Monday, March 31, 2008

Sloane Taylor Saying "HI"

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m a sensual woman who believes humor and sex are healthy aspects of our everyday lives which carry over into my books.

If travel to exotic locations is your thing, along with heroes who rock your world and heroines who keep them in line, then you’ll love my work. The stories are set in Europe where the men are all male and the North American women they encounter are both feminine and strong. There’s always a twist, and being a true romantic, my women bring more than lust to their men’s lives.

I was born and raised in Chicago. Studly, my non-husband and mate for life, split our time between a home in Illinois and a weekend cottage on the back roads of Indiana. If you can’t find me in either place, you can always catch up with me traveling though Europe researching for new material.

Please visit me at wwww.sloanetaylor.com or www.myspace.com/sloanetaylor.

I'll be here throughout the week with a few excerpts and an easy contest. Until then...

Happy Writing!
Sloane Taylor

Sunday, March 30, 2008

PLOTTING MY NEXT SCENE

Hi Readers,

Tabitha Shay here, author of the paranormal romances, Witch's Brew and Witch's Heart.

Pardon me if I seem a little out of it through this blog, but it's nearly one a.m., another sleepless night in this author's mad world. Why? Because my brain refuses to shut down and stop plotting the next scene in my next novel, Witch's Moon, scheduled for release later in 2008.

My heroine, Princess Kali, has just been kidnapped by the hero and when I close my eyes, all I can see is the poor princess standing naked in the snow and while certain parts of her body is exposed to the freezing cold of the Carpathian Mountains, she can't take her eyes off the scene unfolding in front of her. Her hero (Of course she doesn't know Koran, Captain of the Royal Guards is her hero yet) but Koran has his own private battle going on at the moment. A skunk has just ran up his pant leg seeking warmth in places the good captain would rather the familiar not discover. To make matters worse, it's nearly dark and we all know what creatures come out at dusk when the sun goes down in Transylvania.

You bet, I'm having fun creating the wild and unpredictable happenings of my Winslow Witches of Salem Series. If you'd like to learn more about the zany witches, the ups, downs, the steamy romance, the to-die-for heroes and feisty heroines and the most bizarre familiars ever written about, then please visit my website at www.tabithashay.com

Or pay a visit to my publisher's website, http://www.eternalpress.ca
You can find my novels there in E-Format.

I'd like to take this moment to thank Miz Ginger for inviting me to be one of her guest bloggers this week.

Like the Terminator, "I'll be back!" throughout the week, so catch ya later.

Tabitha Shay

This is where I'll be tomorrow. I'm such a coward that I have to be sedated to even keep an appointment. I think it all stems back to my childhood, plus having claustrophobia. There's nothing worse to me than having hands and instruments cluttering my mouth and interfering with my breathing. I'm ashamed to admit, that at my age, I'm still a coward when it comes to dentists. Thank goodness they're starting to understand that it's a very real fear.

Anyhow, I wanted to post a welcome tonight for my Eternal Press pals, because tomorrow I'll be in a drug-induced fog for most of the day. I have no idea how I broke two teeth within three weeks, but I'm going for three crowns and two fillings, plus a cleaning. Doesn't that just sound like so much fun? I wish someone in my family had become a dentist...they'd make a killing on me alone.

Anyhow, during the week, Clare London, Carol Shenold, Tabitha Shay, Sloane Taylor and Rita Karnopp will be dropping in and sharing somethings about themselves, their books, and their lives. These gals are a whole lot more fun than going to the dentist, believe me. I know you'll love spending time with them as much as I do.

Okay, I'm going to take my tranquilizer so I can get a good night's sleep to prepare me for a good day's sleep tomorrow. Think of me when you brush in the morning. :)

Hugz
Ginger

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Coming Next Week



Come meet some of my fellow authors from Eternal Press. For those of you wanting information about EP's ongoing submission call, this is a perfect opportunity to ask questions and get answers. Who better to 'dish the dirt' than people with signed contracts. I'm happy to tell you, there isn't any 'dirt' to 'dish', but we'd love to discuss what we see as great growth plans. Eternal Press wants to live up to its name and we aim to help.

Starting Monday, March 31st through April 4th, I'll be hosting some of my good friends and talented peers. I already have a great ensemble of awesome story tellers lined up, and a wide selection of genres. I expect more will be added between now and the start day. Come meet:

Clare London
Carol Shenold
Rita Karnopp
Tabitha Shay
Sloane Taylor

Mark you calendars and check in. I heard a rumor that there will be a contest or two. Don't miss the fun. Oh, I'll be here, too. *lol* Prissy will probably make an appearance, if I can find her.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What Did We Do Before Cell Phones?


I realize cell phones are a convenience, but sometimes those who use them make me want to pull my hair out. I try really hard not to be one of those people who forget they aren't the center around which the entire world revolves. Generally, you find those types somewhere with a cell phone stuck to their ear.

Today at Walmart, I was hurrying to get my shopping done so I could stand in a line twenty-people deep and listen to an entire 'private' conversation being had by the woman in front of me. This came after I'd earlier followed her through the cereal isle, waiting for her to claim one side or the other so I could pass. Nope! Didn't happen. She continued to cruise down the middle aisle, moving at a snail's pace, looking neither left nor right, with her phone planted firmly to her ear. If she'd pushed her cart as fast as she moved her lips, I wouldn't have had a problem, but... I wanted to run my cart right up her heels but, being the patient and kind adult that I am, I cursed beneath my breath and endured the 'convoy' she'd created. I really wanted to tell her that she wasn't the only person in the store and that I found her extremely rude, but I didn't. I'm not very good at confrontations. I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm a coward.

I decided to do Taco Bell for dinner rather than having to cook. Wouldn't you know I'd get behind the person in the drive-though line who was busy on her cell phone. She actually kept the staff person waiting to take her order until she could put her friend on hold. All the cars behind her had to wait because she was so self-important, what she was discussing couldn't be delayed until she got the hell out of line. She continued to talk all the way to the pick-up window, then balanced her phone between her shoulder and ear and struggled to reach the outstretched hand reaching from the window for her money. God, I wanted to jump out of my car, run up to her window, grab her phone and throw it into the street. Here again, it's a good thing I'm a coward. Cell phones tend to make people believe they are alone on this planet except for the person they're talking to.

I have a cell phone, but I don't use it when I'm behind the wheel of my car. If I need to make a call, I pull over. If someone calls me, I let it go to voice mail or pull over and answer. I refuse to sacrifice someone's safety for the sake of a crummy phone call. I can't believe that the law allows drivers to engage in dangerous behavior all for the sake of the almighty dollar. You know there have to be some kick backs from the cell companies to keep something from being passed that prohibits cell usage while operating a motor vehicle. In my opinion, it's almost as bad as driving drunk. Some people can't walk and chew gum at the same time; what are the chances they can drive and dial. I don't want to meet one of them head-on.

I'm sure you've noticed that people who use the phone while driving slow down an average of 20 MPH while they talk. They're oblivious to what's going on around them. How can they possibly be alert enough to drive? I almost got hit by a big-rig whose driver was dialing. Luckily one of us was paying attention. ME! I really do think "hang up and drive" should become the Tennessee state motto. And I don't mean to be insensitive, but if you have missing teeth, hair badly in need of a trim, and are using food stamps, should a cell phone really be your priority?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dark Eden Press Closing


I'm sharing this post from the owner of Dark Eden Press because reading it reminded me how very blessed I am. Something like this can certainly yank you right out of your own pity-party, and I'm hoping that by sharing, we can initiate a string of prayers to help Debra Durham face cancer AGAIN! Lord, the lady has already been through hell. I've never met her, but I have a deep respect for someone who cares so much for others while facing such a frightening foe. I wish her the very best and will pray for her healing. God's blessing, Debra from a stranger who cares for you.


Dear Authors,

I don't often share much personal stuff about myself or what is going
on with me, so I never thought I would be coming to any of you with
this but sometimes life comes at you and you have to deal with it,
and this is one of those times for me.

I could beat around the bush here but that's not me. You deserve the
truth even if it is painful for me to talk about.

I have found out recently, very recently, that my cancer has
returned. For those of you who do not know, this is my 6th time
around with this in a little over 10 years. It started as cervical
cancer 10 years ago and each time has gotten worse and spread to
other places. I will be starting chemotherapy and radiation
treatments shortly and as I have been through these same treatments
twice already, I can honestly say it isn't pretty.

After discussing the issues and options with Susan and Billi, and
then Gretchen and Brenda, it was decided for a few reasons that I
will discuss below, that the only option was to close Dark Eden as of
April 1st. I have to devote my energies and my time to getting
better, and to my daughter.

One reason for closing is the treatment plan itself. I will be in no
shape to run a company, much less take care of anything else.
Another reason is with Brenda having gone back to work fulltime, that
would leave just Gretchen to do it all and as great as she is, she
can't do it by herself. Billi works fulltime and does her part of
the business in the evenings and on weekends. Susan has health
problems that she didn't have when we started this company and
wouldn't be able to do the things that I do. It was hard enough
after the house fire to keep things running smoothly and even then
they were getting some help from me. They pitched in and ran things
beautifully after the fire but that was only for a few months, this
would be for the next 6 months at the very least.

The last reason is all of you. All of you deserve an owner who is
going to be here, who is able to get the things done that need to be
done. I don't want my authors trying to figure out why I haven't
answered emails for a couple of days, or why royalties are late, or
wondering when the things that need to be taken care of are going to
get done, when the reality is that I will be too sick to do it.

I will spend the next two weeks preparing letters to release your
book rights to you, doing March royalties, and closing the readers
group. I will then begin shutting down all the DEP email addresses
except for my own and forwarding all mail from that to my personal
email address. By May 1st, I would hope all payments have cleared
the bank, and on that date I will also close the author group.

On a personal level, I feel horrible that this has to be done to all
of you. I have come to know almost every one of you personally and I
feel as if I have let you all down when you trusted me with your
stories, and I am so sorry for that. You trusted in the fact that
DEP would be around for a long while and I am truly sorry that we are
not going to be.

If you have any questions or problems, please don't hesitate to email
me as I will be working to get last minute things tied up over the
next several weeks.

Please feel free to post this on your blogs or websites as you see
fit. I would rather have the truth out about why we are closing,
even if part of it is a personal issue, than to have DEP's name
trashed across the blog universe. Lord knows some of those people do
not have enough to do but sit around and pick their next victim. I
do not want it to be this company.

If I have not told all of you lately, it is and has been, a pleasure
working with all of you gifted writers and DEP's fantastic staff.

Debra Durham
President

Monday, March 24, 2008

Four Cup Review from Coffee Time

SPARTA ROSE
GINGER SIMPSON
ISBN# 978-1-897540-04-6
March 2008
Enspiren Press
2060 Victoria Street, Box 193, Gorrie, Ontario, N0G 1X0, Canada
Paperback
$13.99
219 Pages
Western Historical Romance
Rating: 4 Cups

Roselle Fountain, "Ellie", believes her Pa, Ben, cares more for the ranch foreman than her. It seems Ben believes his daughter should start doing woman chores and leave the ranch, Fountainhead, to the men. She is determined to prove she can do just as a man.

Tyler Bishop, "Ty", is Fountainhead’s foreman. He is the son that Ben never had. Ty not only tries to take care of all the things on the ranch, but makes sure Ellie is protected. Then he sees Ellie all grown-up and sparks fly.

Ellie lost her mother to typhoid fever at the age of three. Growing up with only a Pa, she learned to rope, brand, and mend fences, but then her Pa decides she do womanly chores. It aggravates her that her Pa trusts Ty more. She is also tired of Ty bossing her around, thinking she needs his protection. Taking matters into her hands, she buys a gun. She will show everyone she is capable of taking care of herself. Ty knew a man had to be blind not to notice the grown-up Ellie. He sees her more than a friend, but does not know what her Pa would think about the situation. When land buyers insist on buying Fountainhead, Ellie has to make sure it is not sold. She can only hope her Pa and Ty feel the same.

Sparta Rose is a great novel to put on anyone’s list. It carries you to a beautiful spot in Tennessee, with characters that grow on you and stay forever. The dialogue is wonderful and the storyline flows smoothly so not to lose the reader. I admire Ellie’s steadfastness in going after what is important in her life. I like how Ty wants to be there for her and make sure no harm comes to her. Ginger Simpson adds just the right elements into this story to keep the reader interested. She has a way of imparting moments that bring on a smile or even a laugh by making characters that lift off the pages and come to life.

Cherokee
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books






Saturday, March 22, 2008

Memories


Easter brings back so many wonderful memories. I was the oldest of four children, so I got to play 'bunny' when I got older. It was awesome hiding eggs so my younger siblings could find them. I swear the two dozen were hid and found so many times, we wore the shells off , and invariably, months later, we always found at least one we'd missed in the search.

Easter was one of the occasions we got new clothes. Mom would dig out her Sear's charge card and take us shopping. I still remember the pretty ruffled dresses complete with patent leather shoes and lacy white anklets. Easter bonnets were the rage back in the 50s, and I was high-stylin'. My brother, of course, got new jeans, shirt and a clip-on tie. I'm sure he got shoes, too, but I can't recall what kind. All I remember about him is that his feet smelled horrible and we preferred he kept them covered at all times. For a little guy, he sure could smell up the room.

I tried to carry on the fun tradition when my children were small. I recall making baskets up for the grandparents and driving to their house and leaving them outside the door. We always knocked then hid and my kids got the biggest kick out of surprising Grandma and Grandpa, Grandpa and Grammy. One year, Grandma requested a diet basket so we used only vegetables with the dyed eggs. Hey, we were an equal opportunity bunny back then. :)

Now both Grandpas are gone and my children are grown. Tonight as I watched my grandson's face light up when the eggs turned such magnificent colors, I was overcome with wonderful recollections of childhood joy. I hope your Easter brings back some pleasant thoughts for you, and as we once again celebrate our Lord's resurrection, I pray that he blesses each of you with love, hope and health.

For those of you who are a different faith, I wish you a joyous changing of the seasons. I appreciate each and every one of you for giving purpose to my life.

Friday, March 21, 2008

MURDER!

This face describes exactly how I'm feeling at the moment. Something has happened to my muse and I'm not sure what. Maybe she's dead. Oh no!

For those of you who don't understand the importance of a muse in writing, let me explain. I found the best description on Wikpedia, so just so you don't think I plagiarize, I'm giving them full credit.

" In Greek Mythology, 'the muses' are a sisterhood of goddesses or spirits..., who embody the arts and inspire the creation process."

I don't have room for the full sisterhood in my head, so I only use one. Although, I'm sure there's many more things worse than sitting down at the computer and finding that your mind has turned into a blank screen--its not as life-altering as some experiences--it's frustrating, nonetheless. I need my muse and hate when she abandons me.

Just a week ago, I came home from a writer's meet-up, totally enthused about making headway on my latest work-in-progress, but someone or something killed my muse. Either that, or she's gone AWOL. If that's the case, I doubt she's wandered very far because lately all she wants to do is eat.

There is no cure for a lost muse. You simply have to wait until she comes back and is ready to write. It angers me because I'm up to the task, yet she's the creative side I need--the person in touch with my characters, and the story flows through her.

I wonder if I should report this 'crime' to the police. She might be laying somewhere bleeding and injured. But then again, I might be overreacting. She's taken a hiatus before, but never for quite this long. I'm a worrier by nature, so maybe I'll give her a little while longer to come back.

Oh, wait...I think I see her. Or at least part of her. Whew...never mind the panic alert. I've found her with her head in the refrigerator and the biggest chunk of her talent hanging out. I'll see if I can get that part back in the chair and get started on finishing First Degree Innocence. I'm hoping to enter it in a competition and thus find a home for it. Here's a little snippet 'we' finished before she got hungry again and went on the prowl:

Carrie stood, frozen in place, still clutching her meager belongings, and watched the door click shut and the overweight guard waddle away. Finally, she turned and surveyed the narrow room. Graffiti littered the confining walls. Her gaze passed the metal bunk beds and rested on the lone lidless toilet, jutting from the back wall and visible to anyone walking by. Claustrophobia squeezed at her chest and tears threatened again. How much more degradation was yet to come?

“Welcome to Hell.” A gravely voice came from behind her.

Carrie’s heart jumped into her throat. She jerked around to see a prone form on the bottom bunk and struggled to find her voice. “I… I thought I was alone.”

“No such luck. They prefer to keep the cells full. It makes serving meals and head counts a lot easier for the coven of witches who work here. My name’s Susanna Crane.” A tall blonde with bright eyes and full lips stood and offered her hand, then chuckled. “Oh, sorry, I can see you have your arms full. The good news is, it’s nice to have company, and the bad news is you get the top bunk. The bottom one is the only perk around here, and it’s first-come-first-serve.” Her pleasant giggle was a welcome sound.

Carrie stood on tiptoes and dumped her issued items on the bare mattress. She eyed the marks of age that crinkled the cold plastic, and noticed rips where cotton poked through—like her, it sought escape from a hellish confinement. A quiet chuckle bubbled to her lips until she tried picturing what type of people had slept on the bedding before her. She cringed.

At home, her downy mattress was practically new, still bearing the tags that threatened penalties if they were removed. How ironic. You couldn’t be more law-abiding than that.

She turned back to her cellmate. “Don’t we even get pillows?”

Susanna shook her head. “Not anymore. I hear they used to issue them, but some idiot tried flushing one and backed up the whole sewer system, so now…”

“I don’t think I can sleep without one.”

“You’ll learn.”

“So… we all get punished for what one person did?” Carrie hoped she misunderstood.

“That’s the way it works. It’s an incentive program.”

“Incentive for what?”

“I haven’t figured that out yet. I think they expect us to police one another, yet fighting isn’t tolerated. That seems pretty stupid, considering the best way to stop someone from doing something that’s gonna screw us all, is to beat the livin’ shit out of ’em. Go figure.” Susanna’s lips practically disappeared into a thin line.

She was taken aback by Susanna’s language. At first sight, with her shoulder-length hair and big blue eyes, she looked like the all-American girl. The one you’d find in church or at the Red Cross. Carrie figured her for twenty-five at the most. She glanced around the cell, pondering Susanna’s last statement.

“I’m not sure I understand. How can they expect us to prevent things from happening if we’re all separately caged… like animals?”

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Cleaning Contest


SPRING CLEANING CONTEST




(This contest begins March 20th--the 1st day of Spring!)

The days are growing warmer. The robin's perched in your windowsill. And you're climbing the walls. It's time to shake out those curtains, clean out the closets, and don those walking shoes. Spring is here! What better way to celebrate than to find some inspiration? Ten authors have noted their favorite inspirational quotes on their websites. All you have to do is find them in order to win some fabulous inspiring prizes! Make a list of these 10 quotes and send them to happyendings2007@aol.com by midnight CST April 10, 2008.

www.skhyemoncrief.com

www.alishapaige.com

www.aklanier.com

www.kyannwaters.com

www.bessmcbride.com

www.aithnejarretta.com

www.meaganhatfield.com

www.phyllismariecampbell.com

http://mizging.blogspot.com

http://highlandlassiesreviews.blogspot.com




Ginger's contest quote:

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. Kurt Vonnegut

Ginger's Prizes:
A simply scrumptious lotion from Bath and Bodyworks and choice of any download from my backlist.





Similarities? Speech or Novel - The Same Rules Can Apply



I always enjoy Yvonne Perry's blog. She provides lots of helpful information to those of us who promote on a 'shoestring'. Today, she posted someone's advice on how to prepare an interesting speech. As I read through it, I was struck by how the same advice also applies to writing...well most of it anyhow. It gave me an idea for my own post. I hope Yvonne doesn't mind that I borrowed the headers from her. I've changed LISTENERS to READERS.

1. How do you want your READERS to react?
This is a question easily answered. Naturally, you want your readers to love what you write so they will purchase future books. You want them to turn that last page and feel that their money wasn't wasted and even better, you gave them a temporary escape from reality.

2. Who is your audience? What do your READERS have in common?
In fiction, most are looking to be entertained. In non-fiction, they usually want to learn something. The biggest commonality is they've spent money on a product and expect to get something for their investment. It's the author's job to make sure that happens.

3. Grab their attention.
This has been hammered into most writers from the beginning. When you query an agent or publisher, if the first three chapters (even the first one, really,) fail to entice the person to turn pages, then your manuscript is returned with a polite "no thanks." As a reader, I'm annoyed when I'm compelled to turn pages to find a redeeming quality to the story. But, as a writer, it's so difficult to find that spot in your own work that's guaranteed to snare the reader's attention. When you apply all the rules that govern good writing these days, it's even harder.

4. Cut to the chase.
This is definitely a good idea as long as you leave enough description and dialogue to involve the reader in the story. There's nothing more distracting than having every piece of furniture in a house described down to the fabric if it does nothing to propel the storyline. If a character is sitting or reclining on it, then it's important. If it's off in corner and never used.... who cares?

5. Make your STORY easy to follow.
This usually happens if you stick to one character's POV in a scene rather than head-hopping or switching from one point of view to another. The secret is to make it easy to understand who is speaking to whom without using tiresome tags: Carleen said, Fred said, Jack yelled. If someone has to go back and re-read a paragraph or sentence, then you've failed this part.

6. Keep sentences short and words clear.
Good idea even in writing. No one likes sentences laden with commas and so long that one has to go back and start over at the beginning because they lost their train of thought. Shorter sentences, especially in pivotal points of your story, create more tension.

7. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
NOT IN WRITING. Word echoes in the same paragraph or scene become tedious and show a lack of vocabulary. Check out the wonderful little thesaurus on your computer. It provides a world of comparison words to give you options. Which would you rather read:

John yelled for Karen to join the party.
She appeared in the doorway. "Don't yell, it isn't polite."
John shrugged. "I only yelled because the music was so loud."
OR
"Karen, come join the party." John tried to be heard over the music.
She appeared in the doorway. "You don't have to yell."
John shrugged. "Sorry. It's so loud in this place, I wasn't sure you'd hear me.

Okay, maybe it isn't the best example, but you get the idea. Why limit yourself to the same words over and over when you can dazzle your readers by finding new words to use?

8. Keep your READER involved.
Good idea. If you lose your reader, you're sunk. There are so many ways this can happen: Poor plot, unlikable characters or ones with whom the reader can't identify, head hopping (unless of course you're an established and well-known author like Nora Roberts), passive voice... the list goes on and on. The best way to test your story is to involve yourself in a good critique group and get the opinion of people other than friends and family. You know, the ones who won't lie to you to save your feelings. :) I've certainly learned a great deal from my involvement with other authors via chapter exchanges.

9. Know when to quit.
This is especially important when judging the length of a chapter. You don't want each one to be considered a book in itself. It's important to find a critical point in your story in which to end one chapter and begin another. It's called a hook--something that guarantees the reader will have to read one more page before turning out the light for sleep or moving on to something else. It's the lure that brings them back because they can't wait to see what happens next.

10. Call to action.
This applies to me. It's really easy to point out all the pitfalls and traps of writing, but to avoid them and incorporate only the strong points in my own writing is far more difficult. It's always easier to spot mistakes in someone else's work or tell others what to do. The test is practicing what you preach. I learn something new every day so each new book is a testament of one thing I've perfected. I'm looking forward to the book that demonstrates I'm finally a pro. I hope I live that long. :)

Again, my appreciation to Yvonne Perry and her guests who stimulate the desire to continue to improve my craft.
Yvonne's Blog

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Prissy's Here


Ginger's not feeling so swell today, so I posted for her. You can't read the print very well, but I was requesting home time on the Qualcomm because I was sick of trucking. Boy am I glad those days are over. Can you imagine having to pay four bucks for a gallon of diesel? You gotta love those truckers, though.

Hopefully, Ging will be back tomorrow. She has an awful headache.

Monday, March 17, 2008

MORE LUCKY WINNERS

Lucky Winners!

Well folks, as promised I'm ready to give the following people a FREE pdf of one of my titles:

Virginia
ddurance
peggy
Theresa Norris

If you would email me Privately at: pthib07@hotmail.com and put Blogfest Winner in your subject line, I'll send your choice of book.

Thanks for participating!
Pamela S Thibodeaux
"Inspirational with an Edge!"

Pamela's Website

Pamela's blog




AND THE WINNER IS....


Does she have the Luck of the Irish? I'm happy to announce the winner of our 'virtual basket' from the Mega Blog-a-thon recently held: Theresa Norris, C'MON DOWN, or at least email me at Ginger's Email so I can send your ebooks to you. You can thank my grandson, Spencer, for pulling your name in the drawing.

Thanks to everyone who identified themselves as readers and made our blogging week even more special. It's true: without readers you wouldn't need authors. Consider yourself appreciated. I only wish everyone could win. Stay tuned, I'm sure to offer more prizes.

OH,...and Prissy says congratulations, too.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I Wanna Be Pretty Again


Yesterday, I actually did something for myself. I fixed up (actually put on makeup), picked up my book bag and went to a Writer's Meet-up in Nashville. I've been wanting to go for months, but something has always interfered. I was nervous. I think it's because my most constant companion is a five-year-old and my vocabulary has diminished greatly. I'm good at nursery rhymes and yelling "Yo Gabba Gabba", but to actually carry on a real conversation...

When I was ready to go, I ASKED my husband, "How do I look?" His response: "You look nice." NICE???? The sofa looks nice, a newly dusted-surface looks nice, a clean car is nice, but I wanted to look pretty. What happened to that word in his vocabulary? I guess I should be content with his response, but I recall the days when I warranted more. I suppose I'll have to be satisfied with 'nice'. Dang! You think he could at least 'fib' a little for my self-esteem's sake.

Despite hubby's less-than-enthused appraisal, the writer's group turned out to be a nice mix of ages and genders, and I enjoyed myself. I would have felt a little more at ease if they had an appointed 'greeter' whose job it was to notice an unfamiliar face and extend a welcome since it was pretty awkward, standing with a group of strangers and not being acknowledged. Maybe I just have issues, but I didn't expect anyone to tell me I was pretty, just say hello or introduce themselves. *lol*

It was really nice being with 'adults' after so long. Oh, I live with three others, but we don't mingle, we just co-exist. Conversations are usually in the form of a nag or complaint, so it was great to have an actual exchange that required brain usage. I was impressed with the talent I witnessed (or heard) as chapters and synopsis were read aloud, and I actually participated by sharing chapter one of First Degree Innocence. The feedback was positive and I came home with an enthused muse, ready to make some improvements, but the mood dimmed as soon as I got here. Back to "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Max & Ruby." My little guy, Spencer, ran a high fever yesterday, and when I got home, he needed his 'nee nee' to comfort him. Given the choice, I'll pick him over writing any day. Besides, I have him convinced I'm beautiful.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Day in Heaven


I finally got around to using my Christmas present from my hubby...a day at the Spa. The gift package he presented me included a one-hour massage, a peppermint soak, a facial, a manicure and a pedicure. I've been so looking forward to going, but haven't found enough free time. Since my son had the day off, yesterday worked out great. He could pick up his own child from school and watch him. What a concept. :)

At the last minute, I started getting cold feet. The idea of baring my rolls of fat to an unknown person so they could knead them like a mound of dough rifled through my mind. What had I been thinking? God, what if the masseuse turned out to be a man? How much did I have to expose? Did I have to take everything off? Clearly, I hadn't give this enough thought. The facial, manicure and pedicure I could handle, but a massage. Aren't those tied to prostitution? I saw visions of me splashed across the local newspaper, with headlines, "Local Woman Caught Naked in Compromising Position." I had beads of sweat on my forehead when I drove into the parking lot. But once I saw the day spa, I knew it was totally a classy place. Amata Day Spa. I highly recommend it.

I was first led to a locker room and given a big fluffy robe and slippers. Of course the 'one size fits all' theory was supposed to apply, but I really had to pull the material tight to keep the front from gapping. The little gal I saw shuffling off to a massage room had quite the opposite problem. She looked like she'd been swallowed by a polar bear. I guess nothing is perfect.

Anyhow, I took a seat in the 'mood' room--a quiet cove with comfortable furniture, flickering candles, fresh fruit and the sound of calming water blended with soft music. What should have brought me peace instead sent me scurrying to the restroom. Something about the sound of running water affects me that way these days.

When I got back my masseuse was waiting for me. She was about 4'9" and weighed 50 pounds. I think I actually groaned aloud. Why couldn't I have drawn someone who actually had one stretch mark? Despite my misgivings, it was an awesome experience and I'm anxious for a return engagement. Lisa made it pleasant and not all all embarrassing. I was so relaxed, I forgot I was fat.

The facial was divine, but unfortunately, I came out with the same face, just a little shiner and cleaner. The soak in the sauna tub, complete with glass of wine, candles and soft music was beyond words, and I wished I had hubby there to share it with, but once glance at the water level told me I'd have to decrease the volume to a tablespoon full. :)

Last was the manicure, pedicure, and I really wanted another glass of wine, but I flashed back to the time my best friend and I (Leta) went to have our hair done and imbibed way too much. I remember stopping at a liquor store and buying more on the way home, and I'm not sure how we even made the trip. I was driving at one point, but must have had the good sense to change places with Leta. That was probably not a wise move because the only thing I vaguely recall during the ride was opening my eyes and seeing "Eat Western Beef" on the back of a truck. I closed up eyes, certain we were about to, literally. God must have been with two stupid people that day because we made it safe and sound and didn't kill anyone in the process. Young and stupid, then, old and senile now. Not much difference really.

Anyhow, back to the finishing touches to my day. I have no nails, so basically all Brandy did was even up the stubs and coat them with a shine. She spent most of her time working on my heels. I probably could have sanded a board with them before she made them nice and smooth. She's quite the avid reader and we that gave me the opportunity to talk about ME and MY books. She seemed quite interested and I enjoyed our conversation. I'm hoping maybe this might be one place where I can do a signing when my new books come out. I have to garner up the nerve to ask. I suck at things like that.

Brandy smacked a pair of disposable thongs on me feet and sent me on my way. I came home, all prepared to have someone notice how relaxed and improved I looked. BUT... I walked through the door. Spencer had toys from stem to stern in the room, Kelly was in bed snoring, the kitchen was disaster and dinner needed to be made. Something happened to my new found inner peace as I searched the freezer for frozen pizzas. I turned right back into the same grumpy bitch I was before I left. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. Too bad I had to come home. *lol*

If anyone would like to donate to my next spa experience, you can send a donation to PO Box...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tripping Down Memory Lane


I can't believe my first born is turning forty-one this year. It doesn't seem possible.How can we be the same age? :) I was thinking back today about what made me start writing, and I realized it was all the material life has provided me for plots and stories. At this time in March 1967, I was almost nine months pregnant and looking forward to the birth of my first child. We'd waited three years to have a baby, and I was so excited to be a mom. Little did I know what waited in store for me. I had no idea I would eventually be the mother of the first punk rocker in a red-neck community, nor did I have even a clue that I'd someday be sharing my eye make-up with a teenage-boy as he dressed for his first prom. He and his girlfriend wore matching outfits from the goodwill. Nothing you'd find in a fashion magazine, I assure you. But I digress...

Okay, so I gained a little weight during the pregnancy, but did people really have to keep asking, "are you still pregnant?" I felt I've been that way forever. My ankles and feet were swollen beyond the tops of my shoes and not even my biggest maternity top covered my stomach. I swore if one more person asked that question, I was going to jail for murder.

The doctor's had already gotten my hopes up for an early birth. They started telling me in February, "Don't go far from home. The baby's coming any day now." Right. March 17th, was my due date and it was right around the corner. It came and went!
Talk about misery. Heartburn the minute I lay down and now my hands and fingers were swelling. I was beginning to doubt I was really pregnant.

On a visit to the doctor after my date had passed, he had no explanation except, "Babies come when they're good and ready." That didn't do much to ease my growing discomfort. Now, my bladder had developed a mind of its own and I was wearing a 'pad' everyday. This was before 'Depends'. I had to get my labor started and end the agony, so I walked around the room until I couldn't breathe, asked hubby to take me for bumpy rides and even considered sex, but nothing worked. I gave into my desperation. No, not sex, a orange juice/castor oil/baking soda cocktail. The doctor said it was okay to try it. It didn't start my labor, but I did spend the entire night in the bathroom. Something moved, but it wasn't the child.

Finally, on April 17th, the doctor admitted me to the hospital. My blood pressure soared and I was showing signs of Toxemia. I was the only pregnant woman in the maternity ward. Doc said if I didn't start labor within a few hours, he was going to induce me. I guess that scared me, because I started having pains. Too bad, my little twinges kept my 'new mommy' roommate awake, because I got moved to the labor room far too early. Nothing says stress like listening to other women groan and scream. My first roommate claimed, in a very loud and aggravated voice, "the baby is coming." "Just breathe," said the nurse. "You aren't ready to deliver yet." A few minutes later I heard a baby cry. I guess Momma knew better than the nurse. Was that going to happen to me? My heart pounded like a drum as the pains intensified.

A thin curtain separated me from my labor room mate. I caught a glimpse of my third one when the nurse left the drape open for a fleeting minute and noticed she looked Hispanic. That certainly explained why she played her fingers like castanets with each pain she had. Me, I choose to wring water from a wash cloth into my face. I couldn't understand how the doctor I saw across the hall could stretch out on a couch and read a newspaper when so many of us were dying. I changed my mind. I didn't want to have a baby, after all.

When I ran out of water, I squeezed the closest thing to me--my call button. That didn't last long because the nurse came and removed it from my bed. She also performed the roughest shave job of my pubic area one could imagine, gave me an enema and slapped paper slippers on my feet and sent me scurrying the length of a football field towards the nearest toilet. Punishment too severe for pushing a call button too many times, I thought.

I've always had an aversion to anyone hearing me make 'bathroom noises' but imagine having an enema and doing your business in a two car garage-sized room with only a toilet in it. I'm sure the echo was heard in the gift shop. I was appalled, but relieved.

When my labor finally advanced, they moved me to the delivery room. I was instructed to sit up on the side of the table and not move a muscle. Sure thing. My body is having bearing down pains that could move a school bus across an intersection, but I'm supposed to sit perfectly still. I don't know how I managed, but I think it was the enticement offered by the spinal and the promise the pain would go away.

It did, and so did any feeling beyond my waist. I guess that 5'2", ninety pound nurse should have asked me to put my line-backer legs in the stirrup before I went numb. The only thing I could do was root for her. After that, everything was a blur. I pushed, but didn't feel it, or at least I gritted my teeth and thought I did. It must have worked because within a short time, I had a slippery baby boy laying across my stomach.

Finally, after ten months of pregnancy, Scott Allen Jones was born on April 18, 1967 and weighed in at 9 pounds 9 ounces and was 22 1/2 inches long. Compared to the other babies in the nursery, he looked three months old. Of course, he was the most beautiful one there.

I felt so slim as I stood and stared at him through the window. But when they weighed me, I'd only lost nine pounds. How in the hell does that work???? But it didn't matter, I was finally a mom. Surely it was my calling in life. Or so I thought. Stay tuned for more about my little punk rocker. I never knew what a trend setter he'd turn out to be. Wait until you hear about the birth of my second son. Oy Vey!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Just don't call me late for dinner.

One man's reason is another man's excuse so I won't bore you with the details on why I missed Ginger's Blog Fest. Thankfully she's allowing me to post today anyway. (Smooch and a quick hug!) But then, I simply have to explain. That's what we authors do...explain things. Grin.

Typically when life throws curves at you, it's the result of bad things. This time I got knocked over with good things! In the last four weeks, I've become engaged; found out I'm going to Germany for a month--we leave in two weeks; a friend announced her long-awaited pregnancy; a book on writing science fiction, containing two chapters I wrote, won an Eppie Award. There's a lot more but you get the picture, I'm sure.

So what's this got to do with writing? We often hear how much writing is therapy for us. It certainly helps me keep severe depression at bay. We're taught, and rightly so, to take those painful moments and awkward memories and use them to enrich our stories. We reach into our very souls and grab the fibers, like silken and sharp Angel Hair, then pull them out. Our characters become real people when they are constructed with these fibers.

But...hey, what about the good times? Those emotions and experiences are just as powerful. They also shape our lives. Let's not overlook them in our characters our stories.

One of my favorite quotes is by Natalie Goldberg who says, "Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open."

I also say, "Write what pleases you, what you long for, what your heart rejoices over, no matter how silly it sounds. Be willing to let the sun shine through."

Kim Richards www.kim-richards.com

Where's The Economy Headed?

I suppose some may think I'm silly to fret about losing readers, but as an author, I have to ask myself, when will people stop spending money on books in order to juggle the real necessities of life? I don't make a ton of sales, but suffering a decline is one more way that escalating gasoline prices will affect me and my fellow authors.

I don't know about you, but I'm worried. Every shopping trip reveals price increases since my previous visit. Today, I paid sixty four cents for one orange. Every time there's an increase in fuel prices, it doesn't just impact my private vehicle, it touches me and everything I need to live. From aspirin to toilet paper and beyond, everything is hauled by truck. The shippers have to show a profit, so they bump up their prices, and in turn, the retailers bump up theirs. In the end, consumers pay for it.

What's even more ridiculous is the price of diesel (which most trucks use) is at an all-time high. It's a bi-product of gasoline, and in reality, should be cheaper to make, but it's currently $3.77 per gallon as opposed to $3.13 for regular gasoline here in my neck of the woods. Who's gouging who and why can they get away with it? For years, diesel was the cheapest type of fuel.

Reports predict that gasoline will exceed $4.00 per gallon before summer. That means diesel will rise accordingly, and besides trying to juggle your own fuel concerns you'll be picking up an even bigger tab for the things shipped to the markets and shops. How much can the average American stand?

There was a time when people in dire straights could file bankruptcy and still salvage their lives, but now, thanks to the current administration and the change in those laws, people aren't able to fall back on that last safety net That's why millions of people are losing their homes to foreclosure. If you don't believe me, check the statistics for your own area. It's staggering. I'm not an advocate of using BK to wriggle your way out of debt, but think about it...the credit card companies have us in their clutches. They make money hand over fist in interest, can adjust your rates as they see fit, levy late fees that are ridiculous, and, in my opinion, victimize people that are already in financial trouble. That's my humble opinion, and I'm not asking anyone to agree with it.

As someone who lives on a fairly fixed income, I'm even more frightened about the future. My yearly cost of living increase is 10% and it doesn't touch the tip of what the true COL has become. Example" I broke a tooth a few days ago and it's going to cost me over $1000 to get it fixed. They want the money up front. How many people can afford that? I have a feeling that's why I see so many people here in TN with bad teeth. Most employers don't offer health and dental, so what options do you have: Let's see, feed you family or save your teeth. Remember, even the dentists supplies are delivered by truck. It's a big snowball that's going to touch every part of our lives, and it needs to stop. I hope whoever is elected to office doesn't have blinders on and can see the average American family and their struggles.

We're so concerned about reconstructing Iraq. How about some consideration for those needing a hand up at home. Being a tax-paying citizen should offer priority over those who aren't, but again, that's just my opinion and I'm not asking for a debate.

My publishers tell me I need to travel to promote my books--make personal appearances, arrange signings, be more visible than just on the internet. I'm pretty much thinking it ain't gonna happen unless something seriously changes with the current economic conditions. I'm not hopeful. So, I'll just continue to do the best I can and hope that the new releases I have coming out are interesting enough to warrant your purchase. We do, after all, still need something to help us escape from reality, or even better, find someone as a hero or heroine with whom we can truly identify. Please, keep on reading.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Comments About Dr. Phil

I shared this on the Inspired Author Blog and wanted to share it with you, too. It if saves on person, then I've helped spread some useful info.

I am so appalled. I just finished watching the Dr. Phil Show and today’s topic was registered sex offenders. I’ve never given much thought to what happens to those convicted and released of sexual crimes, but today’s show prompted me to blog about it.

Today, Dr. Phil interviewed people living in an apartment complex in Long Beach, CA. The owner of the apartment evidently contracted with the government to house paroled sexual offenders. It’s true, no one wants to live next door to them, and they do need to live somewhere, but I’m appalled that some scumbag is making money from our tax dollars by housing them en masse. The property owners nearby are losing residents and income at devastating rates, and those remaining are concerned. I would be, too.

According to guests on the program, besides collecting rent from each sexual predator living in his apartment, the owner also receives $1000 per month, per parolee there. He has ousted all of the regular tenants and replaced them with those recently out of prison. I ask the question…Why are we paying to provide housing from our tax money?

Until we have stronger laws to deter people from crimes preying on the sexual vulnerability of others, the problem is never going to be solved. Considering the severity of the crime committed and removing the offending equipment might be a good deterrent. It is a well-documented fact that most offenders continue to repeat their bad behavior.

Another guest on the show, a registered sexual offender himself, admitted that the condition is never cured—the urges DO NOT go away. He’s seventy years old and still finds interest in young boys. He also molested his daughter. His honesty was frightening and very revealing. His admission that sexual urges ‘dumb down’ a person’s common sense and make them more apt to offend leaves us at the mercy of the offenders. We have to gamble that they have enough control to remove themselves from temptation. That’s not likely to happen because men, especially, are sexual beings. Unfortunately, many need it to confirm their manhood.

There are laws that prohibit sexual offenders from living within a certain distance from schools, but nothing that restrains them from day care centers or areas where children gather. In the case of the Dr. Phil guests, public beaches. I went on the sexual registry for my area and was shocked to see how many rapists and other sexual offenders live very close to my home. I urge each of you to investigate your own neighborhoods. Just go to www.familywatchdog.us/ and enter your address. You’ll be shocked, but at least you’ll be informed.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Farewell and Tons of Fun

Although I didn't have a chance to post as often due to this snow storm we're having here in Montreal, and internet down most of the time, I am catchng up with tons of post readings and have to say everyone was truly amazing with great info and excerpts.

POPS: I'm kinda disappointed.

LEA: Why Pops?

POPS: Was expecting more coverage...you know,not the puny details--

LEA: Okay, folks, I think it's time for me to say thank you to one and all for dropping by this awesome fest--

POPS: And getting to know me!

LEA: Thank you, Ginger, for putting this together.

POPS: Next time, Ginger, invite me only!

A Blue Ribbon Day

As Pam has already declared, today is the last official day of my blog fest. I would truly like to thank all my friends who spent time, posting and entertaining my readers. I'm constantly amazed by the abounding talent found in small publishing. As you can see by the excerpts and interviews, many of these authors rival those on the NY Best Sellers List. I can't recognize each and everyone, but I thought by opening up my blog, I could at least let them know I think they ALL deserve a 'blue ribbon' for being such great friends and dedicated authors. I wish each of them continued success and we'll do this again sometime.

READERS - DON'T FORGET! YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO LEAVE A COMMENT WITH ANY POST AND IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A READER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE DRAWING FOR A VIRTUAL BASKET OF READS. DON'T MISS OUT. JUST LEAVE A NOTE. :)

Hugz,
Ginger

Last but Certainly not Least!

Well Folks, we’ve come to the end of the Blog Fest and once again, I’d like to THANK Ginger for allowing us to come out and play.

I’ve certainly enjoyed introducing myself and sharing with you my life, my Tempered series and my TWRP titles.

But before I say good bye, I’d like to share with you my Upcoming Release from Enspiren Press The Visionary.

The Story Behind The Visionary:
Although I may have come a long way from penning stories in 5-subject notebooks, my writing techniques are the same; I simply write what God puts on my heart.

The Visionary started out as a "light" romance. The twins, Taylor and Trevor introduced themselves to me and I found them intriguing. They were talented, good looking, successful, and I just knew I would have a ball writing their story!

Until the day they revealed their deep, dark secrets and the horrors they'd experienced as children. I’ll never forget that day as long as I live.

A friend had commented that the twins were awfully close for a m/f set which made me wonder why they were so close. I walked out of my office into the living room where my husband watched a talk show. On the stage a man was crying and apologizing to his sisters because he could not stop the abuse they’d suffered. That’s when it struck me why my twins were so close. Believe me when I tell you that my heart literally stumbled in my chest and every drop of blood drained from my being. In that moment I knew the FULL meaning of the old adage: be careful what you pray for.

You see, in 1989 I recommitted my life to Christ and committed my writing to Him, asking that I never write "just another romance, but something that would glorify Him." This was one moment I had second thoughts about that whole commitment. This was one time I actually doubted I could write what He wanted me to write, and believe me, I did everything I could think of to get out of it...I whined, I pleaded, I told Him that I just couldn't do it, I'm not strong enough or talented enough. After all, we're told to write what we know and I knew nothing about child abuse!

Except that it is disgustingly prevalent in today's society.

As a Christian I'm urged to listen to the still, small Voice inside--the Voice of God's Spirit, and He will guide and direct me. So, when that still, small Voice whispered, "who do you write for anyway?" I repented, surrendered and submitted.

I wrote the story.

Set in my native area of Lake Charles, Louisiana, The Visionary revolves around twins Taylor and Trevor Forrestier (pronounced ‘foresjay’).

Blurb: A visionary is someone who sees into the future, Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by Architectural Digest and Architectural Review as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disgustingly prevalent in today’s society. Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?

The Visionary is already getting great reviews. Amanda Killgore, a reviewer for Huntress Reviews said, “Once again, I am struck by Ms. Thibodeaux's ability to create realistic characters and situations that both portray things the way they truly are for Christians and honor God, while never becoming graphic. While many romance writers feel it necessary for people in love to automatically say "yes," she shows that it is possible to do the right thing and in a way that can be seen as the hero and heroine being strong, not white Wonder bread milquetoasts. This story in particular tackles tough, dark gritty subjects, not the least of which being how difficult forgiveness can be. It is a true crime she is not on the NY Times bestseller list; the world desperately needs to read things like this timely, relevant tale.”

So there you have it folks, now you know all about me and my work. For more information, visit my website and/or blog or read my articles @ Associated Content.

Readers Pay Attention! I will continue to monitor comments on my posts for 1 week at the end of which (Sunday, March 16th) I will contact the lucky winners!

Until later….take care, be BLESSED! and remember….when the going gets tough, the tough get on their knees!

Pamela S Thibodeaux
“Inspirational with an Edge!”

Tangled Hearts by Rosemary Morris

TANGLED HEARTS

CHAPTER ONE

Fothering Place, London, England1702

Lord Chesney sat at ease in his lodgings and eyed his friend, Jack, Duke of Hertfordshire, whose tall frame was clad in extravagant silk and velvet. Gem set rings, illuminated by brilliant candlelight, adorned his long fingers and His Grace’s dark amber eyes were alert. His square face with its cleft chin looked tense while he toyed with his blond periwig.
His eyes keen, Jack spoke. ‘My bailiff tells me you bought Field House.’
Chesney knew all about Jack’s insatiable hunger for land. In fact, Jack rarely missed a chance to add to his estates. ‘Yes, I did.’ He kept his tone smooth.
Jack swallowed the last of his port. ‘I would have bought the property but for my fool of a bailiff who informed me too late of the sale.’
Chesney beckoned to his man. ‘More port for His Grace,’ he ordered but decided not to drink anymore because he never risked becoming a fool through over indulgence.
While Roberts served the port, Chesney glanced round the small but comfortable book-lined room. The fact that Jack was the most influential man and the largest landowner in Hertfordshire had naught to do with their friendship.
‘Will you sell the property to me? After all the house and land fell into a sad state of neglect after the civil war.’ Jack stretched his legs out towards the fire.
‘No, I like my estate and look forward to restoring the house. Do not argue with me, my mind is made up.’
Jack’s cheeks reddened. ‘Very well, but now you are my neighbour, you must visit me whenever you wish.’ He yawned. ‘The hour grows late; I will take my leave of you.’
Chesney stood and bowed with mock formality. ‘I will call on you with pleasure.’
They smiled at each other. Jack rose and Chesney asked Roberts to fetch their cloaks.
With an arm draped over Jack’s broad shoulders, Chesney stepped out of his lodgings and glanced at the darkened street. He bade goodnight to Jack and hired a sedan chair to take him to his mistress’s lodgings.
Once there, Chesney skirted a pile of noxious matter spilled from a leather bucket put out for the night-soil men and beat a tattoo on the door of her tall, narrow house.
A pert maid, dressed in Madeleine’s cast off finery, answered his summons.
‘Good day, Susie.’
She curtsied and dimpled at him. ‘Welcome, my lord.’
‘Madam said as how she hoped for a visit from you, my lord.’
‘You look well, Susie. I trust your brother is still in good health.’
‘Yes, my lord, thank you my lord. It is more than kind of you to ask.’
Chesney took off his hat. Careless of the jaunty white plume curled round the black brim, he tucked his hat under his arm. ‘No need to show me the way.’
Susie did not protest when he marched up the short flight of stairs to Madeleine’s bedchamber.
He lingered at the threshold remembering the first time he met sensuous Madeleine when her late husband, old Mr Purvey, came with a delegation to the French court. Chesney sighed. He knew she had hoped to marry him after Mr Purvey died in defence of her tarnished honor in a duel in Leicester Fields. But as he now suspected that he was not her only lover it would be out of the question to marry her.
Chesney rapped on the door, sure of his welcome. Without waiting for permission, he entered the small room, took a taper from the mantelpiece, touched the lighted wick to the fire and used the same flickering flame to light the tall wax candles in wall sconces. Immediately, the thick rugs, tapestries and brocade curtains bloomed.
Madeleine remained abed. She blinked and brushed back her wavy brown hair before she extended her carefully tended hand to him. ‘My lord.’
‘Madam, by your leave.’ Instead of kissing her hand, he sat on a chair by the hearth.
Maddy had aged since he first met her. Yet, with skin like polished ivory, which invited his touch, lips, cheeks the colour of apple blossom and almond shaped hazel eyes that changed colour in different lights, he still appreciated her prettiness. And he found no fault with either her figure or her long, elegant limbs and full breasts.
She giggled and smoothed the lace edged ruffles at the neck of her nightrail. ‘Such formality, sir?’
‘Madeleine.’ He addressed her by her full name instead of by her sobriquet, Maddy.
Her eyes widened. ‘How serious you look. Has something untoward occurred?’
Poor Maddy, not only did she demand too much of his time, she also expected him to pay for too many luxuries. Although he feared her hysterics, he did not hesitate to come to the point, despite his reluctance to cause her pain for, throughout his life, it had never been his intention to hurt anyone either deliberately or accidentally. ‘I am sorry to grieve you, my dear, but to quote the bard, parting is such sweet sorrow.’
Maddy thrust the covers aside and sprang out of bed. With her tiny hands outstretched, she rushed towards him. ‘What do you mean, Chesney? Why do you quote words from Romeo and Juliet?’
He held out his hands to ward her off. ‘We must part.’
‘No! I love you. I cannot live without you.’ She sank to the ground and raised her head to look at him.
‘I doubt you love me,’ he murmured and smoothed his face into an inscrutable mask.
Maddy’s eyes filled with tears. ‘Chesney, since my husband died I have been waiting for you to propose marriage to me.’
If she had never taken any other lover he would sympathize with her more. But Maddy had been unfaithful to er elderly husband since the early days of her marriage. His nostrils flared. He doubted Maddy’s nature allowed her to remain faithful to any man.
She jumped up, rushed across the room and flung herself face down on her bed. ‘I am not yet done with you for I do love you, I do, I do.’ She pounded the quilt with clenched fists and sobbed.
He hesitated. Had he misjudged the depth of her feelings for him, by believing them to be shallow?
‘Have I not made you happy?’ Maddy demanded and twisted round to face him.
He sought a way to help her accept his decision. ‘We enjoyed our bed sport, yet you never quickened with child and duty requires me to father an heir. No more tears. You told me a score of times that you cannot abide puking babes and, what’s more, you always claimed the thought of motherhood dismays you. If you are honest, you will admit you could not tolerate your body thickening and I could never be brute enough to insist on fathering your child.’
Maddy stared at him, wide-eyed. ‘You are mistaken, I would be happy to bear your children.’
He bowed. ‘My dear, I cannot allow you to sacrifice yourself on the altar of reluctant motherhood.’
‘Then you are a true nobleman to part with me, your love, both out of consideration for me and for duty’s sake.’
His lips twitched. A cough concealed his amusement. He knew Maddy thrived on playacting. In all likelihood she would convince herself she had set him free and, before long, either wed an unfortunate cuckold or console herself with other lovers.
He picked up his hat.
Cat-like her eyes narrowed. ‘Chesney, give me a kiss to remember you by.’
He kissed her cheek and left the house. Should he leave town to prevent Maddy pestering him?

* * *

The following day, Chesney rapped his cane on the front door of Lady Ware’s London mansion. She was the sister of his late father’s friend, but he did not know her well and wondered at her summons.
‘Lord Chesney?’ Bennet, Lady Ware’s middle-aged butler, queried his lined face both curious and respectful.
Chesney inclined his head.
‘This way, my lord. You are expected.’ Bennet led him up the stairs to a beautifully appointed parlor on the first floor and announced him to Lady Ware.
Chesney raised his voice above the barks of six King Charles Cavalier spaniels. ‘Your servant, Lady Ware.’
‘My lord, I am pleased to see you,’ her ladyship greeted him and ordered her little dogs to sit. After he sat and had been served a glass of wine, she came straight to the point. ‘My lord, I summoned you to propose your marriage to my niece, Richelda Shaw, and, in all honesty, I assure you the union is to your advantage.’
While she waited for his reply, the petite lady fluttered her fan. In spite of her sixty odd years, she peeped over it girlishly and patted her fair hair, which had a silvery sheen.
‘You flatter me, Madam,’ he drawled.
Lady Ware’s dainty shrug released her cloying perfume of lavender mingled with roses and vanilla. She snapped her fan shut and tapped his arm with it. ‘You are mistaken. I do not flatter you. I offer you and my niece a solution. Your fathers followed King James to France. You are gossiped about and eyed as distrustfully as I think my niece will be when I bring her to London.’
‘Are you not gossiped about, Lady Ware? After all, your brother’s conversion to the Church of Rome must place you and your family under government scrutiny. For my part, I thank God my father remained true to The Anglican Church.’
Lady Ware shuddered. ‘Do not mention the matter to me, my lord. I vow I had no sympathy with my brother when he became a Papist.
All I can do is thank God he was not tried as a traitor and be glad his head was not displayed at the Tower of London.’
Chesney shifted his position and yawned before he made a cautious reply. ‘I am neither a Jacobite nor a Papist and apologize for mentioning the matter of your brother’s conversion.’
‘Some more wine, Viscount?’
He shook his head and leaned back, deliberately presenting a picture of a man completely at his ease.
Lady Ware arched her eyebrows. She sipped her wine. ‘All London knows I am a wealthy woman.’ She blinked a rush of tears from her eyes. ‘My lord, ’tis cruel not only to suffer widowhood thrice but to also lose my only child.’
To acknowledge her grief, he stood and bowed with respect. ‘My condolences, Madam.’
‘Thank you.’ She dabbed her eyes with a black handkerchief. ‘My poor daughter’s death is my niece’s gain. If Richelda is obedient, she will inherit all my property.’
Her ladyship rested her head against the back of her chair, opened her fan and plied it restlessly while she scrutinized him.
‘What do you think of the proposal, my lord?’
Chesney sat and, despite his intention to marry, replied with his customary forthrightness. ‘As yet I have neither put myself on the matrimonial market nor made my fortune and title available to any lady who wishes to marry me.’
‘I hear you purchased Field House,’ she ventured.
‘Yes, I did,’ he replied in a neutral tone.
‘Well, sir, I shall speak bluntly. My niece’s lands are adjacent to yours. Through marriage, you would double your estate and acquire my niece’s mansion, Bellemont House. As for my niece, she will become mistress of my childhood home.
He inclined his head. Ah, was this why her ladyship wanted him to marry her niece? Did she have a sentimental attachment to Field House?
Undeterred by his indifference to her proposition, Lady Ware continued. ‘I know your circumstances. Though you have no close relative, you are saddled with a clutch of distant relations who anticipate your help to advance in the world.’
Devil take it, she was correct. His family looked to him for patronage and expected him to marry and produce an heir. Confound it, not one of them had regained their positions, lands or fortunes after Charles I execution. Fortunately, his grandfather’s marriage to a French heiress saved he himself from poverty.
Her ladyship’s Roman nose twitched and her thin lips curved in a predatory smile. ‘You will consider the match?’
Reluctant to say anything she might interpret as his agreement to marry Mistress Shaw, he nodded.
‘Good, I shall not press you further.’ She hesitated with her fan mid-air, only to wave it backwards and forwards in agitation. ‘I prefer you not to tell anyone my niece is my heiress. When she comes to town, I do not want a flock of fortune hunters to approach her.’
‘On my honor, I will not mention the matter to anyone. By the way, when will Mistress Shaw come to London?’
‘Within the week.’
He stood and each of the small dogs wagged their tails, stirred and yapped for attention round his ankles. Although no thought of imminent marriage had entered his head when he arrived, he might change his mind after meeting her ladyship’s niece.
Lady Ware clapped her hands. ‘My poppets like you and, believe me, my lord, they are good judges of character.’
Chesney restrained an incipient chuckle at the notion of her ladyship’s dogs tricked out in wigs and gowns to judge him. ‘I am complimented by their approval, my lady.’ He bowed and kissed her bejeweled hand. ‘As for your niece, only providence knows if Mistress Shaw and I are suited.’
With a rustle of her black silk mourning gown and petticoat she rose. ‘I believe you and Mistress Shaw are well matched, my lord.’

Tangled Hearts by Rosemary Morris

TANGLED HEARTS

CHAPTER ONE

Fothering Place, London, England1702

Lord Chesney sat at ease in his lodgings and eyed his friend, Jack, Duke of Hertfordshire, whose tall frame was clad in extravagant silk and velvet. Gem set rings, illuminated by brilliant candlelight, adorned his long fingers and His Grace’s dark amber eyes were alert. His square face with its cleft chin looked tense while he toyed with his blond periwig.
His eyes keen, Jack spoke. ‘My bailiff tells me you bought Field House.’
Chesney knew all about Jack’s insatiable hunger for land. In fact, Jack rarely missed a chance to add to his estates. ‘Yes, I did.’ He kept his tone smooth.
Jack swallowed the last of his port. ‘I would have bought the property but for my fool of a bailiff who informed me too late of the sale.’
Chesney beckoned to his man. ‘More port for His Grace,’ he ordered but decided not to drink anymore because he never risked becoming a fool through over indulgence.
While Roberts served the port, Chesney glanced round the small but comfortable book-lined room. The fact that Jack was the most influential man and the largest landowner in Hertfordshire had naught to do with their friendship.
‘Will you sell the property to me? After all the house and land fell into a sad state of neglect after the civil war.’ Jack stretched his legs out towards the fire.
‘No, I like my estate and look forward to restoring the house. Do not argue with me, my mind is made up.’
Jack’s cheeks reddened. ‘Very well, but now you are my neighbour, you must visit me whenever you wish.’ He yawned. ‘The hour grows late; I will take my leave of you.’
Chesney stood and bowed with mock formality. ‘I will call on you with pleasure.’
They smiled at each other. Jack rose and Chesney asked Roberts to fetch their cloaks.
With an arm draped over Jack’s broad shoulders, Chesney stepped out of his lodgings and glanced at the darkened street. He bade goodnight to Jack and hired a sedan chair to take him to his mistress’s lodgings.
Once there, Chesney skirted a pile of noxious matter spilled from a leather bucket put out for the night-soil men and beat a tattoo on the door of her tall, narrow house.
A pert maid, dressed in Madeleine’s cast off finery, answered his summons.
‘Good day, Susie.’
She curtsied and dimpled at him. ‘Welcome, my lord.’
‘Madam said as how she hoped for a visit from you, my lord.’
‘You look well, Susie. I trust your brother is still in good health.’
‘Yes, my lord, thank you my lord. It is more than kind of you to ask.’
Chesney took off his hat. Careless of the jaunty white plume curled round the black brim, he tucked his hat under his arm. ‘No need to show me the way.’
Susie did not protest when he marched up the short flight of stairs to Madeleine’s bedchamber.
He lingered at the threshold remembering the first time he met sensuous Madeleine when her late husband, old Mr Purvey, came with a delegation to the French court. Chesney sighed. He knew she had hoped to marry him after Mr Purvey died in defence of her tarnished honour in a duel in Leicester Fields. But as he now suspected that he was not her only lover it would be out of the question to marry her.
Chesney rapped on the door, sure of his welcome. Without waiting for permission, he entered the small room, took a taper from the mantelpiece, touched the lighted wick to the fire and used the same flickering flame to light the tall wax candles in wall sconces. Immediately, the thick rugs, tapestries and brocade curtains bloomed.
Madeleine remained abed. She blinked and brushed back her wavy brown hair before she extended her carefully tended hand to him. ‘My lord.’
‘Madam, by your leave.’ Instead of kissing her hand, he sat on a chair by the hearth.
Maddy had aged since he first met her. Yet, with skin like polished ivory, which invited his touch, lips, cheeks the colour of apple blossom and almond shaped hazel eyes that changed colour in different lights, he still appreciated her prettiness. And he found no fault with either her figure or her long, elegant limbs and full breasts.
She giggled and smoothed the lace edged ruffles at the neck of her nightrail. ‘Such formality, sir?’
‘Madeleine.’ He addressed her by her full name instead of by her sobriquet, Maddy.
Her eyes widened. ‘How serious you look. Has something untoward occurred?’
Poor Maddy, not only did she demand too much of his time, she also expected him to pay for too many luxuries. Although he feared her hysterics, he did not hesitate to come to the point, despite his reluctance to cause her pain for, throughout his life, it had never been his intention to hurt anyone either deliberately or accidentally. ‘I am sorry to grieve you, my dear, but to quote the bard, parting is such sweet sorrow.’
Maddy thrust the covers aside and sprang out of bed. With her tiny hands outstretched, she rushed towards him. ‘What do you mean, Chesney? Why do you quote words from Romeo and Juliet?’
He held out his hands to ward her off. ‘We must part.’
‘No! I love you. I cannot live without you.’ She sank to the ground and raised her head to look at him.
‘I doubt you love me,’ he murmured and smoothed his face into an inscrutable mask.
Maddy’s eyes filled with tears. ‘Chesney, since my husband died I have been waiting for you to propose marriage to me.’
If she had never taken any other lover he would sympathize with her more. But Maddy had been unfaithful to er elderly husband since the early days of her marriage. His nostrils flared. He doubted Maddy’s nature allowed her to remain faithful to any man.
She jumped up, rushed across the room and flung herself face down on her bed. ‘I am not yet done with you for I do love you, I do, I do.’ She pounded the quilt with clenched fists and sobbed.
He hesitated. Had he misjudged the depth of her feelings for him, by believing them to be shallow?
‘Have I not made you happy?’ Maddy demanded and twisted round to face him.
He sought a way to help her accept his decision. ‘We enjoyed our bed sport, yet you never quickened with child and duty requires me to father an heir. No more tears. You told me a score of times that you cannot abide puking babes and, what’s more, you always claimed the thought of motherhood dismays you. If you are honest, you will admit you could not tolerate your body thickening and I could never be brute enough to insist on fathering your child.’
Maddy stared at him, wide-eyed. ‘You are mistaken, I would be happy to bear your children.’
He bowed. ‘My dear, I cannot allow you to sacrifice yourself on the altar of reluctant motherhood.’
‘Then you are a true nobleman to part with me, your love, both out of consideration for me and for duty’s sake.’
His lips twitched. A cough concealed his amusement. He knew Maddy thrived on playacting. In all likelihood she would convince herself she had set him free and, before long, either wed an unfortunate cuckold or console herself with other lovers.
He picked up his hat.
Cat-like her eyes narrowed. ‘Chesney, give me a kiss to remember you by.’
He kissed her cheek and left the house. Should he leave town to prevent Maddy pestering him?

* * *

The following day, Chesney rapped his cane on the front door of Lady Ware’s London mansion. She was the sister of his late father’s friend, but he did not know her well and wondered at her summons.
‘Lord Chesney?’ Bennet, Lady Ware’s middle-aged butler, queried his lined face both curious and respectful.
Chesney inclined his head.
‘This way, my lord. You are expected.’ Bennet led him up the stairs to a beautifully appointed parlour on the first floor and announced him to Lady Ware.
Chesney raised his voice above the barks of six King Charles Cavalier spaniels. ‘Your servant, Lady Ware.’
‘My lord, I am pleased to see you,’ her ladyship greeted him and ordered her little dogs to sit. After he sat and had been served a glass of wine, she came straight to the point. ‘My lord, I summoned you to propose your marriage to my niece, Richelda Shaw, and, in all honesty, I assure you the union is to your advantage.’
While she waited for his reply, the petite lady fluttered her fan. In spite of her sixty odd years, she peeped over it girlishly and patted her fair hair, which had a silvery sheen.
‘You flatter me, Madam,’ he drawled.
Lady Ware’s dainty shrug released her cloying perfume of lavender mingled with roses and vanilla. She snapped her fan shut and tapped his arm with it. ‘You are mistaken. I do not flatter you. I offer you and my niece a solution. Your fathers followed King James to France. You are gossiped about and eyed as distrustfully as I think my niece will be when I bring her to London.’
‘Are you not gossiped about, Lady Ware? After all, your brother’s conversion to the Church of Rome must place you and your family under government scrutiny. For my part, I thank God my father remained true to The Anglican Church.’
Lady Ware shuddered. ‘Do not mention the matter to me, my lord. I vow I had no sympathy with my brother when he became a Papist.
All I can do is thank God he was not tried as a traitor and be glad his head was not displayed at the Tower of London.’
Chesney shifted his position and yawned before he made a cautious reply. ‘I am neither a Jacobite nor a Papist and apologize for mentioning the matter of your brother’s conversion.’
‘Some more wine, Viscount?’
He shook his head and leaned back, deliberately presenting a picture of a man completely at his ease.
Lady Ware arched her eyebrows. She sipped her wine. ‘All London knows I am a wealthy woman.’ She blinked a rush of tears from her eyes. ‘My lord, ’tis cruel not only to suffer widowhood thrice but to also lose my only child.’
To acknowledge her grief, he stood and bowed with respect. ‘My condolences, Madam.’
‘Thank you.’ She dabbed her eyes with a black handkerchief. ‘My poor daughter’s death is my niece’s gain. If Richelda is obedient, she will inherit all my property.’
Her ladyship rested her head against the back of her chair, opened her fan and plied it restlessly while she scrutinized him.
‘What do you think of the proposal, my lord?’
Chesney sat and, despite his intention to marry, replied with his customary forthrightness. ‘As yet I have neither put myself on the matrimonial market nor made my fortune and title available to any lady who wishes to marry me.’
‘I hear you purchased Field House,’ she ventured.
‘Yes, I did,’ he replied in a neutral tone.
‘Well, sir, I shall speak bluntly. My niece’s lands are adjacent to yours. Through marriage, you would double your estate and acquire my niece’s mansion, Bellemont House. As for my niece, she will become mistress of my childhood home.
He inclined his head. Ah, was this why her ladyship wanted him to marry her niece? Did she have a sentimental attachment to Field House?
Undeterred by his indifference to her proposition, Lady Ware continued. ‘I know your circumstances. Though you have no close relative, you are saddled with a clutch of distant relations who anticipate your help to advance in the world.’
Devil take it, she was correct. His family looked to him for patronage and expected him to marry and produce an heir. Confound it, not one of them had regained their positions, lands or fortunes after Charles I execution. Fortunately, his grandfather’s marriage to a French heiress saved he himself from poverty.
Her ladyship’s Roman nose twitched and her thin lips curved in a predatory smile. ‘You will consider the match?’
Reluctant to say anything she might interpret as his agreement to marry Mistress Shaw, he nodded.
‘Good, I shall not press you further.’ She hesitated with her fan mid-air, only to wave it backwards and forwards in agitation. ‘I prefer you not to tell anyone my niece is my heiress. When she comes to town, I do not want a flock of fortune hunters to approach her.’
‘On my honour, I will not mention the matter to anyone. By the way, when will Mistress Shaw come to London?’
‘Within the week.’
He stood and each of the small dogs wagged their tails, stirred and yapped for attention round his ankles. Although no thought of imminent marriage had entered his head when he arrived, he might change his mind after meeting her ladyship’s niece.
Lady Ware clapped her hands. ‘My poppets like you and, believe me, my lord, they are good judges of character.’
Chesney restrained an incipient chuckle at the notion of her ladyship’s dogs tricked out in wigs and gowns to judge him. ‘I am complimented by their approval, my lady.’ He bowed and kissed her bejewelled hand. ‘As for your niece, only providence knows if Mistress Shaw and I are suited.’
With a rustle of her black silk mourning gown and petticoat she rose. ‘I believe you and Mistress Shaw are well matched, my lord.’

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