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Friday, October 31, 2014

Finish This Halloween Story - There Are Prizes!

We're giving away 5 Romance Books '4' Us Tees and 5 RB4U totes! AND, on winner will receive a $10 GC for Amazon or B&N! Simply finish this short story in a few sentences. Put you story ending in a comment and be sure to add your email address. Contest ends midnight 1 November.

Halloween story:
When Aunt Joan asked her to house-sit for the weekend and take care of her 11 cats and 3 dogs, Mary Lou jumped at the chance to escape city life and relax in the splendor of the place she vaguely remembered. She had clouded recollections of visiting as a child; some were positive but then others seemed... Some nagging, eerie visions plagued her memories but she couldn't recall what they were or why she had them.

Besides the meowing of cats and barking dog noises, the place was quiet...and then the phone calls began. Constant, annoying calls...with no response to her "hello".

She would have ignored the calls, except that Aunt Joan promised to call...and no call had come from her so far.

After two hours of irritating calls, Mary Lou hesitated to answer the damn ringing phone. There was no caller ID on the old phone her aunt insisted on keeping...along with the century-old mansion. Mary Lou's cell phone didn't work, not out in the middle of isolated, stretches of land where she had sought solitude.

A storm raged outside, and the lights flickered on and off. She had no flashlight but knew there were candles on the dining room table. Candles would be fine...if she had a way to light them. She grabbed an ornate candle holder with a white candle and ran into the kitchen. Assuming she'd lose power any second, Mary Lou rushed to the gas stove and turned it on. Glowing flames provided the source she needed to light her candle...just in time before the lights went out and all was dark.

And, the phone rang again.

Mary Lou suddenly realized that no other sound could be heard. The cats and dogs had ceased making any noises. Were they hiding? Afraid of the storm?

The glowing candle gave her enough light to find her way back into the living room. She hesitated to answer the phone, but then a slight sense of fear was pushed aside by anger. Whoever was calling would get an earful because she'd say more than just "hello".

She picked up the phone in one hand while holding the candle in the other. "Who is this?" she blurted out in a tone laced with frustration and courage.

The caller answered and said...

That's it. Now YOU finish the story!
Happy Halloween!

photo:Flickr:AviaVenefica's photostream


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Seniors as Heroes and Heroines In Books

Author, Sandra K. Marshall, is addressing age in romance books in our blog today.

Okay, you might wonder what prompted me to write about this topic, so I'm going to tell you.  Last Friday, I went to our TWA retiree luncheon for management and salaried retirees.  My old manager who follows my blog faithfully came to me and told me I needed to write a book about 80 year-olds because they still have sex and to use him for the cover model.

He laughs and says, "The details will be longer because we're a bit slower."  I laughed and said, "Phil, no one wants to read about old people having sex."  He said, "Why not? We read sexy books."  Needless to say, we had a good laugh over this conversation, but it did make me think because there are a lot of older people out there who read romances and even erotica.  They just might want to see themselves in a story depicting their sex lives.
This man has always been a handsome man, and still is even though he's not as tall and robust as he was once.  He's active, plays golf, goes on cruises, travels a lot, and his wife and him are both active.  He has a great sense of humor and would make a great character in a book. 
Here are some actors and actresses who are 80 plus who could be models for books if they were the main characters.
Christopher Plummer
Angela Lansbury
Betty White
What do you think?  Would you use 80 year-olds as heroes and heroines in a book?  Smile!  Probably not as we're a young oriented world, and most young people don't want to think of their parents and grandparents having sex.  Wink!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Guest Blog: Vicki Batman: You Can't Name Your Hero X!

I didn’t fall into writing in the traditional way of being interested as a youngster and studied creative writing or journalism in school. A friend challenged me to try because she knew how much I wanted to. I wanted to write like Dick Francis, awesome mystery writer, but I had a slight problem as his books were centered on the horse racing business in England.

Yea, I know little about horse racing, mostly how to lose money when betting, and have never been to England.

However, I worked and worked, revised and edited, and lo and behold, my baby is about to be birthed.

I struggled with naming my hero. I’d thought of one name and then discarded because it was similar to someone I knew. I couldn’t name him Batman as that guy was already out there. He-he-he. So he became Hero X. One day, I heard over my shoulder an ad for a new television show, calling a character “Allan.” Liking it, I did a search and replace. Bye-bye Hero X. Not long later, I heard an ad for a garage door company-- “Wellborn.” I tested Allan Wellborn and liked the sound and there was the bonus of looking good on a business card. The name speaks of dependability, and Allan is well-born.

My heroine’s name was pretty easy. She was named Hattie, short for Harriette. It’s old-fashioned, but I see and hear sass in it and sass is a good thing. The dialogue between the hero and heroine is pretty sassy too. Out of the clear blue, I typed Cooks as her last name which works because Hattie always seems to be cooking up trouble. LOL

Interested in more about my cute twosome? Here’s a blurb from my romantic comedy mystery, Temporarily Employed
New Job. New Love. And Murder.

Hattie Cook's dream job is down the toilet and her new SUV violated. Desperate for cash to cover the basic necessities of rent and food, she takes a temporary job at Buy Rite Insurance Company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee--the very one she replaced.

Detective Allan Charles Wellborn has secretly adored Hattie all his life. When the police determine there's more to the death of a former Buy Rite employee, he steps in to lead the investigation. Overly dedicated, always perfect, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves.

Can the killer be found before Hattie's time is up?

What are your favorite male and female names?

Like some of her characters, award-winning author, Vicki Batman has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm--the list is endless, giving her plenty of crazy material for her writing.

Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories. She is a member of RWA and several writing groups and chapters. In 2004, she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. DARA awarded her the Robin Teer Memorial Service Award in 2010. Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking "What if??"

Links for Vicki Batman
Plotting Princesses

Buy links for Temporarily Employed
Amazon ebook
Amazon paperback
The Wild Rose Press ebook
The Wild Rose Press paperback

Monday, October 27, 2014

Looking forward to the Nanowrimo by Janice Seagraves

I know a lot of people in the US are thinking about Halloween, but I'm thinking about next month.

November first, is the start day of the Nanowrimo.

This will be my eighth year doing the Nano. I started doing this before I was a published author. I think its a great exercise for writers. Proving the impossible--that you can write a novel in a month.

It also means I have seven finished manuscripts.

Not all my Nanowrimo stories stay idle on my hard drive.

One manuscript, Matrix Crystal Hunter, is a Nano story. I wrote it two years ago. Let it set for six month then revised it. Let it sit another few months and then polished it.

It was published last year and did well. Number ten for a few days on Amazon best sellers list for Science Fiction Romance, then dropped to number eleven for two more weeks.

Team Alpha Three's spaceship is out of power after fighting a wormhole, and parked on the primitive world of Zenevieva. With half the team sick from radiation poisoning, the team commander entrust geologist, Maya Gladstone, to find enough matrix crystals to power up their spacecraft, so they can go home to Earth.  

 Vach Namaste of the powerful Clan Namaste, a native of the planet, has desired the lovely Maya since she stepped off the spaceship on that astonishing day a year ago. He’s hounded her every step since. As Hymeneal Night approaches, he makes plans to take her as his bride… willing or not.
“What’s wrong?”
“There’s a bow in the rock wall.” Vach backed up, causing Maya to withdraw. “I’m bigger than the last time I went through here, but that was several years ago when my cousin, Xeno , brought me.”
He handed her the flashlight.
“Is there another way?” She shone the light around, noting how the crevice narrowed overhead.
“Not that I know of.” He grunted, trying to remove his robe, but there wasn't much room to maneuver.
“Here, let me help you.” Maya pulled the robe off his shoulder. “Surely the ancients didn't come through here?” She jerked one sleeve down over his hand and then reached to get the other side too, but found herself wedged between the rock wall and his hard body. Fighting the impulse to feel his muscles, she managed to get his other sleeve down.
“If there’s another entrance, it must have been blocked a long time ago.” He started to pull his tunic off, but struggled, thanks to his big arms and the lack of room. “Can you help me with my shirt?”
As Vach lifted his arms over his head, Maya grabbed a handful of cloth so she could lift the material high over his shoulders. “What are you going to do? Strip down and lube yourself with my cooking oil?”
“No.” He chuckled, his voice muffled by the shirt. “But that’s a good idea.”
With his arms up, Maya got a whiff of his spicy, male scent. It always surprised her that the Zeemen didn't stink after exertion as humans did. I wouldn’t mind rubbing his body down with oil. Warmth spiraled through her middle. She bit her lip. Keep your mind on business and not on being in a tight spot with a handsome Zeeman.
Vach stuck his clothes in the tote and then sidestepped through the narrow opening. Grunting as he pushed past the bow, he finally got through.
Maya approached the bend and realized it was about breast height on her. No wonder Vach had a problem, with his deep chest and heavily muscled back.
Contemplating the aperture, she stood on tiptoe but couldn't get high enough. Finally, she squatted down but then found she needed to keep her knees bent out sideways. Oh no, not awkward at all.
She managed a few crab steps before she got stuck. Vach grabbed her arm to pull her the rest of the way through. Her hiking boots slid over the loose gravel, while her thighs took the strain. He helped her to stand, leaving his hands placed on her waist as she leaned against the wall, panting. “I don’t know how we’re going to manage that going back.”
“At least we know it’s there.” His breath puffed against her face. It smelled of mint.
He must have used my toothpaste. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
With an electric jolt, Maya realized her shirt had risen up and Vach hands were resting on her bare skin. She became hyperaware of his scent, his closeness and the fact that he wore no shirt.
Moving even closer toward her in the confined space, he whispered in her ear. “I like the smell of your hair.”
His hand slid further under her shirt, gliding over her ribs.
Heat went through her as she rested her hand on his shoulder. “It’s my shampoo.”
“It’s nice.”
“You can borrow it sometime.”
Can you do me a huge favor? I in a Halloween blog hop, I'd love if you'd drop by and leave a comment. There's a chance at a prize too.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Are You Ready to go Indie?

Going Indie isn't an easy decision for some. Whether it makes sense for you depends on several things, which I've outlined below. Your own preferences/experience will decide the order of importance here, but the points don't vary much.

1. Where you are in your career
2. How important control is to you
3. Your frustration level with traditional publishing
4. How comfortable you are with risk

Going Indie requires an Entrepreneurial spirit. There is risk involved when you decide to wear both a publisher's hat and an author's hat. You need to step outside your comfort zone, be able to make decisions, and you'll have only yourself to blame when things don't go as planned.

But if you have the spirit, and control over your own intellectual property is important to you, going Indie gives you so much more flexibility in how/where/when/for how much your books are sold.

So how do you decide? Take stock of where you are and what you want for the future. Much like I'm going to do here.

Where am I in my Career?

I didn't know squat about the publishing world when I started out some 8 years ago. I could no more have gone off on my own then, at least not effectively, than I could have solved the world's major problems. The early years with traditional publishers gave me time to learn, to perfect my craft, and to figure out that I knew a better way, for me, to do things.

How much Control do I Want/Need?

Once I felt comfortable in the writing/publishing world, it made sense for me to seek the next level. I am a bit of a...erm...control freak. That is, I like to have some say over how things are done that affect me. Scratch that. Truth be told, I like to have complete say in how things happen that affect me. I can't always get that control, but in this one writing career...I can and do have control because I'm publishing most (soon all) of my books myself. Fortunately I'm fairly technical and don't break out in hives when I have to learn how to do new things online. So that made the idea of becoming my own publisher more than doable.

How Frustrated am I With my Publishers?

I love the publishing houses that decided to take a risk on me when I was brand spankin' new to the writing world. I feel a sense of loyalty to them that will never go away. But they are necessarily limited in how much they can do for me or my books because I'm only one of hundreds of authors with thousands of books. I get that. I didn't decide to go off on my own because I have animus against them for how they treated me. Well...not entirely anyway. #:0) I did it because it was the best business decision for me. And to be fair, I wouldn't have had as much success on my own if my publishers hadn't given me the time and vehicle to create a name for myself.

How Allergic am I to Risk?

I've made some mistakes, but most screw-ups are totally reversible. There aren't many things you can do that will permanently destroy your career if you go Indie. Of course you could get into a flame war with a reader/reviewer/vendor, but you could do that as an author in a publishing house too. The key to limiting risk and enhancing success is to always approach everything you do with professionalism. Choose writing as your career. This might sound simplistic, but some of the best authors I know haven't done that yet. They think they have, but when it comes down to it, they are unwilling to take the steps to really make it happen.

For the most part, Indie authors are serious about their careers. They have to be because everything success, every milestone, and every failure rests solely on their shoulders. It's a sobering and exhilarating place to be. And I'm lovin' every minute of it!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Interview of Author Christina Tetreault

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Christina Tetreault.

Latest Book: Redeeming The Billionaire

Buy Links:

Link to book trailer:

I started writing at the age of 10 on my grandmother's manual typewriter and never stopped. When I am not driving my 3 daughters (ages 7, 5, and 5) around to their various activities or chasing around our two dogs, I am working on a story or reading a romance novel. I just finished Redeeming The Billionaire book 5 in the Sherbrookes of Newport series, and I have started book 2 in my new series Love On The North Shore. You can visit my website or follow me on Facebook to learn more about my characters and to track my progress on my current writing projects.

Q: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A: Over the past two years my writing schedule has changed. This fall it once again changed. Now that all three of my daughters are in school all day, I write while they are gone. I do not strive for a certain number of words or pages because that is too stressful for me. I just write until I either run out of steam or the girls come home on the bus.

Q: What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
A: When I first started writing, I was only doing it for me. I didn’t have to interact with anyone. Now, I make an effort to communicate on a regular basis with the people who enjoy reading my books. Sometime I even ask for their input on certain aspects of my novels.

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: There is a tiny piece of me hidden in my characters, I can not deny that. For example Callie from my first book is a teacher who loves dogs. Guess what, I was a teacher and I am a huge dog lover. I also sometimes draw on characteristics from my friends and incorporate them into my characters.

Q: Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
A: I think of all my characters Callie and Dylan from The Teacher’s Billionaire are my favorite because they are the first characters others got to meet.

Q: If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
A: I would show more development between Callie and her father who she meets for the first time in the book.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: Often I use names that I have heard and like. Other times I use the lists of baby names that you can find on the web. Whenever I do choose a name I take into consideration what nicknames might be associated with it.

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Stick with it and keep learning. I am always learning new ways to improve my writing.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
A: One of these days I want to try writing a paranormal romance.

Q: Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
A: Yes. In my newest book Addison had a house fire destroy her home as a child. Four years ago I lost my house to a house fire.

Q: Any part of a book that drives you crazy as you write: beginning, middle, or end?
A: I struggle with the beginning of a novel. Once I get going I am fine.

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: The 4th of July because there is no stress associated with it like there is with Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: I write all my stories long hand first and I am a certified scuba diver.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: For a long time I wanted to be both a writer and an astronaut.

Q: Favorite food.
A: Pizza.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: Getting married.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Coffee.

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Hot summer days. I hate the cold.

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: Travel all around England and Scotland.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: I would love to fly.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Author Links:
Twitter: @cgricci

Billionaire Trent Sherbrooke works hard and plays harder. He’s never once cared what the media or society says about him, until now. Intent on making his way into the United States Senate, Trent hires campaign advisor Marty Phillips, a ruthless force in politics who will stop at nothing to get his candidate elected.

After a chance encounter throws local small business owner Addison Raimono in Trent’s path, Marty believes he’s found Trent’s ticket into Washington.

Ignoring his conscience that insists he leave Addison alone, Trent sets out to win her over. Soon what he assumed would be a relationship to salvage his reputation turns into so much more. But can a relationship that began as a lie ever survive?

Marty folded up the sleeves of his shirt. “It’s all a matter of importance. The who doesn’t matter. The wonderful opportunity it presents does. Now, I need to know everything. How did you meet her? How long have you known her? Have you slept with her yet?”

Trent pinched the bridge of his nose. Christ, couldn’t he have a cup of coffee with a woman without someone assuming he’d slept with her? “I met her just before we met last week. I bumped into her on the sidewalk and spilled coffee on her. When this picture was taken I had stopped in the bakery and when I saw her again I said hello. We talked for a few minutes before she left.”

As Marty chewed he jotted notes down on a legal pad. “That’s it? You didn’t ask her out to dinner? Get her phone number?”

Did the man think he asked out every attractive female he met? "More or less."

Marty looked up at him. “More or less, I need to know everything. And when I say everything, I mean it.”

“I told her I wanted this office redecorated and asked if she might be interested. Shirley called and set up an appointment with her.” After giving Shirley the instructions, he hadn’t thought anymore about it.

“Excellent. When?”

“I’ll have to check my calendar.”

Marty tapped his pen against his pad several times before he spoke. “We might have to change our time table a little, but I’d like to keep to it if possible. A wedding at the end of next summer is ideal. That would give you a solid year of marriage before the actual election.”

Caution flags jumped up as he listened to Marty. The advisor’s original plan had been acceptable. A marriage to a wealthy socialite who viewed their relationship as a way to achieve her own goals was one thing. What Marty proposed now was entirely something else.

“Perhaps we should stick with what we originally discussed. Why don’t I go through these and pick a candidate.” Trent reached for the binders Marty had put together. “Then they’ll be no need to adjust our timeline.”

“You hired me because you want to win.” Marty pointed his pen at the picture of Addison. “She’s your ticket to the Senate.”

Trent’s eyes focused on the picture. What had she just said to him when the picture was taken? It must have been funny because he had a huge smile on his face. Come to think of it, he’d smiled through much of their conversation. She’d had an easygoing nature with a great sense of humor. There had been no awkward moments or long gaps of silence. Under different circumstances he wouldn’t mind getting to know her better.

“The women in here may help repair your reputation.” Marty pointed to the binders he’d put together of potential wife candidates. “This one though will win the hearts of voters.” He nodded toward the newspaper on the table. “I don’t understand the problem. She’s beautiful and well-educated.”

Marty had him there. Addison was attractive and, from all he could tell, intelligent. Even with that knowledge, a corner of his conscience prickled at the idea.

Across the table Marty popped a pickle in his mouth and chewed as he waited. “If it helps look at it this way. Her involvement with you will put her business on the fast track. The whole thing will still more or less be a business agreement.”

Trent nodded. Marty had a point. If he and Addison became romantically involved it would do more for her business than an ad during the Super Bowl.

“If you’re going to make it in politics you need to learn to do what’s right for your career, everything else comes second. Trust me, I’ve been around long enough to know that few politicians make it with their conscience intact.” Marty pushed the paper closer to him. “So what’s it going to be?”

Addison’s face beamed up at him. “We’ll try it your way, but if it’s not working we will fall back to our original plan.” Sure, they’d had an enjoyable conversation over coffee but he was not prepared to wager the rest of his life on that. He picked up his untouched sandwich. “I’m assuming you made sure she’s not involved with anyone.”

The look Marty gave him said it all. “Unless she’s got a secret lover tucked in her closet, she’s single and has been for over a year.”

“Okay, I’ll let you know how things go. But in the meantime, keep working on who leaked this picture.”

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