Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Welcome to Stephen King!

Ramblings…..

I’d sincerely like to thank Jennifer for letting me ramble about writing, the future, time travel, love, and oh-oh …. Genetic Modification of major food sources (that’s a mouthful). The 18thof July saw the release of my sixth book: Thirty-Three Days. I will try not to be boring, so if I see your eyes glaze over, it’s over – I promise.

All my life I wanted to write, and tell stories. For most of it I made excuses not to do so. That makes me a late bloomer. There are two fabulous things about being an author, for me. Number 1: the inborn need to tell a story, and if I can entertain a reader for a while; take them out of their day to day lives and take them to a place inside my imagination, well that’s just about heaven. Number 2: When someone does read one of my books, and takes the time to post a review, send me an email, or stop me at a party to talk about the characters I’ve created for their enjoyment…… Well, I tell you, there ain’t enough money in the world to buy that feeling. Is that egotistical? Probably.

TTD, as I affectionately call it, came to me in a dream. Now that was highly unusual for two reasons, firstly, I don’t dream, and if I do I rarely remember them. When I do they are nonsense. But I woke up in a state of euphoria having dreamt of Jenny, a lonely 68 year old lecturer in environmental studies who is approached by a man who says he is from the future. He is the sixth in a line of people who played leapfrog in time. They took an incredible leap of faith in the word of a stranger and took a drug to send their consciousness back in turn. Why? To meet her and convince her to do the same, because she can save the future of mankind from an all consuming Blight which is ravaging all plant life two hundred years in the future.

If she agrees, she must become a ‘Leaper’, take the drug he concocted, and wake up thirty three years younger. Once there she has just thirty-three days to convince a young micro-biologist not to release his genetically modified strain of wheat, which harbors the deadly blight in its gene structure.

But that is just the start of her problems…….In the past, she falls in love for the first time in sixty-eight years with his father, and she must convince them both of her sincerity before her consciousness goes back to the future, leaving her young self with no memory of the preceding time period. If she fails, the men in the future will send an assassin and she is torn between saving the planet, or the man she loves.

So, once I had that dream, I had to write it and I’ve never had such fun. Time paradoxes have always fascinated me; yes I’m a long standing Doctor Who fan. And, I also gave Jenny the chance to influence a team of soccer players, who haven’t won a championship in many years. But, with her help, maybe, just maybe, they can pull of a miracle win.

The most amazing thing to me about this book, and I am not ashamed to admit it, is there are three places in the story, that even after sixty or seventy read throughs; I choke up with emotion when I read them. Now bearing in mind I wrote the thing, and know what’s happening next, that blows me away, and my wife too when she looks up to see me sobbing over my laptop. She just raises her eyes and goes back to the TV show she is watching.

In all of my books, no matter how deadly, or thrilling the storyline, there is always a love story at its core. I believe love is an intrinsic part of our lives, and further, that love, and family are why we are here in the first place. Anything else you come by is a bonus. The song title sums it up best: Love is all around us (The Troggs). We either want it, have it, or just lost it and want it back. We love our children, good food, a piece of art….need I go on? I would venture to suggest, the word LOVE is the most used one we have….next to maybe: THE.

Now its time to talk seriously, please don’t nod off now. It’s the dreaded subject: Genetic Modification of food sources. This is the critical core of TTD plotline. There is a saying Jenny uses to Iaine on their first date: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. How many times have we seen people trying to do good, but inadvertently doing bad and causing a tsunami of destruction.  Does Thalidomide ring any bells? Diet drinks using synthetic ingredients which we are now told causes health problems, trust me the list in endless. Whenever Man dabbles in Nature it seems to go poorly. When I was researching for this book, I found lots, and LOTS of similar cases. Here in Western Australia a while back, one farmer was suing his neighbor farmer because he lost his organic certification. That was because the genetically modified strain of Canola had spread from one farm to the other and contaminated, not just his crops, but the very ground it grew in. 

Jenny also says to Iaine: You can start a bushfire with a match, and the fire rages on when you blow the match out. Some things we do to our planet are irreversible. I read we are losing 200 billion tons of ice a year from the polar regions, due to global warming. Did you know, according to the same article, that if, or should I say when, they completely melt; the sea level will rise 60 meters. Where will we be living then?

So Jenny has a chance so save every living person in the future by going back in time to stop an event that will become catastrophic, before it happens. Can she succeed? And can she somehow find a way to keep the love that took her sixty eight years to find? Oh, and can she help that soccer team win the championship?

Time for me to go, one or two of you are nodding off, I can see. Thanks Jennifer, and thank you for reading my ramblings.

The other, less famous, (Australian) Stephen King 


Blurb:

Jenny is a lonely university lecturer who's consciousness has traveled back in time to her younger body to try to save the future of the world. A young microbiologist is going to release a genetically modified wheat that will mutate and ultimately destroy all plant life, leaving nothing but barren windswept dust bowls. In the past, Jenny finds a love that has been missing from her life; the kind that comes just once in a lifetime. But Jenny can only stay in that time period for thirty-three days. Meanwhile, in the future, fearful Jenny will fail, plans are made to send another back in time--an assassin. How can she choose between saving the man she loves or saving the future?

Links:
Facebook is @stephenbkingauthor
Twitter is @StephenBKing1

Buy link for TTD: http://a.co/3lxTDJj


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Monday, July 9, 2018

Cleaning

We’re spending the next couple of weeks with my parents as we get our floors redone. The dog is confused—she’s used to staying there when we go away, so every time I come back from an errand I get the “You again?” look. It’s like having the teens home.

In preparation for the work, we had to clean out most of the house so the furniture could be more easily moved. We also cleaned out the garage because, hey, it looked like a war zone and I made it into our “fun couple’s project” while the teens are away.

So my dining room is stored in my bedroom, my family room is stored in my daughter’s room (shhh, don’t tell her!) and my living room is stored in my basement. There are various items stored in the office as well. And now that the floor guys moved the furniture, there are random furniture items stored in the newly cleaned garage. Lucky for us we emptied it out. 

I spent a good deal of time making fun of all the things that my husband wanted to save, which probably was not great thinking on my part:

1)  He did the majority of the lifting, I really just pointed, which means he would have been justified to just stop at any time (but he didn’t);
2)  I screamed at the bugs;
3)  The last time I cleaned out the garage, I used a leaf blower to clean out the dirt—there is still dust over everything;
4)  And even I am sentimental about some things we kept, like a wheelbarrow.

But he was an excellent sport, knowing I needed the physical activity to keep my mind off things, and got rid of way more than he probably wanted. Some day, those things will probably come in handy, saving me a trip to the store to re-buy it. So, sorry honey! 

The bonus, which gave me great pleasure, was leaving our “junk” for others. In fact, a landscaper stopped by and was thrilled with all of the yard equipment we were getting rid of simply because we don’t use it anymore. 


And somewhere, someone is enjoying a pogo stick!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Welcome Leslie Bowes

I'm introducing a new author on my blog today, Leslie Bowes.

I never saw myself as a writer.  Writing was just something I did for fun. I started going to school for movie editing but I had to take a writing class and I love it and started writing my first novel.
Heart Healer started out as a historical romance called Rose Hill but it did not get published. So I stared on a contemporary romance called A Second Change At Love.  When I was in middle of writing, I noticed something was miss. So, I pulled out Rose Hill again and put parts of Rose Hill and A Second Chance at Love together and it became Heart Healer
Bio:
I was born and raised in southern Maryland. When I was thirteen I moved Summerville, South Caroline where I fell in love with the Lowcountry culture and history. South Caroline was my inspiration for my book Heart Healer. Recently I moved to central Va and now I am enjoying the beauty and history of this area. The rolling hills and pastoral views will surely inspire ideas for future stories.

Blurb:
Catherine Andrews is an English woman living in the 1800's. Her father sells her to Blake Von-Clyer to be his wife to pay off debts owed to Mr. Von-Clyer. Catherine soon finds out Blake is a cruel and horrible man.

On their wedding night, to escape his cruelty, she throws herself into the river. Death is better than marriage to a beast.

Christopher King is living in 2014 doing his best to raise his young son Ryan after his wife left him. One night, Christopher finds a woman in the river unconscious and barely breathing. She is also wearing old fashioned clothes. Christopher does everything in his power to help the young women. When Catherine regains consciousness, she finds herself in a strange and unbelievable situation. Terrified, she does her best to keep her guard up against Christopher. But as she gets to know him, she can't help but fall for the man who saved her life. When Catherine's dangerous past comes back to haunt her, it has Catherine and Christopher fighting for each other and their love.

Excerpt:
“That’s true, but I don’t need a servant. I need a wife.”
Catherine dropped the spoon as her whole body shook. What was her father planning to do? Hard work? A wife? What was going on? She was not her father’s slave to trade as he wished. She was his daughter. Too nervous to turn around, Catherine prayed that she heard wrong.
“What did you say?” her father asked, shocked.
“You heard me.” Mr. Von-Clyer laughed. “You had no problem selling her to me as a servant Mr. Andrews, but now that I want her for my wife your conscience haunts you. What’s the difference? Either way your debt to me is paid.”
“Catherine, get over here now!” her father yelled drunkenly. The longer she stared at the vein in her father’s neck; she realized that she was making him angrier than Catherine had ever seen before.
She slowly walked over to the table and stood in front of her father. Her heart was pounding in her chest as she watched him drink his last bit of wine.
“You will be Mr. Von-Clyer’s wife to pay off my debt.”
“What debt?” Catherine asked angrily.
“Catherine, do not speak unless you are spoken to,” her father snarled.
“What debt?” Catherine yelled.
Her father jumped up from his chair with an angry shout, bumping the table, but James jumped in front of him.
“You cannot treat Catherine like that, Father. She is your daughter and my sister, not your slave!” James yelled.
Catherine’s father was having none of that. He lunged for James, but Catherine got in between them before her father could do anything. She knelt in front of James and wiped his tears. All the while she prayed for strength.
“Thank you, James, but I need you to go to your room.”
“But, Catherine—”
“No buts. Go to your room and stay there until I come for you.”
As soon as James was in his room, Catherine’s father grabbed her arms and shook her hard.
“Don’t you ever speak to me like that again, Catherine! Do you understand me?”
“Yes, sir,” Catherine whispered, scared for her life.
“Good. Now go with Mr. Von-Clyer and pay off your debt.”
“Father, I beg of you. Tell me what my debt is?”

Links:

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Romance Reviews Summer Party

Happy Summer everyone!

I'm helping The Romance Reviews celebrate summer. Stop by their site, login/register (it's easy, I promise), play the games and win prizes! Summer is a great time to stock on books to read, and this party will introduce you to lots of them! 

Hope to see you there!



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sale!

Donna Simonetta's second book in the series is also on sale, so it's a great time to continue your reading of the series!

Love is Lovelier Blurb:
Heather and Mick have a long history together, and Heather wants to leave it in the past where it belongs. Yet, here Mick is, very much in her present, thanks to her brother Jeff, who hired Mick to be her boss at the Retreat at Rivers Bend.

It wouldn’t be so bad, except Heather and Mick are still attracted to each other like metal to a magnet. Oh, and her brother is considering offering Mick a partnership in the Retreat, which by rights should be hers. And even if they act on their attraction, Heather is a small-town, country girl, and proud of it, whereas Mick can’t get far enough from his West Virginia coal-mining roots.

Will they be able to get a second chance at their first love and find their happy ending together in Rivers Bend?


Excerpt:
“Stick close. I’ll get you out of here.”
He used his broad shoulders as a wedge to propel himself though the crowd; Heather scurried to keep up with him so she could take advantage of the gap he created, not wanting to be so close that she could feel the warmth of his body through his elegant suit, but because she needed somehow to beat this crush of people to the Retreat to make sure that everything was in place for the post-christening party she’d planned for Bethanne – only perfection would do for her BFF.
She watched Mick’s back as she stuck close to him; he looked so strong and fit – it was hard to imagine him the way he was ten years ago, when he’d suffered his NFL career-ending injury, but the same business acumen that kept him with the Portland Pintos organization back then was the reason Jeff and Cisco hired him at the Retreat. 
He’d be good for business – she’d just have to keep chanting those words in her head like a mantra, or else she’d do one of two things she’d regret – kill Mick, or kiss him, and she’d gone the kissing route with him before. It did not end well. And tempting as the killing option was at the moment, it probably wouldn’t end any better.

Buy Links:

Amazon: 

Barnes & Noble:

The Wild Rose Press:

Amazon UK:




Author Bio:
My career has been a winding road. I worked in the business world for years, got my MLS and worked in a school library, and am now living my dream as an author. I love to read and write contemporary and fantasy romance. I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

Author Links:






Monday, June 18, 2018

I'm A Finalist!

I received some exciting book news over the weekend: In the Moment is one of five finalists in the Published Mid-Length Novel category of the Stiletto Contest, sponsored by the Contemporary Romance Writers, an online specialty chapter of the Romance Writers of America.

never do well in contests. Ever. So I was incredibly surprised to find out that I am a finalist. I was also surprised that of the three books I entered, In the Moment was the one they liked. It happens to be my favorite book, but it gets my worst reviews. Whatever, reading is subjective, you can’t please everyone and at least one person liked it enough to make it a finalist, so whomever you are, thank you!

The other finalists in the contest—both in my category and in others—are an incredible group of writers. I know several of them and am honored to be in their company. I don’t expect to win, and for me, being a finalist is enough, so I’m pretty happy. The winners will be announced at an awards show toward the end of July in Denver at the RWA conference. I won’t be in attendance, but I’ll be paying attention and cheering my fellow author friends on.

Also, a big thank you to everyone at The Wild Rose Press who helped publish the book. I really appreciate all of you!

And can I just tell you how appropriate the finalist graphic is for me???? I mean, look at those shoes!

In case you’re curious about the book, here’s some info:



Cassie Edwards, a former foster child, purchases an 1870s Victorian mansion, the one home from her childhood where she felt like part of a family. She’s spending her summer lovingly restoring it, with dreams of one day raising a family of her own here. 

Rayne Tucket, a photojournalist, is haunted by the death of his best friend in Afghanistan, a death he thinks is his fault. He survives day to day. Forever is not in his vocabulary. Swearing off photography, he answers an ad for a handyman—mindless, no emotion involved.

As the two of them renovate her house, can Cassie show Rayne that love is strong enough to heal all wounds?

Links:

SaveSave

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I Hate Faith By Deborah Garland


Wait…what?
To start, thanks for having me again Jennifer. You were so nice to give me a guest post last summer for my debut release, Must Love Fashion. On June 4th, the second book in the Darling Cove family drama series, Must Have Faithwas released.
So, I bet you’re scratching your head at that post title. Sadly, it came from a critique from an early draft for Must Have Faith. Faith is the heroine. The runaway bride who comes back to make amends with her jilted groom, Gregory Mallory. Readers met Greg (and Faith briefly) in Must Love Fashion. He is Gwen’s older and smoldering brother. He made quite an impact in a book that wasn’t even about him. Here are some quotes about Greg from reviews: 
“I am wondering if Greg gets his story or happily ever after. Hopefully so!”
“I really hope there is another book about Gwen’s brother’s life because I see some drama there.”
“I’m anxiously waiting for the second book in this series, which I hope is about Gwen’s brother, Gregory. That poor man is in desperate need of some loving!”
I created a monster without even trying!
Faith didn’t get pounced on because she left Greg at the altar. It came from the scene where she gets her chance to explain why she left and what she wanted from Greg. (Tease) Of course I was devastated to hear the take away made my critique reader, hateher. I made the suggested changes so readers won’t hate Faith. Please don’t hate Faith. Note- No early reviews for Must Have Faith have said this- whew! In fact, here’s one review on Goodreads that made me swoon:
“Omg!! I love Faith and Gregory!!”
Faith even got top billing!
But it speaks to how romance readers go into a book and the sides they immediately take. What is wonderful about romance is that readers get both angles of the story. Usually. There are exceptions, of course. Through dual POV (point of view), a reader gets into the minds of both characters. But I think so often readers (and I’m included) start on the side of the hero. After all, don’t women read romance for the heroes? I assume that’s what all the bare-chested book covers are about. If mostly men read romance, every cover would look like a cover of Playboy
We expect the heroine to be worthy of our hero—the man we’ve fallen in love with. Hopefully. The man maybe we secretly want for ourselves. If the writer did her or hisjob. What’s interesting from my own experience, I’d gotten several men to read Must Love Fashionand heard…I’ll call them comments, about Andrew. About his height (He’s 6’4”). About his looks (He’s ‘nauseatingly handsome’). 
Since the majority of romance readers are women, opinions tend to swing in the other direction. The likeability factor for a heroine seems to be a target the size of a pin head. A writer can’t maker her too weak, that’snauseating. If she’s too strong, perhaps she’s not relatable. Readers love wounded heroes, but wounded heroines come off as ‘having baggage’. 
While plotting Must Have Faith, there was one thing about Faith I kept coming back to. I wanted her to have gone into a war zone. On purpose:
“Wow. You are probably the only woman on the planet who would rather have been in Iraq than marry the most beautiful man in the Tri-State area.”

Give Faith a chance. Don’t hate her. In the end, Gregory doesn’t hate her, so you shouldn’t either. 
He wanted her back. One way or another, he must have Faith back.


Details on Must Have Faith:


Title:Must Have Faith, Book 2 in the Darling Cove Family Drama Series
Genre:Contemporary Romance/Small Town Romance
Page Count:264 Pages
Blurb:
Forgiving isn’t easy. Forgetting may be impossible.
Greg Mallory isn’t the kind of man to wallow just because he was left at the altar. Not when there are plenty of women to help him forget his heartbreak. But as the only Mallory son he has an obligation to carry on the family name. When Greg’s runaway bride returns, his head tells him to keep his distance, but his body and heart are both begging for a second chance.
Faith Copeland bolted out of Darling Cove with a shameful secret and stayed away for ten years thinking Greg Mallory would never forgive her. Coming home means facing her past and Greg. She just didn’t think he still had the power to make her melt after all this time.
One moment alone proves their attraction is stronger than ever. Are they brave enough to start fresh? Or will past secrets destroy their second chance at happy-ever-after once and for all?
Book 3, Must Be Crazy goes live October 22nd

Must Have Faith Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/2IIh7Sg

Deborah Garland 

Bio: 
Deborah Garland is a versatile author of women's fiction, contemporary and paranormal romances. Her books are about love and the struggles of complicated relationships. The heroines are strong and witty and the heroes fall hard for them. 
She lives on the North Shore of Long Island with her husband and two pugs, Zoe and Harley. They like to vacation up and down the East Coast, but her favorite place is on a bar stool on a Friday night with a Grey Goose cosmopolitan, listening to her husband tell her the same stories over and over. 

Follow Deborah on:
Goodreads:  http://bit.ly/2w6a4kb

Contact Links:
Newsletter Sign up: http://bit.ly/2HI3Mgc





Monday, June 11, 2018

Stepping Back In Time

Each year around this time, my household prepares for sleep away camp. The Princess and Banana Girl have been going to camp since their summers before third grade. At this point, we pretty much have packing down to a science and they have perfected the art of waiting as long as possible—each year waiting slightly longer—before shopping, labeling and packing. I’ve given up complaining or stressing because a) I know it will get done and b) they’re the ones who will be naked if they wait too long.

One of the best parts of summer camp is the no electronics policy. No phones or phone-like technology is allowed. This means that my girls learned to write letters, adjusted to the foreign notion that a letter written and mailed will NOT get an instant reply, and have been forced to solve their own problems (like how to avoid bears), since even if they ask me what to do I’m unable to give them an immediate solution.

They’ve also learned to entertain themselves the old fashioned way—reading, making string bracelets, paper crafts, and MadLibs. Basically, while my husband declares a childfree summer is like going back to 1998, for them, it’s like going back to the 1970s.

The lack of electronics teaches them to be present and to live in the moment. Their conversations aren’t constantly interrupted by texts and SnapChats. They don’t multitask and converse with camp friends and home friends, while picking the perfect filter for their Instagram. They focus on the person in front of them. They are free to be themselves without worrying that what they say or do, or how they look, will be memorialized forever in cyberspace.

And they love it.

Stepping back in time this way allows all of us to look back fondly at a more innocent time and transport some of those lessons from the past into the present or even the future. And this year, the time slip is even more bittersweet, as The Princess will be a counselor and Banana Girl a CIT. For the first time, they can take their love of camp—and their power-down habits that they’ve cultivated and grown to love—and teach them to their campers. 

Buying stamps at the post office (the new scratch-and-sniff ones, of course!) and picking out stationery takes on an added meaning when I consider the piles of letters I’ve saved since their first days of camp. Now they’ll be writing as staff, looking at their campers and passing on their knowledge of how to write a letter (you’d be surprised how tough this is).

The journals they keep during the summer connect feelings from one year to the next and provide a written record of how they’ve grown and changed—of course, I’m making an assumption, since I’ve never read them and for all I know they write about things I really don’t want hear about (like boys!!!), but I’m going to stay in my bubble and imagine my own story here.

Even the photos they take get printed and hung in their rooms. And while I often wish for them to experience boredom, which is impossible at camp when you’re running nonstop from breakfast to bedtime, the basic lessons they’re learning about who they are and what they want are invaluable.

And maybe this year, they’ll be able to pass some of them along to their own campers.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Primaries

Ninety-nine years ago, women in America won the right to vote. Tomorrow in New Jersey is primary day. We’re choosing candidates for the Senate, the US House of Representatives, and county and local officials.

Other states have held primaries within the past few weeks, and there are more to come leading up to midterm elections in November.

The Princess is now old enough to vote and she asked me whom she should vote for. That choice is up to her. It’s an important choice—one that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought for—and I’m not going to tell her what to do. I’ve talked about important issues and where candidates stand on them. We’ve discussed campaign practices, such positive and negative ad campaigns. But ultimately, the choice is hers.

Every election is important and has long-lasting effects. Voting is a right and a privilege. While I might have very specific opinions on who or what to vote for, ultimately, the most important thing is that our elected officials represent us. That’s not possible unless we actually get out there and vote.

So tomorrow, or next week or in November, get out there and vote. I don’t care who you vote for, just do it. Because losing that right is too horrible to contemplate.