Friday, January 18, 2019

Follow Your Dream by Caroline Clemmons #Fearless #Romance


FEARLESS FRIDAY


Striking out on your own, following a dream, is definitely fearless. Be sure to read on, and welcome Caroline Clemmons to  Fearless Friday.

Thanks to Brenda for having me as her guest today on Fearless Friday.

How fearless am I? Picture me blushing as I answer, “Not very.” I’ve done a lot of things that took courage, but I was acting with my husband, which made the event far less frightening. However, one thing sticks in my mind that was life-changing.

For several years I worked as the bookkeeper for our county tax assessor. The pay wasn’t great, but it came with good retirement benefits, had a short commute, was in a nice building, and the tax assessor was a friend.

This was in an office with ten other women. Can you say drama! Most of the women were really nice but there were three whose performance and gossip mongering made each day a challenge. l loved my actual job—but the parade of divas in and out of my office sapped my energy. Yet, I had to be accessible and couldn’t just shut the office door. When I arrived home from work each weekday, my mind was mush from dealing with the spectacle at work all day. I dragged into the house too foggy to concentrate on writing. Still, I’m aware many writers succeed under those conditions.

For years I’d wanted to write romances. I’d even started one to which I slowly added pages. That left weekends to write. In addition, I have several annoying health concerns that zapped me frequently. On Saturday mornings, I attended RWA chapter meetings or critique sessions. Sunday morning was church. I believed that if I could stay home, I could succeed. I didn’t tell my husband those feelings. Fortunately, my husband encouraged me to quit my job and write.

I had to deliberate the possibility. Giving up a sure salary for the maybe of a writing career was a difficult decision. What if I failed? What if we needed my income? Ha, I was willing to take that risk. The next morning, I gave my notice. Yes, I gave up my day job and concentrated on writing.

I sent out sample chapters and got rejections while I completed two books. One great day, I got an acceptance letter. Hooray, I was on my way!  Four years from the day I quit my day job, I was published. I had my foot in the door, so to speak, with a traditional publisher. Now I’m indie published, which is so much better for me. In spite of that, I was extremely happy with my first sale.

Stepping into the unknown carries a risk. That’s why I admire the heroine of my new release, GARNET, book 9 of the western historical Widows of Wildcat Ridge Series. Imagine the fearless courage required to become a mail-order bride. Worse, only nine months after her wedding, Garnet Chandler was widowed, left with her niece and nephew in her care and a cafĂ© to operate alone. I hope you’ll give GARNET a read. The universal buy link at Amazon is http://getbook.at/garnetWOWR.

Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this illogical error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a small office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their rescued cats and dogs. The books she creates there have made her an Amazon bestselling author and won several awards. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.

Join her Facebook reader group, Caroline’s Cuties, for advance news, contests, and conversation.

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.

Follow her on BookBub.

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?

She loves to hear from readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com



Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Fur Baby Saga #puppy #furBaby #rescueDog

Baby Rusty

Three years ago, we lost Rusty, a rescue dog from the Navajo Nation in Arizona. He was Red Heeler mix from a working cattle dog momma, which is all we knew for sure about him. We called him “the smartest dog in the world” and we loved him dearly for eleven years. Until recently, we hadn’t even considered getting another dog. He’d been just too special.

A few weeks back, we were in one of those puppy mill pet stores because our granddaughter is a dog loving little girl. She has two of her own, but loves to visit pet stores. One of the puppies took a
Old Rusty
strong liking to FDW. I saw a light in his eyes…FDW that is. We left the store and the $3,000 puppy behind, but it got me thinking that the time might have come for us to consider another dog adoption.

We both played around on some Internet rescue sites. I even applied for one puppy, but was told because we didn’t have a doggie door, we couldn’t adopt from them. Another puppy looked like a possibility, but the price was high, and he wouldn’t be ready for a few weeks. I honestly can’t remember how I came upon Black Hat Humane Society. When I did, our search looked up. They didn’t have any silly rules about doggie doors, and they were more reasonably priced. The kicker is they are the main rescue site for the Navajo Nation. It served us well once. Why not again?

Amigo
Cut to the next chapter. We found Amigo. I’m not going to relate Amigo’s whole story today. That will be another blog post, if this all works out. We have to travel 3 ½ hours to meet him. The foster mom will have to travel nearly three hours to meet us, sort of in the middle. The first day we had scheduled fell through. Then we were supposed to get him today, but her schedule changed again. We are now set to pick him up tomorrow. Snow is in the forecast for the Mogollon Rim. We can’t get to Gallup, NM without a trip along the rim. Hopefully, the snow will be light like the weatherman is predicting or this adoption will be postponed yet again.

All of this postponing and the wait now has my stomach and my head in turmoil. Second thoughts are setting in. If we get there and he doesn’t respond to us, we’ll have made a wasted trip. Is all this trouble a sign we should forget it and find another dog? Or maybe not get a dog at all?

Amigo
To be continued…



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A #Wicked #Villain – If I Want You by Rachel Brimble


WICKED WEDNESDAY

Please welcome back Rachel Brimble. She's talking my favorite genre, romantic suspense, and that means a wicked villain.

Although I write mainstream romance, romantic suspense and historical romance, I have to admit when I create a villain I love, romantic suspense is without a doubt my favourite sub-genre to write.
When writing a suspenseful story, it’s imperative the author connects with the villain as much as they do the hero and heroine. During the creative process of writing If I Want You, it was actually the villain who came to me before the protagonists.

If I Want You is a ‘whodunit’ type mystery where the villain is not revealed until the end of the book, so I have to be careful how much I tell you about this character. The story has a definite sense of obsession running throughout which starts with the heroine realising the man who abducted her as a child might be running free and pursuing her a second time even though she is now an adult.

For me, creating a villain starts with understanding why they are villainous – some people will argue there is a possibility that some people are born evil, but I don’t believe that. So, in order for me to be entirely invested in my wicked character, I have to first imagine their childhood and adolescence to ensure their motivations are believable.

With the villain in If I Want You, the character’s motivation for stalking the heroine is steeped in their childhood. Their entire mindset, actions, resentment and beliefs stem from the experiences and emotions they endured when they were young. Thoughts festered, revenge was plotted and, eventually, obsession developed.

Having a villain who believes they are just in their beliefs and actions makes for a scary individual who I hope the reader is a little afraid of, but also, a whole lot invested in catching. I love writing romantic suspense for this exact reason – how can I not love knowing the reader is turning the pages more and more quickly? Is vying for the hero and heroine to escape or apprehend their tormenter?
I have written eight romantic suspense novels so far but, I have to say, the villain in If I Want You is undoubtedly my favourite!

Happy Reading…

Blurb & Buy Links for If I Want You…

While Tori battles the vile memories of her own kidnapping as a child, she accepts the help of widowed father, Mark Bolton. As he and Tori join forces with the local police, their attraction and intimacy grows…along with their fears for Abby.

Links are uncovered between Abby’s disappearance and Tori’s kidnapping, and Tori is forced to accept the monster who held her captive is back. But this time, Tori is all grown up, and there is no way she will let him hurt another little girl.

Buy Links:

Rachel Brimble Bio & Links:
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018 with book two coming February 2019.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America and has thousands of social media followers from all over the world. To sign up for her quarterly and new release newsletter, click here to go to her website: https://rachelbrimble.com/
Amazon Author Page:
Goodreads:
Bookbub:



Friday, January 11, 2019

On Getting Myself Into a Pickle… By J. Arlene Culiner #fearless #travel

FEARLESS FRIDAY

My guest today, J. Arlene Culiner, doesn't consider her tale fearless. Oh my gosh, I do! And it's so much fun. You must read on...

Here’s the question: do I think life will be boring if I stop doing rash things? Probably... So the incident I’m about to relate has nothing to do with bravery or courage. Instead, it’s about being in a pickle — a fairly frequent position in my higgledy-piggledy life. It started like this:

Once upon a time, I found myself in a clapboard, rusty trailer, semi-ghost town in Nevada. The hotel I stayed in was a rundown has-been, where ceilings soared high, and the lumpy, almost colorless wallpaper was a century old. In the shabby bar, a talentless band whined out bad country music, and locals dished up tall tales. It was a singular place, and I’d give anything to be able to go back…

But where was it? Believe me, I searched for it over and over, and never found it again. What was it called? I can’t remember. So I’m still looking for that cranky community — even years later. Which is how I got myself into the pickle I mentioned a few sentences back.

I was on a book tour, making my way from Los Angeles to Oklahoma by bus because, believe it or not, I really like travelling on buses and trains. You get to meet some pretty strange characters — grist for the writer’s mill — as well as highly interesting ones. Long-distance bus drivers have told me some of the best stories I’ve ever heard: they’ve been around; they’ve seen it all. Also, my ecological conscience reminds me that, if I take a plane, I’ll add a significant amount of planet-warming gases to the atmosphere.

On this particular bus, the driver and I chatted about books, about unusual destinations too. I mentioned that I’d crossed whole countries on foot, that I’m ever on the lookout for odd places.
“Well,” he said, “if you want to see an unusual place, get off a few miles from here. There’s a date plantation, a restaurant where you can get a good meal, nothing else. But if you walk north, you’ll find the crankiest, finest community around. I remember it well. It might be what you’re looking for.”

Why not? I was around fifteen hours outside of Oklahoma City: I had time. So, feeling very optimistic, I stepped off the bus and headed for the restaurant — I was starving. Of course I hadn’t asked the driver any normal questions such as — “how far north do I have to walk?” or “is there anywhere to stay in the area?” or “when does the next bus come through?” I always think luck is on my side.

            “Restaurant’s closed,” said the waitress as she slopped away gooey crumbs from the counter top.
            “Don’t tell me that.”
            “Well, it is,” she said with unpleasant satisfaction. She was dying to go home, prop up her aching feet, sit mindlessly in front of a television.
“Okay, then. Where can I get something to eat?”
            “She looked at me as if I were very strange. “Out here?”
            “Yes… I just got off the bus, you see. The driver mentioned a community not far away. To the north. Walking distance.”
            “He said that, did he?”
            “He did.”
            She harrumphed.
            “It isn’t?”
            “It’s a pretty big walk.”
            “How big?”
            “Hours away.”
            “Ah. How about a place to sleep? A motel, a room somewhere.”
            “Out here?”
            “Well, yes…”
            “Nothing like that out this way.”
            “And out at that community?”
            “Doubt it.”
            I chewed over the information for a few minutes, then optimism abandoned me. “When does the next bus come through?”
            “Tomorrow afternoon. Five o’clock.”

Outside, the sun sank with alarming speed. Now what? I wasn’t about to set off on a night trek. No, I’d just have to find a place to sleep, somewhere safe. Where would that be? I thought of all the hungry cougars, wolves, giant killer ants, and zombies who were waiting for the moon and a victim. I thought of armed, dangerous two-legged cranks who roam through the night. I could hear teeth grinding and saliva dripping. I could see strange shapes. “Cut it out,” I ordered myself (but not too loudly.)

I found a little hollow far from the road, curled into it, pulled all the clothes out of my bag and hoped they would be as warm as a good blanket. I also hoped I would be able to sleep. That I would survive.

When I next opened my eyes, it was early morning. Amazing! Evil had passed me by. I headed north, taking the dirt road over a perfectly empty plain. It was a very lonely road. I didn’t see a living soul, but my imagination conjured up movement and shadows, created strange, unpleasant noises. Still, I kept walking: whatever was going to get me, would get me coming or going.

I reached the community an hour or so later — it wasn’t really all that far. It was a wonderful place. There was a clapboard bar run by two wild ladies; there were old timers and cranks; there was great conversation; there was food and drink; it was — albeit too briefly — home.

            “Come back,” people said to me. “There’s plenty of place for you to stay. There are empty shacks.”
            “I will,” I answered. I meant it too.

            But I haven’t returned. Not yet. Will it be as wonderful as I remember? Who knows? What I have done, however, is mix it together with that first community, that rusty trailer, semi-ghost town in Nevada. Together, they’ve become a delightful fictional community called Blake’s Folly. It’s the setting for my newest contemporary romance, Desert Rose. And it really is worth a visit.

This place was a rusty trailer, scrapyard, abandoned car, clapboard shack, sagging old house community: a dead end if there ever was one. This was nowhere. This was the end of the line, socially speaking. This was a has-been. This was home.

You can find J. Arlene and all of her books HERE.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

In the Book: #Hero Takeover #RomanticSuspense

Joshua clings to the side of a mountain in Arizona
The first book of my new series has a working title of Magpie, a Joshua, Arizona book. You can deduce from the title that Magpie MacKenzie is the main character. The arc of the series will cover the MacKenzie family and their life in Joshua, Arizona.

I'm thirteen chapters into the first draft and a curious thing has happened. Zack Peartree, Magpie's counterpart and hero has jumped in and is dominating the story line. I don't like to use force on my characters. It's usually good if they develop organically. BUT...I'm going to have to curb his appetite for being in the spotlight. Or it's possible I just need to step up Magpie's game.

This is one of the fun things about writing a novel. As a reader, you might assume authors know their story and sit down at the computer and pound it out. Not necessarily. This is the hardest facet of writing to explain to someone who isn't familiar with the process. At least, not my process. It's important to stay on the path as far as the theme and the story. The plot can and does wander from time to time which can be a nightmare to get back on track. You don't want to end up in Florida if you're headed to Maine.

For now, Zack can have his way. I think if I haven't seen Magpie step out of the shadows by chapter
Stairs take you to the street above
fifteen, I'm going to have to backtrack and discover where she shut down. She needs to find her mojo again.

Brenda and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. Currently, they split their time between the Lake Roosevelt basin in Central Arizona and the pines in the north. Wherever Brenda opens her laptop, she spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love entangled with suspense.

She blogs and has guests: https://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year with #prizes #giveaways

I'm starting the New Year off with a bang with not just one great giveaway but TWO! Be sure to enter both of these for multiple chances to win big!

BREAK OUT THE BUBBLY on Bookwrapt
Click right... HERE.
It’s a New Year, romance lovers! Let’s celebrate the 365 reading days ahead with a giveaway! Enter for your chance to win one of these amazing prizes: a Kindle Fire, Amazon bookmark gift cards, ebook prize packs, or a gorgeous Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice book tote.

It's a Rafflecopter entry. Very easy to do. After you've entered, pop over to the Book Fair page. 

INSTAGRAM FOLLOW GIVEAWAY
You can win a $175 Amazon gift card just for following authors (me included) on Instagram. It's a win-win. Not only do you have a chance to win the gift card, but you'll be notified of some great deals and great books from authors without having to search them out.
Click right... HERE



Happy New Year and Good Luck!!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2018

M.S. Spencer Creates a Cozy on the Island #mystery #romance

MUSE MONDAY

It's cozy mystery romance day for Muse Monday. Please welcome, M. S. Spencer to Discover...

Flotsam & Jetsam is a cozy mystery romance set on a barrier island in north-east Florida.
I first visited Amelia Island to attend the Amelia Island Book Festival, and was struck by the crazy quilt of events it had survived. Known as the Isle of Eight Flags, it had seen wave after wave of conquering armies, some big, like the Spanish, and some tiny, like the Patriots of Amelia Island who mustered nine gunboats and maybe a hundred men. Timucuan Indians, French, Spanish, pirates, Scots mercenaries, Confederate and Union soldiers, all occupied the tiny island at one point or another. It also has a sizable Geechee (Gullah) community. Faced with a setting like that, who wouldn’t want to craft a nice little murder mystery that drew on the island’s history?

Blurb:
Three corpses strewn across the sand. Who are they and how did they get to Amelia Island?  State Park rangers Simon Ribault and Ellie Ironstone must find the answers while contending with a secretive group called the League of the Green Cross. Are the deaths linked to it? Or could they be tied to the colorful history of the island, which was won and lost eight times? Mucking up the investigation is the crucial question—who will Ellie choose: Thad, the handsome local idol, and Simon, the clever, quirky bookworm?

Ellie rotated the phone to allow them both to listen. “Simon and I are at the fort. There was an event here last night, and Hosea sent us to check out what, if any, mess the participants left before we reopen to the public tomorrow.”
“Oh, right. Betty Lawrence told me it was some sort of cult initiation—torches and secret handshakes and masks and stuff. I doubt they’d leave anything behind. Wouldn’t want to divulge any clues to their Circean rituals.”
Simon whistled. “Did she just say ‘Circean’? Cool!”
Ellie put a palm over her phone. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“Circe. You know. Greek goddess of sorcery. Well, minor goddess to be precise, but she did land a pretty good gig in The Iliad. When Odysseus and his men…” Simon petered out in response to the look on Ellie’s face.
She took her hand off the phone and spoke into it. “We’re not sure our little emergency has anything to do with the attendees. The inside of the fort was reasonably tidy, but outside the walls—” 
“Get on with it, Ellie. You’re just like your father. What have you found?”
Ellie brushed the criticism aside with a wave of her hand. “A bit of unexpected flotsam washed up on the shore.”
“Where?”
“You don’t want to know what it is first?”
“I need coordinates if I’m to send out reinforcements.”
“Okay, the body is on the stretch of sand facing St. Marys River. Northeast of the fort.”
“Body, huh. Dead?”
“I’d probably call it a man if it wasn’t.”
“Good point. Does it look pruny?”
Ellie checked out the corpse, lying supine on the sand. “Not really. So that means he died recently?”
“It means he wasn’t in the water long. Stiff?”
“Stiff, vic, cadaver—whatever you want to call him, he’s dead.”
“Ellie…”
Simon sensed the increasing threat level and, on the off chance Ellie didn’t, intervened. “Hold on a sec.” He prodded the dead man’s jaw, then tried to lift his arm. “Tell your mother rigor mortis has set in. Body’s cold. I’d say he died maybe eight to twelve hours ago.” 

Mainstream Mystery, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense
Rating: Spicy (PG13)
Paper 430 p.; Ebook 97,578 words 
Buy Links (ebook and print):

Will also be available at Walmart.

About the Author:
M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents and has published twelve romantic suspense or cozy mystery novels. She has two children, a wonderful granddaughter, and divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
Contacts: