Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New Website and Blog

I have moved to my lovely new website and Reading Room blog.




Flights of Fancy won't disappear, but it will be pretty static because I'm 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 August 31.

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Review Club: Divergent Trilogy


Divergent 
YA Dystopian Fiction

A friend recommended the first book to me, and it happened to be on sale one day, so I grabbed a copy from Amazon.

The setting is a rigid and obviously dysfunctional society on the brink of disintegration, though that's not obvious at first. I was drawn in by her world-building. The story is set in a future city-state--the former Chicago--some years after a cataclysmic war. The city is ruled by five factions:

The Erudite - the intellectuals, scientists and engineers who teach, keep the city running and deliver medical care. They are smart but not particularly compassionate. Their color is blue. (I've taken the Faction Quiz on Facebook and I would be in this faction, assuming I could pass the IQ test.)

The Candor - a group of people who are scrupulously honest, pretty much unable to tell a lie. They administer the laws. What a concept! As I recall they wear black and white, because that is how they see the world.

The Amity - basically New Age hippies who grow and distribute food and keep peace among the other factions. They have no leaders and everything is done by consensus or nothing gets done. They are cheerful people and dress in bright red and yellow.

The Abnegation - these are the selfless ones, kind of like the old time Quakers. They live simply and dress only in shades of gray and are the only faction to help the factionless--society's downtrodden, the ones that have fallen through the cracks in the system. Interestingly, the Abnegation are in charge of running the government, the theory being that you only give power to those who do not want it. Another mind-blowing concept!

The Dauntless - the warriors and protectors of the world. Members of this faction wear black and have tattoos and piercings. They are noisy and reckless, and I suspect many have ADHD. The Dauntless are known as the cruelest faction, in large part because their initiation is so daunting. I know I'd have never made it into Dauntless.

Formal schooling ends at the age of 16, at which time the teens are given a test (a drug-induced simulation) to determine which faction they are suited to, and then there is a Choosing ceremony, where they young people can decide whether to stay in the faction they were born to or transfer to another faction.

The main character is Beatrice Prior, who narrates the first two books in first person. Born into Abnegation, she knows she doesn't quite belong. She finds Abnegation's selflessness a little stifling. She'd like to be able to run and jump and go wherever she wants without worrying about everyone else's needs first.

Things start to go wrong when there is a hitch in her test. Her results are inconclusive as she has shown affinity for three factions--Abnegation, Dauntless and Erudit. In short, she is Divergent, a very dangerous thing to be. The woman administering the test manually fixes the results to show affinity for Abnegation, but at the ceremony she chooses Dauntless and a new nickname, Tris. The rest of the book shows her growth as she goes through the initiation process and learns what it is to truly be dauntless.

I really enjoyed the first book, as it gives you a lot to think about re human nature and where we fit in society, wrapped in an exciting adventure story. Much more Hunger Games than Twilight. Also written in first person, single POV, teenage female protagonist. Well-written and hard to put down; I just wanted to keep reading. So I bought the next book.

 Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Things have really fallen apart by the end of Divergent and the sequel opens with Tris and some other characters on the run from the city. In this book, we get to know more about the Factionless, as the city descends into civil war. I won't say much because I don't like to drop a lot spoilers in a review.

In this book we get to know more about Tris's love interest, the boy known as Four in Divergent, whose real name is Tobias. Good character growth for both teens, still first person, single (Tris) POV. I enjoyed Insurgent almost as much as Divergent, so I bought the third book.

Allegiant by Veroncia Roth

The third books is different in several ways. From a literary point of view, it differs in that it offers two first person points of view, that of Tris and Tobias, her boyfriend and fellow dauntless insurgent. Here the action moves outside the city and we learn what has really been going on and what came before.

I don't want to say much about what happens, but I will say that I stayed engrossed in the book until the climax when something so totally unexpected happened that I was horrified. I had invested a lot of time and emotion in these two characters and I'd expected them to have a happier ending than they got.

Yes, I'm a romance reader and therefore addicted to happy endings. I guess the author saw her story as literary fiction rather than genre fiction. Or maybe it was her way of empatically saying THE END, don't expect any more books about this character. Who knows? It doesn't matter since I probably won't be reading her again, though I imagine I'm in the minority. She has a legion of loyal teenage fans.

If any of you have read the trilogy, I"d be interested in hearing what you think in the comments section.

Linda

And as always, click on the graphic below for more great reviews in the Barrie Summy monthly Book Review Club.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Taste of California Romance #CincodeMayo

In recent years, Cinco de Mayo has become a popular holiday, rivaling St. Patrick's Day for drunken revelry. But it wasn't always an international holiday. It started in the Mexican state of Puebla and Mexican-American communities in the US to celebrate the victory of Mexican forces over the invading French army May 5, 1862. A triumph of New World democracy over Old World tyranny.

For Cinco de Mayo, I want to share one of my favorite Western romances, written by my friend Dee Ann Palmer, even though it predates Cinco de Mayo by about 30 years. The book takes place in the rancho period before California became a state and I think the author does a great job of re-creating the culture and lifestyle of the rancheros and their families, as well as the dangers from a harsh climate and roving bands of the native Americans displaced by the Europeans.

Where Eagles Cry is not just a Western, though. I like to think of it as California Gothic: Jane Eyre meets Zorro.

Where Eagles Cry
By Dee Ann Palmer
Western Historical Romance

Blurb:

Jilted by love in 1834, Cara Lindsay sails from Boston to Mexico’s rugged California to begin a new life with a favorite aunt. Heartbroken to learn her aunt has died, she takes a companionship position to the wife of Don Miguel Navarro, the tough and irresistible owner of a major inland rancho.

Prior to her arrival, Miguel’s wife had suffered a permanent brain injury in a suspicious fall, and the lonely ranchero’s heart opens to Cara’s kindness and beauty like parched earth to rain. Yet love may break Cara’s heart again, for she would never be any man’s mistress. Until ships sail for Boston months away, she’s trapped in the midst of danger and an impossible love.

When the bells ring and the eagle cries, will she be the next to die?

Excerpt:

A fire flamed orange in the grate on the far side of the room. Don Miguel Navarro, her new employer, stood near it, the light dancing off the dark surface of one boot as it rested on the hearth. He gazed into the fire, his thoughts apparently elsewhere for he was not aware of her presence.

Cara stood quietly just inside the door, studying this man who looked every inch the noble in black velvet breeches and a close fitting jacket that ended at the waist. The tails of the wide, scarlet sash he wore lay on his lifted thigh, and there was a sensuality about him she could not deny. It drew her in, tugged at her, interested her. He was younger than she'd expected, tall and broad shouldered. The flickering firelight below locked his finely chiseled profile in mystery, and his lashes cast a shadow on the sculptured cheek nearest her.
 
She drew closer, speaking in the soft Spanish of the gentry, just as Papa had taught her. "Excuse me, señor. Your aunt said you wanted to see me."

Withdrawing his foot from the hearth, he straightened, turning with a fluid grace of movement that stopped her breath in her throat and made her heart race. But then her hand flew to her mouth to hide the tiny gasp that escaped her, for the face she had just seen in profile, and which now she saw fully, was the face of the man on the roan. She stood with her mouth open, seeing in her mind's eye the wide hand raised once more, feeling the sharp slap of a glove across the other vaquero’s face. She completely forgot her intention of keeping her eyes decorously lowered.

In those brief moments of shock, his dark gaze bored into hers, and she wondered if he could read her thoughts and knew the distaste she'd felt at his action that day.

Yet Cara could not look away. His eyes held her, pulling her into their depths, their darkness, and the attraction she had felt when she first saw him on the roan flooded her now. Now, she realized with shock that if he motioned with just one finger to come to him, she would go into his arms.

The worst of it was she sensed he would welcome her there.

Horrified at her feelings, she closed her mouth and pushed the thoughts away. She was behaving like a school girl besotted by a man she did not even know.

"Welcome to Rancho Navarro, Señorita Lindsay. Our house is your house." He inclined his head slightly in recognition.

His voice matched his body, unintentionally yet unaccountably sensual, and the Spanish invitation of welcome was sincere. He motioned to her now, but it was an invitation to be seated, and she moved forward as if drawn by him. It was as if his hand had touched hers, searing it with sensations she had never known before. Not even with Baird, who was once her fiancé.

She could not sit. Instead, she stood behind the chair and gripped its back for courage.

He turned again to the fire and spoke. "You have met my...wife?"

The spell broke.

Available at Amazon, BN/Nook and Smashwords.

Add to your To Read shelf at Goodreads.

What will you be doing for Cinco de Mayo? It's a pretty big deal here in So. California, but me? I'll be watching my favorite competition show, The Voice on NBC, una cerveza in hand. The exciting life of an author...

Linda

Monday, April 28, 2014

Booklovers Buffet May Day Celebration #BookLVRSBuffet



Love romance in the Spring? So do we! Fifty of your favorite authors are celebrating May 1st with a fabulous  Facebook party from 3-10PM EDT. Live chat with authors, win prizes, ebooks, audiobooks, gift cards, and more. Park yourself there and hang out, or pop by any time to get in on the conversation. Giveaways and ebook prizes will be flowing!

The May Day Romance Bouquet of Books features a smorgasbord of treats from over 50 authors in multiple romance genres: Young Adult, New Adult, contemporary, historical, paranormal, even erotic romance. Something for everyone! Check out the titles at our Book Lovers Buffet website. You can catch a brief glance in this video created by author Aileen Fish.



I will be chatting from 6:45-7PM EDT about Lady Elinor's Escape, Regency romance, tea and spring flowers, and giving away a $10 gift card and an ebook copy of my historical romance Rogue's Hostage.

To join the party on May 1, sign up at the event page! Hope to see you there. Or join the discussion at our Goodreads group.

Linda

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cover Reveal: Pieces of Love @pjsharon

I'm happy to share the cover reveal for P. J. Sharon's upcoming Contemporary YA Romance Pieces of Love.


Here's the blurb:

Sixteen year-old Alexis Hartman wants nothing more than to smoke pot and play guitar. Getting high and escaping into her music seem the perfect solution when her world is shattered by her sister's death. But when she’s arrested for possession a second time, life couldn’t get any more complicated. Her mother's breakdown is the final straw that forces Lexi to spend the summer on the West Coast with her grandmother, Maddie. When Lexi steps over the line one too many times, she's certain her life is over and that she’s destined for juvenile detention—until Maddie decides that desperate measures are called for. A three week Mediterranean cruise—for seniors—should keep her out of trouble.

 But Lexi has other ideas.

Eighteen year-old Ethan Kaswell, the poster child for good sons, is stranded on the cruise when his father, a famous heart surgeon, is kept away by an important consultation. With his own life perfectly mapped out, Ethan finds Lexi’s unpredictability irresistible. Although he’s smart enough to see that there is no future in falling for a “vacation crush,” Lexi’s edgy dark side draws him like an anchor to the bottom of the sea. As the two embark on the journey of a lifetime, can Lexi finally learn to love someone—even when she has to let them go?

Addendum:  Visiting such ports as Portofino, Italy; Palermo, Sicily; and Rome. From the Greek Islands to Tunisia, North Africa; and Barcelona, Spain to Dubrovnik, Croatia; you'll see the sights and walk with Ali as she learns about herself, her family, and what it means to love someone—even when you have to let them go.


P J Sharon has also written and produced a theme song for PIECES of LOVE, now available from iTunes! In celebration, she’ll be giving away ARCs this Friday, April 18th. Join the fun on FB by “liking” her http://www.facebook.com/pjsharonbooks page and leave a comment for a chance to win an advanced reader copy.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty impressed at an author who can come up with a theme song for their book! Very cool. What do you think?

Linda


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Love Is A Rose #eggcerptexchange @psthib

Today, please welcome Pamela S. Thibodeaux with her featured book for the 2014 Eggcerpt Exchange. The religious message seems appropriate for both Passover and Easter week.

------------

Since Lent and Easter are very special to me, I'd like to focus on my devotional Love is A Rose for this egg-cerpt exchange so here are the details....


Music is the magical entry into the spirit world; the golden gate into the Kingdom of God. But we mustn’t be of the mindset that God only uses Christian music to reach out and touch our mind, heart and spirit. God uses any and every means available to speak to His children.

Our job is to be open and receptive.

In this devotional, Pamela S Thibodeaux shares how God opened her spirit to a deeper understanding of the abundance of His grace and mercy through the words of the song, The Rose sung by Country & Western artist Conway Twitty.

Pamela offers Seeds to Ponder and a prayer as she parallels the love of God and the Christian life to each verse of the song.

EGG-CERPT:  Introduction

The Bible talks of harps playing and choirs of angelic hosts singing. It also tells us to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” The Israelites were ordered to send the praise and worship team—playing musical instruments, dancing and singing—ahead of the soldiers into battle. So there must be something special and powerful about music.

Music is an intricate element of worship, an aspect of praise that brings you into intimate proximity with the Lord. Music lifts you physically (fatigue disappears, pain is forgotten), mentally (your mind is filled with it, erasing everything else), emotionally (you are saturated with joy and peace) and spiritually (your spirit soars on the wings of His); opening your heart and mind to receive more of God’s presence, more of His truth.

Music is the magical entry into the spirit world; the golden gate into the Kingdom of God. But we mustn’t be of the mindset that God only uses Christian music to reach out and touch our mind, heart and spirit. God uses any and every means available to speak to His children.

Our job is to be open and receptive.

Nearly every Christian song I hear touches my heart in some way, urging me into a closer walk with God and bringing me a truer knowledge of Jesus. Amazingly though, the one song that really opened my spirit to a deeper understanding of the abundance of His grace and mercy wasn’t a Christian song but a Country one.

I’ll never forget the morning in 1995 when The Rose as performed by Conway Twitty came to me in its entirety with Bible references or Scriptures correlating to every verse…

Some say love, it is a river that drowns the tender reed“A bruised reed He will not break.”

Some say love, it is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed….Bible Conversion; a cutting or stripping away of old beliefs.

Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless, aching need"As the hind longs for running water, so my soul longs for thee oh God...”

I say love, it is a flower, and you its only seed…“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed…”

It’s the heart, afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance… David danced before the Lord.

It's the dream, afraid of waking, that never takes the chance"Entrust your works unto the Lord and your plans will succeed."

It's the one who won't be taken, who cannot seem to give…“Love is not selfish…For God so loved the world He GAVE…!”

And the soul, afraid of dying, that never learns to live"What shall a man give in exchange for his soul…For what is man profited if he should gain the whole world but lose his soul?”  Or more accurately…“Let not your heart be anxious, for I am with you always, even unto the end of time.”

When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long"I am going but I will not leave you alone. I will send you a comforter, a counselor to guide and help you.”

And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong…. “God is love and he who dwells in love dwells with God. The meek shall inherit the earth…blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.”

Just remember in the winter (of darkness and sin)....Jesus died so that we might have life, He conquered sin and darkness…. “I came so that you might have life, in abundance, to the full, overflowing.”

Far beneath the bitter snows...How can something so beautiful, so pure, be so bitter and cold? God is light. He washes us clean with the shed blood of His Son so that we might be as pure as the snow.

Lies the seed, (of faith)...that with the sun's (Son's) love...in the spring... (season of new birth, new life)...becomes the rose (an attractive flower).

Wow, what a revelation!

I immediately sat down and wrote the ensuing compilation paralleling the love of God and the life of a Christian to the words of this song.

Why do you suppose God used a country song to teach me about Himself?

I believe God was using a means familiar to me to show the depth and power of His love for me.

It is my prayer the words contained herein will do the same for you.

Before I begin, let me answer a few questions about myself. I am not a minister or even a candidate for the ministry. I have no degree or doctorate in psychology or anything resembling either. I am simply a Christian housewife and mother who's been blessed with a talent for writing and who desires to glorify the Lord of my life with that talent.

As I said in my opening statement, the Lord led me to write this analogy so the words in it (and I'm sure He also led the songwriter to write such a beautiful song) are His, guided through me by the power of the Holy Spirit to speak to you. So, let's begin.

Love is A Rose can be Purchased at:

Amazon in Print and for Kindle
Barnes & Noble in Print and on Nook
Smashwords for E-Readers and Deeper Shopping!

Find me online at:

Thanks for letting me share!

Pamela S Thibodeaux
"Inspirational with an Edge!" 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Life Imitates Art: Sink or Swim #eggcerptexchange @stacyjuba

Life imitates art when a murderer targets competitors in a reality TV show in Stacy Juba's Sink or Swim, today's excerpt exchange.

Sink or Swim 
by Stacy Juba
Mystery/Romantic Suspense

Blurb: 

How do you change the channel when reality TV turns to murder?

Personal trainer Cassidy Novak has gained fame for starring on a hit reality show. Not only does she lose and have to walk the plank, but upon returning home, Cassidy discovers she is being stalked.

As her former competitors get killed off, Cassidy refuses to play by the stalker’s bizarre rules. She’s also being shadowed by photographer Zach Gallagher, who has been assigned to capture her personal moments for the local newspaper. She wants to trust Zach, but fears he may not be as nice as he seems.

When the stalker forces a showdown, Cassidy must walk the plank again – this time for her life.

Sink or Swim was a Nook Top 20 Bestseller and was a Nook Mystery Bestseller, and was also a #1 Amazon Kindle Bestseller in the Women Sleuths and Romantic Suspense categories.

Excerpt:

Cassidy sat poised in her chair as former contestants filed onto the soundstage at WBC in New York. Together, the studio audience and television viewers had watched the recorded footage of her walking the plank. Gabriel would now interview the competitors from the inaugural season one final time. More importantly, he would announce her prize. If it erased most of her debts, then it would at least make this whole embarrassing experience worthwhile.

Cassidy’s heart kicked in her chest and sweat moistened her brow. As one of her old teammates entered, her heart rate skyrocketed for a different reason. Josh Sanchioni slid into a bucket seat, carrying himself stiffer than normal in his sharp gray suit. Studio lights caught his sunbleached strawberry blonde waves, brightening the reddish gold tints.

Cassidy slipped her gaze to his leather shoes. If Josh hadn’t been engaged, they could have been an item. Instead, they’d been good friends until that one evening when the cameras were off and they almost kissed. They’d both realized their mistake and backed away. Things were strained until Josh walked the plank a week later. Tonight, not only did Cassidy have to face Josh, she would probably meet his fiancée.

Her cheeks heating, Cassidy focused on the competitor beside Josh as a distraction. Adam Horton sat erect, hands folded in the lap of his olive green khakis. He wasn’t military, but he dressed like an Army wannabe. His reptilian eyes drilled into Cassidy, his angular face revealing the shape of bones underneath. A blond goatee darkened his pointy chin. Cassidy shuddered involuntarily. Adam never said much, but he made her uncomfortable just the same. She’d sense someone watching her on the ship and Adam would be lurking in the hatches. Luckily, he only lasted on the show two weeks.

“Before we catch up with our former contestants, I’d like to congratulate Cassidy on a job well done,” Gabriel said in the middle of the circle.

Applause thundered from the audience and a wave of excitement crested over her. Cassidy offered a smile for the cameras as Gabriel finished, “I’m proud to present you with your prize – a luxury vacation for two to the Bahamas on a real cruise ship with $3,000 spending money!”

Dumbfounded, Cassidy watched as a video depicted a majestic ocean liner on the large TV screen. “Set sail with us to the Bahamas, where you can swim with dolphins in turquoise waters, relax on sugar white beaches and explore the island’s history as a haven for pirates,” said the female announcer in a voice-over. “On your voyage, you can enjoy our ten lounges, two outdoor pools, luxury spa, casino, cinema, dynamite shows, and glass walls and elevators that get you up close to the ocean views.”

Another boat? More ocean views? Were they friggin’ serious? A frozen smile hovered on Cassidy’s lips. Too bad she’d already seen the counselor that afternoon and he’d attested that all her screws were still in place. This travesty might be enough to unhinge her.

Available at:
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble (Nook)
Smashwords
iBookstore
Kobo
Audible

Author Links:
Website: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Juba/100155471301
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stacyjuba
 
Eggcerpt exchanges will continue through April 17. Check back next week.

Linda


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Going to the Dogs: Worth The Risk

Worth The Risk, the contemporary romantic comedy written by Anne Farrell and me under the name Lyn O'Farrell, is on sale for a few days only at Amazon Kindle. Stick around for an excerpt below.

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?

Excerpt:

His head was nestled in her lap. Amanda gently smoothed back the hair that had tumbled into his eyes. He sighed contentedly and gazed at her with soulful blue eyes.

“You really are a love,” she murmured. “I can’t imagine why I was ever nervous around you.”

The living room was quiet now, except for the soft crackling of the fire. Shadows played on the walls as the flames danced in the fireplace. Dinner was over, the kitchen cleaned up, and Josh was upstairs asleep. It was the first really relaxing moment Amanda had had all day.

“Is that mutt bothering you?” Mitch asked as he stepped into the room.

“No, we’ve been getting acquainted.” She smiled and scratched Albert behind the ears. He looked up at her adoringly. Then, as if aware that three was a crowd, he sauntered over to the fireplace and flopped down with a large sigh. “Never thought I’d actually be jealous of a dog,” Mitch muttered, sitting down on the couch next to her.

Amanda laughed. “But he’s the sweetest thing.”

Mitch murmured his agreement, then said, “You’re sweet, too.”

She cocked an eyebrow at him.

“For tutoring Josh, I mean,” he said quickly.

“There’s nothing sweet about that. I expect to be paid the going rate for my efforts.”

“You will be,” he assured her, putting an arm around her shoulders. “In fact, there may even be a bonus in it.” He leaned closer, a teasing gleam in his eyes.

“What kind of a bonus did you have in mind?” Amanda knew she shouldn’t have asked when his look changed to one of desire.

Pulling her closer, he rubbed his thumb along her lower lip and her lips parted instinctively. She looked deeply into his eyes and saw a new tenderness she hadn’t seen before. Her body ached in anticipation as he continued caressing her mouth and gazing at her from hooded eyes that promised a world of pleasure in their blue depths.

Albert is an Old English Sheepdog, much like the one in this picture from my Art Explosion Clipart CD. Isn't he cute?



Worth The Risk is on sale today for 99 cents from Amazon Kindle.

Also available from Apple, Kobo, Nook and Smashwords.

Linda

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Amped by Douglas E. Richards (Book Review Club)

Amped (The Wired Sequel)
by Douglas E. Richards
Paragon Press, 2013
Adult Science Fiction / Thriller

Dr. Kira Miller is a brilliant scientist who has found a way to increase both human longevity and intelligence. But there are downsides. Intellectual arrogance and a sociopathic disregard for lesser people come with enhanced intelligence and could lead to disastrous consequences. The government considers her dangerous and will do whatever it takes to catch her.

In Wired, she convinced David Desh, the operative sent to find her, that her intentions are not evil and that she was set up. After faking their deaths, she and David are secretly married and building a network of brilliant scientists to aid them. She guards her supply of gelcaps to make sure they are only used to enhance intelligence under controlled conditions or extreme duress.

In the prologue of the sequel, Amped, their enemies find them and attack their laboratory. Kira and David escape, but their colleague Ross Metzger isn't so lucky. Kira and David soldier on, until one of their scientists is abducted. This time the government's man is Colonel Morris "Jake" Jacobson who is convinced Kira is the most dangerous human on earth. A cat and mouse game ensues between the two sides.

At first, I found the beginning of the book a little slow and seemingly more of the same. The surprise in this sequel came in the form of a surprising and intriguing subplot involving a space probe approaching earth, apparently sent by an advanced alien society. It will take all of earth's scientists and leaders working together to solve this problem.

Amped is more high powered action combined with cutting edge science and philosophical discussion. Another great read from Douglas E. Richards that entertains while asking questions about the nature of humanity, the limits of intelligence, and the ability of humans to survive their own worst impulses. Enjoyable thriller.

As always, click on the graphic below for more great reviews.

Linda


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@Barrie Summy

Friday, March 28, 2014

Long Time Walk on Water #EggcerptExchange @JoanBSimon

What was life like for a woman in 1950's Jamaica? 

Author Joan Barbara Simon gives us a stark yet poetic glimpse of Gertrude's reality in today's "eggcerpt exchange" from her family saga set in the 1950s & 1960s.

Long Time Walk on Water 
by Joan Simon

An account of the black immigrant experience jostling to find its place among the white working class. A tale of how the humble live whilst waiting for their dreams to come true. A virtuoso performance in which the protagonists slip in and out of names like garments to the same measure that Time shifts like the plates of the earth, Long Time Walk on Water is, above all, an unforgettable love story: the story of a mother’s love and the price her family must pay for generations to come.

This Excerpt takes place in 1950's Jamaica:

Gertrude hauled her purchases home along the long, well-known dirt road. She kept as close as she could to the edge, sometimes having to pick her way through the discarded rubbish strewn along the way; to step past the rusting Coca-cola cans or the squashed Red Stripe. Boxes and wrappers bleached by the sun skirted the road with their dry leaves or else formed a grey mash after the rains had fallen. Every now and then, a tree cast its shade thoughtfully over the villagers on foot with their heavy bags, their chickens hanging upside down clucking away at a nervous premonition, or the children who grew tired along the way and tried to play up. The villagers on foot. Weren´t they all. The sun lashed down on Gertrude as she stopped, put her bags down for a fraction, changed them over and picked them up again. She wished that for once, just for once, someone else would put this hour-and-a-quarter stretch behind them. Two strapping brothers, but it was always her. They´d lie around doing nothing, sit back with a beer in the hand or else be off gallivanting somewhere whilst she, she had to work like a horse for them. Buy and fetch and carry and cook. Wash and iron. Sweep and wipe. Polish and pluck and peel. And there was no use protesting. She was her mother´s only girl. Their father had upped and left as they all did sooner or later, having been brought up with very little respect for their female counterpart, and immune to the notion of responsibility. And if by some chance you found yourself with one of the good ones, you´d have to beat the other women away with a stick and plague yourself daily with the thought that today someone else might have won him to her. So you question and you dig for secrets and sooner or later he can´t stand it anymore so he ups and goes anyway. Menfolk. Sought and coveted and pampered and loved. Attacked and hated and forgiven. Menfolk. Soft as a raw egg and no woman will respect you. Hard as a stone, you´ll find those who like it, but every woman - every head in a scarf, every heart in a chest, every bottom in a tight skirt - was on the lookout for a piece of toast - hot and rough but melting in your mouth. Toast, golden brown, coated with a spoonful of honey to run down the side and stick to your fingers... Menfolk. Laugh, flirt, drink beer. Spit. Strut. Slap. Sing. Fall into a chair and wait for dinner. Pull you close. Touch your breasts. Ride you. Love you. Leave you. Need you. Menfolk. What else was there to do but to resign to them, yield up one´s flesh and string together the precious happy moments, like pearls; resign and yield whilst you still could, and afterwards to collect your due in the perfumed balm of sisterhood.

Buy links:
Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FranceAmazon Germany, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Waterstones

Find Joan online at:
Website http://joan-barbara-simon.com/joan_barbara_simon/home.html
Blog: http://joan-barbara-simon.com/joan_barbara_simon/Blog/Blog.html
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Barbara-Simon-Author/132830536893341
Twitter @JoanBSimon https://twitter.com/JoanBSimon
LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/pub/joan-barbara-simon/34/83b/95

Check back for more Eggcerpts to come! And please feel free to leave a comment below.

Linda

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Bruised Thistle #eggcerptexchange @Ashley1066York

Ashley York takes over the blog today to share her Medieval Scottish historical romance, “The Bruised Thistle” – part of the Eggcerpt Exchange Fun.
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Blurb:

Iseabail MacNaughton, the orphaned daughter of a Scottish laird, is forced to flee her home and seek assistance against her lecherous uncle, who has usurped her family’s land. When she meets Seumas, a strong and valiant mercenary, she cannot help wondering if he could be the one to stand with her against her uncle. But with a price on her head and enemies on all sides, her trust is not something she can afford to give lightly…

Seumas MacDonell is a man wounded in body and soul, driven by guilt. When he rescues Iseabail from one of his men, he cannot deny the attraction he feels for her, despite the wound that left him unable to act on it. In the hope of finding redemption for his sins, he agrees to help Iseabail…but will his feelings for her prove to be the ultimate obstacle to his salvation?

Now the Eggcerpt:

“It was quite an adventure,” Calum chirped. “Then they called after me  ’thief, thief’ and chased me when I took off on Seumas’s horse.”

Seumas smiled at Calum. “You did fine, lad.”

Calum came to stand beside the man, rubbing the long ears of his pet. ” Did you give her the herbs?”

“Nae, I didn’t need them.” Seumas pierced Iseabail with his look. “I was able to get the fever down by other means.”

Calum frowned and looked between them. “How?”

“I took her to the river.”

“Oh.” Calum nodded, satisfied with the answer. “I will go out and find some food for my rabbit, if you think it safe.”

“Do not go far, lad. There is plenty near here that vermin can eat.”

Iseabail shifted in his arms. “Can you put me down now?”

He did not answer, nor did he comply. Instead, he inched his hand up her neck and started working little circles into her skin. She fought the desire to close her eyes. It felt so good.”

“Do ye not want to know how I got your fever down?”

“You said you brought me to the river.”

He held her gaze then pulled her toward him, and she knew he was going to kiss her. His lips were warm, and the lightning surged through her again. He kissed her lightly at first then more urgently. She wrapped her arms around his neck to pull him closer.

He straightened abruptly then placed her on her cloak. “Ye should get some sleep.”

Seumas pushed past Calum as he was coming back in.

“Told you he was mad,” Calum said.

Purchase at: http://www.amazon.com

Find Ashley at: http://www.ashleyyorkauthor.com
Twitter: @ashley1066york

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Check back for more Eggcerpts to come!

Linda

Monday, March 24, 2014

Diana Rubino & A Bloody Good Cruise #eggcerptexchange @DianaLRubino


Today Diana Rubino talks about her vampire romance, A Bloody Good Cruise. Welcome, Diana.
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My Italian vampire romance, A BLOODY GOOD CRUISE, is now on sale for Kindle and in paperback. Take a bite out of it below:

A BLOODY GOOD CRUISE is a fun-filled blend of the vampire world and luxury cruises.

Romance writer Mona Rossi's book sales are slipping. She needs new ideas and fast! Her vampire love, Fausto Silvius is a doctor aboard the Romanza, a luxury cruise ship. Holding a "Motion on the Ocean" writer's cruise sounds like a great idea. What better way to combine a career boost with romance? But they soon discover hunters on board who give chase to Fausto and his fellow vampires. While he longs to bring Mona into his world, how can he convince her to join him with fringe lunatics on the hunt? In the prime of her life she's not sticking her neck out for a shot at eternity.

Excerpt:

Mona forced a dose of cheer through her jangly nerves. Vampire hunters wouldn’t have the balls to attack Fausto and his friends on this ship. Security was tight. “Well, you’re here, so does that mean you’ve been going out, and aren’t confined to your house any more?”

Fausto shrugged. “Almost. I couldn’t wallow in self-pity forever. And I knew seeing you would make it worthwhile.”

She smiled and gave him a genuine Italian cheek pinch. “I’ll cheer you up, faccia bella, you can count on that. You must feel safe.” She gestured at the tacky duds. “I mean, relatively speaking.”     \

“Don’t let this scare you, but –” He glanced around over the rims of his shades. Uh-oh. Whenever he said “don’t let this scare you,” it scared her. “I got an ominous message at the doctor's office earlier.”

“What?” She swallowed a lump. “What kind of ominous message?”

He looked away, shaking his head. “Nothing to get alarmed about. The hunters just want me to know they’re here. After the initial jolt wore off, I said, ‘okay, I’m being stalked again.’ But I’m used to it. It doesn’t make me constantly look over my shoulder like in the old days. My family’s murder gave me a reality check. If they want me, they’ll get me. I can’t let it interfere with my work, or what little leisure time I have here. And you shouldn’t either.” He gazed at her adoringly and cupped her cheek. His hand was surprisingly warm. “But you’re still scared. All the blood’s drained out of your face, and not in a good way.”

Available at:

Kindle Version, Paperback

Visit Diana at http://www.dianarubino.com
Blog  http://www.DianaRubinoAuthor.blogspot.com
Twitter @DianaLRubino https://twitter.com/DianaLRubino


Check back for more Eggcerpts to come!

Linda

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Elaine Violette & A Kiss of Promise

Today I'm turning the blog over to Elaine Violette to share her love of historical romance and tell us about her upcoming release, A Kiss of Promise. I love that cover!

Welcome, Elaine!


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What I love about historical romance…

Writing historical romance has come very natural to me since it has always been my favorite genre to read.  Although historical romance authors create their plots and characters, I appreciate their research into the history of English peerage, dress, customs,  architecture, foods, dating rituals, etc.  Historical romance must not only include a delicious romance but care must be taken for time period accuracy. Before an author can take off into flights of fancy by adding a spirit, a vampire, even a time traveler to their plot, he or she must be well-versed in historical fact to make the story believable.

Hmm, spirits, now that would lead me into a discussion of the manuscript I am presently working on… Today, I’d like to tell you more about my newest historical romance, A Kiss of Promise, to be released on April 3rd, 2014, and available now for pre-order on Amazon and other major sites.

Romance and Betrayal in A Kiss of Promise
In A Kiss of Promise, my characters venture to America from England. Martin and Alaina have a past history as children of the peerage. They meet under tragic circumstances and their attraction to each other cannot be denied.  Because of their wounded pasts, both need healing before their romance can develop. Martin chooses adventure in America over commitment; Alaina arrives in America under duress.  A conniving villain demands her cooperation to close a lucrative business deal her father left unfinished before his death.  She must present herself as his fiancée in Boston or see her brother, Richard, suffer the consequences.  Only Martin, who left her behind in England with only a kiss of promise, can save her from ruin.  She may need his help to rescue her, but she doesn’t need to accept a proposal out of pity.

I enjoyed delving into Boston history as Martin desperately searches for Alaina when he discovers her plight.  From the elegance of the English ballroom to a Boston brothel, both take fear-filled journeys before they meet again to deal with their turbulent relationship.  No easy trip to a happy-ever after ending!


Other works
I should mention York Blackstone, Martin’s older brother whose story is told in my debut Regency novel, Regal Reward. In Regal Reward, the Blackstone brothers struggle to clear their father’s name after he is framed for treason, arrested, stripped of his titles, and thrown into prison to die. The Blackstone brothers are tossed to the streets to survive as beggars and thieves.   York Blackstone fights to reclaim his father’s title, his family’s honor, and win Marielle who has been claimed by the son of his father’s accuser.  Though Martin and Alaina meet in Regal Reward, their story is saved for A Kiss of Promise.

In my second Regency historical, A Convenient Pretense, I had fun including my love of writing poetry. For Emily Grace,
A grand bouquet would never please
Or words of flattery appease… 

Emily prefers to remain single and write poetry. Her mother’s bitterness over marriage has left Emily disbelieving of wedded bliss.  Marcus Deming, an earl, who must marry eventually, is in no hurry to be leg shackled.  When the two devise a plan to avoid their aunts’ marital meddling, they never expect it to lead them into a more devious pretense that must be discovered before it leads to tragedy for Emily and her family.

Author Elaine Violette
A little more about my background.
I am a veteran high school English teacher with a BS in English Education from the University of CT and an MS in Educational Leadership from Central CT State University.  I presently teach public speaking part time at a local community college. I am a member of Romance Writers of America, CT Romance Writers (CTRWA) and Charter Oak Romance writers (CORW). I love life on the Connecticut shoreline with my golfing husband, Drew, and delight in being a wife, mother, and grandmother to six beautiful grandchildren.

A Kiss of Promise Buy Links:

Available at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, for your Kindle,
For your Nook, and at All Romance eBooks.

Elaine’s website: http://www.elaineviolette.com

Online links to contact or learn more about Elaine:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/elaineviolette.author
Blog: http://elainevioletteblogs.blogspot.com/
and Twitter https://twitter.com/elaine_violette

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Do you like historical romance, too? If not, what is your favorite romance genre? Elaine and I love comments, so don't be shy.

Linda

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Love Remains by Zrinka Jelic #EggcerptExchange @Firetulip

Today's Eggcerpt Exchange comes from Love Remains, a Time Travel Romance, by Zrinka Jelic.

Blurb:

Olivia Owen, a busy, single, high-functioning, corporate executive officer, is not afraid to die a spinster for the sake of her career. But in an alternate reality world, bridged by the angel of her Down’s syndrome sister, she meets Tom Medar, a dedicated, Croatian defense attorney who dreams of the right woman, but never has time to find her. Together they foil an adulterous murder plot while discovering there’s room for love and family in their busy lives—but not before they are separated again.

When they awaken from their alternate world, will they be able to cross countries to find each other again?

Paranormal
Sensuality Level: Sensual

“In Love Remains, Ms. Jelic has once again written a highly imaginative paranormal romance with believable characters who are both flawed and compassionate and a plot that will keep you guessing until the end.” — Debbie Christiana, author of Twin Flames and Solstice.

“Zrinka Jelic has achieved a high level of success with her time-travel story, Love Remains. Olivia had a difficult job, chopping employees’ heads, and then to travel to another dimension where she had a husband and children was felling. However, as with any Jelic story, the romance is strong and I was happy to travel with Tom and Olivia. At the end of life isn’t that what we seek—the warmth of love?” — jj Keller, Trade Agreement, LASR Best Book

Excerpt:

Keys in her hand, she took the two steps to the front door. She had left a few lights on,but the smell of home cooking wafting in the air stood her hair on end. Who the hell was in her house? Heart drumming, she gripped her cell just in case she needed to make a fast call for the police, then she crept through the foyer toward the kitchen. The candlelit table set for two in the dining room indicated whoever was here expected a romantic evening.

His back to her, a man stirred a pot on the stove. His tight butt swayed to an Elvis classic coming from the stereo. Had she made a date prior to her trip but forgot to cancel it? Impossible, she wouldn’t pass up on such a handsome man. Despite her dry mouth, Olivia swallowed. Whatever food the hunk was preparing on the stove smelled delicious. The frills on his apron swirled around him as he turned to her with a smile that would have melted ice caps. Light from the ceiling reflected on his wavy brown hair. “Hi, honey. I was beginning to worry.”  He stepped to her, leaned down and pecked her cheek with an odd familiarity. “Your trip must’ve been exhausting. I’m sorry the flight was overbooked, but at least the airline found you a seat in coach.”

She wiped her cheek where his kiss still simmered on her skin. Rubbing his palms together, he turned to the stove. “Hope you’re hungry. I made your favorite, ravioli á la moi. I just have to pop garlic bread in, but that won’t take too long. So go get comfortable.”

Frozen, she stared. His eyebrows furrowed. “I should have picked you up from the airport. Next time, I won’t let you talk me out of it.”

Her legs refused to co-operate. She couldn’t get them to move, but she managed a sharp breath. “Who are you?”

The hunk’s thick eyebrows drew closer and he cast her a puzzled glance. “Are you all right?”

She flipped the phone clutched in her hand and dialed. “I’m calling the police.”

“Olivia?” He straightened. An insecure laugh crossed his lips. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?” The voice came through the cell.

Her dry lips scraped her tongue like sandpaper across weather-beaten wood. “There’s an intruder in my home.”

“Ma’am, is the intruder aware of your presence?”

She leveled her gaze with the man’s face and met his warm honey eyes. “Yes.”

Pick up a copy for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad


Author links:

Visit Zrinka Jelic's blog: http://forromanceloversonly.blogspot.ca/

Find her on: Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Kobo


Check back for more Eggcerpts to come!

Linda

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Thin Place and the Fairy Tree

For St. Patrick's Day, I invited author Lori Herter to share her story of seeing a Fairy Tree in an Irish graveyard and an excerpt from her women's fiction novel, The Thin Place, set in the same area. Welcome, Lori, and Happy St. Paddy's Day!


The Thin Place and the Fairy Tree
by Lori Herter

I’ve always loved the mystical aspect of Ireland, the Irish fairy lore, the island’s lush greenery and frequent rainbows.  Several years ago, my husband and I discovered tiny, hidden away Caldragh Graveyard on Boa Island in Lower Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.  A prehistoric pagan stone is located there, with a face carved on either side of it.  It’s the mysterious stone that draws most visitors to the ancient cemetery, where it sits amidst tall green grass, thick bushes and trees, and many broken headstones.  After our first visit, I began to get ideas for my book, THE THIN PLACE.  In Ireland, a “thin place” is a spot where the veil between our world and the Celtic Otherworld, where fairies dwell, is very thin.   


I’d heard Irish folklore about fairy trees.  As I began work on my book, I decided it might be fun if I set a fairy tree in the graveyard.  I also invented the idea that my character, Maeve, who believes she’s part fairy, would come and go to the graveyard by rowboat, since the cemetery is on an island in a lake.  By our next visit to Ireland, I’d learned that fairy trees are usually whitethorn trees that have many small blossoms in spring.  When we returned to the graveyard, I quickly noticed a tree full of white blossoms, a tree I hadn’t paid any attention to the year before because it wasn’t in bloom.  My husband and I looked closely at its branches and saw pieces of cloth, a necklace, ribbons, etc., that people had left on the tree.   A white quartz stone was tucked between the tree’s roots.  Clearly locals looked upon it as a fairy tree.  Nearby I noticed a barely visible path between tall blades of grass outside the graveyard’s metal fence.  My husband hopped over the fence and walked down the path, disappearing from view in the dense foliage.  He called back to me and said, “There’s a rowboat tied up here!”  He took a photo to show me.  So the story elements that I thought I’d invented turned out to be true!  I have to say it spooked me a little.  Perhaps the fairies had put the ideas in my head?  After all, it IS a thin place!

Then something even more surprising happened.  At the graveyard, I’d left a quarter by the fairy tree, as a token of respect, and left another one at the pagan stone, where previous visitors had left Irish coins.  I followed this local tradition with tongue-in-cheek amusement.  When we drove back to our hotel, The Manor House on Lower Lough Erne, and parked in the gravel parking lot, I noticed something shiny near the back tire as I got out of the car.  I looked closer and saw several American coins, quarters and dimes, lying on the gravel.  We hadn’t run into any other American tourists at the hotel.  We checked our own money and hadn’t lost any.  Were the fairies acknowledging my gift at the fairy tree?  Even my husband, a sceptic of anything supernatural, remarked on the coincidence.  When I got back to writing THE THIN PLACE, I included a similar scene.  Didn’t want to ignore any idea the fairies had given me!  THE THIN PLACE has turned out to be one of my very favorite books I’ve written, and perhaps I have The Good People to thank for that.

The Thin Place by Lori Herter

Blurb:

Travel writer Glenna Molloy flies to Ireland to explore sacred places cherished by her past love, Finn Maguire. After encountering Maeve, who claims fairy heritage, Finn appears, an old deception is revealed, and Glenna must fight for happiness. Will the Emerald Isle’s magic heal what time and secrets have swept away?


Excerpt:

Careful how he stepped on the uneven ground, Finn approached the whitethorn tree, its many branches frothy with little white flowers.  He walked around the tree three times, bending his head to avoid the lower branches where they came close to the rusting metal fence.

The sun had come out.  He took off his comfortable old tweed jacket, folded it, and set it on the grass under the tree, next to the fist-sized quartz rock that someone had pushed between outcropping roots.  He sat on the jacket and leaned back against the trunk, feeling the cool breeze on his blue shirtsleeves.

He tilted his chin to gaze up into the tree.  The dense canopy formed a shelter composed of numerous jutting branches with rough bark and bare, clinging vines, all twisting into a maze of thousands of small green leaves mixed with snowy flowers.  As he looked more closely, he began to discern objects.  He spotted a bird’s nest, a unicorn necklace someone had hung from a twig, and long thin ribbons, pink and blue, tied next to each other hanging from a branch.  A small handmade ceramic cup with pagan symbols sat tucked into a crevice.  A bracelet of intertwining knots, with a bead on which was painted the Celtic spiral, circled a low branch.

It felt good to return to a place where nothing much had changed.  The graveyard looked the same as when he’d first been brought here as a child by his parents.

He opened his palm and studied the quarter again.  Maybe leaving America had been the right thing to do at the time.  But the decision hadn’t turned out for the best.  Or, perhaps he never should have gone to California in the first place.  He wouldn’t have met his one great love there, his lost soul mate.  He’d sorely missed her ever since.  Her absence had left a hole in his life.  Somehow this shiny quarter brought her back to him, as if she were very near.

Tiny flower petals floated down in the breeze like fairy dust over him, and he began to feel drowsy.  Funny thing, but at night he couldn’t sleep.  Too much on his mind.  Yet here in this peaceful place surrounded by birdsong, he thought he could sleep forever….

# # #

Something woke him, a sound, a feeling.  He opened his eyes and realized it must be evening.  The sky was light, but the sun had sunk below the treetops.  He’d slept for hours.

And then he saw her.  A young woman, no older than twenty, stood a dozen feet away staring at him.  Her thick, waist-length hair was black, black as her long silky skirt that wafted in the breeze.  She clutched a red shawl around her shoulders, covering a blouse.  He could see the white sleeves billowing beneath the shawl’s long fringe.  The name Leananshee came unbidden to his mind, the dangerously enchanting fairy muse of Irish folklore.  He’d never quite believed there were such creatures.  But then he’d never been alone under a fairy tree as twilight approached.

……………………………………………….

Bio:

Lori Herter grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago Campus, and worked for several years at the Chicago Association of Commerce & Industry. She married her husband, Jerry, a CPA, and they moved to Southern California a few decades ago.  They have traveled extensively in the U.S., Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and Tahiti. Lori’s favorite destination of all is Ireland. Over several trips she has visited both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Delving into Celtic legends and Celtic Spirituality has been a special interest of Lori’s in recent years.

The Thin Place is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Contact Lori online at
Website: http://www.loriherter.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoriHerterAuthor