Amazon Montlake

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 2:00 PM | 7 comments »

Hi everyone,
Today my first book with Amazon Montlake went live, cover and all, on Amazon for pre-order. I only signed the contract in December, and my first book, A HERO LIES WITHIN will be coming out as a serial on Feb.26th. In case you don't know, a serial, which is a new concept and seems to be doing very well, is a book that is released in segments every two weeks, like watching your favorite TV show and having to wait for the next episode. If you are a fast reader and want to gobble up a book in one sitting, this probably won't work for you, but if you have limited time and want to read a few pages while you're on lunch break, or picking up the kids or sitting in a doctors office, this might be the ticket.
So far, Amazon has about a dozen or so Serials for sale, mostly suspense or romantic suspense and I will be one of the first contemporary romances to try out this format. I'm very excited, and if I do half as well as Kim Law, who's book was released a few days ago, then I'm all for it!
If you have a moment I would love for you to check out my book, this serial concept, and give me your opinion. Thanks so much.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B1D43C6


My pal Melba Moon stopped by to tell us about her very interesting journey to publishing!
I know you will give her a big welcome! 
A New Beginning 
By Melba Moon, Editor

Have you ever considered just scrapping everything and starting over? I have several times, and usually when I do I have to force myself to follow through. It is about reinventing yourself. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about leaving your spouse or kids.  I’ve been married to the same man for more than forty years, have raised two children and currently have two grandchildren. Those stats are not going to change for me.

What I’m talking about is recreating yourself, who you are, what you are and what you want to be. I’ve done this several times over the course of my life. I discovered a long time ago that I am, and should be, the master of my own destiny. I adopted a motto years ago and still follow it to this day.

If it is to be, it is up to me.

That’s my motto, no one has ever given me anything. Every achievement has come through hard work and struggle. Sure, I had support along the way. But it was my own determination, effort, sweat, and tears that brought about those changes.

You see, I’ve always been one to do things the hard way. I’ve learned by experience and some of those lessons weren’t easy or kind. My first lesson was to learn to value education. It wasn’t that I didn’t value it, it was that life got in the way. I married young and had two children within the first three years. So, once I realized that lacking a high school diploma would hold me back from getting a good job, I went to night school and got a GED.

Next lesson, the person with the GED is the first one to go when times get tough and a company is forced to make lay-off. I met this challenge by enrolling in college and earning not one, but two degrees. Since earning that first degree, I have been employed and secure in my career.

My next lesson was harder to figure out. I had an education and two degrees, yet still I felt there was something missing. It wasn’t about family or social commitments or being happy in my life. It was about being fulfilled. You see, I had always wanted to be a writer. I love to read, and writing is the natural continuation of that love.

If it is to be, it’s up to me. (Remember?)

No one was going to help me write. No one was going to say, here take these free hours and write. No, I had to learn to fight for the days, hours, or minutes. I had to put writing first. I gave up sewing, my second love. I sold all my stacked back bundles of  cloth, cleaned my sewing room and created my office.

I spent the time to learn to touch type. My first manuscript was written on an electric type writer using carbon paper. Does anyone remember those days? Then I bought a computer, one of the early ones with no hard drive, just two floppy drives. That made life a little easier. Then I upgraded to a computer with a hard drive and finally to a laptop that would allow me to travel and to go to Starbucks for writing sessions. I submitted and was rejected. I submitted short stories and was published.

Still I continued on my quest. I joined writer’s groups, I attended meetings and conferences. I honed my craft. I have recently been offered a contract for a short story that will be in the first anthology to be published by Gilded Dragonfly Books. I’ve been asked for fulls and partials and I’ve been rejected by the best of them. But…

The next amazing step along my journey is becoming an acquiring editor at Gilded Dragonfly Books. www.gildeddragonflybooks.wordpress.com. I’m looking for a different story, a great story, a great voice and talent to match. I’ll be acquiring historical, contemporary, paranormal and romantic suspense. If you have a great book, send it to me at Novelkid@aol.com. Be sure to mark it attention Melba Moon

It's Because Of You That I am

Posted by Autumn Jordon | 9:33 AM | 8 comments »

It is because of you that I am.

The above line sounds like a perfect line in a romance novel, doesn’t it? Perhaps it is. I’m sure there are probably hundreds of lines that are similar and hold the same meaning, like the Jerry Mcguire line “You complete me.”
Anyway, it just came to me when thinking about something Yanni said during one of his concerts. Yeah, I’m a Yanni fan. Old Yanni and New Yanni. I’ll clue you into what he said later.

Now. I want you to take the above line and add the word A to it and then finish it by adding a noun. Any noun. Make a short list of five. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I promise I have a point to make.

Okay, my short list:

It is because of you that I am a light bulb.
It is because of you that I am a wheel.
It is because of you that I am a calendar.
It is because of you that I am a laptop.
It is because of you that I am a song.

Every one of those nouns at one point in time didn’t exist. They were once the idea of its creator—an idea that came to them while they were living life, watching the sunset or as children rolled a log down a mountain side. And they came about because the person had this insatiable drive to bring their brain child to life. To present it to the world.

By this time, you’re wondering what does that have to do with writing a novel? Well, besides the obvious that we always start with an idea, it is my belief that nothing has been created without trial and error, without studying the problem and its effects, and without lots of pondering. Writing a great story takes all of them.

Now, for my point today. Don’t beat yourself up for not having your fingers on the keyboard 24/7. I hear a lot of writers chiding themselves for not writing a word for a day or days. Your story has stilled. It’s growing inside you. A worthy story takes thought and research and study to create. It takes time to get to know your characters. Take the time to do all.

Oh, here is what was said and got me thinking.

“Creating is one of the most powerful, deliberate acts that human beings can do. It is one of the most important reasons to exist. If I do my job right, my listeners will experience what I experience while creating.” Yanni

One of the most important reasons to exist. Love it!

YANNI

The Lure of the Vampire      

By Lisabet Sarai

 Good morning, 
You have chosen an interesting topic!

Why are vampires sexy? Why do romance readers never seem to tire of stories about eternal blood-drinkers and the lust and love they inspire? Why do our hearts beat faster when one of these seductive monsters bends to sip the fluid of life from his swooning victim's veins?

Even Bram Stoker's Count Dracula exercised a kind of spell over his prey. What lies at the root of this allure?

I think that there are a variety of answers to this question, all with some merit. In romance, at least, vampires usually possess unearthly beauty that evokes more than that just attraction―the typical reaction is closer to awe. The genre has adopted Anne Rice's notion that the transformation from mortal to immortal somehow physically perfects the vampire. The blood drinker acquires a kind of glamor (in the magical sense) that snares the attention and stirs the senses of mortals.

Power is another draw. Although the powers attributed to the undead vary from one author to another, all vampires have capabilities unmatched by mortals. Some possess preternatural strength. Some are able to read minds, cloud perceptions or plant thoughts in the minds of their victims. Some can fly or move so quickly that they might as well be flying. The existence of such power―the revelation that the magic is real, not merely a fantasy―excites us poor humans. And who can help imagining what it would be like to be gifted with this kind of power oneself?

Paradoxically, fear can add to the appeal. The risk one assumes in loving a vampire, the sense of danger, can serve as an aphrodisiac. The whole experience becomes more intense than mere mortal couplings.  Freud postulated that humans have a death wish. I'm not sure that I concur, but death does have a sort of perverse fascination for many of us. (Witness the enduring popularity of horror movies!)

There are two other important factors I think contribute to the vampire's lure in romance. First, we like to fantasize that we are the special individual who can kindle love in the cold heart of a lonely blood drinker. Many vampires are ancient and solitary, bitter or cynical. They have watched generations of mortals die. They know that love is fleeting and futile. To be the one mortal who can give them solace―who can soothe their pain and light up their dark world, even for a little while―is tremendously satisfying, from an emotional perspective.

Second, many vampire-mortal encounters incorporate elements of dominance and submission. The victim surrenders to the terrifying, glorious power of the vamp and experiences a sort of ecstatic communion similar to that described by BDSM practitioners. Of course some vampire romance contains explicit BDSM elements―which tend to fit very well with the genre. But even when the trappings of D/s are absent, the emotions are there: the passion to submit, the devotion to the Master (or  Mistress), the final release.

I tend to focus on these last two elements in my own vampire tales. Nothing excites me, personally, as much as the idea of yielding to a powerful, seductive, beautiful blood drinker.  There's always the  temptation to submit completely―to prove one's love by offering one's life. Objectively, it's a scary scenario, but it has an emotional kick that never fails to move me.

I just edited an anthology of vampire erotica and erotic romance entitled Coming Together: In Vein which brilliantly demonstrates the points above. The stories in this book are simultaneously scary and sexy, even though in some cases the vampires are far from traditional. In my story, “Vampires, Limited”, for example, the vampire is a blond college guy who just happened to have been bitten by an undead coed at a frat party. He's not ancient or mysterious, dark or brooding. He looks like what he is (or was), a corn-fed twenty one year old from Wisconsin. That doesn't mean he's not dangerous and seductive, though.

 Meanwhile, the best thing about Coming Together: In Vein is that it's for a great cause. All sales of this novel-length volume support Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). MSF works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. Right now, despite being barred from the country, MSF doctors and nurses are in Syria, working with patients from both sides of the civil war. They're performing surgery in caves and sneaking into refugee camps to distribute desperately needed medications.

 You can help MSF in its life-saving mission, simply by indulging your passion for vampires. Buy a copy of Coming Together: In Vein in ebook, Kindle format, or print. Enjoy! Then help spread the word! Every copy we sell has the potential to save someone's life.

 To thank you for reading this post, I'm giving away a copy of my own vampire romance novella, Fire in the Blood. (For more information about this book, visit http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=876)  Leave me a comment telling me why you think vampires are so popular. I'll randomly choose one winner next Saturday. (Please include your email address in your comment.)
 

Bio:   Lisabet Sarai is an author, editor and reviewer of erotica and erotic romance. She has been writing ever since she learned how to hold a pencil, and publishing for more than a decade. Lisabet has visited every continent except Australia and now lives in Southeast Asia. She holds more degrees than anyone should ever want from prestigious universities who would undoubtedly be embarrassed if she mentioned them by name. To find out more about Lisabet, visit her website Lisabet's Fantasy Factory http://www.lisabetsarai.com or her blog Beyond Romance, http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.comhttp://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com.

[In case links don't come through – MSF, ebook, Kindle and print links below]

http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-comingtogetherinvein-1028715-139.htmlhttps://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-comingtogetherinvein-1028715-139.html

http://amzn.to/14kNoVohttp://amzn.to/14kNoVo

https://www.createspace.com/3966207https://www.createspace.com/3966207

Sparks of Ideas

Posted by Pamela Varnado | 10:48 AM | 10 comments »


Inspirations for stories often come at the oddest moments and in the most unusual places. While John Steinbeck worked as a migrant worker in California, he witnessed a farmhand kill the boss that fired the farmhand’s friend. This single incident later served as inspiration for Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men.

Last year, I watched an interesting interaction between a woman and her two sons at a bank. We stood in line. The boys were twins and didn’t appear to be more than five years old. One of them bounced a tiny rubber ball.

“Stop it,” the woman said.
The boy stopped, but the moment her attention moved away he started again. Carpet covered the floor. He struggled to control the ball and had to chase it around the other customers standing in line.  
“I said stop it,” the woman said again, her tone snippy.
This stop/start tug-of-war played out a couple more times until she bent and yanked him by the arm. “Wait til we get home.” The warning in her eyes was clear.
He looked crushed.
The teller motioned the woman up to the counter. The boys followed. The other twin, who up to this point had been as quiet as a mouse, snatched the ball from his brother’s hand. After noticing his mom was busy with the teller, he bounced the ball. It rolled into a nearby office. A customer talking with a banker rose and picked it up. He walked out to the lobby.
“Does this belong to anyone?” he asked.
Everyone turned his way.
When the woman saw the ball, anger shone in her eyes. She stared at the boys.
They pointed at each other and said in unison, “It was him.”

 I didn’t know it at the time, but out of that simple five minute interaction sparked an idea for the short story I wrote for an anthology for Gilded Dragonfly Books. My paranormal story, Metamorphosis, (title may change) deals with the mystical aspects of being a twin. And while my characters are not kids, the two boys in the bank inspired my plot.

So be sure to visit the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers blog in February to learn more about my story and read an excerpt.

 Image

As we all get older, time becomes more and more valuable. Think about the short story below.

"Thanks for your time."   


A young man learns what's most  important in life from the guy next door.
 

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The
funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old
newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

"Jack, did you hear me?"

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him.
I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said...

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were
doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the
fence' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure
you had a man's influence in your life," she said.

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this
business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he
thought were important. Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his
hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children
of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see
the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over
into another dimension, a leap through space and time The house was  exactly
as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of
furniture. Jack stopped suddenly...

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

"The box is gone," he said

"What box?" Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must
have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was
'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it,
except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get
some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr.  Belser died. Returning home from work
one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a
package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next
three days," the note read. Early the next day Jack retrieved the package.
The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years
ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught
his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read. Jack took the box out to his car
and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope.
Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett.
It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the
letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked
the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the
cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

"Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued most was... my time"

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared
his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant  asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son," he said.

"Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!"

Think about this. You may not realize it,  but it's 100% true.

1. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way..
2 A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
3 Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
4.. You mean the world to someone.
5. If not for you, someone may not be living.
6. You are special and unique.
7. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably
won't get it, but if you trust God to do what's best, and wait on His time,
sooner or later, you will get it or something better.
8. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come from it.
9. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you
most likely turned your back on the world.
10. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
11.. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
12 . Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better
when they know and you'll both be happy .
13. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

I have a few watches of my own...




“You are not finished when you lose, you are finished when you quit.”~quote from daughter Elise's private basketball coach, Bobby, back in the day. 

That wise man was full of inspiration not only for our struggling girls who needed all the help they could get, but also their long-suffering moms (and a few dads) looking on from the sidelines every Saturday morning for seemingly endless months. But they did end. Not the life lessons, though. Many times I have thought of Bobby's encouragement and forged ahead with my own dreams, like writing novels and pursuing publication. Even now, when the going gets tough, I think back. In the end, basketball, like so much else, is a mind game. Success is all about believing. Don't give up on anything or anyone you truly love. You are, however, allowed to choose, and if necessary alter, which course of action to follow.


Bobby also said, "When you are behinddon't give up; when you are aheaddon't let up." He had a great selection of motivational quotes. Much needed and appreciated.

Here's one I came across:

“Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon…must inevitably come to pass!” ~ Paul J. Meyer


There was supposed to be a picture here of the backsides of the Black Beastie and Z3PO, but I couldn't find a way to insert photos from my computer.  I gave myself a black convertible for Christmas but it didn’t come with a big red bow, rather a car payment.  At any rate, the Black Beastie is a turbo-charged in-line six cylinder and is fast as a scalded cat.

I am now car poor.  Regrettably, Z3PO is for sale.  He is a 2002 (the last year for this model), Z3, with 53,600 miles, Sterling Gray, faithfully and lovingly maintained, comes with a tonneau cover, which is the convertible top cover, a genuine Roadster license surround and an OEM car cover.  I can be contacted through my web site http://www.lindanightingale.com .   The Z3 is a snazzy, dependable and fun drive with a 5-speed manual transmission to add more zip.

 

This picture was taken in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina on my Utopian trip to pick up Z3PO.

I have two wonderful sons, both grown, and I no longer own horses, so my cars are my babies.  I have blogged on some of my adventures with Z3.  This is the last post about the zippy little roadster.  It makes me sad to sell him.

New Year - new goals and opportunities.

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 11:59 AM | 7 comments »

Happy New Year, everyone!
Well, the world survived in spite of the Mayans and Nostrodamas, and all the nay-sayers, and now I can cast off my worry-suit, and be happy once more! With a whole wonderful, exciting new year ahead of us, I'm sure we are all making resolutions, and plans of how to reach our goals and live a healthier, happier, more productive life.
Or maybe not.
I'm not one for making resolutions, mostly because I don't stick to them, but also because I'm disciplined and try to keep on track for the most part, daily-all-year-round. That includes not to eat too much, keep my wine consumption under control-lol- to play my sports, hence exercise, and write everyday.
My writing goal this year is to finish my third "returning war hero" story by August, since it's under deadline, and that would be a really good thing to do, and then I can submit another story idea for consideration. Currently, I've been working on a new romantic/comedy series, and to be honest, I'm loving it. It may or may not work for Montlake, but I want to do it anyway. For me. If I don't sell the series I will definitely self publish, because this makes me happy. I would love, love, love to get another 3 book contract, but if that doesn't happen, I know that people will read my books, and that I now have the control to do what I want, when I want. We our living in a publishing environment that gives us choices and we don't need to follow guidelines anymore--we can make up our own.
Still - we must remember that self publishing is not to be taken lightly. Only our best work should be put out there. We are professionals, and our work should represent that. A good cover, proper formatting, professional editing, all that is very important if you want to build a following and be successful.  All those new readers buying their Nooks and Kindles deserve top quality, and it's our job to see that they get it.
Well, that's enough preaching for today.

What are your plans and goals? Let's hear them, folks.
Have a happy, healthy, successful 2013!