Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Two More Days ~ Enter to Win a Kindle Fire


* Just two more days to enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire! *


Congratulations to the weekly ebook winners in Books We Love's annual Spring Fling Event!

This week's winner is Edwina Dowden.

Edwina wins her choice of any two Books We Love ebooks or Spice ebooks. She also receives TEN extra entries into the Kindle Fire drawing May 31. Edwina, please visit our website http://bookswelove.net/ and make your two choices, then email the titles to bookswelove@shaw.ca

Remember, only subscribers to our newsletter are eligible to enter our contests, so if you're not a subscriber go here and sign up now. Find the entry form for Spring Fling there too!


Congratulations Edwina!



Monday, May 28, 2012

MEMORIAL DAY - DARING MASQUERADE

 MEMORIAL DAY AND MY BOOK - MARGARET TANNER
Call it blatant self promotion if you will, but I thought as it is Memorial Day in the US, I would post this battlefield excerpt from my latest romance novel, Daring Masquerade, which is set during the 1st World War.

In Australia we remember our war dead, on ANZAC Day, 25th April and also Remembrance Day/Armistice Day on 11th November.

ANZAC Day commemorates the landing at Gallipoli in Turkey by The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACS) on the 25TH April, 1915. And the 25th April is now sacred. It is when we remember the brave men and women who paid the supreme sacrifice in the 1st World War and in subsequent wars, 2nd World War, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. These battlefields are also stained with American blood, as you would be well aware.
DARING MASQUERADE – Out on Kindle from Books We Love Publishing
The third battle for Ypres had begun. The first and second Australian Divisions marched through the ruins of Ypres in Flanders, and fought their way along the Menin Road ridge. Their ultimate destination was Passchendale.
It had been raining steadily, the front had turned into a sea of mud, criss-crossed with miles of concrete German blockhouses. A German arc of machine gun fire dominated the landscape and the casualties were terrible.
Ross despaired of the carnage ever ending. After one battle another always followed. Men died or were wounded; many simply disappeared into the mud.
Reinforcements came and went, followed by more reinforcements. Few old faces were left now. Increasingly, he feared he might never leave this chamber of horrors and return to Harry at Devil’s Ridge. Never get the chance to utter the words, ‘I love you,’ to his wife.
How much longer could his luck hold out? He had suffered several minor shrapnel wounds that only required a dressing.
On the morning of the fourth of October, 1917, Ross’ unit was sent to Broodseinde Ridge. Forty minutes before the attack, soldiers waiting in the rear a mile behind the line saw white and yellow German flares through the hazy drizzle.
0530 hours.  Heavy trench mortars fell on Ross’s men as they sheltered in shell holes. At 0600 hours, the British artillery barrage opened up and he waited. Another attack—more casualties in this endless saga of death and suffering.
White tapes marked the jump off area. When the signal for attack came, he urged his men on.
“Come on, come on.”
He stood up and started running. Officers led by example, he remembered from training. The men charged forward now, yelling and screaming.
A line of troops rose from some shell holes a little in front of them, and Ross suddenly realized they were Germans mounting a counter attack. Too late to do anything but keep on going.
He did not see where the firing came from, but felt a thud, first in one leg then the other. As he sank to his knees, he felt a bullet slamming into his chest. He toppled forward.  Soldiers ran over him. Boots pressing into his back forced him deeper into the mud.
This is the end. I’ll never see Harry again.
He regained consciousness. It was daylight. How long had he been lying out in no-man’s land? Groggily, he got to his hands and knees. Pain and exhaustion racked his body. Breathing was agony. The landscape see-sawed. Shell fire echoed in his ears.
What’s the use? All I have to do is close my eyes and sink back into the mud and oblivion.
Too tired to fight any more, he started slipping away. His body floated upwards and the pain disappeared.
“Ross, don’t leave me. Fight Ross, fight for me.”
“Harry?” He opened his eyes but he was alone.  Only dead men, twisted and grotesque lay out here in no-man’s land with him.
Did he want to leave Harry a widow at twenty? Never hold his son? Oh, God, he couldn’t die like a dog out here. His body might never be recovered. Harry would wait and mourn, but keep on hoping for years. She would never hear the words ‘I love you,’ fall from his lips. What a bloody fool he had been obsessing over Virginia, instead of letting himself fall in love with Harry. Now it was too late.  She would never know the true depth of his feelings for her. He couldn’t do it to her. He must survive.


Regards
Margaret 






Friday, May 25, 2012

A Little About Me


Today is my birthday and I decided to do something different. Instead of promoting my books, I thought I'd talk a little about one of my hobbies instead of my books. That's right, you won't find an excerpt or anything about any of my books on this blog. It's all about me.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m not writing is embroidery. Another is quilting. I’ve found a way to combine the two. First, I made baby quilts for my nieces. White on white, I machine embroidered them with the darning stitch so I had control. They turned out really nice, but I really love to hand embroidery. That’s when I discovered red-work. During a quilting shop-hop, one of the stores highlighted red-work. For those who don’t know what red-work is – it’s embroidery done in all red floss. Just the outline of the picture, not filled in like other embroidery patterns. Anyway, I fell in love with it.


Every year I make something for Christmas (usually a Santa) for my children and give it to them on Thanksgiving. Sometimes it’s ceramic, sometimes wood. I found a Santa pattern and did it all in red-work, framed it and gave it to them one year.


That’s when I decided to make a baby quilt for each of my grandchildren – not for them, but for their first born. I had already made lap quilts for each of child and grandchild. But where to find patterns? I started out with coloring books for designs. I traced the images onto 12x12 squares of muslin.  After I finished embroidering the squares, I cut sashing and sewed them together. For the backing I used various fabrics, not nursery print. None of the quilts have nursery fabric in them at all. I used patterns from zoo animals to Winnie the Pooh.
Eventually, I found transfer books and used them for designs. I looked everywhere for baby designs. Thirteen of them are finished, but I now have 14 grandchildren, that’s a lot of baby quilts. Most of the quilts are done in red work, but several are done with various colors of embroidery floss, too. I recently finished the quilt top of the 14th. Now, I have to put it together and quilt it. That's a project for winter.
The others have been finished for a couple of years. It took a several years to embroider all the squares and put them together. 


I also made quilts for my niece’s twins. One of the patterns is kittens and the other is bunnies. She had a girl and boy, so I thought the bunnies would be good for him. Recently, she another child. A boy–so I just finished baby animals one for him. Now I have to get it over to her, hopefully within the next week or two.


I gave my first grandchild’s quilt to my oldest granddaughter, who had a baby boy, my first great grandchild. 
With another granddaughter married and one soon to be, maybe I'll be giving two more away soon. I’ve marked each quilt with the name of the grandchild they’re supposed to go to in case I’m not around to give it to them. My daughters have been instructed to pass them out. I hope I’m still around to give each child their quilt, but if I’m not they’ll each have a piece of me for their children. I hope they treasure them.Below is a collage of a few of the ones I made.



 To store them, I put them in large bag from a store bought quilt. Yes, I bought a quilt for my bed. But I did make one too, I embroidered wild flowers in each square – and yes, I filled them in, not just outlined. I put it on my bed in the summer. It took over a year to embroider all the flowers, but it was worth it. Besides, I have nothing better to do in the evening while I’m watching TV. That’s the nice thing about embroidery, you can sit in front of the TV and still work on it. The hard part was quilting it.

So now you know a little more about me. I'm not just an author, I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Yes, I enjoy writing, but my family is my first love. 

If you’d like to know more about me or my books, check out my website www.roseannedowell.com and you can find my books at Amazon   http://amzn.to/tnqgR2



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spoilers?

Tomorrow, on my on blog, Dishin' It Out, I'm posting in depth about spoilers, and asking those who visit to share their opinions.  Reading reviews that give away your entire story are even more upsetting than just reading unfavorable comments.  I recently bemoaned the fact on the loop because my latest release, Sarah's Heart, ends in a fashion that some readers are really taking exception to.  I chalk their responses up to the fact that they didn't GET the story.  There is but one way to get my main characters together, and I found it.

My solution gives the reader hope that the hero and heroine can have the HEA that is so craved in romance, yet also gave me an opportunity for a sequel, which I am working on now.  Sarah's Passion will be a continuation of the story. Rather than assume one is coming, some readers would rather divulge the entire plot on a VERY public site, and not just spoil the ending, but discourage others from purchasing the book and drawing their own conclusion, and being able to look forward to reading more about Sarah and Wolf.  The lack of understanding exhibited by some is defeating at times, but giving in would let them win, and I won't do that.  I'm a good author, and I know it.

I'm very impressed by those who were historically savvy enough to realize the methodology to the ending and appreciated it.  I love the story.  Sarah is a courageous woman faced with making some very difficult decisions in life, and in this case, it seems she makes one that isn't popular with readers, but if you consider the time in history and her circumstances, it makes a lot more sense.

Here's an excerpt that helped influence the ending's outcome:

 
Wolf draped the naked hare across the empty coffee pot and began gathering more logs for the fire. He returned with an armful, and dropped them onto the smoldering cinders within the ring of stones. While the flames blossomed, he sat cross-legged on the ground, working on three longer branches. He skinned one clean, and using it as a skewer for their dinner, propped it across the pit with the other two as support.  The fire crackled and popped with each drip of grease splattering from the roasting rabbit; the delightful aroma teased Sarah’s nose. Rustic or not, dinner smelled wonderful.
Wolf sat with one knee bent and his arm resting atop it. He gazed into the distance, seemingly lost in thought.
  “Wolf,” she summoned him back. “How did you learn to speak the language?”
He took a deep breath. “It’s a long story. Are you sure you want to hear it?”
“Of course.”
“I was just five-years-old when my father, Charles Elder, was killed defending my red-skinned mother. We lived in Montana territory—migrating there after my parents married. A neighboring farmer and his family were slaughtered by a Crow war party, and an angry mob from town wanted my mother to pay for it. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t her tribe—an Indian was an Indian.” His brow creased.
“That must have been horrible for you. If speaking about your past is hard for you, you don’t have to continue.”
“I’m fine. Pain is part of life.”  He leaned forward and pulled a browned leg from the cooked rabbit. Tender, the limp released into his hand without effort. He offered her the meat then yanked a second piece free, chewed a bite, and swallowed. “So, the town’s preacher heard what was being planned and came to our house before the others got there. He hid me and my mother beneath blankets in the back of his buckboard and took us to the church while my father stayed at home, planning to reason with the townspeople. The Reverend kept us in the chapel basement until dark and then drove us home. There wasn’t much left of the place. My father’s bloodied body lay in the yard, and the house and everything in  it had been reduced to smoldering ashes. The barn looked like they set it afire, but for some reason the building didn’t catch.”
“Why are people so hateful?”  Sympathy stabbed at her. Why had she asked him to relive his pain?  Although saddened she had, hearing about his past provided a connection between them. Maybe sharing the experience brought him closure.
 “What did you and your mother do then?”  Licking grease from her lips, Sarah leaned forward, anxious for the rest of the story.               
“Luckily we still had the wagon and team, and after traveling for weeks, Ma and I happened upon a Lakota village—one of seven Sioux tribes who follow the buffalo. My mother, Little Feather, intended to find her way back to her own people, the Dakota Sioux, but Lame Deer took a liking to her and made her his second wife.”
Sarah studied Wolf’s face. Despite his dark hair and olive skin, his hazel eyes revealed his white heritage. He had a striking profile—strong chin, high cheekbones, and full lips. Her heart fluttered, remembering how he had called her his wife. Her curiosity piqued. “So, how long did you live with the tribe?”
“I lived with the people until my sixteenth year. Spotted Fever took my mother and several others in the tribe, and with her gone, nothing held me there. Because I wasn’t full-blooded, most of those my age made it their callin’ to make my life miserable. In my younger years they shoved me and called me names, but as I aged and my body grew strong, the physical cruelty stopped. Still, there was always someone around to remind me I was an outsider.”  He removed the skewer stick with the remaining rabbit from over the fire and extended it toward her. “More?”
She shook her head, preferring to hear the story’s ending rather than eat. “So you left?”
“Yes. That was ten years ago, and I still haven’t found where I fit.” Holding both ends of the stick, he chomped into the rabbit’s hindquarter then wiped the juices on the back of his hand. Even though primitive and missing the manners she appreciated, Wolf was a very handsome man.
Sarah gazed down into her lap, her cheeks warming.  She had no business thinking such things about a man she barely knew. Thank goodness, she wasn’t small-minded enough to let his heritage determine her treatment of him, but once they got to Independence, she would thank him for his help and bid him farewell. There was no room in her life for a man, now or in the future. Still, she dared another glimpse at him through her lashes, fighting a strange sensation in the pit of her stomach.


Monday, May 21, 2012

CONTEST TO WIN SEDUCING SIGEFROI

After PRINCESS of BRETAGNE and PAGAN QUEEN, comes the third book in the CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE series, SEDUCING SIGEFROI. Set at the foundation of Luxembourg in 963, it involves an immortal magic lady introduced in Book 2, and continues the Saga of immortal Celtic Ladies meddling throughout history... but if the Church ever suspects what they really are, they will be hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake.

ENTER THE CONTEST to win the pdf of this summer release by clicking on CONTEST at the top right at:


Blurb:
Book Three - Seducing Sigefroi
963 AD. Seeking redemption from the curse that makes her a serpent from the waist down one day each month, Melusine, daughter of Pressine, must seduce Sigefroi of Ardennes, a shrewd, ambitious knight, son of the Duke of Lorraine, who wants to carve himself a kingdom. But Sigefroi is more than a match for Melusine's supernatural gifts, and the task proves daunting... especially as he stirs deep in her strangely confusing emotions.

Good luck.


Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE:

Friday, May 18, 2012

"The Sacrifice" a romantic fantasy novella by Shirley Martin

She must die! 

No, Briana couldn't bear it. The holy day of Samhain approached, when the veil between the real world and the Otherworld disappears, and demons stalk the land. To placate the gods and protect the people on the eve of Samhain, the druids choose the most beautiful woman in the land to sacrifice--to knife to death!
 
A seer with special powers, Briana's adoptive mother knows it is Briana the druids have chosen to sacrifice. You must run, she tells Briana, escape! Reluctant to leave all she holds dear, Briana knows she must escape and flees in the dead of night.
 
The druids order their most trusted enforcer to capture Briana and bring her back. Why have they chosen him? Weylyn agonizes. He has loved Briana for years. Which choice will Weylyn make--love or duty? 
 

 Excerpt:

       
        Gods, no!  Today was Samhain!  They’d never get back to their village in time!
        They plodded on, and Weylyn’s face held an expression of grim determination.  But she knew the demons would find them tonight. 
     Darkness fell.  No!  She grabbed his arm.  “Weylyn–“
     ”Don’t say it.  There is a sacred circle nearby.  We shall take refuge there, for ‘tis said the stones will grant us protection.  And the sacrifice . . .”  He shook his head.  Was he happy they would arrive too late for the sacrifice–through no fault of his–or did he feel remorse that he had failed the druids, no matter how great his effort?
   “Soon, Briana, soon we shall reach the circle of stones.” 
     The fog densed, and moisture dripped from the trees.  She clenched her hands and looked in all directions.
     He pointed ahead.  “There!  I see it.  We’ll make it to the circle in time.”  Past thick strands of evergreens, they reached the circle of stones, set on a grassy, level plot of land.  He dismounted and lifted her down carefully, so she could lean against the stones.  “See, I told you–“
     Screams and howls rent the air, screeches and the heavy thud of feet.  The earth shook, the screams getting closer. 
     “Weylyn!”  Forgetting her ankle, forgetting everything but her horror, she clung to him.
 The horse bolted, rushing off into the night. 
      Weylyn shook his head.  “No time to lose!”  He picked her up and set her across the stones, then stepped over them. 
     Strange creatures moved among the trees, bright eyes shining in the dark.  A monster approached them, closer, closer.  No!  Gods, no!  Briana screamed.  
     “Weylyn, please, what are we going to do!”   She held Weylyn fast, her heart pounding with fear, with horror, with a terror greater than any she’d known.  His heart thudded next to hers as he pressed her body to his. 
     No, no, no! 
     The demon neared them, its eyes gleaming with intensity.  The stench of rotten meat fouled the air, and it grunted as it moved with slow, plodding steps.  Shorter than they, it had a solid build, its squat body covered with fur.  Saliva dripped from its mouth.  Razor-sharp teeth glittered as it opened and closed its thick lips. 
     “Stay behind me, Briana!”  Weylyn threw off his cloak and drew his sword from the scabbard.  The demon breached the space between them, only feet away.  It grunted as it moved, swaying with each step. 
     Faint with fright, Briana threw off her cloak and tugged at one of the stones to hurl it at the demon, but they were too big for her to dislodge.  She glanced up.  “Weylyn, look!”  Another brute menaced them, then another and another. 
     Weylyn’s head turned from left to right, his body flexed to fight.  How could he defeat them?  The demons would get them, devour them.  Gods, save us!
     The earth shifted beneath them.  Briana pressed her hand to her mouth, stifling a scream.
     “Briana, hold onto me!”  They moved back together, the monster still advancing.  No matter how they moved, the ground shifted, then gave way.
     “What?  What?”  Briana screamed again.  She clung to him as they plunged down, down, down, until she thought they would fall forever.  They finally stopped, and in spite of her sore ankle, she felt as if she’d landed on feathers.
     “Well, now.”  A feminine voice greeted them. “We have company.  How nice!  We don’t get visitors often.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Please check out all of my romances on www.shirleymartinauthor.com
Find this title at Amazon here 
 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Behind the Cover Artist's Curtain: The CAF

By Michelle Lee
BWL Art Director
“And so it begins …” 

Just where does a cover begin?  To some degree, it starts in a place that I have no way to touch – within the author’s imagination.  Authors will have some kind of ideas of what their characters, settings, etc look like – and they do their best to get it across within their story.  Some authors will even have an idea on mind of what their perfect cover will end up looking like.

So the first step (that involves me) is a way for an author to get those ideas across to me, so that I can try to bring it to life.

Now in an ideal world, I would have time to read each and every story two or three times before I start working on a cover, so that I know all the ins and outs of the story.  Unfortunately, I don’t even have the time to read the story once before working on the cover.

So instead, I work from something called a cover art form, or CAF.  Basically, it is a form that author’s fill out, that takes their story and boils it down to character details, and pivotal settings/scenes.

Each publisher has their own CAF …

I am an artist who likes details.  Lots of details … and options.  I am a big fan of options.  I like it when authors suggest a couple of different ways the cover could go and still be something they are proud of.

Because, that is what ultimately I am trying to create – a cover that the author is proud to have marketing their book.

So a CAF askes for the most crucial elements of a story.  What kinds of things are those? I am including various questions from various CAF's that I have used, all of which I feel am important.

First of all, I need to know what genre line I am dealing with.  Mysteries/Suspense/Thrillers will have a lot different style of cover from a Romance.  For example, let’s look at two books by the same author.


Just by looking at the covers, you can tell which cover is for a romance … and which is not.

And despite being close in genres, a romance will often differ from a Spice line book, since the Spice line tends to be erotic romances.  Although, that is not always the case – some Spice books will still have a softer cover.  But some won’t.

In this case, I bet you can tell which is which.

Next are details of the book itself …

The full title
The author’s name
Series title, if applicable

Then we get into the details of the book itself … and different publishers use different forms/questions.  Some of them that I have worked with are:

* Tone (in other words, is it dark, humorous, colloquial): 
* Specific Genre (contemporary romance, urban fantasy, etc.): 
* Setting (time period AND location):
* Pivotal scene(s): 

* Scenes or settings that are integral to the story: 

* Give us a brief synopsis of the book: (This means, literally, a paragraph or two. The purpose is to give the artist a feel for the action and tone. No more than 150 words.)
* Provide the blurb for this book:
From there, we move on to what could easily be the longest section of the CAF, depending upon the story itself.  The section where the author has to work the hardest – because it is the most crucial, and all that I have to work from to create the cover.  Some of the various questions I have asked are:

* Mood (anything that might help set the feel of the cover):

* Colors (those you want and those you absolutely do not want)

* Objects that are part of the storyline that you might like to see on the cover:

* Main CharactersMost covers WILL have a person or couple on it.  Make sure to provide information for each pivotal character.

- Hair Color:
- Eye Color:
- Build:
- Style of Dress (give at least two examples):

- Additional Information (be sure to include any tattoos or piercing, facial hair, etc that are mentioned about the character):

* If there is something you specifically do not want on the cover state it here. This is your chance to speak up – PLEASE use it.

If asked what the most important detail is, I would have to say eye color.  Why?  Because it is the most often overlooked detail when images are selected.  I've had it happen often that an author will find an image that fits their character to a T, from the hair to the clothes.  And then come to realize that the image has blue eyes and the character has brown.

Luckily, eye color is a fairly easy fix.  If I had to suggest which to find images based on, I say go with exact hair color, and let me change the eye color.  Because hair color is a pain to change, and have look realistic.  But eyes are fairly simple.

After that, we look at fonts.  A lot can be conveyed by a font, and it is my job to make sure that each font matches the cover I created, the genre of the book, and most importantly the book itself.  For example, I wouldn’t use a loopy lasso looking font on a serious thriller.  But I might use it on a fun, and whimsical contemporary romance about a woman roping her perfect man – a cowboy.  Conversely, I might use a stark, simple font with sharp lines and pointed tips if the book were a dark vampire romance.

Now, some authors have fonts that are used on all of their books, and they like it that way.  Others don’t mind something different each time.  So that has to be taken into consideration too.  So authors normally have a chance in the CAF to weigh in on the fonts …

Generally, the last part of the CAF directs authors to look at previously created covers for their publication house, and even covers created for other publishers by the house artists, to give a suggestions of styles, colors, look and feel. 

For example, if an author says they  like this cover By Shirley Martin.

What this tells me is that they like a sexy cover with clean, bold lines.  Nothing too busy.  But still has some soft elements – namely the red silk along the side. 

What about the following cover by Rita Karnopp?  




At first glance, this is also a fairly straightforward cover, until you start to look closer.  The woman is a bold focus point, but it isn’t as simple as it seems.  The background is stark black and white, suggesting at grittiness.  You also can’t quite make out what the background is, but you can kind of see hints of rocks, trees and water, so it is outside.  Along the bottom, is a man on a horse, in silhouette.  And it is balanced by the dreamcatcher with the author’s initials in it.

So it is a relatively busy cover, with a lot to say.  If an author suggests this cover – it could be for the colors, and the play of softness and starkness.  Or it could be because of the way numerous elements of the story are blended together. 

What about when both ideas need to be blended together?  Something a little bit busy, but sexy!


 Then you have something like Ann Cory’s Unladylike Behavior.  It has a lot of elements, the castle, the pearls, the roses, and the women.  Obviously, the woman the focus, but they the cover overall is soft and sexy, and very feminine.  And notice the roses aren’t quite normal – that is because there is a silk sheet laid over them, and faded in.  The castle has mist around it, in a soft pink to match the roses.  The roses, by the way, are colored to match the lipstick of the two women.

So if an author suggests this cover, I know we are looking at soft, sexy, and yet it can convey numerous elements of the story.

I definitely like when authors mention covers that they like elements of, even if it isn’t my work.  Makes things easier …

Now if you are interested in looking at my cover portfolio, it can be found HERE.  http://eroticdesign.eroticpen.net  I feel I must mention, some of my covers are for erotic romances … so some may be very sexy, and rather hot!  You’ve been warned. : )

So that, in a nutshell, a cover art form. 

I hope that you have enjoyed this brief glimpse into what goes on for me in creating a cover.





Monday, May 14, 2012

Fate, Kismet??



Whatever you want to call it, it turned Interior Designer, Wendy Seidel’s world upside down. From a chance meeting at the airport to Florida and back to Ohio, she can’t believe the strange circumstances that throw us together, after I  literally knocked her off her feet at the airport.

Hi, I’m Bill Johnson, and I thought I’d take a minute to talk about Wendy.
I’ll never forget my first meeting with Wendy. Yes, I literally knocked her off her feet in the airport, accidentally on purpose.  Oh, I didn’t mean to knock her over, that was an accident. I just meant to bump into her. But she darned near stopped and wham, I blasted into her.
From the minute I saw her, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. That red hair and those green eyes mesmerized me. I never went in much for red heads, too hot-tempered. But this chick hypnotized me or something.
So, there we were both hurrying to catch our plane and bam, I knocked her over. Talk about a temper. Phew, let me tell you, she could freeze a glass of water with that look and cut you to the quick with a few words.
Okay, I have to admit, getting knocked down would have put me in bad temper too, but gees, I did apologize. Not that it mattered, she was off and running lickety split. Yep, hell-bent on her mission.  So much for meeting her.
But…as luck would have it, there she was sitting at my departing gate. Well, heck, how could I resist talking to her? Not that she was much for talking. Had her nose stuck in a book and wasn’t about to take it out. At least not until I kept up my end of the conversation, which she wasn’t responding. I think I was annoying her more than anything.
Before I knew it, they made an announcement that or flight had been cancelled. So much for spending three hours trying to get to know her. At least that was my plan. I was going to con the person sitting next to her out of their seat. Instead, I had to make arrangements to stay in a hotel. Hey, maybe I’d get lucky and she’d do the same.

If you want to know what happened, you’ll have to read Designed for Love available at Amazon

 
Excerpt:
“What the hell?” My carry-on bag slid across the floor and slammed into the wall. My feet slipped out from under me, I landed flat on my back, and someone fell on top of me, pinning me to the floor. The breath knocked out of me, I lay still a moment.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I finally caught my breath and pushed him off. “Everyone’s always in such a big hurry.”

“Why’d you slow down? You darned near stopped in front of me.” He stood up, brushed himself off and held out his hand to help me up. “Sorry.”

I knocked his hand away, got to my knees and stood. I didn’t need his help. Not his or anyone else’s for that matter. What I needed was to find my bag and get on to my gate.

“Look, I’m sorry. It was entirely my fault. I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry.” He held his hand out to me again, but I ignored it. “Here, let me get that for you.” He hurried to pick up my bag, but I grabbed it first.

“Look, Mister, I have a plane to catch, so excuse me if I don’t have time to chat.” I straightened up my bag, grabbed the handle and started toward my gate. Good looking in a rustic sort of way, I had to admit. Probably worked outdoors or at least spent a lot of time outside. Not that it made any difference. I didn’t have time for him. Or any man for that matter. I had a career to build, and men didn’t figure into it.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like men. I did. Even dated occasionally. Eventually I’d like to have a relationship, even get married. But relationships and marriage took time, not a priority right now. My career came first. Something about him, though.

I couldn’t resist looking back. Great. He stood watching me with a silly smirk on his face. Nice eyes, soft gray. I loved gray eyes. Maybe because my grandfather had gray eyes. He lifted his hand and waved at me. Heat burned my face, and I hurried off in the direction of the gate, looking at the signs above. Only at Gate 2. Not even close. Of course my gate was at the farthest end of the airport. Thankfully, there was plenty of time to get there.

I avoided a heavyset man, hell bent on his mission. I hated this time of year. Everyone was in such a big hurry.

To make matters worse, my butt hurt but I resisted rubbing it. Didn’t need to look like any more of an idiot. Ah, Gate 11, finally. Now I could sit down and relax, since there was still forty-five minutes before my flight. I took a book out of the side pocket of my carry-on and settled back to wait. Not that I could concentrate, anger at my boss raged inside me. Who in their right mind set up a meeting with a client right before New Years? And in Florida, no less. Obviously, Nick didn’t care that I had plans for New Year’s Eve.

So I was getting out of Ohio, big deal. Sure, my friends thought I was lucky, especially with the predicted snowstorm. Didn’t make any difference to me, I liked snow.

I glanced out a window. Already it was coming down pretty heavy, and there was still a good half hour before my flight.

Damn it, I hated flying. I could have sent the samples just as easy. What was so important they required me to personally bring them? I thought we’d settled everything before the client left. Why the sudden change? They could have at least waited until after the holidays.

Nick, my boss, promised I’d be home by New Year’s Eve. Yeah right. I knew how these things went. First this problem, than that one. I’d be lucky to be home in time for my nephew’s birthday on the sixth. Nick better not have any funny ideas. This was strictly business. I’d heard about his reputation with women. So far he hadn’t shown an interest in me, and I certainly didn’t have a problem with that. Good-looking though Nick was, nothing about him attracted me. Definitely not my type. Not that I had a type.

“Looks like we’re on the same flight,” a masculine voice said.

I looked up and almost groaned out loud. This couldn’t be happening. What were the chances we’d be on the same flight? I tried to ignore him, but something drew my eyes to his.

“Bill Johnson.” He extended his hand toward me. “I really am sorry about knocking you down.”

I shrugged and shook his hand. “No problem.” A quiver started deep in my stomach when he held my hand a bit longer than necessary. Rough, calloused hands. Does hard work. Maybe construction. I pulled my hand away and turned my attention back to my book. I hated talking to people at airports. Lord, please tell me he doesn’t have the seat next to me. I couldn’t be that unlucky, could I?

Of course I could.

Taking a peek at the ticket sticking out of his coat pocket, I groaned. Seat 16A. No way, what were the chances? I hoped he’d take the hint and leave me alone.

“Are you staying in Fort Myers?” He sat down next to me.

Figured, no such luck. I nodded. Maybe if I didn’t contribute to the conversation, he’d go away. I kept my eyes on my book but couldn’t concentrate. I had the irresistible urge to look at him, but ignored it. What was it about him?

“Visiting or business?”

I looked up from my book. He just wasn’t going to quit. “Business, no time for pleasure.” Maybe that would shut him up.

He smiled. “Everyone has time for pleasure. All work and no play...” He let the rest of the saying hang.

I put the book in front of my face. “I guess I’m a dull boy then.” Why didn’t he just let me read in peace. I couldn’t be much ruder. Some people just couldn’t take a hint.

Bill laughed. A big hearty laugh that caused people to stare. I wanted to crawl under my seat. “What’s so funny?”

“Honey, you look like anything but a boy.” His gaze took me in from top to bottom and came to rest on my breasts.

Okay, I’m well endowed and wished I had left my jacket on. Not that there was much to see through my bulky sweater, but enough. Heat rushed to my face again. Crap, why did I blush so easily? My face was probably as red as my hair. “Okay, so I don’t look like a boy. Just finishing the saying. And DON’T call me honey!” I put the book in front of my face, turned away from him, and tried to read. Lord, spare me friendly people. Especially men.

The last thing I needed was a man trying to pick me up. I wished he’d just go away. I could call airport security, but didn’t want to cause a scene. He’d done enough of that.

“Since you won’t tell me your name, I don’t know what else to call you.”

“Don’t call me anything.” I slammed my book shut, stood, and walked to the window. What more did I have to do to let him know I wasn’t interested? I stared out the window. Things didn’t look good outside.

“Full blown blizzard.” Bill’s deep voice came from behind.

I felt his breath on my neck and shivered from the warmth of it. Or was it from his nearness? Whatever it was, I didn’t like it. I looked at my watch. Still almost a half hour before take off. So far they hadn’t cancelled the flight.

As if my thoughts magically conjured it up, a voice came over the PA system. “We regret to inform you that all flights to and from Cleveland Hopkins Airport have been cancelled until further notice. New flights can be rebooked as soon as we resume our schedule. Sorry for the inconvenience. Airport shuttles are standing by to take you to a hotel. If you can’t get a room, you’re welcome to stay at the airport. Concession stands and restaurants will remain open for your convenience.

Great, just great. What more could go wrong? At least I could go home. If I could get a cab, that is. With the way it looked outside, I had a feeling most of the roads were closed, too.

I moved away from Bill and took my cell phone from my purse, got the number for the cab company from information, and punched it in. Crap, a recording. “No cabs due to weather.” Terrific. I punched in information for the number of the Sheraton Hotel. Hopefully, they still had a room. Spending the night sleeping in an airport wouldn’t improve my mood.

“Sheraton Hotel, how can I help you,” a female answered.

“Yes, I’d like a room for the night.” Please don’t tell me they’re all booked, I prayed. I didn’t care what kind of room as long as it had a bed.

“Yes, I have one room left. Two double beds. One hundred and fifty dollars.”

I let out a low whistle. A bit more than I cared to spend, but no matter. “I’ll take it.” I read my credit card number, grabbed my bag and raced to the exit while I spoke. Now to find an airport shuttle. Talk about luck, a shuttle parked just outside. I pulled the door open, and someone bumped into me.

“We have to stop meeting like this.”

I turned and looked into familiar soft, gray eyes. “Are you following me?” This was beginning to feel creepy. What was with this guy?

“Don’t flatter yourself.” Bill let out a low chuckle. “We can share a ride if you don’t mind. Give the driver a break.”

He followed me into the car. “Sheraton Hotel and...” He looked at me. “Where to?”

What were the odds he’d be going to the same hotel? This was getting scary. “Sheraton.”

“No kidding. Hey, maybe we can get together for a drink or something.”

Like I couldn’t guess what the or something was. I shook my head. Jerk. What made him think I’d even want to have a drink with him? “No thanks, I have work to do.” I looked out the window. How the driver managed to see where he was going was beyond me. All I could see was white. Thick, white, blowing snow. This was by far the worst snow storm I remembered. I just hoped it let up by morning like the weatherman promised.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Time-Tantrums by Ginger Simpson

Okay, okay, I know Ginger is monopolizing the blog, but her free days on Amazon sort of came close together.  Time Tantrums is supposed to be free today and tomorrow, however, there might be a glitch.  Still, you must suffer through this post.  :)  If you enjoy a time-travel with an historical twist, then this is the book for you.  The book was previously released as Sister's in Time and one of Ginger's best sellers, but Books We Love gave the story a new life, cover, and title.

My name is Taylor, and I can't think of a better way to acquaint you with the two 'heroines' in this story than to use a previous interview.  We might not have put our best foot forward, but truth is truth, and let's face it...Mariah and I didn't much care for each other at the time.
 
Interview with Taylor and Mariah from Time Tantrums

Today, through the power of the pen…okay, the computer keyboard, I’ve been able to bring together my two heroines from Time-Tantrums.  I thought it might be interesting to the readers of this time-travel to hear from each lady personally about her thoughts on waking up in a new and strange era.  We’ll start first with Mariah Cassidy, our pioneer wife and mother of two children then go to our modern-day attorney, Taylor Morgan.

Ginger:  “Good Morning Mariah.  It’s very nice to have you here.  A reader can only imagine how strange it was to start off on a trip to town for supplies and awaken in another time and place. Tell us how you felt about it.”

Mariah: *runs her hand down her long gingham skirt and sits a little straighter on her stool.  “It’s very nice to be here, although it does bring back some frightening moments.  *glances around at all the equipment and leans back to study the cylinder-like mike.*

Ginger:  “Tell us a little about what happened the morning you woke up in 20th century Colorado.”

Mariah:  “There isn’t much I recall except packing a lunch for the trip and waiting for Frank to bring the wagon around.  The children and I had already done most of the chores indoors and were ready to go.” *sighs*

Ginger:  “Go on….”

Mariah:  “The last thing I remember is stopping next to a boulder so our son could… well you know.  A nest of rattlesnakes spooked the team and I reckon I was thrown off the wagon seat and hit my head. Frank did the best he could to manage the horses—”

Ginger:  “I’m sure it was a frightening moment for everyone, but tell us how you felt when you regained consciousness after the accident.

Mariah:  *widens her eyes* “Scared.  There I was in some big ol’ bed, in a room filled with strange contraptions—like in here. *gestures to speakers and control panel* “I had a tube in my throat, couldn’t talk, and a man I didn’t recognize at all sat by my bedside constantly and called me Taylor.  I swear, you don’t have any idea how exasperating it is not to be able to speak.  I had no idea then who Taylor was or why he thought I was her.”  *turns and smiles at Taylor, seated next to her*

Taylor:  “Well it wasn’t any picnic waking up in your archaic bedroom with your pesky husband bugging me, either.”

Mariah:  “Pesky?”

Taylor: “Yes, pesky.  The man wouldn’t take my word that I wasn’t his wife.  And how you lived back then with no cell phones, hair dryers or nail salons, I have no idea.  *Bends her knuckles and examines her manicure*

Mariah:  *swivels on her stool* “Your husband was insistent, too.  I must have told him a thousand times my name wasn’t Taylor.  It wasn’t bad enough I had to be in a hospital for such a long time, I couldn’t believe the… the tacky clothes he brought and actually expected me to wear them to your house.  I have doilies that cover more.

Taylor:  “You wouldn’t know style if it was forced on you…and it was.  Those things hanging in your… your armoire are a far cry from New York’s fashion center.  I couldn’t tell the difference between your daytime and nighttime wardrobe.”

Ginger:  “Ladies, ladies, we’re getting off track here.  Let’s get back to the interview.  Taylor, tell us about your first impression… in a kind way if you don’t mind.

Taylor:  “Can you imagine landing in a space in time where words like taxi, phone, radio, and Lexus don’t make any sense?  I felt like I came from Mars and spoke a totally different language.  Frank, Miss Priss’ husband, got frustrated with me.  How is that my problem?”

Ginger:  “It must be alarming to wake up in a place totally strange and then have to be without the usual comforts.”

Mariah: “It’s equally as frightening to wake up in a place full of gadgets you know nothing about.  I almost fainted when the basin in Taylor’s kitchen growled at me.  And I had no idea that ice boxes had come so far.  Frozen meat, sodas, and what about that little device that opened cans all on its own?  My goodness.  I tell you what though; I’ll never be able to describe the thrill of flying.

Ginger:  “Oh, that’s right.  You flew in an airplane, didn’t you?”

Mariah: “Yes, David arranged for me to have that most wonderful experience.

Taylor:  *Her face red, her jaw tense*  “What other wonderful experiences did David arrange for you?  Did you sleep with my husband? *Hands move to hips*

Mariah:  *Lowers her gaze* “Not of my own will.  Remember, he kept insisting I was you.  *turns accusing eyes to Taylor*  “Well, you slept with my husband!”

Taylor:  “It’s not my fault.”

Mariah:  “Then whose fault is it?”

Taylor: *Points to Ginger*  “I didn’t write the story, she did. I was on my way to work, minding my own business when she dragged me into her plot.  It’s her fault.”

Mariah:  “Yeah, it is her fault.  Frank never would have thought of sleeping with someone else. We were perfectly happy until she dreamed up this combination time-travel historical. *cast a stony gaze at Ginger*

Ginger:  *checks her watch*.  “Oh dear, we’ve suddenly run out of time.  This has been very interesting, but we’ll have to say goodbye for now.  All I can say in closing is Time-Tantrums is available now.  Visit Amazon.com and take advantage of the amazing price (either free or at a very competitive amount.)  Thanks for joining us.  I’ll be back next time with a book that features only one heroine.  I think you can see how "tantrums" worked it's way into the new title.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Sarah's Heart by Ginger Simpson


Hi,
I’m Sarah Collins, and I’m here to tell you that my… well Sarah's Heart is my story, but actually Ginger Simpson’s book, and is free today on Amazon.  When I shared the idea with Ginger, I couldn’t really decide which genre best suited my experience, so I guess I’ll let you read and decide if historical, women’s fiction, romance, western, or perhaps some other category strikes your fancy.  If nothing else, the cover by Michelle Lee has to leave you breathless.  But then, a little about the story:
After my folks died, and I found myself alone and pursued by an ugly and unscrupulous banker, I decided to sell what I could, buy a wagon and team and head for California.  I truly would've re-considered my actions had I known the wagon train I traveled with would be attacked by a war-party and I’d be the sole-survivor.  God knows I tried to save my friend, Maggie, but to no avail.  After what I’d been through, I hardly expected a snakebite to take me down…and it might have had it not been for Wolf.  Not the animal, of course, Grey Wolf, a half-breed who really had reason to leave me right where he found me, but he didn’t know that at the time.
If you think prejudice runs rampant today, it’s not anything new, trust me.  Try traveling with someone of mixed blood, especially when people hold the Indians in such low regard.  Here’s a little excerpt to show you what I mean:
Set Up – Wolf and Sarah are traveling to Independence but stop for rest at a mission along the Oregon Trail.  The army arrests Wolf on suspicion of stealing from the post, although he’s never been there.  Sarah is left alone with the priests and nuns, wondering if Wolf will ever return or if staying to help teach the children is her fate.  She’s just taken three little girls on a flower-picking outing and they’re returning when…
As they trudged along the grassy path back to the mission, the unmistakable spots of a painted mare caught Sarah's eye. She hurried the children inside, handing them off to a passing nun, and then ran around to the front. Her heartbeat echoed in her ears.
It had to be Scout tethered to the hitching rail alongside a black horse with a patch of white just below its forelock. Both wore no saddle, and the dappled mare greeted her with a friendly nicker. Sarah approached, brushed her hand down the animal’s muzzle and turned toward the church entrance.
Wolf stood in the doorway, his dark hair hazed gray with dust and his left eye swollen. Blue, purple and yellow hues tinged his cheek, but the bruising did little to detract from his handsome face.
Sarah ran to him, flung herself into his arms, and hugged his neck. “Oh, am I ever glad to see you. I was worried sick you wouldn’t come back.”
Sensing him stiffen, she realized her forwardness and quickly backed away, fixing a crooked grin on a face that burned with embarrassment.  “Forgive me. I’m just so excited you‘re here.” She nervously picked at her fingers.
He smiled then winced, dropping the puffy lid of his injured eye. “I would have been back sooner, but the army took its time in proving I wasn’t who they thought I was.”
“Thank God, they finally believed you.”  Sarah blinked back happy tears.
“Oh, it wasn‘t my word they trusted.  The quartermaster was on leave and the only person who could identify the man who stole the rifles and ammunition. Luckily, my description didn’t fit the details he’d provided for the wanted poster. I’m missing a scar running the length of my face, and my eyes are the wrong color. I never thought I’d be so grateful to have hazel ones.”
“Or me so thankful to see them again.” 
Still reveling in their moment of closeness, but pained by his obvious discomfort at her show of affection, she took a composing breath.  “You must be so tired. Come in and wash up.”
“How are you?”   His gaze drifted over her.
  “The people here have been wonderful to me. I couldn‘t have been in better hands. From the looks of your eye and cheek, you didn‘t fare nearly as well.”
“Just further proof that half-breeds aren’t any more appreciated than full-bloods.”  He opened his mouth, working his jaw back and forth. “The beating is a reminder from the guards in the stockade that I don’t measure up to their standards.”
Sarah reached to touch his bruised face, but he grasped her wrist, holding it in mid-air. “It’s all right, I’ve gotten used to it over the years. It’ll heal.” He gave a half smile and released her. “I sure would like something to eat.”

I hope you'll pick up a copy and enjoy the read.  I appreciate "likes" on Amazon if you truly enjoy Sarah's Heart.  I loved writing for you.