Sharon Donovan a beloved friend and fellow author passed away. But we had to visit her home and see her family. She was there in her room. No where else. Not at the cemetery or in the church. But we felt her warmth and love as we sat in front of her laptop. She was something else! Love you Sharon!



 

“Perhaps the candid Nebraskan would tell you in a moment of frank contriteness that the prime object of this exposition was to boom Omaha.”  That was what one reporter said about the Trans-Mississippi Exposition of 1898.

All very true.  It did advertise Omaha to the world, but it also put the entire West on display.

In 1895, businessman Gurdon Wattles and a group of his Omaha compatiots, voted to have an exposition showing the development of the West from the Mississippi to the West Coast.  Several sites were nominated for the exposition but the one eventually winning later became what is now known as Kountze Park, after banker Herman Kountze who donated the land.
The Arch of States, built in the classical Greco-Roman style, was the entrance to the Expo. Made of wood, and covered with a new construction material called staff which was cheap and pliable, all the buildings  were temporary structures featuring reproductions of Greek and Roman temples and European architecture.  Kimball and C. Howard Walker were co-architects-in-chief for the event, with sculptor Richard Bock designing many of the buildings.  Upon completion, the Expo encompassed 180 acres in northern Omaha and included 21 buildings featuring architectural types from around the world, all encircling a 2,000-foot lake.  When looking at the model of the Expo, it seems a shame and a definite waste of time, money, and effort, to construct all that and then simply 
tear it down.   
 
The Expo ran from June 1 to November 1, and during those four months,  more than 2.6 million people went through the exhibits and displays, a remarkable number for that era, when travel was still rather limited.  Among the events and features:

The opening of the Burlington-Northern Station in downtown Omaha.

“Cody Day” on August 31, when Buffalo Bill, a Nebraska native, brought his Wild West Show back to town.  The show was set up in Omaha Driving Park, where it had originated.

“President’s Day” on October 12.  Invited by Gurdon Wattles, President William McKinley was the guest speaker, focusing on the importance of non-isolationism.

William Jennings Bryan, another Nebraska native, was also a guest.

During the time of the Expo, the US Post Office issued nine postage stamps, each depicting a Western scene.  These have become known as the Trans-Mississippi Issue and a complete unused set is worth $5000.  They are considered some of the finest stamps produced by the US.

The Indian Congress, from August 4 to October 31, was held at the same time.  It was the largest gathering of Native American tribes of its kind with over 500 members of 35 tribes appearing, including Apache chief Geronimo, who was a prisoner at Fort Sill during that time.  Funded by a bill lobbied by members of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition committee, and also monies from the Smithsonian Institute, the Congress was managed by James Mooney and Captain William Mercer of the 8th US Infantry under the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.  One of the main events was the Ghost Dance, which came under criticism because of the US Army attacking dancers at Wounded Knee.  Chief Big Foot’s Ghost Dance shirt was  part of another display. 

The Year after the Expo, it was decided to have another, which became the Great American Expo in 1899.

During the Expo’s Centennial celebration in 1998, a monument was set up in Kountze Park.


Kobo for self publishing

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 12:01 PM | 9 comments »

Hi everyone,
If you haven't heard Kobo is the new kid on the block, the place to go to self publish. They are setting it up and it will be live in July. They have a great platform which should make it ideal for the authors. For instance no exclusives, free promo days whenever you want, 45% of books under $2.99 and 70% for books over $2.99. This beats out Amazon and B&N. Now, I could be wrong but I believe I heard on one of the self publishing loops that Kobo is also Apple. It's also big in the Asian market, so that opens up a door there.
Here's the link, and go to the bottom under authors and publishers.
http://www.kobobooks.com/

I'm looking forward to putting all my books up there, but of course if you have a book in Kindle Select, you'd need to wait until the 3 month commitment is up.
Good luck everyone and happy sales!

Summer Recipes

Posted by Autumn Jordon | 4:04 PM | 12 comments »

June 20, 2012 Let the season begin.

Summer is the time to get up, get out and slim down. With so much to do, time can slip away before you realize and you’re faced with the task of making lunch or dinner. If you’re like me you’re tired after doing, doing, doing and cooking dinner is not appealing chore at all. Neither is ordering in a pizza or hitting a fast-food joint. You can do that anytime of the year. And what about the slimming down part of summer you’re trying to stick to.

There are tons of sites with recipes for you to try, but who has the time to search and what if they’re not as good as the magazines boast them up to be. I like trying recipes that are tried and true and shared by friends. So with that in mind, I want to share a few recipes that my family loves. They’re quick and easy, so I don’t mind having to prepare them after I’ve been on the go all day.
I find the key to relieving the stress of ‘WHAT’S FOR DINNER’ syndrome is having the ingredients, so, when you shop, plan that there is going several days in the week where you’re going to be overloaded and pick up the necessary items. Refrigerate and don’t freeze. If the meat is to be marinated, place it in the seasoned cure right away.

With that said, here are a two of my easy dishes. Please share yours too.

Greens with Marinated Chicken

Perfect for a really hot day.

8 skinless chicken breasts halves. (I always make extra. It’s so yummy) Wash, pat dry and place in plastic bag. Add about a cup of Zesty Italian dressing and seal. Refrigerate overnight. (I like my chicken zesty so I leave chicken in marinate for three days before using.) Also, for food safety, remember to sterilize any surface that comes in contact with the chicken.

Remove from bag and place chicken immediately on a pre-heated 350° grill (or broiler). Cook with medium heat on one side until meat juice bubbles form on top, then flip and cook until chicken is done. Approximately 20 minutes total. Remember to only flip your meat once. Doing so, helps keep meat juicy. Remove from grill and let stand covered for five minutes before slicing into strips. After cooled, chicken can be refrigerated for use anytime over the next few days.



While chicken is grilling, prepare your favorite greens. I like a mixture of spinch, lettuce and fresh or steam veggies or fruit. Top with chicken, add a slice of cheese and sprinkle with your favorite dressing. YUM

Asparagus Wrapped In Bacon ( I never liked asparagus until I had it prepared this way)

Wash asparagus, pat dry and wrap in a slice of bacon. Insert a toothpick to hold together.

Two ways to prepare:

Grill: Mix a Tablespoon of oil with a ½ teaspoon of garlic salt and brush asparagus. Place on grill at med-low heat and turn every few minutes until bacon and veggie is thoroughly cooked.



Stove method: Heat a Tablespoon of oil in a pan along with ½ clove of garlic (or garlic salt) and fry Asparagus and bacon until thoroughly cooked.


My fascination with old homes and plantations, a theme that figures regularly in much of my writing, is partly inspired by my father’s family home place, circa 1816, located outside the historic town of Staunton, Virginia in the lovely Shenandoah Valley.  
*Note I did an earlier post on Staunton.
Called Chapel Hill (old homes invariably have names) this Georgian style brick house has been in the family for eight generations.  Sadly, the old kitchen, a separate building from the main house, no longer stands but I remember it 
from my childhood. Some outbuildings still remain, among them the smokehouse and stable.  The house itself is filled with a wonderful collection of heirlooms. The miniature china dogs I played with as a child turn up in my Revolutionary War adventure romance novel Enemy of the King.

My ghostly, light paranormal romance novella, Somewhere the Bells Ring, is set at Chapel Hill at Christmas, the season I remember best there. Although I also visited at many other times of the year.

The home in my light paranormal romance novel Somewhere My Love is a compilation of Berkeley and Shirley plantations with flavors of Chapel Hill, and lord only knows what else considering all the old  homes I’ve toured or lived in over the years.  The curved staircases I favor in my novels are replicas of the one at Chapel Hill that winds from the foyer in the front hall up to the second floor.


As a child, I’d anxiously wander up and down those stairs in the moonlight in my white nightgown, no doubt looking like a ghost girl, because I wanted to be with my parents asleep downstairs, but hated to admit it during the day when my cousins were about.  So, I’d be tucked in with them upstairs, far from asleep, and worries of the night would settle in. Then I’d wandered the steps until I finally made a bolt for mom and dad, feeling quite foolish in the bright sunshine of morning with birds singing.  However, nighttime in that house was quite another matter.

*Image of stairs in far hall


            
The ‘snake thing’ in Chapter One of Enemy of the King is drawn from an incident that happened to me at Chapel Hill when I was a girl during my night wanderings.  Back in my contest circuit days, more than one judge told me a snake couldn’t possibly get into a house and wind around the antlers of a buck mounted up on the wall.  They can and one did; a rather horrifying discovery for a child to make in the wee hours.  And then there’s the fact that I always suspected the house was haunted…not sure by whom.  But I’m not entirely certain I was alone on those stairs, though whoever kept me company was benign.

To clarify, I do not live at Chapel Hill. My aunt does, but it’s not far from where my husband and I live on the family farm in nearby Rockingham County.

My time travel romance Somewhere My Lass opens in an old Victorian home in the historic town of Staunton, (mentioned above).  I also love homes of the Victorian era.  Our farm-house dates back into the 1800’s. Old homes from the nineteenth or eighteenth centuries (and beyond) have character, charm, mystery, and sometimes, ghosts.   

Beneath the staircase at Chapel Hill is a deep closet, long rumored to be the site of a secret passage now closed from view.  Whether any truth exists to this family legend I do not know and apart from tearing out the back of the recessed closet can’t think how else to make this determination.  But I assure you, there’s a secret passage in the story I set there.

The Joshua Wilton house in Harrisonburg VA is a beautifully restored Victorian home operating as an Inn and Restaurant.  They also serve tea in the afternoons if visitors wish to come only for that lovely occasion.

For more on the Joshua Wilton house visit: http://joshuawilton.com/
Shirley Plantation and Berkeley Plantation homes pictured in that order.
Chapel Hill is pictured first in color and then black and white.


Remember that 1987 comedy starring Elizabeth Shue, where a teenager and the kids she’s agreed to babysitter get embroiled in all kinds of wild situations?  Pure fiction, right?  Everyone knows babysitting is two parts dull and one part watching TV while the kids sleep.  What if you saw this ad in the local newspaper:  

Nanny wanted. Must have desire for, and ability to accept, excitement, adventure, and danger.

Would you be tempted to answer it?  No?  Not even if the address was a New York penthouse and the advertiser a rich, handsome and fairly young widower?  And he had three of the cutest kids you’d ever seen?  And a to-drool-over older son, plus an even more hunky younger brother?  Even if the brother does have the slightly weird name of “Kitten”?

Do I hear “Yes!” popping up everywhere?

That’s the situation for Miranda Wilson when she answers Dominic Andrus’ ad.  Granted the interview’s a little strange—and even Miranda will admit it—for all Mr. Andrus wants to know is whether Miranda likes science fiction, what her opinion is concerning flying saucers and Men in Black, and if she minds traveling.  Son Niki is good-looking and a bit of a flirt though he’s also a definite chauvinist.  As for her new charges…triplets, Paris, Diana, and Adrian are smart, cute, and at the center of a gigantic custody battle between Dominic and his former in-laws, a fight so horrendous he has had to leave his home and take up residence in New York where they have no jurisdiction…

            …and that’s the first inkling that all isn’t as it appears in the Andrus household.  Suddenly Miranda has too many questions--why does Niki carry a concealed weapon?  Who is the beautiful young girl living with the Andruses and why does Niki hate her so?  How did Dominic’s late wife really die? Where is Dominic Andrus really from?

            …and then there’s the multi-married Kitten Andrus, handsome, brooding, and father of eight.

            Miranda meets Kit via telephone, his image set against the billowing flames of an Andrus tanker which those same former in-laws have just blasted.  Naturally, Dominic has to return home, wherever that is, leaving Miranda in charge.  Months later, she sees Kit in person when he appears in the middle of the night announcing he’s come to take Miranda, the triplets, and everyone in the penthouse “to Dom.”  Boarding a yacht in the harbor, they’re on their way, but minutes after the ship weighs anchor, fighter planes attack, and Miranda learns first hand that everything she’d thought about Dominic Andrus has been a lie…everything except his love for his children, that is.

Miranda is about to experience some very deadly adventures in babysitting!
           
            What would you do if you suddenly learned your employer is an interplanetary Mafioso and the man you love is his chief hitman?  And those in-laws?  Just a rival crime family,  that’s all, and their leader is determined to kill every member of the Andrus clan and take back Dominic’s children.


            What can one Earthwoman do to save the aliens she’s come to love?

EXCERPT:

The Observation Room was a miniaturized version of Dominic’s office aboard the Alexa. The desktop was startling. Not a desk at all but a gigantic computer terminal, with no keyboard, mouse, or speakers in sight. Now that she thought about it, the computer screen on the Alexa hadn’t had any of those things, either, but it hadn’t registered at the time, just tucked itself away in the back of her mind until now. Okay, so it’s a really highly  evolved model, voice-responsive or something. Dominic would have the very latest in electronics, of course. So naturally, his brother would, also. Men and their toys…
She wondered how the unit was activated. Another question for Master Kit to explain.
Miranda turned her attention to the rest of the room. It was long and narrow and, with the exception of the desk, had very little furniture. A narrow wall covered with shelves filled with items resembling CD jewel cases except they were a quarter of the size of a CD. Between each set of shelves, large photographs decorated the walls. The sliding panel serving as a door filled the third wall, and the fourth
 It curved in a slight arc, broken by the insertion of long, narrow windows. Several chairs had been placed before them.
Slowly, Miranda sank into one of the chairs. When several minutes passed and Kit didn’t appear, she began to fidget. More minutes passed. The impatience turned to anxiety, then to anger.
Unable to sit still any longer, Miranda jumped to her feet and began to wander around the room, looking at the pictures on the walls. She forced herself to concentrate on them and not the absent Kit and the aftermath of whatever had happened while they were cowering in the cabin.
The pictures were beautiful, though rather odd. Not photographs as she’d first thought, but images etched onto thin metal plates, similar to laser drawings. They were attached to the walls in a way making them seem a part of it. There were three of them, astronomical scenes. A star bursting into supernova, scattering bright splinters of light through the blackness, a brilliant red planet lit like a quarter-moon, reflecting the sun along its edges, a comet trailing through the dark. All beautiful, filling her with a sense of awe and curiosity as to how the pictures had been made.
On one shelf, she saw a model of a ship similar to the one in Dominic Andrus’ office. This one had a different set of curving letters on its bow. She studied it a moment, then, quite naturally, her gaze moved from the little model to the windows in the curved wall.
There were two of them, long, narrow openings fitted close together, and she stood before the first, staring in amazement at the outside darkness. By some visual trick, the ocean seemed to have disappeared, sky and horizon blending together so it looked as if the ship was floating directly toward the stars.
Miranda stared, fascinated.
The door slid open and Kit came in. He didn’t speak, just walked over to stand beside her.
“Mr. Kitten, look at that.” She turned to look at him. “What a fantastic optical illusion. It looks as if we’re flying!”
“It’s not an illusion, Randa.” To her surprise, he sounded strangely solemn.
“What do you mean?” She looked back at the window, then at him again.
He didn’t answer. Instead, he said, “Open inner shields.”
Panels on either side of the windows slid apart, revealing a transparent wall, and beyond it...
Miranda stared, refusing to believe what she saw.
A blue globe. Continents, oceans partially covered by cotton-wisps of clouds. She knew and recognized a sight she’d never seen except from photographs taken by astronauts as they watched the Earth from their vantage point on the Moon.
“T-that looks like the Earth.” Miranda looked at Kit again. He was scowling slightly.
“It is.”
No. She didn’t want to hear that, wanted him to say it was some kind of photograph, a video image or hologram...another optical illusion...
“But…” In her own ears, her voice sounded so stupid. “I-if the Earth’s down there, a-and we’re up here, that mean’s we’re in…” She didn’t finished the sentence, barely heard his soft affirmation.
“We are.”
Miranda took a quick breath just short of being a gasp. She felt her insides flinch and spasm as if someone had just struck her in the stomach. Her mouth fell open and she tried to scream but the sound wouldn’t come. It stayed inside her, spinning around and around in her chest, so the only sound she could make was a sickly strangled whimper, barely heard through the hands she pressed to her mouth as she turned her disbelieving gaze on Kit again.
“Randa?”  Kit appeared startled, as if he hadn’t expected this reaction.
“I don’t understand.” Suddenly, her confusion seemed replaced by absolute terror. Her eyes were so wide, the irises seemed bare more than blue pinpoints in a vast whiteness. Miranda took another deep, stricken breath. When Kit reached for her, she dodged and backed away, bumping against the shelves behind her. Jostled by the impact, the little model wobbled, toppled over, and fell to the floor. Both ignored it.
“Who are you? What are you?”
“You said you knew.” His confusion mirrored her own., the words came out as an accusation. “About us...about Gataeus.”
“I know Mr. Andrus is from Gataeus. Ardala told me, but that’s all she said.”
Oh, sweet gods, I thought she knew everything! Now, Kit looked shocked and the expression on his handsome face shook Miranda even more.
“Who are you?” she repeated.
“Isn’t it obvious?” He shrugged and smiled slightly, trying not to look so serious.  He forced himself to relax.  I’ll treat the whole thing as a joke, get her to laugh...anything to get that frozen fear off her face. “I’m the bug-eyed monster, the Thing from Outer Space... I’m ET.”


video


The Rose and the Dragon was released June 15  from Class Act Books. www.classactbooks.com



From an ad in 1941.
From an ad today. Looks harmless, doesn't it?
Tangee Natural Lipstick

Back in the 50's, when I was in 7th grade, a lot of us weren't permitted to wear makeup yet. Daddy was a preacher and I was allowed NONE at all. I usually followed rules, but I really wanted to wear lipstick.  When the girls put on lipstick in the restrooms, I wanted to join them. I didn't care much about clothes or hair styles, but.....

I finally gave in to temptation when a friend pulled out a "natural" lipstick. Tangee Natural. (It looked a lot like the mood lipsticks that followed.) It looked tangerine, as I remember, and didn't show when applied. I could get by with that.

 I applied a coat and felt so grown, pursing my lips. Then I added a coat, disappointed that it didn't show at all. I had to return it to my friend whose mama let her wear lipstick. I had hours for it to wear off, sooooo.  If you've ever worn this or mood lipstick you know where I'm headed with this.

An hour later I passed a window and saw the reflection of a girl with RED lips. Oh, my goodness. I tried all afternoon to wipe it off. It wouldn't wipe off. That was long lasting stuff. 

I cheated here, because I was more like 17 and still needed lipstick!

Have you ever written a scene that you felt didn't have enough details so you had to add them? And add them? And add them?

Do you have your own Tangee Natural story?

  • Orange-in-tube Tangee changes to complement your skin tone
  • Color without artificial made-up look
  • Natural moisturizes in Tangee prevent lips from drying and chapping
http://bit.ly/MPni5P






I’m celebrating the Ebook release by Double Dragon Publishing of my dark fantasy, Gemini Rising.  The novel will be released in print in July.   Alain and Alina woke me up very early on a Sunday morning when I lived in Miami.  (I’d probably been to South Beach the night before, and I’m sure I was grumpy at being awakened at 6 AM.)  But they insisted that I had to tell their story.  So, iguana on my head—my sons had a pet iguana named Iggie—I sat down to write, but in a contrast to my usual, I wrote pages and pages on a legal pad.  I normally write on the computer.   Working title was Seeking Eden.

Let’s celebrate with a prize:  a gold and silver (Elizabeth Taylor) pressed powder compact to a commenter.

Back Cover Blurb:  From birth, Alain and Alina Alastair are a scientific miracle--identical male-female twins--a biological impossibility.  Destined to tread the farther, forbidden paths, they discover love, lust, and danger lurking in their future.  When their parents whisk their miracle children home to an isolated island, their lives reach a turning point.

Alain craves escape from the seclusion. 

Alina yearns to express her love with a man who treasures her.

The secrets at Alastair Keep threaten to undermine the very foundations of the world in which these impossible twins live.

Excerpt:    Alain tucked the in-flight magazine into the seat pocket and gazed out the scratched window of the 747.  Distance vanished on clouds fleeing beneath the silver wings, carrying him from a dark-eyed beauty to a fair-haired princess locked in an island castle.  From one life in the sun to a score of problems.

Someone was going to get hurt.

Already he hurt—a low throbbing like a toothache.  If he returned to Portugal, Alina would be devastated.  His father would disown him.  If he picked up his discarded heritage, a part of him would die and Maritza would grieve.  For a time.  He wasn’t vain enough to think the black-haired beauty would die without him.

The choice lay in his hands.

Damn life got complicated when he tried to declare independence from The Keep.  He shifted his long legs cramped beneath the airline seat.  He preferred not to think, but fragments of memory plagued the corners of his eyes.

A vivid picture of Alina supplanted images of recent days drenched white-hot by a Portuguese sun.  His twin’s presence was more corporeal than the woman sitting to his left.  Welcome or not, Alina was there inside him, the mere thought of her a compulsion.  He sensed her anticipation mounting as the miles melted.  Excitement tingled over him.  In self defense, he grasped at a memory of riding the splendid Lusitano stallions.  As he pictured Maritza framed in an arbor of roses, his heart dived.


Visit me at http://www.lindanightingale.com for a vampire story entitled Vampyre Hunt, which stars Morgan D'Arcy, hero of Sinners' Opera, to be released next year by Double Dragon Publishing.  My blog is http://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/

Buy Link:  http://www.amazon.com/Gemini-Rising-ebook/dp/B0088E2MJ2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1339155449&sr=8-3








New manuscript - needs help!

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 12:28 PM | 12 comments »

Hi everyone,
I've been knee-deep in edits and have to jump back in again. Apparently my first book in my "hero series" needs more emotional conflict, and I would like to share the first chapter with you, and humbly ask for suggestions and guidance. I would be forever grateful, if anyone out there could lend some support and help me get this contract that's dangling before my eyes.
The title is A HERO LIES WITHIN.
Here is the first chapter--

CHAPTER ONE

“Kari, can you come into my office?” Tom Delaney spoke in a hushed tone that Kari Winslow knew meant trouble. He stood behind her desk, looking none too happy.

Kari worked for the Palm Beach News channel as the morning and noon anchor, and Tom was one of the producers. That meant that along with editing the news, deciding on content, and numerous other tasks, he was also in charge of the hiring and firing of his staff.

 “Yes, sir,” Kari said. “I’ll be right there.” Her stomach jumped and her palms were damp, but she smiled at Tom, putting on a brave front. She’d always liked and respected him, and she wanted to make his life easier. Even if he was firing her.

She stood up, straightening her jacket and smoothing her skirt. She wore a lemon-colored Armani suit that she’d bought on sale at the end of the season last year. At least she still had enough pride to look like a competent TV news anchor, even if she didn’t sound like one.

She followed Tom into his office and closed the door behind her.

Tom whirled on her. “What’s going on with you, Kari? This is the third time this week you flubbed a line. You’re a professional, for Christ’s sake!”

Her jumpy stomach did a butterfly kick. She looked into his eyes, hoping to see a little compassion. If it was there, it was well hidden. She considered her options: attack or defend. “I don’t know what to say. Except that Jeremy—“

“Jeremy, what?” he growled. “You can hardly blame him if you screwed up. All you have to do is deliver the lines. If you can’t do that, we’ll find someone who can.”

Dammit, she needed this job, and if Tom fired her, what would she do?

On the other hand, she had blown her lines and deserved whatever happened to her. Not that it had been her fault. Not entirely. When Max Hammond, their evening anchor, had suffered a fatal heart attack, Tom had brought Jeremy Chandler in to replace him. Everyone in the news station had known she wanted Max’s job. She’d been around the longest and deserved the promotion, but it had been offered, conditionally, to Jeremy instead. He’d moved from Chicago to join their network, and according to Tom, they were lucky to get him.

Kari knew he’d only committed to a one year contract to try out the market, but the network hoped to extend the contract to five years. As of now, the terms had not been agreed upon, so she had a limited time to convince her boss that she was the better person for the job. Trouble was, around Jeremy, she wasn’t stellar. He unbalanced her, threw her off her game, and she had no idea why. For her to stammer and mispronounce a word was unthinkable. Unacceptable. She’d better shape up fast if she hoped for even a chance at the nightly news.

“All I can say is I’m sorry.” Her chin went up and she met his gaze head-on. “Jeremy stopped by to deliver me a personal message--right before my noon report. I knew he was trying to upset me.” 

“I don’t care what he said. You can’t let your emotions affect your work.” Tom’s ruddy face grew even redder, and she suspected his rising blood pressure was brought on by stress--namely her. “You’ve been here long enough for me to know that you’re a professional, but something or someone is distracting you. Have you and Jeremy got something going on that I should know about?”

“Holy crap, Tom. No! I don’t even like the man.” She remembered her reaction the first day he’d stepped on the set. For one startling moment, he’d reminded her of the one man she could never forget. His strong face, his dark hair, the color of his eyes were all Jake. Then he’d opened his mouth, and the resemblance was gone.

“Well, what is it then?” He settled into his chair, folding his large freckled hands over his wide girth.

“He’s an ass. He thinks I’m an amateur who doesn’t belong in the same room with him.” Kari sat down in the chair opposite him, acting nonchalant, even if her heart was hammering like a woodpecker on speed. She crossed her legs and leaned back too. “I miss Max. He got along with everyone; the newsroom had this easy, relaxed atmosphere. With Jeremy, it’s just different. He rubs everyone the wrong way.”

“It sounds like you need an attitude adjustment. The station’s offering him a five-year contract, and it’s in your best interest to get along.” Tom’s bushy brows furrowed, and he glared at her. “Get your act together, Kari. I can’t have you stumbling over your words anymore.”

“I know. It won’t happen again.”

She’d make sure it didn’t. It wasn’t like there were dozens of TV networks in the vicinity aching to hire her. It was a small community of professionals, and the competition was tough. That was part of the reason she wanted the evening anchor job; it would give her better job security and a higher salary. Plus, it would provide greater visibility, more exposure. And one day, her sister might see her and come home.

“One more thing,” Tom said in a gentler voice, as if he’d read her mind. “This missing children series of yours. You know I’ve always been a big fan and it boosted our ratings at the beginning, but people are tired of it. They want a feel-good story.”

“A feel-good story?”  She felt sick inside. That was exactly what Jeremy had told her—that the station was axing her special half hour show. She’d thought he’d only said it to upset her. Which it had. His timing had been perfect.

“Come on, Tom.” Her gladiator spirit rose to the occasion. She knew when to pick her fights, and this was one of those times. “I’m doing something really important here. I’m bringing attention to missing children and runaways, closed cases that the authorities have given up on.” She fought back the feeling of panic. He couldn’t do this. Her sister was still missing.

“Please reconsider, Tom. This series has done a whole lot more than boost our ratings. We’ve actually found a few missing kids since we started this show.”

He shook his head. “Sorry. George and I talked about it, and we’re in agreement. It’s done.”

“George? He never said a word to me.” George Collins was Tom’s boss, the executive director, and he’d even congratulated her on a good show after her weekly broadcast last Friday evening.

Her temper flashed. “This isn’t right. We’ve brought children home. How ‘feel good’ is that?”

“Look. I know you have a personal motivation to keep this series alive, but we can’t let our emotions get involved with our decision making. The show has lost its oomph. We need something to engage our viewers, and it’s not stories about runaways. Nobody gives a shit anymore.”

Kari’s already bouncy stomach seemed to plummet, and a dull but familiar pain spread inside her. She held on to the edge of the desk to steady herself. Gladiators didn’t buckle. They held their ground. “You really mean this.” She stared straight at him, letting him see her determination, but her mouth trembled. “Don’t you? You’re really cutting the show?”

“I’m sorry.” Tom looked away. “I know how much this means to you, but yes. We’re starting something new the first of the month.”

Kari said nothing, deflated beyond words. Tom stood and opened his office door, signifying that she was free to leave.

She walked to her desk, sat down for a moment to check her computer for messages, and avoided the curious glances from her co-workers. She kept her head down, not allowing them to engage her in conversation. Let them think what they wanted—she wasn’t going to give them fuel for gossip. She kept her chin high as she walked past the reception area and out the door.

Inside her car, her chin quivered; her hands shook. Actually, her entire body trembled. How could he do this?

After several minutes, she inhaled and exhaled deeply and started the car. She had learned long ago that some things were out of her control, and dwelling on them did no good at all. If the show was cut, if she was fired, life would still go on, whether she ever found her sister or not.  

Routine was Kari’s method of coping. So she coped. She made her stop at Publix on the way home and picked up a package of skinless chicken breasts, a small pork tenderloin, then headed for the seafood counter, where she asked for two nice pieces of tilapia. Although she lived alone, she still bought enough of everything for two. She liked to be prepared in case her sister Alaina decided to come home, or her world-traveling boyfriend showed up. In any case, it limited her trips to the store.

She grabbed a package of asparagus, a head of broccoli, and a couple of packages of prepared salads. Next on her list were a couple of bottles of good wine. Once she’d made her selections, she checked out and headed home.

She drove a late model Mercedes, and parked underground in her usual spot. She lived on the fourth floor of a relatively new building in CityPlace, West Palm Beach, which had nearly every convenience imaginable except concierge service.  She entered the lobby and was dismayed to see only one elevator available—the other in service for someone moving into the building.

Balancing the bags and her handbag, she watched the numbers as the elevator crept downwards from the eighteenth floor. Patience was not one of her strong-suits, and she pushed the button again as if that might hurry it along. Just then the occupied elevator reached the lobby level and the door opened up.

“Hold that elevator,” she heard a man shout.

Before she could move, he rushed forward, wheeling a large suitcase and a dog carrier.  The dog was one of those small yippy things, and it barked ferociously when Kari tried to slide past.

The man’s suitcase bumped into her, and the bag holding the wine slipped out of her hands, hitting the ceramic tile. Red wine splashed her legs and coated her new pair of Manola Blahnik heels.

“Oh, my God!” She let out a small cry.

“I’m so sorry. Did I do that?”

“Your bag bumped into mine.” She glanced up from her once-beautiful shoes and met the eyes of the fellow who’d ruined them.

Jake. Her Jake. He was back from war.  

Her heart speeded up; her mouth went dry.

How long had he been home? Why had she not known? Not that they kept in touch, but still, it was surprising she hadn’t heard a word about his return.

He had been her first love, the first boy she’d slept with, and the first man to break her heart. Of course, she’d been over him for years, and had a wonderful guy in her life who she adored. Jake had been nothing but an unpleasant memory for a long time. So why was she flustered at the mere sight of him?

He’d always been the handsomest man she’d ever known. Tall, broad-shouldered, physically fit, with a strong, square chin, flashing blue eyes, and a smile that could make a woman drop her panties and never look back. But he was thinner now, his thick wavy hair was shorn, and he looked older than he should. 

“Kari.” His eyes registered shock, which mirrored her feelings. “What are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same.”

She took a step back, almost as if she were protecting herself, which was silly really. He didn’t have the power to hurt her anymore. What had happened between them was done. Over. Like yesterday’s rain.

“You owe me a new pair of shoes.” She knew it was a ridiculous thing to say to someone she’d once loved, and hadn’t seen in years, but it was the first words that popped out. “They’re Manolos and they’re ruined.” Why was she talking about shoes? And why was he here? She’d thought of him today. How strange that he should suddenly appear.

“I’ll be happy to buy you a new pair. This was an unfortunate incident.”

“You said it.” She stepped around the broken glass, needing to put some distance between them until she got her breathing under control. “I’ll get someone to clean this up.”

“Hold Muffin. I’ll get someone.”

“No, the dog hates me.” She eyed the quivering snowball with little pointy teeth, snarling at her. “I can’t believe you have a poodle called Muffin. I thought you hated small dogs.”

“Long story. I just figured he had a right to live.”

“I didn’t say he didn’t. But with you?”

Someone from security showed up with a bag and a broom. “We’ll take care of this,” he said, and proceeded to do so.

Jake held the elevator door for her. “Go ahead. I’ll take the next one.”

“There’s room in here for both of us.” She punched her floor number and stepped back.

Jake put Muffin on the floor, and wheeled his bag in. He hit number three, one floor below hers.

“So, I’m still curious.” Kari spoke to his back. “Why this dog?”

“He was about to be put down.”

“Really?” She glanced down at the unfortunate critter. “Looks healthy enough to me.”

“He lost a leg. Got out somehow, and was hit by a car. Tiffany, Dad’s new wife, decided to ease his pain.”

“Tiffany? How old is she?”

“I’m guessing forty. I don’t know, but she’s a real bitch.”

“I’m sorry. About your mother too.”

The elevator stopped at his floor and he picked up the cage, and Muffin fell over.

“Well it was nice seeing you again,” she said in a cheery voice. “Good luck in your new apartment.”

He turned his head and his piercing blue eyes held hers. “What’s your number? I’ll replace your wine.”

“Don’t bother. I can live without it.”

“I insist. Where do you live?”

Her chin lifted. “Four-0-four, but please don’t.” She didn’t want to see him. Not now. Not ever.

He smiled, and butterflies zoomed around her stomach. He’d always had that reaction on her, and she would not allow that to happen again. Not for one damn minute.

“Goodbye, Jake.”

He stepped out, but shot her another glance. “I’ll see you soon.”

“Not if I can help it,” she muttered under her breath.

She entered her apartment, still feeling very unsettled by this unexpected encounter with her old love. She’d successfully dealt with his betrayal and harbored no ill-feelings for him, or so she’d thought. But running into him like this brought it all back, the pain of losing him and her sister both, in that one terrible year.  

She poured herself a glass of white wine from the open bottle in the fridge, kicked off her shoes, and sat down on the sofa. She took a big sip of the Chardonnay, hoping it would take the edge off, but knowing from experience she’d need to do a lot more than that.

Feeling restless, she got up and went out onto her poor-excuse-for-a-balcony. Her tiny two-bedroom condo in CityPlace was across the bridge from the glorious mansions in Palm Beach. She loved the fact that outside her door were several restaurants and bars, a big movie theater, shops and boutiques, all situated around a lovely and quaint town square.

Lots of people were milling about during the pre-dinner hour. For several minutes she enjoyed watching the activity. She spotted a few couples heading out for dinner, a group of young women apparently having a girl’s night out, and several teenage boys with their hats on sideways, pants falling down, waiting in the square where some musicians were setting up.

She finished her wine and went into the kitchen for a pitcher of water. Returning to the living room, she dumped the water into a sick and gangly plant that looked like it was about to take its last breath.

She headed for the bedroom, unzipping her skirt as she did so, when the telephone rang. She picked it up eagerly, seeing from caller ID that it was Sean. He was the perfect boyfriend, intelligent, interesting, charming--and absent most of the time. She was proud of the fact that he was an award-winning freelance photographer, and thrilled that his career was as important to him as hers was to her.

“Sean! Where are you?”

“Hunan, China, but we leave tomorrow.” His New Zealander accent was more accentuated when he spoke quickly, as he was doing now. “We’re doing some shots on the Mengdong River, and then a place called the Fairyland of Peach Blossoms. It’s been really crazy for the past few days, that’s why you didn’t hear from me.”

“Tell me everything. I miss the sound of your voice.”

“No time. I’m rushing right now, but I’ll be in Beijing in a few days and can call again then.”

“Sean. Don’t hang up just yet. Can’t we talk a little longer?”

“Sorry, honey. I’ll have more time in a couple of days.”

“Okay.” She whispered half to herself, “I need you tonight.”

“What was that?”

“Nothing.” For just this once she’d like to unburden herself, but she knew and accepted the fact that he lived with one foot out the door. “Do you know when you’re coming home?”

“I can’t say for sure, but it’ll be within the next couple of weeks. Maybe sooner.”

“Good. I have so much to tell you.” She hesitated for a second, then blurted, “I miss you.”

“Glad to hear that.” His voice deepened. “When I get home, we have things to discuss.”

“Like what?” she said, suddenly on guard.

“Things that need to be discussed in person.”

“Sean. Tell me.” She wondered if he wanted to change the relationship. End it or step it up a notch. Neither prospect appealed to her.

“Can’t tell you right now, but you’ll know soon enough.”

“Okay. Be mysterious. See if I care.”

“I miss you too.” His voice sounded different, almost romantic, and it made her heart yearn.

“Give my love to Beijing,” she said to keep things light.

He laughed, and they said good-bye.

She headed for the bathroom to take her shower, feeling more unsettled than ever. Sean was a darling, but they spent so little time together that she never completely knew where they stood. They were lovers, but were they in love?

While the warm water washed over her body, her thoughts returned to Tom’s sudden decision to cut her runaway series. Every instinct in her wanted to fight him on this, but the management had made up their mind, and there was not a damn thing she could do about it. She would get him his “feel-good” stories. Hell, if Tom wanted her to bend over and show her backside to the world, she’d do it. Whatever it took to make the boss happy.

I Just Love It. I really do.

Posted by Autumn Jordon | 12:30 AM | 12 comments »

I love reading romantic suspense and if you’re reading this, it’s a given you do too. Awesome! We’re kindred spirits.

Want to know why I love writing romantic suspense? Yes, because I love to read the genre, silly, but seriously, I love writing romantic suspense because of the research. When an idea comes to me, I can’t wait to start to digging into a topic and finding the most intriguing facts. Sometimes data or comments by industry professionals lead me to other fascinating subjects. At times, the story idea I started out to write about is left by the wayside because my research has uncovered a more interesting subject. (Imagine a wicked laugh and me wringing my hands together here —BAWAWA)

In my new release, HIS WITNESS TO EVIL, (available at Amazon & B&N btw) the idea came from an occurrence at my work. I worked as a corp. secretary, who wore many hats, for a mid-size trucking company. No. The company name remains undisclosed for obvious reasons. I knew tractor-trailers were heisted. I had to deal with the law enforcement officers in a few states and insurance companies. I also knew the U.S. treasury transported U.S. currency by tractor-trailers, well because… Not saying more. I started to think what if units carrying currency were targeted. Hmmm I my muse took over.

Now, since I worked within the transportation industry, the research for that facet of the book was at my fingertips. But when I thought about who would be targeting the tractor-trailers and how they would know which of the many vehicles to heist, I started researching the U.S. Treasury, organized crime and law enforcement jurisdictions. From my research came an idea, but of course I had to check the scenario out to see if it was plausible. Enter the FBI. I interviewed a director of the agency and learned not only was my idea plausible but had indeed, in part, occurred. BINGO!

You really want to know what the FBI confirmed, don’t you? Well you’ll have read His Witness To Evil. It’s available on Amazon http://amzn.to/McROob .

Mr. FBI man really was nice and was kind enough to share some of his personal and family life with me. I think talking to him, helped me develop a great heroin John Dolton. In fact, a reviewer for RT stated: John Dolton is the best character; his background and the sorrow he lives with make a good subplot. Readers will wish they were the ones offering him a shoulder to cry on.

You can see why I love research. One note before I share an excerpt of HIS WITNESS TO EVIL. The wide-world web has made it so easy to find answers to almost anything. I’ll caution you however, to double check your research findings with several different sources, because, as you know, you can’t believe everything you read on the net.

Now, HIS WITNESS TO EVIL by Autumn Jordon

Suddenly, a hand slapped across her mouth and a strong arm circled her waist, lifting her off her feet. Her nostrils flared against the ridge of skin as she fought to suck in air and the scent of the man dragging her away.

A car whizzed by but didn’t stop. The street ahead was deserted except for two elderly women waiting for a bus and a couple standing on the corner. They had their backs to her. They didn’t see her.

She searched wildly for anyone who would come to her rescue. There was no one.

The street disappeared and red brick imprisoned her and her attacker on both sides as the man carried her deeper into the deserted alley. Foul smelling dumpsters, broken crates and cardboard boxes limp from the downpour on Saturday night filled the alley.

While her toes fought to touch the ground, her fingernails dug into tan skin. She struggled helplessly to free herself.

“Owww. Will you stop clawing me?” The deep tone heated her ear.

“John,” she mumbled against his hand. She twisted and strained to look back. Relief washed through her.

“Quiet.” He deposited her into a deep doorway.

Her purse slipped from her shoulder and dropped to the ground as she spun on her heel. Without thought, she flung her arms around his neck. His hard chest crushed her breasts. “I was so scared. I didn’t want to leave you and Zohara. I’m so glad you’re alive.”

“Me too,” he whispered into her ear.

She pulled back. His smile was faint, but it was there. Her hands trailed down his arms and found the bandage. “Your arm.”

“It’s nothing. A cut.”

“I shouldn’t have left you and—”

“You did the right thing, Steph. Where are the kids?”

“They’re safe.”

He looked at her warily, probably wondering where she could hide them and feel safe about doing so.

She squared her shoulders. “No one saw us. I wasn’t going to bring them until I knew it was safe. Whoever is looking for us could spot us faster if we were together, so I left them at the library with Susan. No one will look for them there. And if something happens to me…” Stephanie swallowed hard, fear rippling through her. “Well, Susan knows my mother. She’d call her.”

At the sound of a door opening, John glanced around the doorway’s edge. He pushed her into the corner, shielding her with his body.

With her nose pressed against his chest, she drew in a mixture of his musk scent and blood.

The sound of someone throwing trash into the dumpster mingled with the throb of her heart. Protected by John, she closed her eyes and waited.

“Damn,” he said.

Stephanie’s head snapped up. “What do you mean, damn?”

“Shh.” John’s hands found her hips and pulled her even closer—hip to hip. The butt of his gun poked her ribs. No protective vests shielded her from the feel of him.

His burning gaze told her of his plan only a moment before his lips, full and hot, crushed hers.

His hands trailed down her backside, lifting her against his hard body. She ran her hands up his strong arms. The world reeled away, leaving her and John alone, enjoying the warm comfort of each other as their bodies molded together.

John pulled back. Instantly the air between them cooled and Stephanie shivered, wanting more of him.

“Calm down, Mac. The lady and I are on a coffee break. Right, babe?”

Dazed, her gaze locked with his. She knew what he wanted from her.

“Miss?” The stocky man, wearing a bloody butcher’s apron, glanced at her purse before his hard glare landed on John. The man’s burly arms hosted clamped fists and his stance changed. He was ready to pounce on John at her word.

“Leave us alone. We’ve only got ten minutes.” Stephanie slowly laced her arms around John’s neck and flashed a wicked smile at the man. She went up on her toes and buried her face in John’s neck and nibbled away, enjoying the salty taste of him.

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 8:33 AM | 6 comments »

Hi Everyone, It's Monday, June 4th, and the deals keep rolling in. Visit cardstore.com for your free Father's Day card. Create your card and use coupon code LUVDAD2 at checkout for your free card, which also includes free shipping. Free kindle books for today include: The Day It Happened, by Linsey Lanier, (sorry, link doesn't appear to be working) and The Traitor, by Jo Robertson, http://www.amazon.com/Traitor-Bigler-Romantic-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B006RPAS2M/ref=pd_sim_kstore_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2 Enjoy! Favorite quote: "I can't afford to save any more money."

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 12:56 PM | 8 comments »

Hi Everyone, It's Sunday, June 3rd, and I have some great deals for you today. First, there are 3 free books on Amazon's Kindle by some wonderful authors: My new Inspiration publisher, Inspired Romance, is offering Sam's Treasure By Terri Crews. Healing Anna's Heart, a contemporary romance by Susan Hughes, and, The Secret Christmas Ciphers by Carolynn Carey. Sorry, for whatever reason, the links aren't showing up. But if you go to Amazon.com and type in the tile, the books will be there. Also, discountmags.com is offering many fabulous magazines for a $5.00 subscription rate. Great for summer reading! Enjoy!

What's in a name?

Posted by Scarlet Pumpernickel | 1:27 PM | 13 comments »


I started a new project recently. The first thing I did was name my characters. Good start, boy's name, girl's name and then I worked on the plot.

Once I had worked out the bare bones of the plot, a short of road map of which way to start, I got down to the business of writing the opening chapter. So far, so good.

This is a time-travel romance, interesting concept, but requires quite a bit of world building. The heroine is from 25th century earth, while the hero is from the very early 21st century. It is fun imagining how life will have changed. I'm zipping right along, this is going to be easy! I wrote more than 2000 words the first day, almost 1400 the second day. Wow, I'm on a roll. Nothing can stop me!

Wrong. The third day I wrote 279 painful, forced grudging words and today my total was 165.

OMG! What happened? How did I lose the momentum that had carried me along for the first two days? It was sabotage, plain and simple. My characters decided to leave me in the lurch. Why? The Italian Bespoke Men's Suit

It took me a while to figure out what was wrong. I pissed off my hero because I gave him the wrong name. He finally just stopped cooperating at all. Now, I am left to pick up the pieces and try to figure out the name that better suits him. He was upset about being kidnapped and zapped to the 25th century, but my calling him the wrong name was the last straw.

Going back and looking at my choice for the hero, I know he is right. I don't blame him. I'd be pissed too! Nope, it just doesn't fit him, not in the least. Now I'm looking for a name for a 21st century power player who knows what he wants and how to get it. A self-assured, self-made, sexy as sin Italian-American.

This isn't the first time I've made such a mistake. You'd think I'd learn. But at least I've learned to listen to the silence from my characters. If they ain't happy with their names, they ain't talking.

What about you? Do you have a process for naming your characters? Is it successful? Do you ever find yourself in a position where a character demands a name change?
Obviously my character doesn't like my choice for his name, so I'm on a quest for a new one. I'm open for suggestions, I've posted a picture of what I picture this character to look. Help me find his name. Suggestions?