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Tuesday Tales: From a Picture

Hello! I will begin this morning by apologizing to all of my faithful followers. I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth or forgotten you. I am currently in editing hell. With Simon and Schuster in the mix, Crimson Romance, their imprint now, has undergone a philosophical shift, and I have to make quite a few changes to my book to make the heroine fit into their new vision.  That being said, until edits are done, i will be focussing on them. Once They are, I’ll be back in the saddle.

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tale. Thanks to Jean Joachim and the other talented authors who keep this blog going each week. Each week, authors post a scene from their current work in progress based on a word or picture prompt. This week is picture time, and the posts are limited to 300 words.

Here is the picture I chose.sky. sun, cloud

Here is my tale taken from Wedding Bell Blues. Enjoy!

MJ stood on the deck of the fishing boat, shifting her weight from one foot to the other, waiting for the remaining six passengers to board. The catamaran-style fishing vessel accommodated twelve passenger/fishermen at a time. She and Paul had been the first to board. Turning away from the shore, she stared out to sea.

In the distance, sun filtered through the last of the storm clouds, turning the sky an unearthly shade of blue-green almost identical to that of the emerald in her engagement ring. Was it an omen or another dash of Quimbois magic?

“Here you are,” Paul said, coming up beside her, and handing her the handwoven hat she’s chosen from the array on sale at the dock. “This should keep the sun off your pretty little nose while we’re fishing, and I have no problem rubbing sunscreen on the rest of you.” He wiggled his eyebrows playfully, before bending his head to kiss her.

“Geez. Get a room you two,” Bill Smith said, startling them apart, smiling at them as if he were the cat who’d swallowed the canary. He shifted his body, and MJ’s breath caught in her throat. “You remember Mark and Melena? We hooked up at breakfast. Mark mentioned he and MJ had history.”

Paul put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her into him. It would take a machete to cut through the tension in the air.

“Did he mention that he and I have history, too?” He glared at Mark. “I believe that little bump in your nose is from when I laid you out cold in the boxing ring.” He turned to Bill. “MJ and Mark dated for a while, but that’s ancient history now. Not even an archeologist find traces of it.”

Hope you enjoyed this week’s offering. If you haven’t had a chance to nominate  Sworn to Protect on Kindle Scout, this is the last week.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2SRDO9I5ANVW7

Now, don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.

 

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Midweek Tease: Revisiting an Old Favorite, In Plain Sight

mwtease15Good morning and welcome to this week’s Midweek Tease, Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting this weekly blog hop. This morning, I’m digging into my backlist for your tease as I get to work on the edits for my future release.

The Blurb:

In life, you pay a price for everything you do. Widowed, her dream of starring on Broadway in ashes at her feet, Misty Starr yearns for a happy, healthy, normal life for herself and her four-year-old daughter, Debbie. Settled in Pine Falls, New York, a sleepy little town filled with friendly people, she believes she’s found it and feels safe enough to sing in an amateur theater revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. She’ll do anything to keep this life even if it is built on lies, because revealing her secret is impossible. When Nick Anthony joins the cast as music director, Misty is attracted to the man who stirs up feelings she thought long dead, but can love grow on a bed of deceit?

A former concert pianist and secret CIA courier, Nick lives in darkness ever since the accident that killed his wife. The doctors say there’s nothing wrong with his vision, so why can’t he see? Hiding from his former life, he reluctantly agrees to help with the musical and is drawn to the young singer with the voice of an angel. When a mysterious fire destroys her home, Nick vows to keep her and her daughter safe. After one suspicious event leads to another, Nick is determined to protect them from an unknown assassin, but in order to do that, he needs to know her secrets. With his money and connections, he’ll do whatever it takes to save the woman he loves, but does she love him enough to reveal the truth?

in-plain-sight-147x221A frequent lucid dreamer, Misty realized what she was experiencing wasn’t real, but this time, she was unable to take control of the dream. Everything had a surreal quality to it. The colors were brighter, the textures grittier, and her movements sluggish as if her feet were stuck to the floor. She told herself to wake up, but instead of resurfacing from the nightmare as she’d hoped, she plunged more deeply into it, reliving the events of that fateful day.

I can’t stay here anymore, not with a man who joked so callously about ending another man’s life, she thought. She’d seen the barely suppressed violence in Kevin. She shivered. If he knew she was aware of what he was planning, he’d kill her.

Realizing how vulnerable she was, she backed up the step, closed the door a bit, and returned to the kitchen as quickly and quietly as she could.

She’d just turned off the kettle when the outside door opened, and she gasped, startled by the size of the man entering the house as if he had every reason and right to do so.

“Who the hell are you?” he yelled, grabbing her and pulling her to him. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m Shannon. I live here,” she stammered. “This is my home.” Tears pooled in her eyes, both from fear and the pain his fingers inflicted on her arm.

“We’ll just see what the boss has to say about that. Shannon, was it?” He had a heavy brogue, much heavier than Kevin’s, and there was nothing sweet or romantic about the words he spat at her.

He dragged her to the basement door and shoved her roughly ahead of him. “Look what I found snooping around the kitchen,” he crowed, manhandling her down the steps.

“Ryan, let go of her. She’s my wife!” Kevin shouted, anger and authority unmistakable in his voice.

“Wife is it?” Ryan laughed, but there was an underlying ugliness to the sound. “We’ve another name for that in Ireland. She’s a scrawny little thing, isn’t she? Does Kerry know about your wife and the bun in the oven? Somehow, I think not.”

“Shut up, Ryan.” Kevin turned and started up the stairs, stopping one step below her. “Mind your own business. I’ll tell Kerry when I’ve a mind to and not before.” He glared at the man behind her. Turning to Misty, he snapped, “What are you doing home so early? The daycare doesn’t close for another two hours.” The rage lacing his voice and the fury in his icy blue eyes turned her blood cold.

“I told you this morning I had a doctor’s appointment,” she stammered, cowed by his hostility.

He reached for her and propelled her forcefully up the stairs and back to the kitchen. His fingers dug painfully into the tender flesh of her upper arm. She’d never seen him this enraged. She trembled.

“What did you see and hear?” he snarled, pushing her roughly away from him. Her hip struck the edge of the table, the sharp pain nauseating in its intensity. She grabbed the table to stop from falling and cradled her abdomen in an effort to protect the child from its father.

“Nothing, I didn’t hear anything,” she lied, terrified by the increasing violence she saw in him. He slapped her, harder than he ever had. The blow stunned her. She tasted the metallic tang of blood.

“Don’t lie to me! I’m not stupid! What did you hear?” He grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her violently.

Tears ran down her cheeks, and her face burned from the sting of his hand. “Stop it Kevin, please. You’ll hurt the baby,” she pleaded.

“I don’t give a rat’s ass about your brat. What the hell did you hear?” He struck her again, knocking her to the floor.

“Nothing, I swear. I didn’t hear anything, Kevin.” She repeated, her voice choked by her tears and the panic building within her. He was going to kill her. Like a she-bear protecting her cub, the danger to the child gave her the courage she needed. Enough was enough. Using the table, she pulled herself up and stared into his eyes.

“I told you. I had a doctor’s appointment today. I got in a little while ago and put the kettle on. I was making tea. The water’s scarcely had time to boil. I went to the bathroom and took some acetaminophen. That’s all.” She put her hand up to wipe the blood from her mouth.

Suddenly, the old Kevin, the one who’d charmed her, returned and put his arms around her. “I’m sorry, Shannon. You couldn’t have picked a worse day to come home early. You startled me. Why don’t you take your tea and go lie down? The guys will be leaving soon, and I’ll be off to work.”

“Who are they?” She busied herself at the stove acting as if nothing had happened. It’s what he expected—forgiveness no matter how badly he’d behaved—but this time there would be no forgiveness, no second chance.

“Just a few of the guys from work. We’re having a union meeting. Nothing to concern that pretty little head of yours. This babe’s given you a difficult time; I doubt we’ll have another.”

He walked over to the stove, turned her around, and pulled her into his arms. He crushed her swollen mouth with his in a cruel, painful, punishing kiss. When he released her, there was smug satisfaction on his face, but the frost in his eyes remained.

“We’ll talk about this later. For your own good, and the good of the child you want so badly, don’t remember anything you think you may have seen or heard. Speaking of it could get you killed. I’ve protected you this time, but if you’re found snooping again, you’ll be leaving the house in a pine box.” He turned, walked out of the kitchen, and returned to the basement, slamming the door shut behind him.

She ran to the bathroom, vomited, and sat on the floor beside the toilet, tears running down her cheeks. She had to leave, and she had to leave tonight. She started to shake.

Want more?

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Please visit the other Midweek Teasers for this week:

#MidWeekTease May 10, 2017


 

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Crazy Little Spring Called Love

Crazy Little Spring Called Love

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo


The authors of the stories in Crazy Little Spring Called Love (order here) sat down to answer some questions for their readers. For links to the full list of interview questions, teasers, and more, visit the blog tour page.


What’s your best advice about Writing?

Traci Douglass

traci

First, read. As much as you can of whatever you can. Don’t stick to just your genre. Sometimes the best tricks and tips come from completely different styles to what you write. Second, write from the heart, meaning write what you love to read, not what the current hot story type is or what you think will make you a lot of money. If you do sell your book, do you want to spend years writing a type of story you hate? Nope. And third, be patient and adaptable. Nothing in publishing happens overnight and slow and steady always wins the race in the end. If you want writing to be a career and not a one-book wonder, be willing to try new things and new opportunities. Finally, stay positive. You never know where your next big break will come from.

Sheri Queen

Sheri

Like me, you may have many obstacles in life that like to steal your writing time and your energy–don’t give up. Writing may not happen as fast as you’d like, but keep carving out those precious moments. Also, don’t think you have to write a 100K novel. I’m enjoying doing shorter works–novellas and short stories–that enable me to finish a project and move on to another. Until you can create more balance between life issues and your writing career, consider writing shorter pieces.

M.T. DeSantis

MT

Write when it feels right. Trying to force the words will only get you frustrated and a word document/notebook filled with junk. If there’s a day where the flow isn’t working, take that day off. Tomorrow will be there.

Cara McKinnon

Cara

Take all writing advice with a heaping handful of salt, but keep trying out the things other people advise. Your writing process is different from everyone else’s (and might be different for each project!), and the important thing is finding out what works for you to keep getting words on the page. Also, don’t give up! This is not an easy thing to do. You will want to quit. Don’t.

L.J. Longo

LJ

Go do it.

Stop reading about it and go write. Don’t talk about the idea, go write. Don’t plan out the idea, go write. Get your butt in a chair and finish writing the idea. Work out the kinks later.

Mary Rogers

Read everything you can in all genres, then stick your rear in a chair and do it. You can fix a bad write, but you cannot fix nothing.

Elsa Carruthers

Keep writing, even when the excitement wears off. Keep writing no matter what. Take time off if you have to, but never give it up.

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Tuesday Tales: From the word GLASS, I mean MOTHER

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales, a weekly blog based on work in progress using word or picture cues. I thought today’s word was GLASS. That’s what i had written on the calendar, but obviously, I made a mistake. So for today, the word is MOTHER. Today’s word is GLASS, I mean MOTHER. Enjoy.

 

As much as he’d love to keep her in his arms, Paul set MJ down on the stone path, and hand in hand, they walked toward the main building. As they approached, they noted many people clearing away the damage the storm had left in its wake. Even children were helping. They had to be from the village. Hopefully, their homes had stood up to Mother Nature’s challenge. The building itself didn’t seem to have suffered any damage and while things looked bad around them, they looked to be superficial.

Entering the structure, he smiled at the way MJ’s face lit up when she saw the huge buffet table.

“Just what I need. Mountains of fresh fruit.”

“Monsieur et Madame Davis, I hope the storm didn’t ruin the night for you,” Rosette said greeting them, a smile on her face. “We’ve had to make some minor adjustments. The phone lines to the bungalows are down, but power has been restored. Until the trees at the end of the path can be removed, we cannot provide room service. Everything should be back to normal by tonight, but the treasure hunt has been postponed for the day. Some people are not happy, but Monsieur Leroux is stranded in Saint Pierre until repairs are made to his ship. Martinique was hit harder than we were.”

“Seriously?” MJ said, her mouth dropping open in stunned surprise. “I can’t imagine what that was like. Was anyone hurt?”

“A few accidents, but thankfully no deaths. Believe it or not, we only saw the edge of it. Storms come and go at will, but at times they are more vicious than at others.”

“Was there any damage to the bungalows or the village houses?” Paul asked. “This place seems fine even if the lawns are covered in downed leaves and branches.”

Rosette shook her head. “The village is situated on the leeward side of the island near the base of the volcano, which protects it from the worst of the weather. The bungalows were fine as well. The damage might look like a lot, but it really isn’t. Most of the activities are available, but nothing will start until after eleven to give everyone time to help with the cleanup. Boats will be going out into the lagoon shortly to check for dangers, and of course, deck furniture and Jet skis will be returned. There is some damage to the resort’s dock, which must be repaired before any boats can land again, but the village fisherman are offering to take people out since the fishing is always good after a storm. There will be a meeting later this afternoon to explain any changes to the treasure hunt.”

“That’s fine,” Paul said. “I’m sure we can find something to do to amuse ourselves.”

He glanced at MJ whose cheeks were crimson.

“But first, let’s eat.”

Rosette chuckled softly. “Lucette has mimosas in the lounge. Fill your plates and then go inside. There are quite a few people there already, and they aren’t all from your pod.”

Paul nodded. That was probably the woman’s way to let them know Mark and Melena were inside. It didn’t bother him. He’d faced bigger dragons last night. Paul was just a bully, and bullies always caved in the end.

After filling their plates, they entered the lounge.

“What did she mean by checking the lagoon for dangers?” MJ asked, as Paul handed her a champagne flute filled with a mimosa. She carried the glass over to a table for two near the bar.

He sat down across from her, his brow furrowed. “I’m not sure, but I suppose if the water was high enough, some of the predators could’ve made it into the bay. “And speaking of predators,” he indicated a table in the far corner with a nod, “looks like they made it through the night.”

Mark and Melena were seated with the Bill and Christy Smith, the other couple who’d been selected to be their attendants. The two men were in earnest discussion. What could those two possibly have in common? He wasn’t impressed with Bill’ attitude, but from the looks on their faces, they weren’t happy campers that was for sure. Paul shook his head. Regardless of what those two were plotting, nothing was going to spoil this day.

“What is it?” he asked MJ, noting the frown on her face. “Don’t worry about those two.”

She chewed her lower lip. “When I was waiting to get off the boat, Bill and Christy were arguing about the treasure. He was convinced he was going to find it and had an expert arriving on Tuesday. Do you think he meant Mark?”

Paul laughed. “I suppose. You did say he thought his mathematical genius would help. Who knows? He reached out and touched her hand. “Forget them. What do you say we go down to the village and go fishing? You did say you wanted to try it, and this seems like as good a time as any.”

MJ smiled. “I’d like that, but let’s eat. I’m famished.”

Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.

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Sunday Morning Musings: Family Is Important

f4192-799px-angelica_polymorpha_2Hello. Well we’re back to the first day ofthe week. When I was teaching, I always thought of it as the last day since it meant the weekend was over, but now that I’m retired, time is measured differently. It seems to move much faster. I hope you’re having an enjoyable weekend.

Today’s post is a super short one. Just a reminder to take time to smell the roses and appreciate family. I’m off to visit my middle son who lived in Europe. He’s in the country on business for a few days and when that happens, we drop everything to spend as much time as we can with him. My eldest son will be joining us, but sadly our daughter can’t because of her job and own family commitments.

There was a time when family members all lived within spitting distance of one another, but not today. So, remember. It only takes a second to dash off an e-mail. Life is shorter than you think.  Here’s a blast from 1988!From left to right: Greg, me, Angie, husband John and Jason. We were so young…family - Copy

 

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Spotlight Saturday: The Captain’s Promise and The Price of Honor

1200px-Here_comes_rain_againGood morning.  Considering what it’s like around here, I thought a little music was needed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzFnYcIqj6I

As Annie Lennox says, says, here comes the rain again.

Rainy days are perfect days for reading, In this week’s Saturday Spotlight, I want to feature two books, my historical romances: The Captain’s Promise and The Price of Honor. Both are set in the seventeenth century amidst the intrigue of politics in France and the birth pangs of the French Colonies in North America, specifically New France, now Canada.

While there are many historical novels set in the United States, England, Scotland, France and other countries, there aren’t many set in New France or Martinique during the colonial era. I’m not really sure why. Maybe people don’t realize that Canada’s start wasn’t quite without drama, but it was definitely different than the drama in the Thirteen Colonies around the same time. Both the French government and the English government saw the colonies as money makers. They hunted the land for furs, set up colonies, ignoring the indigenous peoples, and when the colonists did arrive to carve out a living for themselves in a rugged inhospitable land, as different as possible from the homeland, the government taxed them or used them as pawns in a power struggle for more riches.

Both my mother’s family and my father’s came to Canada from France during those turbulent years. On my dad’s side, we can trace our family back to Paris in the mid-seventeenth century when my ancestor came to Canada in 1665 as part of the Carrigan-Salieres Regiment sent to New France to  protect the colonists from the dangers presented by the Iroquois Confederacy and the threat they posed to the lucrative fur trade.

Three years later, in 1668, the Iroquois threat dealt with, the bulk of the regiment returned to France where it was disbanded, about 450 men remained as settlers. These men were encouraged to marry, offered land as  an incentive, but since French were rare in the colony, the government of France sought to remedy that by sending widows and unmarried women to New France as Filles du Roi,  during the 1660s and early 1670s, largely in response to the need to provide wives for the regiment. The Carignan-Salières officers were granted seigneurial tenures, basically establishing a kind of new aristocracy in the colony. The lands they were given were key to protecting the colony not only from the Iroquois, but from the British to the south. The Seigneurs would sub grant land to the men of their companies in order to create an even more thoroughly reinforced zone. The French had a practice of allotting noms de guerre – nicknames – to their soldiers. Many of these nicknames remain today as they gradually became the official surnames of the many soldiers who elected to remain in Canada when their service expired as well as the names of cities and towns throughout New France. My mother’s maiden name was Marion, and there is a small town not to far from here named Marionville. My father’s name is Poirier.

When I decided to write these books, I wanted to offer readers a glimpse not only of the colony, but of the back door deals and intrigue that went on in France, almost dooming my nation to failure.

I did take a little poetic license with my ancestors, though and while Poirier was definitely a soldier, i doubt he was an officer granted a seigneurie, and I’m pretty sure there’s no royal blood running through my veins.

The Price of Honor:

What price is a woman willing to pay to restore a man’s honor?

When her husband is falsely accused of treason and murdered, Isabelle de Caen vows to find those responsible and see justice done. Of royal descent, Isabelle is stunned when the king orders her hasty marriage to one of his favorites, a man she detests. To save herself from a fate too awful to contemplate, she disobeys the king’s edict and commits treason of her own to find the truth.

Childhood friend, Guy Poirier, an aristocrat in New France, has always loved Isabelle. When he discovers her hiding in his cabin aboard ship, he agrees to hide her from her fiancé and help her clear her husband’s name. It doesn’t take them long to realize there’s more at stake here than her husband’s murder. With the fate of the colony in their hands, can Isabelle and Guy prevent a war and find love in the new world?

The Captain’s Promise:

Etienne Blouin left Danielle de Cherbourg in tears, promising to return; he didn’t. Ten years later, Etienne learns she’s been widowed and left almost penniless. Now a wealthy ship’s captain, he offers to help her, but the only reply he gets is from her aunt telling him to leave Danielle alone. Convinced she’s in trouble, he determines to rescue her whether she likes it or not, even if it means losing her love. Danielle is shocked to learn that her companion is going to the colonies, while she is to marry a cruel and powerful man as repayment of her husband’s gambling debts. Despondent, she sees no way out of the horrendous situation. When her carriage is waylaid and she’s kidnapped, she fears the worse. Etienne has enemies who don’t want La Belle Rose to make port. Can he outfox them to save his ship and the woman he loves?

Learning about one’s roots can make for fascinating reading and writing. Do you have interesting tales hidden in your family history?

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Friday Featured Author: Melinda De Ross

imagesDuring the A to Z Challenge, I endeavoured to introduce you to what I called “New to You” authors, and I would like to continue that practice for a while longer. Today, it’s my pleasure to introduce you Melinda de Ross. Like myself, Melinda has a book in a Kindle Scout campaign, and since you can nominate two, I don’t see this as competition–more like supporting a fellow author.

JpegMelinda De Ross is an international author of Romanian origin. She writes in two languages, and her books combine the elegance specific to the European style with the modern appeal of the American culture. She has a Law degree and has been a professional target shooter for over a decade. Her favorite genre to read and write in is Romance, and  she prefers to watch a classic movie instead of going to a noisy club anytime. Melinda is also a professional cover artist. The cover to my Kindle Scout book, Sworn to Protect, was designed by her.

She loves to hear from her readers, and you can find her at:

http://melindadeross.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melinda-De-Ross/513999791983330

https://twitter.com/melinda_de_ross

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7163748.Melinda_De_Ross

Her Kindle Scout Campaign: Butterfly in Hollywood

Butterfly newWithin twenty-four hours, Kendra Kensington’s life changes drastically. She lands a million dollar contract for her latest novel, now on the road to becoming a movie, catches her boyfriend in bed with another woman, and decides to move across the country from Chicago to California. But the City of Angels harbors more demons than she had imagined.

When she meets Blake Tyler, the famous movie star she’s secretly crushed on for years, she thinks her attempt to rebuild her life may just be on the right track. However, the past and the present seem to be conspiring against her and happiness may be harder to achieve than she thinks.

You can support Melinda’s campaign by following the link below.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2IJXXBAKO5DW0

While you’re there, consider nominating Sworn to Protect too.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2SRDO9I5ANVW7

Have a happy Friday.