Monthly archives "February 2015"

SISTERHOOD OF THE WORLD BLOGGERS

sisterhoodoftheworldbloggersaward-graphicI’ve been complaining for weeks that Old Man Winter is nothing but a tease.  With a flurry here or a light dusting there, I was beginning to think a pretty white winter wasn’t going to happen.  And then … BAM! Old Man said take that and pounded us with a foot of snow.  Before moving to Kentucky, I saw snow twice in my life. Twice, and even after being here for sixteen years, I still get excited about it.  And since I don’t drive on the stuff- I do good maneuvering a vehicle on good roads, much less slick ones- and because the hubby pretty much works around the clock during bad weather, I’m home bound.  Which means I should be putting these free days to good use and working on my manuscript, but it seems I’ve done a lot of everything but.  Things like the Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers award. Another blog hop?  Yeah, why not?  I’ve got time 🙂

The rules are fairly simple.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.

2. Put the Award logo on your blog.

3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.

4.Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.

5.Nominate seven blogs.

So, thank you very much E.L. Wicker, I appreciate the nomination. I mention her quite often on here.  She’s one of those people I just clicked with.  So if you’ve never visited her site, you should.  She’s the author of The Bearwood Series, an amazing new vampire series with a modern twist. Fractured Immortal is available now and Finding Immortal is on its way soon!

So, to answer the questions given to me by E.L.:

1. What is your favorite book?

I hate when someone asks me this question because I have so many and it’s hard to narrow it down to just one, so I’m going to say Night Sins by Tami Hoag and simply because it sparked my love for reading again.

2. Do you have a favorite character in a book?

Hard one! Especially since I typically read romance and the type of characters vary so drastically.  I like strong, driven females, especially those that go against the norm of what is expected from a woman, but I still want them to be a lady.

3. What is your preferred book genre?

Easy peasy- romance

4. What book did you most read as a child?

The Sweet Valley High series.

5. If you could live in any book world, where would it be?

You’re making me think! I would love to say Harry Potter, because I think that would be super cool, but in reality I’m such a weenie it would probably scare the shit out of me.  I’ve had this fantasy romance somewhat going through my mind about mermaids and I love all things water, so I think I’d pick something like that.

6. One of my favorite books is The Killing Place because of the wintery atmosphere – do you have a season you prefer to find in books?

I also love wintry themed books, especially those with a snowed in trope.  I also enjoy reading Christmasy books all year long.  Again, I think it’s because they typically occur in winter.  I think it has something to do with being in the cold with  a hot, sexy guy to warm up too 🙂

7.  What’s you favorite TV Show? – I’m just being nosy now!

Do sporting events count? Because if the Kentucky Wildcats are playing, I’m there.  But, gosh I don’t watch TV unless I’m at my sisters and then it’s usually some kind of reality crazy stuff like Snapped.  I do love Criminal Minds, though. I have an obsession with serial killers and how their minds work- weird I know.

8. Name one interesting thing about yourself.

I blogged about this before, but in case someone missed it. I was born and grew up in Texas. My husband was born and grew up in Kentucky.  We met when he was in stationed at Ft. Hood while in the army.  Years after we were married, we discovered that the doctor, who delivered me, was originally from Kentucky and was a brother to the doctor who delivered my husbands two older brothers.  So, our paths weirdly crossed before we ever met.

9. What is your biggest fear.

Mice.  I hate the little boogers.  I’m convinced I must have had some kind of past traumatic experience that I’m blocking because even saying the name gives me chills.

10. Would you like to join my vigilante team? (must supply own bows and leather/pvc suit)

Hell yeah!  I’ll grab one of the boys bows, but it’ll have to be a pvc suit, cause um … leather would not be pretty on this!

And now for the nominations – oh jeez! Seriously 7? I’m terrible at this.  How about I’ll nominate a few and then if anyone else wants to join in they can. And for those that I’ve nominated, please don’t feel obligated to participate. Although, I’d love to see everyone’s answers, I know how busy we all can be and that we use our blogs for different things.

Rachel Carrera

Paige Randall

Aetherhouse

April Nichols Baker

Julie Stock

And, the questions:

1. How often do you read?  Daily, weekly, monthly?

2. Favorite Movie?

3.  Worst habit?

4.  I have a couple weird food quirks.  I don’t like chocolate or ketchup.  How about you?

5.  Since we are all authors, what’s one accomplishment you’d like to have with your writing?

6.  Collect anything?

7.  Most daring thing you’ve done.

8.  Although I don’t believe a drop of what I read, I’m a tabloid junkie.  I know shameful, but I can’t help it.  So, what’s your guilty pleasure?

9.  What’s the last picture you took with your phone?- A bit nosy, but I’m running out of interesting things to ask!

10.  I think we all have a few OCD tendencies in one way or another.  Mine is list. Emails, caller ID, and text messages even my work list on my computer at work, they drive me crazy if something is sitting there.  Have any obsessions/compulsions?

GUEST POST: JULIE STOCK From Here to Nashville

Please welcome Julie Stock and her debut novel, From Here to Nashville to the blog.  Julie and I first became acquainted when a mutual Twitter/Blogger friend mentioned that I would probably like the book she was working on.  One look at her blog and I knew it was something I would definitely be reading.  Julie shares in my love for country music and romance and I’m excited to be able to share her new release with you!dfw-js-fhtn-cover-small

From Here to Nashville  Two worlds, 4,000 miles apart. Can music unite them? Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset. When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide ‘Open Mic’ competition, she decides they have nothing to lose. But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own? Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again and to see whether music really can bring them together.

AMAZON US |  AMAZON UK

Teaser Excerpt

I turned slowly to find myself staring up into the most beautiful pair of brown eyes I’d ever seen. The gorgeous man who’d been watching me earlier now stood before me, and my breath caught as I studied him close up. He towered over my petite frame, his soft, wavy, dark brown hair falling over his forehead, hands slung low in his pockets and cowboy boots peeking out from beneath his jeans. ‘Er, hi,’ I managed to stutter out, reminding myself to breathe. ‘Hey there,’ he drawled in the most luscious American accent. ‘I heard you singing and I wanted to find out more about who that fabulous voice belonged to.’ He smiled and as he did, I noticed the way his lips turned up invitingly at the corners. ‘Thank you. I’m glad you liked it,’ I replied, trying to appear calm and to bring my focus back to his eyes. And then he chuckled. God, he knew how to make a chuckle sound sexy. He oozed confidence too, with his broad shoulders pulled back and his head held high. ‘You British, you’re so damn polite,’ he said, raising his eyebrows. ‘You sounded great up there.’ ‘Yeah, the crowd had a great vibe tonight. I can’t quite believe it.’ ‘Well, you have no reason not to; the proof’s all here. I loved your own song by the way. You have a real talent there.’ I blushed then, an honest-to-goodness shade of pink that made him chuckle once more, locking eyes with me as he did, so I knew the compliment was sincere.

About the Author

Julie Stock is an author of contemporary romance novels, novellas and short stories. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and is a Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors. She blogs about her path to publication on her website, ‘My Writing Life’ www.juliestock.wordpress.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter, on Goodreads and via her Facebook Author Page. If you would like to be the first to hear about her new releases and other news, you can also sign up to receive her occasional newsletters. Your address will never be shared and you can unsubscribe at any time. When she is not writing, she works part-time as a teacher. She is married with two teenage daughters and lives with her family in Bedfordshire.

WHY I READ AND WRITE ROMANCE PART II

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“I’d like to bite that lip.” ― E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey

I’ve been thinking about this post all week even before Part I of this story happened yesterday.  I’ve been biting my tongue as I read articles littered with both praise and criticism for 50 Shades of Grey. First, let me say, yes, I read the books.  But going into them, I had no idea what they were about other than being filled with sex.  At times, I tend to get wrapped up in my own world and forget to follow what the masses are doing.  And while a few people had mentioned them to me, no one fully explained what kind of story it was.  So when a colleague loaned them to me and I opened up that first page, I was completely clueless about what I was about to read.

Boy was I surprised!  My first experience with any kind of erotica novel, I became enthralled.  Now, before we go any further, I’d like to acknowledge the books issues.  Yes, there are some problems, but I’m not going to address them here, because that’s not what this post is about.  But, what irritates me with this whole situation, is those that blast the books/movie without reading them.  I’ve seen one author in particular who’s posted something negative more than once a day for the past week.  Really?  It bothers you that much, that you’d spend your time finding these articles to post?  And then she made a comment that she hadn’t read them and wouldn’t because they degrade woman and promote abuse.  Sorry, but that’s been a little over stated.  My advise, maybe she should read them so she can come up with a more original reason for her dislike.  It’s not only this author making these kinds of statements.  There are many …. MANY and almost every one of them have said they hadn’t and wouldn’t read the books.  Hmm … yes, I believe that gives them all the reason in the world to judge them.  Because judging something you haven’t experienced makes all kinds of sense to me?

Now you’re probably scratching your heads asking how 50 Shades of Grey and my story about Hatchet Man from yesterday have anything to do with why I like to read and write romance.  For those that say 50 Shades isn’t realistic, I say you’ve lived a sheltered life.  If you don’t believe there are people that f@#ked up in this world, then maybe you should come sit in my office for a day.

Now, I don’t typically talk about my day job.  Number one reason- I’ve signed so many confidentially agreements I’m sure I’ve agreed to all kinds of bodily torture if I did so, and secondly, eight hours of it a day is enough.  No, I’m not slipping up and telling you where I work.  But I will tell you that it’s not nearly as interesting as you’re probably thinking.  It’s a job, it pays the bills, but I’d like to think what I do, does help people.  With that being said, I will say that I work directly with the public from all walks of life.  And a few of them have walked some interesting journeys. I’ve heard a lot.  A lot!  And every time I think I’ve heard it all … nope!  Someone still surprises me.  Sexual escapades, devious acts, the low down on criminal activity – people like to talk. Sometimes I sit at my desk and think “why on earth would you tell someone this?”   Which brings me back to my story about Hatchet Man.  Ninety nine percent of the folks who land in my office aren’t there because everything is rosy in their life.  Somewhere along the line things went askew or didn’t pan out.  To say the environment can get hostile- um, yeah!  Not everyday, but we’ve had some instances that caused concern.  So, my apprehension with Hatchet Man was somewhat valid.

This past week, I was waiting on a meeting when a gentleman came into the room and sat down.  He immediately began telling me about his reasons for being there- none of which interested me, but since it was just the two of us, I couldn’t avert my attention elsewhere.  He talked and rambled. I shook my head, smiled and added the occasional “I see.”  Unhappy with someone, he explained a long story of a disagreement they’d had.  He then went on to apologize for his rambling and said he hadn’t been sleeping well because of this disruption in his life and that the only thing that brought him comfort was the image of beating the other mans head in with a baseball bat.  I got vivid details of exactly how this might go down.  I’m sure my eyes must have betrayed my horror, because he immediately added that he would never actually do something like that.  I know you’re thinking, he was upset and letting off steam and yeah, you’re probably right.  But it was at that exact moment that it hit me -this is why I read and write romance.  At the end of the day all I want is something to feel good.  A happily ever after, even if I have to make it up.

Back to Fifty Shades.  I’ve probably totally confused everyone with my post, because Fifty Shades has a lot of darkness in it and for the most part, there isn’t anything feel good about it.  So why would I enjoy reading about something so bleak?  And is Fifty Shades really a romance?  I’m glad you asked, because I believe it is.  If you look beyond the BDSM, there is a love story.  Like all relationships, it’s one that’s intense and difficult.  And one that requires give and take from both.  Sure, most of us have never been asked to be flogged by our partners, but that’s what makes this story unique.  The fact that the author took a circumstance not recognized as normal and turned it into a love story.  All romances deal with various shades of darkness.  It’s called conflict.  Some aren’t as black as others, but they all have it.  For me, what makes them enjoyable is the outcome.  The ending. The finding of love beyond all that yucky stuff.  I don’t mind ugliness, but ultimately I want love to conquer all. And that my friends is why I write and read romance.

Off to see the movie with my mom and sister tomorrow, but until then,

Laters, baby.

WHY I READ AND WRITE ROMANCE PART I

In honor of it being the weekend for all things red, pink, and lovie dovie, I thought I’d talk about for many, what Valentines Day symbolizes and why I enjoy reading and writing about it-Romance.

If you  haven’t realized by now, today is Friday.  It also happens to be the 13th.  I’m not a superstitious person.  It’s never bothered me that nearly every cat I’ve owned has been black, a broken mirror simply means you need to sweep, and today, well … it’s just another day on the calendar.  Except I had one of those “Oh God” moments this morning.  The kind where you think this may be the day it all comes to an end.  Okay, so now I might be mildly making more of the situation than what it really was, but for a moment I did think “things are about to get real ugly around here.”

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As I’m dropping my youngest off at school this morning, we’re going through the ritual: a hug, kiss, another hug, I love you, have a good day, see ya later buddy, and then I watch him until he walks through the door.  Just as he’s cleared the stairs, I hear a tap, tap, tap on my window. I crane my neck to the side and see a man standing there holding a hatchet with an evil grin on his face.  It took me a moment to register what was  happening and then reality sunk in- I know this man.  Oh God!  I know this man!  In case you’re wondering that wasn’t an excited “Oh God!”  At this point, I’m stunned with stupor.  I don’t know what I should do.  I can’t gun it because there are kids crossing in front of me. I can’t back up, because I’m holding up a line of cars.  All I can think about is that I’ve really pissed him off.  You see, Hatchet Man is someone whom I come in contact with through my day job.  He’s quite the colorful character and we don’t always see eye-to-eye. Okay, we rarely, if ever agree, but he’s not one I’ve ever considered dangerous.   Not knowing what to do, I do nothing.  I sit there looking at him like WTH?  He nudges the hatchet toward me as if to say “see this?”  I look back like “Yeah, I do.”  And then vaguely I hear my oldest son say “Dad told me to put that up.”  My head swivels to the right.  My oldest son sits there quietly.  “What?” I ask.  “Dad told me to put it up last night and I forgot,” he says again.  Things start becoming a little clearer, so I face Hatchet Man again.  This time his evil grin doesn’t look so scary.  He’s actually kind of smiling humorously. I roll my window down and he sort of thrusts the hatchet forward.  “Hey, this was on the back of your car.”  He laughs like it’s funny.  I suppose it is now.  But, at the time, I was still trying to make head or tails of it all.  “Thanks,” I say, grabbing the hatchet and putting it in the back seat.  He goes on his way, I roll up the window, and we pull forward.  My oldest explains that one of them laid it on the car last night. They didn’t put it away like their dad asked, it apparently froze to the trunk and made the trip with us to school this morning.  So, it turns out, Hatchet Man wasn’t out to chop my body into a hundred pieces.  He was being nice-oops, my bad!

At this point, I would like to request that no one ask me what my children were doing with a hatchet.  Honestly, I can’t think of one responsible answer to that question, so I’d likely plead the fifth.  I would love to say, they were cleaning up a mess of their Dad’s and got sidetracked or that someone had borrowed it and they were being nice and had intentions of putting it back for them, but the truth would likely be  that they were attempting something they saw on the show Ax Men.  No, I’m not kidding.  My driveway was once turned into a wash station so that they could mine gold like the men on Gold Rush.

So what does any of this have to do with why I read and write romance?  Ahh, yes, that was the reason I was writing this wasn’t it? Unfortunately, my lunch hour is up, so you’ll have to find out on Part II tomorrow.

Until then, Happy Friday the 13th!

WORKSPACE OR NOT … THAT IS THE QUESTION!

It’s a sad day …  A sad day indeed, when one must make up their “workspace” for a blog post to showcase where they do their best work.  Rachel Carrera tagged me in this blog hop and since I’ve got nothing better to talk about these days, I thought I’d take the opportunity to gripe about my lack of space.  I’m also hoping the hubby, who I know reads these from time to time, takes the hint and gets on the ball of creating a space for me 🙂

writing-alcove2Something like this would suit my personality perfectly.  Small and simple, I can imagine all kinds of creativity happening here.

All joking aside, we know not having a desk for me is a problem, but there is a bigger problem than the lack of a desk.  It’s called space!  Space:  a continuous area or expanse that is free, available, or unoccupied.  Continuous area- the woods behind my house might fit this definition, but I’m fairly certain I’d freeze my arse off if I attempted writing outdoors right now.  Free- there isn’t even a free wall in my house.  Unoccupied- I have two boys in the house and I can promise you, there is nothing that they don’t get into or that isn’t occupied by them at some point.  Okay, so you get it, my house is small.  I look at it as less to clean!  But I do need a desk and yes me and the hubby have discuss remedies to this situation, but they all require another thing that isn’t just lying around MONEY!

At some point we plan to add on and an office for me will be included in that project, but for now, I roam from place to place, wherever my laptop takes me. Mostly this would be sitting in bed as I’m doing right now.  Sometimes I’ll venture to the couch in the living room, but between the boys fighting, the TV, game systems, and everything else going on, it’s hard to concentrate there.  occasionally, I’ll find a happy medium and sit at the kitchen table where I can oversee the commotion and yet still be distanced from it, but that usually doesn’t work out all that well either.

2-Chiang-Mai-JungleUnfortunately, my tabletop view is nothing like this, but I’m dreaming here right? Okay, so if I’m dreaming, right now I’d like to be some place warm- like the beach!

01-Koh-Phi-Phi-Long-Beach

No matter where I am, I usually have a few things by my side. Yes, two Kindles and my little green notebook complete with coffee stain on the outside.  If you’re brave, click on the picture to enlarge it, look over the mess, but check out the name of the candle!  I found that little gem at a truck stop and believe it or not, it smells really good 🙂

IMG_9983[1]As for any other must haves: a bottle of water or cup of coffee nearby. IMG_0010[1]I love the sayings under the SoBe Lifewater lids!

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Again, I’m dreaming!  No Starbucks anywhere near me!

As you can see my workspace or err um, workspaces aren’t exactly ideal.  But I’m a big believer in not letting what you don’t have stop you from doing what you want.   When I get that lovely addition added on, I’ll be sure to update this post 🙂  And thanks Rachel.  If you are not following her blog, you should.  I’m amazed by her strength and the many talented things she does.

Now for the big announcement of who I’m tagging!  These are no-brainers. They are the only people I ever tag, because I hate putting anyone on the spot and they know there won’t be any hard feelings if they don’t participate.  We are all busy people.  I get that!  So, W.C. Cunningham, E.L. Wicker and Aetherhouse– feel free to share your creative spaces with us or NOT!

GUEST POST & EBOOK GIVEAWAY: ZRINKA JELIC

                          MEET … ZRINKA JELIC!
Today, I’d like to welcome author Zrinka Jelic to tell us more about her new release, Rose of Crimson.  Zrinka is also graciously gifting an ebook copy to a lucky winner !  See  below for the details.

RoseofCrimson_MEDMy 5th novel is titled Rose of Crimson and it was released by Secret Cravings Publishing on December 23rd, 2014. This is a prequel to Bonded by Crimson which was published on January 15th, 2012. I’ve started working on the prequel the day I was offered a publishing contract for Bonded by Crimson. Then it got pushed to the back burner while I worked on other projects. Since then I’ve wrote and published Treasured Chest, a pirate romance, Love Remains, a time travel romance and Deck the Halls, a Christmas novella.

Bonded_CoverRose of Crimson is based on a Croatian legend from late 17th century. Local people like to refer to the tragic love story as their Romeo and Juliet, only in this version the young lovers (Miljenko & Dobrila) are from feuding aristocratic families who would stop at nothing to keep them apart. Even when Dobrila’s father accepted offered hand of peace, he couldn’t with the fact that Miljenko won and took his daughter.

However, Rose of Crimson is not a historical romance. In the book the hero, Miles—he shortened it from Miljenko—telepathically projects his story onto heroine, Kate—who has a special connection with him through her ancestor. I wanted to present the passages of his past life differently than just jump from past to present through the chapters. I wanted a reader to know when we’re entering and exiting his story. Because, he sought her out to write down his story. Both books are stand alone, though the ending in Rose of Crimson may not leave you satisfied, Kate and Matthias do find their happily ever after in Bonded by Crimson.

And now the excerpt:

He had pulled the door open and there she sat, on top of the steps. Hadn’t he told her to go home and pack? Wait, something was different about her. She was younger, a child almost. Her hair was tied in a high ponytail, her clothes…God almighty! She was naked, save for a few scraps. Could her breeches get any shorter? The threads hung loose form the frail hem, as if she put shears to her leggings. Her long, tanned legs were bare for all to see. Her shirt, if one could call it such, sleeveless, backless even, held by two thin straps tied around her neck, depicted a pony. Whoever put animals on their attire and with glittering mane of all things?

“Oh my God!” Kate screeched, but didn’t pull her hands out of his. “I remember this encounter. That’s me.”

“That is you. The last time I saw your great-great-grandmother was the first time I saw you.”

“Wicked.” Her voice carried her fascination. “It’s some kind of an omen.”

“Something or someone tried to tell me something,” he said. Maybe they were destined for one another, and nothing he did would keep them apart.

“Now I know why you scrutinized me as if I came from some other world. In your eyes, I did. To me you didn’t appear out of place. I thought you pulled your clothes from your grandpa’s chest for the local festivity. I figured the weakness that poured over me as a sign of heat or sunstroke.”

“How do you explain the rose I gave you?” He snickered at her last comment, the old clothes stored together with moth balls in squeaky chests with rusted hinges and used on occasions such as festivity to resurrect the old traditions and attract visitors.

Her long gaze and soft smile settled on him. If she was trying to play cool and not show how much she wanted him, her pretending failed. “My memory has faded a little since then, but I clearly remember you picking the flower and offered it to me. My mom is adamant that I picked it myself. She said good thing the custodian didn’t catch me.”

His heart sunk at the mention of the home he grew up in. It had been decades since he last touched its stone walls. The once mighty castle, closed for the family affairs, was now open for everyone to roam about for the price of the admission. At least the money generated was used to preserve the building and grounds, and employed a few people.

BLURB

KATE ROKOV‘s grades are plummeting. She needs to get the voice out of her head or she will flunk her finals.

MATTHIAS ZRIN, a three centuries old immortal, born into an aristocratic family as Miles Rušinić, is enthralled with Kate. It is his voice preventing Kate from sleeping and her ignorance is testing his limits. He wants her to write down his story to settle his wife’s earthbound spirit. His tragic love story has become Kate’s obsession since fifth grade during her summer trip to Rušinić castle.

You can pick up a copy for your Kindle Kobo Nook iPad

MEZrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that’s about the only break they get. “Alas,” Jelic says, with a grin. “Some rain must fall in everyone’s life.”

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TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS COMMENT WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS AND ZRINKA WILL RANDOMLY PICK A WINNER.