy education. Lee is a professor of education at a small New England liberal arts college where she teaches reading and writing pedagogy. Her current research focuses on mindfulness and connections to reading and writing. She regularly teaches abroad, most recently in Singapore.

Lee has lived in southern California (loved those Laguna nights!), Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and various spots in New England. Currently, she resides in Massachusetts on a beautiful river, where she canoes, swims, and watches an incredible variety of wildlife pass by. She is the mother of two grown sons and spends lots of time with them, their beautiful wives, and her amazing grandchildren. When not teaching or writing, Lee's passions revolve around family, yoga (Kripalu is a second home), swimming, sharing mindfulness with children and adults, and walking.

Lee loves to hear from readers. Email her anytime and visit her website to hear the latest and sign up for her newsletters!

Email | Website

Wednesday

Wednesday in the Word

A lot of us struggle with depression and worry. Given the way the world is going, I wonder how some of us get out of bed in the morning, but God's Word shows us what we are supposed to do.

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)

There it is. God asks us to change the way we think. We only have the power to do what Jesus wants us to do. We also have to learn to not worry. How do we do that? We worry about our finances, we worry about our children and their future, we worry about our health, we worry about the wars and rumors of war... the list goes on and on.

Once again, God's word shows us that God's hand is on our lives.
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?"
Matthew 6: 25-27 (New King James)

I love that Jesus asked, "Are you not of more value than they?" The resounding answer is, 'YES!', and if He cares for them, then it stands to reason He will care for us. We have to make a conscious decision each day to seek the Lord, and trust He has control of our life and thoughts.

Learning to trust in the Lord and have peace in your heart is as easy as inviting Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour.
"that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Romans 10: 9-10 (New King James)

No one called people to Christ better than Billy Graham. If you feel led, please say this prayer. God hears the faintest of whispers and knows your heart.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Saviour. In Your Name. Amen

If you prayed that prayer, God Bless you and welcome to the family! First thing, besides finding a church where you can fellowship with like-minded believers is to read your bible. This is vital because basically the bible is God's love letter to us. He guides, instructs, and comforts us with His word.

Have a blessed day, and remember - God loves YOU!



Saturday

WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS #3



This week I'm sharing from my WIP – Fiancé for Hire - one of my books from the Welcome to Ravenwood Series. I hope you enjoy:
 
Stanley rolled over onto his back, inviting me to scratch his chest. I quite worrying my thumbnail to pet him and soon soft purring vibrated against my belly. Too bad Stanley wasn't a guy, because he'd be the perfect date. He adored me, hung on my every word, and didn't expect me to have sex with him.
The idea hit me faster than I could blink.
"Stephanie, I have a fabulous idea."
"Oh, I don't like this. Last time you had a fabulous idea, I wore a cast for six weeks. I still can't straighten my arm completely."
"That was years ago," I said, brushing aside her concern.
 
Thank you for reading. Make sure to check out my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors.


WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS #2

This week I'm sharing from my WIP - Man of Her Dreams - book one of my upcoming Welcome to Ravenwood Series. I hope you enjoy

     Their fingers touched and a jolt ran from her finger tips straight to her midsection. She followed the length of a muscled forearm up to his body. Her eyes did a slow blink and she lost all coherent thought.
     Before her stood six feet plus of muscle and pure testosterone. Broad shoulders filled out a grey T-shirt, the soft cotton material snug across his chest and loose around his abs. Abs that most likely had the perfect ridges women went crazy over and posted pictures of on every social media page.
     She dragged her gaze up to a stubble dusted chin and her knees weakened. There was something incredibly sexy about a man with a scruffy face. She moved past a firm mouth, stopping when she reached a pair of steel grey eyes.
     Holy Mackerel.

Thank you for reading. Make sure to check out my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors.

 

Friday

FRIDAY WITH FRIENDS #1


 
The Plate Spinner
Chronicles
by
Barbara Valentin


What working parent hasn't considered delivering a performance review to their child prior to granting a salary, er..., allowance increase?

The Plate Spinner Chronicles: A Working Mother's Epic Adventure is a hybrid memoir/how-to guide that is stuffed with multi-tasking advice and relevant, but nostalgic anecdotes, all written in the wry tone of a harried working mother who'd rather laugh than cry over the length of her to-do list.

This book is a compilation of the Plate Spinner columns which originally ran in the Chicago Tribune.

Excerpt:

After a long day of slaving over a hot laptop, I had no sooner collapsed on the couch when one of my sons stood in front of me, holding a pair of his Boy Scout uniform pants.

I looked up at him. "No thanks. Olive green isn't a good color for me."

Without missing a beat, he informed me that they were too short for him. "And we have to leave in ten minutes."

When I didn't respond, he shook them at me. "Please?"

I looked over my head to see how I could've missed the large flashing sign that read Seamstress - Needs Work.

"Mom, just adjust the pins so they're longer." With that, he dumped them on my lap and I tried to figure out what he meant by the strange 'pin' reference. On closer inspection, the memory came flooding back. It was a similar night, three years earlier, when a shorter version of this same son pulled on a pair of new, un-hemmed pants and, in the interest of time, I pulled out a box of safety pins and adjusted the length.

That I completely neglected to go back and properly hem them came as no surprise to my husband. He learned early on in our marriage that if he wanted a button sewn on any of his clothing, he would have to do it himself. After years of walking around with bandaged fingertips, he finally gave in and enlisted the services of our dry cleaner.

Author Bio:

Barb is a freelance writer, over-scheduled parent, and connoisseur of fine chocolate. A second-generation journalist, her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and its affiliates. The exploits of her five boys provided fodder for her column, The Plate Spinner Chronicles, a long running feature in the Chicago Tribune, which snagged her a runner-up spot in the Erma Bombeck Humor Contest. A member of RWA's Windy City Chapter, she still dreams of the day when her to-do list includes "Send NY Times book critic thank you note" and "Accept Godiva's request to be a taste-tester".

Contact:

E-Mail | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

 Available August 4
 Pre-Order your copy today

Thursday

THROWBACK THURSDAY #1

Time for a little 'Throwback Thursday' and take you back to 1988....

First, as a Canadian, we were pretty pumped about the Winter Olympics being held in Calgary. Our own Elizabeth Manning - Canada's Sweetheart - took silver, and who could forget the Iran-Contra affair. I remember watching Ollie North standing tall, giving his testimony and members of the panel not hiding their contempt of him. Who had the last laugh there? And who can forget the crash of the new Airbus doing a demonstration flight in France. Thank goodness they worked the bugs out of that one, because my own little Top Gun flies the Airbus, and I kind of like him in one piece, thank you very much.

But, my best memory is of my cousin's wedding. She got married on Saltspring Island, B.C., a quaint, pretty place. She had the photographer take a portrait of everyone who attended. Below is the Barr family, circa 1988. Those two little boys are all grown, with children of their own - but they'll always be 'my boys'.


Wednesday

HELICOPTER WRITING or THE WHITE JEEP PURSUIT

How many of us struggle with the show, not tell aspect of writing? I think we're all guilty of that and have to scour the pages to make sure we don't bore our poor readers to tears.

Lately, I read some pages from a friend's WIP (which is quite action-packed) and finally realized why I felt so detached from her writing. It was like I was in a helicopter, hovering over the scene. Great action, but what I really wanted was to be in the scene - not above it.

How many of us watched O.J. and his buddy ride the freeway at a snail's pace? Did any of you wonder what the heck they were talking about as a string of police vehicles plodded along behind them? THAT'S what my friend needs to do. THAT'S what we all need to do.


As a writer, we need to climb into the back seat with a tape recorder and then transcribe all that good stuff onto the page. Get inside your character's heads. Smell the sweat as O.J. realizes he's neck deep in doo doo. Hear the pain in his voice as he talks to Detective Tom Lange. Remember, at that this moment in time he was distraught and didn't know he wouldn't go to prison - for now.

It's our duty to drag the reader into the scene, wring them out and have them blow out a soft puff of air when they're done. If they have to set the book down for a few seconds to catch their breath and compose themselves - we've done our job.

I know a writer has been successful when I laugh out loud, wipe away a tear and heave a sigh when the H/h declare their love. We all have a favorite author who brings out these reactions. Mine is Kristan Higgins. Jill Shalvis runs a close second.


NOTE:
In no way do I mean to infer that O.J. is guilty of murdering Nicole Brown-Simpson or Ron Goldman. I used this reference in history as it is iconic and will give writers a strong visual.

Saturday

WEEKEND WRITING WARRIORS #1

This week I'm sharing from my current WIP, Man of Her Dreams, book one of my Welcome to Ravenwood Series. The series is about a small town west of Chicago filled with feisty heroines and the men who fall in love with them.

Enjoy.
He walked her back against the wall, tangled their fingers together and stretched both their hands over her head, leaning in until the full length of his body pressed against hers. Palm to palm, chest to chest and thigh to thigh, heat seared through her body.
She broke the kiss and gasped for breath. When had her legs become noodles? If it weren’t for Jared holding her upright, she’d have slithered to the floor and laid there until her bones hardened. He shifted slightly, released their hands and brought her wrists together. She shivered and bit her lip when he lightly trailed a finger down her arm.
She moaned with an unfamiliar need, every nerve ending in her body anticipating his touch. His hand continued its lazy exploration until it snaked around her waist. She arched closer and muttered something like ‘yes, please, but wasn’t sure. Against her skin, just below her ear, she felt him smile and whimpered when he gently suckled, pulling the tender flesh into his mouth.

Thanks for reading. Make sure you check out all my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors.

Friday

Review ~ 4.5 Stars!

Long and Short Reviews
ACCORDING TO PLAN

In Shelby’s line of work, elements of danger, secrecy, and deceit are to be expected. Spying on cheating spouses and apprehending bail jumpers is what pay the bills for this small-time private investigator. However, when her own cheating ex comes barreling back into town on the back of a Harley, danger, secrecy, and deceit become part of her personal life instead of just her professional one. It isn’t long before complications between the case she’s currently working on and her confused emotions for Tank converge, leaving Shelby’s heart, mind, and body at war.
From the moment he met her, he knew she was the one, but his profession had him doing something he never thought he would do. But now, Tank is ready to start-over with Shelby and right the wrongs that broke them up in the first place. He vowed to never lose her again, but this time he may not have a choice.
Fast paced with great emotional quality, this story keeps you on the edge of your seat with lots of plot twists and scorching love scenes. Shelby and Tank’s physical chemistry is off the charts sizzling and undeniable from the moment they touch, but they are also each other’s own personal brand of kryptonite.
I really appreciated that both Shelby and Tank’s perspectives are given and nothing too revealing was allowed until it became necessary as part of the plotline.
Reviewed by Dahlia