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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wicked Ideas by Luanna Stewart


WICKED WEDNESDAY


I am very happy to have Luanna Stewart as my guest today. Let's get wicked!

Evidently, through no fault of my own, bits of my personality shine through in my characters. I’ve written heroines who love to bake, heroines who love the outdoors, and heroines who knit when they need a distraction from real life. All me. 

The heroine in my latest book loves to learn. When she’s confronted with a dilemma or with a problem that needs solving, she’ll go to the experts in that field and learn everything she can. She’s also stubborn as a goat. I freely admit to curiosity. Some call me stubborn, though I can’t imagine why.  

My heroine, Sybil, was almost 30-years-old and hell-bent on losing her innocence. From what she’d witnessed, however, husbands were more trouble than they were worth. So, after consulting an “expert”, she decided to take a lover.  Who better to serve that role than her brother’s friend, Max. 

I had tremendous fun writing the scene wherein she got the courage to suggest an improper liaison. Max was scandalized, of course. Proper young ladies shouldn’t even have thoughts of taking a lover. And when, after a kiss, she mentioned his obvious physical response in the trouser region, all he wanted to do was escape. He was an honourable man. If she wanted him in her bed she’d have to wait until they were wed. Sybil had no intention of waiting. Did I mention she was stubborn? Poor Max, I felt sorry for him after writing that scene. He really thought he was in control of the situation. 

Do you see yourself as others see you? Or are you surprised, like I am, when I see little bits of me in my characters and only then realize they are little bits of me? 

If you’d like to find out if Sybil gets her way, or if Max perseveres, pick up Love & Mayhem, available here: Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/non-american-historical-romance/5180-love-and-mayhem.html 

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Friday, August 11, 2017

The Ghost and Mrs.Miller by Sandra Tilley


FEARLESS FRIDAY


For Fearless Friday, Sandra Tilley is introducing us to a character in her book that has an idea about being fearless. Read on and enjoy!

Libby Miller used to be fearless. And then life lulled her and Neil into a comfortable ho-hum. But nothing prepared Libby to celebrate her nineteenth wedding anniversary with a ghost. Or catch her husband Neil cheating or his BMW flipping over an exit ramp or his ghost showing up in her dining room. Despite Libby's efforts to coerce Neil’s meddling presence to move on to the light or wherever, he’s too busy sabotaging Libby's chances at starting a new life. Time for Libby to find her nerve. Time for Libby to be fearless. 

A dark hulk stepped into my path. My eyes trailed up his black leather jacket and stopped just south of his BPD ball cap. Eli Anderson. My Eli Anderson.

My feet stopped. My heart stopped. But not the waitress behind me balancing a large round tray loaded with drinks. An avalanche of icy cocktails tumbled over my shoulder and zoomed down my chest like skiers on a ski jump.

A collective gasp sucked the air from the room. My feet froze to the spot—like the frozen pina coladas on my chest. Eli scooped his finger into the icy mound on my cleavage. “Tasty. I don’t usually like fruity drinks.”

I opened my mouth but no words came out. The waitress muscled past him and wiped feverishly at my blouse.

Eli took her cloth and plopped it onto the pile of glasses at my feet and circled his arm firmly around my waist. “You can clean up at my house.”

It wasn’t a suggestion.

“Libby!” Angie’s high-pitched voice out-staged the band. She and Leah and the other bachelorettes waiting for me crowded around a table strewn with ribbons and wrapping paper and lots of empty glasses. Angie diverted their interest to my direction.

I waggled my fingers goodbye.

Leah lifted her gaudy white veil, smiled, and gave me two thumbs up. 







Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sweaty Butt Cheeks Where the West Still Lives

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY

A few years back, we retired from the day jobs. You followed our farm experiment here on Tortuga Thursdays for three years, but we sold the farm. We traded in the little RV for a bigger one, but we aren’t ready to hit the road fulltime. What comes next? We’re not sure. It's all about transition these days. These are...

The In-Between Years
Sign over the road coming into town
We're living life on the RV Ranch these days. If you're from the western United States, you might have a feel for a little town, that's not a town, like Tonto Basin. There are two gas stations, an IGA Market, a Dollar Store, and numerous RV parks. And don't forget the local hardware store with local color. One day, I complained to the counter guy that it was really hot. He said, "my granny used to say if you wake up and there ain't sweat tricklin' between your butt cheeks, then you're dead."
Up the road is Punkin' Center with a post office, school, and library. Down the road is Roosevelt Lake.
I dislike the desert...well, most deserts. This part of Arizona is what I call pretty desert because we have mountains and trees. It's also only a thirty

Get our slogan on a shirt
minute drive to pine country.
There's an owl who lives in the tree outside our door. Javelinas (nasty wild pigs) stroll through the park early mornings, and bunny rabbits are everywhere. At night, the coyotes howl.
A tribute to deceased dogs
Most everyone owns a dog. We don't. Can't seem to replace Rusty. AND a dog does limit mobility. The people here are from everywhere. Some are year round, others are weekenders, and still others come for the winter months.
These in-between years mean our household goods are in storage. I want to sell it all and if or when we get another real house, buy more. FDW isn't entirely on the same page. This month we compromised, and we're selling
Buy local and gain wisdom
some. The antique German clock sold last week. There is some interest in two of FDW's cameras. I really want to sell our hand carved, teak tables from Taiwan. No bites yet.
How will it all shake out? Not sure, but I'll let you know. For now...I'll go with the flow.



Monday, August 7, 2017

Kris Bock on Inspiration from a Bird of Prey

MUSE MONDAY

Please welcome Kris Bock to Muse Monday with a most inspirational and fun post. Take it away, Kris.

On a beautiful fall afternoon, just outside of Socorro, New Mexico, we witness the ancient battle between hunter and prey. This hunter, weighing in at under three pounds, is a Harris hawk named Etta. 

Falconer Matt Mitchell releases the bird and moments later we’re striding across the scrub desert. Etta flies ahead, soaring 20 or 30 feet above the ground before landing on a small tree. We pass by, trying to flush a rabbit from the brush. When we get ahead, Matt raises his left arm, which is protected by a thick leather glove, and the hawk flies to him. 

As the late afternoon sun drops towards the horizon, a jackrabbit bolts from a bush. The hawk takes off on silent wings. Seconds later she dives behind a bush. The rabbit shrieks. 

We run toward the action. The rabbit has vanished, leaving only a tuft of fur caught in the bush. One of Etta’s feathers sticks out at a sharp angle. I’m probably imagining her indignant glare. “She got beat up,” Matt says. “That rabbit put some moves on her. The jackrabbit went around these bushes in figure eights and whatnot and stalled the bird out. The bird ended up on the ground and the rabbit took off.” 

Chalk one up for the prey. 

I met Matt several years ago. I tagged along on hunts and visited his home to see newly hatched hawks and falcons. Raising falcons is an intense, time-consuming, and expensive hobby, but as an author, I could do the next best thing – I could write about it. 

In What We Found, set in a small town in central New Mexico, a young woman stumbles on a dead body in the woods. Audra gets drawn into the investigation, but more than one person isn’t happy about her bringing a murder to light. Fortunately, she has some allies, including her brainy 12-year-old brother and self-appointed sidekick, Ricky. And because this is suspense with a dose of romance, she has a love interest, Kyle.

 Audra accompanies Kyle on a falcon hunt. As you can see, this scene is closely based my experiences with a falconer. 

   We strode across the desert, angling to pass by bushy patches where rabbits might be hiding. The
hawk flew ahead again, soaring about twenty feet above the ground before landing on a small tree. She waited until we passed by, then made another hop, farther that time. Kyle raised his left arm to shoulder height. The hawk flew back and landed. Watching her come in sent a strange breathless thrill through my chest. I’d seen owls and eagles fairly close in the zoo, but there they were sitting quietly on perches. This was a glimpse of something wild and beautiful.

    A jackrabbit bolted out of a bush twenty paces ahead. The hawk took off after it.

    Seconds later, she swooped down behind some bushes several hundred feet away. She rose up, made a small loop, and dropped down again. Something shrieked.

    Kyle was already running toward the action. By the time I got there, he had the hawk on his arm again. She had a feather sticking out awkwardly from her wing. I didn’t see the rabbit and wondered if Kyle had hidden it to make it easier on me.

    “She got beat up,” Kyle said. “That rabbit had some moves.”

    “It got away?”

    He nodded and plucked a small tuft of gray fur from the bush. “She made contact. But this time, it looks like the rabbit won.” He opened his fingers and the small tuft of fur drifted away on the breeze.

    “The rabbit won!”

    “It happens sometimes. Fortunately for our girl, she won’t starve.” He looked into her black eyes. “It’s frozen quail for you tonight, my dear.” 

The falconry aspect helped me develop thematic elements of What We Found, added some unusual action, and provided readers with insight into an usual pastime. One reader wrote, “The falconry aspect was almost as intriguing as the unveiling of the murderer!” 



Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. The Mad Monk’s Treasure – currently free at all e-book retailers – follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. 

Fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures: “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog 

Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Artists Helping Artists: Collaborating on a Suspense Book Cover by Rolynn Anderson


WICKED WEDNESDAY

Ghosts qualify for wicked. And Rolynn Anderson is about to release a really great suspense novel.

My newest novel, Cézanne’s Ghost, releases in a couple of weeks.  If you enjoy suspense novels, spiked with romance, and have some time to read my story and consider reviewing it, please let me know and I’ll send you an advance copy!  Email me at rolynna (at) earthlink.net One example of artists helping each other, right? 

Here’s another stunning example of artists collaborating.  About a year ago, I was looking for a sketch of a woman to use on my Cézanne’s Ghost cover.  I discovered the work of Jeff Haines.  When I first contacted him on e-mail, he explained he sold custom drawings; he had never worked with a novelist who wanted cover art.  The price he quoted was impossible for me to pay, so I passed on the picture.  Later, because I was attached to the picture, I decided to negotiate with him. He said he liked the artist-to-artist relationship and gave me I price I could afford. Yay! 

Here’s a picture of Aline, my heroine, sketched by Jeff. 

But there’s more to a cover than a sketch of a woman.  Who could help me interpret my story into a picture that enticed readers? 

Enter Kris Lynn.  Now, I met Kris at a conference in Hollywood.  She took a look at some of my covers from the past, and told me she’d like to help me interpret my works.  I said ‘Yes!’  Kris Lynn listened closely to what I wanted for Cézanne’s Ghost, and here is her result, which includes a wonderful painting by Cézanne.  I couldn’t be happier with her creation.  The picture of Aline creates a ghostly presence (perfect for suspense) and my title underlines the mystery.  Cézanne’s picture provides the exotic beauty of Aix-en-Provence.  Here it is:



Five artists: a writer, an editor, a formatter, a sketch master, and a cover creator.  How lucky we are to work with brilliant colleagues!  Do you have a story about how another artist helped you with your work? 

Here’s a summary of Cézanne’s Ghost:
Three young American women vanish in Aix-en-Provence, France. The FBI suspects their American tour guide.

Leon Beaudet, formerly a U.S. Olympic wrestler, is proud of his five-star guide business, but when tourists disappear on his watch, the FBI dredges up a violent episode in Leon’s past and tap him for the crime. Worse, his new tour group includes Aline Kerig, who is as beautiful and carefree as the three missing women. Leon is fascinated and puzzled by Aline even while he fears for her safety. She refuses to go back to the States, forcing the FBI and local police to involve her in the hunt.

With the French tourist industry about to collapse and Leon as a prime suspect, how does he protect Aline and find his lost tourists? 

And remember, if you’d like to read an advance copy, e-mail me at:
rolynna (at) earthlink.net

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Creating a Villain by Joan Leotta


MUSE MONDAY

Please welcome my guest, Joan Leotta who has a most interesting post. I'm hooked! Read on.

My friend Julia told me the story of how she and her husband met and married in the mid 1950s. Her tale of going toWashington, DC to marry her then-fiancé, John started it all. He met her train and when she put her foot on the top of the set of metal steps leading from her car to the platform, he reached up and swept her around and down onto the platform. Once her feet touched the ground he pulled her close and sealed her arrival greeting with a kiss. That story and an interest in history grew into a book on WWII in Wilmington, NC which became book one of my Legacy of Honor Quartet.

 So, I had the romance, but what about the rest of the story? World War II work posters always talked about loose lips, the possibility of spies trying to sabotage war work, so it was a natural for me to create a villain who was a spy. My spy was a Nazi. I gave him the very ordinary name of Herbert and characteristics that were ordinary as well. He was a lonely sort of guy, whose goal was to sabotage the key elements of the shipyard—the part developing secret equipment—which is where Giulia worked (of course!). The ins and outs of defeating the spy's efforts are what give the plot its action elements and of course, are one more way I bring Giulia and John closer together. 

I did a lot of research using original resources—newspapers, magazines, records of people who lived through the era. The book is sprinkled with details about life in Wilmington, NC during WWII. Some of my favorite are descriptions of the dances at the USO center, now known as the Hannah Block Center. 

There were spies on the east coast, but nothing has ever been disclosed about any activity in the Wilmington shipyard. There are records of a U-boat attempting to land on the NC coast, a bomb and more, but up the coast from Wilmington. I merely moved the entire activity down the coast so the action could be a part of my story. 

The book is about 35,000 words, a novella. All of this came from a simple conversation that started my imagination rolling. I kept it powered with interviews from folks who lived through the various eras, research in libraries and the simple question, "What if?" 

Here is a small excerpt from Giulia Goes to War, the first book in the Legacy of Honor quartet. This section is from one of the chapters dealing with Giulia's work in the shipyard.

"Giulia had just shown the guard at the door her pass and was entering the Quonset hut when the boom shook the ground. The sound started her ears ringing and sent a flash of heat and light throughout the area. The young guard who had just cleared Giulia to enter the room, pushed her inside and threw himself on top of her. She heard him gasp as a piece of wooden plank implanted itself in his arm. 

She could hardly hear now because of the ringing in her ears, but she thought she heard John calling to her as though from very far away. "Giulia! Giulia!"  It was John! He grabbed her and the guard and pulled them inside the Quonset hut. Before John could assess the situation he heard the shipyard’s alarms wailing.

Giulia's immediate supervisor appeared in the hallway where they were all huddled a few seconds later. "Everyone all right here?" 

Check out my FB page, Joan Leotta, Author and Story Performer

Please Take a Look at my Blog, Recipes for Success, www.joanleotta.wordpress.com

Giulia goes to War

Desert Breeze Publishing Volume I in the Legacy of Honor series

ISBN-10: 161252639X

ISBN-13: 978-1612526393

Buy link to Giulia
https://www.amazon.com/Giulia-Goes-War-Legacy-Honor/dp/161252639X

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The In-Between Years (special edition)


A few years back, we retired from the day jobs. You followed our farm experiment here on Tortuga Thursdays for three years, but we sold the farm. We traded in the little RV for a bigger one, but we aren’t ready to hit the road fulltime. What comes next? We’re not sure. 

These days, FDW fishes when the weather permits or reads (2-3 books a week), and I write my novels of discovery, suspense, and human relationships. We don’t want to go far from our young granddaughter or my elderly mother for too long, so the next BIG adventure will come when the time is right. For now, the adventures will be small, short, common, drastic, or ecstatic. My outlook has always been that we lead a charmed life. We’ve been where we needed to be, when we’ve needed to be, with what we’ve needed. As a result, I’m changing the drift of my Thursday blog again. 

It's all about transition these days. I hope you’ll check in every other week. These are The In-between Years…