January 2 2016

Pull Up a Chair

Pull Up A Chair With Author Karen Welch @welchkaren1

June 10 2016

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It is my pleasure to welcome author Karen Welch to Room With Books. Karen has graciously, and painstakingly, answered a plethora of questions to give our readers an opportunity to get to know her better!

Karen, please tell us about yourself.

Welch - 09I’m a Virginia native. I was born in Richmond and spent most of my childhood in rural Amelia County, where my family originally settled in the early 1700’s. Needless to say the roots there are deep! While I will always consider that part of the world my home, most of my adult life has been spent in North Florida and in Southeast Kansas, which is where I am now. I have two children, now with families of their own. My husband and I live in a 120-year-old house in a small town, enjoying the relative quiet of retirement—the perfect environment for an introverted writer to ply her trade!

Please tell us your latest news?

I’ve just finished a serial novella, All That Glitters, and I’m still working on the second book in the Welcome to Walnut Lodge Series.  There are plenty of other ideas in the pipeline, but I do best working on one thing at a time.

When and why did you begin writing?

I must have started “writing” at about age 10, but I finally got serious at the end of my 50’s, when it occurred to me that I only had a couple decades left to get the job done. I was always going to be a “writer” because the ideas floating around in my head intrigued me enough that I wanted to see them on paper. I never gave any thought to who else might see what I’d written. I just wanted to write the stories so I could see how they ended. Now, sharing them provides me with a bonus thrill I never anticipated back when I was just scribbling my stories in notebooks for my own amusement.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Not until I began to hear response from readers of my first book. I was reluctant to put myself in that exalted position until I realized my work had moved someone else enough for them to reach out to me. I still find it a little bit surreal when I see a review or open an email from a reader. They consider me a writer without question, so I guess that means I must be doing my job right.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Heats UnfoldThis goes straight back to the when and why of writing. I had a number of ideas sketched in my mind and when I sat down to write, what became Hearts Unfold seemed to be at the front of the queue.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I always start with “What if?” Then I try to let the story tell itself through the eyes of the characters. I’m a “pantser,” so many times I’m surprised by the way things unfold, but I try to resist manipulating a story for the sake of genre or style. I suppose I’m a storyteller, much like my grandmothers, who both loved to tell long, detailed stories about people they’d known and places they’d seen. That tradition is sadly dying in our faster paced present, so for those of us who write in that tradition there is a responsibility to keep it alive.

How did you come up with the title?

Shannon's DaughterThat varies. Sometimes I know the title first—such as with Shannon’s Daughter—but more typically the title comes from something significant that emerges as I write. For instance, I used quotes from hymns and scriptures for the titles of the Valley Rise series because they appeared somewhere in the stories.

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?

Again, that varies depending on the story. The Valley Rise books are clearly about the transforming power of love. The Walnut Lodge books seem to have a “second chance” message. I don’t start out with the idea of conveying a message, but it often turns out there is one theme that stands out by the time I’m done.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

There is definitely something of my life experience in what I write. I’ve lived long enough and known enough people to have gathered quite a few ideas and impressions. I often use places I’ve visited as inspiration for locations, and music I love plays a role in many of my stories. Most of my characters are purely fictional, but they often have some small part of a real person at their core. For example, the character of Bernard Silverman, the famous conductor who appears in the Valley Rise books and Shannon’s Daughter, is based rather obviously on Leonard Bernstein, who had a great influence on my love of music. The only time I’ve come close to writing about a personal experience is in Katie Lost and FoundKatie Lost and Found. I did travel to Europe and meet a very nice young Dutchman, who is the obvious inspiration for Peter, but the story is otherwise a work of fiction.

What books have influenced your life most?

It would be impossible to name a few specific titles. I’d rather say that reading everything I could get my hands on as a girl, from Alcott to Hemingway to PG Wodehouse, as well as lots and lots of historical fiction, influenced my love of a well-told story. I still read constantly and believe firmly that a writer must not only put words on paper, but fill her mind with as many words and images as possible to keep the imagination fueled.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d probably say Jan Karon. When I read the Mitford series, I was impressed with her personal story as well as her work. It’s never too late to change course and follow your dream.

What book are you reading now?

I’ve just finished reading An Echo in the Bone, the seventh book Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?

I’ve enjoyed sampling the work of Indie authors. There’s a lot of good writing out there.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on the second novel in the Walnut Lodge series, which focuses on a couple who were close friends in high school but lost touch for many years. When they meet up again in their hometown, the old attraction is still there, but their current responsibilities and life experiences make rekindling the relationship a bit tricky. Never fear, there’s always a happy ending at Walnut Lodge!

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Early on I shared my work with a couple of friends who convinced me that I should keep going. I knew they would be honest with me, brutally if necessary, so I took them at their word.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No, I don’t think so. It doesn’t pay to rehash once you’ve published. Better to move on to the next project and hope to improve with each work.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My father was an aspiring writer. He died when I was very young and I expect I wished that I’d inherited something of his gift.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure! This is from Where We Left Off—Welcome to Walnut Lodge Book Two

“So, how did things go with my sister?”

Jeff avoided Cami’s expectant gaze, wondering how best to answer. Even he was smart enough to recognize, from the moment Cami casually mentioned Connie for the job, that Mitchell sister number two was up to her old tricks. They might be co-workers now at the Lodge but Cami would always seem more like a little sister to him. They’d shared a lot in the past, much of it too hard and deep for a couple of teenagers to share without bonding them beyond friendship.

“Well, if the goal was to find a sitter for Mother, it went great. Connie starts next week. If you’re asking whether we did more than talk about the job, not really.”

“Come on, Jeff. Be patient with her. She’s been through hell and back since the two of you were close. Connie’s leery of opening up to anybody, even her family. Give her a chance to get to know you again.”

“I hear you, Cami. But there’s not much gain in ‘getting to know me’ now. You’d have better luck putting your matchmaking skills to work on old Cyril here.” He nodded toward the Lodge’s resident mascot, a white muzzled Pomeranian who shared his shift most nights. Currently Cyril was performing what he considered his primary duty. Curled in his bed, he was snoring softly into the elegant golden plume of his tail, the occasional twitch of an ear the only sign he was following the conversation.

“I’m not match making, I’m just trying to help two people I care about. But I think it’s exciting. I mean I’m sorry your mother’s condition is the reason, but putting the two of you in the same place day after day, that’s a good thing. You’ll see. Connie needs a friend who remembers what she used to be like, who doesn’t walk on eggshells around her.”

“Is that what you girls do, walk on eggshells? That doesn’t sound like the Mitchell sisters I remember. You guys were brutal.”

“We tend to take it easy on Connie now. She never mentions her marriage. It’s like if she doesn’t talk about it, it never happened.”

“What about Lily? Doesn’t she talk about her father?”

“No. Never. I guess they talk about him with Lily’s therapist, but never in front of us.”

He thought for a moment, sorting what he knew from what he was willing to reveal. “That’s rough. I’m sorry it’s taking so long for them to move on.”

“That’s why I say Connie needs to be around people who really knew her before. And you knew her better than anybody. Maybe better than we did.” Cami shot him a challenging look, one he couldn’t ignore. “Think back, Jeff. You and Connie were always together, from the time you moved here. You remember what she was like, so optimistic, so determined. Now it’s more like she’s pushing a big rock up a steep hill, just waiting for it to roll back on her. And the worst part is, she seems to think when it does, she deserves to be crushed.”

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding time to write, pushing aside all the other responsibilities in my day to just sit down at the computer, seems to be my biggest challenge. I’ve recently become the fulltime caregiver for my husband, so changing the focus from that level of activity to the internal work of writing is difficult. I’m slowly finding the discipline to do that, but it’s definitely a change from the way I worked when I first started writing.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I’d have to say Hemingway because of the clarity of his writing. He doesn’t merely paint a picture with words. He takes a photograph.

Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

It isn’t necessary, but I would love to get out to more writers’ conferences and do more signings. Unfortunately, my current situation doesn’t allow for that, but perhaps in the future I’ll be able to meet more readers and other writers face to face.

What is the hardest part of writing a book?

Knowing when to stop revising. There will always be a better word or phrase, so you just have to say “good enough” once the story’s told, and stop agonizing.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I’ve learned a lot of things. I suppose the most important is to trust my instincts. I set out in the beginning to write a book I wanted to read. If I’ve done that, I now know there are others who will feel the same about it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Do it! Whether you set out to find a publisher or to self-publish, write, rewrite, let someone you trust read your work and then get it out there. We live in a very exciting time when the industry is going through so many positive changes. Take advantage of them!

Do you remember the first book you read?

No, but I remember the first book I couldn’t put down was Little Women. I read it over and over until my mother finally made me find something else to read because I was constantly crying over certain parts of the story. I guess you could say it really grabbed me!

What makes you laugh or cry?

The same things can do both—children, dogs, my husband, a good book, a good movie, music. It changes as I get older, but I’d much rather laugh than cry.

Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?

There are many! I guess I’ll have to go with the first to come to mind. I’d love to meet George Harrison. I was crazy for him as a teenager and then so inspired by him later in life.

Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I love to garden. I enjoy cooking. I take great pleasure in restoring old houses and furniture. Like writing, they can all feel like work at times, but unlike the writing, they are done simply for my personal satisfaction.

What TV shows or films do you enjoy watching?

I don’t watch much TV, mainly a few programs on PBS, but I’m currently obsessed with the Outlander series on STARZ. I enjoy historical films, mysteries, and occasionally a good tearjerker love story.

What is your favorite food, color and music?

Anything baked—bread, cake, muffins. Yellow. Classical.

If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

Teach.

Do you have a blog or website? If so what is it?

The address for Lost in the Plains is http://valleyrise.blogspot.com/. My blog about writing, life, and anything else that comes to mind.

You can find out all about my books and other things at my Amazon Author Page.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to our readers?

THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR SHARING THIS JOURNEY WITH ME!!!

Thank you, Karen, for spending so much time helping me by pulling up a chair with us on Room With Books! I hope you’ll come back in the future with more answers to questions and books to read!

 

Meet the AuthorWelch - 09Karen Welch was born in Richmond, Virginia and grew up in nearby Amelia County, where her family had originally settled in the 1720’s.  After a twenty-year sojourn in North Florida, she now resides in Southeast Kansas with husband John, a cocker spaniel named Raleigh and an eccentric calico cat who on occasion answers to Patches.  Her long delayed writing career began in 2012 with the publication of her first novel, Hearts Unfold.  This inspirational romance quickly grew into the Miracle at Valley Rise series with the release of Entreat Me Not, Heart of My Own Heart and Offered for Love in the following year.  Karen is also the author of the holiday novella, Christmas at Valley Rise, and Shannon’s Daughter, a romance set in the mid-twentieth century revolving around one of the characters in the series. In August 2014 her new series Welcome to Walnut Lodge premiered with the release of Katie Lost and Found.

Contact Karen at welchkaren@yahoo.com, find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Welch/, follow her blog Lost in the Plains at  http://valleyrise.blogspot.com/ and follow her on Twitter @welchkaren1.

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All That Glitters coverKaren has compiled a 40-week serial novella, published on her blog Lost in the Plains, into her latest offering as ALL THAT GLITTERS. It is a novella of approximately 60,000 words.

 

Max Evans is at the top. Labeled the Blonde Adonis, he’s idolized by millions around the world for his golden voice and his blonde good looks. He might be every woman’s dream, but for rising TV journalist Lucinda Cramer, he’s a troublesome glitch in her already complicated schedule. Filming a documentary about a pop idol on tour is hardly the kind of hard hitting assignment Lucy longs for, and the timing of the job couldn’t be worse. With her private life full of responsibilities and the shadow of a past tragedy looming over her family, the last thing she has time for is trailing after a pampered celebrity. Two weeks on a tour bus is plenty of time for Lucy and Max to discover that first impressions can’t always be trusted and second chances are never too late.


Omega Rising Blog Tour @SandsOfTime5050 @_BookMistress

Omega Rising

By Anna Kyle

Book One of the Wolf King series

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*285 pages / 85,000 words

*Paranormal romance

 

About the Book

Cover - Omega Rising by Anna KyleCass Nolan has been forced to avoid the burn of human touch for her whole life, drawing comfort instead from her dreams of a silver wolf—her protector, her friend. When her stalking nightmares return, her imaginary dead sister’s ghost tells her to run, Cass knows she should listen, but the sinfully hot stranger she just hired to work on her ranch has her mind buzzing with possibilities. Not only does her skin accept Nathan’s touch, it demands it. Cass must make a decision—run again and hope she saves the people who have become her family, or stand and fight. Question is, will it be with Nathan or against him?

Nathan Rivers’ life is consumed by his quest to find the Omega wolf responsible for killing his brother, but when the trail leads him to Cass and her merry band of shapeshifters, his wolf wants only to claim her for himself. When evidence begins piling up that Cass is the Omega he’s been seeking, things become complicated—especially since someone else wants her dead. Saving her life might mean sacrificing his own, but it may be worth it to save the woman he can’t keep from reaching for.

Omega Rising is available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Kobo, World Weaver Press, iBookstore, IndieBound and OmniLit, and for wholesale through Ingram.

Purchase Links

Publisher - Word Weaver Press

Barnes and Noble ~~ Amazon

Kobo ~~ All Romance eBooks

 

 

Meet the Author

Anna Kyle

Anna Kyle is the author of the Wolf King series at World Weaver Press – Omega Rising and Skye Falling - and author of Coming Up Roses, a short story appearing in Rough Edges, a cowboy romance anthology at Pen & King Publishing. She wrote her first story at age 12 on an old manual typewriter, and though the technology has changed, she hasn’t stopped since. She lives in the Midwest surrounded by family and friends and dogs and horses. They’ve forgiven her (mostly) when they appear in her stories. She reads everything she can get her hands on, but romances, especially paranormals, are her favorite. Vampires, humans, Fae, shapeshifters, or demons, it doesn’t matter—Anna’s heart goes pitter-pat for the Happily Ever After. Hot heroes + strong, funny heroines = awesome.

Connect With the Author

Website: annakyle.com

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1sn7yPX

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/22uf4oA

Twitter: Anna Kyle @SandsOfTime5050

 

Top Ten Reasons Authors Need Dogs

  1. You are #1 on the NYT and USA Bestsellers lists, the top banana, the cat’s meow (maybe not that one) with your dog. Always. Except on the 4th of July. Even your #1 status cannot compare to the safety behind the toilet. But still, other than that, it’s nice to be #1.
  2. Dogs are a built-in procrastination life hack. Walk the dog. Wash the dog. Nap with dog. Feed the dog. All good reasons to avoid writing.
  3. Dog walks and dog parks force introverted authors into the sunshine, all pale and blinking at the brightness, to soak up some much needed vitamin D. Although they long for the dimness of their office lit only by the computer’s glow, their need to talk about their dog with anyone who will listen trumps the need to be left alone.
  4. Yes, you are #1 but authors still pick up doggie poop, mop the floor when dogs barf, scrub rugs that have been peed on, or worse, loose-stooled upon. So dogs keep authors humble. Here’s a typical author-dog conversation. Dog: “Hey, can’t you see I’m walking way around this spot, clearly and carefully avoiding looking at said spot. Clean up that mess I made, will you? It’s gross.” Author: “Bad dog. JK. Who’s a good dog? You are, yes you are.”
  5. As must be clear from #4, authors with dogs stay fit from the nonstop cleaning and repair of household destruction.
  6. Let’s face it. Dogs are funny goofballs. Authors need funny goofballs around when that rejection comes in. They also happy-dance with you around the living room when the request for a full hits your inbox.
  7. In addition to writing books, authors must also constantly be “expanding their brand” or “growing their platform.” Two words: Dog pictures. Dogs are tailor-made for bumping up an author’s analytics. Get a shot of your dog on its back, paws folded adorably, dozing with a copy of your book, or even better, my new book OMEGA RISING OUT NOW YES RIGHT NOW, open on his chest. Maybe even wearing reading glasses. Yes. Bam. Your phone will shake itself off the coffee table with at least ten notifications. But don’t do it until I do it first. DIBS. If you ignore my dibs call, at least @ me so I can see it.
  8. Your dog loves your latest manuscript even if you’re pretty sure that this latest draft is a steaming pile of garbage. All that crisp paper so neatly arranged flaps so enticingly as he rips it to shreds. Your manuscript is an irresistible temptation to his taste buds. Garbage is pretty tasty too, thinks your dog.
  9. Authors spend a lot of time sitting and staring, usually in front of a computer. Dogs think you’re just figuring out when to go outside and play. Here’s a game authors play with their dogs. Scoot your chair back suddenly, half rise out of your chair. Watch your dogs blast out of the room to the back door. Sit back down. Repeat as needed, because they fall for it at least ten times in a row. Exercise and laughter. Priceless.
  10. Dogs are love.

 

Excerpt

He gestured toward the desk again, his eyebrows lifting at her obvious reluctance. Well it could only take a few seconds or so to place a bandage and he smelled so damn good. She settled herself on the desk and held out her hand. He was so close she imagined she could feel the heat of his body warming her skin. His thumb smoothed the edges of the criss-cross bandage while his other hand held hers loosely. Cass tensed, ready to yank her hand away. Nathan looked at her, questioning, she guessed, how she got the scrape.

“Misjudged the wall.” Her voice was unsteady as she tried to ignore the shooting tingly little sparks fanning out from his touch. His large tanned hand enveloped hers loosely, turning it over to trace her palm. Cass’s apprehension grew and she braced for the inevitable burn, her brain automatically rifling through the best maneuvers to pull herself free. The clunky phone on her desk could be a weapon and the letter opener was lying within easy distance. A bonk on the head or stab in the throat, if her gut had massively misjudged his character, would gain her freedom.

His hold didn’t tighten. Five seconds, ten, still nothing. Fifteen, twenty. She wanted him to let go yet clung to the warmth and texture of his skin. Her breath came faster but it wasn’t nerves alone. His finger traced a small cut on the pad of her ring finger and he looked up again.

 “Pa-paper cut.” He grabbed an antiseptic square, tore it open with his teeth to keep his hold on her hand. Soon that cut was cleaned and covered. Her insides shivered as his hand glided over her forearm, pushing up the sleeve of her hoodie. Her skin soaked in the roughness of his palm and reached for the heat in his touch. Ninety seconds. She stared at his large, tanned hand stroking her pale forearm, the pure pleasure of it making her light-headed.

“You’re trembling,” he murmured as he continued his exploration, finding a larger angry red line with bruising around it. He traced it gently.

“Mr. Clean,” Cass said, her voice husky. “He’s an asshole.”

Nathan chuckled, the sound raspy as if he hadn’t found much amusing for a long time. Cass stared, transfixed. He was already the best looking man she’d ever seen, but with the smile softening his features for a moment he was devastating, the crinkles at the corner of his eyes positively kissable. Her heart flipped in her chest.

He pressed his lips against her palm, taking a deep, ragged breath. His nose and lips were hot and she waited, quivering in anticipation.

 

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Exciting Change to Room With Books

June 1, 2016

As of today, June 1st, Room With Books is changing formats from being primarily a blog to being a book review site. I am still posting blog tours for some organizers with books that interest me, but you will be seeing fewer tours. I plan to review one or two books weekly and will continue to build the feature page "Pull Up A Chair".

I love blogging and participating in tours with all of my wonderful organizers and supporting indie authors! I am a one-woman site and the workload was becoming more than one person could reasonably handle. I figured that making this change after my Florida vacation  was the best time to make the transition!

Florida Sunset

Thank you for your incredible support in building my dream and I hope you'll continue to follow Room With Books. If you know of a book that I should be reading for review, please be sure you drop me a note and I'll take a look at it!

Patricia, Room With Books


#RRBC Who is “SPOTLIGHT” Author Lizzie Chantree? @Lizzie_Chantree

Who is “SPOTLIGHT

Author Lizzie Chantree?

 

LC Author Photo

An inventive author!

Lizzie is a wife and mum, who is also an accomplished inventor, businesswoman and artist. She founded her first company at the age of 17 and has been creating products ever since!

She went to a design and advertising college, called The School of Communication Arts, which was based in London. They took only a handful of students each year from all over the world, so she made the most of the opportunity by learning everything she could about how to create products, advertise and package them.

After college she started her own business opening her first retail venture. She designed and sold her own brand of products to customers all over the world. This business grew to two shops and a wholesale business, including a retail gift catalogue, which Lizzie ran for over 20 years.

During this time she also invented a product called Runaway Spray, which is a lipstick size spray, perfect for a ladies handbag, that prevents further ‘ladders’ or ‘runs’ in stockings or tights. She became one of Fair Play London's Female Inventors of the Year. She also won business awards and the ‘Livewire’ competition, run by Shell UK in association with The Prince’s Trust. She was asked to return the following year as a ‘Livewire’ competition judge.

Lizzie’s daughter had been unwell for two years and to keep herself awake at night, she wrote her first novel, Babe Driven. Five years later, when her daughter’s health improved, she had it professionally edited and happened to read a magazine article about a well known author who was self-publishing his novels. She discovered a brilliant book club called RRBC, (you should join!) and this helped her along her way as an author.

Currently Lizzie has written three books;

A sizzling beach read-Babe Driven:

A medical romance story-Love’s Child:

LC Book CoverHer latest book, which has just been released on Amazon:

A mystical romance-Finding Gina:

All of Lizzie’s books have strong central characters and a sprinkling of humour.

Reader quote: ‘This is a really compulsive read and not easy to put down; but quite light hearted.

The characters are really fun, engaging and believable.

I am really looking forward to the authors next Novel... Give it a go!!!!’

Excerpt of chapter two from Finding Gina:

‘There’s something strange about that girl,’ hissed Rachel to Tom, her aunt’s resident baker, who was hands deep in flour as he stretched a batch of dough for the next day’s quota of cakes.

‘What do you mean?’ he asked quizzically, shaking flour dust from his nose and almost making himself sneeze. He looked at Gina through the glass door to the tearoom and thought she looked kind of cute!

‘I mean that she is always smiling and I’ve never seen her here with the same person, other than my aunt a few times. It’s a bit like she picks up waifs and strays, but she’s also a stray herself. Do you know what I mean?’

Tom raised his eyebrows at Rachel’s views on their customer. She was always offering an opinion on everyone that girl; from the delivery boy, to that unfortunate young mother with the face full of spots!

Rachel waited for Tom to reply, then raised her hands into the air in surrender and grabbed the next order that was sitting ready to be delivered to table three, slapping the plates together and almost covering a pretty cupcake in coffee as it sloshed onto the saucer.

Follow Lizzie Chantree on Social Media:

Twitter handle: @Lizzie_Chantree

Facebook address: https://www.facebook.com/lizziechantree/

Website address: https://www.writewithsydney.co.uk/

Any additional means of contact: Blog: https://www.lizziechantree.com/


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books - May 7, 2016 @huckfinn76

May 7, 2016

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My name is Andrew Joyce. Patricia asked me to write something for her blog just as I was on my way out of town. I didn’t want to disappoint her, so I asked my friend Jim to fill in for me. Jim’s a good guy. He lives up in Montana on his ranch. I don’t know what he’ll be writing about. I just hope he keeps it PG.

Kelly

Howdy, the name’s Jim Bridger and I’ve got me a story to tell. It ain’t no shoot ‘em up western tale, though it does take place in the west. It ain’t no detective yarn, though something is found. And it sure as hell ain’t no love story, though a love blossoms. I reckon I best be gettin’ to it.

I rode the rodeo circuit all my life, started out as a snot-nosed kid handling stock. Then I was given a chance to break horses for the promoter I worked for. And I was pretty damn good at it. So I saved up the fee and entered myself in the bronco event when we set up in Salinas. I came in second and that was all she wrote. With the prize money, I bought myself a pickup truck and started to follow the circuit. I was never the best, but I made out all right. It wasn’t long before I was entering other events. I was particular to bull riding and steer wrestling. Of course, I had to do chute dogging first to prove myself before I could do any steer wrestling.

I broke my fair share of bones, and nowadays when I wake up in the morning, it takes me ’bout an hour to work out all the kinks before I can walk straight up. I never had no social life. It was just movin’ from town to town, mostly sleeping in my truck. I reckon the only thing I was ever close to was my horse, a gray dun that I had named Tex. I had to put him down five years back when he got the colic.

When all the broken bones and the other abuse I had put my body through finally caught up with me and I couldn’t compete no more, I became a rodeo clown. Then even that became too much for my old bones. I was offered a job handling stock, but that was where I started out thirty years earlier. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I hit the road in my twenty-year-old pickup looking for something, although I had no idea what. I was fifty-five-years old, had a hundred and twenty dollars in my pocket and a half a tank of gas in my truck.

I picked up day labor here and there. It kept me fed and gas in my truck, but one Sunday morning, a year after leaving the rodeo, I found myself out of gas, out of money, and out of hope. There was a gnawin’ in my stomach. I hadn’t eaten in a day. I was outside of Blythe, California, just across from the Arizona line.

The truck coasted to a stop and I looked about. The country looked as desolate as my spirits felt. There was only one building that I could see; it looked like a small farmhouse, but then I noticed the sign. It read: KATE ARCHER, VETERINARIAN. With nothing to lose, I decided to go up and ask to trade some work for a meal. It being Sunday and all, I figured no one would be about, but it was my only option.

As I approached the house, my heart sank. It was in disrepair; it looked as though no one had lived in it for a while. Then I saw the corral. There was a single horse in it, a skinny pinto. I knocked on the back door, which was immediately opened by a woman of about fifty.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Ma’am, I’m sorry to disturb you on a Sunday mornin’, but I was wonderin’ if you might have some work that needs doing in exchange for a meal?”

She took so long to say something, I thought she was gonna slam the door in my face. But finally she told me to come in, that she was just fixin’ breakfast.

“Ma’am, if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather do the work first.”

She smiled and said, “I can tell you’re hungry, and a man can’t work on an empty stomach. God knows there’s plenty that needs doing, so don’t worry, you’ll earn your meal.” Then she stood aside so that I could enter.

While she busied herself at the stove, I sat at the kitchen table and we introduced ourselves. Her name was Kate Archer, and she was a veterinarian as the sign had suggested. We made small talk until the food was ready. Nothing never looked so good. As I shoveled eggs and bacon into my mouth, Kate said that it was good to see a man enjoy her cooking.

The short of it is, Kate told me there were some shingles that needed replacin’ on the roof, and that there were a stack of ’em in the lean-to out back. I thanked her for the grub, found the ladder and shingles and got to work. Four hours later, just as I was finishing up, she called me down to lunch.

While we were eating, she asked, “So, what are your plans?”

“Reckon when I git done with this here fine food, I’ll walk into town and look for work.”

She looked shocked and asked, “You’ll walk to town? Don’t you have a car?”

“I’ve got a truck, but it’s kinda outta gas.”

Then she wanted to know what kind of work I did.

“Whatever needs doin’. ’Ceptin’ I don’t do no doctorin’ of animals, nothing like that.”

She smiled at my little joke and said, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a lot of work that needs doing right here. I can’t pay much, but I’ll feed you and you can sleep in the lean-to.”

I didn’t have to think on it long.

I pushed my truck into the yard, put my kit in the lean-to, then went up to the kitchen door and knocked. When she opened it, I said, “All moved in, ma’am. What do you want me to tackle first?”

“First, I want you to call me Kate. Then I want you to get comfortable. That lean-to needs some fixing up if you’re going to live in it. So why don’t you work on that for now. At dinner I’ll give you a list of things to get started on and you can get to them in the morning. It’s Sunday after all, a day of rest.”

That’s how it started. There were always things that needed looking after, both inside the house and out. And somehow, I just never left. But after almost two years, I had the place looking pretty good and a few dollars in my pocket, so I reckoned it was time to move on.

Generally Kate was gone during the day making her rounds. So I was alone out back at the corral replacing a cracked board when Kelly trotted into my life. She was a black mustang . . . not much more than a foal. Of course her name wasn’t Kelly then. She was just a scrawny little filly looking the worse for wear. I gave her water and some oats and put her in the corral, then went about my work.

When Kate got back that night, a troubled look crossed her face. I was rubbing the mustang down in the lean-to and talking to her gently. “Hello,” said Kate. “How did she get here?”

I was startled for I had not heard her drive up, probably because all my attention was on the mustang. But I recovered quickly and answered her question. “I don’t know how she got here. She just came into the yard, trotted right up and nuzzled me. I think it was love at first sight on both our parts.”

“Well, we have a problem. That horse belongs to John Middleton and he’s not a very nice man. It’s likely when he learns she’s here, he’ll swear you stole her and have the law on you.”

I stopped rubbing the mustang and said, “Hang John Middleton! This horse has been mistreated and if I ever meet up with the man, I’ll beat the tar outta him. This horse goes back to him over my dead body.”

Kate sighed and said, “Put her in the corral and come inside. We’ll talk about it.”

As I sat down at the table, a name flashed in my head. KELLY!

Kate made us a drink of bourbon and water and sat down opposite me. “Jim, we’ll talk about the horse in a minute. But first I want to talk about us.” She saw that I was uncomfortable, so she hurried on. “You’ve been making noises over the last few weeks about leaving. I just want to ask you, aren’t you happy here?”

I sipped my whiskey and told her the truth. “Kate, when I showed up at your door, I was a broken man. I didn’t have a dime to my name and my prospects were zero. You fed me and housed me. For two years now, this has been my home. The only home I’ve ever known. I never told you, but I was an orphan. I ran away from the place at seventeen, and in all these years, you are the only person that showed me any kindness.”

I noticed that my glass was empty and stood to pour me another shot. Seeing her glass was still half full, I sat back down and continued. “I can’t stay here. If I do, I won’t have no self-respect. There’s no work here anymore.”

Kate sighed, downed her drink in one gulp, and said, “Make yourself useful. Pour me another one, no water this time.”

When I handed her the drink, she put it down, leaned back in her chair, and stared at me for a long minute. She shook her head before saying, “Now you listen here, Mister Jim Bridger. This place was worthless until you showed up. It’s now worth three times what it was. You work all day and then if I have a night call, you drive me. You have a way with animals. There were many a time if you had not been there to calm a sick and scared horse, I might have been trampled. I figure you earned your way into a partnership. And I dare you to say otherwise!” With that she downed the entire contents of her glass.

I didn’t know what to say. I’ve never seen her like that, I mean angry. She stood up and retrieved the bottle from the counter, saying, “This will save steps because we’re not leaving this table until we work things out.”

There was nothing to say to that neither, so I sat there with my mouth shut. But Kate sure had more to say. “For two years now, every single day we’ve eaten our meals together. We go shopping together. We talk on the porch in the cool of the evening. And not once, Jim Bridger, have you ever made a move on me. What’s wrong with me? You make a girl feel unattractive.”

She was so wrong. I thought her the most beautiful woman in the world, at least to me. There were many a night I lay in my bed and I thought of her. How I wanted to say something to let her know how I felt. But a man with nothing has no right to speak of such things to a woman.

There we sat, across the table from each other, neither one of us speaking. Then Kate got up, came over, and plopped herself right down on my lap. She put her arms around my neck and gave me the longest, deepest kiss I’ve ever had. It took me a few seconds, but then I returned it.

When we broke apart, she said, “Now that we have that settled, go get your things and move them into our bedroom.”

“I will. As soon as you get up off my lap.” She laughed and told me that she might not ever get up.

With her arms still around my neck, I asked her what we were going to do about Kelly. Kate tilted her head sideways and said, “Kelly?”

“The filly out in the corral.”

“Oh yes, her. Middleton is a son-of-a-bitch, but he owes me money. I’ll tell him I’m taking the horse as payment. If he gives me any trouble, I’ll report him for animal cruelty. What is her name again?"

“Kelly.”

“A nice name.”

That was the day I got me two first-class fillies. A year later, we sold the house, Kate sold her practice, and together with Kelly, we moved to Montana. We bought a small cabin and I built a heated barn for Kelly.

Now when it snows, Kelly is content in her barn. And Kate and I are content in each other’s arms.

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AndrewAndrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. He now lives aboard a boat with his dog, Danny.

Website ~~ Twitter

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Resolution-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.

By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.

Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”

When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.

On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.

It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.

They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

Amazon ~~ Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

iTunes ~~ Kobo

 

 


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books - May 7, 2016 @_BookMistress

May 7, 2016

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Stop Stealing Our Books!

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Ok, so unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have seen all the brouhaha about people “stealing” books thanks to Amazon’s returns policy and their own bad manners!  It’s a funny thing, but authors tend to have the same experiences and often we feel like we’re alone in it all, but then there will be 1 post that will just explode and suddenly you realise that not only is it not just you, but it’s everyone!

That’s what happened recently when an author shared a message she go t from a fan, complimenting her on an amazing book and saying that she’d just returned it for a full refund.  There was more, including that authors should just “give their books away”. *Thud*.

Seriously?? What is this person on? This same person probably buys coffee or takeaway lunch a few times a week, possibly to the tune of $30 or so and they’re going to complain about $1, $3 or $5 for a book?  Seriously, a book is non-fat, diet friendly and eternal... your coffee – not so much!  Also, while we’re at it... it took us a lot longer to produce that book than you had to wait for your coffee, so you should be grateful that we don’t charge you what we’re worth in hours J

Let’s be honest... authors spend months writing, editing and polishing a book. If we don’t have a publisher willing to shell out for the necessary, we then have to cough up money for editing, layout and cover design... probably some marketing or advertising and then we have to pray that we sell a few copies.  Lord knows that we’re unlikely to recover our financial investment, let alone crack a profit, but we keep trying because we love it and you never know! What shoots us in the foot is when retail giants like Amazon say that it’s perfectly ok to return an ebook that you have rad 100% and get 100% refund. Once or twice, maybe, but these thieves – because that is what they are – are doing this daily. Aren’t there any alarms ringing at Amazing HQ?!

Clearly not!

Ultimately, between pirate sites and unethical readers, authors are suffering daily. For many, an investment of $1 000 or more per book is normal... so no, I will not give my book away for free. This is not a hobby, something to tinker at... this is my job. You want my book for free? Tell me where you work and let me see how much you’ll do if I take your salary out of the picture... no? Well, fair is fair.

Until next time...

Domino x


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books - April 29, 2016 @huckfinn76

April 29, 2016

 

Guest Post

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Patricia has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog Danny—Danny the Dog—to toot it for me. He always has an attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States once co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny.

Danny on CouchAndrew took me away from watching reruns of Lassie to help him out here. For a person who works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about my girlfriend who came to visit me last week.

Her name is Lisa and she and I had a lot fun together. Of course, we had to let Andrew tag along, but enough about him. I want to talk about Lisa and all the fun we had.

First of all, she took me to the park and walked with me. I was so proud to be seen with her. All the other dogs were jealous. Then we went to a place that gives you sandwiches. How cool is that! Lisa and I had something called a sub sandwich. Andrew had a salad; he is such a wuss.

That night we went to my friends’ boat, Mike and Beth. They cooked for us and everyone enjoyed themselves except Andrew. He was put out that I was spending all my time with Lisa. But hey, I live with him. Lisa was going to be here for a few days only.

Of course, I was the star of the party. There were many humans there. Some guy called Gonzo rubbed my fur. And another human named Crabby Mike gave me a bone to chew on. And Beth hugged me and told me I was beautiful. I already knew that, but I let her say it anyway.

After the party, I was sad. Lisa walked me back to our boat and said goodnight. They don’t let dogs in where she was staying. Something called a hotel. So Andrew and I went to bed. I don’t know what he was thinking about. But I went to sleep thinking of Lisa. She smelled so nice—a pleasant change from Andrew.

Beth has a brother; his name is Lloyd. He’s not too bad as far as humans go. And he happens to be a great cook, and, of course, he’s my friend. Anyway, he took one look at Lisa and invited her and me to his house for dinner. We tried to leave Andrew behind, but somehow he got in the car. It didn’t matter. Once at Lloyd’s place Lisa and I communed, and I’ve got to say for a human she’s alright.

Then the next day she went home. I wanted to go with her so badly. But she told me she has a dog of her own. I told her . . . no problem . . . just let me at the little monster. For some reason she didn’t take to that idea.

So here I sit with Andrew, missing my friend Lisa.

That’s about it for now. Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s new book and make the old guy happy.

This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Patricia for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.

 

About the Book

Resolution-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalIt is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.

By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.

Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”

When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.

On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.

It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.

They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

Purchase Links

Amazon ~~ Smashwords

B&N ~~ iTunes ~~ Kobo

 

Meet the Author

Andrew

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

Connect With the Author

Website ~~ Blog

Facebook ~~ Twitter


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books - April 23, 2016 @_BookMistress

April 23, 2016

 

image2

 

 

What's in a Name?

The naming of characters is a serious business. Usually, genre plays a huge part in determining how wacky, weird or wonderful your names can be... Or how historically accurate. After all, you're unlikely to have a Britney or a Kandi (with a K and an I if you please) in London in 1753!
With romance, you find that names become even more important because a name can set your character as the lead or the backup very quickly. Now, it could just be me, but over the past few years of writing, I've been taking notes while reading and I have to say... Some names just aren't "sexy".
For example, Damian, Michael, Sean, Joe, James, etc are your leading men. Eugene, Theodore, Barry, etc are the best friends, secondary characters. They might be great men, but clearly Eugene isn't the romantic lead. It's true of women too... Bella, Claire, Madison, Sarah, Danielle, etc are the desirable women... Norah, Gladys, Mary, etc are not.
The reality is that in the real world there are some incredibly sexy Eugene's and Norah's... But when it comes to romance, it seems that we just don't "buy" it. Of course, it also depends when your story is set... After all, in the 1920s, Gladys and Pierre would be amazing!
Last names are important too. No good having a hunky Damian and then saddling him with Baddlesnit as a last name... She isn't going to say yes to happily ever after with THAT in her future!
image1This means that as an author, the chances are that you will spend far more time naming your characters than you probably did / would spend naming a child. You'll agonize over the "hotness" of the name, desirability of a surname and the musical rhythm of the two together... You'll search for names that compliment each other and that have cute nickname potential so that your characters can be all adorable with each other.
You may pore over baby name books or have a browser history filled with sites offering insight into the meanings or origins of names and eventually, you'll find the perfect combo.
An effort that your average reader will neither notice not even appreciate.
But God help you if your lead characters in a modern romance are Eugene and Ethel!
Until next time...
Domino xx

Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books - April 20, 2016 @Modernize

APRIL 20, 2016

Create a Writing Room That Invigorates Creativity

We all wish writer’s block was a one-time occurrence—something we became invincible to after the first run-in. But that’s unfortunately not true, and we at Modernize understand the struggle of not being able to focus or find inspiration. Your writing room can go a long way to inspire you and kick-start your creativity. Here are a few ways to design the perfect space to create your next masterpiece.

via Design Sponge graphic

via Design Sponge

 

Establish Peace and Quiet

If you’re having trouble staying focused or inspired, it may be due to a number of distractions. Family members and roommates, while we’re fond of them, can disrupt us right in the middle of a breakthrough or surge of inspiration. Noises around the house or even outside can pull us away from the task at hand. The first step in creating your writing room is to find a private space. A spare bedroom with a door is ideal. Communicate with loved ones that you should only be interrupted for emergencies during your writing hours.

As for outside noises, we recommend noise-canceling headphones or a speaker system to play soft, inspiring music. Sometimes listening to movie soundtracks or any of the focus stations on Spotify or other streaming music apps can boost your productivity and mood. You can also set up a fountain to enjoy the soft flow of water, which is relaxing and may reduce your creative stress.

via Residence Magazine graphic

via Residence Magazine

 

Decorate for Motivation

What inspires you? Every writer is different. Some are motivated by quotes from their favorite authors, like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and Harper Lee. Some are more motivated by art pieces that channel their aesthetic, or set them in a scene from their work in progress.

For example, if you are writing a novel set in France, you would probably benefit from a French country-chic decor, or at least a few photographs of the country. If you decide to decorate according to what you’re working on, make sure these elements can be switched out when you change projects. That’s why we recommend wall art and accessories, rather than major purchases. You can also create an inspiration board and change it monthly to revive your passion.

Use a vinyl decal or a framed piece of art for inspiring quotes, or hang pictures of your family and friends, especially if they influence your work. Flesh out your writing room’s design with accessories like a rug, lamps, knick knacks, bookshelves, and more. Make sure you have a desk large enough to house all of your reference materials, journals, and computer accessories.

via Skona Hem graphic

via Skona Hem

 

Let Light Shine

Natural light can boost your mood and productivity, so make sure you have plenty of windows in your writing space. Position your desk near natural light to stay focused and inspired. It’s also nice to rest your eyes after a writing sprint and gaze at nature, which may further feed your inspiration.

In the evenings and at night, you’ll want to rely on soft light from reading and floor lamps. A well-lit space will fight off gloom and improve your mood. You can play up this concept even more with bright colors, like crisp white, yellow, cyan, and even a vibrant green. Colors that perk you up will keep you energized throughout the creative process.

Don’t let writer’s block defeat you. Attack it head-on with the perfect writing room as your army, and enjoy the inspiration your newly design space provides. Remember, no one can write your story but you!


Prescott Lane's Charity Donation from Layers of Her Novella @prescottlane1

April 12, 2016

A Letter from Prescott Lane to her Readers at the end of her Layers of Her Novella

Author Pic

A Letter to my Readers

Rape. Just typing that word makes my gut tie up in knots. And that’s part of the problem. Because it’s so uncomfortable, we don’t want to talk about it. So it gets buried at the bottom of the newsfeed or forgotten altogether, like the backlog of untested rape kits.

Last March, I released Quiet Angel in which the heroine is a survivor of childhood sexual assault. A few weeks later, my husband became gravely ill, and we spent the rest of the year (5 long hospital stays and 4 long surgeries) fighting to regain his health. As I sat in the hospital chair next to his bed night after night, I got messages from women about how my book touched them. Some shared their reasons, and others didn’t.

I came to learn that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. How could I not know that? I’d just released a book on the very topic. Yet I didn’t see one post about it on any of my social media accounts.

Early this year, I began writing Layers of Her with the intent to spread awareness and donate all of April's profits to charity. I was nervous when I started, and I still am. I mean, how much will the profits be? Will readers assume I’m a survivor or I know one? Will I do the topic justice? Why am I doing this? It’s a whole lot easier to stay silent. But that’s the whole problem, isn’t it?

I work in a field, in the genre of fiction, that is mostly comprised of women, where sexual assault is one of the most common tropes. And with each passing page, we pull for our broken heroes and heroines to heal, find love, forge a new path. That's all we want for them. We need to do the same for the real life heroes and heroines, those brave souls who fight the real fight every single day. So join me this April in making some noise to raise awareness, not only for the survivors but for those who love them.

Prescott Lane

 

LayersOfHer_FrontCover

 

Campbell

People always say it’s what’s on the inside that matters.  If that’s the case, I’m screwed.  On the outside, everything looks put together — blonde hair, blue eyes, tall and lean.  By society’s standards, I’d be considered attractive.  But f*ck society, I know what I am.  I know what I’m made of.  The recessive genes that reared their heads and created a decent looking package on the outside don’t make me who I am.  What about all the evil lurking inside?  What about all the other parts of me that aren’t so easy to see?  Some of the most beautiful animals are also the deadliest.  Take the polar bear, for example.  Cute and cuddly on the outside, but it’s really a predator that will bite your f*cking head off.  That’s a dangerous combination.

And that’s exactly like me, exactly who I am.  Bad — and once you go bad, you can never go back.

WARNING:  This book deals with the harsh reality of rape that could be upsetting for some readers.

Purchase Link

AMAZON