Saturday, November 30, 2013

Just In Time For Christmas - Meet Cassie Fremont

I'm so excited to announce the release of my "relationship" novel, Betrayed.  This story is inspired by my sister's real-life experience with computer dating, and delivers a message everyone should read.  The explanation at the end of the book will explain away any doubts you might have and help you understand the writing perspective.  Please, please excuse any typos you might find since in the midst of completing this book, my computer crashed, I finished the manuscript on text edit, then transferred to Word Perfect and transmitted as a Word document.  The book was previously published under a different title, but didn't receive the notoriety it deserves.  Books We Love has given me a chance to revamp the story and offer it with a new title, new name, and correct genre promotion.  I'd like you to meet my heroine, and the best way to do that is through an interview:

Meet Cassie Fremont...

“Get out there.  You promised to do this, remember?”  *Ginger pushing Cassie onto the stage*

*Cassie digs in her heels* “Okay, okay, I’m going, but I’d like to remind you that you’ve already put me through hell in that friggin’ book of yours.”

*Cass approaches the microphone and taps it* “Can everyone hear me?”  *smiles* “My name is Cassie Fremont and I’m the heroine in Betrayed.  I’m not sure what I’m supposed to share with you that Ginger hasn’t already divulged in the story.  God knows she told you everything. *rolls eyes* I guess nothing is sacred when it comes to novels.”

*Pulls up nearby stool and inches her butt onto it. Heaves a big sigh, and runs her hands along her slacks while peering into the bright lights over the crowd.*  “Well, I promised her I’d make an appearance today, along with everyone else she’s invited, so I’ll get on with it.”

*Shrugs* “I’m a dolt   What can I say?  I found myself divorced, middle-aged and lonely.  I share a home with my mother because I don’t want her to live alone, but she pretty much keeps to her own part of the house. I have a lot of spare time so I entertain myself with the Internet. Don’t we all spend time on the computer? Well, I happened across a dating site one night…big deal   I figured it wouldn’t hurt to join and see what happened.  I never expected anyone… Okay, that’s a lie.  I wouldn’t have joined if I hadn’t hoped someone would notice my post.  I just didn’t expect it would turn out like it did.”

*Cassie rises, pulls microphone from stand and walks toward edge of stage.* “I admit I was flattered at all of Evan’s flowery words and his Texas accent, but I have no idea what happened to my common sense.  I’m quite sure everyone was stunned that I let a virtual stranger move into my house… and my bed. *gazes down at stage*  I guess if you’ve never been afraid of growing old alone, you can’t fathom why I did what I did.”

*Pauses, pinches the bridge of her nose, then peers out at the audience again*
“I should have listened to my sister and brother, but I didn’t.  Instead, I flew into a rage and wrote them off.  For too long, they weren’t part of my life, but I was so wrapped up in myself and Evan, I didn’t miss them until things got so bad I had no where else to turn.”

*Shakes her head* “Hey, talking about this is depressing the hell out of me.  I’ve moved on to newer pastures.  If you want to know the whole story, you’ll just have to buy the book. Betrayed…*stares at the ceiling for a moment* "What a dopey name  I would have thought an author would pick a title that didn't give away the story"

"*Walks back to stand and replaces microphone* “I can’t say it was a pleasure being here today, because no one likes to admit being an dolt, but it happens.  All I can say is if I pull another idiotic stunt, I sincerely hope Ginger will have the courtesy to forgo writing another book about it. I could write a journal about her stupidity, but I haven’t.  *looks backstage and flashes a glare, then exits to applause*

***

If you think this is something you might enjoy, you can find the Kindle version, priced right for immediate purchase on my Amazon page.  And...to Cassie's chagrin, I have another story in the works...maybe two more.



Ah….It's Christmas Time - by Ginger

During the month of December, I hope to be able to share some of my friends decorations, but since I'm going to be gone the entire month, I've decided not to decorate.  *sniff*  Christmas is my very favorite time of the year, so I did invest in a beautiful wreath which I'm going to share today to get you in a festive mood.

The wreath was made by a hair-stylist in the salon I frequent.  She's an awesome lady and does exquisite work on both hair and wreaths.  :)  BTW…this is by far the best picture of me I've ever taken.  :)


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Those darn Commas - By Ginger Simpson

I've been published by many different houses in my time as an author, and one thing that has never been consistent is how you're supposed to use commas.  I've had editors remove the ones I've put in, and others have me add a zillion.  I try to follow the guidelines I've found and printed, but they don't always work…still they make sense to me and I'm going to share them with you.

1.  Use a comma between two clauses that stand alone and are joined by a coordinating conduction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, or so…)

Example:  Jane and Bob traveled for hours on their trip to Yellowstone, and they arrived exhausted.

DON'T USE A COMMA:  Jane and Bob traveled for hours on their trip to yellowstone and arrived exhausted.

If you notice…there are not two in depended clauses in the second example.


2.  Commas set of introductory statements or words from a stand alone clause:

Example:  Running her hand through her unbrushed hair, she imagined how frightful she looked.
Example of word:  However, she wore fresh makeup.


3.  Commas separate items listed in series (whether words, phrases, or clauses.)

Example:  My favorite types of food are Mexican, Italian, and Greek.
2nd Example:  I love writing westerns because the men were brave, the women were strong, and the era interests me.
3rd Example:  Some people like Opera, some like jazz, but my sister loves Rock and Roll.


4.  Surround a "non-essential" phrase.  These phrases can be removed and not alter the meaning of the sentence.

Example:  San Francisco, which is not far from Sacramento, was once hit by a major earthquake.

Note:  If you remove the part about Sacramento, the sentence still makes perfect sense.

5.  This one is tough for me to remember.  Use commas about nonrestrictive describers; words that don't limit the meaning of the words they describe to a specific thing, place, etc:

Example:  People, who have hearty appetites, are not always overweight.


6.  The easiest way to to decide on commas:
a.  Use them to set off sentence interruptions

b.  Use them with names, degrees, titles, addresses, numbers and dates.

c.  Use commas to separate adjectives.  Example:  She slept under a warm, snuggly comforter. Rule of Thumb:  If two or more adjectives precede a noun, you can decide by trying to add "and" rather than a comma.  If it sounds good, then use the comma.  An example of a time when you wouldn't use one:  The cold cement floor provided no comfort.

d.  Above all, use a comma to clarify a sentence, and I'm going to borrow the sentence verbatim from the site I use for reference:

As he was leaving, Tom said he would never return.
Reason:  without the comma, the reader might think "he" was leaving Tom.  Of course, then if you use this sentence, you editor would probably argue "passive voice" and want you to change it to read…
As he left, Tom said he would never return.  That pesky "was"…you never know when to use it and when not to.  *smile*

Example:  Sue claims Andrea is an expert gardner.  Sue, claims Andrea, is an expert gardner.
Reason:  Both sentences are right but mean different things.  In the first, Sue claims Andrea is an expert gardner, in the second, Andrew claims Sue is the expert.


I hope you find this as useful as I do, but then it all depends on your editor and the house rules.  BTW…I want to credit http://writingcenter.byu.edu/handouts/PunctuationUsage/commas.html which I notice has changed since I printed off my copy, and they've
added more information to confuse you.  :)

THANKSGIVING TRIVIA

I’ve wanted something fun – and different to blog about for Thanksgiving – when I ran across this site.  It’s a lot of fun … and something different – I’m a fan of trivia – I found it a hoot!  Enjoy! Rita
Since there isn't too much information on Thanksgiving Day. I decided to create this for either a fun, on-line interactive learning experience; or, to help give those who don't want to watch football all day something else to do for a few minutes.


http://www.brownielocks.com/thanksgivingtrivia.html

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Page Straight From... #apagestraightfrom


 Palace of the Twelve Pillars by Christina Weigand
Book One


 
The High Wisdom raised the crown from its golden case. A loud scream tore the silence in the tent. Joachim turned to look at the entrance. A soldier fell through the opening, blood spurting from a slit stretched across his throat. 

As he bounded off the dais, Waldrom screamed, “What’s going on here?

A wild rush of wind ripped the tent flaps open, and a horse and rider burst through. Joachim gaped at the body of the dead soldier. His heart raced and leapt to his throat. His gaze traveled up the horse’s legs. A man’s black boots. A scream caught in his throat, and tears filled his eyes. He stared into blue eyes.

The horse pawed the ground and snorted. The rider dismounted and stood next to the dead guard.

Wriggling free of Waldrom, Lilia ran to the rider. She threw her arms around him. “Brandan, you’re here. You’ve come to free us.”

The prince pushed her aside. “Brother, I see you are trying to usurp me again.
It appears I got here just in time.”

“No, you’re wrong. I have no desire to take anything rightfully belonging to
you.” Joachim stepped toward his brother and reached out a hand to him. “I want
to help you and see what we can accomplish together.”

Swatting his hand away, Brandan laughed. “Help me? You’re the one who
needs help. Anything you have to offer is worthless to me. Now out of my way.
The king and I have business.”

“No, listen to me. You can’t do this.” Joachim spun him around.

He clouted Joachim, knocking him down. “King Waldrom, we need to talk.
He’s deceiving you.” He spat at Joachim then turned and bowed to Waldrom. “I’m
at your service, My King.”

Regaining his feet, Joachim pushed Brandan into the guard standing behind
him. The guard wrapped his muscular arms around Brandan. “What should I do
with him, Sire?”

Brandan flipped the soldier to the ground and put his black booted foot on the
man’s chest. “The one you should be detaining is standing there, you fool.” He
pointed at Joachim.

“What are you doing?” Lilia grabbed Brandan by the arm. “Stop this, or
Waldrom will imprison us all. Why are you jeopardizing our lives?”

He looked at his mother. “Don’t worry, Mother. The only one in any danger
here is the traitor you see standing before of you. First, he betrays me, next he kills
Father, and now he would betray you and Waldrom. Guards, seize him!”

The king stepped forward and raised his hands to stop the guards. “What do
you mean a traitor, and how do you know this?”

“Because I know my brother, and that’s the way he thinks. He’ll lie, cheat, and
kill to achieve his own ends, and his goal is to have both countries under his to rule
at any cost.”

“Why should I trust you over him?”

“Because I’m just like you,” Brandan responded.

Walking around the twins, Waldrom rubbed his goatee thoughtfully. “My boy,
you present an interesting dilemma. How do I choose one over the other? How do I
know which one to believe? Guards seize both of them.” Two guards stepped
forward, and each grabbed a twin.

“You’re wrong.” Joachim struggled to break free. “This is wrong. I’m not a
liar. I only want what’s best, and that’s for us to be together.”

“You’re the one who’s wrong.” Brandan pulled his arm free. “I’ve no use for
you.” He turned to Waldrom. “Get him out of here, so we can finish.”

Joachim broke loose, stepped across the gap and grasped his brother by the
tunic. Brandan jerked around and punched him. He rubbed his jaw and shoved
Brandan, who fell to the ground “What happened to you? You’re not the brother I
know.”

Standing up, the black prince pulled his sword. “Nothing is wrong with me. I
just realized who I am and who truly cares about me...and it’s not you.” He rested
the point of the sword on the cut Waldrom had given Joachim. As Brandan pushed
the tip in the scratch, he re-opened the partially scabbed wound. Joa laid his hand
on the side of the sword and pushed it away. Guards grabbed Joachim’s arms.

“Enough! I can see you two will not make this easy. I put before you a
challenge, which will determine my choice. You will travel to the Cave of Njori
and extinguish the flame of Asha. Melvane will accompany you and testify to its
completion.”

Brandan replaced his sword and walked over to his horse. “I don’t see the need
for this. It’s obvious I am the one, but I’ll go along if that is what you want.” He
remounted his horse and reined it around to exit.

Still in the grasp of the soldier, Joachim yelled, “No, Brandan, stop! You can’t
do this. We can’t. It’s the light of Asha, never to be extinguished. If you do this,
you’ll destroy all hope and any chance we have of defeating this evil.”

Brandan laughed and kicked his horse. “All the more reason to get this done
quickly. Guards, find a mount for my brother.”

“No, I won’t go. I can’t do it.”

The king raised his hand. “The choice is made. Guards, take Joachim to the
prison tent. Brandan, we will deal with this inconsequential flame later. Right now,
we have more important business to attend to.”

He signaled two of the guards to remove Joachim and then, as if it were his
own idea, said, “I knew all along he was a traitor. I was only crowning him to draw
out the true Prince of Sidramah. Brandan, thank you for arriving so soon and
before these Wisdoms regretted what they did here today.”

As the guards dragged him from the tent, Joachim struggled and screamed,
“No, he’s lying! Brandan, why are you doing this?” His cries echoed through the
camp as Waldrom returned his attentions to those remaining in the tent.
* * * *
The burly guards pushed Joachim into the prison tent. Most of the Cratonites
taken captive during the preceding battle had already been put to death or enslaved.

One lone dark figure sat in a corner. Joachim walked over to the opposite corner
and fell to the ground. The tent smelled of unwashed bodies and excrement. The
ground was mushy and muddy. Joachim felt it seep into his clothing. Two camp
dogs covered with blood and dirt wrestled over what appeared to be a human leg
bone.

He retched, and tears coursed down his cheeks. The prince buried his head in
his hands. “How could Brandan do this to me? I only wanted to protect him from
Waldrom and the evil, yet somehow it got to him anyway. And what have I done to
Father? I know I wasn’t there to kill him, yet everyone believes I did. How can this
be happening?” As the tears dried on his cheeks, Joachim fell asleep, and dark
dreams began to plague him.

He stood in the Cave of Kobata. A Nemean lion leapt on his back. He twirled
around, throwing the lion off, and then reached for a knife hidden in his boot. He
went to slash the lion, and it turned into Waldrom. He paused in confusion.

“Your father and brother have deserted you.”

“No, Father loves me. He would never leave me.”

“Don’t you see he already has? He no longer searches for you, and Brandan
has betrayed you. You have no other option than to kill them. Remove them from
your life before they do so to you. You no longer need them.”

The king changed into his father as Joachim finished the slashing motion
putting his knife into the heart.

“Joa, why are you doing this to me?” Theodric asked as he died.

The prince ran across the cave to a tunnel leading farther into the mountain
and felt a stabbing pain in his heart as he fell to the cold, hard floor. His father
was dead, and it was his fault. He killed his father. The pain of abandonment and
desolation overwhelmed him.

The prince jerked awake. I killed him. He dropped his head into his hands. A
hand touched his shoulder. He looked up and saw the dark figure who had been
sitting in the corner.

“Listen, my boy. You’ve done nothing wrong. You couldn’t have killed your
father. Pull yourself together. You must find a way to escape and get back to him.
Your father needs you now, more than he has ever needed anyone.”

“No. Don’t you see I’ve killed him? I can never be forgiven for that. There is
no place left for me to go.”

The man shook Joachim. “You didn’t kill him. Sidramah is planting these
thoughts in your head, so you’ll become discouraged and give up. You can’t let
him take your heart and mind. You must fight him. Come, you are needed.”
Joachim pushed the stranger away. “Who are you, and why do you care what
happens to me or my father?”

“My name is Salochin, but that is unimportant. Just know this, you must find
your way out of here quickly.” Salochin turned and walked into the shadows and
disappeared.

The prince sat for a moment, attempting to assimilate what he had seen. Who
was that man, and why did he care? He didn’t have time to figure it out. Right
now, he needed to find an escape. He stood and walked over to the spot where
Salochin vanished. He ran his hand up and down the wall but didn’t find any tears
or weak spots. How could the man have gotten out of the tent? Joachim walked
around the inside perimeter of the tent, poking and prodding, trying to find a
weakness or an opening, but he found none. Soon, he sat down in a discouraged
slump.

He wished Brandan were here. His brother would be able to find a way out. Joa
recalled how as children his brother always found a way to hide, to escape. But,
how did he do it? The prince couldn’t remember the invisibility spell. He thanked
Asha King Waldrom hadn’t felt the need to bind his powers. “What were the words
for that chant?” It hadn’t been a chant but a way of thinking. He imagined a white
light surrounding him. The light started to blur and take on the color and shapes of
his surroundings. He faded into the light, became a part of it. When he had
completely disappeared into the camouflage around him, he walked out of the tent
and through the camp. Brandan’s spell appeared to be working for him. Joa could
see everything and everyone in the camp, but no one seemed to be able to see him.
He kicked a cook fire which set one of the dilapidated tents aflame and watched as
its inhabitants ran to escape. When he reached the tethered horses, Joachim set
them loose and smacked them, so they would wander off. The few guards on duty
were dozing, and Joachim full of overconfidence with his success thus far, tried to
walk past them.

A scraggly looking dog covered with sores and dirt lay in his path. Joachim
failed to see the dog and stepped on it. The animal jumped up and yelped in pain,
waking up a tall, skinny lookout. The guard’s eyes widened as he looked into
Joachim’s face and sounded the alarm with loud shouts.

When the guard yelled, Joachim froze. The little Mantion stepped over the dog
and pointed his long spear at Joachim’s chest. A second guard stepped up behind
the prince and put a spear point to his back. Joachim’s heart beat so fast it felt like
it would jump out of his chest. They saw him. What had he done wrong? He
panicked. “Frog!” he yelled. The two Mantions turned into frogs and leapt away.

Joachim took a deep breath and bolted into the woods surrounding the camp.
The sun had gone down, and clouds covered the quarter moon in the sky.
Shadows scared Joachim as he ran through the forest. Soon he collapsed in an
exhausted heap. This must have been how his brother felt after doing forbidden
magic. Even though he had lectured Brandan about it numerous times, he never
realized how much energy was wasted by actually using the magic. Now he had
used the black magic. He had killed his father and abandoned his mother and
brother. He had no place to go. No one would welcome him, except to punish him
for his crimes.

The stranger from the tent materialized in the darkness. “Go to Crato’s battle
camp. You are guilty of nothing except caring about your family.” He disappeared
as suddenly as he had appeared.

Now he was seeing phantoms. He must be more tired than he realized. He
shook his head. Maybe he would find a place to rest for the night and then decide
in the morning what to do.



Christina Weigand’s a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a middle school daughter. She is also Nana to three granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania, returning there after a short sabbatical in Washington. Currently, she’s working on fantasy novels and inspirational writing. Through her writing, she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.

When she’s not writing, she’s active in her local Church as a lector, Bible Study, or with the church theater group, volunteering at her daughter and granddaughter’s school in the library as well as helping the children develop a love for reading and writing. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing. 























THE CLIMAX BY RITA KARNOPP

Is there just one climax in a story?  Recently someone told me they were working hard to make ‘the’ climax of her story peak just right.  I thought for a second, wait a minute . . . you’re having only one climax to your story?

Let’s talk about this because I think many beginning writers think there’s one explosive climax in a novel – that isn’t completely wrong – but the climax actually has four components:
1.   The anticlimactic moment – where you add a few tidbits and do some last-minute steering and scheming to prepare for the main climax
2.   The moment of truth – the character’s inner revelation/reaction
3.   Climax – where the character(s) affect the outcome of the story
4.   Results of the climax – was villain shot, but they still don’t know where the child is?

Most likely you have an idea where the ‘climax’ will take place or how it’s going to happen.  I want you to consider other options that might make the scene more dramatic, have more danger, perhaps even more heart-break.  Work out several scenarios in your mind – which is the right place and event for your earth shattering climax?

Every book has a beginning, middle and end. Rising action, climax and falling action.  It’s all waiting for the ‘big clash’ . . . the ‘fallout’ . . . the ‘revelation.’  What is going to happen?  What do you need to let the reader know to set up the climax?  Write it down – this prevents the ‘red herring’ dilemma.

The process of the main character’s internal conflict takes place along the way but must come to a kind of epiphany before the climax.  Why?  You certainly don’t want his/her decisions to be based on or be affected by the climax.

Think your character’s decisions through.  Give him/her different choices and decide which would work best for the story and the characters.   Remember, your hero’s moment of truth determines her behavior in the climax.  So ask yourself, what needs to be in the book?

Often times the climax is like losing your cool.  We all explode sometimes.  We let it fly and don’t hold back.  Also keep in mind the more challenging or upsetting you make the climax for her at the end, the more heroic he becomes – increasing your reader’s satisfaction.

What needs to happen immediately after the climax?  Most stories aren’t over after the main climax.  There are still loose-ends that need to be resolved and you can be sure your reader knows every one of them.  Perhaps the hero and heroine are still in a life-threatening situation.  Most likely there’s still work to be done for a complete resolution of your character’s predicament.  I like to think of it as resolving the moment.
If you’re exhausted and satisfied when you type ‘the end’ . . . you’ve done your job.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Six Ways to Outsmart Procrastination by Jason Gracia

Once again I’m happy to share Motivation123's Weekly QuickTips by Jason Gracia http://www.motivation123.com  Issue: May 24, 2012.  As always, Jason shares with us invaluable information we can apply to any aspect of our lives.  Enjoy.  Rita

::Six Ways to Outsmart 
                           Procrastination::

The Spanish have a proverb: Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. Clever wordsmiths, those Spaniards.

We all procrastinate. We dawdle and delay, dally and defer.  My office floor is still home to a pile of papers that needed filing two months ago; I'm waiting for them to stop dallying and file themselves.

Whatever the task, whatever the excuse, the tips below will help you do today what most people put off to next month.

1. Ask yourself, What's the holdup? People procrastinate for many reasons. Some fear failure. Some avoid boring jobs. Others shy away from getting tangled in a complicated mess (i.e., my pile of papers). Knowing the cause of the
problem may open your eyes to an obvious solution.

2. Do you need to do it? Simple question, but it's a good one. Sometimes we put something off because it's not important. If you don't really need to do it, free yourself of the mental burden and drop the task from your to-do list.

3. Ask for help. I have an ancient window mechanism that takes the effort of a drawbridge operator to open. Last month, unsurprisingly, it broke. Someone had to fix it, but I was hoping that someone wasn't me. So I put it off.

After weeks of gazing at the window without actually doing anything, I asked a friend to help. It wasn't only because I have the mechanical skills of an uncoordinated squid; I knew it would get me moving.

4. Commit just five minutes. That's it--just 300 seconds. Telling yourself you only have to do something for a sliver of time does two things.

It transforms a big job into a tiny matter: Five minutes? I can do that. And because getting started is the hardest part, once your five minutes is up you'll often drive right on through to the finish.

5. Focus on the end. Thinking about how you'll feel when you've done whatever needs to be done may motivate you to make it happen.

I don't much like to organize, but I love to be organized. This is what I focus on--the feeling of having everything in its place, clean and tidy--when I need to declutter a space. Although my pile of papers proves that I have some work to do.

6. Just do it. Quit stalling. Quit rationalizing. Stand up, walk to the danger zone, and get to work.

Jason M. Gracia
Author, Shifting the Balance


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Just a Taste by Ginger Simpson

I've decided to try to fill some of my empty slots and the best way I an do that is try to convince you how interesting some of my "backlist" titles are.  I wrote Hope Springs Eternal from the perspective of an older woman..  I was sick of the young, svelte heroines getting all the attention and decided someone who lost her husband about the time she looked forward to retirement should share the spotlight.

Here's "just a taste" that I hope will whet your appetite:


Hope’s high heels clicked against the tile floor and reverberated in the emptiness as she hurried down the medical clinic’s long corridor. She glanced at her watch and grimaced. Great! Late for her appointment with her new doctor. Some first impression she’d make. The thought brought an immediate chuckle. Silly her for thinking doctors ever sat and waited for their patients.

Her moment of glee faded and her palms dampened at the prospect of the ritualistic feminine torture called an exam. On the menu today loomed the dreaded mammogram. That test had to have been developed by a man with a genuine hatred for women. Another female would never think of putting a ‘sister’ through such agony. She clasped her breast in anticipation and grimaced. If only she was on a beach in Hawaii instead of feeling like she was on her way to the gallows.

A slight pause before entering Dr. Carlson’s suite helped fortify her for the coming trial. It seemed odd to see an unfamiliar name on the wall plaque, especially since she’d been a patient of Dr. Daniel Smith’s for so many years. She blinked back tears, feeling she’d lost an old friend.

After a deep breath, she turned the knob and stopped in the doorway to gaze at the packed waiting area. All eyes turned to inspect her, sending a warming flush up her neck. With a forced smile, she crossed the ecru carpeting, wrote her name on the check-in list, and searched for an empty seat. The only remaining one was in the far corner next to the water cooler. Convenient, since the long walk from the parking lot left her feeling parched.

Hope traversed the room, avoiding the crossed and puffy feet clogging the aisle. It appeared she was the only person there who wasn’t pregnant… and clearly the oldest. Why didn’t OB/GYN doctors have separate waiting rooms? She felt like the lone spotted pup in a litter of black ones, only not quite so cute.

Rather than leave her chair, she stretched across the armrest to fill a cup. The water soothed her dry throat but did little to quell the nervous feeling in her stomach. Despite being familiar with the process, it still made her queasy. She glanced at the door and took the last sip of water, fighting the urge to leave.

Her gaze searched for and found the trash receptacle about six feet away. Not eager to become the object of unwanted stares again, or lose her seat, she wadded the pleated paper into a ball and risked a rim shot at the can. Luckily, the cup teetered on the wastebasket’s edge then fell inside. Another woman watched from the other side of the room. Hope shrugged her shoulders and flashed a childlike grin, then sheepishly picked up a magazine. While she absentmindedly thumbed through the pages, her gaze wandered to the swollen belly of the young lady next to her.

A pang of sadness stabbed at Hope’s heart. The girl probably had a husband…and a home that would soon hold a complete family. Thoughts of Alan, her beloved husband taken three years ago in an automobile accident, blurred Hope’s eyes. Although she’d prayed for children for years, they’d never been able to conceive. Evidently God hadn’t heard her pleas.

At forty-nine and a widow, the parent ship sailed long ago. The only baby in her life was Chloe, her Maltese puppy. She blew an upward stream of air to dry her eyes then surveyed the crowd. Opening the magazine again, she settled in for a long wait.

The reception window opened with a squeal reminiscent of fingernails on a blackboard. She shivered and flashed back to grammar school—an amazing recollection given the time passed.

Hope Harrison?” the woman behind the counter called.

Hope went to the window. “That’s me.”

The gray-haired receptionist handed her a clipboard. “I need you to fill this out. Since you’re a new patient, we need to update your file.”

But…but I’m not new, the doctor is.”

The elder woman clearly forced an impatient smile. “Well, dear, you’re new to the doctor, so please…”

Hope accepted the form and turned in time to see someone claiming her seat. Her feet hurt from being stuffed into pretentious shoes she never should have worn, and now she had no place to sit.

She glanced around the room, counting patients. How many did this doctor see in a day? The wait would take forever. Maybe she should reschedule. There! She’d found the reason she needed. Stacks of tapes at home were in need of transcription. Just as she convinced herself to take flight, a nurse appeared in the doorway and summoned her.

Hope’s eyes widened. How could that be? She’d been one of the last to arrive. She waved the clipboard at the woman. “But, I haven’t completed my form yet.”

That’s okay. Follow me and you can finish in the exam room.”

They stopped first at the scale. Hope grimaced, but stepped on and closed her eyes. Her efforts to remain in the dark were for naught when the nurse announced her weight for all to hear. Hope’s cheeks warmed, but at least she knew why her clothes felt a little tighter. She’d gained fifteen pounds since last time she’d stepped on a scale. When had that been?

The nurse motioned toward an open door.

Hope sat in the lone chair and completed her paperwork. Her eyes occasionally wandered to the draped table and waiting stirrups; dread gnawed at her. She still had time to leave. But, with a deep breath, she squared her shoulders. Fleeing was a preferable choice, not an option. It wasn’t like she was the only woman in the world who endured this torture. Besides, what could be worse than finding out she didn’t weigh one-twenty-five anymore? She’d weighed that since her wedding. Visions of Jenny Craig and NutriSystem flashed through her mind.

Be brave,” the little angel on her right shoulder whispered in her ear. She turned a deaf ear to the little devil on her left shoulder who encouraged her to run like the wind.
*******
If this had made you want to read more....you can find Hope Springs Eternal on my Amazon author's page.   It's also featured at Eternal Press.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Mom & Daughter Affair…I mean Blogging Affair. :)


Today, on Dishin' It Out, I have the rare privilege of hosting a mother and daughter on my blog.  Terri Talley Venters and her mom, Leslie S. Talley.  They've both provided a little bit about themselves, pictures so you can see beauty runs in the family, and their stunning covers.  I haven't read their books yet, but obviously talent runs as deep as pretty faces.  :)
Help me welcome them to Dishin' It Out...




Terri Talley Venters,
Author of Carbon Copy, Tin Roof, Body Of Gold, Copper Cauldron, and Silver Lining

Terri received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Florida. She is a licensed CPA and a Second Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. She lives in St. Augustine, Florida, with her husband, Garrison, and their two sons.
Terri has two other published works available from Wild Child Publishing. Carbon Copy and its sequel, Tin Roof, plus her unrelated novella, Copper Cauldron. She recently finished writing Silver Lining, the epic conclusion to the Carbon Copy trilogy, coming soon from Wild Child Publishing. Her romantic/suspense novel, Body Of Gold, is coming soon from Freya’s Bower. Terri also posts free short stories on her website each month. www.ElementsOfMystery.com. Follow her as she weaves her way through the Periodic Table of Elements.
Terri is the daughter of Leslie S. Talley, author of Make Old Bones and Bred In The Bone which are also available from Wild Child Publishing.
For the purchase links and more info about Terri’s books, visit her website. 








Leslie Talley
Author of Make Old Bones and Bred In The Bone


Leslie Talley received her B.S. in Nursing from the University of Kentucky and a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of
Central Florida, Orlando, where she subsequently taught, as an adjunct, Technical Writing and Business Writing for ten years.
Leslie and her husband Luke have two children: Terri Talley Venters, Wild Child author of Carbon Copy, Tin Roof, and Copper Cauldron; and Damon Talley, video conference lead at Harris Corporation. Leslie and Luke have lived in Titusville, Florida, for forty-five years.
Make Old Bones and Bred In The Bone are both available from Wild Child Publishing, amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com. Purchase links can be found on her website. http://www.makeoldbones.com/


Welcome Tony-Paul de Vissage

The Aventurieri:  More than Human, More than Vampire

At last, I’ve got a series…about vampires…and I’m going to give you the facts…just the fact, ma’am…

The Premise:  Humans call them vampires; they call themselves aventurieri.  They have their own feudal-based government and laws more stringent than their human brothers, based on a much harsher religion.  They do not kill humans for their blood but have a retinue of servants who supply them in exchange for their protection and care.  Faithful retainers are rewarded with enthrallment which bestows upon them an elongated life span.  Their religion has given them a Prince --the Domnitor--to rule over them, and the myth of a one-eyed king who will deliver his people from the tyranny of their ruler while betraying them to the world of humans.  They fear humans and even those who live in the outside world do so in disguise and caution.  They also have their feuds, romances, insecurities, and secrets.

The Settings:  Carpathius in the Decebral Valley, within the crags of the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, Romania; Europe: Vienna, Austria and Paris, France

The Time:  1794-1810

The Story:  The Shadow Lord focuses on one family--the Strigoi--and its leader, the Prince's assassin--the taietor--sent to execute those who break the Principiu, laws handed down from the gods.  This act will result in the murder of the Taietor and his retinue, and send his eldest son on a journey of revenge and self-discovery.  With his younger brothers and sister, Marek Strigoi is banished from Carpathiusm traveling to Vienna and on to Paris, seeking his father's murderer.  He will discover love and a long-hidden family secret, and eventually the strength to accept the fate the gods have chosen for him.

In the midst of this turmoil, a romance blossoms for the still-naïve Marek, his first true love which will stay with him through the centuries,


EXCERPT:

Commanding them to partake of all that was offered, he climbed the dais to his own seat.
The girl was sitting on a stool at the head table.  As Marek slid into his chair, she stiffened and turned to face him.
Gods, she looks terrified.  Must be her first outing.
He smiled to put her at ease, "Good evening, Nurliu," using that little affectionate because she was the prettiest female he'd seen in a very long time.  He placed his forefinger under her chin, tilting her head slightly.
She relaxed just a little, smiling timidly.  "Good evening, Your Lordship."
Marek leaned forward to kiss her.  She started to pull away, then forced herself to be still.  
The next moment, he nearly recoiled as her fresh, unsullied scent flowed over him.  What the Hell--?  Taking her in his arms, he pressed a kiss against her bared shoulder, inhaling deeply the delicate female fragrance of her skin.
"You're human," he whispered the words into her ear so no one else could hear.   "How'd you get here?"
Releasing her, he leaned back to look into her eyes.  He was startled to see that they were a blue, so pale as to be almost colorless.  How could those fool soldiers see those and her red hair and think her one of us? No aventurieri had eyes that color.
"I-I'm the kitchen maid for Madame Lubos." She avoided his gaze.  "I heard her girls talking about what they would be paid for tonight, and I-I wanted the money!"
"You'll have to earn it," he told her solemnly, already envisioning her naked in his bed and surprising himself with the thought.
Her chin went up, though it trembled slightly.  "I'm quite prepared to do that, my Lord!"
"Good!"  Marek turned away, seizing the leg of a roasted bird on the platter before him and wrenching it free of the carcase.   "You'll get your chance soon enough!"
He bit into the drumstick, hearing a slight gasp behind him.  
He swallowed and looked at her, asking sardonically, "You didn't know we ate food, also?  Did you think the meals you prepared were just for Madame Lubos' human customers?"
Pulling a silver of meat from the bone, he offered it to her, and after the slightest hesitation, she opened her mouth, allowing him to place it on her tongue.
Chewing daintily, she swallowed and ate the second piece he held out also.  She selected a pitted cherry from a bowl of fruit next to the fowl, but as she started to eat it, Marek caught her wrist, bringing it toward his mouth.
"I have a particular weakness for cherries."  He bit the little fruit off the stem and released her hand, wondering why she blushed so.
In spite of that, she smiled a little easier and picked up another cherry, rubbing it across his lips and smearing them with juice.  He ate that one, too, and for several minutes, was content to sit there and eat the fruit from her hand.  Her fingers became stained and he licked the juice off them, his tongue lingering against her fingertips.
When he kissed her again, he could taste her own sweetness under the flavor of the cherry juice.


The Shadow Lord is the first in the Second Species series, published by Double Dragon Publishing (Canada).

                   http://youtu.be/7aXa6nYenbY




Thursday, November 21, 2013

KEEP YOUR AUTHOR WEBSITE EXCITING BY RITA KARNOPP

We all know that your eye-catching website is your business card to the world.  It should be the ‘first impression’ you want to portray to readers, writers, editors, publishers, clients, and even agents.

Your website should not only tell about you, but should display books, articles, or services you have to offer.  A website is not a waste of money – on the contrary – it should be one of the best investments you make in your writing career.  It should more than double the money you’ve invested.

Unlike blogging, where our motive is to engage others in a discussion, your website’s main goal is to inform people about you and what you have to offer.

I must admit here, I would rather write than worry about my website!  There you have it.  I’m not the most savvy when it comes to all the wonderful social networking opportunities we have these days.  Let’s face it – in the ‘old days’ we had a business card, maybe a flier, sent out postcards, and a hand-shake.  Yep, relatively easy.  If you stick to those practices, you’ll sign your death-warrant as an author.

If you’re not visible on the social networking scene, you’re missing out on a great opportunity.  It all begins with your website.  So how do you create an exciting, fresh, and crowd pleasing website that will engage those willing to ‘visit’ you?  The expression I love the most is ‘learn to be tech savvy and maintain a strong buzz.’

GETTING STARTED – There are some basic items that should be on your website to meet visitor expectations.  I’d suggest you go out and visit several of your favorite author’s websites and get a feel for what they share, how they share it, and think about how you can ‘create’ your own space to reflect who you are.

You should be building a platform whether you’re published or non-published and this begins this with your website.  Always keep in the back of your mind this site should be compelling, current, and friendly.

Begin with the basic setup pages as follows:
ü  Welcome – home page
ü  Bio Page– who are you and what do like to do besides write
ü  Portfolio Page– what books are available/blurbs – links directly to ordering them
ü  Review Page
ü  Contact Page– include email, agent/publicist info, blog page, Twitter, FaceBook, Linkedin, Hootsuite, etc.
ü  Calendar/Events Page – book signings, guest, interviews
ü  New Releases Page – What are you working on?  Date new releases.

Verify you’ve considered the following:
ü  High resolution photos and book covers
ü  Terminology current – portfolio and not library, etc.
ü  Is your site easy to more around in?
ü  Double check ‘links’
ü  Avoid Flash and music – will slow down page load-time.
ü  Double check site loads on popular browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox, etc.)

BUFF IT UP – You want to engage your visitors.  Don’t be ordinary – be extraordinary.

Keep a link to your website on Facebook and Twitter, etc, —and record your social media fan and follower numbers, because they can come in handy when querying agents or talking to publishers about how you promote your books.  It reveals you know the market and you’re successfully being noticed.

As it’s important to have an outstanding website, it won’t do you any good if the information is old, links don’t work, or if you haven’t spiffed-it-up from time-to-time.  You know that seeing the same site over and over will not excite or prompt you to return – same applies to your site.

Put a monthly reminder on your calendar to visit your own website and update it.  Check your ‘buy’ links and make sure they’re working.  Designate an area on your ‘home page’ that will alert visitors what’s new and where to find it.

Be sure to keep reviews updated . . . it’s an inexpensive selling tool.  Same goes for pictures – change them out every month.  Keep your site fresh and new.

Do you have a newsletter?  Make sure it’s on your website and a place it’s available for them to sign-up. 


Do you have a blog?  Again, make sure this information is available.  Create a link so they can pop over and sign-up.

It boils down to being consistent – this will keep your visitors engaged with compelling content that makes them return time and time again.  Take your website to the next level – and your writing career right along with it.


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