Tuesday, March 14, 2017

St. Patrick's Day - When Everyone Is Irish!

St. Patrick’s Day in the United States is the only day when everyone is Irish. It’s a time for wearing green, reveling with friends, drinking beer—often also green—eating Irish food, watching parades, and generally celebrating Irish culture, heritage and traditions. 

St. Patrick’s Day was officially declared a Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century in honor of St. Patrick. It was observed by many (Christian) religions because it commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.

Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century to wealthy Roman Christian aristocrats. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Gaelic Ireland where he spent six years there working as a shepherd.
After making his way back home by escaping to Gaul, now France, Patrick became a priest and studied for fifteen years before returning to Ireland in 432. According to legend, St. Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans.
The first organized observance of St. Patrick’s Day in the British colonies was in 1737 when the Charitable Irish Society of Boston gathered to honor their motherland. During the American Revolution, George Washington, realizing his troops had a morale problem and in acknowledgment of the valiant Irish volunteers who served in his army, issued an order declaring the 17th of March to be a holiday for the troops in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
Throughout the years and throughout the United States, cities with Irish populations continued to celebrate the special occasion with parades and festivities. Even the White House celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, starting with President Harry Truman.
So to everyone, whether you are Irish or wannabe Irish, I lift my glass of ale and wish you this Irish blessing:
These things, I warmly wish for you
Someone to love, some work to do,
A bit of o' sun, a bit o' cheer.
And a guardian angel always near.
To your good health—“Slainte.”

Thursday, March 2, 2017

CRITICAL BOOK REVIEWS - Love them or hate them?

"Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. 
Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.” 
~ Mary Chase Smith


As much as we writers hate to admit it, we often read positive reviews of our work with smiles and enthusiastic enjoyment. On the other hand, when we receive a critical objective review, we too often get annoyed or depressed, instead of looking for value and constructive advice from it. That’s when it’s time for us to pause, consider the advice, sort out the positive, and hopefully apply the knowledge we’ve gained to our next creative works.

Let’s face it, we all want to hear how wonderful we are. But how does hearing only the good things help us to improve? Sure it builds our ego and makes us feel good. But what does it do to help us grow? How does it help us to face new challenges? To correct unknown mistakes? To set higher goals?

Sometimes we need to step back and ask some tough questions from our critics, friends, and associates. So how do you really feel about my work? What worked for you? What didn’t you like? Please be honest.

Only when we use criticism to learn something about ourselves, do we learn to make changes, grow, and better develop our work. 

FOOTNOTE:
Margaret Chase Smith served 32 years in Congress and was the first woman elected to both the House and Senate.  Although a champion for women’s issues, she was always clear about being seen as a U.S. Senator and not a woman Senator.  In 1964, she became the first credible female candidate for president.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

BLUE AS SAPPHIRES - by Constance Bretes

Contemporary Romance
[Rated R]

A word from the author…
Blue As Sapphires was born from my love of sapphire digging, and gold panning in the beautiful Gem Mountains and Rock Creek River that runs through Philipsburg, Montana. Another issue that I’m passionate about is doing away with domestic abuse. I took the two subjects and combined them into a story that made Marissa determined to survive and overcome her ex-husband’s physical and emotional abuse, and the sheriff, Riley McCade, who is determined to love and protect her.

                        NOTE: National Statistics from the National Coalition
                                       Against Domestic Violence:
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. ... 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

Blurb:
Escaping from her abusive ex-husband, Marissa Simpson came back to her hometown to start over. She had no intention of getting involved with another man, or with the community she left behind all those years ago. That is, until Riley McCade showed up.

Riley was the Sheriff of Granite County and he commanded a work force of fifteen deputies. He loved his community and went out of his way to protect and serve. When he met up with Marissa, he was bound and determined to get to know her even though she said she wasn’t interested.

The more he got to know her, the more he learned of her past. Could he protect her and earn her love?

Snippet:
     Marissa laid back and wrapped her arms around Riley’s neck. She brought her lips to within an inch of his. She stared into his eyes and noticed how tender they looked. She moved in a little more, and her lips met his. He moved his mouth over hers, devouring it. While the fireworks were going off in the sky, Marissa felt her own fireworks. His kiss sent a shock wave through her entire body. Riley guided Marissa so she was on her back and he was partially on her. His Stetson concealed their faces. They continued to kiss and touch, looking lovingly at each other, and then kiss again.
     The fireworks lasted for fifteen minutes, and suddenly a flashlight shone on them and voices interrupted them. Three firefighters stood in front of them singing a line from Burning Love.
     Riley and Marissa quickly broke apart.
     “What the hell?” Riley said. A hint of irritation laced his voice. He abruptly stood up, grabbed Marissa’s hand, and pulled her up.
     “We were told that there was sparks on the ground, and we were asked to put it out,” Mitch said, laughing.
     “Just who the hell told you that?” Riley asked.
     “Heidi,” John, second firefighter, said with an amused smile on his face.
     Riley and Marissa shot Heidi a glance.
     “We can see that the sparks have been put out so we’ll head back to the truck.”    Mitch smiled even wider.
     Dave and Cindy stood off to the side chuckling. Someone from the crowd that had gathered around them asked, “Hey, Sheriff, got a new girlfriend?” Ripples of laughter rang through the crowd.
     Marissa continued to glare at Heidi. She couldn’t believe her friend would do something like that. As the party broke up, Marissa said to Heidi, “We will talk later.”

You Can Find Connie Bretes on:
Twitter: ConnieBretes https://twitter.com/ConnieBretes
Facebook: Connie Bretes

Author Bio:
Connie began her career as a secretary in 1977 for the State of Michigan as a civil servant. She retired from the Michigan Department of Transportation after 38 years as the department’s forms analyst. She has an MBA in Business Administration – Leadership Studies, and a BA in Business Management. She has six books published, with five more on the way. Connie spends most of her time behind her computer, writing, editing and researching for her next story. When she’s not there, she can be found checking out ghost towns, sapphire mining, and gold panning with her best friend and husband, Jim. Her other hobbies consists of basket weaving, and jewelry making.She is a member of RWA’s From The Heart Romance Writers, and Kiss of Death Romance Writers, and lives in Basin, Montana.

Buy Links:


Stop by here, http://www.constancebretes.com/news--things.html for a chance to win a free copy of Blue As Sapphires.


      

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A DEMON'S WISH - by Tena Stetler

Tena’s Inspiration for A Demon’s Witch:
A Demon’s Witch was my debut novel and has remained close to my heart. A Demon’s Witch hit the market and garnered best seller status. It earned The Romantic Reviews Readers Choice 2016 Nominee in the paranormal romance category.   I love talking about this story.
     The ideas begin to percolate as I sat in a beauty salon listening to the chatter from other customers. One woman swore she’d been approached by a vampire want-to-be.
     This got me to thinking, which is scary in and of itself. What if the hairdresser was an alpha male, Demon Overlord of the Western Hemisphere that owned a multi-species salon in Washington DC? Enter a powerful witch, whose beauty caught the eye of the demon on a rainy day when she rushed into his salon. Now, unbeknownst to him, she is not any ordinary witch, but the little sister of the demon’s enforcer. Now you have a romance with unbelievable complications.
     The story became a series, but the other planned books in the series took a strange turn when the majority of readers and reviewers clamored for the enforcer, Tristian’s story to be next in line. I’d never considered writing a book on the witch’s brother, the demon’s enforcer. But after mulling it over for several months and publishing three unrelated books, I am excited to announce A Warlock’s Secrets (Tristian’s story) is awaiting cover art and will be published spring 2017. So please watch for it!

Tena’s contact links:
Newsletter: Sign up on web page www.tenastetler.com

For a chance to win an amazon $5.00 GC or a e-book of A Witch’s Journey please sign up for my newsletter at  http://www.tenastetler.com and Like my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/tenastetler.author.

Excerpt: 
     At two in the morning he awoke feeling her restlessness, listening he heard her soft sobs. He pulled on his black silk lounge pants and grabbed the robe from the foot of his bed. Padding silently in his bare feet down the hall, he paused at her bedroom door just as her anguished scream filled the room. He was at the side of her bed a second later. Gathering her onto his lap, he held her unyielding body to his until her flailing limbs quieted and her troubled violet eyes opened. Cognizant of where she was now and with whom, she flung her arms around his neck and clung tight as shivers racked her slight frame.

    Megan came running from the other wing of the house where the staff lived during the week. “Is everything all right?” She peeked inside Angie’s bedroom door.
     “Just a nightmare, nothing to worry about. She’s awake now.
     “Oh no my Lord,” Megan said in a low frantic whisper.
     “Don’t call me that,” he growled, his amber eyes tinged with orange glowed in the dark room.
     “Sorry. There’s something dark and dangerous chasing that one.” She nodded in Angie’s direction. “It’s not of this world.”
     He lowered his voice and spoke kindly. “Go back to bed, I’ve got this handled.” He paused for a beat exhaling slowly. “For now.”

                         Buy Link: AMAZON  http://amzn.com/1509203087
 Blurb:
      Keeping a lid on all the paranormal beings inhabiting Washington D.C., is a daunting job. Bruce, a six hundred year old demon and the Territory Overlord of the Western Hemisphere, keeps his finger on the pulse of DC’s power players through the activities at his highly successful Wycked Hair Salon. His movie star good looks and body builder physique keeps his dance card full and the rumor mills running. Within these walls, his anonymity is safe, mostly.
      Bruce’s world spins out of control when Angelique, a pint size, gorgeous witch, with an attitude breezes through the doors of his salon. She is the younger sister of Tristian, Bruce’s long time trusted enforcer, whose professional skills are second to none. Tristian is furious at the relationship between Bruce and Angelique, a dangerous situation, but something darker threatens them all. Will undeniable attraction between demon and witch tear their worlds apart? 


Friday, February 17, 2017

Don't Confuse Living with Being Alive

How aware are you of the world around you?
Do you take time to hear the song of the birds in the morning or the serenade of insects at night? Do you pause to hear the far off lonely sound of a train whistle? Do you stop what you’re doing to gaze skyward and enjoy a colorful cloud formation floating across the sky? When you see a bed of vibrant flowers that catches your eye, do you stoop to touch their soft petals and smell their fragrance?

Too often in life, we are rushing through the world, heading from one activity to another, unaware of the universe around us. We become so caught up in our personal activities that we confuse being alive with living. True living means we’re connected with the universe and cognizant of it. Being alive is merely breathing and being functional, and often we erroneously confuse rushing from one activity to the next as living. It's not.

We all need to take time to pay attention to what is around us and make a connection to the world and the people in it. To live means seeing, sensing, and connecting with everything and everyone around us—using our five senses of taste, sight, touch, hearing and smell.  It’s taking time to appreciate our marvelous planet and its people. It’s also a wonderful way to squeeze in a few moments of calmness, awareness, and sheer enjoyment in our chaotic lives...and maybe share those moments with others as well. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BENEATH THE LAKE ~ A Time-Slip Romantic Suspense

by Casi McLean
                               USA Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2jB4JXp
                  Worldwide Amazon Link: http://smarturl.it/BeneathTheLake
  
Casi's Inspiration For Beneath The Lake: (PG13) 
     I love to talk about my, Beneath The Lake, and the eerie lake lore that inspired my muse. A town that time forgot––the history and creepy stories attached to a rural area that sleeps beneath Atlanta's famous man-made lake, Sidney Lanier, fascinated me. Homes, churches and businesses still linger beneath the surface. The moonshiners of the 1940's added built-in suspense, and the birth of NASCAR. Looper Speedway, a half-mile dirt track where bootleggers competed with their souped-up cars, exposed its cement stands in a recent draught.    
     There's a Lady of the Lake who haunts the ghost town too––the spine-chilling lore is the basis for book three in my Beneath The Lake series, Between The Shadows. Some say she lures victims to her watery grave. The truth is, swimmers get trapped among the deadfall of sheered-off trees and town remains. Even expert divers get tangled beneath the murky surface, hence the lake's unnerving label: Lanier never gives up its dead. The inspiration swirled in my mind, begging for a story to be told. What a perfect setting for my romantic time-slip suspense series.
     Why time-slip? Ever since my childhood imagination discovered Madeleine L'Engles, A Wrinkle In Time, the idea of time travel intrigued me. And Lake Lanier, a man-made lake with mesmerizing history, presented a plausible theory. What if the excavation explosions triggered a seismic shift? Given enough energy, could the blasts rip a portal into a different dimension or a crack in time? The possibilities were endless.
     The birth of Lacey Montgomery evolved through my young adult love for Jude Deveraux's A Knight In Shining Armor. The time-slip novel introduced her endearing Montgomery family. I hope my books honor her inspiration. My high school friend, Hilary Johnson, inspired the persona of my heroine, Lacey Montgomery. A lawyer, discouraged with defending criminals, yearned to help honest people in trouble. Some of Hillary's finer qualities became part of Lacey––the dysfunctional relationships came from my own personal experiences. LOL. Once these elements entwined, Beneath The Lake blossomed with an energy and life of its own.
     The sequel, Beyond The Mist, picks up where the first story ends incorporating two minor characters as the new hero and heroine. Beyond The Mist is complete, in editing, and will be published in a few months.
For a Free Gift, and a chance to win my entire short story collection, Destiny: Five Novelettes With a Twist, click here: https://spark.adobe.com/page/pxekfzj8Rx4el/

Trailer, blurb, and the opening excerpt follow:

Blurb:
     A ghost town submerged beneath Atlanta's famous man-made Lake Lanier reportedly lures victims to a watery grave. But when Lacey Montgomery's car spins out of control and hurtles into the depths of the icy water, she awakens in the arms of a stranger, in a town she's never heard of--34 years before she was born.
     When the 2012 lawyer tangles with a 1949 hunk, fire and ice swirl into a stream of sweltering desire. Bobby Reynolds is smitten the moment the storm-ravaged woman opens her eyes and, despite adamant protest, Lacey falls in love with a town destined for extinction, and the man who vows to save his legacy.
     Threatened by a nefarious stalker, the wrath of bootleggers, and twists of fate, Lacey must find the key to a mysterious portal before time rips the lovers apart, leaving their star-crossed spirits to wander forever through a ghost town buried beneath the lake.

Excerpt:
Lake Lanier, Georgia—June 2011
     A final thud hurled him backward, flailing through brush and thickets like a rag doll. Grasping at anything to break momentum, Rob’s hand clung to a branch wedged into the face of the precipice. Spiny splinters sliced his skin. Blood oozed and trickled into his palms, and one by one, his fingers slowly slipped.
     A sharp crack echoed through the silence of the ravine as the bough succumbed to his weight. He plummeted into free-fall. Clenching his eyes, he drew in a deep breath, terrified of the pain, the mauling that waited on the jagged rocks below.
     When icy water broke his fall, the chill kept him from losing consciousness. He spun, straining to see, but darkness enveloped him. Soggy clothing pulled him deeper—deeper into the murky, fathomless depths. He wrestled to squirm free from the waterlogged jacket dragging him down to a watery grave, watched the coat disappear into black obscurity. Panic gripped his stomach, or was it death that snaked around his chest, squeezing, squeezing, squeezing the air, the life from his body? Lack of oxygen burned his lungs, beckoning surrender, and a shard of rage pierced his gut as reality set in. He lunged upward with one last thrust and burst from the water’s deadly grip, gasping for air. A gurgling howl spewed from the depths of his soul and echoed into silence.
     Sunlight shimmered across a smooth, indigo lake, but aside from the slight ripples of his own paddling, nothing but stillness surrounded him. He floated toward the shore, sucking deep breaths into his lungs until the pummeling in his chest subsided. When he reached the water’s edge, he hoisted his body onto the soft red clay and collapsed while the sun’s warmth drained the tension from his body.
     No one knew he had survived. The rules had shifted. Now he could reinvent himself, become a stealth predator. His target: Lacey Madison Montgomery.
Contact Links:


 Author Casi McLean's Bio: 
     Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense. Beneath The Lake won the 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense. 
     Her stories entwine strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you'll devour. You'll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You'll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you'll want more.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

DOUBLE TROUBLE by Darcy Flynn

A Sweet Contemporary Romance

 A word from the author...
I’ve always loved romantic comedies, especially mistaken identity stories. And what better way to confuse my heroine, then identical twin brothers. Some of my dearest friends have been identical twins, from my early childhood, until now. Six sets, to be exact. I’ve always loved being the one who could tell them apart, the best friend who shared their secrets and their pranks. I thought it was time to write a story for them.

Buy Links:


Blurb:
From the first moment coffee mogul, Will Carrington, gazes into the fiery, green eyes of Clare Sullivan, he’s hit with the feeling she does not like him. Not. One. Little. Bit. Used to being the proverbial prize by some gorgeous gold-digging fortune hunter, he’s learned to be careful. But with his hunter instincts now on high alert, he’s determined to find out the why behind her stormy-eyed glances.

Top home designer, Clare Sullivan, wants absolutely nothing to do with arrogant, self-assured Will Carrington, especially after he called her half-sister a gold digger. When she gets the opportunity to design his multi-million dollar Miami penthouse, she arrives at his office ready to decline his offer, and to tell him exactly what she thinks of his cruel and un-warranted comments. 

While there, she overhears his one-sided phone conversation, which seems to further insult her sister. Assuming the worse, Clare makes the rash decision to accept the job and charge him a fortune in the process. Someone needs to teach him a lesson and what better way than with a swift kick in his wallet.

Since she and her sister have different surnames, Clare conveniently hides the connection to her sister. But while she works with Will, she discovers another side to this self-assured, woman-hater. A Jekyll to his Hyde. Charming and professional, he’s nothing like the man she’s heard about. What she doesn’t know is Will Carrington has a few secrets of his own.

Snippet:
 Will loved it when a plan came together, and this one was flowing along beautifully. So well in fact, if he wasn’t careful, Clare might be inclined to get up and run. And that wouldn’t fit in with his plans at all.
And if she gnaws any more on her bottom lip, there won’t be much left to kiss.
He held out his arms. “Come here.”
Her eyes widened, and her jaw dropped two inches.
“In your dreams.”
“There is some truth to that.” He made a deliberate show of getting out of his chair, and an equally deliberate one of removing his jacket and tie.
After tossing both on the back of his chair, he took a step in her direction.
“What are you doing?” Alarm filled her eyes.
“Getting comfortable and finishing what you started this afternoon.” He undid the top button on his dress shirt, then the next. “Do you mind?”
“Yes, I mind.” She shot to her feet, snatched up the shawl and held it to her chest. “This has gone far enough.”
He shook his head. “Not nearly.” He stopped in front of her, gave her the slightest of smiles, then scooped her up in his arms as if she were a child.
She sucked in a breath and push hard against his chest. “Put me down.”
“That’s the plan, sweetheart. The question is, where?”

Bio:
Darcy Flynn is known for her heartwarming, sweet contemporary romances. Her refreshing storylines, irritatingly handsome heroes and feisty heroines will delight and entertain you from the first page to the last. Miss Flynn’s heroes and heroines have a tangible chemistry that is entertaining, humorous and competitive.
Darcy lives with her husband, son, two English Setters and a menagerie of other living creatures on her horse farm in Franklin, Tennessee. She raises rare breed chickens, stargazes on warm summer nights and indulges daily in afternoon tea. 
  
Links: