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Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, and Saturday Sampler.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day




Friday, I wrote most of this post on the Fiction Fanatics Feud group on Facebook. The more I thought about this weekend and watched programs honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in war, I wanted to share my thoughts here, too.

Sometimes, we take federal holidays for granted or only think about how great it is to have a day off work. We forget the reason behind designating a particular day a holiday. Memorial Day's origin goes back to 1868. The purpose was for the nation to decorate the graves of those soldiers who died in the Civil War. Since, it's expanded to include all service people who died defending us.

My dad and his brothers fought in WWII, one of my grandfathers in WWI, a great-great grandfather in the Civil War, and a multi-great grandfather in the Revolutionary War. An uncle and a good friend were police officers. Their service ensured that we are still a country of freedoms. Freedoms we often take for granted, forgetting that many people in this world don't have them.


During the Viet Nam War, we (as a country) forgot that most of our soldiers had not volunteered. Anger at the country's leadership was turned on those who fought instead of those who sent them. Recently it seems as if the actions of a few police officers have tarnished the majority of those who truly believe and practice the motto "protect and serve." 

Post-apocalyptic movies and books show us what happens when society breaks down. Law and order is gone. Chaos reigns. Those with the power and weapons rule. Might makes right. Heaven help the rest. While I love movies and books, those that show the disintegration of civilization make me so uncomfortable I can't watch or read them. The reality is too horrifying to contemplate.

So I'm grateful that a few volunteered and gave their lives to protect the majority. While we enjoy our picnics and get-togethers, let's take time to remember the reason.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Under Starry Skies by Judy Ann Davis Blog Tour & Giveaway

Under Starry Skies
by Judy Ann Davis
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance | Kobo Books | The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical Western Romantic Suspense
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Length: 308 Pages 
e-Book Just $0.99/Print Just $16.99!


Hired as the town’s school teacher, Maria O’Donnell and her sister Abigail arrive in the Colorado Territory in 1875, only to find the uncle they were to stay with has been murdered.

Rancher Tye Ashmore is content with life until he meets quiet and beautiful Maria. He falls in love at first sight, but her reluctance to jeopardize her teaching position by accepting his marriage proposal only makes him more determined to make her part of his life.

When their lives are threatened by gunshots and a gunnysack of dangerous wildlife, Tye believes he is the target of an unknown enemy. Not until Maria receives written threats urging her to leave does she realize she might be the target instead of the handsome rancher.

With the help of Tye, Abigail, and a wily Indian called Two Bears, Maria works to uncover her uncle’s killer and put aside her fears. But will she discover happiness and true love under Colorado’s starry skies?

Excerpt:

Two Bears grinned. “And a sorry hide yours is, Tye Ashmore. You are getting careless. You leave woman with hair the color of mink all alone. You lose horse, rifle, donuts, and water. And you do not take dog with you.”    

“If you keep insulting me, Two Bears, I’m going to take my rifle and wrap it around your greasy neck. Why didn’t you bring my horse?”    

“Why didn’t you?” Two Bears asked. His mouth was tight and grim. “If I had moved the horse, anyone watching would know to follow me back to you or your woman.”    

Tye nodded. “I figured the same. I decided we’d walk down to get it when it gets dark.”    

Maria rose and stepped between them. She was weary, and she wanted to get home, take a bath, and soak her skinned arm and injured knee. “Why can’t we just start now?”    

“Your woman is not happy.” Two Bears grunted. “An angry squaw can make sunny days seem like rainy ones.”    

Maria glared at him.    

“Maybe we’re both not happy since you’re eating our food,” Tye countered.

Two Bears thumped his chest and grinned. “I even ate the ones you dropped on the trail. Before any varmints could get to them. Come, I know another path to your horse. By the time we arrive,it will be dark, and you can take your woman and go the rest of the way safely.”   

“I am not his woman,” Maria snapped. “I am not a piece of property. Stop saying that!”    

Two Bears jumped back, away from her. “If you say so.” He looked at Tye with wide eyes. “Hair like a mink. Temper like a badger.”

About the Author:
 Judy Ann Davis writes both historical and contemporary romantic suspense as well as short stories.

She began her career in writing as a copy and continuity writer for radio and television. Many of her short stories have appeared in various literary and small magazines, and anthologies, and have received numerous awards.

When Judy Ann isn't behind a computer, you can find her looking for anything humorous to make her laugh or swinging a golf club, where the chuckles are few.

She is a member of Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America.

 Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Space Travel



If you’re a regular reader of my blog or can tell from the banner at the top, I’m infatuated with space travel. I grew up in the early days of NASA, glued to the television set with each space launch. That's why I find the possibility of traveling not just within our solar system but beyond fascinating. However, using current technology, it will take almost a year to get to Mars, our nearest neighbor, fifteen years to reach Pluto. Right now, traveling outside our solar system is the stuff of science fiction.

I’m such a newbie to science fiction. I’m still playing catch-up with the works of Bradbury, Dick, Asimov, et al. I did slog my way through Asimov’s Foundation series, but I couldn’t stick with Dune. Saw the movie, though. Science fiction movies spark my imagination much more than books. For a writer, that's probably blasphemy.

One thing most sci-fi stories assume is the ability to travel through space very rapidly. We use terms like faster-than-light speed, warp drive, hyperspace, and jump space or traveling through wormholes and hyperlanes to explain how to get from here to there in the universe. Possible? Not now. Someday, maybe. Where is Zephram Cochrane when you need him? (For those who don’t recognize the name, Cochrane invented warp drive in Star Trek.)

Speaking of Star Trek (you know I couldn’t resist) . . . When the TV series began back in the late 1960’s, the set designers tried to make things as “high tech” as they could imagine. But look at some of those tools in light of today. I find it amusing that they were using toggle switches instead of touch screens and numbers that “flip” instead of being digital. But many of their concepts have found reality in today’s world. Compare their communicators and our cell phones, phasers (weapons) that stun instead of kill and our Tasers, their replicators and our 3D printers, Spock’s tricorder and NASA’s LOCAD, which measures contaminates on the International Space Station. And many more “futuristic” devices that we now take for granted. Here’s the link to an article you may find interesting. http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/10-star-trek-technologies.htm

If devices we thought were too advanced are now possible, why not travel outside our solar system? Relying on our current knowledge of physics, scientists say faster-than-light speed is impossible. What? Impossible? No way.


Considering the advances in space travel in my lifetime, I think we haven't begun to explore the possibilities. If we can imagine it, why couldn’t travel beyond our solar system come true some day?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday Sampler - RUINED by Alicia Dean Review & Giveaway





Today's the last day of Alicia Dean's RUINED blog tour. I've followed along and enjoyed getting to know Alicia better. As well as being my editor for my first romantic suspense One Red Shoe, Alicia is a good friend. She organized the group I often talk about, Authors Helping Authors. Through her, I've met many talented authors and have enjoyed their books. Alicia writes in many genres: vampire romances, 1950's short stories, gothic romance, gritty suspense, and more. Ruined is her first book set in the 1920's.

I debated where to put my review and finally decided you needed to see how much I liked this book.


Review of Ruined - 5 Stars
I read this page-turner as soon as it came out. It's a fascinating story about love and redemption. I'm sure this situation was one many young, female immigrants found themselves in when they came to America. I kept thinking "don't believe him" when the very clever villain offered her a too-good-to-be-true job. As she realizes the extent of what he deems "appropriate" her fear then self-loathing made my heart ache. I loved the way Alicia Dean incorporates expressions from the 1920s to give added flavor. The characterizations are very convincing.

Now without further ado, here's the 411 (I just watched The Parent Trap) on Alicia Dean's latest book.

Ruined (Martini Club 4 - The 1920's)
by Alicia Dean
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books
Genre: Vintage Historical Romance
Release Date: February 26, 2015
Length: 120 Pages

She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans...

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped.

When Vince Taggart’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend.

Excerpt from RUINED

Eliza sat on a barstool at Club 501, her legs crossed, sipping a White Lady. The joint was wall to wall people. There weren’t many places as nice as Club 501 that sold liquor. Most were seedy, dangerous. Club 501 had opened a few days ago. The two level speakeasy was as luxurious as a palace with its rich gold and mauve tones, velvet upholstery, and long oak bar.

Meggie was on stage singing “Crazy Blues.” She wore a one-shoulder peach calf-length gown with a scalloped hemline trimmed in shimmery silver braid. Her eyes were half closed, blonde curls glistening beneath the spotlight.

Eliza closed her eyes and let the loveliness of Meggie’s voice soothe her. Uncanny how she could sing without the hint of an accent.

In the worst of times, Eliza used a mind trick where she traveled to another place and removed herself from whatever was happening. She’d had to use the trick many times as a scullery maid, and when Lord Renwald had trapped her in the barn, but the night he’d nearly raped her, that had been something altogether different. Rather than using a mind trick, she’d fully escaped. Meggie’s voice brought her that kind of escape. She was transported to another place.

The song ended, and Eliza opened her eyes, clapping more loudly than anyone else in the place. Meggie winked and curtsied, then went into her next number. Some day, she was going to make it big, Eliza just knew it.

“Need anything else?” Charli appeared at her shoulder, holding a tray full of empty glasses at shoulder level. She wore the Club 501 uniform—a mauve dress that came to mid-thigh with sheer voile that fell to her ankles. She’d acquired a position as cocktail waitress a few days after Meggie had been hired as a singer.

“No, thank you. Last night was a late one. I ought to take it slowly.”

Charli wrinkled her pert nose. “What a sweet deal you landed, while I’m stuck in this dive slinging booze.”

Eliza pursed her lips. “Now, Charli, this is hardly a dive. Serving drinks here might not be the wealthy lifestyle you’re accustomed to, but things could be worse—much worse.”

Sympathy shone in Charli’s brown eyes. “I know, luv. Selfish of me. I know what you’ve been through, how awful things were for you before we found you on the docks, then again when you arrived and had to take a position at that ghastly old factory.” She let out a sigh. “It’s just that I had such high hopes. I wanted so much to start a great life doing what I love most.”

Eliza squeezed her friend’s hand. “You’ll get your bakery, I know you will. You keep schmoozing Mrs. Carter, and you’re a shoo in.” Mrs. Carter was a successful businesswoman who owned a string of department stores. Charli all but panted after the woman.

Charli giggled and playfully slapped Eliza’s knee. “I do not schmooze her. I just find her interesting.” She glanced over her shoulder. “Sorry, gotta run. These blokes might perish if I don’t keep the hooch flowing.” She cocked an impish grin. “See ya, luv.”

Eliza scanned the crowd. Jess was supposed to come in, but so far, Eliza hadn’t seen her. She was feeling slightly abandoned. At least Oscar wasn’t present. Now that he was her employer, she could barely relax when he was at Club 501. She always felt she was on the clock.

Her gaze bounced over a man, then zeroed back. The bloke was looking directly at her. She caught her breath. He was leaning on the bar a few stools down, talking to Charli. He had this…magnetism, some kind of forceful presence that made it impossible to look away.

He was broad, muscular and dressed like a dock worker with brown suspenders over a yellow shirt and a newsboy cap over his dark blond hair, but what caught her attention right off was his smile. His white teeth flashed, and a dimple creased the right side of his face.

Charli moved away, and the man looked up and caught Eliza staring at him. His grin widened. His eyes were so blue—so electrifying, that Eliza could feel their allure even in the dimly lit, smoky bar.

He winked and gave her a finger salute off the brim of his cap.

A tingle ran from her toes, all the way through her body, making her head swim. My, but he was a fresh one. With superhuman effort, she dragged her attention away, but it didn’t keep her heart from racing faster than a thoroughbred at Churchill Downs.

She swallowed and took a deep breath, fingering the pendant at her neck, trying to slow her heart rate. What on earth was wrong with her? She met plenty of handsome men—men more pleasing to the eye than he with his workmen clothing and slightly crooked nose. But never had any man sent her blood rushing through her veins like this.

She gulped from her glass. Get ahold of yourself. She was not the kind of girl to pick up strange men in bars—even if they did have a devil of a smile and eyes like an angel.


About the Author

 Award-winning, multi-published author Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 11, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who happened to share the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. She is a freelance editor in addition to being an editor for The Wild Rose Press.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Website Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest Goodreads Amazon Author Page

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Amazon's Big Deal: From This Day Forward by Nancy Gideon

I met Nancy Gideon over twenty years ago. In fact, it was at Mid-Michigan RWA's Retreat From Harsh Reality in 1993 and I remember her talking about her newest release FROM THIS DAY FORWARD . Sheesh, does that date us or what? She's been a mentor, a colleague, and--most importantly--a friend. Nancy's here to take us on a trip to the past.



What does a Big Deal have to do with Time Travel?

I want to take you back, way back, back into time.

Okay, probably most of you don’t remember that song about dinosaurs, but I started thinking about it when asked to post on writer buddy Diane Burton’s blog (NOT that WE are dinosaurs!). Besides our Mid-Michigan writers group, we also belong to a fun blog called Paranormal Romantics where we share the way out and woo woo things we both love.  So, what does time travel have to do with my Dana Ransom contemporary romance FROM THIS DAY FORWARD?


FROM THIS DAY FORWARD
Dana Ransom aka Nancy Gideon
Bell Bridge Books 

Can two broken hearts make a perfect match?
Widowed on her honeymoon, Robyn Lee pours all her unfulfilled dreams of a happily-ever-after into her wedding planner business, hiding her own heartbreak by making perfect memories for couples beginning the loving future she was denied.  The last thing she needs is the brother of her dream client—whose endorsement will guarantee Robyn’s success—to rock the boat…and her regimented world.

Through the lens of his camera, photojournalist Kyle Travers has witnessed all the ugliness life can offer. Still reeling from the death of his news partner in the field, he sees the frilly job of photographer at his sister’s wedding as an annoyance—until he meets the steely organizer who protects her broken spirit almost as fiercely as he does his own—making him wonder if two fractured halves can make a stronger whole.

Getting FTDF ready for release by Bell Bridge Books took me back . . . way back . . . to the ‘90s.  It was originally written for a 1993 (!) release through Zebra Books’ “Lucky In Love” line.  I’d already had three books come out and had the revisions done and the gorgeous cover for FTDF in hand . . . when the line abruptly closed the month before mine was to ship.  Flash forward twenty years, when a meeting with BelleBooks co-founder Debra Dixon at a conference in New York got us talking about back list books – specifically mine.  And all four Dana Ransom contemporaries found a new home and new readers.


FROM THIS DAY FORWARD was the only book that hadn’t been in print so I got a chance to do all the tweaking I wanted.  Not only did I discover what I didn’t know twenty years ago about passive voice and POV changes, I also got a déjà vu visit to the 1990s where people smoked unapologetically anywhere they felt like it, cameras held film, movies were watched on cassettes and phones were tethered to a cord. Not exactly day of the dinosaurs but still a blast from the past.  One thing that I didn’t change is the one thing that hasn’t changed – the way guilt and regret can sabotage a well-deserved chance for happiness.  My characters' motives and emotions are as true now as they were then, even after a makeover to bring them up to modern technologies. And I still love them! 

So back to that Big Deal – Amazon has selected FROM THIS DAY FORWARD for their “Big Deal” May event which lowers its price to $1.99!  You couldn’t get THAT even in 1993!  To tempt you further, here’s a peek at Robyn and Kyle . . .

Excerpt: FROM THIS DAY FORWARD…

“How’s the coffee?” she asked, impatiently. The nonverbal suggestion was Drink up and hit the road. Contrarily, he took a small sip.
“It’s good. Strong and black, just the way I like it. Just the way I need it to get out of bed in the morning.”
He saw her get all edgy at that reference, as if struggling not to imagine him getting out of bed. Or in bed. And he smiled at her, looking smug and lazy and as inviting as rumpled sheets. And because he had her running scared, she blurted out the next sentence without forethought.

“Last night was a mistake.”

His expression didn’t alter as he studied hers. “I’ll say.” Then, just as she began to relax, he added, 

“Next time I’ll put the chain lock on.”

A shiver of desperate tension rose up through her. “There won’t be a next time, Kyle.”

Who was she trying to convince with that staunch claim? He didn’t believe it, not after the way her mouth had followed him down to the sofa cushions. She didn’t believe it, either, not when he could see the way her hands clutched at the wedding photo.

He could do one of two things. He could be a gentleman and back off to a cautious distance or he could plunge full steam ahead to rock her off her safe pedestal of grief.

He was a full steam ahead kind of guy.

“Why? I know you liked it and I know you like me. Admit it, Robyn. You’re crazy about me, and it’s driving you crazy.”

“I am not!”

“Yes, you are.”

“I’m not! I find you the most insufferable, rudely arrogant man I’ve ever met!”

“And you love it, don’t you? Come on, Robyn, you do. Because I’m not predictable. Because you can’t write me off in a nice little column in your protocol book. Because I make your heart race and your palms sweat and your mouth water.”

“I think you’re describing symptoms of the flu. That’s what I was suffering from last night.”

He laughed with more confidence than he was feeling. “I don’t think I was making you sick to your stomach. I think you’re just scared to death of what would have happened if Judy hadn’t walked in.”

“You’re wrong!”

“Am I? I don’t think so. And I don’t think you think so either. And I can prove it to you.”

He took a quick step forward and he could see her sway, part of her wanting to yield, part of her wanting to run. He’d never seen so much panic in another’s eyes. It gave his conscience a nasty yank, but it didn’t stop him. He was, after all, no saint.

The moment his head dipped down, hers ducked too, causing his nose to collide with the top of her head. The sudden, swimming pain of it caused him to hesitate, but not to retreat. His grip on her tightened even as her palms were levering against his chest, pushing. But her fingers clung.

“Kyle, don’t.” There was so much anguish in her tone. A gentleman would have relented but she already knew he wasn’t a gentleman.

“Robyn, don’t be afraid,” he said into the soft spill of her hair. “Don’t be ashamed of what you’re feeling.”

“Kyle, please . . .”

“He’s gone, Robyn. You can’t bring him back. You can’t keep hanging on.”

“I don’t want to let go.” But at that moment, she did, releasing all the pent up emotions, all the festering grief. She leaned into the soft, faded fleece of his Pistons sweatshirt and sobbed like a baby with a broken heart. Instantly, his arms enfolded her, all thoughts of passion overwhelmed by those of care. Then it hit him, and hit him hard.

When had he fallen in love with Robyn Lee?

Since spring is also a time of rebirth, I wish you a Happy Spring and Happy Reading!

About the Author:

Nancy Gideon is the award winning author of over 58 romances ranging from historical, regency and series contemporary suspense to dark paranormal, with a couple of horror screenplays tossed into the mix, and is currently testing the “Hybrid author” waters.  She works full time as a legal assistant in Southwestern Michigan, and when not at the keyboard, feeds a Netflix addiction along with all things fur, fin and fowl. She’s also written under the pen names Dana Ransom, Rosalyn West and Lauren Giddings, and is a member of the Mid-Michigan, PAN and FF&P Chapters of RWA.