Today is April 30. It was on this date 38 years ago that I participated in a miracle.
Most of you are aware of the automobile accident I was in on August 22, 1970. Married seven months and hospitalized with a concussion, fractured vertebrae, a triple-fractured pelvis, crushed hip, and number facial and dental injuries, I discovered I was pregnant. What should have been the most joyous moment of my life became a horror novel as I was told that I had been subjected to massive amounts of radiation because of numerous x-rays to determine the extent of my injuries(the roentgenologist pointed out that the only people he'd heard of who got more radiation were at Hiroshima), been inundated with drugs, including synthetic heroin, as well as blood transfusions which had probably left me with the Rh negative factor. With all that stacked against me, they felt I should have an abortion because my baby had a 50-50 chance of being blind or mentally retarded or stillborn.
I decided otherwise, and on April 30, 1971, after many tears and much prayer, I delivered by C-section, a healthy 7 pound, 8 oz baby boy--who is now a college graduate and a math teacher.
Happy Birthday, JL! It was worth every moment.
Cut or purchase several good handfuls of rhubarb. The amount can vary. Chop the stems into two inch pieces and put them in a large saucepan (I use a 2-3 quart one) and barely cover with water. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the stems are soft. Then whisk the cooked pieces until smooth. Season with sugar to taste (I use about a cup). Add two-three heaping tablespoons of instant tapioca (depending on amount of liquid) and simmer until the tiny pearls are clear. Add 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry gelatin and stir until dissolved. Set mixture aside and chill in fridge until it sets. Add cut up strawberries if available after the pudding has cooled.
This is an old country dish and very approximate as I don't know of any actual recipes.
My mother in law showed me how to prepare it years ago. Is anyone out there familiar with rhubarb pudding made like this?
Have you ever tried to do a fast draft session with Candy Havens? That girl is a slave driver! She demands that you write! No excuses, no giving up, just write. This is my second attempt at it with Candy and I must admit it challenges me to reach to meet the goal I set at the beginning of the session. Having someone to answer to makes it all the more compelling to get in there and write. Reporting to the FastDraft Chat loop, keeps your feet to the fire. Have you tried one of Candy's fast draft sessions? If you haven't, it's time you did. I have 31 pages complete of my new wip and hope to complete the first draft during this two week session. How about you? How do you entice yourself to write?
I've been with the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Gals since last fall and I've had a blast. We picked up new members, new readers and a new template.
Unfortunately, time has come for me to bid the blog a sad farewell.
As you all know, sometimes life throws, well, life at you. My time commitments have become heavy, too much for me to continue to carry my fair share of a group blog.
I wish you all years of happy writing and success.
For the time being, I'll post periodically on my personal blog . Stop by from time to time and let me know how you're doing.
Until We Meet Again
What do you expect when 800 women, sorry 800 writers, get together yaking, I mean seriously discussing business, while ogling, make that, studying, as in doing important research for future books, twenty to-die-for male models.
More pictures on my blog tomorrow.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. I came back home this morning directly to to the hospital where my mother was moved to after falling and hurting her head. She is more stable now.
A few months ago, my editor and I had a brief email exchange about book covers. I said I wasn't picky, but that I didn't care for cheesy male torsos. I had just read a book where the entire front cover was taken up by a nude male from neck to just below the waist. I would never have bought that book based on its front cover. (Back cover, sure. The blurb was great, and the book was a good read.)
Since then, I've been paying attention to male torsos, and I've changed my mind somewhat. The covers of a lot of romances sport gorgeous guys in various states of undress. A lot of those covers look really, really great, and I assume those torsos sell lots of books. If so, I'd be crazy to complain.
Anyway, I'm conducting a little survey here.
How do you feel about naked or semi-naked male torsos on the covers of romances?
Would you pick up a book because of an attractive torso? (Picking it up is all that matters. The torso, in theory, leads you to look at the back cover blurb or the first few pages or both, after which you buy the book, or not.)
Would you NOT pick up a book because of a male torso?
Would the amount of cover space taken up by the guy and his torso affect whether you picked it up? In other words, would you prefer a smaller picture of a guy against a background that tells you more about the story, or is the hunkiness of the dude what matters most?
Would you prefer the semi-nude dude on his own or in a clinch with an abandoned-to-passion girl?
Curious minds want to know, or at least mine does.
One of my favorite professors in college was Dr. Wilson Snipes. A former Naval officer, he was a character as colorful as those in the Shakespeare and Chaucer classes he taught. He was also my advisor and when I was secretary to the Chairman of the English Department, one of my employers. A tall, portly man with close-cut, graying hair and big, owlish horn-rimmed glasses, he smoked a pipe, and his arrival was always presaged by the sweet smell of tobacco.
You always knew when Dr. Snipes mounted the stairs of Willingham Chapel where he taught his classes on the second floor.
As I said, he taught Shakespeare, and Chaucer, and often stated that he would pit his students against any Shakespearean or Chaucerean scholar in the world, so confident was he in their ability to learn under his tutelage. He certainly made the classes interesting, throwing in little asides about a play or have us listen to recordings of how it would sound if spoken in the English of its time or asking certain students to research a specific phrase or item which had raised a question. I was once asked to read Dante's Inferno and report how to know the difference between male and female devils. (No, I won't tell, but it's not how you would expect!) I also had to find out what the inscription was that was written over the portal to Purgatory/Hell, but that's another story.
Needless to say, I enjoyed Dr. Snipes' classes, and as an English student, I attended many of them during my four and a half years. There are fond memories of sitting in that classroom in the second story of the ancient Chapel where I would later be employed, with the floor-length windows wide open, the summer breeze wafting in, bringing with it the sound of lawnmowers and the onion-like fragrance of Star of Bethlehem blossoms being trimmed by their blades.
Dr. Snipes and I were also friends, and when he left Mercer University to take a teaching position at Virginia Military Institute, we corresponded irregularity. When my novel Bloodseek was published, I dedicated it to him and another teacher, Dr. May F. McMillan. By that time, he wasn't around to see it, unfortunately. Nevertheless, I owe him a great deal, for instilling within me such a knowledge of the literature, customs, and characters of Times Past, as in the piece below.
Everyone is, I hope, familiar with the story of Othello, the Moor of Venice...how he fell in love with and married Desdemona, and eventually killed her after being fed lies about her fidelity by Iago, a man who seemed to have no real reason for his hatred. Iago's attitude has been a puzzle and a subject of much discussion. He's sometimes been called the first documented bigot. The following poem was written in the nineties, but it answers a question that Dr. Snipes posted thirty years before: Why did Iago hate Othello so? Was it racial, or something deeper? Or was it even hate?
I think he would have appreciated my take on the answer, couched in pseudo-Shakesperean terms:
I never tho't 'twould end that way.
God's truth, I believed he would denounce her,
leave this place in high dudgeon, and turn
to a friend who offered comfort.
All believ'd 'twas his colour I despised; none knew
my true motive--I kept it as tightly secured
as my passion.
'Twas hatred, deep and secret, aye--but only for her--
my desire for him was shielded in villainy.
His own love I mis-took; he lost it and
his life, while I must voiceless mourn, grief
eating my vitals like an angry worm.
Why could I not say those words so tightly secured
within my heart:
"Moor, I do love thee."
Spring is a wonderful time of year for gardening. Check out this deal at Bulbsdirect.com I am copying and pasting from their website, which I hope is OK. Price is $9.99 for 160 bulbs with free shipping.
"I can't afford to save any more money." --Favorite quote
THIS COLLECTION CAN BE PLANTED ANYTIME BETWEEN FEBRUARY UNTIL THE END OF MAY FOR HARDY ZONES 4-11.
- 20 lovely Allium moly's they produce large glossy golden star-like perennial flowers in May.
- 10 Iris Hollandica has oversized perennial flowers with a heavenly scent that's sure to please.
- 30 Brodiaea Queen Fabiola producing beautiful clusters of funnel shaped perennial flowers in deep blue.
- 20 Anemone Coronaria De Caen has fantastic vibrant perennial flowers, poppy like with striking black stamens.
80 Bulbs PLUS 80 Free.
Because we are a pink fuzzy slipper blog, this seemed a good day to share a great deal on ...slippers!
Dearform slippers are on sale at Sears.com for $1.99-3.99. Choose instore pick-up to save on shipping costs.
And, because we are writers, check out this offer on click pens. Graveyardmall.com has 6 lbs. of click pens on sale for $13.99 plus a $4.95 shipping charge. That's approximately 320 pens with a retail value of $126.20.
"I can't afford to save any more money."--Favorite quote
This is one SCARY ride!
But you want to know how to know tell how SCARY a roller coaster is? Check out the people exiting. That'll tell you everything you need to know! (CHECK THE GIRL AND THE GUY BEHIND HER!)
Tuesday, or any day, actually, makes me think of food. Two great deals of the day:
Free (Hurray!) ice cream cone today at Ben & Jerry's to celebrate their birthday. Let's help them celebrate.
Wash down that ice cream cone at Dunkin Donuts. $.50 for a 16 oz. iced coffee.
"I can't afford to save any more money." --Favorite quote.
Two great deals for today:
finishline.com has crocs up to 80% off. I love these shoes and my podiatrist highly recommends them. Use code 09olivia for free shipping.
Today is Monday, and Redbox movies can be rented free for overnight rental with this code: M6FR97
"I can't afford to save any more money."--Favorite quote
WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER
(Anyone remember what movie that came from?)
We have a winner from Susan Shay.
MARY MARVELLA! You are the winner of a copy of Blind Sight.
Over on my site (where you could comment to have a double chance to win Blind Sight), I also gave away an autographed copy of Roxanne St. Claire's TAKE ME TONIGHT. Winner is Paula Farrell (irunlalaland)
Mary - contact Susan at susan @ susanshay.net (close spaces)
Paula - contact me at Arkansascyndi @ sbcglobal.net (Close spaces)
Everyone has a favorite recipe for oatmeal cookies. This one has been in the family for many years, courtesy of my 80 year old mom. Hope you enjoy!
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 sticks of softened butter
pinch of baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
3 cups oatmeal
Add vanilla and baking soda and eggs to butter. Add sugars and flour and oatmeal. You may need to add more flour until the dough is stiff
Place tsps. of each onto baking sheet. Rolls into ball and press down. Bake 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let cool.
Naked Venom by Michelle O'Neill and Lindsey Bayer is a sci-fi love story between two people who couldn't be more different if they tried.
General Gavin Theron is an 800-year-old AEssyrian, determined to get what he wants, be it a female or winning his next war. Child of a Terran mother stranded on an alien planet and Titan, a nobleman with wizard-like powers, the General is acknowledged by his father but never given any of the amenities Titan could have provided, so Gavin grows to adulthood fighting for whatever he achieves, and sees that as a pretty enjoyable way of life. He's relentless in battle, relentless in his pursuit of women, and relentless in his zest for life--a total chauvanist who is almost a caricature, one of those men who is so self-assured you enjoy disliking him and can't wait for him to get his comeuppance.
Harlan Ambrose is a doctor from Earth, contracted to help set up a clinic on AEssyria which is 500 light-years from her home planet. Pretty and smart, she's a fraction Gavin's age and the General's exact opposite--humane, caring, sensitive to her patients' needs, but also strong-willed and determined to survive on a world where women are considered property and not intelligent enough to have careers. She is also particular about the men with whom she associates and Gavin is definitely not her kind of man. His having been married five times before doesn't help a bit, and as for the long black hair and emerald-green skin... Well, Harland doesn't have as much problem with that as she does with the cigars he smokes.
Obviously, the two are made for each other!
They meet--no, collide is a better word--when Gavin, just celebrating his emergence into middle age with his 800th birthday, is framed for the assassination of the king. Wounded during his arrest, he is treated by Harlan who is unlucky enough to be the doctor on call when he makes his bid for escape. He succeeds, taking her with him, and the two are on the run, thrown together by circumstance into a situation from which neither will emerge unscathed. Though Gavin is eventually acquitted of the crime, his determination to find the real killers drags them both into more intrigue and danger. Soon, however, Harlan has more to worry about than just the king's killers, because Gavin has now set his sights on the one woman who has said "No," and isn't the least bit subtle in announcing it. Attracted by the General's raw masculinity, Harlan is at the same time repelled by his attitude, and lets him know quick enough. It doesn't matter; Gavin is determined to have her--when he can find time between running from the new king's soldiers, spying for the Grand Duke Molitov, and indulging in excesses of whiskey and fine old cigars at the nearest tavern.
Gavin is depicted with a like-him-or-don't attitude. He's a whiskey-guzzling, cigar-chomping old warhorse with an eye for a pretty woman and deadly with whatever weapon comes to hand--be it rock, scissors, or paper. He can be a crude soldier or a sensitive lover when the need calls for it. Harlan is verbally quick, extremely attractive, and has a mind of her own, and though she may have been overwhelmed by Gavin once, she doesn't intend to let it happen twice...unless she's the one who sets the rules, and she resents the fact that the General is spreading the word that she's his woman, without even asking her first.
The description of the social structure of AEssyria, with its disdain for women who refuse to accept stereotypical roles, or the method of choosing a new leader by selecting the last man standing in an arranged combat, is carefully set up. The various kingdoms of AEssyria are vividly depicted, such as the Razorbacks, a warring nation whose inhabitants are able to spit venom on their enemies as they fight. Secondary characters, like monocle-wearing Grand Duke Molitov von Goth, a Macchiavellian but sympathetic character in spite of his masochistic predelictions, are well-delineated. Other characters, such as the young Razorback Prince, Savion, and Gavin's friend, Colonel Caraculla, are barely mentioned in this story but figure prominently in later ones. The love scenes are a little graphic but in keeping with Gavin's nature.
If you like your heroes more than a little egotistical but definitely brave and determined, and your heroines strong-willed and a match for the men they refused to admit they love, this novel should fill the bill. Naked Venom--the title comes from the name of the poison used to kill the king--is a fun read and my only complaint was the rather rapid way the story ended. I finished it wondering what the next book would bring. Perhaps that is what the authors intended. There are five novels in the series, released as e-book and in print by Double Dragon Publications.
Friday, April 18, 2009
I am so THRILLED to have one of my oldest writing buddies join us today at PFSW. I met Susan Shay in the Fall of 2005 before I wrote my first word. I've had the privilege of watching her career grow from her first book to now.
Help me welcome Susan to our little home on the internet.
Susan - sit and get comfortable. (*hands her the complementary pink fuzzy slippers*). Tell us all about your new book...
Thanks for letting me wear the pink, fuzzy slippers today. I always enjoy your blogs!
Cassie Reynolds is channeling the dreams of a serial killer. But without the resources to stop him—if she's able to discover who he is—how can she succeed? Only cynical Keegan Flynn, who believes in nothing and no one, has the tools needed to complete her gift. Will Cassie be able to make Keegan believe in time, or will Christmas this year be murder?
In BLIND SIGHT a touch psychic and a man who doesn't believe in anything fall in love.
One of the first things I do when I start a manuscript is to "discover" the characters. Cassie Reynolds and Keegan Flynn are the outcome of a conversation I had one day with an old friend. It's when I realized how very different we are.
I'm terribly empathetic. I can put myself in almost anyone's shoes. My friend can only see things one way—hers. I can't talk her over to my side. I can't make her see reason. She always knows what's right...She is.
From my sympathetic soul, Cassie was born. If she touches a man, she not only feels what he feels, she lives it with him. Before the book begins she touched a postman who kidnapped a child and is keeping her in his basement. Cassie saw what he'd done, then kept him in the store so she could alert the police.
Keegan, on the other hand, has a hard heart. His parents belonged to a cult with a false leader he calls Boz. His first big break in a newspaper was when he visited his parents' cult. The leader walked on water and turned water to wine, amazing his followers and taking their money.
Keegan was able to prove the man was a fake, wrote about it for his newspaper, where it hit the AP. Rather than appreciate their son, his parents disowned him for it. After that, he knew he'd never again believe in anything except his sister.
Here's where Keegan learns about Cassie.
It was all Keegan could do to keep from swearing. Cassie claimed to be psychic? And worse, Miriam believed it? What sort of game was this woman playing? “So Cassie told you she was psychic?”
“She’s lived here in the apartment on the top floor for a couple of years, Keegan. She’s my friend and trusts me to keep her secret.”
“Cassie’s the newest princess in the tower?” Unable to stifle a bark of laughter, he snorted loudly. “God, Miriam, you’re such an easy mark. Hey, if we ask really nice and cross her palm with gold, maybe the all-knowing, all-seeing Miss Cassie will read our futures, too.”
Making shushing sounds like a leaky gas pipe, Miriam fluttered her hands at him. “Don’t say that, Keegan. If she heard you, it would hurt her feelings.”
“Aw, hell, Sis. If she’s psychic, she can probably pick up what I’m saying even in the tower.” Hoping to make his point, he fixed his gaze on her and raised his brows. “Let’s try to see this clearly. As a psychic, able to hear every voice speaking at this moment, how would she know which one was mine? And if, like most telepaths, she can also hear thoughts, and everyone in the entire world is not only talking but also thinking at the same time, doesn’t she get confused?”
With a stern look, Miriam folded her arms and leaned back in the chair. “I didn’t say she was a telepath. And besides, it doesn’t work like that. At least, for Cassie it doesn’t. For her, it’s usually touching something or someone that tells her. It’s called psyc-psychometry, I think. She really doesn’t like to talk about it much.”
“Right,” he scoffed. “She doesn’t like to talk about it. So why was the story in the paper?”
Her frown deepened. “The story came from the police, not Cassie. And if you read it again, you’ll see her name’s not mentioned anywhere. She wouldn’t do that.”
All he could do was to lay it on the line for her. With any luck, she’d come to her senses.
“Listen to me, Miriam. She’s following the usual pattern—it’s how these people work. They come on as if they’re your friends to get you on their side. They fill you full of bull, and because you like them so much, you believe anything they tell you. So when it’s time for them to start spreading their crap around town, they don’t even have to fight their own battles. They have you to do it for them.”
Keegan decides to debunk her, and so he has to spend time with her to learn all he can.
“Oh, I can find my way around her. In my hands, this baby will be very happy.” Gingerly caressing the leather-covered steering wheel, he glanced at Cassie in the semi-darkness to see her mouth drop open.
While he hadn’t intended to give the words a sexy spin, seeing her face after she took the phrase the wrong way—eyes at halfmast, cheeks pinking, and her glistening bottom lip caught between her teeth—made him wish he could do it again.
“That’s right. You owned a Volkswagen in college, didn’t you?” Her voice rasped slightly as she buckled her seatbelt, then leaned away from him to angle her back against the door. In a play of shadow and light, the simple red dress she wore made her body look perfect, touchable, kissable.
When she finally turned her head to look at him, the heat in her gaze stole the air from his lungs. Without breath, he COULDN’T speak or think, so he nodded. It didn’t matter what she’d asked. Whatever it was, he’d do it. Or find it. Or climb it. Or build it.
For the woman gazing at him with eyes that could heat his very marrow, he’d do anything at all. Even take on a monster, if need be.
Later Cassie touches a cup in the library coffee shop and "lives" the memory of a murder. She soon learns he's not just a murderer, he's a serial killer, and she can't stop him alone. She needs Keegan to help her, but he doesn't believe in what she is.
Will she convince him in time to stop the murderer or will Christmas this year be murder?
Thanks for letting me stop by!
I'm giving away a copy of BLIND SIGHT. Just comment to get your name in the drawing!
Thanks Susan! Blind Sight is from Wild Rose Publishing. It sounds wonderful.
This interview is also posted at Cynderella's Castle. Comment there for two chances at this wonderful book.
Until Next Time!
I don't know any writer who doesn't want to be a breakout writer. I know I do. That's why I'm on a breakout writer's journey using Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass.
This month I'm summarizing Chapter Two, titled "Multidimensional Characters." Maass says: "One-dimensional characters hold limited interest for us because they are limited as human beings. They lack the complexity that makes real-life people so fascinating. In well-constructed fiction, a multidimensional character will keep us guessing."
I recently figured out the number one reason I stop reading a book, even a well-written one, is that I know what's going to happen. The book has no surprises for me. Now I realize why there are no surprises. Their characters don't have enough dimensions.
Maass uses Artemis Fowl in Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer as an example. Artemis is a 12-year-old diabolical criminal mastermind whose mother is mentally and physically ill and whose father is missing. Maass says, "Artemis is trying to deny his longing for his father and his grief over his mother's condition, but Colfer makes sure that his readers do not miss them."
Later, when Artemis captures a fairy, he feels guilty about her discomfort. He's still intent on extorting the fairy gold, but now the reader won't be sure what he'll do.
In my wip, a tough secondary character, whose ugly face scares small children, has adopted two dogs. One is missing a leg and one an eye. They've become his family. That's one of several ways I show his multidimensional character.
An exercise Maass gives in the back of the chapter is to find your progonist's defining quality and apply the opposite of that quality to the protagonist. The example I gave for my character is toughness and gentleness. Opposites.
Can you think of a defining quality and its opposite for any of your characters? Or are there other multidimensional qualities you've given your characters?
UPDATE: Ms. Shayla got her nails done and plum forgot to sent her contribution to the blog! But it's here now. She's below Kristina's post.
Today I am thrill to have the authors from Black Lace's latest anthology: Seductions. As I write this, I am waiting for the third author to join us, so if you see posts from Shada Royce and Kristisa Wright, but not one from Shayla Kersten, come back! Shayla's will be an addition to the blog today. Today's post is long, but I think if you read through it, you'll be wanting this book, which I am of course giving away to one lucky commenter. As always, comment here and on Cynderella's Castle for double the chance to win!
Shada Royce is a good friend I've known for about two years. I remember the first RWA chapter meeting she attended and she fit like a glove with this group. Not only does she write wonderful romance, she works a fulltime job as a civil engineer. She currently serves as our RWA chapter president, but will be missing our meeting this weekend. But she has a good excuse. She has been choosen Outstanding Alumni for the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas. (If I've got the award wrong, I'm sure she'll correct me.) I believe this may be her first guest blog, so everyone be nice to her! Shada lives in Central Arkansas. When she isn't playing professional enginner, photographer, volunteer or mom, she spends her time writing and honing her craft.
Kristina Wright is one of my tweet buddies on Twitter. (If you don't know what Twitter is, get thee to Twitter.com and grab hold of the hottest thing going!) Since Shada and Shayla are both chaptermates and friends, I didn't hesitate to draft them to guest blog. Kristina answered my Twitter plea to visit PFSW and help us decorate the place for the day! Kristina claims to be an the insomniac writer whose mind is always working, even late into the night. She's a full-time writer, as well as a perpetual college student and community college adjunct. She lives in Virginia with her husband Jay and their menagerie of pets.
I asked each lady to basically tell us whatever she wanted to about her story in this anthology. Take it away, ladies!
This time his eyebrows shot up into his hairline before snapping together in a tight vee over his blue eyes. ‘Is this some kind of joke?’
I leaned over further, giving him the full view down my shirt. ‘No, I’m doing research.’
‘On oral sex?’ His lips tilted to the side and my heart fluttered against my breast. Steadying my resolve, I stuffed back the urge to look away. Instead, I pinned him with what I hoped was my steamiest, come-hither look.
‘Receiving.’ I managed in a low, sultry voice.
WOW SHADA! HOT HOT HOT!
Hi there! I'm so delighted to be visiting Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers-- though I must confess I prefer bare feet to fuzzy slippers! I've been writing short erotic fiction for several years, but I've only recently begun writing erotic romance. My story in Seduction marks my first appearance in a Black Lace anthology, satisfying a long time dream! It's an honor to be included in the same anthology with Shayla Kersten and Shayda Royce.
OH MY! Who doesn't love a cowboy!! I may have to enter myself in this book drawing!
Now that Shayla Kersten's checked-in, tell us about your story.
Hiya! Yes, I am a ditz. I knew today was the release date of Seduction. And I knew I was supposed to have a blog post at Pink Fuzzy Slippers on the day Seduction released. Yet in my scatterbrained way, I didn’t associate the two with April 14!
A quick blurb: A shopgirl finds a man and woman helping themselves to the privacy of her store’s fitting room. She’s fascinated at the sexual freedom of the couple-something she longs for but can’t find the strength to do-until they catch her watching and invite her into their closeted playground. But what will her boyfriend do when he catches her in a threesome?
And then an excerpt:
At five minutes to closing, Morin Lansing flipped off the ‘open’ sign and the display window lights then stormed across the store to the dressing room. Paul would be here in half an hour to pick her up. Time to ask her customers to leave.
The man had insisted on being in the dressing room with his girlfriend…wife…
The two of them went through at least twenty different dresses. Three of the last four draped over the rod holding the privacy curtain.
Morin opened her mouth to speak but stopped as a soft moan slipped through the thin curtain. She raised her hand to knock on the doorframe but a breathy groan made her hesitate.
Peering through a tiny opening in the curtain, revealed the woman–fair and curvy–, her shoulders pressed against the wall with her hips pushed forward. The woman’s mouth hung agape, her tongue skittered across her full lower lip.
Morin dropped her gaze. Following the swell of the woman’s breasts, past the six hundred dollar dress–not yet paid for–hiked around her waist and found the dark-haired man with his face buried in the apex of the woman’s thighs. His hands rustled under a swath of expensive silk near her ass.
Heat swirled in Morin’s lower stomach. An ache of need reminded her of Paul’s recent neglect in the bedroom.
‘Jason…’ The woman breathed his name like a reverent prayer. ‘We shouldn’t…’
Jason lifted his head. ‘Come on, baby… You know the rules. If it’s on your list, you have to go through with it.’ The staid suit jacket was gone and his tie pulled loose, dangling down his open shirt.
‘List?’ Morin’s lips mouthed the word. Her teeth caught her bottom lip, forcing silence. Curiosity kept her still, suppressing a shiver of desire.
‘I know.’ The woman’s whisper was almost inaudible.
Jason’s hands ran down her thighs and back up again. ‘Hey, the list thing was your idea but we can stop if you want to.’
‘No!’ Her fingers ran through his hair. ‘No…’
This time the word was gentler. She banged the back of her head against the wall with a soft thud. ‘What if the salesgirl comes back?’
Standing, Jason planted a quick kiss on the woman’s mouth. He sucked on her lower lip then murmured, ‘Then we get caught. Wasn’t that part of the excitement? Part of what got you so hot to begin with?’
A shudder swept through Morin from the base of her neck, down her spine and straight to her sex. ‘You’re so sexy…standing there exposing yourself,’ Jason mumbled between kisses. ‘Sara, so hot…’
Sara wrapped one leg around Jason’s thigh. Her body undulated against her lover’s crotch. A flush reddened her creamy breasts rising up her throat then to her face. ‘Yes…’ Her whisper barely reached Morin’s ears. ‘Let’s do it.’
The Shopping List is my first story with Black Lace. Another DSRA challenge resulted in the sale of my story In Heat, which will be in the anthology Sexy Little Numbers in August. This time, four Diamonds submitted and three sold! Give us time and we’ll have a Black Lace antho with all the Diamonds in it! Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks ladies for dropping by. This sounds like a wonderful anthology!
Monday, April 13, 2009
All Of Me
Recently on Twitter, Grand Central Publishers asked if anyone wanted a copy of ALL OF ME by Lori Wilde to read and do a review. I jumped on it! Here's the "official" blurb:
Can two broken hearts become one?
Attorney Jillian Samuels doesn't believe in true love and never, ever wished for happily ever after. But when a searing betrayal leaves her jobless and heartbroken, a newly inherited cottage in Salvation, Colorado, seems to offer a fresh start. What she finds when she arrives shocks her: the most gorgeous and infuriating man she's ever met is living in her home!
Tuck Manning was a gifted architect who left a skyrocketing career to care for his dying wife. But the life he's made for himself in this quiet town is turned upside down when Jillian appears on his doorstep. Tuck won't go without a fight, and the two resolve to live as roommates until they can untangle who owns the cottage. Yet as Tuck and Jillian's days--and nights--heat up, they realize more than property rights are at stake...and that sometimes, salvation comes when you least expect it.
Here my review:
ALL OF ME is the fourth book in the Wedding Veil Series. I confess, I haven't read the first three, but that didn't pose a problem. Each book in the series stands alone and, while this book referred to the earlier books, I had no trouble following this story. In fact, if you have read the first three books in this series, you certainly want to get ALL OF ME as it does a nice job bringing the reader up to date on the lives of the three women features int he earlier books.
This is a "curl-up on the couch and lose yourself" kind of book. It's romance at its best. Sweet and sexy. Giggling funny at times. Heart jerking at other times. I felt for Tuck as he struggled with the loss of his wife. Maybe it's because I married a widower that some of little digs at his late wife's perfection rang so true. It can be hard to follow a dead wife. Lori Wilde did a good job getting those feelings right on the part of Tuck and Jillian. Watching them both grow and learn to love another person was touching and realistic.
I loved the small town appeal of the story. For me, the setting in Colorado was a large part of the story. I felt the nip in the air. Smelled the trees. Felt the cold water of the lake.
I really enjoyed Tuck and Jillian's story. I'll be looking for the first three books in this series! Well done, Ms. Wilde. Very well done!
If you are interested in a "gently read" copy of this book, leave me a comment and tell me you want to be entered in the contest.
If you want another chance to win, this review is also posted at Cynderella's Castle. Make a comment there for a second chance to win!
When is a Sandwich not a Sandwich? This question might sound similar to the one the Mad Hatter asked Alice: "When is a Raven like a Writing Desk?" He never got an answer to that riddle but I'll give the answer to mine. Later.
When writing my novel The Irish Lady's Spanish Lover, I decided I was going to set it during the battle with the Spanish Armada in which that mighty navy was defeated by the British. I had it all laid out in my mind: One of the Spanish sailors escapes from his sinking ship, is captured by an Irish Lord friendly to the English and held for ransom. He and his captor's wife fall in love and attempt to escape together. Tragedy ensues.
Since what little I knew about that sea fight and what happened before and afterward was gained by watching the movie Young Bess, I decided I'd better start researching. With visions of men in velvet doublets, starched neck-ruffs, and quilted codpieces, and women in low-cut gowns with bejewelled stomachers, I set out to enlarge my knowledge.
Before 1588, there was a great Spanish influence in Ireland. Galway had been a trade center since around 1124 AD. It was an important seaport for trade between Spain and Ireland during the Middle Ages and that city still is architecturally different from the other towns. The Armada was defeated off the coast in 1588. At Milltown Malbay alone, six ships went down with all hands. A good many of the Spanish sailors didn't drown but swam ashore to be killed by the Irish. There are many graves in Irish cemeteries whose headstones bear Spanish names and the date "1588." Not all the sailors died in the sea or on the shore, however. Some were given haven by the countrypeople.
The legend is that the "Black Irish" are the descendants of the Spaniards who didn't die at Milltown Malbay but a good many sociologists and pathologists will tell you it's just that--a legend.
I decided I'd accept the legend as fact. My hero wouldn't be one of the surviving Spaniards, but his descendant, dark-haired and brown-eyed in a country of ruddy-cheeked redheads.
Okay, so far, so good. But how to work in the other things I'd learned, such as the information about Bunratty Castle? Simple. I'd have my hero take the heroine there. She'd be a tourist, and he's been asked by his cousin, the heroine's friend, to show her around.
The castle was built in 1250, burned in 1318, and restored in 1460. Nowadays, its open to the public, where medieval banquets--those so popular in reenactments in California at present--are held. In a dining hall where the Lord and his Lady sit at the head table and the others are arranged according to rank and caste, while authentically-clad saucy serving maids bring them trenchers of food and minstrels dressed in velvet capes and pointed-toed shoes with bells attached, walk among the tables playing their lutes, the tourists grasp drumsticks in their hands and toss the bones on the floor while swigging mead from pewter tankards. Bad manners? Not at all! It's all in the Era.
Two other castles fit into the story also, one real, one fictional. Dungary Castle rises proud and tall above the water, a thin veil of fog nestling around its banks as it sits on an island in Kinvarra Bay. It's still a private residence and not open to the public. Kilmeath Castle is a fiction, a ruin abandoned after its last owner--and all the others in his family--died a mysterious death on its walls, killed it's said by a dearg-due, the "red bloodsucker."
So where would my Spanish sailor fit in? He'd the dearg-due, I decided, wreaking his revenge upon the descendants of the man who killed and buried him in unconsecrated ground.
Satisfied with the way the story was going, I now sat down to write it. My hero and heroine would see much more of the Irish countryside before being confronted by this vengeful ghost, as well as learning a secret hidden in the dust of time and one woman's heart, and I would use descriptions of the Emerald Isle to make my story come alive.
So when is a sandwich not a sandwich? When it is a round--as my heroine learns. In Ireland, what they call a sandwich is really half of one, and a whole sandwich is called a round.
Here's a peek at the finished product of my research, The Irish Lady's Spanish Lover:
Happy Easter all! Do you make Easter baskets for anyone? I made them for my daughter and her delightful husband. I bought the cutest baskets last year, a Hello Kitty one for my daughter and a soccer ball for my son-in-law.
Will you be shopping for Easter candy tomorrow? I will! I still have easter candy in my freezer. Yep! It keeps fine frozen. I won't buy much tomorrow but will do my best shopping when the leftovers are marked down to at least 75% off. Then I'll make a last trip for the 85-95% off stuff. By then there won't be much worth having but I'll look anyway. FYI, the candy on the baskets this year was new.
When my daughter was small we sometimes did out egg hunts on Saturday at home, since we spent many Easters with grandparents and cousins. Sometimes she would have us re-hide the eggs so she could "hunt" more. We even had more than one hunt inside the house because of bad weather.
Tell us your Easter stories.
Most people who've ever watched a Western movie are familiar with the name Quantrill. This Confederate guerilla and his men have been the subject of many movies and as far as I know, there has never been a sympathetic portrayal of them (as a group) yet. They fought during the War Between the States under the command of William Clarke Quantrill, a former Ohio schoolteacher, who led his men on raids throughout the state of Missouri.
Although Quantrill wasn't the only Confederate guerilla in Missouri, he was undoubtedly the most infamous. His men's job was to halt Union activities in a state which had been taken over by Federal forces and they did so with a vengeance, firing on army supply patrols, disrupting the mails and eventually attacking towns on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri border. Most of their attacks were against Union sympathizers although even Confederates might get killed if they got in the way. At that time, their opposite number was the Jayhawkers, a Union group which was equally bloody and undisciplined.
Receiving the commission of Captain in the Confederate army, Quantrill rationalized the brutality and devastation his men caused by citing the Partisan Ranger Act which allowed guerilla activities within certain limits. Most of the time, however, he and his men operated outside the law of even the Confederate forces, and he was declared an outlaw by the Union. Ranging from Missouri as far as Texas, their greatest moment of lawlessness was the attack upon Lawrence, Kansas in 1863 when they massacred 200 men and boys. Though that act alone--often called "Bloody Kansas"--brought severe censure from the Confederacy, Quantrill's forces were still allowed a free hand because of their effectiveness against the Union.
Eventually--as to be expected with such a bloodthirsty group--there was dissention among Quantrill's men and he began to lose what hold he had over them. The band began to split up, forming smaller groups who independently attacked Texas and Missouri towns. After Quantrill was killed by Union troops, these groups became more and more lawless, eventually becoming nothing more than highwaymen and bank robbers out for their own interests. Among the men who rode with Quantrill were Frank and Jesse James. After the War, during the terrorist days of Reconstruction, they formed the James-Younger Gang, consisting of brothers Frank and Jesse, brothers Cole, Jim, John, and Bob Younger, Clell Miller, Arthur McCoy, Charlie Pitts, John Jarrette (Cole's brother-in-law), Bill Chadwell, and Ace Nelson. The gang ranged from West Virginia to Texas, but eventually disbanded when Jesse and Frank decided to "go straight," and ended with Jesse being shot in the back by Bob Ford, "that sniveling little coward who shot Mr. Howard and laid poor Jesse in his grave"--as the song goes.
This was the group of men after whom I patterned the guerillas Hobbs' Raiders in my book Vengeance from Eden--lawless individuals who may have started out with the best intentions but who eventually let their baser instincts of cruelty and enjoyment of pain inflicted on the helpless take over, placing themselves outside the laws of decency in the process.
It is this band which the racist Race Jago led and it is Jago whom rancher Luke Brennan tracks from Nebraska to the little border town of Rosarita, Texas, for a final showdown with the man who destroyed his life.