Friday, December 24, 2010
In honor of Ellen's #1 and 74 Five Star reviews, we're offering "Rabbit" and "The Judging" for 1/2 price in multiple eBook formats over at Smashwords.com as our way of saying Thank You.
You'll need the coupon codes:
The Judging: TU49R
Saturday, December 4, 2010
I'd like to share a story Katherine wrote for a challenge about a year and a half ago. The prompt was: Twilight Years of Life. Even though Katherine was only 15 at the time, she wrote in the adult category and her stories often placed within the top 5 of her group. Enjoy "After the Twilight of Life Comes the Dawn of Eternity" by Katherine Boulanger...
He lay beneath the sheets, reflecting on his life. The face of his much-loved granddaughter, happily married to her beloved, looked upon him with an expression that begged him not to go. Aside from her husband, her grandfather was the only relation who still loved her. It was he who had secured their marriage years before, he who had taken them in when they had not money enough to purchase a home of their own. And now, all that was about to go away.
“Now, my children,” said Old Grandfather Thomas, “I know you are very sad. I am going away. Don’t worry. I lived a good life, and I know God will take me.”
“No, Papa, no,” begged Anne, burying her sweet face in his hands, “you will live. I need you here.”
“Ah, you see?” said Grandfather Thomas. “But it is better for you. You are going to learn things you may only learn if I am gone…”
“But Papa!” cried Anne. “I cannot bear the world without you!”
“I had not finished yet. You see, although I am leaving, it will only be a brief goodbye, and then I shall see both of you again in Heaven. Now, my children, come and put your heads under my hands. I cannot seem to lift them.”
The children did as they were told. Anne wept, and Michael was solemn. “Dear Lord,” said Grandfather Thomas, “help these children when I am gone. Bless them and all their children. Help them to prosper in their years to come. Help Anne to be happy, and Michael to run the home. They have been Your faithful children, and have been ever so good to me. And now I ask that You watch over them in my stead, and show them grace.”
He closed his eyes and let his hands fall from their heads. Neither said anything. Anne no longer wept, but watched him with a nearly placid expression.
At last, he opened his eyes and said in so soft a voice he could hardly be heard. “Now, my children, that I have given you my blessing, my time is running out. Michael, you will miss me, but not too terribly. And Anne, my granddaughter, you will weep for me, but not too much. Now, are you ready to let your old grandfather go home to his Heavenly Father?”
Michael replied first, with a shudder. “Yes, I am ready. I shall do all that you asked of me so that you might smile upon us from the Heavens. And I will care for your granddaughter, and your future great-grandchildren.”
Old Grandfather Thomas’s eyes rested on Anne. She looked at him ruefully, but then she tried to smile, and said, “Yes, I believe I too am ready. I know I will miss you terribly, and I will weep, but I know I shall see you again, Papa.”
And the two children kissed their grandfather goodbye, then bowed their heads to await the going home of Old Grandfather Thomas.
No more words were spoken. A few tears coursed down Anne’s cheeks; Michael’s breathing was deep, but they knew it was better for her grandfather that way. Old Grandfather Thomas leaned back upon his bed, letting his eyes slip shut and his breathing slow. His heart stilled and his body grew cold. The feeling of all his years washed out of his face.
But Old Grandfather Thomas, though Earth was only blackness, could see the gates of Heaven opening before him. From the gates, two women came out. The first was a blond, with deep, clear blue eyes and a skin like polished marble. The second had a dark chocolate mane and deep black eyes, and an olive skin. Both were dressed in white. The first one was his daughter. The second was his wife. They reached out to him and each took one of his hands. Then the wife and daughter gone before him, as the Hands of God, led him home.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
So maybe you have an idea? Maybe you'd like to throw in your two cents worth. Mind you, I don't need it written...that's my job! I'd simply like to know what you think might work. If your idea is chosen...you won't get any rights to the book or the story...but you might just find yourself with a mention. Perhaps there will be a character named after you and definitely a little something in the acknowledgements section.
Read a synopsis of the book (as yet unnamed. Want to help with that too?!!):
Ty had hung up his coat many years before, along with the medical bag that now sat unused in the closet. He’d had enough back then. Now he’d have to call on the knowledge he’d amassed in those earlier times of life to help his captive companion. He felt tied to her; an immediate, unexplainable bond. He’d been too late when they first brought her in but he could protect her now, help her. He knew that. What he really wondered was whether she could perhaps help heal his wounds and mend his heart in the process?
Kalynn could not believe the horrors of the day. From lost keys to running late to kidnapping to…she couldn’t bring herself to even think about it. She drifted into darkness.
Unbelievable. Stupidity reigned. Careless, forgetful behavior had cost her dearly. Was there more? Had she been used? Sold out by the one she loved? Hadn’t he said he loved her? You don’t do that to people you love. Again her mind refused the thought. It couldn’t be. The day simply couldn’t be real.
“Wake up.” She begged herself to break free from the nightmare. Only consciousness brought with it full remembrance and pain; torturous pain both physical and mental. “Oh God,” she whispered. “How can this be happening to me…” Things like this didn’t happen to everyday, ordinary, well-meaning people like Kalynn Montgomery.
Tied together by circumstances, their love for rich coffee and orange cream pies strengthened the bond as days faded into weeks and months; not to mention working together day in and day out, sharing one small room, shoulder to shoulder as they wound their way into the cyber world to unlock doors never meant to be opened. She wasn’t as highly trained, but Kalynn Montgomery saw things in the codes and numbers on the screens needed to help these master criminals. They needed her…and her heart needed him.
Endure the darkness as you stand with Kalynn. Hold her hand when she needs someone, and grow to understand how any woman could live through what she did and emerge to say “I had to go through hell to reach you…then found a piece of my own little heaven within your arms.”
Has she truly found love in the most unlikely of places? Her heart tells her she has. Logic tells her otherwise. Will fate make the decision? Join Kalynn Montgomery; walk beside her as the answers unfold.
Monday, October 18, 2010
"If you’re easily disturbed, have a weak stomach, or are prone to nightmares, stop reading right now. There are no sexy teen heartthrobs herein."
Well, I am all those things, and I happen to like sexy heartthrobs…though not particularly teen heartthrobs. So, I put on my best brave girl face, swallowed hard, and hit the page down button anyway. Wow! What a ride!!! This book delivered all that it had promised. Yet, even with that, can I truly say I liked it? I mean, it’s phenomenal but “like” indicates to me a story I’d want to put myself in. I DO NOT want to be in this story in the least! The writing is fantastic, of course, and the story flows – it is, in my opinion, a truly unique take on the legend. You’ll come away with a different view. The characters are well developed and I felt as if I was part of the action – right there as it was happening. All good and leading me to dish out a 5 star rating…but “like”???
The book was written as a full-length, 80,000-word novel by 4 extremely gifted authors, and they put it together seamlessly--so much that the reader can’t tell which author did what. The premise is that an ancient skull, believed to belong to Dracula, was found in Transylvania and purchased by a wealthy, dying businessman in (of all places) Durango, CO. The rich man gets the skull which his “all that” beautiful assistant is skeptical about until he mysteriously sinks the razor sharp teeth of the skull into his neck.
Then things start happening.
I can’t tell you more because, well, author/friend Andrew E. Kaufman would frown on me and accuse me of giving away spoilers! He’s pretty good at creepy characters and they might come after me if I’m not careful.
I can tell you, however, that I would highly recommend Draculas~a novel of terror written by Blake Crouch, Jack Kilborn, Jeff Strand, and F.Paul Wilson. It is available for pre-order at Amazon.com until Tuesday, October 19. I’d go ahead and click the pre-order button if I was you…but don’t blame me if you can’t sleep, you see movement in the shadows, or your stomach remains a bit queasy. Take that up with the authors on the Draculas website. And, while you’re there…you can learn a bit more about the book. There’s also an interesting bonus that comes along with this ebook. You can find out about that on the Draculas site too. Go ahead…be brave…and make sure you come back and let me know if you can honestly say you “like” it! I mean, REALLY!!! Isn’t "like" usually associated with a positive emotion? Something...happy? This…this was sheer gore and horror created by the best with the sole purpose of writing the most frightening book they possibly could. Mission accomplished.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
My favorite question asked (okay, my actual favorite was the one about the dog food...where'd that come from?!!!) ~ BBB asked: How long do we have to wait for your next book, and what is it going to be about?
AK: Depends which one you mean–I have three going right now.
The stand-alone is as of yet untitled, and I hope to release it hopefully sometime next year. That one is a bit of a departure from the last. More a psychological thriller and not anywhere near as gory or violent. It’s more of a mind trip, and if I do things correctly, will throw the reader completely off-balance and force them to question their own perceptions. My intended effect is for them to say: “Holy crap! what the hell just happened to me?” (Or something like that).
The second part of the Savage Series will hopefully follow after that. That one is already in production and it will delve into Kyle’s very dark past and then jump into the present, where it begins to haunt her once again. Literally. That’s all I’m going to say about it. Can’t give too much away!
But honestly, I’m not in a hurry on either of those. It takes me a long time to write a novel because I refuse to release it until I feel it’s ready. The readers deserve that. Plus, While The Savage Sleeps just came out in June, so it’s still rather young, and I’d like to give it the chance to shine on its own because it’s rather special to me.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Charlie Courtland creates an intense world without it being overwhelming. These women do some things that are not nice at all. Elizabeth is, in fact, tried for heinous crimes that it appears, according to the author and Amara’s recount, she did commit: torture, dark magic, the use of virgins’ blood to halt the aging process…there are many. And yet, there is a humanity to her and to all the characters (no one is without guilt). They are likable and I found myself wanting their lives to work out in better ways – as if what they had missed had played a part in who they became and I wanted them to have more, experience fulfillment.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely - without hesitation. It’s full, it’s rich, and it is well written. It’s also a sequel…though I know, from my experience, you don’t have to read the first one first to understand what is going on. You will, however, want to read the one that started it all once you do! That’s where I am now…with Dandelions In The Garden on the top of my reading pile. I am thankful to have had this world revealed to me within the pages written by such a talented author.
You may purchase the book at Amazon.com or on the author's blog or her Bitsy Bling's Reviews Blog (for a limited time - at a special price). Kindle is also available. For Amazon purchases, follow either of the links below or jump on over to either of her blogs (and while you're on the Bitsy Bling's Reviews Blog....make sure to check out the review on Andrew E. Kaufman's While The Savage Sleeps)
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
"Andrew Kaufman goes the extra mile when it comes to authenticity, and just when you think you have seen it all in crime fiction, a guy like this comes along and knocks your socks off."
Not bad for a new kid on the block. Then again, this guy's book has garnered 5 star ratings all around like the one posted by Bitten By Books. And the best part...Andrew has managed to keep his feet on the ground even with his name and his book throwing my google alerts into overtime! With requests for guest posting such as the Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Autopsy post (Warning...it's not funny but it is fascinating) and readers writing post like this one by Christine R. Senter that truly left Andrew speechless, it's no wonder the book is on a lot of must read lists!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I am fortunate that I come from a creative family. My mother was/is an artist, specializing in Alaskan landscapes mostly. One of my sisters paints, another's a florist, another is crafty...the list goes on. Before I got back into writing and publishing I actually designed and created specialty greeting cards for people. It was an awesome job but not overly profitable and I am so hands-on that I printed them all myself which also meant folding, cutting...it was all a bit overwhelming.
Anyway...because of all that, I design my own covers and many of those for other books through the publishing company. Some, like Sharon E. Cathcart's "In The Eye of The Beholder" are designed by artists (James Courtney created her cover). Jaimey Grant designed the cover of "Deception" with an occasional "try this" or "try that" from me. My children's book "How Sadie Learned to SMILE" uses a cutout from one of the illustrations in the book. I created several backgrounds for it using that same illustration and bounced them to the illustrator until we agreed on one we liked. Video producer Patrick Sipperly designed the cover for our collection of short stories: "Time Out On A Roller Coaster". It was a concept he came up with and I happened to like.
I spent some time this summer creating book covers for several of my works in progress. Many of you know I hurt my back and was unable to sit to work for long. Oddly enough, I was able to hover over a mouse at my graphics computer so...that's what I did. I spent a lot of time browsing the pages of a site called Dreamstime looking for my characters. I would then pull them into the template I use and play until I got it right. Dreamstime has comp images you can use for free to see if they will work. At that time you buy the ones you like and the annoying watermarks go away :) An example would be this cover for one of my novels. It isn't finished but hopefully you can see the swirly watermark on the couple and on the girl in the frame.
Notice too that the front of the book is on the right and the back of the book is on the left. There's also that "dead" space on the back (To the right of the girl) where the bar code will go. You have to be careful about that...not putting anything there that you don't want covered. To see this in more detail, check out my OneStopPublisher.com Cover Creator Page. I don't have a lot of covers on there, though. I need to update it. I'll do that in my spare time!!!
Let's look at another cover. It's for an upcoming book of mine called "The Escort"...at least that's the working title. The cover (along with the lovely watermarks) shown here is basically 3 photographs sandwiched into one.
How was I able to look at those three pictures and decide they would work? I don't know. I guess that's the artistic side. Other than some minor tweaks, I do know, I love this cover and it expresses exactly what I wanted to express about what might be inside.
Now, do be aware that when you use sites like Dreamstime and others you may run the risk of others with the same pictures on their covers. Vicki Hopkins, author of "The Price of Innocence" has commented that she's seen her photo art on three other books, I believe. I personally love Vicki's cover and think it fits her book, so to me...it's a who cares.
The man in my Escort book (he's not the escort, by-the-way) can be found on another cover as well. Take a look at this one by Miss Mae. You know what? I'm okay with that because as much as he might depict her character, this man is my character as well. He fits too perfectly for me not to use him. Her book, "When The Bough Breaks" won a Best Young Adult Novel award and also a Best Cover of the Month Award. I've heard from a very good source that it's a worthwhile read. I can personally recommend "The Price of Innocence" as well.
Some artwork doesn't need a lot. Take the picture of the sword, for instance. We turned it into a cover for a soon to be released novel by Richard S. Wiggins, Jr. titled "Kilaal's Sword"...I sent the author a bunch of sword pics and asked which one. He chose this and I got to work. According to his instructions, the sword needed jewels placed strategically in the handle. That was actually the hard part. The cover turned out pretty good, in my opinion. The author liked it and that's the most important thing to me.
So, in answer to your question, Silvina, if an author does not have an artist in mind, I usually tackle the project myself or with one of the other designers through the publishing company. I would say that I'm not so sure I choose a cover or if, in many ways, it chooses me. More often than not, it has a lot to do with the author's tastes, the fortune to stumble across a great artist or perfect photo and a whole lot of intuition. Covers are as personal as the words on the pages they cover. I'd urge every author to browse sites and make a file of covers that catch the eye. Take a tour of your library or local book store. See what jumps out at you. Most of all, when you begin creating your own cover, whether you do it yourself or with the help of a professional, have something created that you love. If it doesn't touch you, how will you be confident enough to present it to others? The ultimate goal is to sell your book. You have to love your cover and believe in the contents to do it.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
My "normal" writing style produces much more modern romance. I have upcoming titles such as "A Marriage of Necessity", "The Selling of Ellie Carr", "The Escort", "Protect My Heart", "When Love Whispers", "Love With A Twist Of Lime"... I am a definite happy ever after person. This book will be no different as they experience many ups and downs...just like real life. I don't try to profess a knowledge of things I know nothing about. I simply write from my heart and hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
One thing jumped out at me on Tim’s sites: A book cover. Imagine that! Along with that cover came a blurb (taken directly from Tim’s website): Gail Bishop, a headstrong, driven, single-minded businesswoman, struggles with the meaning of success, and finds it in a long-lost relationship, when she accidentally gets set up on a blind date with her fun-loving ex-husband, who is struggling with his own secret problems. Romance and a unique situation. I was hooked. It sounded like my kind of story so I ordered it.
Now, as a publisher/editor/formatter/and so on, I have to tell you I am not 100% thrilled with the “look” of Tim’s book (sorry, Tim). There were a few things I found bothersome, like the use of left justification (I like a “square” look) and hyphens (can’t stand to see them in a pleasure book). Tim did use a nice sized font and the spacing in the book made it easy to read…I didn’t feel as if there was so much on a page I was overwhelmed, although I would have left a little more room at the top below the headers and at the bottom…just a tad. I would have liked to have seen the cover text a bit smaller. It seemed stark as opposed to blending yet standing out…if that makes sense! None of it was enough to set me off. I still wanted to read it, and did.
To the meat…I truly wanted to like this book/the story. Again, I did. There were a couple of parts that left me scratching my head. One for instance: when Gail, the main character, is somewhat “attacked” by her business partner and her ex-husband’s mother. It left me wondering where that came from. These two women go off at each other in these little cat fights that seem peculiar to me. They do serve a purpose in the book. They simply don’t flow quite as well as the rest.
Whew! Issues out of the way…I did love the story. And Tim’s ability to throw in lines that struck a cord with my heart was wonderful. I wanted this story to work out, wanted to help these two find each other as well as coming to terms with themselves. I felt their anguish, reservations…all of it. Tim pulled me in and held me until the end. The overall “feel” of the story was good and I very much liked and identified with his characters. The story seemed as if it could be real -- though that is not necessarily one of my own personal requirements to make a good story. Most importantly…the story left me with the feeling that these two could have happy-ever-after; my personal favorite.
My take: I’ll give it 4 stars because I did enjoy the story. I do wish the mechanics would have been better (had a bit of an eBook feel on paper). I would definitely read another of Tim’s fiction books. I have read some of Tim’s short stories/eBook offerings and enjoyed them as well. I would say it would be worth your time to take a look around Tim’s blogs/websites, read his work, and order his books. I’ve heard the Love Idiot one is a great read. It’s on my list.
Thank you, Tim, for bringing “From the Ashes of Courage” to life in a way that others could enjoy.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The last few days have found me immersed in "Deception"...notice the quotations? That's because it is a title. I have had the honor of being paired to work with author Jaimey Grant on her latest title: "Deception". Jaimey is a very hands on author and, together (from half-way across the country), we tinkered with her cover, her taking the lead though humoring me with changes even when it was as simple as moving a word from here to there. I'm pretty pleased and anxious to wrap it around Jaimey's extremely well written words.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Anyway....I was reminded (thank you, Shay) how sometimes I write something and have to shake my head and put it aside wondering how could I write something that bad! Well, I have a success story about one of those "bad" stories. My first published piece is a short story called "Unwanted" and it was originally placed in the never-gonna-be-seen-by-other-eyes file. It was very short and did not capture the emotion of what I was writing about (purely fictional, mind you). Several weeks later there was a contest and, as often happens to me since it is my only truly alone time thanks to 4 pets who want my attention when my children or husband are not around, while showering I got a "vision" of where that story should go for that contest. It was perfect! I reworked it and it won and was my first published piece.
So, don't throw it away...file it away. You never know where it will take you.
I'll post the story here so you may decide for yourself: thumbs up or thumbs down...
"Unwanted", a short story by Linda Boulanger
Betrayal. Is there a more justifiable reason to be angry? I had every reason in the world to be bitter but would never find backing or support from the scriptures. I was swallowed up in the deepest, darkest time of my life, but God wasn’t giving me any slack. And I had done nothing wrong! I was still seething as I looked down at the tiny bundle wrapped in soft pink. She returned my gaze, her eyes filled with trust. They were the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. Oh how sweet she looked.
I picked her up, feeling her tiny nose against my cheek, soft yet firm, like nothing I had ever felt before. She nestled against me as I held her in my arms. I breathed deeply, the aroma of baby lotion, powder, and her distinctive scent filled my head. She smelled like him, her father….my husband.
I didn’t want to love her, vowed I would not the day he told me about her and that he wanted to bring her home. To our home! His child with another woman…brought into this world by a chance encounter and I was supposed to take her in and love her as my own. Preposterous! I had resolved to harden my heart toward her. Bitterness had tried to creep in.
I’d already made my peace with my husband…with an awful lot of help from God. I had come to terms with the fact that, perhaps, it had even been my obsession with the need for a baby that had driven him away for a time. It had been difficult enough but we’d gotten through it. And then he’d learned of this child, his child, to be given away without a care from her real mother. And now, here she was, so small, so helpless. She was soft within my arms, looking to me to take care of her, to show her a world where someone cared.
“God, how could you do this to me? How can I do for her what is needed when my heart is hurting so?” I’d been denied my own child in life. Years of trying had left me with nothing but a hardened heart, wounded pride, and a taste of bitterness in my mouth. The barren woman…..and now this child.
She began to fuss. I laid her back and she looked at me again. I was touched by the total lack of judgment in her eyes. She had no idea how tormented I was or that I had planned not to love her, only that she needed someone to take care of her and that I seemed to be doing a pretty good job at that very moment. Her own mother didn’t care, didn’t love her; had not even loved my husband as I did. I brushed the palm of my hand across the soft down that covered the top of her head. She liked it. Her eyes took on that dreamy look and I smiled. The realization of how much she needed me washed over me with great cleansing waves.
I leaned down and kissed her forehead. Her eyes fluttered, and then shut. I could feel her breath. Soft sweet whispers caressed my face as I rubbed her cheek with my own. In her sleep, she smiled. It was an angel’s smile. I couldn’t hate her. My bitterness faded away. She was the answer to my prayer for a child. And, with a sigh and a thank you, I resolved to be her mother, to be that someone, who would love her.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Carmen Collier was a romance writer; the queen of fluffy, happy-ever-after stories. Yet she required more than a pretty face to help her fashion a real-life person into a full-fledged fictional character.
“Whatcha workin’ on?” Lance asked, sliding into the seat across the table and flashing that gorgeous smile her way.
“Why are you here, Lance? You’re never here on Tuesdays,” she retorted to the owner of the Coffee Garden, the little shop with tables ideally situated among a garden-like setting where Carmen had, until recently, enjoyed mornings of Espresso, croissants, and writing. Lance had purchased the unusual shop about a month and a half ago and begun to “befriend” his regular customers. Most of them loved the attention lavished on them by the handsome owner. Even Carmen hadn’t minded the brief chit-chatty moments at first.
Then she’d made the mistake of bringing him a copy of her latest book and topping that by telling him that her characters quite often walk onto the pages from real-life collisions with actual people.
“Will I find my way into one of your stories?” he’d asked.
“Perhaps,” Carmen had flirted a bit. “Just what type of story would you like to see yourself in, Mr. Dixon?”
“Oh that’s easy,” he’d shot back. “A lovely little romantic interlude between the handsome Coffee Garden owner, new to town and the business, and the wildly famous romance author whose very appearance takes his breath away.”
Carmen had stared at him for a moment; the word-wielder was stumped for a comeback. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of his request, or the way his eyes washed over her, or the way his foot rested against hers under the table. Was he truly making reference to the two of them? At last she’d chosen humor to rescue her from uncertainty.
“You know any women that would fit that description because I’m afraid I’m just not quite wrapping my head around a character quite like that. Must be the blonde hair.” She’d looked down at the light reddish-brown hair that cascaded off her shoulder. “Hmm. Or not...” He’d laughed and left her with a “Funny girl,” comment.
But the next morning he’d been right back in the seat across from her asking if she’d written him a story yet.
“Sorry. It takes inspiration,” she said shaking her head. “I’m not a formula writer like some. I write from my heart.”
“Ah,” he nodded. “Time…and something to inspire you.”
“Precisely. Now go away so I don’t lose my current train of thought. Josh Green is working up the nerve to plant an unexpected kiss on the unsuspecting Caroline French. Important stuff in the world of fluffy romance.” She’d smiled as he looked at her with a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding kind of look. He’d smiled back, shaking his head as he left her table to visit with other customers.
Each day as she broke her fast at the Garden, he’d join her and ask. Every time she’d answer the same. That morning she was particularly irritated as the story she was working on was giving her fits; a pivotal point of pieces she could not get to fit in her mind.
“Lance! I’m not going to write you a love story just because you ask me to. I can’t do that! I don’t work that way. I need inspiration. I need…”
Lance stood quickly from his spot opposite her and walked to stand beside her chair. She stared up at him with crinkled brows unsure of the expression on his face. Then, without warning, he grasped her upper arms and gently pulled her to him.
“Lance…” One arm encircled her, holding her tightly as the fingers of his other hand walked expertly up her spine and into the curly mass of her gorgeous reddish-brown hair. Their eyes remained locked; hers dreamily expectant, his warmly mischievous. Slowly he lowered his mouth to hers. She could feel the smile on his lips as they met. She didn’t care. All she cared about was melting into him and the way he was making her feel.
When at last he pulled away, Carmen felt as if her knees were too weak to support her. She continued to lean against him.
“Is that enough inspiration for the famous author?” he whispered against her hair that tickled his cheek.
“It’s a good start,” Carmen said at last. “But sometimes I have to go over these things again and again before I get my head fully wrapped around them. You available for further research?”
“It is my day off,” he answered. “I have time if you do…”
“Carmen? Carmen?!” she heard her name being said over and over. Her eyes snapped open. Bewildered, she looked up at the smiling face of the handsome barista from the little espresso shop.
“Oh! Lance! Sorry,” she laughed, embarrassed at her complete absorption. “I was just…I had a thought running through my head.”
“It looked like a good one.” Oh his smile was so inviting. “How’s that class going? Did you get your romance story written that you were working on last week?”
“It’s due tomorrow. I was having trouble with the idea but it seems I finally got my inspiration after walking in the door of the Coffee Garden.”
“Well,” he spoke mischievously, “I’d sure like to think I was able to help. Maybe someday you’ll be a famous author and you can write a story about me.”
Carmen giggled nervously and Lance thought perhaps he saw a slight stain of a blush creeping into her cheeks. He sat her cup on the table, winked, and waltzed off to wait on the other customers.
Carmen watched him intently. “Someday,” she thought. “Someday may be sooner than you think.” She began to write him into her love story featuring herself as the leading female main character.
The following is a work of fiction. All characters and events are fictitious. Any similarities to real persons is entirely coincidental…
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa ran a story on Mrs. Strong not too long ago. If you follow THIS LINK it will take you to the story. There's a video also. Both very worth your time.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
The interview centers around my book Becoming…a collection of faith-based short stories concerning pivotal times and journeys in our lives. I hope you’ll take a few moments to jump over to Tim’s blog and read the interview. Be sure to let Tim and I know you stopped by.
Tim will also post a review of Becoming to his ebook review page. Keep a lookout for that as well :)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Still, that doesn't make it any less overwhelming when I sit in front of my computer and realize I have two days to complete two weeks worth of work! On top of that...I'm in one of my no-sleep modes where I wake during the night with stories whirling through my head. Yesterday as I sat at a stop light on my way to pick part of my crew up from school a new story began to form in my head. "No!" I told it. I'm already working on two with a third in the notes phase. No use. An hour later as I sat with my children at McDonalds while my flat tire from Saturday got put back on my van, I had the main characters named and the opening scene fleshed out. I wrote in my head off and on all night! Ugh. When I have one of those nights...which is quite often...I am reminded of an old commercial where the children get the parents up early on the weekend. Perhaps it was a crying baby and the commercial says something about sleep being overrated. One of my sisters once told me after I had children that I would find myself operating best on 6 hours of sleep. I think that is just enough to function yet little enough to dull the senses so you just kind of float through life... I'd really just enjoy six good hours in a row!!!
Alas, the cats agree with my sister and the commercial. Of course they cat nap at my side as I work so what difference does it make to them? They do love it when I write in the wee hours of the night and they sneak onto the kitchen table to "help" by rearranging my papers into a nice bed. They keep me company, I suppose; championing me on as word by word I continue with my work knowing soon, very soon this book will be printed and shipped and into the hands of the author who, for the first time, will see his name on a cover. Inside he will find the words that he labored over and characters that he breathed life into. For those of us who write, it's a feeling without compare. It's also what keeps me going...the thought of that look upon his face when he opens the package containing his book. For that, I would gladly trade a little sleep and ignore my laundry...for a few days anyway.
Have I learned my lesson on procrastination? Probably not! Will I ever not take on more than one person should? No! Life is short and grace is given. We rise to the occasion and, just as we feel we truly are drowning, light shines and we know exactly which way is up.
For those of you who have pitched in and taken up the slack as I wade through....THANK YOU! Your support means more to me than you can imagine. The favor will be returned....after I finish this project :) Or maybe after the next one.....
Friday, March 19, 2010
Independence is a town of about 10,000 people. Not too big but certainly not dinky in appearance. My husband’s family hails from there abouts. They are all gone now but memories live on for him and we have made many new ones.
Founded on land taken from the Osage Nation, early Independence was home to many families made wealthy by the oil and gas booms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Ornate Victorian homes and architecturally thrilling buildings still attest to the prosperity of pre-Depression days. Oil magnate Harry F. Sinclair, who founded the Sinclair Oil Company with its dinosaur logo was one of the more known. His retro building still stands prominent within the town. As we walked around yesterday, we wondered how many people still knew that building, now filled with multiple individual businesses, had once been the headquarters for Sinclair’s empire. Undoubtedly time will continue to lessen the historical significance of such.
I talked about William Inge, a famous playwright, in an earlier post about Picnic. He was born in Independence and, as is indicated in much of his works, the town had a huge influence over him. Each spring Independence Community College hosts an annual festival in his honor.
Miss Able, a rhesus monkey, was born at Ralph Mitchell Zoo. If Miss Able is ringing bells….you may have seen her in Night At The Museum 2. We’re very proud to have visited her birthplace! Miss Able along with Miss Baker, a squirrel monkey, became the first animals to fly in space and return alive on May 28, 1959. Monkeys still live on the island sporting a rock castle surrounded by a water moat enjoyed by ducks and a pair of stately swans that love dog food (I’m out of breath). The zoo is free! It isn’t huge and occasionally many of the animals will have taken refuge inside. Still, it is a highlight of our trips. We have certain exhibits that are “must sees” and there is an awesome playground inside the zoo with a nursery rhyme theme (and 3 gorillas…. not sure how they fit in but the kids love to have their pics made on them). Yesterday my third grader had to take her Flat Stanley. Photographs abound…now to just get them downloaded. I’m so bad about that I’m in dire need of a personal assistant!
From Memorial Day to Labor Day The Miniature Train, Miniature Golf Course and Carousel are open (Weekday evenings and Sunday afternoons). Admission: the Carousel is 5 cents, the Miniature train is 25 cents and Miniature Golf is $1. The Mid-Continent Band plays every Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. at the band shell through the summer. How’s that for small town entertainment! I love it! Oh yes, they also boast their annual Neewollah event as Kansas' largest annual festival. Held the last week of October, Neewollah's musical stage shows, carnival, concessions, entertainment and grand parade attract more than 80,000 visitors each year. Do we attend? Don’t you know it! The last time we missed was the year my son was born on October 15. I simply couldn’t bring myself to take a newborn. It’s an action packed day. Hey, Chris…I do have my limitations after all! You did realize Neewollah is Halloween spelled backwards???
And, last but not least, the day would not be complete without driving through Dairy Queen for traditional treats. The store in Independence is owned and operated by an older group. They can still make Chocolate Sodas…as long as one of the three is there. I hope it is not a tradition that will go away with them although it does seem like it, huh?
That makes me sad but also serves as a reminder to me to teach my children. I love walking through history. We’re blessed to live in a place rich with such (Bartlesville, OK was home to Phillips Petroleum Company and Frank Phillips for many, many years. I’ll have to write about that someday…) It’s amazing how much history we have right outside our front doors. Opening one door can unlock the doors into the past as well as into the future. How many doors can you open right there in your own town? Try it. I’ll bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Then, I reconnected with an old friend after many, many years, took my younger two to McDonalds where they played for over 2 hours and I wrote to my little heart's content. Funny thing, a little boy came up to me and said "You're that author that came to our school. You brought the dog..." He was so excited. He was also right. I often take the "real" Sadie with me to readings and author visits. Although the book is fiction, I used Tracy Freeman's rescued pet as my inspiration. They're both sweethearts.
Checking my FaceBook I noticed I could get a free ebook of Lori Newman's Poetry Book Looking To Be Seen. Fellow author Lori Finilla wrote on her FaceBook: You need to read this unbelievable heart touching book. The first poem made me cry. I can't wait to read it! I also got hold of Jaimey Grant's Regency Romance Redemption. I don't usually read ebooks because I spend so much time on the computer editing/formatting for myself and others as well as writing and, of course, social networking but I'm pretty excited about these. I noticed Lori Finilla is changing the name of one of her books from "My Brain Injury" to "The Last Day I Was Me". I think that's a great change. A photograph of Lori and snippets of information I've read on her life have inspired the idea for another novel. I've been making notes while working on A Marriage of Necessity and yet another novel. My mind never stops working!
To end the day I received an email containing the parts of one of my handwritten novels that I'm having typed up into a "properly formatted electronic version"...that's exactly what it says under Transcription Services on my One Stop Publisher site. Yep, I'm using my own company. Isn't that good of me?!!! Anyway, I did a bit of spot reading and got all excited about the story all over again.
I almost forgot....almost :) Author Tim King has interviewed me for his blog. The interview will be posted rain, shine, or bus accident (sorry...inside joke between Tim and I) on Thursday, March 25th so mark your calendars and pop over to read it and comment. Tim made me feel good. I gave him permission to hatchet away at my responses, however, he said "I probably should have taken a hatchet to it, as you suggested...but I love the content..." Bookmark Tim's blog: http://blog.jtimothyking.com/ Tim's book From The Ashes Of Courage is on my reading list. I love the idea of this story and can't wait to read it.
I went to bed contented and slept well. Okay, so I went to bed contented and ended up writing in my mind most of the night! This new story is demanding to be let out. What's a girl to do?!! I love living on the line....on the lines of my notebook or a story, that is. Happy weekend friends!
Well, Mr. Opportunity was knocking on her door and each of these men had presented themselves back into her life. Both of them! Rachel smiled. How often did a girl get the chance to recapture a lost dream? Kind of like roping a rainbow. Oh the thoughts made her feel dizzy and slightly twitterpated.
She'd seen Kurt not too many years before. What had it been? Two? Maybe three. Either way, he'd looked mighty fine for a forty something, middle-aged man. Mighty fine indeed. But life had been different two, three years ago. She'd been madly in love with Jack. Kissing an old crush had been far from the front of her mind.
Now don't misunderstand. Rachel still loved Jack. In fact, he'd asked her to marry him. She'd agreed but had coaxed him into convincing her they should push the date a little ways down the road. She did love him. She did! He was nice looking, took care of himself, and he'd be a great provider and all. He even got along well with both of her grown children. But the sense of excitement at being together had waned somewhat. Okay, quite a bit. And now...she'd given her cell number to a mutual friend who had given it to Kurt and he'd called her for lunch. Lunch! With Kurt!!! One of her two missed opportunities. Lunch tomorrow...
Rachel shook her head and checked her emails. There it was...the confirmation for the thirty year reunion. Something else was there too. An email from Doug. Yep! The other guy she'd dreamed of for so very many years. They'd ran across each other quite by accident on the reunion pages and he still looked pretty darn good from his pictures anyway. Several emails confirmed them into the mutual admiration club and arrangements were made to meet a day earlier than the reunion. Oh yes! Rachel touched her flushed cheeks and laughed like a silly school girl. She felt as giddy as a seventeen year old in young love.
The next day found her trying on outfit after outfit until she found the one that portrayed the perfect look. Hands on hips, she turned this way and that looking at her image. Now she looked good for 48! She was still trim. Her hair was dark with just the right highlights. Eyes were still bright. And the outfit made her look...well, just a little bit like a hottie. Not a tramp! Just desirable. She was ready. With a smack of her painted lips she sauntered out of the house to meet Kurt. Today was THE day! She was determined to make it happen.
They were to meet at McDaniel's Bar & Grill. She'd made the reservations, requested the perfect table. In her mind she'd played through the scene over and over. They'd be seated adjacently, their chairs both too close to the corner. They'd chat, she'd flirt unabashedly and, by the end of the meal, he'd kiss her. She felt all tingly as she drove.
The young lady at the front knew her. She nodded when Rachel said she could seat herself. As she walked toward the requested table, a surge of irritation rose up. Someone else had sat down there! Some pudgy older man with thinning, bristly gray hair and a wrinkled face had dared to interfere with her dream. Her heart sank as he looked up at her and smiled. She'd have known those blue eyes anywhere; those blue eyes that washed over her with unchecked appreciation.
“Kurt!” she said with faux-enthusiasm. “How nice to see...how nice of you to have agreed to meet me for lunch.” She quickly slipped on the little sweater she'd draped over her arm just in case it was too cold.
It was a nice lunch after all. Great catching up. They'd always been comfortable with each other. As he kissed her cheek in the parking lot, Rachel guessed it would always be that way.
In all her life there was only one man Rachel Dunbar wished she'd kissed but hadn't. One Douglas Taylor. Doug, as all his friends called him. He'd been such a sweet guy in High School. Always the perfect gentleman, even when they'd huddled close together against the cold on the bus with the broken window coming home after a football game. The cheerleader and the quarterback. It would have been so perfect. Yet neither of them pursued it. And now, thirty years later to find out both had harbored feelings for one another.
The plane landed and she knew he'd be there to meet her even though she'd told him she could get her own car. Her heart beat wildly, hopeful his photos hadn't lied.
She breathed a sigh of relief as she stepped through the gate and caught sight of him. Now Doug Taylor looked good with a capital G-O-O-D for a 48 year old man. Dang! Wow! No disappointment there.
“Rachie!” He grabbed her up and swung her around. She giggled, oblivious to the people who stared. “You look great, girlie.”
“Well!” She stepped back and surveyed him openly. “you weren't lying when you said you'd taken care of yourself.” They walked from the airport arm in arm.
“Watch out rainbow,” Rachel thought, “I'm getting out my rope.”
By the end of the next day Rachel wondered what she had gotten herself into. Doug had indeed taken care of himself and was truly the center of his own universe. Every conversation came back to him. He was extremely opinionated and well...yawn, boring. Doug, blah blah. Doug, bleh bleh bleck. Why had she not seen this in the emails?
The weekend could not pass quickly enough for her. Although she did enjoy seeing Jilly, Susan, Marjorie and the others again. She was happy to say she was still the best looking of the squad. But she was ecstatic when Doug dropped her at the airport. She departed with but a little kiss on the forehead.
Jack met her at the door of her townhouse with a lovely, hand-tied bouquet of flowers. She could smell a delicious meal in the makings. Dropping her bags she threw herself into him, nearly crushing the flowers. Carelessly he tossed them on the side table and wrapped her in his arms. His hands ran up her spine and into her hair, pulling her head back with gentle ease. With a smile, he lowered his lips to meet hers.
Breathless, Rachel looked up at Jack with dreamy admiration and desire. In all her life there was not a man she wanted to be kissed by more than Jack Reed. In fact, there had never been a man she'd wanted to kiss and didn't.
Sidenote: Two Kisses is one of my favorite stories. It began with an idea I had because...you see, there are only two guys in my life that I wish I'd kissed and didn't! I won't and they have no idea who they are (although I'm in occasional contact with both of them). The story began a bit more serious in nature although by the time I sent the original to Pat it had evolved. He took it and further added his own special blend of humor and I must say I am so pleased with this story. You can find it in our published collection titled Time Out On A Roller Coaster which contains another fun kiss story we wrote together called Chocolate Kisses.