Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday's Chapter Healing Hearts Taryn Kincaid

Chapter One

The wind blew off the sea, moaning and wild, buffeting the man pacing the cliffs.

Hidden by a wall of rock, Emma Whiteside shielded her eyes against the bite of salt spray and continued to watch him, as she did every dawn.
Today, she thought. Today she would approach him at last. Confront him. Give him the royal tongue-lashing he deserved. She had nothing left to lose, after all. And she might not have the opportunity tomorrow. Or ever again.

The things I will say to you, Riverton, will peel the skin from your bones and lay you lower than anything Napoleon’s Grande Armée had to offer.
A small voice nagged Emma from within, the advice reasonable considering her current dire circumstances. Better to seek the man’s aid than chide him. But she snapped her mind closed against the unwanted counsel. The viscount was the last man on earth she’d ever ask for help.

Grief chilled her, numbed her heart, deadened the tender feelings she’d once had for him. Only her need for vengeance broke through her frozen emotions now. She longed to set Riverton in his place, however little effect her words might have on a man so impervious to remorse.

But once again Emma could neither confront him nor beseech him. The evidence of his stiff-necked pride—and her own—continued to hold her back with as much force as if an unseen hand pressed down upon her shoulder. She glared in the man’s direction, as if it were his hand oppressing her.

Fierce gusts punished him, impeding his tortured progress. Pain twisted his handsome features but he confronted the gale without flinching. A tiny chip splintered off from the ice sheath encasing Emma’s heart.
Damn him.

How do you bear it, Riverton? Are you made of stone?

She knew he was not. She saw the agony against which he fought, the stalwart way he pushed himself onward, despite the uneven gait that hampered his progress.

A cold blast of wind whistled past, ripping the hood of Emma’s cloak aside, whipping her hair against her neck. The frigid current stung her eyes, wringing reluctant tears. She blinked the moisture away and rubbed the damp trail from her cheeks.

No tears, she instructed herself. Not for him. Never for him.

Riverton wore no coat or cravat. His linen flapped about him, white shirttails torn from his trousers—an unlikely flag of surrender when he refused to give quarter.

Did you stand so against the French?

Emma could think of no oath dark enough to curse a man so remarkably stoic. She envisioned him in her mind’s eye, saber raised, hastening up and down the lines, shouting at his men to hold: Major Adam Caldwell, Viscount Riverton, at his most courageous.

She shuddered, conjuring the brutal attack that haunted her grimmest moments, the scene clouded by smoke and thunder, blurred by the limits of her grief and imagination. The battle where her twin had fallen, belly pierced by an enemy bayonet.

Michael admired you so, Riverton. I will never stop blaming you. ’Tis time you knew it.

Anger burned within her breast, bright as her love for the viscount once had.

And yet…her gaze swept him again, lingering on the trousers that molded his muscular thighs, the loose shirt that emphasized the breadth of his shoulders. ’Twas but the vicious wind that stole her breath, she told herself.

Why was he here? Why had he come now? What was he doing marching about the windswept cliffs so close to the manor when he had not had the decency to call upon her family? He had not answered the letters she’d sent after they’d first learned of Michael’s death at Albuhera. And now, considering her current untenable situation, Riverton’s presence here seemed too cruel a taunt.

Go to him, her inner voice dared again. Ask him for aid. You know he will help you.

Emma straightened and shook her head. She knew no such thing. She did not know this resolute, unyielding man at all anymore. No matter how dire her plight, she would never beg Adam Caldwell for a farthing. She might have little of value left, but she still had her pride. And that pride demanded she read him a scold—if she could only muster the courage to do so.

Emma studied Riverton’s grim, determined face, experienced etched upon the angles like the engraved lines on a printmaker’s plate. She stifled the sigh that threatened to escape her.

What would it be like to be held in this man’s powerful arms, crushed against his hard body? Odd tingles raced down her spine. Nightmares of war may have chased her girlhood dreams but her fascination with Riverton persisted, despite the world-weary air that now settled over him like a cloak.

The viscount planted one booted foot in front of the other and trudged across the rock-strewn ledge mottled with dying chalkgrass and choked with brambles. He clenched his jaw, as if grinding his teeth to bite back the pain.

Grudging respect for the single-minded effort with which he exercised his wounded limb stole over her. Warring emotions wracked her. She fought an urge to run to him, to soothe his knotted brow with her fingertips, stroking the grooved lines of care away. Bittersweet passions swelled and crested until her heart raced. Despite the wretched weather, a surge of heat engulfed her. She flattened her palms against her warming cheeks.

Damn his eyes.

“I am not that silly minx in pigtails anymore and I will not let you do this to me again!”

Emma gripped the embroidered handkerchief she had labored over with the last of her silk thread, never finished when the skein ran out. She forced her fingers to unclench before she tore the fragile muslin square.

How her circumstances had changed since that long-ago garden party!
Twelve years earlier, watching the viscount flirt with young ladies his own age, she’d marched over to him, abuzz with indignation. Throwing back her shoulders and jutting out her chin, she’d tugged on his coattails until he turned and smiled down at her.

“You have succeeded in capturing my complete and undivided attention, Miss Whiteside. Or should I call you ‘general’?”

The startling glint in his blue eyes—a sparkle bright as a shooting star streaking across the midnight sky—thrilled her. She’d ignored his gentle teasing.

“You will wait for me,” she’d ordered him.

He’d dropped to a knee, leaning toward her until mere inches separated his face from hers. A dark eyebrow lifted like an elegant black bird drifting into flight formation.

“What do you mean, poppet?”

“You will wait for me to grow. I will marry you and be your lady.”

He hadn’t laughed. Instead, he’d regarded her with wry solemnity.

“Of course, I will, poppet. You’ve stolen my heart. I will wait for you forever.”

Then he’d straightened, hauling her up with him and swinging her around until she’d shrieked with delight.

How stiff his left leg seemed now, in contrast to the nimble teenager he’d been. He favored it, as if uncertain whether the limb would bear his weight. She tamped down another unbidden flare of compassion.

A man like you will never need bend a knee. But that was too callous a thought, she chided herself, even for a wretched man like Riverton.

Thank God she remained too far away to see his eyes. From the rigid set of his jaw, Emma suspected the horrors of war had doused the ready light that had once shined there. She was certain bleak shadows now dulled their remarkable blue the way a pall of smoke turned day to dusk on the battlefield.

Emma tried to stoke the fast-ebbing fires of her resentment. But the more she watched Riverton’s exhibition of sheer stubborn will, the more she softened, her pangs of longing growing ever more insistent.

Adam Caldwell still possessed the power to make her heart flutter. More so now as a virile man of nine and twenty than he had as a stripling of seventeen.

But she had lost too much. Her twin brother lay in a forgotten grave in Spain, her father had gone missing, and she would be turned out of her childhood home tomorrow.

Then what? How will I save Papa? How will I ever find him? What if she could not secure a position as a governess or paid companion? Would she be forced to make her way in the world on her back? There was so little time left.

Talk to him

Emma shivered and wrapped her cloak tighter around her to block out the persistent carping of the voice of reason. She knew now she was fooling herself. She would never confront the blasted Adam Caldwell. Not to dress him down. Not to ask his aid. But her predicament remained. High time to stop her useless spying on the wretched viscount and seek some other solution to her thorny dilemma.

Chores awaited her at the manor. The muslin torn from her few worn chemises would not block and stitch itself. Perhaps she could never satisfy Papa’s debts by embroidering handkerchiefs to sell at the village linen-draper and haberdasher shop, but at least she could stock the larder until she found a way to rescue Papa and save their home.

Some way other than the one with which Papa’s creditor had presented her.

Emma rose from her hiding place and brushed sand from her hands.

Riverton abruptly stopped pacing. He tilted around and stared straight at her. Emma shrank behind the stone outcropping again. Had he seen her?


But his gaze skewered her like a rapier. He took the decision out of her hands.

“The show is over, madam. I’ve entertained you long enough.”

His deep voice reached her across the windy bluff, affecting her as if he stood close beside her, his hand encircling her wrist and pulling her forward. The rich timbre resonated through her, as intoxicating as sherry. Her hunger flared.

Emma took a gulp of salt-tinged air and emerged from concealment to face him. “We meet again, Miss Whiteside.”

The young woman’s sudden appearance, after she’d remained hidden so long, broadsided Adam like a cannon shot.

He’d sensed her presence but had never actually seen her as anything more than a vague shadow, concealed in the gray mists of dawn as she darted to her secret observation post like a French sharpshooter. He had not placed her. Until now.

Her luminous countenance flooded with surprise as she swayed back against the shelf of rock, covering her mouth with two fingertips. The gesture drew Adam’s attention to her gently parted lips. Kissable lips. Very.

“You did not expect me to know you, Miss Whiteside? You’ve changed a great deal. But I’d know you anywhere.”

Emma dropped her hand and her spine took on the brittle rigidity of iron. Swathed in her cloak, she gazed at him with fierce fire burning in her eyes, as long tendrils of wine-red hair escaped her hood and slashed her cheeks.

“Why have you come, Riverton?” Her tone could have peeled the rind from a lemon. He was not accustomed to such address; even during the war men had leapt to obey his barked commands. This young woman, such a study in contrasts, baffled him. His nostrils flared, like those of a beast aroused by its mate. His blood coursed faster.

Adam flicked his hand toward the steep cliffs and the churning waters that slapped the rocks below. “The air,” he informed her. “I’m taking it.”

“Why not? You’ve taken everything else precious to me.”

What in bloody hell was that supposed to mean? Perhaps he had been tardy in paying his respects to her family. He had bided his time, healing his body, if not his soul, as he gathered his strength and—more recently—collected disturbing information in the village below. But devil take the wench, he was here now. Despite the physical and mental toll his presence on the windswept cliffs cost him.

Her acid words sizzled across the thick scar tissue encasing his heart, burning away all that no longer mattered. And undoubtedly producing the precise opposite of the effect she’d intended. It had been a long time since he’d looked at any woman with interest. But suddenly he hungered to run his hands over Emma’s flawless skin, taste her sweetness and tang on his tongue.

“Not everything precious, surely. I dare say we’d both have remembered that.”

His suggestive words found their mark. Color sprayed her face like a Spanish sunset, arousing him further. She did not pretend to misunderstand him, as a wilier girl would have. With no coy fan to hide behind, her emotions spilled across her expressive face as plainly written as the headlines of a broadsheet.

“I dare say your memory would be as suspect in that regard as in any other, my lord.”

“I’m rather certain the experience would prove unforgettable, madam. For both of us.”

What possessed him to say such outrageous, rag-mannered things to her? Was it the bold way she continued to hold his gaze with eyes the changeable color of a stormy sky? Or the troublesome rumors he’d heard at the local tavern?

“No doubt the war has robbed you of many things, my lord. As it has me.” Her gaze slid to his leg, the walking stick upon which he leaned, the edge of his jaw, where a thin, white scar crawled like a worm. “But despite the depths to which I may have fallen, I have managed retain my manners.”

He deserved nothing less than such a chiding, but he heard only half her rebuke.

“What depths?” he demanded, stepping forward and seizing her chin in his hand. Were the damned rumors true? If not, he’d flay the skin from the back of any man he heard spreading them. He tilted her face and stared into her eyes. “What depths, Emma?” Her color flared hotter and he felt the quickening of her pulse where the side of his hand rested against her throat. But she twisted out of his grasp.

“That is my business. I thank you for your interest in my affairs, my lord, but I shall take care of myself.”

Her cool, sarcastic words tore something within him. What had happened to her father? When last he’d seen George Whiteside, the man had been a complacent country squire, a regular fellow, if occasionally somewhat high in the instep, a man who’d sought the best for his children. Now his son and heir was dead and, if the gossip Adam had heard was correct, Whiteside had taken to drowning his grief, becoming a drunkard and inveterate gambler far out of his league. Was that it? Had Whiteside landed in dun territory, gambling away his daughter’s prospects along with her dowry?

Adam considered the small squares of cloth in his pockets, with their tiny elegant stitches, one of them so horribly stained with blood. Anger akin to the red rage of battle momentarily seized him in its grip, and he wished he had a sparring partner to pummel. But he took a calming breath. If he’d learned nothing else in the last few years, he’d learned the emptiness of violence.

Did Emma have no one to protect her now? What had happened?

“Do not trouble yourself, Riverton,” she said, as if reading his thoughts.

Adam frowned. Should he place her under his protection? He had not taken a mistress since before the war. His soul might be dead but he was still a man. A broken, damaged man, perhaps, but one with needs. He had not had a woman in nearly a year—not since before he was wounded at Albuhera. Better to put some distance between them, he thought.

But he couldn’t remember when he’d last seen a chit this striking. Had his blasted leg allowed him greater agility, he might have leaped on her then and there, dragging her to the hard earth for a satisfying ravishing.

What the bloody hell was he thinking? He had never in his life done such a thing. Not with the prostitutes and women of easy virtue who followed the drum. Not with the Iberian women whose bodies were pillaged along with their homes. He was not about to start now.

Certainly not with this woman—no matter how plump and kissable her lips. She deserved better than a man with no heart. No matter how far she had fallen. If, in fact, she had.

Adam leaned on his staff and reminded himself he was a gentleman, even if he’d seen things no gentleman should see, and done things no gentleman would do. Things that would haunt him forever. He further reminded himself that the young woman before him—however much she currently resembled a wild-haired, blazing-eyed banshee ripe for his plucking— was a lady, gently reared. Even if her own father had forgotten that.

The honorable Miss Emma Whiteside. Michael Whiteside’s twin.

The corporal’s hair had been light, not this astonishing claret color. And the finely whittled features that seemed to resemble Michael’s at first blush were far different, indeed.

His gaze rested upon cheeks, soft and rounded as plums, that invited the touch of a man’s lips, and then lingered on a sultry mouth shaped for more wicked delights.

The willful, unruly little chit had grown into a diamond of the first water.

Her intriguing gray eyes, silver as a saber, fairly snapped at him, the battle waging in them as intense and wrenching as any Adam had experienced on the Peninsula.

Sparks flew as they stared at each other, like those borne by the clash of Toledo steel.

Emma moistened her lips as if they’d gone dry, the tip of her tongue darting out. Quite different from the calculated flirtations practiced by the fan-wielding ladies of the ton. No artifice here. None at all.
Adam’s cock stirred and his balls tightened. He longed to taste those unschooled lips. He ached to invade her mouth with his own tongue, drawing sweet sighs of pleasure from her as he savored her kisses and seduced her with his.

As if she sensed the direction his thoughts had taken, her gaze travelled to his mouth, making him burn. Mixed emotions marched across her face, ragged as raw recruits.

Adam swallowed, trying to squelch his feverish attraction by recalling a long ago tea—a lifetime ago, it seemed to him—and a young lady’s impertinent proposal. But the feisty woman confronting him was decidedly a woman, all of twenty now, not an impetuous eight-year-old suffering a bout of puppy love. Her eyes flayed him as if only by stripping the skin from his bones would she know any respite from her grief. The starch that straightened her spine held her rigid as the chalk that formed the cliffs upon which they stood.

He dipped his head and stifled his groan. She did not yet know the mission that brought him here. Only the thought of the wretched piece of cambric embroidered with the initials M and W and blotched with her brother’s blood had tempered his irritation when he’d learned the extent of her father’s misdeeds. The man’s worthless paper was popping up all over the county. Adam had sent his batman, Oliver Garrett, on fruitless missions to Whiteside’s favorite haunts, but the squire had not been ferreted out as yet. Now Garrett was searching venues less frolicsome.

Was there some way to shield Emma from what was to come?

Despite her apparent distaste for him, something more than ire animated her. Mutual awareness flared between them like dry kindling under a match. The desire to fan those reluctant embers into flames of passion, blazed through Adam again. His longing grew more intense, more difficult to shake off.

“Why have you come now?” Emma demanded. “I wrote and wrote, after that first brief letter you sent us from the Peninsula. You did not deign to answer.”

“How do you fare, Miss Whiteside?”

“How do you think I fare, my lord? My brother is dead and my father…”

Her voice trailed off and Adam noted her wince. But he decided this was no time for sugar-coated sentiments. Even in London drawing rooms he had never minced his words. And this harsh, windy bluff was hardly a Mayfair salon. Emma Whiteside’s stiff back and unwavering glare convinced him she was made of sturdy stuff.

“Your father is a drunken lout who gambled away property not his to wager,” he finished for her with a tight-lipped lack of diplomacy. “That is why I am here.”

Emma’s hand fluttered to her throat. Did his blunt words shock her? Had she been unaware of what her father had tried to do? “Not his?”

“You did not know?”

“I do not believe you.”

Adam stared at her in disbelief. “I am not in the habit of lying, Miss Whiteside.”

Emma’s posture lost some of its starch and Adam caught a furtive mote in her silvery eyes, before her long lashes descended and her glance slid away. She swiftly regained her composure, tilting her chin with a defiant air as she returned his gaze. He admired her spirit. More than her hen-witted twin had possessed.

“I thought perhaps you had come to apologize for taking my brother from us. For leading him into a battle from which he would not return.”

Adam’s guts wrenched as if she’d stabbed him and then twisted the blade. But he bore her words without comment. What was one more assault upon a heart so bruised and battered it had turned to dust?

The loss of his men would haunt him into eternity, their faces appearing in nightmares that gallons of brandy could not wash away. He punished himself for all of them. Including the foolish Michael Whiteside. Emma did not need to know that her brother’s death had been more senseless than most. But Adam had put off this hard visit long enough.

“Your father’s dissolute nature is not the only reason I’ve come.”

“My father is grief-stricken, my lord. If he has taken to drink, ’tis to ease the ache in his heart. Have you no charity in your soul?”

Adam well understood the oblivion found in spirits. Perhaps the man’s drinking was responsible for his lack of judgment, his indiscriminate play at cards.

“I’ve come, also, to pay my respects.”

“Too little, too late,” Emma muttered, as if to herself.

“Miss Whiteside.” Adam took a step toward her. A nerve-jangling jolt of pain tore through his left leg, setting his teeth on edge. The price he paid. But a precursor, he knew, to the relentless agony that always threatened to lay him low. On occasion, he could overcome the crippling effects of his wounds through sheer force of will. He suspected this morning would not be one of those times. He had pressed himself too hard.

“What is it?” Emma demanded.

“M’leg,” he grated through his clenched jaw.

“Take my arm.”


“Have you always been so bloody stubborn?” Her eyes flashed again.

“Some might say.” Such as his father or his equally stubborn batman, Oliver Garrett.

“I don’t remember that about you.”

“The man you remember is gone.”

Emma flinched as if he had struck her but her unwavering gaze held his, challenging him more than any idle wager he’d ever taken up at White’s. “I am sorry to hear that. I quite liked that man. So did my brother.”

Adam’s fingers tightened on his walking stick, and he sucked in a breath. Had it not been for her blasted brother—

He shook his head to repel his dangerous thoughts and muttered a low oath beneath his breath. He refused to shatter the girl’s illusions about the corporal. War had consequences, after all. He’d been Whiteside’s commanding officer. He had no one to blame but himself.

“No one understood why you did it,” she murmured.

He started and then stared at her, his gaze raking over her in a forthright manner, daring her to continue in the face of his displeasure. But she braved his mounting ire and would not be turned from her course.

“You were such a brilliant rogue, cutting so vast a swath through the ton. All the fashionable society ladies and their mamas dangled their lures for you, hoping to bring you up to scratch. All the rakish young men wanted to be you. And when you inexplicably marched off, they…Michael…wanted to follow your lead, as he’d always done. He followed you straight to hell, Riverton. But you returned. And he did not.”

Young Whiteside had taken the king’s shilling because of him? Of course, he had known that, in some dark corner of his soul.

Adam swayed and gripped his stick until his knuckles whitened, as another jangle of pain ripped through him. He would not embarrass himself in front of the stalwart young woman confronting him.

“Take my arm,” she insisted. “Unless…perhaps you are too much man to accept a woman’s support?”

Adam snorted. “I suddenly recall a bossy little girl who ordered me about as if she had a perfect right to,” he said, raising an eyebrow. “That much, madam, has not changed.”

A hint of English rose splashed Emma’s cheeks. Adam could not allow himself a moment to appreciate the pretty blush—or to acknowledge that he was actually enjoying this absurd banter with her in the midst of his increasing discomfort. But something about Miss Emma Whiteside—something apart from her striking looks and his immediate physical attraction—caused his blood to race and all his senses to go on alert.

He shut his eyes and ground his back teeth, hoping to ward off the worst of the attack he knew was coming—at least until he could whistle Champion back to his side and swing himself into the saddle.

But his strenuous exercise and the harsh weather, combined with his horrific memories of combat, blasted him like an explosion of enemy artillery. Thunderbolts lanced his leg, flooding him with agony so intense he nearly doubled over. He felt the blood drain from his face and he staggered.

Emma leaped forward to support him. Concern replaced the belligerence in her eyes, darkened to gunmetal-gray.

“This will not do, Riverton. You must lean on me.”

“Still the bossy little harridan.”

She sighed and reached for his forearm. The brush of her fingertips sent a coil of shock through him more stunning than the waves of searing fire radiating from his leg. He’d anticipated that pain. But he had not expected the soothing glow generated by the touch of Emma’s hand or the warmth flowing through his linen sleeve. His reluctance to accept her help evaporated.

Nor was Emma unaffected by the contact, he decided. He heard the small hitch when she inhaled, the low huff of breath she expelled with an odd little choking sound. The slightest of tremors shook the fingers that gripped him.

Despite his misery, Adam remained completely aware of her clasping his arm as if her slight frame could prevent a man of his size from toppling. Though wracked by pain, his body still hummed with arousal.

Adam inhaled. The scent of her hair reminded him of the tart fruit of the Portuguese strawberry tree, used to make potent aguardente de medronho. He’d often drunk himself senseless on the powerful brandy, trying to numb his physical agony as well as the hollow ache that gnawed the dry bone of his heart.

Now, pondering his reaction to the dauntless Emma Whiteside—and hers to him—he decided he might benefit from the more restorative tonic of her touch. This girl rejuvenated his exhausted spirit more than any forced march over the cliffs helped to rehabilitate his leg.

He slid his arm around her waist, dragging her closer. She fit comfortably against his side, as if she

Friday, December 30, 2011

How She Does It - Taryn Kincaid

We all know there are six elements in writing fiction and often fact. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is the plot. What's your take on this?

I take this any way I can get this. Then I run.

1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

They spring forth from the demented recesses of my brain like Athena fully formed and armed from Zeus' brow. Say, would you like to buy some shares in the Brooklyn Bridge?

My heroes are tall, dark & handsome hunks. My heroines are, unfortunately, usually necesssary. My heroes are exciting creatures, with full-blown back stories, occasionally damaged or surly. I try my best to give my heroines something to do, other than merely look good. I don't always succeed in this. I feed them Vitamin D with Calcium to strengthen their backbones. If they are snappish and snarky, so much the better.

2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

Given the foregoing, I guess I have to say "A." I picture them in a little scene-like snippet and meander off with them. A heroine I like a lot already, starts off by kicking the naked and sleeping hero in his ribcage with the toe of her boot. She then looses a lot of magical and mechanical gadgetry on him. I really enjoy it when the heroine has something to do. Other than, you know, look good --as I think I already mentioned. If all she's going to do is whine, I want to shove her under a bus. As soon as humanly possible. Or kick her to the curb. (If I was still coming to your house on Tuesday nights, you would probably notice that this is overwritten and there's quite a bit of mixed metaphor and repetition. I guess we know by now that this is "how I do it.")

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

Oh, hell, no. Never, ever, ever. Okay, maybe once.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

Hmm, let's see. Considering I segue from the salt cliffs of Regency England (HEALING HEARTS) to the Underworld (Aidon & Surfer Dude & Cloud Boy & Co.) and back, I would have to say, "settings I know." Don't you agree?

(I mean, honestly, even my erotic paranormal, SLEEPY HOLLOW DREAMS, set in a real village about a five-minute drive from my real office, bears absolutely no resemblance to the real Village of Sleepy Hollow, NY. Which I've actually been to. Many times. Okay, well, maybe the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery scene was semi-realistic. Bwahahahahahahah.)

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

Research? What the frak is research?

Taryn Kincaid
Healing Hearts
Sleepy Hollow Dreams

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday's non- Interview - Contest winners

Once again , There's no interview but I'm letting the people who won books in my blog contest just which book they won and finding where I should send it. For some people I have their real names and others I just have their screen names. But here goes. I'll be emailing each later for a snail mail address. May take a couple of days. I am recovering from an overdose of family.

Susan Leech - Murder and Mint Tea

Moon Pie - Requiem Murder

Ann K. Albert - The Midas Murders

Mannouchka - The Temple of Fyre

Charmaine - Obsessions

Patsy -- The Quest For The White Jewel

Fingershankins - Whispers Out Of Yesteryear

Renee Reardon - Healwoman - Dark Moon

Kari Thomas A Double Opposition

Garysue - All Our Yesterdays

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday - On Plot - The Great Chase

Th kind of plot looked at today involves a chase. Good guy versus bad guy. We see this a lot in many action adventure stories. The hero/heroine may be chasing the villain or the opposite could occur. There are a number of points to remember when deciding to use a pursuit or chase plot.

The chase is more important than the people involved in the chase. Characters in this kind of story may have personalities and be interesting but the chase is the most important part of the story. Think Sherlock Holmes.

There must be a real threat that the character being chased may be caught. No danger, no fun. Many times elements of the chase plot find their way for a segment in other types of stories.

The person doing the chasing be he or she be villain or hero/heroine must have a good chance of catching their quarry. If not the reader will wonder what's the point of the story. A lot of almost captures brings an element of danger and excitement into the story.

The story and the characters should be unique, engaging and stimulating. Think of a roller coaster ride with twists and turns heading to the top and then the dive down. Scenes like this will be needed.

Try to make your characters and situations not the standard stock characters. Give the people unique quirks and the places they are chased through.

Aim for a small area. The smaller the area of the chase the more tension will grow. A single building, a small town, an island.

When writing this kind of story during your planning make sure you set the ground rules for the chase, establish the stakes and have a motivating incident. For example the spy is stealing a secret in a large office building, the hero comes into the action. The fate of the world is in his hands. The hero will win or the spy will escape. The choice is yours. Just remember to keep the scenes moving rapidly with those roller coaster highs, the swoops down and the build up to the next high.

Whether you use this as the main plot or use elements of this in another plot remember to keep the characters moving and the near hits and misses plausible.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday's Inspiration - People

Today I've been thinking about people who have inspired me to write. To write you must be a reader.

When I was a very young child, my grandfather used to read to me. He would put his finger under each word as he read. When I was three, I began to read back to him. From him I learned the love of books. He also taught me to observe people when we were out at interesting places like the circus and the zoo or just walking about.

My father was the next one. There were always books in the house and we were encouraged to read. I'm afraid I was the one of the children who wanted to read every book on the shelves. In third grade I wrote a book report on Anna Karenina and horrified the teacher for two reasons. One bacause I read the book and the other because I wrote an alternate ending.
My father confronted the teacher and said "She can read any book on the shelves of my house. Did she understand what she read." The teacher had to agree. About changing the ending, he thought that was cool. When I published my first book, he read every word and he showed the book to everyone whether they were interested or not.

There was a teacher in school and I don't remember her name but she encouraged my writing and thought I should go to college for journalism. I did not do this but as a nurse many of my patients became inspirations for the characters in the books I write today.

The last inspirations are my grandchildren. They are found at various ages in many of my stories. Just bits and pieces of them. I remember using the oldest twice in one story. As the stubborn funny two year old and as the bright seven year old. They are the characters in my YA fantasy series. Not every part of them but their personalities come through.

Who were your inspirations to write? Think outside the box when you're looking to identify them.

Monday, December 26, 2011

26 December - Ahead and Behind

Last week saw not too much writing done but I did manage to clean up 15 of 33 chapters of The Warrior of Bast in the final draft. The last 18 chapters will take a bit since I really have to rewrite several sections of each and then do a read to make sure I included everything that should be changed. I'm sure after the first of the year this will progress rapidly.

This week I'd like to clean up at least four more chapters. Sometimes this is hard since I have family visitors and they do like to talk. Sometimes joyful things throw one off schedule but these times do not last and one looks back on those times with good feelings and the memories help.

My pet peeve today could be thieves of intellectual property since I've been stolen from several times but it's not. It's about publishers who totally ignore the questions their authors send them for months. I've decided after the first of the year I'll write one more note and then if not I'll see about taking the final book of a series elsewhere and maybe even book 1 and 2 that could be out of contract. Hurts to do this but it may be the only way to see them placed where they should be. Five months is too much time to wait for a response.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

3 Blog Visit Sunday Three Friends blogs

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday's Chapter - Bedhead Shoshanna Evers

BEDHEAD is an Ellora’s Cave erotic romance novella, part of the multi-author Skin Deep Series.

Here’s a blurb and the beginning of the book!

Bedhead is a book in the Skin Deep series.

Michele Peterson is young, pretty, healthy…and bald. Being a woman with alopecia isn’t easy—not only do strangers treat her as if she’s a cancer patient, but hiding her bald head under a wig is hard on her sex life. Michele can’t shower with a lover or feel his hands tangled in her hair in the throes of passion. So at the age of twenty-six, she remains a virgin. Then a generous benefactor agrees to finance hair transplant surgery. Just in time too, because Michele thinks she’s met The One.

Andrew Calhoun doesn’t understand why the incredible woman he’s falling for is so distant—pulling away just as he thinks they’re making a connection. When he discovers her secret, he’ll have to make her realize that bald really is beautiful—before she goes through a potentially dangerous cosmetic surgery just for his sake. And the best way to make her feel desirable…is in bed.

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
An Excerpt From: BEDHEAD Copyright © SHOSHANNA EVERS, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

Chapter One

Michele Peterson looked up at the ceiling fan, which seemed to just waft the stifling hot air around her tiny one-bedroom apartment rather than do its job. Beads of perspiration covered her upper lip, and she knew without glancing in the mirror that her face was bright pink, flushed with heat.

“I need a beer,” she announced to no one.

An image of an icy cold bottle settled into her mind, straight out of a beer commercial. Snow-capped mountains and whatnot. Michele sighed with pleasure at the thought. All right—she’d have to make herself decent to go out, even if she just went down to 107th and Broadway to the corner market.
She grabbed the heavy blonde wig off the mannequin head and pulled it on, the scratchy weight of it already making her feel about twenty degrees hotter. She may as well be wearing a wool hat in the middle of a New York summer.

The synthetic wig’s bangs hung low across her forehead, hiding the fact that her eyebrows, like her eyelashes and the hair on her head, were almost completely gone. Her hair had fallen out a few months after her seventh birthday and, after running a bunch of tests that proved she was completely healthy, her doctors gave her and her mom the diagnosis—alopecia areata. Not much she could do about it, though god knows they both tried. Almost twenty years later, and her hair had never grown back to its former glory. Some bits stuck out of her head in patches—short crinkly hairs, almost like the scant hair she was too embarrassed to have a bikini-waxer remove.

I can’t go outside without the damn wig. When she went out bald, everyone treated her as if she were a cancer patient or something. As if she were sick and suffering through chemotherapy. Perhaps if she'd lost her hair from chemo she'd be able to look at her lack of hair as a battle scar from a war she'd fought and won. She wished she could go back in time and make child-Michele a T-shirt that said I’m not sick—I’m bald. And then another T-shirt that said If you’re reading this shirt, Congratulations—you’re not staring at my head.

Michele sighed. If she ever had a kid with alopecia, she’d make her snarky shirts at one of those design-your-own-shirt places online. Not like that would ever happen. She’d need to have sex to have a kid, and what man would want to screw a bald chick? A twenty-six-year-old virgin bald chick. That was just bad mojo right there.

Brushing the wig into place, she grabbed her keys and walked down the four flights to the street. Just for now she decided to forgo the false eyelashes she usually applied, although her lashless eyes also made her look, well…off, somehow. At least to her.

The dirty city air outside hit her thick and heavy, covering her body with a fine layer of yuck she’d have to shower off later. She walked toward the corner market, barely noticing the other people brushing past her on the crowded sidewalk.

“Hi, Mr. Patel,” she called as she stepped into the store.

The owner smiled and waved back before returning his attention to the long line of customers. Michele went straight to the refrigerated wall stocked with beer and milk and grabbed a six-pack of Amstel Light. A tall guy—with a thick head of gorgeous brown hair—reached over next to her and grabbed the same thing.

“Great minds think alike,” he said, smiling at her.

He had a five-o’clock shadow despite looking as if he’d shaved that morning. Lucky bastard. He was probably covered in hair. He wore a simple T-shirt but an expensive watch, an enticing combination.

She smiled back at him. He’s cute. But she wasn’t wearing her eyelashes. She looked awful. Turning away, she took a deep breath. Chill out.

“Oh, yuck,” the cute guy exclaimed. “That couldn’t feel good on your head.”

Oh. My. God.

She turned back to him, horrified. Usually people had at least some semblance of manners and didn’t point out the wig.
Holy fucking shit.

“Wh-what?” she stammered.

“The air conditioner,” the guy said, pointing straight up above them. “It looked like it dripped nasty runoff water right on your head. You didn’t feel that?”

Michele reached up and patted the top of her wig experimentally. Wet.
“Eww,” she said, laughing nervously.

Of course she couldn’t feel anything falling on the wig, it wasn’t really her scalp or her hair. But he didn’t know that.

He pulled out a clean handkerchief and reached out to touch her head.

“No!” she cried, pulling away.

“I’m sorry,” the guy said, taking a step back. He put his hands in the air, like I surrender. “I just moved here from Ohio—I keep forgetting that New Yorkers don’t want to talk to strangers.”

“What? That’s not true. I don’t want you…groping me, that’s all.” He’d hardly been groping her, and now she felt a bit silly.

“Of course,” he said, looking suitably embarrassed, although he hadn’t actually done anything wrong. “I’m Andrew Calhoun, by the way. I swear I’m not as weird as I seem.”

Michele laughed. “I believe you. I’m Michele.” She stuck her hand out and he gripped it, his hand large and surprisingly cool compared to her heated, sweaty palm. Maybe from holding the beer.

“So, are you a native New Yorker?” Andrew asked. “You’ve got a bit of an accent.”

“Really? This is nothing compared to some of my friends,” she said. “But yeah, born and raised.” She hefted her six-pack and joined the long line of customers waiting for Mr. Patel to ring them up.

Andrew stood behind her, holding his beer and a bag of chips.
“Long line,” he commented.

“Uh huh.”

“You know, there’s a bar across the street,” he said. “I mean, of course you know. You live here. You think it’s air-conditioned?”

“Should be,” she said. Could the hot guy be flirting with her?

“Can I buy you a drink? I bet we’ll get served ten minutes before this guy ever gets to us.”

He just asked her out. Definitely. Even though she wasn’t wearing her eyelashes and she had nasty runoff water on her wig. Should she go? No, definitely not. Well, what the hell. This kind of thing didn’t happen every day…or any day, really. “Sure!”

Too desperate. Chill.

Shrugging as if she didn’t really care too much either way, she took his six-pack and set it next to hers back in the fridge area of the store.

They walked out together, and Michele wanted everyone to see her with the cute guy—to know they were going to get a drink together. Look at me, Mr. Patel, she thought. She’d been shopping there for two years, but never with a guy.

Someday I’m gonna come in here and buy condoms from behind the counter. And I won’t even blush.

She sighed. Yeah, right.

Andrew’s large hand touched the small of her back, gently guiding her off the curb and across the street. She reveled in his touch, feeling the heat of his hand through her light tank top.

It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dim light in the blissfully air-conditioned bar. Andrew led her to the bar, where a few guys sat entranced by a game on the overhead television.

“Two Amstel Lights,” Andrew asked the bartender and patted an empty barstool. She sat, balancing precariously on the wobbly seat, but Andrew just stood there next to her, leaning his elbow on the bar counter. “Thanks for coming with me,” he said. “This is the first Sunday I’ve had in New York since I finished unpacking stuff.”

“Wow, you really are fresh off the bus,” she said, laughing.

“Yeah. Don’t mug me.” He grinned and slipped a tip to the bartender when their drinks showed up, thick drops of cold condensation on the bottle. “Just like a beer commercial,” he said, taking a long gulp.

“I was just thinking that!” she said, doing the same and, remembering what he’d said earlier added, “Great minds think alike.”

“Oh, this is weird. I was just thinking that.”

She giggled, feeling tipsy even though she’d barely drunk half her beer.

“Sorry I groped you before. It’s not my style.”

“Oh come on, you didn’t really grope me and you know it,” Michele said. “I just get uncomfortable when someone grabs at my head.”


Um. Really?

Did Andrew really not recognize she wore a wig? That she had no eyelashes or eyebrows?

Tell him. You have to tell him or it’s just wrong.

And if she didn’t, when he found out he’d feel as though she lied to him.
Just tell him now and get it over with.

But sitting there in the dim bar, feeling desirable for the first time in a long time, she couldn’t do it. Couldn’t tell him that under the wig, she was bald.

If only I had hair.

If she had her own real hair she could finally feel comfortable having sex with a man, she just knew it. She even wrote an email to the Durban Trust to see if she could be a beneficiary of one of their generous cosmetic surgery grants. She attached a picture of herself without the wig on and everything, and told the truth for the first time in writing—that she needed hair so she could lose her virginity. Feel a man’s hands tangled in her hair, tugging on her ponytail, smoothing the sweat-covered strands from her forehead after a night of lusty sex.

She must’ve scared the hell out of them because the Trust retained a psychotherapist who called and gave her a phone consultation about the whole thing. That was two weeks ago, and she never heard from them again. She’d avoided checking on the status of her query because she really didn’t feel like hearing the rejection. And she certainly couldn’t afford to pay for hair transplant surgery on her own.

So if this was her only chance to feel beautiful, right now in this bar with this hot guy, then she had to just go for it.

Michele shrugged and took another sip of her beer to avoid answering Andrew’s question about why she didn’t want him going near her head. Why wasn’t she over this by now? Twenty years of being bald hadn’t really gotten easier with time. Especially when she met someone new. The woman who won Miss Delaware that time—she has alopecia too, Michele reminded herself. She’s not ashamed to go out bald or with a wig, she feels beautiful either way.

Andrew gazed into her eyes and all her thoughts of wigs and baldness and feeling uncomfortable dissolved. “You’re gorgeous,” he said.

Michele laughed. “Okay, I think you’ve had enough to drink.”

“I’m serious. And you have such beautiful long hair. I love blondes.”

Michele felt her excitement wash away as suddenly as if he had dumped a whole bucket of water on her.

“I said something wrong,” he said, reaching out for her hand as she turned to get off the barstool. “I’m sorry, I put my foot in my mouth. You probably get hit on all the time. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

Is this guy blind or what?

“No, you didn’t upset me,” she lied. “I just realized what time it was. I have to go. Thanks for the beer.”

She slid off the barstool, flashed what she hoped was a friendly smile, and walked outside. The thick city heat hit her and she took a shaky breath. She really had to talk to her landlord about the broken air-conditioning. If it hadn’t been so hot in her apartment, she’d never have come out and met Andrew—and never gotten her hopes up for nothing.


Michele turned at Andrew’s voice behind her.

“Here’s my card,” he said, handing her a white business card. Andrew Calhoun, Advertising Executive, it read.

So he knew all about the importance of packaging and image. And he liked blondes.

“Thanks,” she said, plucking the card from his hand. The walk light hadn’t changed yet but Michele just wanted to get away so he wouldn’t see her cheeks burning with embarrassment. She stepped into the street, a yellow cab honking as she came within inches of its tires.

She half walked, half ran all the way back to her four-story walk-up with the broken air conditioner. Bolting the door behind her, Michele sat on the threadbare couch in the middle of the apartment and fought back tears of frustration.

If I had hair, this wouldn’t have happened, she though miserably. They’d still be at the bar, talking, flirting and maybe getting a little tipsy. Then she’d invite him back to her place and they’d f-ck each other silly.
She tore the wig off her head, relishing in the feel of air on her sweaty scalp. Grime from the runoff water that had fallen on her wig coated a few of the synthetic strands. She stood with a sigh and carried the wig to the sink, where she washed and combed it before setting it back on the mannequin head.

He loves blondes. God she was a moron. Why’d she even accept Andrew’s invitation in the first place? She’d already known where it would go—nowhere. It certainly wouldn’t have ended up in bed, which was where she most wanted to see Andrew.

An image of his impressive physique showing through his T-shirt flitted through her mind. She should have just told him she was bald immediately, as soon as the water hit her head. She could’ve just said, “Oh, I didn’t notice the nasty water hitting my head because this is a wig. Obviously.” But apparently it hadn’t been so obvious to Andrew.

She should call him and explain herself. Maybe he’d still want to see her, just as friends. He was new to Manhattan, after all. Pulling his now sweat-rumpled business card out of her pocket, she sighed. Now or never.

Checking the number on the card carefully, she sent a text that took ten minutes to word properly but that she hoped sounded off-the-cuff.

Sorry bout that, no hard feelings? -Michele

He texted back quickly.

No prob, drinks tonight, same bar @ 8p?

Whoa. Okay. No, wait. She had to work tomorrow. But…all the other customer service reps came into the office hungover on Monday mornings. Why shouldn’t she? It was about time she got a life. It’s not as though she had to do brain surgery.

Just one more text to tell him the truth.

I’m not really blonde, this is a wig. I’m bald.

But she couldn’t hit send. Sighing, she pressed erase and wrote See you at 8.
* * * * *
The sun started to go down as she got ready to go out with Andrew. Michele carefully applied her false eyelashes, which looked pretty natural all things considered. With a fine-point smudge-proof eyebrow pencil, she drew on eyebrows and then let her long-banged wig cover them. Not bad. She just hoped he didn’t try to touch her hair when they kissed.

Yup, she’d already decided to kiss him. All she wanted was a taste of him, really, before he found out the truth and she went from being his date to his platonic friend.

She walked slowly down the street to the bar, relishing the break from the stifling heat in the mild summer night air. Andrew was already waiting at the bar, nursing something amber-colored on the rocks.
He stood when she stepped through the door.

“Thanks for meeting me,” he said, smiling.

Damn, he looked hot. He’d changed into a dark, fitted button-down shirt and jeans that probably cost him two hundred bucks.

“Sure.” Michele smiled back and resisted the urge to smooth her wig, not wanting to draw attention to it.

“I promise not to hit on you again,” he said, “since that seemed to have the opposite effect I meant it to have this afternoon. But can I at least buy you a drink?”

Michele laughed and nodded. “I’m in the mood for a frozen margarita.”

The bartender handed her the frosty drink a few moments later and she took a big sip, trying to gain some liquid courage.

“You don’t have to worry about hitting on me,” she told Andrew, resting her hand on his knee. “I won’t mind.”

Andrew chuckled and placed his hand over hers. His looked so huge compared to hers. She lifted his hand and pressed hers flat against it, sizing up the difference.

“Big ugly hands, I know,” he said.

“No, these are great hands.”

“I got a paper cut today on a cardboard box when I was getting them all ready for recycling,” he said, pointing to a red mark on the side of his palm.


“Yeah, ouch.”

With the ice broken, Michele was amazed at how quickly they both got into the groove of conversation. The next half hour flew by.

This guy was so sweet—certainly nicer and funnier than any guy she’d ever gone out with before. Not that she had much experience in the dating department. She giggled to herself, the tequila in the frozen margarita making her feel especially easygoing.

She asked him all sorts of questions about advertising, both to keep the conversation flowing and to ascertain just how important he thought looks were. He seemed passionate about his career, and he didn’t even seem bothered by her rather lame job as a telephone customer service representative.

“I’m taking some time off to reevaluate my priorities,” she said, even though he hadn’t asked. For some reason she always felt she had to defend living a non-workaholic lifestyle.

“That sounds awesome.” He took a sip of his drink. “I did the same thing before I went to grad school.”

“Really?” He seemed so pulled together, she couldn’t imagine him working a dead-end job while he sorted through his options.

“Really. It’s worth it.” He smiled and then pulled her hand toward him so she was only an inch away from his face. “If I kiss you will you run away again?”

This is it.

Her taste before it all fell apart. She shook her head and kissed him, reveling in the softness of his lips and the roughness of his cheek against hers. He slipped his tongue into her mouth and she welcomed it, tasting scotch.

He touched her face, cradling it, and it felt so…right. So nice that she even forgot to be worried about his hands being so close to her wig.
And then he tangled his hands in her wig, probably thinking it was her hair. She gasped against his mouth as she felt the wig shift back across her forehead and pulled away quickly.

“Shit,” Andrew said. “I did something wrong again. Was it slipping you the tongue? Too soon?”

Michele straightened her wig discreetly. “No, not too soon.”

Tell him, tell him, tell him, tell him!

She opened her mouth but no words came out. Instead, she stood and kissed him fiercely, grabbing his hands so they’d stay out off her head and pulling them tight around her waist.

“Come back to my place,” he murmured against her lips.

No way. Yes way. No way. “Okay. Yes.”

They walked out of the bar holding hands. Could she really do this? She’d just met Andrew. She made it this far without ever having sex—could she really go through with it tonight?

Buy BEDHEAD at Ellora’s Cave or wherever ebooks are

Friday, December 23, 2011

How She Does It - Shoshanna Evers

. We all know there are six elements in writing fiction and often fact. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is the plot. What's your take on this?

I rarely plot things out. Usually I start writing and get to know my characters as they reveal themselves to me. I also don’t plot ahead of time anymore because when I do, my characters do what they want anyway!

2. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

When I create characters I don’t really have a specific process, or if I do then I’m not aware of it. I mainly just start writing and then by the end of the manuscript, I know the character well enough to be able to go back in and edit and chop out stuff that the character would never do, say, or think.

3. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

Characters come before plot and I don’t sketch out the plot – the characters develop the route to the end. I’m very much a pantser.

4. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

Yes, I always know how the story will end, but only because I write romance and that means that no matter what, the hero and heroine will be together by the end of the book. I usually don’t know other details, like how they’ll get there. That’s part of the fun of writing for me J

5. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

Most of my books take place in NYC, Los Angeles, or upstate NY, since that’s where I’ve lived. I’m moving to Florida so you can bet that some future books will be set there! I often just make up the interior settings, loosely basing them on places I’ve seen in real life or in the movies. A few of my books required real research for the settings. For example, I’ve never flown on a private jet, but they seem to crop up in my books sometimes. So I’ve read the brochures (online) for the jets and looked at the pictures and go from there.

6. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

I do most of my research online, but I love to read so I often will buy books for research purposes. I read 99 percent ebooks, and maybe one percent paper. I also consider reading in my genre (erotic romance) to be research, because that’s market research and it’s valuable in helping me stay current.

Thanks for having me, Janet!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday - Not an Interview- Ist chapter A Sudden Seduction

Usually in Thursday I have an interview going but today I'm featuring the first chapter of my latest release. A Sudden Seduction which puts not ever wanting to marry Matt Blakefield against the woman he insulted when they were teens. Now he must make amends.


Chapter 1

“You’re next.”

Matt Blakefield choked on the piece of wedding cake he’d been about to swallow. “Not in a million years.”

His gaze slid around the table in the inn’s dining room spearing each couple with a glare. Friends and family had gathered to celebrate this morning’s marriage of his brother to the mother of his recently discovered son. Since the nine-year-old was the only other unattached male present, Matt knew the whispered remark had been addressed to him.

“I have a friend,” one of his sisters said.

The other grinned. “She’d be perfect.”

“No sale.” Matt dropped the napkin on the table.

“Remember the curse.” Mark grinned. “None of us has escaped.”

Time to hit the road. With this decision made, as though in answer to his desire, Matt’s cell phone vibrated. Salvation.

He answered. “Matt here…You did…Great news…I’m on my way…Yeah today…Doesn’t matter.”

As if he’d stay here where plans he wanted no part of were being laid. He’d been present for the important event. There was no reason for him to linger and a huge need to escape. Although the meeting with the Good Magazine Group’s investigator wasn’t until Monday morning, Matt seized the opportunity. “Have to leave. Have information on this year’s make-over house for Good Livin’.”

“On the weekend?” His father, CEO of the magazine group and recently married to his teenage sweetheart, arched an eyebrow.

“Yeah. It’s the Smiton house. You know the one I intend to use as the project for showing people how to convert a house from energy sucking to energy efficient. Jules has a line on the owner. I want the contract signed so we can start work.”

His father’s eyes narrowed. “If there’s a problem find another house. Who knows what condition the Smiton’s house is in? No one has lived there for years.”

“I checked. The place is sound.”

“Find a house where the owners are in residence. They’ll appreciate the free upgrade.”

Matt groaned. “And spend hours listening to complaints about being inconvenienced or hearing about changes that won’t work.” Matt pushed to his feet. What he didn’t say was that he planned to buy and live in the house.

He kissed his new sister-in-law. “Let Mark spoil you and Davey. My brother has a few years of making up to do.”

Matt strode to the coatroom to retrieve his leather jacket and helmet. He’d planned to hang out here until tomorrow but not with the schemes buzzing in the ladies’ heads. He leaned over the counter, kissed the middle-aged woman’s cheek and dropped a ten spot in the tip dish.

He dashed out the door and down the steps to the parking lot and his bike. As the engine roared to life the relatives gathered and protests began.
So much for a quick escape. He braced for the arguments.

“Stay,” his new sister-in-law called. “You can have one of the cabins all to yourself.”

“We won’t bother you. I promise,” his step-mother said.

She wouldn’t but her promise didn’t include his sisters. “Another time.”

“Matt, it’s going to rain.” The voices of four females rose in a chorus.

“I won’t melt.” He slipped on his helmet. With a spray of gravel he headed to the road.

Exit Matthew, fleeing a bunch of women intent on ending his bachelor state.
What about his father, brother and his sisters’ fiancés. He bet the guys envied his freedom.

“You’re next.” Had someone said that or was it his imagination?

He waved. “Not today. Not this year. Maybe never.” The engine’s roar drowned any comments.

Visions of being followed by a parade of match-makers crowded his thoughts. Instead of heading for the interstate he decided to cross from Vermont into upstate New York. Exploring new territory was a perfect ending to his escape.

Once they’d found the perfect mate, why did happy couples believe every bachelor should be part of a twosome? He wasn’t ready to take a wife or enter a long term situation. He enjoyed his single state and found pleasure with a variety of women. Granted there’d been a dry spell lately—not his fault. He hadn’t met a woman who’d tempted him for even a night.

As he sped along the serpentine roads, a misting rain began. Moments after crossing into New York the storm turned earnest. Water fell in wind-driven gusts. Thunder rumbled like a mad drummer played a kettledrum. Lightning streaked across the sky in a brilliant display. Although the time was late afternoon the darkness spoke of night.

Time to find a motel, bed and breakfast or a rustic inn with a room for the night.

He reached a crossroads and paused to read the signs. The nearest town was fifty miles away. He dug out his cell. No service. He wiped the face plate of his helmet and chose a road. The headlights cast a tunnel through the gloom. Shadows impinged on the narrow band of light. He sent the bike down the road. Off on an adventure, hopefully with a dry room at the end of the road.

* * * *

Cassie Moore stared at the bubbles rising in the flute of champagne. The ephemeral globules vanished like yesterday’s dreams. Rain pounded on the roof of the cabin in upstate New York. She’d borrowed the refuge from the senior partner of the cardiology group. The secluded area offered an escape from the second most humiliating day of her life. Memories of the first had emerged and resisted her attempts to cram them in a box labeled “gone but not forgotten.” Dark streaks from that day stained her thoughts.

Thunder rumbled. Lightning cracked. The gloom matched her mood. Emotions roiled and changed with each sound. She refused to release the tears hovering on the threshold. The snap of wood in the fireplace threatened to spark the anger she held inside. She raised the glass.

“Here’s to a long engagement makes sense. Let’s drink to waiting for the residency to be completed. A toast to being established in a medical practice first. Here’s to tonight’s bridal shower and the absent bride-who-was-to-be. Raise your glass to the fiancé who married the office nurse on his regular Thursday off.”

She chugged the champagne in a single swallow and tossed the flute engraved with his name into the flames. A flare of color and a loud crack made her chuckle at herself. So much for melodrama.

The buzz from the wine failed to raise her flagging spirits or elevate her self-esteem. What was wrong with her? Thoughts tumbled over each other. A father who hadn’t wanted her or her mother, a first love turned into a teenage prank, a fiancé who chose another woman. Had she loved Tim? She’d never said the words to him. Had being married ruled her choice?

Cassie turned from the fire. She sliced the negative thoughts and shoved them into that box. Shower, comfy clothes, chocolate and a movie chosen to provide an excuse for tears were next on the agenda.

She hurried to the bathroom, turned the shower on and stepped beneath the hot spray. A short steam-filled time later with a towel wrapped around her body she scurried to the bedroom she’d chosen for her stay. She opened the suitcase she’d grabbed on the way out of the apartment.

“No.” A groan followed. She’d brought the bag she’d packed for the wedding night, the plane trip to Hawaii and the first day on the island.
With a shrug she slipped on the sheer nightgown and short silk robe and wished for her fleecy one. At least the slacks and sweater she’d worn today could be donned tomorrow when she searched for a store to buy a few things. She lifted a white lace bra and bikini and a red satin set. She did have underwear. For tonight the green afghan on the couch could provide warmth.

When Cassie reached the main room she popped the movie into place, filled the second flute with champagne and selected a truffle. As she savored the rich chocolate she draped the afghan over her shoulders and reached for the remote.

The opening music of the movie was drowned by a rumble of thunder. A loud noise caused her to jump. Had lightning struck nearby? She crossed to the window and turned on the yard light.

A heap on the ground caught her attention. A movement made her realize someone lay there. She grabbed a yellow slicker from a hook near the door, slipped on her sneakers and opened the door.

Moments later she clattered down the steps. Rain pelted her. She ran toward the figure. A closer look showed a man wearing a helmet and leather jacket. A motorcycle rested against the lone pine beside the driveway.
Cassie crouched and felt for a carotid pulse. The steady beat against her fingers reassured her. When she grasped his shoulder he groaned. Her breath escaped on a sigh. She needed to see if any bones had been broken and get him out of the storm. While she was a doctor, hearts not bones were her specialty.

“Where do you hurt?”

He groaned. “Everywhere.”

“Can you move your arms and legs?”

He complied. This time his groan was louder and deeper.

“Try to sit up.”

Slowly he eased into a sitting position. “My bike.”

Cassie choked back a laugh. How like a man? “Before you worry about that you need to get out of the rain and be checked for other injuries. Can you stand?”


With her help he stood and swayed. He clutched Cassie's shoulders. They nearly fell but she steadied him.

“Easy.” She put an arm around his waist. “Did you lose consciousness?”

“Don’t think so. Had the breath knocked out. A bit stunned.” He drew a breath. “Must have been a deer.”


“The thing on the road. Big. Dark. Saw the creature in a flash of lightning. Couldn’t stop.”

Cassie peered toward the road. If he’d broadsided a deer the animal would be seen the road. There was no large heap visible. The motorcycle had crashed into the pine tree where the road curved. Had he been more than stunned? Was he drunk? Was she a fool for taking a stranger into the cabin?
She could leave him at her car and run inside for her keys. They could drive to town. Except, she wasn’t dressed for going to town or for entertaining a guest.

“Where are we going?”

“To the cabin so I can check you for injuries.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

His deep voice held a quality that sent heat rushing through her veins. She faltered. Why the reaction? With all that had happened recently she should avoid thinking of any man as attractive until she recovered from the pain of Tim’s rejection.

She helped the stranger through the driving rain to the roofed porch. The protection from the steady downpour was welcome. She opened the door. They stepped inside. Water beaded on her slicker and his leather jacket. Pools gathered on the slate foyer floor.

She shivered. “Cold.”

“Makes two of us.”

Cassie released her hold on his waist and dragged a wooden chair from the kitchen area of the main room. “Sit.” She wished for her medical bag so she could do a complete assessment but the bag was at her apartment. There was no way to check his blood pressure but his pulse had been strong and steady. For the rest of the exam she would improvise.

“What year is it?” She began the questions to check his mental status. “Where are you?”

“Why the grilling?”

“To make sure you don’t have a concussion.”

“I don’t.”

“Are you a doctor?” She strode to the kitchen and found a flashlight. “Take the helmet off. I need to check your eyes.”

“Are you a nurse?”

“No, a doctor.”

When she turned he’d removed his jacket and helmet. Her mouth gaped. A moment of recognition studded her. No! Couldn’t be, But he was. Blond with blue eyes. Handsome. The class jock. Her first crush.

Cassie gulped a breath. So much for a complete physical. There was no way she could examine his body. She shone the light in one eye and then the other. “Pupils equal and reactive. That’s good. No concussion. You’ll be sore and develop bruises. You were lucky to have escaped serious injuries.”

He bent and pulled off his boots. “A hot shower will help.”

She studied his soaked slacks. Granted there was a dryer but she feared they would shrink. “I doubt there’s anything here for you to wear,”

He straightened. “I’ve clothes.” He reached for the boots.

“Where are you going?”

“To my bike. The saddlebag has clothes. Also I need to see the damage.”

She shook her head. “Not a good idea. I’d worry about you falling.” She dashed to the door. “I’ll go.”

Cassie stepped outside and sloshed to the lone pine and the bike. After removing the saddlebag, knowing he would ask, she studied the bike. The front tire was blown and she thought the frame might be twisted. She carried the bag to the cabin.

She had a house guest—a stranger who belonged to her past. She paused beside her car. If she had the keys she could leave. Knowing who he was had stirred memories of that day and also of the nights she’d dreamed of him.

If she took the only transportation what would he do? The motorcycle wouldn’t run. He would be stranded. Town was five miles away—a long walk.
As she dashed to the cabin she recalled what she knew about him. She’d had a major crush on the football star. So had most of the girls at school. He’d always seemed nice until the day she’d listened to a pair of cheerleaders and followed their advice. His laughter and rejection had hurt. Unfortunately what he’d said had been true.

Cassie stood on the porch. With those memories so clear how could she face him? But did he know who she was and would he remember that dreadful day? Though remnants remained she wasn’t that geek now. She could manage. She opened the door.

He rose.

Cassie swallowed. His shoulders seemed broader without the jacket and his chest more muscular than she remembered. She shoved the saddlebag into his hands.

“Aren’t you going to take off your coat?”

Her face flamed. “No.” She scooted past him. “Bathroom’s this way.”

As soon as the door closed behind him she bolted to the bedroom. She removed the raincoat and searched for other clothes. Would have to be something she’d packed for the flight to Hawaii. Silk dress or shorts and a knit top? The clothes she’d worn today were intended for tomorrow’s shopping trip. She chose the shorts. Thank heavens the cabin had central heat.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday - On Plot - The Adventure Plot

Thisis a plot I've used many times and sometiems I think I'm writing a quest story but it's really an adventure story. What is the difference? In an Adventure plot, the character or characters leave home. That's the same as the Quest story. So what are the differences.

In a Quest story while the character is searching for a person, place or thing, he may or may not find it. What he finds is a change within himself. During an Adventure plot, the central character goes looking for an object and he finds that object. There is no change in his nature. He's the same person going into the story as he is when coming out.

In an Adventure plot, the hourney is more important than the person. The character or characters leave their place of comfort for new and different places. They spend time moving through new and perhaps exotic climes. The fortune is found in these distant places rather than at the place where they began the journey. Someone or something sends the character or characters off on their journey. This is no search for self as the Quest story might be. The motivation of the character doesn't change as the story progresses and each new adventure is faced. There can be a romance between pairs of the characters.

Some authors will combine the two types. But they are writers who either know the rules by studying or by instinct. So as you sit down to write, if you're trying to decide on a plot, look at the two similar plots and decide which you're going to write. Know the differences as well as the similarities.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday's Inspiration - Romance - Austen and Tolstoy

This is the last of the main genres that I write in though in romance I take many twists and turns. Thinking back on who really inspired to write romances two authors came to mind. I'm not sure exactly why but I read both of these authors when I was rather young. Anna Karenina in third grade and nearly got suspended from school since the teacher thought this was not a book a child should be reading. My father asked the teacher if I had understood what I was reading. She had to admit I had since I wanted to change the ending of the book. Jane Austen came in my teen years and my English teachers were glad that I read these books.

One is Jane Austen. I have read everyone of her books several times except Pride and Prejudice which I've re-read at least a dozen times. I've found the subtle touches of the developing romances in this book and her other ones to be fascinating. I think her character development is excellent. I don't write like her but her books sowed seeds for me.

Leo Tolstoy is the other. What I was fascinated in his stories was the scope, not to mention the casts of characters, In many of my books I tend to have casts of , perhaps, not thousands but hundreds. In a romance this can create a problem since romances tend to be one man and one woman stories. But from his writings I learned is that every story needs as many characters as it takes to tell the story.

So here we have it. I'm sure there are others but these two are ones I read before I ever decided to write romance or any other genre.

Monday, December 19, 2011

19 December - Week ahead and Week behind

Today is cookie baking day. Not as many as I did years ago but a few. I don't have the patience or the time these days. As to the writing Finished draft 5 of The Chosen of Horu and will finish the sixth by the end of the year. Then it's the final check through and then ship it off to the publisher. Hopefully by the middle of the year. Life does tend to intrude in a writer's life.

Can't wait to start the next story this one features Tony, a attorney who misses his best friend's wedding. Takes place at the same time as A Sudden Seduction. Not sure of the title yet. He's going to run into the twin sister of his brother's wife and think she's his dead sister-in-law. There is a child to become a bone of contention. This will all work out as I start. By the way he introduced his brother to the wife and had also fallen in love with her.

Not much to say today since the timer's buzzing I'd better head to the kitchen.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

3 Blog Visit Sunday contest interesting things neat story

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday's Chapter - Summer's Song - Allie Boniface

And the first chapter of Summer's Song:

Summer stared at the solid silver container holding her father’s remains. Funny. She’d always pictured someone’s ashes preserved in some kind of fancy urn. Something sculpted or carved. Something meaningful. Dignified. Instead, Hope Memorial Services, following Ronald Thompson’s wishes, had sealed his remains in a six-by-eight-inch metal box, which now sat in the center of Joe Bernstein’s desk.

She pushed the rest of her father’s life into a large manila envelope and slid back her chair. “I’m finished.”

“You’re sure you don’t—”

“Joe.” She held up one hand, fingers ringless and well manicured. “No. I don’t need anything else.” Except to get out of Pine Point as soon as possible. She smoothed her suit jacket and brushed the ridge of the engraved business card holder deep in her pocket.

Summer Thompson, Chief Curator, Bay City Museum of History. Knowing the words were there, close to her skin, brought relief. She could do this. After a brief look at the house and a meeting or two with a local realtor, she could hop a plane back home to San Francisco. Within the museum walls, her world made sense.

She could catalog the lives of other people and draw conclusions about long-gone civilizations. She could organize press conferences, plan exhibit openings, and design educational seminars for the local schoolchildren.

Outside those walls? She lost her voice. She lost her grip. She couldn’t puzzle together the last decade or fit together the fragments of her own life. And she damn well couldn’t say the word father or utter the word dad. Ronald Thompson hadn’t been one to her in over ten years. She pulled out her cell phone to check her messages.

“Actually, there’s something else we have to talk about before you go.”

“Sorry?” She pulled her attention back to Joseph Bernstein, the elderly,
craggy-faced lawyer she’d known since childhood.

“I know you’re planning on selling the place—”

“Of course I am. I don’t know why he left it to me in the first place.” My
father did what? Willed me the McCready estate? She’d grown dizzy with the news, now almost a week old. Kids in town called the three-story mansion haunted and avoided it on their way to school. Teenagers broke into it, leaving empty beer cans and used condoms on its dusty floors. Adults ignored it, driving by its thick hedgerow without so much as a glance at the craggy black rooftop that speared the sky. Now it belonged to her, in a nightmare she had yet to awaken from.

“…but that isn’t going to be as easy as you might think.”

“Selling it? Why not?” She glanced through the paperwork on the desk between them. “Is there some kind of lien? A problem with the property?” Please, God, no.

“Not really.” He waited a moment before continuing. “But there’s an old
farmhouse on the back acre that your father rented out. Family’s been living there for a couple of years now.”

She put her phone away again. “You’re kidding me. So if I sell, I’m a schmuck who’s throwing someone out of their home.”

“Just wanted you to know.”

“Well, can I sell it with some kind of contingency? Let the renters stay on?”

“Sure, you could talk to the realtor about that. Might make it harder to find a buyer, though.”

Great. Summer shifted in her chair.

“Mac Herbert’s doing the repairs on the place,” Joe said after a pause. “You remember him? Went to school around the same time as you.”

She nodded.

“He’s got a young guy, new in town, helping him out. Damian Knight. He and his family are the ones renting the farmhouse.”

“Wait—they’re still working on the house? Who’s paying them?” She hadn’t
expected the place to be in the throes of renovation.

“Your father made arrangements. Left a checking account with enough money to cover materials and labor.”

“Really?” Every day revealed a new surprise, another piece of information she didn’t know about her father. One week, and she was already exhausted with the effort of trying to make sense of them.

The white-haired man leaned forward on his elbows. “You want ’em to stop? We can list the place as is.”

She shook her head. “I don’t—I guess I’ll have to go out and see before I say one way or the other.” She knew nothing about selling houses or about
renovations that might or might not make a difference to potential buyers. One more thing to think about. Terrific.

“And you’re sure you don’t want to do a memorial service, or…”

“No.” What on earth would she say to people? Who would come to such a thing? She hadn’t spoken to her father in ten years, since the accident. Everyone in town knew that. If they came, they’d only stare. “He’s the one who chose cremation,” she added. No headstone in the local cemetery, even though—

She stopped the thought before it could turn into something ugly. Don’t come back here, Ronald Thompson had grunted into the phone years ago. No reason.

Don’t want to see ya. So she hadn’t. “No service,” she repeated.

Joe reached over and squeezed her hand. He still wore the thick gold ring she remembered, encrusted with his initials and those of Yale Law School.

“Sweetheart, don’t rush. Take some time to think things through.” He paused. “I’m worried about you.”

Summer lifted her purse onto her shoulder. “Don’t be.” The manila envelope went into her briefcase. She adjusted the clip holding her midnight-black hair away from her face, then tucked the box of ashes under one arm.

He tented his fingers together. “How long’re you staying?”

“I’m not sure. A few days, I guess. I’ll go look at the house now, do what I need to tomorrow. Can’t stay any longer than a week.” She had museum exhibits coming in. A fundraising meeting the following Tuesday and an interview with the local paper the Thursday after that.

She couldn’t put the rest of her life on hold just because her father had chosen June fifteenth to die.

June fifteenth. Tears rose in her eyes before she could stop them. God, the irony of it might have just about killed her if she’d let herself think about it for longer than a few seconds.

“You’ll call me before you leave?”

Summer paused, one hand on the door. “You know I’m too old for you to worry about, right?”

The sixty-year-old rose, all knees and elbows inside a navy suit that hung the wrong way on his angular frame. “Never. Your father—”

Is dead, she wanted to say. She squared her shoulders. And I don’t feel any sadder today than I did all those years ago, when he sent me away from Pine Point. For a moment, an eighteen-year-old with flyaway hair, bright blue eyes and a stomach full of grief reared up in her memory.

“I’ll call you later,” she said instead, before Joe could say anything about finding serenity or forgiving or remembering the good times. She had gotten enough pity and prayers from the flower arrangements and sympathy cards that arrived in the mail. She thought she’d about drown in other people’s tears.

Death erased things, she wanted to tell all the well-wishers. It didn’t preserve them, and it sure didn’t peel back the edges of ten years of pain so you could examine it all over again. Death, expected or not, allowed people to move on. In fact, it forces us to. Why was she the only one who understood that?

She leaned on the heavy glass door of the Bernstein, Lowery and Samuels law office and gritted her teeth. She didn’t want to walk down Pine Point’s Main Street to the corner lot where she’d parked her rental car. She didn’t want her designer heels to catch in the cracked sidewalk by Evie’s Parlor, where the tree roots always came up, and she didn’t want to get caught at the only red light in town while Ollie at the corner station pumped gas and whistled at her.

But neither could she stay in this office one more minute. Outside, at least, the sunlight might blind her enough to keep the ghosts from taking up residence inside her head again.


Mac pulled his arm across his forehead, already damp with exertion. “She’s
coming to check out the house. I heard last night.”

“Who is?”

“Summer Thompson. Ron’s daughter.”

Ah, the new owner. Damian leaned against the porch railing and scratched his head. “Guess you owe me twenty bucks, then.”

Mac grinned. “Yeah. You called it right.”

“I knew she would. No one’d be able to sell a place without even lookin’ at it.”

He stuck his hammer into his tool belt, slung low across hiswaist. “What’s she like?”

Mac took a long pull on his soda and thought for a minute. Lunch lay scattered on the steps around them, and he eyed a second sandwich before answering.

“Christ, it’s been a long time…”

“Not that long. And this town isn’t that big. I’m betting you remember

“It’s been ten years. Long enough. Lotta people have come and gone.”

“You went to school with her, though, right?”

Mac nodded and reached for another can of soda. He cocked his head. “Actually, she was pretty cute back then.”


“Kept to herself a lot, but yeah. Hot body, pretty face… Hey, quit hogging the chips.” He grabbed the bag from beside Damian and dumped the crumbs into his mouth.

“Why’d she leave town?”

Mac busied himself with collecting cans and tossing them into a cardboard box. “Long story.”

“C’mon. Fill me in.”

The burly man shrugged. “Her little brother died in a car accident, week or so after she graduated from high school. Boyfriend was driving.” He shook his head.

“Damn awful thing. Her father sent her off to live with an aunt somewhere near Chicago. She never came back after that.”

Damian whistled. “Guess I’m surprised she bothered now.”

Mac stood with a grunt, one hand on his lower back. “Be too bad if she decides to sell the place, huh?”


He stared. “You know that house of yours is part of her property, right?”

Damian dug one heel into the ground. Shit. How had he forgotten? The farmhouse was a rental because they didn’t have the money to buy a place outright. They never had. And his mother had just finished decorating it the way she liked. He slammed the porch step with a fist and swore aloud.

“Maybe she’ll divide the property, sell the farmhouse to you.”

“Yeah.” And maybe pigs would get up on their hind legs and dance.

“Sorry, man.” Mac clapped a hand onto Damian’s shoulder. “Not a done deal,
though. Talk to her when she gets here.” He swiped a hand over his mouth. “If it doesn’t work out, I got a cousin with a couple of rental places over in Silver Valley. You want her number, lemme know.”

Damian nodded without answering. Despite the sun that scattered its rays over everything in sight, the afternoon had turned glum. He glanced over his shoulder at the mountains that rose just beyond the roofline of the McCready house.

About fifty miles west of the New York-Massachusetts border, Pine Point hovered at the base of the Adirondack Mountains. To most people, it was only an exit off the interstate, a stop halfway between Albany and Syracuse where you could get some gas or a burger before continuing on to more interesting destinations.

According to the locals, Pine Point got too much snow in the winter and not enough sun in the summer. Nine thousand people, give or take, made their blue-collar lives here, and about the only thing they seemed to like about the place were the ridges that surrounded it and caught the light at sundown.

Damian didn’t care about any of that. He only knew that Pine Point had given his mother and sister a place to escape, a chance for a new life, and for that he’d been grateful. Now it looked as though the ground beneath them was about to be pulled away once more.


Thanks again,

Friday, December 16, 2011

How She Does It -- Allie Boniface

We all know there are six elements in writing fiction and often fact. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is the plot. What's your take on this?

For me the Why is usually one of the driving factors in creating fiction. The other elements definitely come into play, but I try to continually ask “Why is my hero/heroine doing this? What’s his/her motivation?” Focusing on that question usually helps me through stumbling blocks, as well as helps to reveal character traits I didn’t consciously plan from the start. As my characters react to situations, the plot unfolds.

1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

a. I usually have a general idea about my main characters when I start thinking about a new project, but I do like to spend some time getting to know them before I jump into writing the book. I used to use pretty extensive character charts, but I’ve gotten away from those. Now I just sketch out some basics: physical appearance, background/family history, past hurts, and how I want the character to change by the end of the book. That’s usually enough to get me started.

2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

a. I used to plot and plan a lot more when I first started writing. I think I have gotten more comfortable in letting my plotlines develop as I write, now. I do usually have a general idea of where I want the plot to go, from beginning to end, but my characters ALWAYS take me on twists and turns that I didn’t predict!

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

a. I usually have a pretty specific idea of how the story will end when I begin. I think if I didn’t know where I wanted the story to go, and especially how I wanted the characters to change, I wouldn’t have enough to build a plotline upon. I read once that Stephen King has written entire books based on nothing more than a single image in his mind, when he begins. That’s definitely not me!

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

a. All of the books I’ve written to date are based on settings I know, either places I’ve actually been or fictional settings created from familiar places in my life. I travel a lot, and I write contemporary romance set in this world and time, so I love drawing upon the variety of small towns and big cities I’ve seen.

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

a. Online. I have the bad habit of writing in one screen while I have an Internet browser open in another, so anytime I need to look something up, it’s literally there at my fingertips.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday's Interview - Shirley Martin

Though I've never met Shirley in person we have known each other for a number of years since we once write for the same publisher.

1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?

I started writing historicals, then branched out to paranormal and fantasy.

2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?

I guess you would say both. I enjoy history, reading and writing about it. But paranormal and fantasy have such a wide range that I got interested in those, also.

3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?

I enjoy reading mysteries but I wouldn't want to try writing one. Wouldn't write horror, either.

4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?

I love reading fantasy, esp. Terry Brooks and Terry Goodkind. Also, I read many Amish novels.

5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,

Janet, like you, I'm from Pittsburgh but live in Birmingham, Alabama now. I'm a widow with two grown sons. One son passed away a few years ago. I enjoy reading and walking. I've been writing for over twenty years.

6. Which of your characters is your favorite?

Do you know, I get so immersed in all of my characters. I fall in love with all of my heroes.

7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?

Villains in my fantasy romances and in one of my vampire romances, "One More Tomorrow." Moloch is an evil vampire who tries to separate the vampire hero, Galan, from his lover, Stephanie.

8. What are you working on now?

I stopped writing several years ago for personal reasons.

9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?

My last romance is "The Princess and the Curse." I have a book of Celtic fairy tales, and several of my ideas have come from that. The entire fantasy realm is rich with ideas.

10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.

"The Princess and the Curse" came from my book of Celtic fairy tales. It's about a fisherman who loved to tell tall tales. He liked to brag about places he's never seen and things he's never done. When a stranger challenges him to go on a journey to a faraway country he's never heard of, he knows he can't refuse.

Nolan Tremaine smiled as he strolled the cobblestone streets of his village of Baile Beag, headed for the White Ship Tavern, for he enjoyed whiskey, women, and a good time, not always in that order. Part of having a good time was relating his travels as a fisherman, and if he embellished his tales a little, so what? No one could call him a liar; he merely exaggerated a bit.

Passing a fabric store and a shoe repair shop, he reached the tavern, where a few men stood outside, talking about the weather and their crops. He exchanged greetings, since everyone knew him here in the village. He pulled at the heavy oaken door and stepped into the crowded room, filled mostly with men but also several women, all talking and laughing, drinking ale or whiskey. A few patrons were eating a late meal of mutton, boiled cabbage, and oat bread, apparently oblivious to the smoke of countless pipes that hung over the room like a fog. Nolan found an empty table and drew out a chair, smiling and nodding to the others he knew, which included just about everyone in the room. Aware that the evening was young and hopeful that others would soon join him, he didn’t mind sitting by himself for a short while, as long as he had company later. He loved people, whether friends or strangers.

He ordered a shot of whiskey from Betha, the pretty, buxom barmaid whose favors he’d enjoyed more than once. She brushed his hand as she took his order, and when she returned a few minutes later, she bent low, giving him a good glimpse of what she had to offer, as if he could forget! He hoped this evening would bring more than a glass of whiskey.

The door opened and a stranger stepped into the room, a tall man whose blond sun-bleached hair glinted gold under the lamplight. He had a commanding mien about him, like one accustomed to giving orders. He peered around the room, his gaze settling on Nolan.

“Mind if I join you?” the stranger asked as he reached Nolan’s table and pulled out a chair.

Nolan inclined his head. “Happy to have you. Don’t like sitting by myself.”

“Neither do I.” The stranger sat down and caught the barmaid’s attention, gesturing toward Nolan’s whiskey glass. Soon he joined him in a drink. “So tell me,” the stranger said, “how do you spend your days?”

Nolan grinned. “I see you’re a stranger in this village. Everyone knows I’m a fisherman. Got the biggest catch today you’d ever want to see. Why, I caught so many fish in my net, I feared my boat would sink.”