Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Welcome, Colleen Donnelly

          An eerie thought came to me recently as I pondered the difference between writing fiction that haunts as opposed to fiction that entertains. Fiction that haunts scrapes away the reader’s surface, resurrects old wounds, and drags the fragmented soul through the painful process of healing. Since writers tend to write what they know, the ones who buckle us to our knees will write from their own shattered heart, utter ruin, hidden inadequacies, broken relationships, and devastating betrayals. I pondered how to put these journeys on the page, then throw rocks at the already wounded character—who is actually you and me—so that compounded misery forces him to seek out healing…or revenge…until he or she achieves it.

            Gruesome? Yes. But there is a time for such a journey just like there’s “…a time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh…” Solomon, who is credited for writing the above from his own troubled life, also gave credence to times of throwing stones, embracing, dying, losing, keeping, tearing apart, peace, and more…all non-fictional mountains and valleys that turn fiction into something that pulls away the scab in order to drain and heal the blister beneath.

            So what was the eerie thought that came to me as I pondered how to write fiction that squeezed a wounded heart until all that was left was a gasp of relief? Just that—with blood as my ink, I write my heart on the page.    

 

Author Bio:

 

Colleen L Donnelly has written books that haunt as well as stories that entertain. Born and raised in the Midwest, and a scientist by career, Colleen also traveled, read, explored the outdoors, and endured her own dilemmas while observing those of others. Colleen is always searching for the next good story.

 


Colleen’s stories of hurting souls seeking healing:

Mine to Tell—Amazon #1 Bestselling story of betrayal and forgiveness

Asked For—The story of rejection and overcoming

Love on a Train—The story of knowing the right person for you while belonging to another

Out of Splinters and Ashes—Award winning story of loving your enemy

Sonata Contineo—The story of realizing who you love too late

 

Colleen’s stories that entertain:

The Lady’s Arrangement—The story of a widow seeking an arranged marriage purely to save her ranch

Letters and Lies—Award winning story of a spinster who heads west to find and marry the man who jilted her

 

Buy Links:

 

Mine to Tell: http://amzn.to/1PNJo4S

Asked For: http://amzn.to/1TyflEu

Love on a Train: http://amzn.to/1m9eYCx

Out of Splinters and Ashes: https://amzn.to/2K0WTHt

Sonata Contineo: https://amzn.to/2I0zzYi

The Lady’s Arrangement: http://amzn.to/2qj7DE2

Letters and Lies: https://amzn.to/2yNFGNv

 

Colleen can be found on these Social Media Links:

 

http://www.colleenldonnelly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ColleenLDonnelly

https://twitter.com/ColleenLDonnell

http://www.Goodreads.com/colleenldonnelly

 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Please Vote!

They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that. If you liked the cover of my book, Whispers in Washington (Ticket to True Love), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com! 

I’m getting closer to clinch the "Cover of the Month" contest on AllAuthor! I’d need as much support from you guys. Please take a short moment to vote for my book cover here:

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/8713/


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Welcome, Jean Grant

Finding my Muse in Scotland 

My trip to Scotland fulfilled a bucket list goal and it also fed my imagination for writing about this windswept, mystical place…and it gave birth to what would become my historical romance trilogy. It was a memorable trip indeed—not all sunshine and roses during a very rainy September, but memories, yes. 

Did I mention that it rains in Scotland? A lot. Even though September is supposed to be a drier month, many of our supposedly breathtaking sights were shrouded in a gray cloud of heavy precipitation. Aside from our mishaps, Scotland fulfilled my preconceived notions, with my own Scottish knight by my side to escort me through the perils of winding one-lane Highland roads, haunting castle ruins, and dark alleyways to questionable hostels. 

Lone sheep wandered down the middle of a meandering country road. Windswept moors, heather fields, and green rolling hills flanked our drives. Wild rocky trails and impressive mountains greeted us on our hikes. Blue lochs were aplenty (yes, Loch Ness is a deep beautiful loch and no, we didn’t see Nessie – but we did see the ghostly remains of Urquhart castle) on our two-week trip in this geological gem of a country. I think I gasped on the tarmac when I emerged from the plane in Glasgow. 

My husband and I packed our itinerary because we set the bar high. What can a couple do in less than two weeks? Well…

·       Visit a dozen castles and palaces (Threave castle required a rowboat ride across an overflowed River Dee)

·       Kayak on the astutely named Loch Awe to the ruins of Kilchurn Castle

·       Hike through Highlands and mountains

·       Attend a Highland Game

·       Partake in culinary delights such as haggis and fish and chips

·       Converse with locals 

·       Drive over sketchy bridges to reach Rua Reidh, a lighthouse hostel on the North Minch of Wester Ross (no, not the Westeros of Game of Thrones fame, but I can see the striking similarities)

·       Expand our navigation skills on double-roundabouts (like a figure 8), one lane roads, and left-side driving—in a manual-shift car

·       Meander through abbey and church ruins

·       Take a moment of reflection at the remains of Culloden Battlefield

·       Stay at the haunted (yes, there's a ghost) 14th century Borthwick Castle 

Now for the mishaps: blowing out a car tire on a rock, getting a manual-shift car instead of an automatic, while driving on the opposite side of the road oops!, castles closing before we got there, getting lost on city roads, plodding trough deluging rain to find a hostel down a dark alley, and hiking a washed out trail through Glencoe while hundreds of midges made a home in my hair, missing the sites due to a downpour (like the huge Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Black Cuillin mountains on Skye)… Nonetheless, I left Scotland feeling rejuvenated and inspired and ready to take on the next big novel! 

The setting in the hundred trilogy utilizes many splendors from our whirlwind tour of Scotland: the western isles (and standing stones—we’ll visit those next time), Eilean Donan Castle, the Highlands, Edinburgh, Dryburgh Abbey, the rugged crags and glens, and the beauty, mystery, and lore of the Scottish middles ages. Bonus research: I visited a recreated Viking ship a few years ago and it fed the muse for the Norse conquering and battles that take place in the first book of the trilogy.

Scotland—its lore, land, and people—will always be my muse. The question now: what to write next?





 

Bio:

Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women's fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she's not writing or chasing after children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.


Social Media Info:

Website   Twitter   Facebook  Goodreads  Bookbub  Instagram Amazon Author Page 


BLURB:

1322, Scotland

Rosalie Threston's fortune-telling lies have caught up with her. Uprooted yet again, she's on the run from a ruthless English noblewoman. She flees to Scotland and seeks refuge in the arms of a laird's son who happens to be a real Seer.

A bloody past and inevitable future plague Domhnall Montgomerie. He avoids physical contact with others to ease the painful visions. When an accidental touch reveals only delight, he wonders if Rose is the key to silencing the Sight.

Mystical awakening unravels with each kiss. But can Domhnall embrace his gift in time to save her life, even it means exposing her lies?

 

Buy/Book Links:

Amazon  Barnes and Noble  iBooks  Bookbub  Goodreads  Kobo Google

 

Excerpt:

She drew his hand into her palm. Her pulse drummed in her ears. Breathe, Rose. Breathe. His fingers trembled in her hand but neither of them released the look. She tried to convey trust and understanding with her own gentle smile. When he seemed settled, she turned her gaze to his hand. After a pause, she said, “It is as I said. Air is your element.”

“What else do you see?” He leaned in, closer. Sweat, sage, hmmm…male? Was male a scent?

Feeling his eyes upon hers, she continued to scrutinize, drawing light touches over the mounds. “You’re somewhat content, though you spend hours alone to get away?”

He held a straight face. “Easy enough facts to guess. I’m a watchman. Fortune-tellers are good in their ploy.” She refrained from arguing. He was on the defense. Understandable. Most people were. He was correct after all. She stroked his fingers. Pretended to examine. His hands were ice-cold.

All right, memory. Time to shine. The marketplace fire, something from his youth. Domhnall liked animals. Seemed to not like fire or touch. She chanced the next statement. “Something in your past upsets you.” Again, stone-faced. At least his hand had stopped trembling.

She would throw out statements until one stuck. Had she been incorrect in her eavesdropping? Surely the servants had been gossiping about Domhnall.

He chewed his lip. Held her gaze.

She paused and pushed the candle closer. “To see better.”

He flinched.

Yes. Fire. It bothered him.

people.

 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Guilt Leads to Cake

“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”—Yoda

 


Most of us are familiar with this quote. What we’re less familiar with, though it’s equally important, is this: guilt leads to cake.

Well, at least in my family it does.

 

Let me explain.

 

I learned guilt from my mother. Being the over-achiever that I am, I have surpassed her teaching and can pretty much feel guilty about anything. And in times like these, my guilt is in overdrive.

 

The Princess studied abroad last semester—well, for part of the semester, at least. Since she was leaving before her birthday, we celebrated it early at home. Normally, that’s perfectly fine. This year was an exception, though, because she turned twenty-one. And celebrating it early is all well and good, except that since she wasn’t twenty-one, we couldn’t take her anywhere for a toast. I consoled myself with the promise to do so when she returned to the States.

 

Her gift from us was a trip during her semester abroad, so she could see other countries and have fun with her new friends.

 

And then Covid arrived. The semester was cut short. The trip was cancelled. The bars were closed. We told her we’d give her a trip somewhere when Covid ended. But my guilt started to grow and overflowed the other day. I felt bad that her gift is being postponed for God knows how long (she’d rather an experience than an item, so we’re not changing our idea). I felt bad that I couldn’t take her out to celebrate her first legal drink (even though at this point it wouldn’t be her first). And I didn’t want her to think we were ignoring the milestone.

 

Ha.

 

I’m the only one in my family who likes to make a big deal of birthdays. She really didn’t care. She understood the situation and is fine with postponement. However, seeing how upset I was, she suggested we celebrate her half birthday, with a “fun 21st birthday cake.”

 

The “fun 21st birthday cake” is actually a “thing.” If you Google images for that term, you’ll see some mighty creative ideas. Most of them are really not appropriate for a parent to give to their child. Especially when that parent is me. I’m the mom who refused to host parties if alcohol was going to be present. I’m not the “fun mom.” Not by any means. So when she asked for the cake, I laughed at the irony.

 

But it was a good way to assuage my guilt, so I made one. 





Monday, July 27, 2020

Paddling Along

Some things never change.

 

When we first moved into our current house, the Princess was three and Banana Girl was six months old. About six weeks in, I was playing with Banana Girl on the floor and pulling her into a sitting position from lying down, when I heard a crack and she started screaming. Just as the wails got even louder, the Princess yelled, “Mommy, someone peed on the floor!” and my phone rang.

 

The phone call was from an old family friend, checking in to see how everything was going. Well, I’d just dislocated my daughter’s shoulder (the pediatrician assured me it happens all the time and not to worry, and yes, she was fine as soon as the doctor popped it back in), and the “pee” was my washing machine flooding the entire lower level—I think I would have preferred the pee. But sure, I told our friend, we’re doing great, how are you? 

 

I didn’t want to make a big deal out of anything, so I just pretended everything was fine. Because, you know, if you pretend hard enough, it will be true.

 

Fast forward to the other day. I’m on the phone trying to catch up with a friend—every time one of us calls the other one, we have to run to handle some crisis. At the same time, the exterminator shows up, because THIS time, we have a wasp’s nest in our attic vent that for SOME reason, our gutter guy didn’t want to touch. The exterminator needs to come into the house to access the hive, and all of a sudden I have to find my mask and figure out how to clear out the Princess’ closet enough for him to reach the attic, while at the same time, guarding against Covid. Banana Girl is in the process of driving through flooded roads and calls me to keep her calm—stop laughing. And in the meantime, the Princess is on the phone with a family friend (different one) arranging to be a tutor to their sons in the fall. They want to say hi to me, because for some reason, they like me. I love talking to them, but um, there’s a lot going on. 

 

So I hang up (again) on my friend, smile into the FaceTime call while moving stuff in the Princess’ closet and wondering if the bees get angry, how many will fly into her room and how loudly will she yell? I try to follow the FaceTime conversation while balancing my phone and reassuring Banana Girl that yes, she’ll know if her car breaks down because it will stop (or blow up, but I don’t tell her that), but next time, please don’t drive through the water on the road.

 

I’m pretty sure I touched my face at least five times, asphyxiated someone with the Lysol spray, and answered the totally wrong question posed by my family friends.

 

But, you know, I’m fine. We’re fine. It’s all fine. 



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Welcome, Mona Sedrak

I'm happy to host Mona Sedrak, a fellow Wild Rose Press author, today. She's talking about her latest book, Gravity.


Introduction:

Gravity is a heart-warming story of two individuals from remarkably differing backgrounds that are inexplicably drawn to one another, forming a strong friendship and falling in love–– despite the odds against them. The story depicts the beautiful Middle Eastern culture I was raised in and its many traditions as well as some of its challenges. Readers will identify with this story, no matter their background because it speaks to and awakens the human heart. 

 

Gravity is about tolerance, acceptance, understanding, and forgiveness. Finally, it is a story of love and hope. When I started writing Gravity several years ago, I couldn’t have predicted how relevant it would be today. At the end of the day, I want readers to understand that although we may be different, as members of the human race, our similarities out-weigh our differences and love is the universal language that binds us.  

 

 


Goodreads: http://bit.ly/GRGravity

https://books2read.com/u/meeBBz

bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/gravity-by-mona-sedrak

 

 

Gravity: A force pulling together people and hearts. 

 

After being shunned by her Middle Eastern family, medical assistant Leila Solomon struggles to build a life for herself and her child. Landscape photographer Aiden Stone built a career seeing what others miss, and the second he meets Leila, he is drawn to her unassuming beauty and fragile strength.

 

Leila cannot defy the gravitational forces pulling her toward Aiden and to the family who cast her out. To build a future with Aiden, she must face the past but is she strong enough to resist being pulled back into the family fold?

 

 

Author Bio

Mona Sedrak lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and works as a university administrator and professor. Although she has co-published two academic books, she is now writing mainstream fiction and women's fiction. She is an avid reader and is probably Audible's best customer. 

 

Writing and reading fiction is her escape from reality.

 

Mona lives with her husband of 30+ years, a geriatric maltipoo, and an Amazon Parrot named Pretzel. She binge watches too many shows to count and she loves fine brandy.

 

Website: https://www.monasedrak.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mona-Sedrak/e/B003VGUOZQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorMSedrak

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/MonaSedrakAuthor/

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4563964.Mona_Sedrak

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormonasedrak/

 

 

Excerpt:

Aiden

 

He smiled, took a step back, and met her gaze. "I'm a fairly easy going guy, but I have my quirks. One of them is my persistence. When I see something I desire, I go after it with relentless tunnel vision and focus. I chase the elusive. Often, others can't see what I do, or they're simply not brave enough to take risks, defy gravity, and uncover and unleash what's hidden. But do you know what I find each and every time I trust my gut, put in the time, and do the work?" 

"What?" she whispered, entranced by his voice and his molten eyes.

"Heart stopping, raw, wild, and unimaginable beauty.” Aiden grinned. “I'm a landscape photographer. Photography is not only what I do. Photography is also who I am. Through the lens of my camera, I see what others think only exists in dreams and movies. I believe. I commit. If you decide to come inside, I'll show you what I'm talking about." He spun and strode the door.

Aiden said his piece and issued a challenge. Leila could walk away or cross the threshold and take a chance, praying this time her heart wasn’t trampled. She chewed on her lower lip. Even if she walked away, Aiden wouldn’t. The man would track her down.

Standing, Leila paced. She was out of her element––stuck between two worlds. Too Americanized, she didn’t fit into the Egyptian culture. Yet, she wasn’t American enough.

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Welome to DV Stone!

Jennifer, thank you for inviting me here today to talk about my latest release, Rainbow Sprinkles. This novella is part of my publisher, Wild Rose Press’s summer series called One Scoop or Two. 
When the call for submissions came out, I thought I’ve got this. I used to own a small restaurant and ice cream shop. But Rainbow Sprinkles became more. As I began writing the story of Gloriana Jones, my sister came to mind. Like the character, my sis too, became widowed at an early age. And while this is in no way biographic of her story, I’ve dedicated it to her. 
It deals with a second chance at romance. The main characters Gloriana Jones and Nathan James, both lost their spouses. They are now ‘seasoned’ adults and dealing with the concerns of meeting and dating someone after many years. Guilt, self-esteem, and worry about how things work now.  Something I believe many of us struggle or struggled with. 
But the two get a little otherworldly help along with two drooly Bassett Hounds and a cast of characters you will come to love as I have. I hope your followers will enjoy an uplifting story, whether at the beach, lake, their backyard or nearby park. 
Thank you again for allowing me into your world
D. V. 

Blurb
Retired and widowed Gloriana Jones is forging on with the plans she and her late husband dreamed of—bringing joy and happiness, one ice cream cone at a time, to Lake Unami. But bad weather is drowning her dream. A trip to Upstate NY is bittersweet for Nathan James. He is excited to see his first granddaughter but without his wife he's lonely. When his car breaks down, he heads to the only light he can see, an ice cream shop. With aid from a heavenly source, electricity sparks, but will the two weather the summer storms and find love a second time? Or will their hopes and dreams melt away?

Excerpt
“Do you mind if I wait until the tow truck gets here?” He plucked the wet shirt away from his chest with the long fingers of one tanned hand. “It must be electrical, even the radio stopped working.” 
“No, you're welcome to hang around as long as you need.” Gloriana riffled through a cardboard box under the counter, pulled out an extra-large t-shirt, and tossed it to him. “Here you go. The restroom is through there.”
Mr. Gorgeous beamed a perfect toothy smile. “Thanks. I'll be right back.”
When he disappeared into the hallway, and the door clicked shut, Gloriana fanned her face. What the hot fudge was wrong with her? “Coffee. Make coffee.”

Bio

Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. I am a multi-genre author of two independently published books. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal. Recently, Rock House Grill was released by Wild Rose Press. I also host Welcome to the Campfire and A Peek Through the Window, both weekly blogs. Here’s a little more about me.

Born in Brooklyn, D.V. Stone has moved around a bit and even lived for a time on a dairy farm in Minnesota before moving back east. Throughout her wandering, she always considered herself a Jersey Girl. She met and married the love of her life, Pete—a lifelong Jersey Man, and moved this time to Sussex County. They live with Hali, a mixed breed from the local shelter and their cat Baby.

Buy links


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