Midweek Tease: Wedding Bell Blues

mwtease15Hello and welcome to this week’s Midweek tease made possible by Angelica Dawson. Here you’ll find excepts from published novels and works in progress with heat settings that run the gambit too.

This morning, my tease comes from Wedding Bell Blues. You’ve been given a peek at this while it was a work in progress. My cover was designed by Melinda De Ross. I love the From Here to Eternity vibes I get from it. WBB is currently in a Kindle Scout campaign, hoping to win a publishing contract. Please consider clicking on the link after the excerpt and nominating it.

Enjoy!

WBB final cover

“One of these days, your impetuous behavior will be the death of you,” Carla finished.

“Fine,” she said, giving in and slamming her right palm against the steering wheel. “You’re right. I’m an idiot. I should’ve made sure the house was still available before I signed the contract with the diocese, but it’s done, and I’m out of options. It’s the motel room or a park bench.” MJ gritted her teeth, fighting not to give into the tears just below the surface.

Before long, she pulled into the motel’s crowded parking lot. The place looked better than a couple they’d passed along the way. There was a pool and a few women sat around it, wearing bikinis smaller than the band aids she wore on her blistered heels. Mercifully, Carla didn’t say anything.

More depressed than ever, MJ reversed out of the parking lot.

“Are you sure you didn’t know Paul Davis was here?” Carla asked, startling her.

Stunned, MJ stepped on the brake and turned to the woman beside her.

“Where in the world would you get an idea like that?”

“If you did, all of this would make sense,” she answered, one eyebrow cocked. “Fifteen years ago, you would’ve followed him to the ends of the Earth. Did you see him walking that horse when you came up for your interview? Is that why you’re behaving like a complete and total moron, willing to stay in a motel that probably rents rooms by the hour?”

“You can’t be serious. The man didn’t even recognize me.” Her lower lip trembled, and she fought to tamp down her disappointment.

“But you recognized him, and so did I.” Carla scrunched up her nose. “Strange that he just happened to be in your house.”

MJ turned to her, her chin jutting out in defiance, too angry and upset to respond.

Carla stared at her a few moments.

“Okay,” she said at last. “Maybe you didn’t … Neither of you could’ve faked that struck dumb look on your faces, but you would be better off with him than in that motel—gossip or no gossip. Did you see the bimbos out by the pool? If they’re cross-border shoppers, I’m a unicorn.”

“Maybe they’re sun worshippers,” she mumbled, beginning to drive again. “As far as Paul goes, the last thing I want or need is another big brother.”

“Don’t knock it. Big brothers can come in handy. I have five of them, remember? You’ll be alone here, and he looks like the right kind of person to call in a jam. Did you see those abs? While there might have been a woman in his bedroom, he did say he’s not married. It’s a small town. You’re bound to run into him, but try to be cavalier about it if you do. Whatever you do, don’t stalk him like we did as kids.”

MJ stopped for a red light and turned to face Carla, all of the pain and embarrassment of the afternoon coming back to her. “Stalk him? We did not stalk him,” she said with all of the dignity she could muster. “We followed because we wanted to do whatever he and Ron were doing. Believe me, Hell will freeze over before I call him for anything.”

Please consider adding your support. It costs nothing, and if the book is selected, you gt a free electronic copy!

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3QCVEIVE1QUTB

Don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s teasers!

#MidWeekTease November 8, 2017


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Tuesday Tales: From the Word Prepare

Badge for TT - very smallThere are many things in life for which we aren’t prepared. The massacre in Las Vegas was one, Sunday’s senseless slaughter in a small church in Texas is another. Things like these shake our faith in the Establishment and even God. My heart breaks for all the victims of horrendous, insane crimes around the world. How can we prepare ourselves for what’s impossible to predict and understand?

Its Tuesday Tales’ time, and today’s word is PREPARE. My novel, Same Time Next Year is a book within a book. Author Dawn Williams, Twyla Wilson’s pen name, writes an autobiographical book about the summer that changed her life. Twyla has returned to the scene of the crime to do it, the resort where she fell in love and left that love behind,. Now, fifty years later, she hopes to make amends to the one she wronged and find out why he wronged her.  My own memories of 1967 will play heavily in this book, although Twyla and Michael, and all of their adventures, are completely fictional.

Today’s offering is the start of the book with the book.  Enjoy.

When I think back on that time, I can’t believe how naïve, selfish, and wrapped up in myself I was. Sheltered, the only daughter of one of Hoboken, New Jersey’s wealthiest families, I had no idea what it was like out there in the real world. I wasn’t prepared for the pain of betrayal, the agony of shame, and the heartache of loss.

I should’ve been. I should’ve cared about King and the Civil Rights Movement and the plight of black people in America, about the fear of communist expansion that made Eisenhower pledge help to South Vietnam in 1955, a pledge that eventually claimed thousands of American lives, including my brother’s, about the Student Homophile League at Columbia University, about sexual harassment, women’s rights, and feminism, and about all the other things going on around that I was oblivious to, things that mattered more than I realized they did. Like an ostrich with my head in the sand—even though those birds don’t actually do that—I was content in my own little world, looking at life through my rose-colored glasses. What a fool I was.

Like other girls with similar backgrounds, I attended a private high school where my free time was spent gossiping over the latest fashions, which diet would help me lose enough weight to look like Twiggy, and how long would it take for my hair to grow as long as Cher’s, assuming I could convince my mother to let me dye it a dark brown instead of its horrid, carrot-orange color. I’d already learned to use Mother’s steam iron and a towel to straighten it. I was actually proud of the fact I’d only burned my scalp twice.

I spent hours up in my room alone or with a few of my closest friends listening to record albums on my turntable—The Beetles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Jan and Dean, Herman’s Hermits, The Four Seasons, Neil Diamond, and too many others to mention. I would watch American Bandstand and The Monkees, mooning over Davey Jones. I’d seen every Elvis Presley movie released at least ten times. To this day, my favorite is still Blue Hawaii.

No seventeen-year-old girls back then could spend any time together without the conversation turning to boys, falling in love, and S E X. Mary-Louise Archer, our “head girl,” a term you don’t hear much today with all of the slang connotations attached to it, had found a copy of D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, at the thrift shop, and we took turns passing it around, reading it at night by flashlight, and hiding it during the day lest our parents should see it. Reading that book was probably the start of my fall from grace. It was my first act of defiance, but not my last. While the book expanded my base of knowledge and my vocabulary, I wasn’t a fan of the four-letter word so prevalent in it. I did find the book far more informative about things than the copy of Growing Up Mother had given me.

Of course, we discussed kissing to great length, even though my own experience in the area was limited. In a time where virginity was something to be prized, talking about French kissing, petting, and going all the way was alien to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t date. I wasn’t a wallflower by any means, although I was shy. Since Father wouldn’t hear of me “going steady” until I was twenty, my dates ended with chaste kisses at the door—some slobbery ones, some painful ones if braces were involved, but I’d yet to meet the perfect kisser, the one whose lips would make my blood boil. I’d heard the whispered rumors about girls sent away to live with relatives for a year because they’d gotten into trouble. Back then, the worst thing that could happen to a girl was an unwanted pregnancy, and Mother sang that song before every one of my dates. Strange how one boy’s touch could make me forget it all.

At night, I would go over the future I’d mapped out for myself. Father didn’t believe in working women. To him, a woman’s place was in the home, serving her lord and master. But these were the Sixties, and once I turned eighteen, I’d have hundreds of possibilities. My Bachelor of Arts degree would be in foreign languages with a minor in journalism. After graduation, I wasn’t sure which career I would finally decide on—interpreter at the United Nations, foreign correspondent, or teaching in a foreign country. Maybe I would join the Peace Corps like Mary-Louise was planning to do. The world was my oyster, the pearls mine to grab as soon as I was ready.

How can you prepare someone for the loss of all their hopes and dreams? You can’t.

My oyster began to rot in April, although, when I think about it now, the tension at home had been thick enough to cut with a machete for months before. Mother and Father argued more than ever, but when my brother Ethan, in his final year at Columbia and his friend Bill Wilson, a young lawyer he’d met on vacation in Vermont, were arrested at a protest, all hell broke loose.

Bill’s father, a powerful attorney with friends in high places, managed to get the charges dropped, insisting the men had simply been at the wrong place, at the wrong time, but the ensuing fight between Father and Ethan was terrible. At the time, I couldn’t understand what they argued about, but two days later, Ethan dropped out of university and enlisted in the army.

Father’s fury knew no bounds. To me, it had made no sense. Each night when Morley Safer came on television with his update on the Vietnam War, my father praised the boys fighting there. He himself had fought in Korea, and yet, he didn’t want my brother to follow in his footsteps. The things he said were terrible, wounding Ethan, a sensitive soul much like myself. When Bill had come to collect him to take him to the train, he’d kissed me goodbye. His eyes had filled with tears.

“Take care of yourself, Red. Don’t let him beat you down. Be who and what you are. You’ll always be my favorite sister.”

Had he known he wasn’t coming back?

Twyla stood and stretched. Outside, the sky had clouded over. In the background, the “Elusive Butterfly” by Bob Lind filled the room, the words searing her soul. How many songs had played while she’d been lost in the past?

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.

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Friday’s Featured Author: Elle Marlow

It’s my pleasure to have with me today one of my favorite Western and Native American romance authors, Elle Marlow. Her storytelling abilities are incredible and if you pick up one of her books, you’ll want another. Elle’s newest book is Walks With Him, Comanche Bride. I absolutely love this cover! Comment for your chance to win an electronic copy of this book! Be sure to leave contact information so I can reach you!

book cover wwh

 

Moves The Wind…is how the Comanche describe a stallion that eludes capture. It is said that the beast is both horse and spirit, running free between this world and the next. To ride this horse is the greatest desire among men—until she came into their world.

Abandoned in the wilds with sickly baby sister, Ivy wanders into the path of Comanche out on the chase. He is terrifying with his long hair and body made from the granite cliffs that surrounds them, but she needs him to save her sister’s life.

The Comanche name her Walks With Him, and her beauty has started a war from within. One man wants to enslave her, the other wants to win her heart and set her free. The price is impossible. The first brother to capture the special horse will get the woman. The real prize is who the woman gives of herself.

Her name is Walks With Him and this is her story.  

 Excerpt: He considered Ivy as he allowed his gaze to roam over her. Her concern for her sister was admirable, her skepticism of love mirrored his own. She stood before him, her hair long and loose. Her fine features and round green eyes told of a woman that was delicate on the outside but made of tougher things on the inside. It was an attractive combination.

It was inappropriate to openly stare, but he couldn’t help himself. Rio was a larger woman, and so her buckskins hung loose on Ivy, but even that did not hide the curves that laid underneath. Curves that kept him awake at night. Yamka talks of Baby Deer’s beauty, but in his eyes, Ivy was the one who was most beautiful in both looks and in strength. Even now, when she was so clearly tired from the hard work, and to this strange new life she found herself in, she carried herself tall. In her, he saw the things that mattered. his body honed into her every move as if she were something he’d spent days hunting. He’d never experienced such an awareness in another person. However, the likelihood of anything more than him being able to admire her was slim. A prize like Ivy would end up with the son of a council member or a council elder himself.

Want to read more? Get your copy today!

Author Bio:

ElleThank you, for hosting me on your blog today. I am very excited to introduce to you my latest historical Native romance, Walks With Him-Comanche Bride.

About Me: Hello! My name is Elle Marlow and I am a proud born and raised Arizona girl. I feel blessed to live in the southwest where I get to enjoy the beautiful Sonoran Desert, ghost towns, horses and most importantly, cowboys!

I have a wonderful husband and so many kids that the old lady in the shoe has nothing on me. I love to write about the west and it gives me a darn good excuse to get out and explore.

You can find me and stay updated at www.ElleMarlow.Blogspot.com

Follow my Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Elle-Marlow/e/B00IDC61A0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1509462655&sr=1-2

Or on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ElleMarlowWrite

 

 

 

 

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And So It Begins: Wedding Bell Blues Kindle Scout Campaign

WBB final cover

As the idiom goes, third time’s the charm, and I’m hoping that proves to be true as I make another attempt to win an Amazon publishing contract. This time, I’m trying something a little different from my usual suspense/romance books. Wedding Bell Blues has it all–romance, humor, magic, mystery, mermaids, cursed Inca treasure, and last but not least, an unexpected wedding.

Here’s the blurb:

MJ’s having a bad year. She’s canceled her wedding, but refuses to give up the honeymoon. When she arrives on Paradise Island, she discovers her ex has changed the reservation. Stranded, she has to rely on her first love, a man who sees her as his kid sister, for help. When Paul discovers the man behind her plight is the bully who made his own teen years hell, he gets MJ to agreed to pretend to be his fiancee. Add in mermaids, treasure hunters, and Quimbois magic, and anything can happen.

Please consider supporting Wedding Bell Blues

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3QCVEIVE1QUTB

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The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE TWO POSTS TODAY The Midweek tease comes after this one. 

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Welcome to November’s IWSG blog hop. This month’s question deals with NaNo

November 1 question – Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I have participated in three NaNo writing sessions and I’m pleased to say I completed each challenge. My first time was Nano boot camp and the book I wrote was In Plain Sight which was published by Crimson Romance.  In Plain Sight cover.jpgThe second time I wrote Echoes of the Past which was first published by Secret Cravings, EchoesEbookFinalbut when they closed, I indie published it. MY third effort, originally titled, Yours, Mine and Ours, was completed, but I didn’t like it, so I rewrote it and re-titled it, Wedding Bell Blues.  It will be a Kindle Scout campaign item starting November 2.

WBB final coverThis year, I’m using Nano to complete a sci-fi novel I began as a serial. Finding Eloisia is about the last three hundred humans trying to find a home after Earth was destroyed.

One of the main advantages to NaNo for me, is the  need to get a set amount of work done each day to achieve my goal. A disadvantage id that, since I edit as I write, I have to put that aside for the month. Let’s hope I have the drive and the stamina to finish this year, too.

Why not take time now to check out other posts? http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

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Midweek Tease: Holiday Magic

New midweek tease imageWelcome to this week’s midweek tease. The last few teases I’ve shared from this book have shown you how Georgia and Mark feel. Today, I’m going to have them interact for you in one of my favorite scenes from the book.

Dressed in a black wool suit, his white shirt split by the slash of his black, silk tie, Mark stood in the doorway searching the crowd. At six foot four, he dominated the men in the bridal party, easily attracting the attention of the single girls in the room. His copper hair, glistening in the overhead lighting, was longer than the way he used to wear it, but the tousled curls looked good on him. He’d shaved that horrible mustache reminding her of a wooly caterpillar, leaving his beautiful, kissable mouth just the way she liked it. His warm, brown eyes, flecked with amber, scanned the crowd, and she knew the moment he found her, and every part of her cried out with need. Her heart rose into her mouth, but she forced herself to remain calm. He leaned over, said something to the groom, shook his hand, and started across the room toward her. When he smiled, she melted inside as she always had.

“Evening, ladies,” he said, acknowledging the two girls who stood beside her. “So, those are the new uniforms. Nice. The jewelry sets them off well.”

“Do you really like them?” asked Meg, twirling for him. “Georgia said we could keep the pins. Isn’t she great?”

Georgia felt her cheeks heat at the sudden attention bestowed on her.

“Yes, she is,” Mark said, and continued to ask questions about the event to date which the girls answered.

She suspected Meg might have a crush on her boss. If she gushed any more, she’d leave a mess. The only thing she hadn’t done was bat her eyelashes at him.

You’re not jealous, are you? She heard her conscience whisper. She’d been fighting with it all day.

Of course not. What do I have to be jealous about?

She pulled her thoughts back to the conversation around her.

“The uniforms are really comfortable, and can you believe it? They’re washable?” Sam smiled at Mark.

He laughed. “Getting you something that needed to be professionally cleaned each time you wore it wouldn’t have been very practical. The guys are wearing black pants and shirts with white ties.”

He turned his gaze on her, taking in every bit of her in his inspection, and she could see warmth and concern in his eyes. He masked it quickly and stuck out his hand.

“Hello, Georgia,” he said, his whiskey-smooth voice enveloping her. “It’s been a long time.”

Conscious of the young staff watching them, Georgia reached out to take his hand. It would be rude to do otherwise, and she wasn’t rude. Big mistake! Thousands of electric shocks attacked her nerves at his touch, sending heat flooding through her. She released his hand quickly, hoping he hadn’t sensed her response, but from the quizzical look on his face, she realized he had.

Damn. Get a grip on yourself, she ordered her unruly emotions. It’s only static electricity. He isn’t yours anymore, he never really was, and you aren’t his. But she knew it was a lie. She’d never belong to anyone else.

“How did things go at the church?” she asked huskily, amazed her voice worked, and she hoped she could stay focused on the business at hand.

“Great. The boys are collecting everything and taking it back to the warehouse as we speak. I was afraid those black satin pew bows would look funereal, but alternating them with white ones worked well.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out two business cards he handed to her, their fingers touching briefly, sending frissons up her arm.

“These people were really impressed. They plan on calling to book weddings of their own later in the year. I told them to call in January, and you could help them out.” He looked around the room with his practiced eye.

“Eleni is incredible. When the bride insisted everything be black or white, the red roses the only color, I wasn’t sure she could pull it off, but your sister’s artistic talent never ceases to amaze me.” He reached for the penguin groom in front of him and picked it up.

“These little guys are kind of cute, aren’t they?”

“Each couple gets a pair.” How could she stand here stoically discussing wedding favors when she was bleeding internally? Grandma would have been proud of her for keeping it together. Mark spoke to her as if they were complete strangers, meeting for the first time. There was no pain in his voice, no regret. Had she meant so little to him? The silence weighed heavily between them.

“They’re salt and pepper shakers, so they can be put to practical use,” she explained hoping to fill the void. “There are extras for those who aren’t part of a couple.”

He slid his penguin over beside the one in front of her. “You can have mine.” The unexpected huskiness in his voice startled her.

You can find Holiday magic on Amazon

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#MidWeekTease November 1, 2017

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Tuesday Tales. From the Word GHOST

Badge for TT - very smallGood morning and Happy Halloween. I hope the weather won’t interfere with trick or treating. Welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales.

20171007_171529

Each week, a group of talented writers use a specific word or picture prompt as they work their way through a work in progress. My current novel for this is titled, Same Time Next Year, although that may change, and is women’s fiction rather than my usual romance. There are two stories here. The first, and main plot, is that of an older woman’s attempt to right the wrongs in her past. The second is a seventeen-year old’s last summer of innocence, written as a book within a book. I’ve never attempted anything like this. So fingers crossed that it works!

 

This week’s word prompt is GHOST.  Enjoy.

Twyla stared at the blank screen. She’d been so sure the book would write itself, and here she was with nothing to show after more than eight hours of work. She’d written, deleted, rewritten, and erased again. Damn. She didn’t even have a title. Words were her life, and here she was unable to put together a simple opening paragraph. Where the hell had her muse gone?

She shook herself. Maybe this was her inspiration’s way of telling her it wasn’t going to work the way it had before. If she wanted to tell her story, share her pain, bare her soul, perhaps she had to find another way to do it.

While her usual style involved the hero-heroine point of view, written in the third person, this time she only had her own memories to draw on. No matter how hard she tried to imagine it, she didn’t know what had gone on behind Michael’s gorgeous, blue eyes, Billie’s eyes that brought back the pain each time they glared at her, and probably never would.

He’d said he loved her and wanted to be with her. How naïve she’d been. When the time had come to put his money where his mouth was, as her father would’ve said, he’d shown his true colors. He’d never answered her letters, never even bothered to acknowledge her plight, never called.

What choice had she had? Did she regret her decision? No. She and William had both saved face, but how she wished everything could’ve turned out differently.

She sighed. Maybe she should consider writing this as a journal. It wouldn’t be the first book written that way. Or perhaps she should consider a stream of consciousness story. Tomayto—tomahto. Did it really matter? She’d never attempted either, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t do it. Judging by the lack of progress she’d made so far, what did she have to lose?

Ethan and William would enjoy the irony of the twenty-first century. They’d all be free to live the lives they wanted now unlike in 1967, when following society’s rules and dictates had been vital. Fifty years. So much had changed and yet so much remained the same. Progress never came without pain.

The ghost of a smile played across her lips. Of course. What else could she call it? It had been a beginning, not an end. Centering the document, she typed. Seeds of Life, Dawn Williams, Romance. She read the words several times. Titles were important.

Screwing up her face, she deleted Romance and changed it to Women’s Fiction. After all, there was no happily ever after for this story.

bedShe stood, went over to the coffeemaker and brewed a fresh cup of joe. She probably drank more of it than her cardiologist liked, but every author she knew ran on caffeine and inspiration. While she waited, she glanced around her one-room cabin.

Housekeeping had been in while she and Lana had been at breakfast. The massive king-size bed was neatly made, its white quilt straightened, and the fluffy pillows, including the one with the inn’s logo, all lined up at the head. The sofa bed was a couch once more and would stay that way since Lana had left almost two hours ago. While she’d miss her granddaughter who reminded her so much of herself back then, she needed alone time to do this—if she could.

After doctoring her coffee the way she liked it, Twyla felt that writer insecurity, that fear of failure that dogged each new novel, plague her once more. No matter how many books she wrote, she always started a new one wondering if she was crazy to be doing it, but this time instead of nagging whispers, the voices were quiet screams. Maybe the whole idea was too preposterous to work. Seriously, who’d want to read about old-fashion ideas and a young girl’s first love? She huffed out a breath. She would, if only to learn from someone else’s mistakes.

Reaching for her MP3 player, she hooked it into her laptop and called up her playlist. Normally, she worked in silence, but maybe this time, she needed inspiration from elsewhere, too.

“The Letter” filled the room. She’d made a list of the top one hundred songs of 1966 and 1967 to get her into the mood, to drag her back through time. Closing her eyes, she listened to the Box Tops. Why hadn’t Michael moved Heaven and Earth to come for her the way the lyrics said? She’d sent him the letter. Why had he never answered it?

As Frankie Valli’s voice filled the room with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” she began to type.

 Chapter One

The summer of 1967 was both the best year of my life and the worst. As Charles Dickens put it in A tale of Two Cities,

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

It’s strange how little things can bring back memories so painful they make you want to curl up into a ball and die, and at other times, the recollections have you laughing so hard, your sides ache. Sad tears, happy tears. Is there a difference? Tears are tears, and after a lifetime of crying, I know they can’t change anything.

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.

HelloAgain-ebook-small

Same Time Next Year isn’t the only book born on Tuesday Tales.  Check out Hello Again, my paranormal/suspense/romance available from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Again-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B01FGN88I6

 

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