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Muse Monday, Wicked Wednesday, Trippin' Thursdays,
and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Clock Strikes Nun by Alice Loweecey


FEARLESS FRIDAY
Please welcome Alice Loweecey to Fearless Friday with an intriguing post!

Apparently, I’m an overachiever, because I’ve accomplished two life-changing events. Yay, me? 

Back in the day, Catholic schools were staffed almost entirely by nuns. The old way (sort of): Nuns in modified habits looking like cosplaying penguins. (I really like penguins, too.)

The nuns were so mysterious and set apart. Could you imagine being one of those special women? What a carrot to dangle in front of teenage girls’ noses. 

I snatched the carrot and learned first-hand how a cult operates.

Cut you off from family and friends? Check.

Change the way you dress? Check.

Change the way you walk and talk? Check. (Really.)

Censor your reading material? Check. (Although the reeducation sort of makes you censor it yourself.)

Open your mail and listen in on your phone calls? Check.

Read your private journal? Check. 

I took it for years because I was “chosen,” “special,” “set apart.” Brainwashing gets its hooks into you and you have to work for a long time to dislodge them. I blame no one but myself for the brainwashing. I could’ve walked away anytime pre-convent. But, yanno, “chosen,” “special,” “set apart.” 

Four years in, I made the decision to jump the wall. There was a wall, but I walked out the door. Less drama, easier on the ankles. By the way, if you ever hear the phrase “jump the wall,” it means only one thing: Leaving the convent. 

So much for life-changer #1. 

You may think entering the convent is difficult. You’re right. Leaving behind everyone and everything, changing practically everything about yourself, living with 95 women who all cycle at the same time. But let me assure you, it’s a tropical vacation compared to walking away from it all. 

I spent my last two weeks as a nun in my room. I came out of it only for meals and Mass. 

30+ years ago, there was something of an exodus of younger nuns. The older nuns watched and thought, “Who’s going to push my wheelchair when I get old?”

Fifteen years passed before I got past the anger of those last few months in the convent. Now I look back and realize the nuns were scared and took out their fear on me. 

Less than fun. 

I came home to my parents’ house with a single change of clothes to my name. Not like I was going to sneak a habit in my bag. If YouTube had been around then, the clip of me trying on high heels for the first time in four years would’ve gone viral in a day. 

The weirdest part? Interacting with people as an equal instead of a combination RCC ad/Dear Abby/authority figure.

Just like when I joined the Cult of the Convent and changed everything about myself, I had to relearn who I was as a “regular” person. 

Life changer #2 achieved. 

But when life hands you horrible experiences—use them for fiction! That’s my philosophy. Also, I have party conversation for the rest of my life. And nun jokes. A lot of nun jokes. If you ever see me at a writers’ conference, I’ll tell you a few.
--

Doomsday Preppers and Online Dating and Cults, oh my! Nun but the Brave, Giulia Driscoll's new mystery, is in stores now from Henery Press.



The Redeemers are here! Haunt your nightmares now, from Dark Recesses Press.



Baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, Alice Loweecey recently celebrated her thirtieth year outside the convent. She grew up watching Hammer horror films and Scooby-Doo mysteries, which explains a whole lot. When she's not creating trouble for her sleuth Giulia Driscoll or inspiring nightmares as her alter-ego Kate Morgan, she can be found growing her own vegetables (in summer) and cooking with them (the rest of the year).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Naughty Friends by Nell Castle


WICKED WEDNESDAY


Please join me in welcoming Nell Castle to Discover Yourself. It's all about naughty friends for Wicked Wednesday.

"Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while telling it.” John Green 

I always prefer writing to talking, but sometimes my friends insist on taking me out into the “real world” for “actual experiences.” I don’t know why I’m friends with so many extroverts. Maybe opposites attract. Maybe extroverts seek out introverts to ensure someone will listen to their many, many thoughts. Maybe they secretly fear that, like the proverbial tree in the forest, they might not even exist without an audience. 

I have been audience to plenty of bad behavior from my more extroverted loved ones, especially when the “real world” they take me out to is a bar on a Saturday night. I’ve watched friends accept drinks from guys they weren’t into and then ditch them with me, at my table, when someone better came along. I’ve watched friends challenge each other to find the cutest couple in the bar and flirt with them until they broke up. I’ve stood alone under the bright lights of a karaoke stage, frozen in terror at the first strains of I’ve Got You, Babe after my brother promised--promised--to be Cher to my Sonny, but when our number came up, he’d disappeared into the parking lot with a sailor on leave. I’ve pleaded with friends not to embarrass me by approaching a guy on my behalf, and watched in horror as they led him straight to my table. 

We all have that friend. (And if you don’t have that friend, chances are you’re that friend.)  

Janna Wilson, my main character’s boss in Turning the Tides, was inspired by a certain flirty blonde friend of mine. In the excerpt, Janna is meeting Lee for lunch to advise her on a case--until she gets distracted by a burly fireman openly staring at them from the bar. 

Lee frowned at her menu. “Don’t encourage him.” She put her phone on silent and slipped it into her purse, hoping for some uninterrupted counsel from her supervisor.

“Come on, live a little.” Janna removed her lightweight black shrug and drew back her shoulders to invite attention to what lay beneath her tight gold camisole. Her skin, deeply tanned, bore the faint, erosive lines of middle age.

Lee widened her eyes, the corners of her mouth quirking. “I thought we were here to talk about work. Not pick up guys.” Janna’s husband of twenty-odd years had left her for a younger woman a year ago. From her co-workers, Lee caught a definite whiff of disapproval at Janna’s attempts to reclaim her youth with tight clothing, online dating, and dance clubs.

Janna gave a little wave to the bar and brought her attention back to Lee with a triumphant smile. “Yeah—but I’ve still got a pulse.” She scanned the appetizer menu. “Have you tried alligator yet? It actually does taste like chicken.”

Lee wrinkled her nose. “No, but I’ve learned to like conch fritters. I’m not in the mood for anything fried today, though.”

Her eyes brightening, Janna glanced up from the menu. “Don’t look now, but here comes the main attraction.”

Lee swiveled her head and found her gaze level with the zippered crotch of their server. She snapped her face back to center, eyes wide with embarrassment.

Janna smiled upward, her wavy, highlighted hair falling back from her face. “My friend here says she likes your fritters. What kind of fritters were those, Lee? Co—?”

“Conch!” Lee choked out, her face burning. She glared at Janna, struggling to control her voice. “Conch fritters. And no, I don’t want any today.”

Surveying the menu with a wicked smile, Janna gave a tiny shrug. 





Monday, May 22, 2017

Jumping Time Periods by Augustina Van Hoven

MUSE MONDAY          
Please join me in welcoming Augustina Van Hoven to Discover Yourself today.
Writing a series that takes place in two different time periods requires a lot of research.  For the Rose series I needed to know the colorful history of the Idaho Territory, in particular the years of 1881 and 1882.  Several of the real historical figures and events made it into the series.

            The modern day parts of the book take place in the Idaho Legislature.  For these parts I studied current political issues as well as drawing on personal experience.   A few years ago I substituted for my own representative in the legislature.  I presented and debated bills in committees as well as the floor of the House.  Even though the book is fiction, the political bills that my characters present have actually been discussed either in interim committees or on the House floor.

            All these elements are blended into this paranormal story involving two supernatural beings who use people and ghosts as chess pieces in their game of wills.  I had a lot of fun telling this story and weaving all the different parts into a unique tapestry.  I will miss all these characters that have been a part of my life for several years. The Bloom of a Rose is the third and final book in the series.  It releases on March 14th

Augustina Van Hoven

Proving Love is Strange

THE KISS OF A ROSE

THE THORN OF A ROSE

THE BLOOM OF A ROSE – Available March 14th



Twitter:  @augustinavhoven

Pinterest: Augustina Van Hoven, Author 

 
The Bloom of a Rose
Rachel Bartlett doesn’t expect to meet the man of her dreams at a funeral.  But a chance conversation with Paul Miller inserts her in a political game between good and evil.  Unfortunately, her political strategist mother has other plans for her, and they don’t include romance.  Paul is the exact wrong guy for her, but sometimes it takes someone from the opposition to show you the way out of the maze.
Paul Miller is fighting battles on multiple fronts, and he doesn’t have time for an infatuation with a graphic artist, no matter how blue her eyes or how sharp her wit.  If his trust is misplaced, then a wrong move loses the game.
What the couple doesn’t know is that they are not alone.  Supernatural beings battle behind the scenes—and humans are all pawns on a chessboard.  The outcome of the game will determine not only what the future might be…but whether or not there even is one.
The Bloom of a Rose
available
March 14th

Excerpt:
            Paul reached for the sweet and sour chicken trying not to let his hand shake.  “Did you come to a decision?”
            She set down her fork and stared at her plate. “No.”
            He let out his breath and his chest relaxed a bit.  “Are you leaning one way or the other?”
            She looked up and he could see the tears sparkling in her eyes.  He set down his food, reached out and gathered her in his arms.  She leaned against his chest and he could feel the moisture of her tears dampen his shirt. 
            “It’s all right.  I’m here, I can help you.”
            She wrapped her arms around his waist and cried.
            After a while she let go and straightened up.  He handed her a dinner napkin and she wiped her eyes and nose then took a deep breath. 
            “It’s cheaper for me to go back to school.  There are some low rent apartments available not too far from a bus route that will go right past the school.  The school has a list of places willing to hire students.  I can also apply for some of the art scholarships provided by some of the school’s patrons.  Because of the time I’ve lost since I came to Boise, it will take me a year and a half to two years to finish my studies.”  She ran the napkin over her face again.
            “If I take the online option, it will take two to two and a half years to finish.  It is more expensive to live here and I will have trouble finding a good job because of my mother.”  She sniffed and used the napkin again.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Finding Inspiration by Joanne Guidoccio


MUSE MONDAY

Join me in welcoming back Joanne Guidoccio to Discover Yourself. Always a good guest!
When I decided to pursue my writing dream, I imagined one of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne visiting each morning, taking my hand, and guiding me to the computer. There, she would remain, offering words of encouragement until I produced my daily quota of words.
That was the fantasy.
The reality was very different.
I was unprepared for the tyranny of the blank page. While everything was in place—business cards, new computer, dreams of a runaway best-seller—my writing muscles refused to budge.
Hoping for inspiration, I researched the writing rituals of famous authors:
·                Alexander Dumas color coordinated his paper. He used blue paper for novels, yellow paper for poetry and rose-colored pages for nonfiction.
·                Mark Twain and Truman Capote write lying down.
·                Ernest Hemingway sharpened dozens of pencils before starting to write.
·                Willa Cather read the Bible before writing each day.
·                Before picking up his pen, John Donne liked to lie in an open coffin. (I wonder about this one!)
·                HonorĂ© de Balzac drank vast quantities of black coffee, ensuring that he could write all day and night.
·                Maya Angelou rose at 5 a.m., gathered her legal pads, a bottle of sherry, playing cards, a Bible, and Roget’s Thesaurus and checked into a hotel room (stripped of all stimuli from the walls). She would write 12 pages before leaving in the afternoon and edit the pages in the evening.
Eventually, I came up with my own ritual. Nothing too dramatic, but it works for me.
While having a leisurely breakfast (one of my retirement perks), I don’t linger over that second cup of coffee. If I choose to have more than one cup, I do so while checking email and social media. At nine-thirty, I start writing. My goal is 1000 words a day. At first, I used the oven timer to keep me on task, but that annoying sound reminded me of incessant school bells, so I invested in a bird clock. Each hour, one of my feathered friends, among them the Downy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, and Great Horned Owl, chirp and remind me to pace myself.
Blurb
When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.
Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?
Excerpt
“I’m a nobody here,” David said, glancing down at his plate. “And with my credit rating, none of the banks would endorse a loan. I’m screwed.”
“What if I backed you?” I couldn’t believe I was speaking so casually, all the while my heart beat at an alarming rate.
David rubbed a hand over his chin and flashed a grin at me. “Gilda, darling, you’re sweet to offer, but I don’t think you know what’s involved here.”
Susan nodded in agreement.
Were they playing me, I wondered. Since winning nineteen million dollars in Lotto649, I had encountered many sharks who hoped to prey on my easy-going nature. A quick Google search would have revealed my three-year-old lottery win. Old news, but still there on the second and third pages.
“Would one hundred thousand dollars be enough?” I asked. “In case you don’t know, I won a major lottery several years ago.” Since winning, I had received many proposals from across the province and had backed three local ventures. In each case, I had chosen to remain a silent partner.
David’s right hand trembled as he poured himself another glass of wine. Susan’s mouth dropped open, and she gave a little gasp.
“I take it that’s a yes,” I said.
More mild protests followed, and another bottle of wine disappeared. We were all a bit tipsy when we shook on the agreement. And so Xenia was born. 
Buy links:
Amazon (US):   https://is.gd/NRjAXT
Amazon (Canada):   https://is.gd/1pX3Bn
The Wild Rose Press:   https://is.gd/1mns8Q
Barnes & Noble:   https://is.gd/NFHdlS 
Bio
In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne...

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Dreaded Second Phase #RONEAwardNominee

MUSE MONDAY

I warned you this day would come. I'm asking for your help.

I am a semi-finalist in the RONE awards with two books in the same category. (A Legacy of Love and Murder AND The Power of Love and Murder). These two books made it past round one (getting a 4 Star review) on their way to a prestigious RONE award. Step two is a vote...from readers. If I get enough reader votes, then the book will move on to the final phase,  which is Industry Professionals will read and pick the winners.

Back to step two, where you come in. I need your votes. There are 24 nominees in my category, Thriller/Suspense, and only two will move on to the final phase. If you haven't registered with InD'tale before, you'll need to do that. After the contest, if you want to unregister you can. What registering does is allow you to vote and you'll also receive the online magazine each month for free. It really is a nice one, but you can opt out. The point is...I need your vote first.

The conundrum is I have two books in the running. I think I need to favor one over the other or risk the challenge of not getting enough votes for either one. Here's my idea. If you've read them both, then vote your conscience if you must, but I think I'm going to favor THE POWER OF LOVE AND MURDER.

Here's the link: http://indtale.com/2017-rone-awards-week-four

Thank you so much!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Owls and Healthy Coffee

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY

THE RV LIFE
7:00am and the neighbors are having their RV power washed. These are the neighbors on the bedroom side, of course. Doesn't bother me since I've been awake for awhile, but FDW didn't wake too happy this morning. At least he's not mad at our resident owl, who I love. Can you see him in the tree?

Speaking of morning...coffee! I like mine flavored and thought I'd share a recipe I came up with. There are two reasons I'm experimenting with this. First, I thought it might be cheaper than buying the flavored creamers, and second, I wanted to add some health benefit to my morning java.

Cinnamon is one of the healthiest spices. It can lower blood sugar levels and reduce heart disease risk among other things. Coconut oil is great for keeping your cholesterol in check so also good for your heart. And fiber plays a role in digestive, heart, and skin health. So here is my coffee recipe:

1/2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp honey
3 shakes of cinnamon
1 tsp fiber (I use a soluble fiber called Benefiber)
1 tbs cream
1 cup coffee

You can of course add more oil and honey for a sweeter concoction. Mix ingredients in a blender until you have a frothy delicious cup of latte! Also note, I have a single size blender so I don't have to drag out the big one. Makes it easier. You can get one for $10-$15.

It's growing more quiet by the day on the RV ranch. Two of our Happy Hour Crew couples have left and won't return until mid October. Others we don't know have vacated. I did meet a new couple yesterday who are here for the long haul. She has a garden started in pots and a spiral tower. Pretty impressive. Their story is much like ours...sold the home fast and not sure where they want to light next so they came here. They might find themselves in no hurry to leave just like us.
Our morning walk




Monday, May 1, 2017

A NOVEL FROM MEMORY by Sharon Ervin

MUSE MONDAY

Please join me in welcoming Sharon Ervin to Discover Yourself today.

Memories of friends from high school can prompt daydreams. Sprinkle in some “what ifs,” and splashes of reality and Voila! a novel is born. At least that’s how MEMORY came to be. Easy peasy.


Blurb:
A woman's mangled body found on the shoulder of a highway is mistakenly identified as Memory Smith. Was she murdered or the victim of a grisly hit-and-run? Assistant District Attorney David "Mac" McCann, knows exactly where Memory is, and it's not lying dead beside a highway. While they investigate rumors and foiled assaults on her person, Memory and Mac stumble across other forgotten, home town mysteries, and become caught up in a little unexpected romance.

Excerpt:
The drizzle became intermittent sprinkles as David drove to the only all-night convenience store in town. He bought a hairbrush, a toothbrush and toothpaste. He glanced at packaged ladies’ briefs, but decided that might be taking chivalry to a tasteless extreme. Donnie Rutherford talked on a cell phone the whole time David was in the store, even kept the device at his ear as he rang up the purchases. With a sense of mission, David drove back to Flanagan's.
Caught up planning his campaign for the siege of Room 107, David heard more sirens. Another accident? Maybe. He’d get details at the office Monday, which would be plenty soon enough.
He rapped on the motel room door several times before Memory, her muffled voice just at the other side, asked who it was.
“David McCann.”
“What do you want?”
“I brought you some things.”
The security chain rattled. There was a brief pause, then the chain rattled again as she reattached it before she released the dead bolt, turned the knob and cracked the door, which opened only as far as the chain allowed.
David tried not to stare as he passed her the sack from the convenience store. All he could see of her was one firm, smooth, bare arm and shoulder, and part of her face, twisted into a frown.
“Give me your wet clothes.” He intended to capitalize on this opportunity, take it as far as he could.
“What? Why?”
“I’ll take them to the motel office. Get Mrs. Flanagan to run them through her clothes dryer. It probably won’t take an hour.”
Memory stared into his face, the almond eyes narrowing. She closed the door and shuffled away, then returned, and opened, again only as much as the chain allowed, and squeezed her denim dress through. It was wrapped tightly as if it contained other clothing.
David smiled. “Be right back.”
“Why?”
“You can’t go get them later wearing a bed sheet and I didn’t think you’d want me to sit in the car for an hour, in this.” He glanced skyward, ignoring the fact the fickle sky was clearing. “Mrs. Flanagan can ring the room when the clothes are dry and I’ll run pick them up for you.” Without giving her time to think of an alternative plan, he took off for the office.

Book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and bookstores. ISBN 978-1-5092-12903
Buy links for MEMORY are http://amzn.to/2mr9fMc or http://tinyurl.com/lb88vwx or http://tinyurl.com/jcupl9r

You can connect with Sharon:
Web site: http://sharonervin.com
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/sharonervin2
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sharonErvin/status/839519653831577600
Email is ervins@sbcglobal.net.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Love and War in Any Element by Colleen L. Donnelly


MUSE MONDAY
Please welcome my guest, Colleen L. Donnelly with a very entertaining post...

It’s movie night in front of the DVD player and the males are voting for action movies – conquests, fighting, and chest-thumping winners bloodied from their victories. The females argue against two hours of unrelated sequences of brutality and heroic feats, hoping for a more tightly woven saga involving a hero and a heroine on an adventure riddled with conflict and camaraderie until they ultimately wind up in a chest-to-chest loving embrace. Two different…wait…are those two types of scenarios actually different? Can the story of two fighters in a ring parallel the conflicts of a boy and a girl on their way to becoming a couple? “Ewwww” and “No” are the most likely reactions from the moving-watching crowd, but I beg to differ.

I looked at what I write and the movies I watch (or am subjected to) and discovered relationships are the basis of almost any story told – a boy pitted against the elements in order to survive, a girl finding herself loved in spite of self-doubt, a country vying against another for power, aliens and other planets warring against earth, animals forming unlikely bonds to overcome obstacles, thieves trying to outsmart the law… All of them hinge on relationships in one form or another – one being encountering another or themselves, and clambering toward a hopefully positive outcome.

My writer’s eye watches for conflict, seeking out what will make or break a relationship, and ultimately a good story. Even though none of my characters resolve their issues with guns or soccer balls, the wars are there – the unloved wife accused of infidelity in “Asked For,” the young woman whose heart belonged to another instead of to the man her family had arranged for her to marry in “Love on a Train.” Or, the conflict searing enough to split a family into two warring factions, unforgiveness vs forgiveness, in “Mine to Tell.”

So, can peace and harmony reign in front of the television between the two factions warring over physical vs emotional conflict? Can those with romantic notions see heroes vanquishing and vanquished by more than a heroine’s heart? And can those with non-romantic notions concede John Wayne did win and lose less manly sorts of battles, and did so without a gun? To a degree, yes. Because, no matter what our pleasure, there is a relationship buried in any encounter somewhere.

“Mine to Tell” is the story of the Crouse family shame, three generations accepting great-grandfather Isaac’s claim that his wife, Julianne, had done the unthinkable when she disappeared for two weeks. Great-granddaughter, Annabelle, on the cusp of her own marriage, decides to do the unthinkable herself and give Julianne a chance to tell her side of the story. With both great-grandparents long since deceased, Annabelle unboards the closed-up house Isaac had relegated Julianne to, and moves in, believing the truth is there somewhere and it will set the Crouse family women free. Annabelle’s actions further split her family as well as her own engagement as she determines to find the truth, her only faithful companions in her venture being her great-grandmother’s hidden story and the quiet young man down the road she’d ignored while growing up.

Excerpt:
“Mine to tell,” Kyle said suddenly. It was a jolt. I was yanked from my mental tumble into a pit of unredemption. Alex looked up too, a quizzical expression on his face. “Julianne left a story behind,” Kyle continued. “Some of it speculation and rumors by people who don’t know, and the rest of it by her own hand. It was a love story. One that was countered with suffering.” 

We were all quiet. I looked at him, my heart melting as I heard his masculine voice speak of love and suffering. I wanted to lean across the table and hug him, but I was too afraid. 

Alex leaned back in his chair. “What my father went through didn’t feel like love when we were little.” 

“But maybe it was,” Kyle persisted, his tone smooth and even. “Does love always turn out the way we want it to?” Then he looked at me. “Julianne Crouse was a fine woman. We haven’t finished her story, but she suffered, and she was fine indeed.” 

Tears came to my eyes. “Thank you,” I squeaked. Kyle stood and walked around the table to me. He helped me stand as he thanked them for their time. He retrieved Julianne’s picture, took my hand, and together we went to the door, Alex and his wife following us. 

“I hope you’re right,” Alex said, running his hand through his thin, brittle hair as we stepped outside. “My father had some things to come to terms with, but he was a good man. A better man later in life, when he told us he was sorry. I never knew for what.” 

Buy link to “Mine to Tell”   http://amzn.to/1PNJo4S
Buy Link to “Love on a Train”  http://amzn.to/1m9eYCx
Buy Link to “Asked For”  http://amzn.to/1TyflEu




Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wildlife Meets Wild Life

Kiss is coming to Laughlin

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY

The RV Life
Wild Saturday, wild life, and wildlife. April started off with Wild Saturday. The Happy Hour Gang pool the spoils of the hunt, and the Williams host this feast every year at the RV Ranch. This year we had dove, quail, and elk. Last year,
FDW caught an 8.5 lb striper
they talked Frank into keeping some fish leading up to Wild Saturday, but they weren't successful this year. I made some wild beans and bacon.

This last week, we spent a few days in Laughlin, Nevada. A few years ago, back in the farm days, we would go

Clowning on the River Walk

several times a year. One of the casinos started sending us free nights. We still get them and try to make use as often as possible...that is when it's good fishing weather. We go on the cheap with free rooms, take our breakfasts and lunches in a cooler, tote a small coffee pot with us, and use coupons for dinners at various casinos. During the day, Frank fishes and I write. This trip, the wild life and wildlife were an added benefit. Sharing pictures!

Thumbs up coming in to Laughlin
Another gesture leaving Laughlin





Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sinners and Saints by Gemma Snow


WICKED WEDNESDAY

Please welcome Gemma Snow as guest blogger today. She's talking all kinds of wicked. Enjoy!

            In the case of It Takes Three to Waltz, I wanted my setting to be as wicked as my heroes. Lords Lucien Sinclair and Gabriel Montague are co-owners of London’s most notorious dance hall, The Garden of Eden – a location rife with opportunity for bad behavior. My love for art history and erotic romance manifested into the design of The Garden of Eden, also referred to as The Garden. In stained glass and upon canvas, I twisted traditional biblical scenes to set the mood of the salacious club, where lords and ladies find no end to hidden shadows and secret rooms.

            The Original Sin Masquerade Ball, where a whole host of wicked behavior occurs, takes the reimagining of pious scenes to an entirely new level, with painted human statues in lascivious poses and half-nude acrobats suspended high above the lush gardens.

            The idea of original sin appealed to me as a concept, because there is so much ripe history and imagery to create from. For centuries, art was focused upon biblical scenes, and my heroes – and I! – have no qualms about perverting those traditional images to allure and entice, as Lucien and Gabriel are supremely fond of. In the course of art history, I am certainly not the first – nor will I be the last – to find original sin a seductive concept. But my debonair Lucien and rakish Gabriel are both wicked, depraved men with a taste for all sorts of sin. I couldn’t think of a better place for them to find it, except, perhaps, in the arms of the woman they love. 

It Takes Three to Waltz is not yet available for purchase, but get your FREE copy of Boardroom, Bedroom - Get it here: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/r7rS2 - and check out my most recent release, Good Little Teacher! 

Good Little Teacher 

New teacher Emmy Lange is adjusting to life at the Redding Boarding School. She can’t shake the giddy feeling that the handsome headmaster, Marcus Powers, is attracted to her. Underneath his stern and commanding demeanor is a spark that beckons to her. When he asks her to his office to review her progress, she can't help but wonder if the intimate setting could lead to some sinful discipline, especially when he takes her to task for her improper usage of his title. His deep voice makes her shiver, and Emmy might find it all too easy to enjoy a "hands-on" lesson on how to properly address the handsome headmaster. 

Except: 

But it might not be the letter that’s making me shiver. Marcus is standing so close to me now that I can smell him, a delicious combination of coffee and book pages and fireplace, and the scent of his body is so overwhelming that I nearly lose my balance.
“Are you quite all right, Miss Lange?” He cups his hand on my shoulder.
The warmth of his hand has a less than calming effect, and I feel hot and slightly dizzy with his proximity. He reaches for the letter and places it on a side table, but leaves me trapped between him and the desk. I’m starting to think that the nature of this evening has changed completely, and that it’s unlikely that this is all in my imagination.
At that passing thought, Marcus runs his hand down the length of my upper arm. I try to suppress a shudder, but it comes anyway, my whole body responding to the surprisingly delicate touch of his hand.
“Marcus,” I whisper, and his name seems to echo around the room like a prayer.
He caresses the skin on my other arm, and I feel like I’ve stumbled into some crazy dream, because there is no way that this gorgeous headmaster is touching me, looking at me like he’s hungry.
“I admit,” he says slowly. “I find myself quite drawn to you, Miss Emily Lange.”
Buy Links: The Wild Rose PressAmazon   Nook   Kobo 

About Author: 

Gemma Snow is the author of several works of erotic and romantic fiction in both the contemporary and historical genres, and enjoys pushing the limits of freedom, feminism, and fun in her stories. She has been an avid writer for many years, and recently moved back to her home state of New Jersey from Boston, after completing her education in journalism and creative writing. 

In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent a semester abroad living in a 14th century castle in the Netherlands. When not exploring the world, she likes dreaming up stories, eating spicy food, driving fast cars, and talking to strangers. 

Check me out on social media and visit GemmaSnow.com for your FREE download of Boardroom, Bedroom.








Monday, April 10, 2017

A Novel Born From Desperation by Gary Guinn


MUSE MONDAY
Please welcome today's guest, Gary Guinn and his debut novel. Read to the end and enter his giveaway!

Sacrificial Lam, my first genre novel, a mystery/thriller featuring a liberal English professor teaching at a small, conservative southern college, released by The Wild Rose Press on March third, was born out of desperation. Two years ago, my writing had stagnated. On a beautiful day in October, while my wife and I were visiting friends at their beach condo in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, I realized I had been revising older work
for months, while creating nothing new. I felt discouraged and became convinced that I was failing completely as a writer.

Then a serendipitous thing happened. An ad for NaNoWriMo popped up in my email box. I had heard of it, but never taken it seriously. But I grabbed onto NaNoWriMo as if it were a lifeline. I had to do something, and I knew it had to be something new. All my writing to that point had been literary fiction, purely character driven, avoiding formula like the plague. “Well,” I told myself, “what good is literary purism if it’s stuck in a Slough of Despond?” So I turned to my favorite genre, mystery/thriller. Almost as a lark, I decided to write about a protagonist very much like myself—a liberal English professor who taught in a small, conservative southern college. My protagonist, Dr. Lam Corso, looked a lot like me, and the school where the novel is set looks a lot like the small university where I taught. Writing the novel turned out to be liberating and fun.

I spent the last week of our visit to the beach working on a detailed outline, and during the month of November cranked out fifty-five thousand words. After a year of feedback from my writing group and six months of working with my editor at The Wild Rose Press, Sacrificial Lam was ready to go.

But the genesis of the novel entailed much more than simply stagnated writing and NaNoWriMo. On page one, Dr. Lam Corso receives a note threatening his life, from someone who doesn’t like his beliefs. Fairly early in my career at the university, a disturbing incident occurred, which stuck with me through the years. Three of my colleagues at the university, who were all liberal, progressive professors like myself, received anonymous threats couched in violent terms, aimed specifically at their liberal positions on social issues. The university was a very conservative place, and liberal professors like ourselves were in a real minority and sometimes found teaching there an uncomfortable fit. At the same time, we felt a sense of purpose, of mission, in being the source of divergent, more open, views in the areas of politics, social issues, and religion.

The threats created a tense environment. As it happens, nothing further came of them, but that situation has become the kernel for developing the series of mystery/thrillers featuring English professor Lam Corso. Sacrificial Lam is the first in the series. The second, which I am close to finishing, has the working title Lam to the Slaughter.

And I guess the thematic material in the novel, has emerged at a fitting time historically. In the novel, there is a strong strain of religious and political fanaticism and intolerance of difference and divergence that drives some of the characters. We live in a world where the destructive results of fanaticism and intolerance leap out at us every day. Though the novel does not attempt to promote any particular ideology, I do hope the story is a voice for tolerance and respect and the importance of the dignity of every human being. 

  Sacrificial Lam Blurb 

When English professor Lam Corso receives a death threat at work, he laughs it off.  A liberal activist at a small Southern conservative college, he's used to stirring up controversy on campus.  It's just part of the give and take of life.  Even when violently attacked, Lam is convinced it must be a mistake.  He can't imagine anyone who would want to kill him for his beliefs. 

When his home is broken into and his wife's business vandalized, Lam is forced to face the truth. His wife—a passionate anti-gun crusader—is outraged when Lam brings a gun into the house for protection. The police can't find a single lead. Left to their own devices, Lam and Susan are forced to examine their marriage, faith, and values in the face of a carefully targeted attack from an assailant spurred into action by his own set of beliefs. 

What will it cost to survive?  

Excerpt 

When he dropped Lam back to the pavement, he said, “You dodged a bullet Friday afternoon. My bad. But I won’t miss this time.” And then the attacker stepped away and waited, breathing hard.

Another shock of fear and clarity ran through Lam. The car had been trying to kill him. He’d been a fool. He thought of Susan, sitting with the boys on the sofa, watching TV and sipping a glass of wine. He couldn’t let go of her, he couldn’t bear to leave her and the boys, lying there in an empty parking lot. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He had imagined dying hundreds of times—cancer, car wreck, drowning, plane crash—but never this, beaten to death by a lunatic who didn’t like his politics.

A desperate sound, short, high, and strained, broke from him. Blind without his glasses in the dark, he was helpless, but he refused to lie there and be killed without a fight. He tried again to stand. But as he struggled to his knees, a blow to the side of his head sent him sprawling against the bike rack, and he thought he was passing out.

The voice came again, “Time’s up, Lambert.”

When Lam looked up, the man stood above him with something, a knife Lam thought, in his hand.

The voice said, “You were warned.”

Buy Links for Sacrificial Lam, by Gary Guinn 





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Website/Blog: https://garyguinn.com 

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