Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New Website and Blog

This month I’ll be moving to my lovely new website and blog.




Flights of Fancy won't disappear right away, but it will be pretty static because I'll be blogging at the new site instead. If you have been following the blog, please go to my new Reading Room blog and sign up there instead. I’ll be offering a chance to win a $15 Starbucks e-gift card for everyone who comments over there by June 30.

Hope to see you at my new home.

Linda McLaughlin

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Hero Worth The Risk #SPeekSunday

It has been a while since I did a Sneak Peek Sunday. If you're not familiar with this weekly blog hop, it's simple. Authors post a six paragraph excerpt from a published story or a work in progress.

This is Memorial Day weekend, which around my house means auto racing weekend. My husband is a life-long motor sports fan, so he will be glued to the TV most of the weekend. Indycar is his favorite venue, but it's not the only race this weekend. Formula One is running the fabled Monaco Grand Prix this Sunday, with cars racing through the streets of Monte Carlo. So I thought I'd post a peek from Worth The Risk, the contemporary romance I co-wrote with my friend Anne Farrell.

If you're not familiar with Formula One, it is the premier world-class racing circuit, also known as Grand Prix Racing, as every event in the circuit is called a Grand Prix. Very upper class, jet-setting kind of circuit with races all over the world, from Europe to Australia to China to Abu Dhabi. Last year I wrote a short post about auto racing, if you're interested in some background. The hero of Worth The Risk is a former Formula One driver who retired after a bad crash that left him with a bum knee. 

In this scene, Mitch has taken Amanda to a sports bar for lunch:

He leaned close to her so he could be heard above the noise of the televised World Series game. “Well, what do you think? Quite a place, isn’t it?”

Amanda nodded. It was quite a place indeed. Six large-screen televisions were placed strategically so that every customer had a clear view of the action. Football helmets and jerseys lined the walls above them, and what looked like an actual racecar hung on the brick wall in the far corner.

“Is that real?” she asked Mitch.

“Yep, it’s real all right,” he replied. “It’s part of the body of a Formula 1 car.”

Amanda stared at it, thinking how incredibly small it looked. She wondered if this was the kind of car he’d been driving when he had his accident.

For the first time Amanda was glad Marcia had made her read all those articles about Mitch. Two days ago she wouldn’t have known the name of the premier international racing circuit. Though Mitch had spent most of his career in the States, his last season had been with Formula 1, until the day his car spun out of control on a wet track in Belgium. The accident had ended his racing career and almost taken his life. According to the article she’d read, he had been in a coma for nearly a week. Now the only visible reminder of his trauma was the small scar between his brows, and the slight limp she’d noticed when he first came into the library. A sudden feeling of compassion washed over her.

Blurb:

Children's librarian Amanda Lloyd values privacy above all else. Three years ago her wedding ended in disaster when her groom was arrested at the altar and the story of the 'Embezzler's Bride' appeared in the supermarket tabloids. The experience has left her determined to avoid being caught in the public eye again. Until she meets a sexy single dad with a scandalous past.

Ex-racer Mitch Delaney is a public figure whose life has been plastered across the tabloids more than once. But he believes that anything worth doing is worth a risk. After the death of his ex-wife, he moved to Southern California to take care of his son Josh. He doesn't need the complication of a woman in his life, especially since Josh's grandparents have filed suit for custody. But Josh is on the hunt for a new mother and he has his heart set on Miss Amanda, and Mitch can't fault his son's taste.

Against her better judgment, Amanda finds herself falling for both of the Delaney men. When she agrees to accompany Mitch to a high-profile movie premiere, they draw the attention of the tabloids. Overnight Amanda’s private affair becomes very public indeed, threatening her job and Mitch’s custody suit. She’s waited twenty-eight years for the right man. But will happiness come at too high a price?

Worth The Risk is available from Amazon Kindle, Apple, BN/Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords.

Linda

Use the linky list below to hop to another Sneak Peek Sunday blog post.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Release: Red The Were Hunter @VampWereZombie

When I was a child, Little Red Riding Hood was my favorite fairy tale. I liked it so much, my mother sewed a Halloween costume for me, consisting of a red skirt and matching cape, which I wore with a white blouse. Off I'd go on Halloween evening, with my trick or treat basket over my arm.

As an adult romance reader, I'm always drawn to stories that draw from fairy tales, esp. those that involve werewolves. Today I'm featuring an excerpt from a new fairy tale romance by Rebekah Ganiere, a fellow member of Orange County RWA.

Red The Were Hunter
by Rebekah R. Gamiere

Blurb:

What if you were the key to an ancient prophecy that would begin to heal your lands, but fulfilling your destiny meant you had to turn your back on everything you'd been taught to believe in? Redlynn of Volkzene, member of the Sisterhood of Red, is heartbroken to discover another girl kidnapped and her best friend slain by werewolves. Defying the head of her order, she sets out to kill the beast she believes responsible. The King of the Weres-- But there are worse things in Wolvenglen Forest than the wolves.

Adrian, reluctant heir to the throne of Wolvenglen, and his band of wolf brothers are bound to protect the humans; especially the Sisterhood. Finding Redlynn unconscious in his woods awakens in him a passion he's never before experienced and a protective instinct that has him ready to turn on his own men. Problem is, a female is the last thing Adrian needs complicating his life.

But all is not as it seems in Wolvenglen Forest and to save the missing girls before time runs out, Redlynn and Adrian must move past their inner demons and learn to trust each other. In the search for vengeance however, sometimes you must give up what you desire most.

Red The Were Hunter won 2nd Place in the Hook, Line and Sinker Contest and is a current finalist in the Great Beginnings Contest.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks.

Click here to view the video book trailer

Excerpt:

Redlynn whipped her head from side to side. Where am I? Pain exploded in her neck; she tried to reach up with her left arm, but it was pinned to her stomach. It'd been strapped in place by a strip of red cloth. Why am I half-naked? Her tunic and cloak were gone. So was her locket. Redlynn looked around frantically for her locket. Pain hit her in waves, confusing her and forcing her to breathe deeply. She refused to cry.

Trying to process her surroundings, the fight with the Were flooded back to her. Shockingly, it seemed she wasn’t dead, she was alive, and in someone's very richly furnished bedroom. She wiped at her face with her right hand, her vision muddled.

Stone walls surrounded the large, mahogany, four-poster bed she lay upon. Dark, heavy curtains were partially drawn at the end of the bed. On either side, two ancient and beautiful nightstands held ornately carved glass oil lamps. A fire crackled, its golden glow peeking in the gaps of the curtains.

Redlynn maneuvered herself to the side of the bed and set her feet on the floor. It was colder than her wooden planks at home. Slowly she scooted off the downy mattress, and tried to steady herself on one of the posts. She weakened, the blood draining from her head, her legs wobbling beneath her.

On the floor lay her cloak. She stooped to pick it up, but lost her balance. At the last minute, she braced herself on the stone wall and avoided its colliding with her face. Taking a deep breath, she steadied herself once more and slowly reached down for the cloak, pressing herself into the stone for support. It took her several minutes to get the clasps buckled so that she was covered almost to her waist.

By the time she finished, her body shook like she'd tried to pull a wagon by herself. A bead of sweat trickled down the side of her face. Sucking in a deep breath, she tried to clear her mind and listen for sounds. A faint rhythmical buzzing came from somewhere near the fire. Pushing past the end of the bed, she saw a large man asleep at a table.

His head was tilted to the side and long, wavy black hair fell over his eyes and chiseled features. His large and strong form was set with broad shoulders and a powerfully built frame. He'd fallen asleep in his linen shirt and breeches, with his boots still on. A flutter settled in her stomach, the same surge of adrenaline she got before a fight. He was snoring. What was he doing there?

Confused, Redlynn wasn't sure if it was her fighting instincts kicking in, or something else all together. Part of her wanted to know what his lips would feel like on hers. Another part wanted to run.

What the hell is wrong with you? You'd think you'd never seen a man before. She swallowed hard. She hadn't. Not a man like him.

She searched for an exit and found it to the far left of the room. The sleeping man didn't look like he was guarding her, but why would he be in the same room with her, if he weren't? She scanned the room for her things. Her pack, bow and quiver were nowhere to be found. If she were going to break out, she needed a weapon.

On the table lay a tray with an empty plate, a knife, fork and spoon. Redlynn inched toward the knife. The closer she got to him, the more drawn she was to him. She stopped, a foot from the table.

Keep it together! He's only a man, and obviously your guard. For all you know, he could be a murderer!

She slid her good hand across the polished wooden surface. As she reached for the knife, her collarbone burned with pain. She stumbled, tripping over her cloak and crashing into the plate.

The man was up in an instant. Rising, his chair clattered to the ground. Redlynn grabbed hold of the knife and held it out in front of herself, backing away. It took him a moment to comprehend what was going on. He stared at her, not moving. She shook like a rabbit. He had golden eyes.

“Your . . . your eyes,” she whispered.

“What's wrong with them?”

“They . . . They're gold.”

“They're brown.”

“No . . . No, they aren't.” She shook her head. “They're golden… just like—”

“Like yours,” he murmured.

Redlynn nodded, her head fuzzy, and her knees wobbly. She blinked several times. His eyes were brown. They had golden flecks in them, but they were definitely brown.

“You've had a bad wound. You should rest.”

“I have to leave. I have something I need to do.”

“Do you remember what happened?”

“Where am I?”

“In Wolvenglen.”

“Who in their right mind would live in Wolvenglen? Don't you know there are Weres out here?”

“Please, put down the knife.” He motioned to the knife Redlynn had forgotten she was pointing at him.

She glanced at it and weighed it in her hand. It was solid. Her hunting knife was larger, but she could make do with it if need be.

“Where are my things? I need to go.”

“Hanna, our healer, will bring them in the morning when she comes to check on you, and bring you a change of clothes.”

Still holding the knife, she reached up and touched her collarbone, underneath her cloak. A bandage covered the wound. It was tender. Peeling it away, she assessed what she could see of the damage.

“I wouldn’t do that,” he warned.

Redlynn gave him a hard stare and went back to inspecting the wound. She stuck her fingers in the salve and rolled it between her thumb and forefinger, smelling it.

“Comfrey and calendula.” Pulling at the green leaves, she winced as they ripped a piece of skin and seeped. Smelling the leaves, she put them in her mouth and chewed them before spitting them out. “Fernblend. Did she do that?”

“No, I did.”

“Don't you know you have to keep it wet?”

“I thought saving your life was more important,” he bit back. “You were in bad shape when I found you.”

“Well when I scrub it off, I am going to wish I were dead. Where did you find me, anyway?”

“Listen.” He took a deep breath. His eyes softened and his voice gentled. “I was trying to help you. It was one of the few things I remember my mother teaching me about herbs.”

“Your mother's a healer?”

“Was. Now, will you please lie down before you pass out? You lost a lot of blood.”

“I've had worse,” Redlynn lied. “I need to get my things and be on my way.”

“You need to rest. You can barely hold that knife, let alone walk through the forest.”

“I'll be fine.”

He stepped out of her way. “Very well. You are free to leave.” He motioned to the door.

Was this a joke? Was he really going to let her go? Gripping the knife, she took several steady steps toward the exit before her knees buckled. He caught her around the waist, sending a shockwave of tingles through her body.

His musky scent mixed in her nostrils and her head lightened again. His body wasn't just warm, it was hot; he was a fire in his own right.

“Let go,” she said softly.

“I was merely keeping you from further injuring yourself.”

His light blue tunic opened in a “v” and his chiseled, hairless chest peaked out beneath. Her eyes locked with his. He hadn't shaved in a day or two; the whiskers looked ruggedly good on him. His face wore an expression she'd never seen aimed at her before. Desire. The butterflies in her stomach danced and spun. His face was so close as he studied her features.

“Please, let go,” she choked.

Author Info:

Rebekah is an award winning author. Her first novel Dead Awakenings debuted in January 2014. Red the Were Hunter, the first in her Farielle Series, will be published May 1, 2014. Her trilogy The Society will be released in early 2015 by Kensington's Lyrical Press.

Rebekah is the VP of Communications of the RWA FFP Chapter as well as a member of her local Los Angeles and Orange County Chapters. In her spare time when she isn't writing you can find her moderating on Savvy Authors.com and in her local SCV Writers group, or hanging out with her husband, four children and dog, rabbit, two bearded dragons, three tortoises and a handful of fish. The escaped snake has yet to be found.

Find her online at:

Website: www.RebekahGaniere.com
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/VampiresWerewolvesZombies
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/VampWereZombie
Twitter: @VampWereZombie

What's your favorite classic fairy tale? Leave a comment below.

 Linda