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and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tragedy Behind Inspiration by C.B. Clark


MUSE MONDAY

We're lucky to have C.B. Clark on Discover Yourself today. Please welcome her!
Readers often ask authors where we get our story ideas. The plot of my recent release came from hearing of terrible tragedy. Fires in sawmills are a big concern. With clouds of highly combustible sawdust clogging the air and piles of kiln-dried lumber in the yards, explosions and fires are not uncommon. Mill owners take precautions, but fires still occur. In my area alone within the past five years, there have been three fires at local sawmills resulting in the deaths of four employees and injuring forty-two others. 

These devastating disasters provided me with the idea behind my latest story. The hero and heroine are combative owners of a multi-million dollar lumber mill, the town’s main employer. What would happen if the sawmill was destroyed by a fire? What if someone deliberately set that fire? The owners must work together to find the arsonist and save the town by rebuilding the mill. Can they find love amidst this tragedy? 

Book Blurb: 

Sharla-Jean Bromley returns to her hometown after a seventeen-year absence with vengeance in her heart. From the very beginning, her plans go awry when she meets devastatingly handsome Josh Morgan, the man to whom her father left half of his multi-million dollar lumber mill. 

Josh, suspicious of Sharla-Jean’s reasons for returning to town after such a long absence, vows to keep control of the company he feels is rightfully his. She is equally determined to prove she can run her father’s mill, even though it means working side-by-side with Josh, a man whose very presence evokes an attraction that is increasingly difficult for her to ignore. In the process, they must overcome a villain who’s determined to destroy both the lumber mill and their lives. 

Will Sharla-Jean succeed and heal the anguish that has long filled her soul? Wills he and Josh find the passion of a lifetime? 

Excerpt:

Fire!

Even as the dreaded word reared like a monster inside her head, a thin trickle of smoke crept out of the dark storage room. Terrifying images of flame, smoke and searing heat threatened to overwhelm her. For a nightmare second, she was back in the midst of scorching heat and roaring flames.

Using all her strength of will, she tore free of the chilling memories. Instead of fleeing, she placed one wobbly step in front of the other and shuffled toward the storage room. Her nostrils flared at the acrid tang of gasoline and smoke. With a shaking hand, she gripped the door handle and opened the door.

A figure burst out of the darkness, crashing into her, knocking her back.

She yelped at the pain of the blow and the shock of falling. A jolt of agony and blinding light as her head hit something hard.

Heavy boots pounded across the tile floor. Cold air washed over her. And then darkness. 

Author Bio:


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

What a Trip...Not So Much

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY

RV LIFE

The RV life has ups and downs. The "big RV", as our granddaughter calls it, isn't even a year old. We've had some problems with it since day one...heater, refrigerator, leaking pipes, badly installed trim and odds and ends. The leak under the sink ruined the wood of the center island and has to be replaced. When we took it to the dealer in February, they couldn't complete the repairs because the parts ordered were wrong. We were not happy, and we expressed our displeasure firm enough that we got a free dinner on them. Not a total loss.

So jump ahead to this month and another appointment to get the island replaced along with the other things that have gone haywire. There's a wide wood panel next to the fireplace that has pulled away from the wall by a couple of inches. The fifth wheel hitch area is coming apart. And a couple of other smaller things. In order to get to the dealer in Prescott from Tonto Basin, the mountain has to be scaled. I'm referring to the Mogollon Rim. Scaling this little hill in the hottest weather in some time was just a stupid idea. We got part way and our truck over heated. We turned around and headed back to the basin.

But...we didn't stay. It was just too hot. A few days in Prescott with Mom and sister in somewhat cooler Prescott, and then on to our son's. Temps are hot all over Arizona right now, but they have great AC.

One more wild thing. Today is our wedding anniversary. Forty-nine years. I'm not old enough to have been married this many years! FDW is, but I'm not.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Flexing Time and Muscle Between the Ears

MUSE MONDAY

It’s Muse Monday, but I’ve asked my muse to take a break for a couple of months. How’s that working for me? Not so perfect. Voices are whispering in my head. Hopefully, they won’t start clamoring until I get accomplished what I want before the end of summer—other writer jobs and relaxing now and then.

For instance, a drive to the top of the Mogollon Rim. I shared a couple of photos last time I posted. Flexible is my new mode of operation for the summer. If FDW says “take a ride with me and I’ll show you the fire by the lake last week,” I drop what I’m doing and go.  This area is so dry, we’re on high alert for fire. There have been several. One is still burning on the rim. Or he says, “let’s go to a movie,” I grab my purse and sprint to the car. Love going to a movie, and I’m going without guilt. Well, not real guilty anyway. I don’t have a work in progress, but I am setting up promotion opportunities. By the way, Wonder Woman was better than I expected. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

So, what am I doing if not writing? Some more famous authors than myself like to say the best promotion is writing the next book. I don’t totally disagree, but if no one knows I have ten books out there to purchase, writing another one isn’t getting me anymore fans. But this promo stuff taxes my brain more than writing. My last week has gone like this:

I spent three hours getting my books uploaded to Ask David.


FDW spent the better part of a day researching Amazon advertising, only to find out I have to go through my publisher to place an ad. That’s now in the works.

I wasted over an hour trying to upload information to my publisher for getting my books on audio. We still don’t have the problem figured out. Worry about that later in the week.

FDW spent the better part of another afternoon researching how to advertise on Facebook. No determination yet, if I will go that direction.

For two days, I read and studied all of the promotion advice and links I’ve saved over the last year. Kept some, tossed others. Got a general plan of attack.

I’ve contacted several blog sites and booked dates for future guest appearances.

I’ve reacquainted myself with Twitter and am now tweeting again, daily.

The maximum number of books I can list are now on Hometown Reads.


Planning some giveaways on Amazon and Goodreads.

And the list of “to do” has only been dented. Yep, publishing books is not just about writing.

How long can I keep this up without starting my next series? Not sure. But here’s a hint: three friends, Jerome, AZ, a touch of supernatural swirling through the suspense and romance. It’s percolating!

Monday, June 12, 2017

THE MUSE KNOWS ALL…but will she let you in on it? by Barbara White Daille


MUSE MONDAY

Please join me in welcoming Barbara White Daille to Muse Monday. It's a delightful post so read on!
When I first became a storyteller, no one ever told me there was such a thing as a muse. As I was five years old at the time, they probably figured I wouldn’t believe them. Which is very odd, when you think about it, as they all knew there were already any number of imaginary people running around in my head.
I’m not sure exactly when my muse showed up in my life. But one day, she appeared, and there was no getting rid of her.
A writer’s muse can be male or female, of course. Mine just happens to be female. She’s a bold, brash, take-no-prisoners kind of woman. Me?  I’m a stay-at-home, ultra-shy introvert. As you can imagine, we often clash.
She frequently drags me along—kicking and screaming—to wherever she’s decided to go. When she’s really riled up, she’s inclined to ignore me altogether. Believe it or not, that’s much worse than being hauled along like unwanted baggage.
Over the years, my muse has taken me to places I would never have visited on my own. Once there, she’s put me into the minds of characters I might otherwise never have met. Murderers. Elves. Private eyes. Cowboys. Beauty queens. Dogs. (Yes, dogs. And the ones I’ve encountered have been very intelligent and articulate.)
Lately, I’ve spent quite a bit of time inside the mind of a seventy-something-year-old man.
You might wonder why my muse would ever have hooked me up with a rancher like Jed Garland. That confused me, too. He’s male, a septuagenarian (thank goodness for spell-check on that one!), and owner of the Hitching Post Hotel, which is situated on his ranch in Cowboy Creek, New Mexico. I’m female, almost half his age, and city-born and -bred.
But as I’ve learned over those years mentioned above, my muse often knows best.
Once I got to know Jed Garland, I fell in love with him. Beneath Jed’s gruff rancher exterior, he’s a man with a heart of gold. A softie who looks after his ranch hands and everyone else in town. Most of all, he’s a loving grandpa who wants only to see his three granddaughter happy and settled down—preferably close to him and with men he’s hand-picked for them!
You see, Jed is also convinced he’s a born matchmaker. And I have to admit, after watching him wrangle almost a half-dozen couples into successful matches, the man has made me a believer.
Once he ran out of granddaughters to match up, he branched out to family friends. Many of the couples in Cowboy Creek owe their newfound happiness to Grandpa Jed.
And I owe my muse for introducing me to Jed and for including me in all the fun that goes on at the Hitching Post Hotel.
If you haven’t dropped in to visit there yet, I hope you will!
Here are a couple of peeks at the new book in the series, The Rancher’s Baby Proposal. (FYI, each book can be read as a standalone, as all my heroes and heroines reach their happy-ever-after by the end of their story.)
From the back cover: 

HER SECRET COWBOY CRUSH

Ally Martinez has always been known as a fun and flirty kind of gal. But deep down she’s never forgotten the cowboy who left town. When her crush Reagan Chase comes home after a five-year absence, Ally knows this is her big chance. The guy I’ve always wanted. Only Reagan has something different in mind…

Still reeling from his last relationship, Reagan needs a babysitter for his month-old son. With Ally’s help, he can get his family’s ranch ready for sale and get out of Cowboy Creek. The problem? Ally is one seriously cute distraction. But Reagan will do whatever it takes to keep his heart safe. Even if it means losing the only place—and the only woman—he can call home.

Excerpt: 

(This is from the opening of the book when Ally first sees Reagan again. And don’t tell anyone, but here’s a little secret…Jed Garland has just gone off-page, but that doesn’t mean the crafty old matchmaker has moved very far away!)

Reagan stood looking at her. She stared back, fighting to find something to say. In an instant, she had returned to being the gawky teenager dying for the older boy’s attention. She had never gotten it back then. Now that she had it, she didn’t know how to respond.

Pull yourself together, that’s how.

“Hi, Reagan,” she said, hoping he couldn’t hear the slight tremor of excitement in her voice. “I…I heard what you said to Jed. I’m sorry you’re thinking of selling your ranch.”

“Not thinking of it. Doing it. As soon as I can get the place cleared out enough to put it up for sale.”

His parents had lived their entire married lives in the house on that ranch. Reagan had lived there, too, until he had gone away to school. There must be so many memories wrapped up in the property…and so many personal items in the house. He would need a while to get it ready to sell. Meanwhile, would he spend that time here in Cowboy Creek? She crossed her fingers.

He gestured down the aisle. “Taking care of some shopping?”

“Oh. No. I’m not much of a do-it-yourselfer. I work here, have worked here since I graduated five years ago.” By that point, he had already left town. After getting his degree, rumor had it, he had accepted a fancy job in the big city of Houston, Texas. Smiling, she shrugged. “I’m still only a small-town girl who replaced school with a dead-end job paying barely above minimum wage. But who’s complaining?”

He looked at her thoughtfully. “Do you get any time off?”

Her stomach fluttered as if a dozen butterflies had taken wing inside her. Sad. She had just acknowledged she was no longer a schoolgirl. She should also no longer be prey to her feelings for the boy she had once loved. And yet, she couldn’t tamp down her excitement.

“Yes, I get evenings off. I only work seven to three. And once in a while I have a free day during the week, when I have to work Saturday. But that’s not too often.”

His mouth curved into a small, one-sided smile. “It’s almost three now. If you don’t have any plans for right after work, would you be able to meet me at SugarPie’s for a cold drink?”

“Yes.” Her voice cracked. She hid her nerves behind a cough. “My throat’s very dry. I could definitely use a cold drink.” But none of Sugar’s delicious desserts.

It didn’t matter. With Reagan sitting across from her, she would get all she needed of something sweet. 

Links:


About the Author 

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too! 

Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed "The End" to her first novel many years later...in the eighth grade. Now she's writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life: http://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter 

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Where Not To Be

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY

THE RV LIFE

Most of Arizona should vacate for the summer. Why do some of us voluntarily put up with this climate?! The sun is brutal in the desert elevations. There aren't too many things I hate, but heat is one of them. My mood is grumpy. 😠 FDW has a stronger word for my attitude. I wish we could've taken the RV to a cooler place this year, but there are too many obligations and obstacles.

One of those obstacles is the unit needs repairs...yes, already! Next week, we'll take it to Prescott to the dealer, and we're not sure how long they will have it. The island sink cabinet has to be totally replaced. The wide wood trim around the fire place has pulled away from the wall. And there are a number of smaller issues.

Back to summer. The RV Ranch is now at it's bare bones occupancy. Our Happy Hour crew is down to 4 or 5 of us. FDW
and I get some relief from 100+ temps by driving to the Mongollon Rim country. This is one of the most scenic areas in Arizona. We can take a air conditioned trip in the car for 45 minutes and go from an elevation of 2,200 feet to a cool 7,500 feet. We did just that a couple of days ago. While Frank fished from the bank for trout, I hiked around the pines and then lounged to watch the smoke from a nearby fire. Love the rim country. Hope the fire season doesn't get too bad before monsoons are upon us.

Having a granddaughter visit keeps the summer doldrums away. Parks, roasting marshmallows, and horseback riding kept her entertained this time. It's impossible to
be grumpy in the heat with her around.

Don't forget to check your favorite grocery store for discounts. They don't seem to advertise these. I called Safeway in Payson and found out they offer a 10% senior discount on the first Wednesday of every month and a 10% military discount on the 15th of every month.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Lee Lines by Kristy McCaffrey with a bonus read


WICKED WEDNESDAY

Please welcome Kristy McCaffrey to Discover Yourself. In addition, check out the boxed set she is part of along with Andrea Downing. Blurbs at the end of the post...

Mankind has long been drawn to specific places around the earth, from the mountains of the Himalaya to the Grand Canyon, and to sites such as the pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge. These locations have one thing in common—a preternatural propensity to convey strong electromagnetic earth energy. 

Power points—the Hopi Indians of the American Southwest call them “spots of the fawn”—are concentrated areas where such energy comes to the surface. Connecting them are ley lines, or energetic pathways, that have magnetic qualities believed to help birds, mammals, and even bacteria to migrate across long distances. Confirmation by modern measurement has shown these lines to flow in gentle curves along the lay of the land. However, some ley lines, notably in England and South America, are arrow-straight, leading some researchers to speculate that prehistoric engineers who built monuments that fall along these straight paths had a working knowledge of how to harness this energy. They used monoliths and stone circles to naturally align this invisible thread of energy, often depicted as a serpent etched on rocks at these locations. 

Why were these locations chosen as points of worship and congregation? Ancient craftsmen knew the mysterious art of manipulation of natural laws, creating dwellings that aided in changes of consciousness, places where the veil separating worlds is barely perceptible. Most humans can sense a difference in a local magnetic field of only a few gammas; sacred sites create anomalies that are far stronger. And these sites have been used for generations. Mont St. Michel in France, sitting atop a small rocky island, encompasses a much older Knights Templar abbey that includes an earlier Benedictine church, all of which sit over a Neolithic chamber containing a prehistoric rock altar. 

The human body encompasses, and is a part of, an energy field that is interconnected to everything that exists. Our consciousness can influence, and be influenced, by this energy. From Easter Island to Angkor Wat (in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world) to Tiwanaku (a pre-Columbian archaeological site in Bolivia that could possibly date back as far as 15,000 BC), humans have sought to venerate the heavens from key positions on the earth, seeking the profound transformations these sites offer. Temples that direct the inherent geomagnetic properties at these locations were designed for the purpose of mirroring images of the essence of a creator god and, by implication, the order of the universe. 

In Kristy’s story, Blue Sage, Dr. Audrey Driggs seeks a place called Whisper Rock, a remote area that sits at a crossroad of ley lines. 

Blue Sage Blurb

Braden Delaney has taken over the family cattle business after the death of his father, but faced with difficult financial decisions, he contemplates selling a portion of the massive Delaney ranch holdings known as Whisper Rock, a place of unusual occurrences. Archaeologist Audrey Driggs has come to the remote wilderness of Northern Arizona for clues to a life-altering experience from her childhood. Together, they’ll uncover a long-lost secret.

Blue Sage Excerpt

Braden sat across from Audrey, a fire flaming between them, holding the darkness at bay. They’d found a flat patch of land not far from the spot where they’d discovered Blue and had set up a small tent and supplies. Braden planned to sleep outside, and if Blue’s affectionate attentions were any indication, he’d have plenty of warmth from the mutt. Not that snuggling against Audrey didn’t have its merits, but he wondered if it was too soon to make a move. 

She’d seen him cry like a baby after all. So much for giving an impression of strength and confidence. Damned if he hadn’t spilled his emotions out like a broken water pump. But in some ways losing his dad had broken him. 

The horses and Stevie were picketed nearby munching on oats and grass, and Audrey had prepared peanut butter sandwiches for dinner. After the days’ events, Braden had eaten four. 

“What did you want to tell me?” he prompted, running a hand along Blue’s back as the dog lay curled up against him. 

Audrey crossed her legs and leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees. Bundled in her brightly-colored fleece, the garment seemed to heighten the flush of her cheeks to a rosy glow. Although her hair was still pulled back from her face, strands had escaped and framed the soft contours of her cheeks, her eyes a deep blue-green in the flickering firelight. 

Her only makeup was a sunburned nose and faint smudges of dirt, and he watched her like a lovesick puppy.

When had it happened? When had he fallen for her? 

He hoped she wasn’t about to tell him she had a boyfriend. 

“This isn’t the first time I’ve been here,” she said. “When I was nine, my dad took my sister and me for a weekend in the wilderness. I’m fairly certain this is where we were. When you mentioned seeing a family here years ago—I think it was us.” 

That caught his attention. He laughed as he scratched behind Blue’s ear, the dog in canine bliss. “I remember you. It was early in the morning, and I was scouting around alone when I saw a dark-haired girl talking to herself.” He grinned. “Then she did a dance.” 

Audrey twisted her mouth, appearing self-conscious. She took a deep breath. “Yeah, that was me. First, let me apologize for the fact that we were on Delaney land. I’m sure my dad didn’t realize we’d crossed the boundary between public and private lands.” 

“You’re forgiven.” 

She chewed on her lower lip. “So, you should know that as a young child I was very sick.” 

Copyright © 2017 K. McCaffrey LLC 

Author Bio

Kristy McCaffrey writes historical western romances set in the American southwest. She and her husband dwell in the Arizona desert with two chocolate labs named Ranger and Lily, and whichever of their four children that are in residence. Kristy believes life should be lived with curiosity, compassion, and gratitude, and one should never be far from the enthusiasm of a dog. She also likes sleeping-in, eating Mexican food, and doing yoga at home in her pajamas. 




A Cowboy To Keep Anthology

Featuring stories by Carra Copelin, Andrea Downing, Kristy McCaffrey, Devon McKay, Hildie McQueen, Hebby Roman, and Patti Sherry-Crews

Catch a cowboy … Keep a cowboy … 

Don’t miss this great collection from USA Today, Amazon Bestselling, and Award-Winning authors!! Available at https://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Keep-Contemporary-Western-Collection-ebook/dp/B072869SGV/  
THE LEGEND OF BAD MOON RISING by Carra Copelin

Sheriff Ben Hammond is finally over the woman who shattered his heart, but when Dinah Horne suddenly returns, can he ignore the passion still burning bright between them? 
CITY BOY, COUNTRY HEART by Andrea Downing

Trading horses for subways for two years seemed like a good idea to cowboy Chay Ridgway, but can city girl K.C. Daniels keep a rein on his country heart? 

BLUE SAGE by Kristy McCaffrey

Archaeologist Audrey Driggs rolls off a mountain and lands at the feet of rugged cowboy Braden Delaney. Together, they’ll uncover a long-lost secret. 

THE DRIFTER’S KISS by Devon McKay

Determined to take back what belongs to her, Addison Reed will do anything. Even trust a complete stranger. 

HER MAN by Hildie McQueen

Deputy Mark Hunter falls for Eliza Brock during a murder investigation. Is it fate or bad luck, especially when she may be involved? 

BORDER ROMANCE by Hebby Roman

Widow Leticia Villarreal wants to establish a horse-racing stable and old acquaintance John Clay Laidlaw offers to help. But can she trust him with her business and her heart? 

PHOENIX HEAT by Patti Sherry-Crews

After losing her fiancé and her New York City business, Harper Donovan returns to Arizona and meets cowboy Frank Flynn. Will his past and their differences extinguish the heat between them?


Monday, June 5, 2017

Writer's Butt

MUSE MONDAY


I heaved the biggest sigh ever two days ago...I hit send and off went the fifth book in my Love and Murder Series to my editor at The Wild Rose Press. This book was completed in record time if only the days I sat at the keyboard count.

The last eight months or so had me so torn in so many directions that there were consecutive days when no writing happened. So, when I finally had the June 1 deadline looming too close for comfort, I had to crank it out. And I did. Six and eight hour days looking at the computer screen had my eyes burning and my butt...never mind. I'll tell you this, I gained four pounds and more jiggles with my lack of activity.

I'm lucky to have critique partners who could do a fast read of the whole book before I sent it off to my editor.

There is still a lot of work ahead before you see it on the virtual bookshelves. I'll have to read it at
least three more times, cover to cover, for edits from TWRP. I have to write the back cover blurb, create tweets, and come up with a tagline. I need a dedication and acknowledgements. This is a few months worth of work.

Book Five coming soon!

But for a week or so, I'm giving myself a breather. Funny, after three days of being away from the book, I kind of miss my characters. In fact, now that the last book is written and out of my hands, I miss the whole cast of friends and relatives of the Love and Murder Series. They've been my companions for a couple of years. Okay, getting weird.