Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Spotlight: A Hundred Kisses by Jean M. Grant

1296

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.
Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Excerpt
She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…
Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.
Muffled words yelled at her.
Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.
“Wh—?”
“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”
His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”
She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.
She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.
When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.
She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.
His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.

Author Bio:
Jean is a scientist, part-time education director, and a mom. She currently resides in Massachusetts and draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors, and her family for inspiration. She enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines, and aspires to write children’s books while continuing to write novels. In 2008, she visited the land of her daydreams, Scotland, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Jean enjoys tending to her flower gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and playing with her sons, while daydreaming about the next hero to write about...

Connect with Jean

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

So Many, Many, Many, Ways to Die (during National Poetry Month)

April is National Poetry Month. In honor of the occasion is my contribution below. (Note this is National Poetry Month, not National Good Poetry Month.)


So Many, Many, Many Ways to Die
by L. A. Kelley

Will I drown you in the tub?
Beat your brains out with a club?
Swap your packs of Sweet’N Low for cyanide?
Once you’re sound asleep in bed
Voila! A bullet through the head.
So many, many, many ways to die.







If I laced your diet cola
With a tincture of ebola
You’d hardly have the time to wave goodbye.
A well-delivered slice
With a chain saw should suffice.
So many, many, many ways to die.


You wouldn't have a fun day
If you’re flattened by my Hyundai.
Crushed organs leave a person less than spry.
A Hefty bag’s facilitation
Simplifies asphyxiation.
So many, many, many ways to die.


C4’s pronounced kaboom
Would precipitate your doom.
You’d be teensy bits before I blink an eye.
One quick shove into the freezer?
A deveining with a tweezer?
So many, many, many ways to die


Since I caught you in the act
With your mistress in the sack
Your cheating heart I can no more deny.
For me, the best solution
Is a simple execution.
So many, many, many, ways to die.





I won’t ruin the surprise
With the date of your demise
Just know I have the perfect alibi.
So when next we meet, my dear,
You’ll be on the funeral bier
For I’ve decided on the way for you to die.














Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Haiku to Honor Peeps

In honor of National Poetry Month, here's a Easter haiku. What is haiku? It's a three stanza poem of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and 5 syllables.


 Peeps Haiku


Jump in little Peep!
Hot tub fun waiting for you.


Sad eyes see the truth.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Review: The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown

There’s something so down-to-earth entertaining about shared stories. Back in the 1990s a man named George Dawes Green and his friends sponsored storytelling events, sharing life experience on stage throughout the New York area. The group had no set venue and fluttered from place to place, so the event was referred to as The Moth. It since evolved into a radio/blog show. Performances of the storytellers along with tips for your own storytelling are now available on The Moth website

The logo of The Moth is True stories told live. The mission is to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience. We’re not all that different and the founders of the The Moth believe the best connections are forged when people tell true stories about what transpired in a person’s life to define an individual, shake up a life, or change a view.

All These Wonders is a compilation of these stories. They are short and easy to read, with nearly fifty in the book. A life changing experience doesn’t take a lot of time to explain in the hands of a good storyteller. The authors range in age from teenagers to senior citizen. A lot of the stories have a bit of wistfulness, even when the people become better for their experiences in the end. After all, life is hard and full of bumps in the road, and many of the stories reflect that. The topics are eclectic; from David Bowie’s hairdresser to a Jewish Orthodox boy’s illicit taste of nonkosher pizza. Some stories are better than others and a few are downright whiny in the oh-poor-me category. My favorite is from Cathy Olkin, a planetary scientist, about a mission to Pluto. Although, I didn’t find all the stories inspiring, they were at least interesting.


If you rather hear instead of read stories, check out The Moth website at https://www.themoth.org/

I received this book from Blogging for Book in exchange for a review.

Monday, March 27, 2017

My Boss Makes a Great Serial Killer: Write Real People into your Novel Without Getting Sued

(Blogging today at Paranormal Romantics. Here's the post.)

Standard writing advice is to write what you know, but the new novel in your head screams out for an arrogant protagonist; a self-absorbed manscaper with a short temper and a roving eye. The perfect model just so happens to walk, talk, and look like your boss. Can you kill him with literary abandon? If you do, will you get sued? Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t? When diving through murky legal waters, the first things you need to know are the definition of defamation and invasion of privacy.

Defamation of Character
Defamation means you gave someone’s character a severe black eye. Calling a person a butthead in print isn’t enough for defamation. It’s merely an insult, and, well, sticks and stones can’t break bones or get you sued. Any accusations must be blatantly untrue and the writer must act with obvious malice. An important point to note is a defamatory statement contains specific details. The person in question must be easily identifiable so that a reasonable individual can draw a connection between the literary creation and the real thing.  Inventing a character with the same personality as your boss is fine. Giving him the same physical appearance, quirks, nickname, weird birthmark, shoe size, home address, and then calling him a probable serial killer, possible arsonist, and likely body snatcher is a no-no. The court may take a dim view even if you make it clear this is only your impression. It’s like yelling  “Fire!” in a crowded theater.  If people get trampled in the stampede for the exit you can’t shrug it off and say, “The fire was only my opinion.”

Invasion of Privacy
Invasion of privacy makes a writer sound like a Peeping Tom, but all it means is that facts have been revealed that are “not related to public concern.” In this day of show-all/tell-all this one rarely makes it to the courts, and most legal cases are in connection with memoirs or biographies. Interestingly enough, the courts generally accept a legitimate public interest exists simply because a publisher elected to publish a book. If Simon and Shuster says it’s in the public interest to read this thing, then dang it, it is. Spilling the beans in your biography that Aunt Maude ran a Ponzi scheme will more likely net a public service award than a summons. Telling everyone how your cousin, Henry, started life as Henrietta might get you booted from family reunions, but not sued. (And wouldn’t it make a dandy Lifetime movie.) However, revealing the local high school principal has sealed juvenile arrests for prostitution and drug convictions is another matter. The information has nothing to do with the stellar law-abiding citizen she is today and could irreparably harm her career and ability to earn a living.  

How often do authors get sued? Not much, and most cases law involves writers who aren’t self-published. The legal precedent on self-publishing is murky since no independent third party publishing house designated your book as a legitimate public interest prior to publication. Therefore, public interest may be more difficult to prove in an invasion of privacy lawsuit. On the plus side, most self-published authors aren’t famous. The odds are your boss will never draw the connection.

Until the courts come down one way or the other, here’s a few tips to keep out of the big house and that tacky orange jumpsuit.
  • Disguise characters. Changing physical descriptions isn’t enough if the person’s identity it still blatantly obvious to everyone in the community. Show, don’t tell.

  • Use parody and satire. No one ever sued Saturday Night Live, and have you seen what’s on the internet? They even use real names. Insult is not legal grounds for a lawsuit.

  • Get signed releases.  This includes business owners if their companies feature prominently in your story. This is surprisingly easy as most people are thrilled to be in a book. I had several elderly church-going relatives vigorously campaign to have me use their name for a dead prostitute. Auntie Loretta won.

  • If you’re writing a memoir or autobiography don’t forget people remember things differently. A few kind words at the beginning of a book about how this is your impression of events might do a lot to assuage hurt feelings and keep legal trouble at bay.









Saturday, March 25, 2017

Book Spotlight: Lapses of Memory by M. S. Spencer

“I know, every night in the shower for the rest of my life, wondering where he was and what he was doing. But that was you, not me. I know what I’m doing.”

Thank you so much for having me at your wonderful site, Linda. I’d like to talk about my new romantic suspense Lapses of Memory, in which two romances intertwine as a mother recounts her life-long love affair while her daughter juggles two lovers. The setting is Old Town Alexandria, one of my home towns, where both Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, and The Mason's Mark: Love and Death in the Tower take place as well.

In the frame story of Lapses of Memory, Sydney Bellek is narrating her life to her daughter Olivia.  While Olivia labors to get her mother to cooperate, she has little time to concentrate on her own dilemma—how to choose between the rich and dashing Rémy de Beaumec, who wants to fly her around the world, and the steady, quiet, American-to-the-core, Benjamin Knox, who only wants to make her happy.

Wild Rose Press, 3/15/2017, Imprint: Champagne Rose
Contemporary romantic suspense/Action Adventure; M/F; 2 flames
Ebook (70,560); Print: 296 pp.

Blurb
Old Town Alexandria
It is spring in Old Town Alexandria, and Sydney Bellek is dictating her memoir to her daughter Olivia. Every few years from the age of five she meets her true love Elian Davies, but while he remembers her, she doesn’t recognize him. Only after surviving wars, revolutions, and years of separation will she realize they are meant to be, but this time it is Elian who has lost his memory of her. Will he remember her before she loses heart or will their new love be enough to replace the old one?

Meanwhile, her daughter Olivia has her own dilemma—how to choose between the rich and dashing Rémy de Beaumec, who wants to take her around the world, and the steady, quiet, American-to-the-core, Benjamin Knox, who only wants to make her happy.

Buy Links


 Excerpt
“Welcome, stranger.” Sydney offered her cheek. The chiseled features of the man at the door inclined toward her with polished grace. One perfect ringlet of ebony hair sidled down his temple. He kissed her and drew back, his black eyes sparkling.
“You grow more beautiful every year, Madame Davies.”
“I see you still have that silver tongue.” His hostess gave a gentle laugh to soften the criticism. “Olivia, why don’t we go into the drawing room? Would you like a cocktail, Rémy? Or champagne?”
Sydney kept the conversation light, dwelling on politics and religion rather than the weather. The tense muscles in Rémy’s shoulders gradually relaxed as the evening wore on and the wine flowed. He even began glancing at Olivia now and then, something he had studiously avoided at first. He hasn’t forgotten about Benjamin. That’s good. Sydney watched her daughter. She sensed Olivia had been opposed to this dinner—whether out of shame or apprehension Sydney wasn’t sure. Even now her face remained inscrutable, annoying her mother. Just like Elian.
“Dessert?”
“No, thank you.”
“Coffee then?”
“Yes, please.”
When they were served, Sydney rose. “Why don’t you two take your cups to the living room? I have some things to do to prepare for my trip. I shall return in a few minutes.” She let them go, waiting for a sign. Sure enough, as they passed out the door, their hands found one another and squeezed. She sighed and headed upstairs.
****
“Must you go so soon? The evening is still young.”
“Yes, madame.” Rémy’s hooded eyes kept her from deciphering his state of mind.
“We’ll see you again before you return to France?”
He twisted to look at Olivia. The pause lengthened. Olivia stared into his eyes, silent. “I hope so.”
When he’d gone, Sydney indicated a chair to her daughter. “Tell me what happened.”
As if she knew there was no escape, Olivia sat and squared her shoulders. “He asked me to go back to France with him.”
“Ah.”
“I…I said I’d think about it.”
“Ah.”
Olivia stood and started to pace. “I wish…”
“You wish Benjamin would show up out of the blue, sweep you off your feet, and carry you off to…er…”
Her daughter halted. “I do?”
Sydney shrugged. “If you up and took off with Rémy, would you ever know what you’d do if he did?”
Jaw slack, Olivia stared at her mother. “Say that again?”


About the Author
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. 

Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense novels, and has two more in utero. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Contacts
Linked in

M. S. Spencer's Calendar of Events



Friday, March 24, 2017

Book Spotlight: Second Chance in Laguna

Second Chance in Laguna
by Claire Marti

When Sophie Barnes’s fiancé jilts her at the altar, her carefully planned life implodes. Considering her ex’s betrayal to be a rude wake-up call, she leaves everything she knows in San Diego and flees to Laguna Beach. She vows to transform her life by avoiding men for a year and by fulfilling her dream of writing a wildly successful novel. 

Sophie’s new landlord, Nicholas Morgan, is a gorgeous, successful architect with a player reputation. He makes it tough for Sophie to remember that she’s sworn to be single. Nick’s avoided the intimacy of a long-term relationship--until Sophie’s independence, courage, and beauty touch his guarded heart. Both Sophie and Nick are terrified of being hurt again, but can they resist the pull of true love?

EXCERPT
Nick arrived right on time, looking gorgeous in faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. How did he always manage to start the butterflies fluttering in her stomach? Just by standing there with the setting sun framing him? She was in trouble.

“Hi beautiful, ready to go?” He clasped her face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips.

Returning his kiss, Sophie wound her arms around his neck and deepened it. She couldn’t resist. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, hugging her close to his broad chest.

“Mmmm, feel free to greet me like that every time I come over,” he said, lips curved up into a sweet smile.

Heat washed her cheeks and she returned his smile. “Let’s go. Prepare to be blown away by the movie snack of the century.”

Determined to keep things light and enjoy the movie before “the talk,” Sophie thrust down the lick of panic bubbling in her gut. She’d accomplished next to nothing all afternoon, instead wrestling with whether she needed to tell him about Doug.

The angel on her shoulder whispered to tell him because if they were going to have any kind of relationship, even a friends-with-benefits one, honesty and trust were vital.

The devil urged her to zip it. They’d only known each other a few weeks. What if he lived up to his “Player of Laguna” reputation and expected only a fun fling? Even though he seemed deeper than that. What if she scared him off with a premature talk?

BUY LINKS for March 31
·  Amazon 
·  Kobo  

AUTHOR BIO
Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress. 

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. Her debut releases from The Wild Rose Press on March 31, 2017 and is the first in the Finding Forever in Laguna series.