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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Meet Amy Gamet

Today's guest is Amy Gamet. Welcome, Amy.

When my oldest son was three, he and I had a challenging day, during which I explained to him that I am the boss.  Getting ready for bed that night, he asked my husband, “How can Mommy be the boss?  She’s a girl.”

I kid you, not.

This same child has accused me of being lost while I’m driving enumerable times, despite my assurances to the contrary.  He has lamented, “I wish Dad was home so he could glue this back together,” and “Daddy really ought to change that light bulb.”

I gave birth to the second coming of Archie Bunker.

My father taught me to change a flat tire and the oil on a car.  I can drive a stick shift and wire an electrical outlet and work a compound miter saw.  But my son thinks I belong in some 1950s kitchen, hemming and hawing over whether to make turnips or parsnips with the roast and béchamel sauce.  (Keep in mind, it’s not the cooking that offends me, but the hemming and hawing.  I’m all over French sauces, but that’s another post.)

In my novel, Meant for Her, Julie Trueblood is a strong, independent woman.  If anything, she needs to learn how to accept someone else’s strength in her own life—how to be loved and how to love in return.  Abandoned by her military father when he was accused of decoding secrets for the enemy, she’s spent the better part of a decade trying to distance herself from those events and find her place in this world. 

When Navy officer Hank Jared is assigned to investigate a fiery homicide, a coded message and a clue lead him to Julie.  She is pulled back into the past, the knowledge of cryptography that her father gave her slowly coming back to her working memory.

Hank is drawn to this woman, but suspects she is hiding something.  The cipher holds the key to unlock the truth, but it will take time—time they don’t have—to learn its secrets.  When someone is after Julie, she begrudgingly turns to Hank for help.  He finds the perfect place to hide her, right by his side, pretending to be his girlfriend at his sister’s wedding weekend.

Julie will need to decide who can be trusted as she works to decipher the message and right the wrongs of the past.  She is drawn to this man, but he represents everything she has run from.  Can she see past the illusions and open her heart to the man she was meant to love?

The following is an excerpt from Meant for Her.  Hank and Julie are alone in a bedroom at his mother’s house, where they’re staying for his sister’s wedding.

“Whoa, hold on a minute. I was just putting on a show for your new brother-in-law,” said Julie, standing taller and squaring her shoulders.

“He’s not my brother-in-law until tomorrow,” Hank corrected her, staring at her full breasts, then back to her lips.

“I’m going to take a shower,” she said, sidestepping to get past his wide shoulders. Walking to the dresser, she began digging in her overnight bag for her pajamas, flustered when she couldn’t find what she wanted. Feeling like an idiot, she picked up the whole bag, went in the bathroom, and locked the door.

She sank down onto the toilet seat, clutching her bag, and breathed deeply as she closed her eyes. Sadness and fatigue surrounded her in a drenching wave. She was enjoying the sexual banter with Hank, then suddenly she saw herself as he must see her—a grieving, messed up woman with nowhere to go and just a handful of people who loved her.

Hank wasn’t interested in her awesome personality. He was a Navy officer who just happened to be sharing her bedroom tonight, and figured he may as well get lucky. Kill two birds with one stone. She knew his type well and had little respect for them. The familiar uniform just added insult to injury, pointing out what she should never have forgotten.

Hank Jared was not someone she could trust.

Julie stood and turned the hot water on full force as she began to undress. She resented the fact that she was stuck here, pretending to be someone she wasn’t just to stay one step ahead of a nameless, faceless enemy. As the water sluiced over her skin, she shivered in spite of the heat. Her mind was full of images—a burned out hotel room, the window seat at Gwen’s house, a rusty red generator and footprints in the snow.

She thought of the message from the safe deposit box as she let the water run down her bent head and shoulders. Her quick cryptanalysis in the car had begun to awaken memories of processes long since forgotten. She knew and understood every class of cipher ever popularized, from simple substitution and Masonics to the latest in computer generated random keys and transport layer security. Her mind played the options like notes on a score, trying different combinations and looking for patterns that would confirm or deny their collusion.

Grabbing a bar of sweet-smelling soap, she began to wash away the experience of the day while her mind raced through secret codes and memories. Something was bothering her about the message, interfering with her thoughts like a car parked in the middle of a freeway. There was a familiarity about the cipher that eluded her, ringing the faintest of bells in her jangled memory.

Frustrated with herself, she tried to stop focusing on it, hoping it would gather itself together in her subconscious and emerge as a coherent whole if she left it alone.

Julie turned off the water and opened the shower curtain, gazing through the steam at the bathroom door with annoyance. It was going to be a long night with Hank sleeping on the floor just feet from her bed. The thought of him in such close proximity made her pulse pick up, and she cursed her own attraction to the man.

She dried her hair with the towel before wrapping it around her torso. The pajamas she’d frantically been searching for earlier were now clearly visible at the top of her duffle bag.

That figures.

An old favorite, they were knit of soft green cotton, with a boxy tee and wide pants that were about as alluring as a potato sack.

“Thank God for ugly pajamas,” she said to herself.

The bedroom was dark when she emerged, with just a small nightlight in the bathroom behind her to light the way. Maybe he was already asleep. She stood still, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the inky blackness.

“I’m on the floor, between the bathroom and the bed. Don’t step on me.”

She could just make out the bed posts and began walking toward them in the darkness. Three steps in, she kicked something solid.



“Seriously? Because I didn’t tell you exactly where I was?”

“I said I’m sorry.”

“Well then, I guess it didn’t hurt.”

“Oh please, you’re fine.”

“You just kicked me.”

“What are you, a baby? Because you’re carrying on like one.”

She heard him stand up in front of her. “You’re calling me names, now?”

“If the shoe fits…” she was startled when he pulled her against him.

“Shut up, Julie,” he said, kissing her roughly. She pushed against him half-heartedly, even as her mouth responded to his and kissed him back passionately. His hand slipped beneath her top to caress the bare skin of her back.

He hadn’t meant to kiss her.

She had been playing games with him, flirting and retreating, and Hank didn’t like games. While she was in the bathroom, he made the decision to keep their relationship professional. He had no intention of jeopardizing his career for Julie Trueblood.

That was, until she opened the bathroom door and he saw her body silhouetted in the light of the doorway, the thin fabric of her pajamas teasing him like the sexiest lingerie.

His body’s response had been instantaneous.

This woman made him feel like he was in high school, all hormones and raging lust. He might die if he couldn’t get close to her, couldn’t rub her smooth skin and feel her body pressed against him.

Her breasts pushed at his bare chest, separated from him only by the light material, and his hand reach up in an intimate caress, making her moan.  Her head fell back and he grabbed the hem of her shirt, lifting it upward.

Julie jumped back, recoiling from his hands. “I don’t want to do this.”

Hank’s stare bored into her own in the dark room. “Liar,” he said thickly. “You want to as much as I do.”

Her chin lifted in denial and she opened her mouth to speak.

He didn’t want to hear it. He was tired, he was aggravated, and he was bordering on crazy. He sank down on his makeshift bed before she could pretend she wasn’t on fire, just like he was. “Goodnight, Julie.”

She stood shock still for a moment before finishing her walk to the high poster bed, and scurried under the covers. “Goodnight.”

The carpeted floor was rigid beneath Hank’s frustrated form, and he punched the pillow in an attempt to get comfortable. He imagined resting his head on Julie’s soft breasts instead, and knew that sleep would be hard to come by this evening.

“Just so you know, tomorrow’s a big deal to me and my family. I’d appreciate it if you try to be a convincing girlfriend.”

“What does that mean, exactly?”

“Pretend you like me, Julie. Don’t cross your arms over your chest or walk away when I speak to you. Smile at me once in a while. Dance with me at the reception and hold my hand if you can stand the thought.”

He was about to ask if she’d heard him, when she finally replied, “Okay.”

“Okay, what?”

“I’ll pretend to like you.”

“Great. Thank you. I hope the experience isn’t too painful for you.”

“Goodnight, Hank.”

“Goodnight, Julie.”

Meant for Her is available at Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B008YYLYLS

Amy's novella Meghan's Christmas Wish is also available at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B009QFC756

Learn more about Amy at her website: http://www.amygamet.com/

Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Doldrums

Does this time of year get to you? Are you suffering from letdown after the holidays? If you live anywhere near the Great Lakes, you know all about gray skies from November through March. Does that affect your mood?

I crave the sunshine. Those surprisingly bright days almost made up for the bitter cold temperatures we experienced last week. When the sun is bright and the sky blue, I feel more energized. But when the clouds roll in, I want to hibernate—burrow under the covers or play a lot of solitaire. My energy level diminishes in proportion to the amount of sunshine.

So how do you overcome the weariness created by the weather? Necessity—like a job outside the home. Discipline—forcing oneself into accomplishing what needs to be done. Some people are so affected by winter’s gloom that they suffer from a condition called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Although we grouse about winter weather—blizzards, ice storms, gloomy gray skies—we do have our breaks of brilliant sunshine. I cannot imagine how people who live in northern Canada or Alaska where their day is so short or nonexistent manage.

Celebrations go a long way to make up for dismal weather. The days my son and grandson were born, for instance. Birthday parties are a great way to perk up January. February never seems so gloomy when celebrating Hubs’ birthday. Good news also helps. Those of you who follow me on Facebook know about the good news I received last week—the sale of a romantic suspense book to The Wild Rose Press. I have loved One Red Shoe ever since its first incarnation as a writing exercise during a Mid-Michigan RWA chapter meeting. From that first paragraph, the story grew and changed and grew and changed more. I am so happy it has finally found a good home. You can be sure when I know the publication date I’ll post it here.

That good news will probably hold off the winter doldrums for me for a while. Meanwhile, stay warm and safe. 

What helps you get through winter?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Meet S.D. Bancroft

My guest today is author S.D. Bancroft. 

S.D. Bancroft lives near Lansing, Michigan. She writes romantic suspense/mystery. Her career in writing started at the young age of 11 when she entered her first contest through the Jr. High school she attended. Though she didn't win first prize in the contest, it whetted her appetite for words.

When she's not writing, S.D. loves reading, crocheting, cross-stitching, cooking, gardening, photography, or just spending time relaxing with her family and friends.  S.D. is wife to one VERY understanding and supportive husband, and 3 wonderful children. Her immediate family has doubled in the last 3 years as her children have all chosen significant others. 

She is a member in many online writing groups, and has a special group of women that she connects with for writing sprints frequently. She spent 12 years working as a Firefighter/EMT as well as a 9-1-1 Communications Technician. Two careers which will always hold a special place in her heart, as well as her writing!

S.D. now has two Romantic Suspense novels available on Amazon and Createspace.  Autumn Nights , her first story was released in March of 2012. Her newest story, Where There’s Smoke: The Heroes of Hammond’s Bend  is a brand new release this week.  It is Book 1 of a series set in a fictional small town in Michigan.

S.D.’s readers can find  her in a few places:

Twitter: @SD_Bancroft

Now, let's get to know S.D. better.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in the 7th grade I entered a contest at school and have been hooked ever since! Of course life had a few other paths for me to follow before it allowed me the opportunity to delve into my writing, but I wouldn’t change it.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Now that I’m writing full-time, my typical day goes something like this. Up at 7am. Computer fired up by 8am. 8-Noon: This time is set aside for any “administrative” issues I may need to take care of. Emails, Twitter, FB, etc. I usually slip lunch into this time frame also. Noon-4 or 5 (depending on the day): Write, write, write! (or Revise, revise, revise! depending on what stage of the game I’m in.) 5-7pm: Dinner, workout, house work. You know, the glamorous stuff 7-9pm: Back to Writing, writing, writing! I usually try to keep the weekends free for family stuff, but more times than not, I’m working at least ONE of the two days.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I get a great deal of my information from my previous careers. I was a firefighter/EMT for 12 years, as well as working as a 9-1-1 Communiciations Tech.  What I don’t get from there, I glean from other sources like the newspaper (man are there some great stories waiting to be told in its pages).

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing, I love to craft. I crochet (I’m currently doing a lot of thread crocheting such as ornaments and baby booties.), cross-stitch, clay, sewing, cooking, and baking. I also cannot wait or the weather to warm up here (it’s a whopping 13 degrees F. here today.) so that I can get my gardening underway. I also workout (not trying to become a muscle-bound babe by any means. Lol) at least 5 days a week.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

To date, I’ve written two full length books, and I’m working on my third. I’d have to say that my favorite is the second book, Where There’s Smoke: The Heroes of Hammond’s Bend-Book 1. This book is the first in a series that I’ve set in a fictional small town in Michigan. I’m having a blast creating the characters and setting of this town. It’s pretty inspiring to me actually.

What did you learn from writing your first book?

What did I learn from my first book? Let me think…how about …Make sure that you have a very comfortable chair because you are going to spend a LOT of time there.  Also, grow a thicker skin! You’re going to need it! If anyone tells you that it’s easy to put our work out there and ignore any bad comments others may make about it, I’d say they aren’t being truthful.

How many hours a day to you spend writing?

See #2 above.lol  On average I’d have to say that I spend a good 10-12 hours a day writing or doing writing related work. Don’t forget, you have to do the promotional work as well

If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?

Oh this is a good one! I would have to say…PAY ATTENTION IN ENGLISH! Ugh. Who would have thought that grammar/punctuation rules would come back to haunt me at this stage of my life?

What two authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?

When I’m not writing, I  usually find myself reading a Catherine Coulter, or Janet Evanovich story.  There are many other great authors out there that I’ve read over the years , but the list is too many to remember.  I started reading my mom’s Harlequins when I was 13( after all, I was a teenager so it was okay.).

What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?

I hope that my readers will come to love my characters the same way I do. I hope that they will be encouraged to read on and find out how they are doing in future stories. 

Please tell us a little about your latest book.

Where There’s Smoke: The Heroes of Hammond’s Bend-Book 1 (Romantic Suspense)

When a series of mysterious fires threatens the safety of her hometown, Michigan Firefighter, Annette Andrews finds herself teamed up with undercover DEA Agent, Mason Ramsey. While Annie struggles to keep her attention off her hunky new partner, and focus on the task at hand, someone else has her in his sights. Can Mason keep her safe until they can uncover the identity of the monster responsible for the arsons?

Where There's Smoke is available at: http://amzn.com/B00B2XMJ6M

It's been a pleasure having you here, S.D., and congratulations on your new release.