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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saturday Spotlight and a Gift Certificate

SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY
I'm a tad late posting this Saturday Spotlight, again, but better late than never. And there is still time to check out these great books and enter the drawing.

There are great books to be had from The Wild Rose Press. http://thewildrosepress.com/  Here are a few to tempt you. Then enter the drawing below before May 1 for a $10 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press.

When Sam Howard, CEO of Sam’s Smooth Sliding Ale, arrives in Wayback to advertise his product for the rodeo, bakery entrepreneur Daisy Porter goes on a crusade to tear down every poster in town. Can Daisy look past the businessman to the compassionate man underneath, or has the lock to her heart finally rusted shut? Sam is a patient man, who doesn’t force his way through the walls she’s placed up to guard her heart. With the threat of someone from her past shadowing her, can Daisy reclaim her self-confidence and strength to find happiness with Sam?
Miniature
(108 pages) Spicy



Alexandra Turner will do anything to save her twin sister. Even when she's transported back in time to Regency England. Rescuing her sister and finding her way back to her own time will take all her concentration. Falling in love is not an option.

With the death of his brother, Nicholas Somerville became the ninth Marquess of Oakleigh and must return to England to take his place in society. Part of his responsibility will be to find a wife. It never occurs to him he might actually discover a woman he could love--until he meets Alex on his voyage home.

Can Alex and Nicholas find a way to bridge the gap of time and circumstance? Can they overcome their fears to realize that true love transcends time? Or will a dark secret from Alex's past rear up to separate them forever?
Rating: Spicy
Page Count: 354
Word Count: 92194
978-1-62830-072-7 Paperback
978-1-62830-073-4 Digital


Rachel Bennett loved her job until the day she finds herself doubting her choices. Now she's hunting for a new career, but starting over isn't easy. Her plan is simple --no distractions until she finds her dream job. She didn't plan on fate throwing her a curveball in the form of a fender bender with a sexy guy in an expensive suit.
Craig Larsen is a wealthy, successful business owner with a plan of his own: survive his current PR nightmare and stay away from his overly determined ex-girlfriend. His need for control and personal success is turned upside down when he meets Rach, a sassy redhead who can't drive.
Soon they find themselves battling with Rach's grumpy old neighbor, toilet-papering the trees of a high-school nemesis, and fighting over the last slice of pizza. Can two very different people plus one fender bender equal a chance at forever?
Romantic Comedy
Rating: Spicy
Page Count: 358
Word Count: 92332
978-1-61217-741-0 Paperback
978-1-61217-742-7 Digital

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Babette’s Black Canyon Kayak Adventure



FEARLESS FRIDAY
Please welcome my guest, Babette James for a fearless tale!
Last August, I tackled an adventure for myself and learned I could truly do far more than I thought I could. I was out in Las Vegas for the Romance Novel Convention and I had added extra days on after the convention for some vacation sightseeing and research for my River series. I had several daytrips planned. I would go back to Lake Mohave, the original inspiration for my series, I’d tour the Hoover Dam, take the paddlewheel twilight dinner cruise on Lake Mead, go to Red Rock Canyon, and the Valley of Fire. All nice safe touristy jaunts. Some friends and family thought this was more than enough adventure since I was traveling on my own. However, I wanted a real adventure.
I’ve always wanted to see Black Canyon, which is the stretch of the Colorado River between the Hoover Dam and Lake Mohave, and I wanted to be down on the river. I found a guided kayak tour. It would be an easy fourteen-mile trip downriver, all flatwater, with plenty of stops, from the base of the Hoover Dam to Willow Beach, perfect for a kayaking novice like me. I’d been in a kayak before, but only for a little fun bobbing around. How tough could it be paddling and floating gently downriver? All I needed basically was a swimsuit, hat, sunscreen, camera, shoes that could get soaked, and my sense of adventure. The tour company provided the rest. Wonderful!
The tour company picked me up in the early cool dark of Sunday morning and delivered me, Mike, our guide, and Terry and Karen, my fellow adventurers, to the launch site at the base of Hoover Dam. Seeing that massive dam rising above me and the sky above pale and soft with the glow of a desert dawn was an experience in itself. After a brief lesson on paddling and steering, we were off.
The peace of floating along on the river is perfect, the relaxing silence of wilderness I miss in my life living here on the hectic East Coast. Just the birds and the crystal clear water, and even those were gently quiet and solemn in the morning hours. The water is cold there, a steady 54 degrees year round because of the deep water releases from the dam. The paddling was easy and I could feel stress just melting away as I snapped photos of the scenic canyon. We visited Sauna Cave, a hot spring deep inside a narrow cave. I confess my claustrophobia got the better of me and I had to stay by the entrance, but even that was a treat because I could sit with the hot water spilling around me and just watch the river roll by and soak in the peace. We stopped again for a short hike up Goldstrike Canyon to explore and soak in another hot spring.
The breeze was rising a bit, but welcome as it helped cool the August desert heat. More easy paddling over gentle, luminous green water brought us to our lunch stop (and the all-important bathroom break).  I was feeling some of the paddling, but my worries about my shoulder and my back bothering me with all the exertion were for nothing. Mike said that meant I was paddling correctly.
After a delicious box lunch, we set off again. We spotted some bighorn sheep, soaked in the scenery and snapped photos. The wind was still picking up and adding some chop to the formerly placid river and paddling was becoming a real workout against the headwind. My shoulder and back were holding up fine, but, boy oh boy my hands were beginning to ache.
The steady wind was stiffening. And then there were the gusts. Even novice me knew that those pretty little whitecaps on a flatwater river were a problem. Mike said guessed the wind was about in the 30 mph range. If I stopped paddling, the wind actually pushed me back up the river. And we still had six miles to go. Against the wind. The longest six miles of my life. Lol
Mike, Karen and Terry were experienced kayakers, managing the wind well, and making decent speed. I was not. While I’m not an utter office chair potato, I was older than the three and less fit, the whitecaps were scary in places, and I was running out of steam quickly. Mike the guide offered to tie my kayak to his and give me a tow, but my pride and the author in me were nagging me to grit my teeth and stick it out. There was a story in this, I told myself and I had to keep going. I didn’t want to be the one they had to tow out or come rescue. I had to keep paddling.
After Mike reassured me my turtle-slow progress against the wind and whitecaps was okay, I started giving myself goals. I would just focus on paddling as far as the next beach, the next clump of bushes, the next bend in the river, two more paddle strokes, another stroke, another... My hands were hurting, but breaking those impossible six miles into little doable chunks turned out to be the trick.  I discovered later after the trip we had also crossed a short stretch of class 1 rapids.
Slowly, slowly I paddled on. I learned how to find and use the stronger current of the river to help pull me through the rough water, learned how to hold my paddle better and use a push to help strengthen a pull, learned how get myself out of the scary spots. I learned I could keep going way beyond the point I thought I’d have to quit. I learned to let go of some fear. I learned I could focus beyond the exhaustion and pain and still enjoy the journey and this beautiful river and canyon I’d come to see.
Then the last bend of the river and Willow Beach marina came into sight. The wind was as strong as ever and the river a wide mass of choppy water, but my goal was in sight. No giving up now!
We reached our destination, I think about five hours late. My arms were so tired I couldn’t push myself up out of the kayak, but I don’t think I’ve ever been happier over an accomplishment as I flopped out like a clumsy fish. I’d done something I feared was impossible, and I survived—and enjoyed it!
Then Mike said the nicest thing: He was proud of me hanging in there, and after the trip we had, I’m no longer a novice kayaker. J
I hope to use my Black Canyon experience in one of the future books I have planned in my River series. I also hope to go back someday and make the trip again. It’s too beautiful and peaceful a place to resist the challenge.
As authors, our writing life is a journey, full of beautiful scenery, peace, joy, stiff winds, pain, strain, whitecaps, and rapids. There’s always a new skill to learn, a new problem, a new destination to reach, and sometimes it feels so far away and impossible to reach. But we do it, by setting our goals, weathering life’s rough waters, and we get there one word, one scene, one chapter, one book at a time!

Wishing you all a lovely journey,

Babette

Come fall in love at the river

Summertime Dream is available on
Amazon.com (Print and Kindle):
Barnes & Noble Nook:

Clear As Day is available on Amazon in Print and Kindle: http://viewbook.at/ClearAsDay and at all other eBook retailers

About the Author: Babette James writes sweetly scorching contemporary romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. As a teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, she’s had a life-long love of the desert and going down the shore. Babette now lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and extremely spoiled cats.

You can find Babette at:







Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Cycle Begins for Year Three

Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Tilling one of the fields
Starting the new crop year. It always seems so far away after harvest. Then when the time arrives, a sense of urgency comes over me. Even though I'm not the one doing the 99% of the work.

Although we added a tractor and a tiller a little over a year ago, much of the work is still accomplished by hand. We don't have the implement for the tractor that would alleviate much of the hand work involved with working the soil. Even used, it would cost about $2000. Lance says he considers all the handwork a good work out everyday. Love the attitude. But he loves what he does. We still borrow the gannon from our good neighbor Dave which scrapes and tears the ground.

Forming the rows
The first rows to be formed are for the cucumbers. They are wide to allow planting on both sides of the trellis that Lance will build. This will be our third year of planting and the configuration has been revised again. What and how much has also been revised. Each year is a learning experience.

Carrots on the right
For example, carrots. We had two long rows outside. They are planted from seed and they do not like weeds since they are a root vegetable. Weeds compete for water and nutrients below the surface. But when those little, itty, bitty carrot tops first appear, it's hard to tell them from weeds. By the time we could tell, the weeds had a strong foothold. It was a huge task to weed them and we gave up on some areas. They still produced extremely well even though some were small. They produced so well that we only harvested one row. The other row was left until winter when we dug up most of them and gave them to the food bank. Amazing thing about the row we kept for ourselves - we're still eating carrots from it. We had a small amount of spoilage just this month. Carrots are in the green house this year. The weed problem is negligible.

We received word from the Prescott Farmers Market that we are accepted pending two things - insurance and a special permit from the county. Hopefully, we'll have those next week. One step closer!




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT AND GIFT CERTIFICATE

SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY
I'm a tad late posting this Saturday Spotlight but better late than never. And there is still time to check out these great books and enter the drawing.

There are great books to be had from The Wild Rose Press. http://thewildrosepress.com/ It's Honky Tonk Hearts Day! Here are a few to tempt you. Then enter the drawing below before April 18 for a $10 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press.

With a title under his belt, a purse in the bank, and a ring in his pocket, Marshall Dekes returned for the woman he loved...only to find her at the altar saying "I do" to another man.
Two years later, he's stunned to find Amy sitting at the bar of the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk.  Anger and resentment still burning, he lets her have it, refusing the forgiveness she seeks.  But his world is turned upside down when he hears her cry of distress and finds himself helping with the unexpected birth of her child.
What his head can't forgive, his heart can't forget, and Amy staying with her cousin in nearby Redemption is too close for comfort.  When events of the past start coming to light, he doesn't know if his heart is strong enough to risk a second chance at the life he'd all but given up on.





Midwife Kerry Mackenzie wants to move on with her life. Her deceased husband's parents expect her to remain true to his memory, but at twenty-four, Kerry's too young to wear widow's weeds for the rest of her life. Eager to start fresh, she takes a job that requires her to move miles from home. But her independent spirit wavers when she's stranded along the way and a handsome cowboy comes to her rescue.
Ranch owner Damian Greer happens upon Kerry perched alongside her disabled car on an Amarillo highway and is instantly attracted to her. He comes from a family that moves quickly on matters of the heart, so when he observes her cool behavior during an emergency, he's pretty sure she's the woman for him.
But with Kerry determined to do things on her own, how can Damian convince her to abandon her plans and give them a chance?


When your past is a blank, it's hard to trust the future...
A car accident leaves Darcy Brooks with amnesia, but she's determined it won't ruin her life. She finds a job on a dude ranch--hiding her brain trauma to get it--and falls in love with her work. Now if she can just avoid falling in love with her boss.
Nick Matthews knows his new employee is hiding something, and he's determined to discover what. He's failed to protect his family from disaster in the past and won't let it happen again. Now if he can just keep his attraction to Darcy from clouding his judgment.
Nick soon comes to value Darcy as an employee and a friend--even as the heat between them builds. But when a man claiming to be Darcy's husband shows up, Nick realizes just how much he wants to keep Darcy for himself.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 14, 2014

See It, Hear It, Write It

MUSE MONDAY
Where do you get your ideas is a question I get asked all the time by readers and aspiring authors. I don't have one pat answer. Truthfully, an idea can come from something I've read or heard, by hard brainstorming or out of thin air - poof - an idea. Once the spark is there, I either let my mind wander or I give rein to my fingers to type at will. Some times it feels like my imagination goes straight from my head to my fingers without a pause in between. It's as if I don't know what's coming out until I read it. Hard to explain. But before that happens, an idea is born.

I realize that answer is rather vague and general so to illustrate what I mean, here is a few of the stories I've written, both published and unpublished, and how I came up with the ideas.

Sleeping with the Lights On is the story of a fifty year old woman who is still searching for Mr. Right and a career. She sleeps with the lights on because she's alone. This story grew from a gabfest with my sister. She'd had another memorable date the night before. We started recounting her memorable dates over the years and got to laughing. I had to write some of it down.

The Pink Corvette is a mystery involving a woman and her waning marriage. I saw a pink corvette on the road one day and since there wasn't a Mary Kay sticker on it, I started thinking about who would drive such a vehicle. Who I came up with spawned the story.

Honey On White Bread is based on my mother and father. I intentionally set out to write a story based on my mom's childhood. My parents came of age in the forties, poor but happy. How the title came to me is one of those rambling thought processes that would take too long to explain. Sometimes just sitting and thinking is like that. So...briefly, white bread was considered a rich man's food at one time. Honey is sweet and special and also not always in the cupboard of the poor years ago. My hero uses the two to describe my heroine.

Jonathan Jay Somefun was inspired by one of my uncles. He was a ladies' man and practically a full blooded Indian. It was also written during a time when I went to Laughlin for girls' weekends with my mom every few months. We ran into him one weekend in Laughlin and the story begged to be written. The name held a double entendre for the story of the man who hung around the bars in Laughlin.

The title, Amanda in the Summer, came from a folded wedding invitation putting those particular words together. The story came out of thin air. No other way to describe it.

The Art of Love and Murder came about through hard brainstorming. I made up my mind one day to write a series. Up until then, all of my stories were unrelated, individual tales. At dinner one evening, I asked Frank to brainstorm with me. We kicked around various ideas that night and for several days after until my character Lacy Dahl jumped into my  head. She would go on a mission to discover where she came from...and it would be dangerous. Since it involves some mysterious art and a murder or two, well, the title was easy.

Southwest of Love and Murder is the result of The Art of Love and Murder. A secondary character in the first book is the main character of Southwest. I did have some trouble with the title but some Facebook friend suggestions helped me put it together. And so it continues. I have two more books brewing in this series which could very well lead to more. Secondary characters walk into a scene and new ideas happen.

That's a smidgen of where ideas come from - a word, a person or purposeful brainstorming. Anything and everything is fodder for a story.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ice to Sun in Seven

Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

What a difference a week makes. Last Thursday, our yard looked like
the picture to the left. Our fields looked like the picture to the right.

A sprinkle-drink for Sadi
A week later, today, - Lance spread compost on the field getting ready for planting while Sadi played with her sprinkler ball.

The real sign that spring is upon us? Tumble weeds. Also weeds that
Tumbleweeds to burn and others to spray.
don't tumble. Time to get the vinegar sprayer out.

But it's only the middle of April. As tempted as we are to think spring will stay warm, we do live on a prairie and within a micro-climate. It's touch and go on planting some veggies before May 15. Some will get planted before the end of April. In the next couple of weeks Lance will be tilling and some planting will begin.



I think it's about time to make a visit to the Granite Creek Vineyards in Chino Valley. It's a lovely vineyard, and while we sip wine, Sadi can toddle after the peacocks. The vineyard is on the grounds of the first farm in Arizona to be certified as organic. Granite Creek is one of a handful of wineries in the United States that makes 100% organic wine.

We're waiting to hear if we'll be able to get a spot at the Prescott Farmers' Market beginning in May. Application is in to the market and our special events permit has been submitted to the city. If we're accepted, then there will be more legalities to complete. Lots of hoops to jump through. Keep your fingers crossed.


Monday, April 7, 2014

WHAT TO DO by Nancy Jardine



 MUSE MONDAY
Launch the done and get on with the new- after a hearty kick up the proverbial ‘you know what’!

My latest addition to my shelf of published novels, After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks, Book 3 of my Celtic Fervour Series of historical romantic adventures was launched on the 25th March 2014 but as all authors know, the actual launch time is only a phase we go through for a new book.  Early promotional blog writing for it has been fairly intensive these last weeks; the general promotion will continue into the future; and will maybe even intensify at times. There’s absolutely nothing new about that, but in some ways I hanker to learn something new to allow me to go back to only new WP writing. I know, of course, that if I had constant mega sales I could employ someone to do the marketing for me, so roll on new readers! *wink*

Meanwhile, in my spare moments when not promoting my already published books, or wasting interesting time on Facebook, or other social media places the dilemma has already set in. How to get on with the writing of new works after a book launch was a problem in the past and is probably always going to be a big bugbear for me.

My series of historical adventures are set in northern Britain in the late first century AD. Research might seem easy since there’s very little written evidence out there to study, so does that mean that I should allow my imagination to take flight a lot more as I write book 4 of the series? It’s truly tempting to do that, but since my aim has been to create a series with very credible, detailed, historical settings that’s not going to work for me. At present they’re not historical fantasy, though they definitely are fiction. For books 2 & 3 I did a lot of research on the Northern Campaigns of the Ancient Roman of Governor of Britannia, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, as he marched his legions northwards from England all the way up into northern Scotland. Finding more information for books 4 & 5 isn’t going to be easy – at least not until the local archaeologists find new evidence, so I suspect that after I pen the beginning twenty thousand words, which I’ve already got planned, I might come unstuck for bit. My planning at present should get me to that point but as a natural ‘pantser’ I’m hoping that there’ll be enough inspiration to get me rolling on to the middle and the end which I have a vague plan for. That sticky missing middle just might be a very big bugbear.

I think it’s just as well that I have other projects started, too- a three book historical saga-loosely based on ideas I got while researching my own family. That went into the doldrums a few weeks back and is sitting at around fourteen thousand words.

My dilemma? Keep plugging at book 4 of my historical romantic adventures since the ‘era’ is fresh in my mind having just released book 3…or switch to a very different historical era of Victorian times and do my saga.

What do you think I should do?

Thanks for having me visit, Brenda, it’s lovely to pop over and visit you. 



After Whorl: Donning Double cloaks – blurb
Pursued by Rome.
AD73 Northern Britannia
After King Venutius’ defeat, Brennus of Garrigill – known as Bran – maintains a spy network monitoring Roman activity in Brigantia. Relative peace reigns till AD 78 when Roman Governor Agricola marches his legions to the far north. Brennus is always one step ahead of the Roman Army as he seeks the Caledon Celt who will lead all tribes in battle against Rome.
Ineda of Marske treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius, who is responsible for supplying Agricola’s northern campaigns. At Inchtuthil Roman Fort Ineda flees seeking fellow Brigantes congregating on the foothills of Beinn na Ciche.
Will the battle against the Romans bring Ineda and Brennus together again?
Excerpt:
            “Your grin must mean something pleases you.”
            It was unexpected when he reached forward and took her hand into his own. He never made any contact with her body, except during the night dark.
            “Something does please me very much, Ineda, but it has nothing to do with any new orders. Why would you think that?”
            She had no idea what to answer. He knew she was always interested in what was happening around the fortress, though he was always close-mouthed about relating any important developments. Anything new happening she gleaned from his secretary, Pomponius. In no way did she want him to be suspicious of her motives, or to curtail the small advantages she had obtained as his slave since he had started to make love to her. “Only that such smiles are rare.”
            He continued to grin as he pulled her to her feet and led her to his resting couch.
            “It is long past time for you to call me Gaius.”
            Ineda was not so certain of that. She had resisted thinking of him as anything other than her hated captor, although time and his proximity were making her understand more of the man who had taken her prisoner and used her as his personal bed slave.

After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks is available from:

Nancy Jardine’s novels can be found in paperback and ebook formats from:
Amazon UK author page    Amazon US author page  Crooked Cat Bookstore; Waterstones; Barnes & Noble; Smashwords; W. H. Smith; Kobo, and other book retailers.
Nancy can be found at the following places:   Blog    Website   Facebook  Goodreads   About Me   LinkedIn   Twitter @nansjar  Google+