Monthly Archives: February 2015

Guest Blog Goodness–Belle Maurice

Good Thursday morning!  It’s my pleasure to welcome Belle Maurice to the blog!! With no further ado…

What advice would you give a new author?

It’s harder than it looks and it will take longer than you think it will. Writing a book, even a short one, is hard. Writing a good book is exponentially harder. You can do all the research and chatting with other writers you can stand, but in the end, it’s you and a blinking cursor in a fight to the death.

Who or what inspired you to write?

In fifth grade, I transferred from the public school to a private Catholic school. My teacher was a nun, Sister Donna. I called her the Michelin Man because she was sort of round and squat like the Michelin tire mascot. She took us to the library every week and we were allowed to check out one book. One week I found 2 books I wanted to check out, The Hobbit and something else so I summoned the courage to ask if I could take out an unprecedented two books that week. I read The Hobbit three times that year and began reading everything I could lay my hands on. My father, a member of the local Rotary Club, noticed my newfound passion for reading and convinced the Rotary to raise money to get a branch of the county library into my little town. I loved reading so much that I started making up my own stories and sharing them with kids at school. They liked what I wrote and I liked the attention that I got. Still do.

Most writers I’ve known say that writing is invigorating, while some say that it’s their therapy. How does your writing serve you? Do you express your life through the story or does the theme come from your vision?

Writing is my happy place. I enjoy exploring other lives, other places, other situations that I wouldn’t be able to do in the one lifetime I’m allotted.

 

What are your five “desert island” books?

I lived in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi for four years. Al Ain is an oasis so I was kinda on an island in the desert and I had my iPad on which I have an app that connects to my local library system. That’s all I needed, my iPad and a WiFi signal.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?

Tell friends. I write because it makes me happy and I want other people to be happy. If my books made you happy, spread it around.

Blurb

Sonny Black was the star quarterback in high school who couldn’t possibly be in love with the geekiest girl in school, Mandy Daws. He’d been seeing her under the guise of chemistry tutoring, but when his buddies found out there was a little more going on, he lied and said she was a slut, wrecking her life and earning her enduring hatred. Eleven years later, Sonny is the star quarterback headed for the Super Bowl despite amazing bad luck that has earned him the nickname Sonny Black Cloud. When someone mentions that the bad luck must stem from someone he failed in the past, the first name that comes to mind is Mandy’s. He tracks her down at the small university where she teaches chemistry and tries to seduce, beg, or win her forgiveness, and he needs it before the Super Bowl.

Buy at Liquid Silver Books, Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Sacked by the Quarterback

Excerpt:Sacked

Mandy dragged herself to the door. She’d come home, taken a hot bath with wine and Casablanca, and slipped into her favorite leopard print nightgown. Only rayon, but it was comfortable. Now, wrapped in her black velveteen bathrobe, she was waiting for pizza and the bell had tolled. Hmm, For Whom the Bell Tolls wouldn’t be a bad follow- up movie. She was looking over her shoulder at her DVD collection when she opened the door.

“Hi Mandy.”

She shrieked and leaped backward, clutching the neck of her robe closed. “What are you doing here?” Suddenly she wasn’t wearing enough clothes. A HAZMAT suit with a broken zipper wouldn’t be enough clothes.

“Trying to talk to you.”

“How did you find out where I live?” She backed up another step, which he naturally took as an invitation to come inside. “Get out!”

He paused in the act of closing the door behind him. “Why?”

“I don’t want you here. If this is still about me forgiving you then fine, I’ll forgive you if you’ll go away.”

“I don’t want to go away.” He closed the door.

“But you got what you wanted.” The maelstrom of emotion she thought she’d left behind in high school pelted her like sleet. “Please, just go.”

“Mandy, I love you.”

“You keep saying that like it should mean something to me.”

“It did once. You did love me.” He put his hands on her shoulders. “I’ll go if you really want me to.”

“I really want you to.” She took another step back and bumped into the arm of the chair.

He turned toward the door.

Without Sonny, she’d be left alone with her cold misery. Forever. “Wait.”

Sonny turned back again, but he looked angry. “Make up your mind. I just spent all afternoon playing nice with your school’s football team to get this address and I’m not interested in wasting any more time.”

“I said I forgive you.”

“And if you meant it, pigs fly.”
Mandy walked across the room, loosening the neck of her robe. The whole house was warmer with him here. “You spent all afternoon playing with our football team?”

“Yes. I really just wanted to hit the weight room, but I figured that if you saw I wasn’t the creep I was then you’d give me another chance. If you’re not going to do that, then I’m going to cut my losses.”

The doorbell rang again.

“Son of a bitch.” Sonny threw open the door. “What?”

The skinny kid on the step just stared up at him. “Pizza.”

“Pizza?” He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet.

“I can pay for that myself,” Mandy said. She had the money in her robe pocket already.

“I’ve got it.” Sonny handed the kid a couple of bills and took the pizza.

“Wow, thanks!”
Great, now he was overtipping the pizza kid in addition to playing with the school’s team for kicks.

“Pizza,” Sonny said. Kicking off his shoes at the door, he carried the box through the living room to the kitchen as if he’d been here a hundred times and could find his way around in the dark.

“And wine. I like pizza.”

“I remember. Next you’ll be sitting down to watch an old movie. Casablanca first or will you save that for later?”

“How do you remember that?” Mandy stood next to the table watching him go through her cupboards. She’d planned to eat off the lid of the box at the coffee table, but he must be in a civilized mood.

“Your favorite color is chartreuse because you like the way the word sounds, but you actually hate the color itself. You watch Casablanca on repeat when you’re depressed. You love fuzzy things, but not furry things. You’re allergic to lilies.” He took two plates out of the cupboard and carried them to the table. “You like Thai food and hate Indian food, but given a choice you’ll eat a burger every day of the week. I remember everything, Mandy. I never forgot.”

“Then why did you tell everyone I was a slut?”

“I never said you were a slut. I said we’d had sex.”

“Then why did you tell everyone we had sex?”

“Because I was a stupid little boy who didn’t know what I had and thought those jerks we went to high school with were more important than you.” He pulled a piece of pizza free and put it on a plate. Then he thrust it at her. “I forgot to mention that you eat when you’re depressed too.”

Guest Blog Goodness–Rosanna Leo

This week I’m giving a great big shout out to a fab author who’s always been a fave of mine with her shifter series–and now she’s rolling out a new contemp story and it rocks!  Huge welcome to Rosanna Leo!

Who or what inspired you to write?

I was young when I started to get reactions about my writing, specifically in school essays. Because of that, I developed an interest from an early age but didn’t act on it for quite some time. I can’t say one person inspired me but I was always the sort of kid to lose herself in a book. I loved exploring new and fantastic worlds. At some point, that interest became a need and my first book was penned.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?

My readers have been wonderful to me and have expressed their appreciation in some inventive ways. However, I can honestly say the most helpful thing a reader can do is to leave a review. This is the most lasting “gift” you can give an author. Not only do we take tremendous pride in reading the kind words of others, it also encourages future readers to check out our work. When a fan takes time out of her busy day to pen a few words on my behalf, it validates my work and fills me with such joy.

What is the most unique way someone has shared their appreciation for your work?

One of my loyal readers, a lovely lady named Renate, once sent me an adorable selkie figurine…all the way from Germany! I was astounded and humbled. That sweet selkie now sits near my writing desk and has given me many smiles.

What advice would you give a new author?

By all means, study the craft. Whether you take a course, go to college for it, or read writing books, make sure you know the basics. I had to give some tough feedback to a new author not long ago, critiquing her grammar and sentence structure. No one wants to be panned for being unable to string the elements of a sentence together. Do your homework first so that little mistakes don’t come back to haunt you.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂

LOL, great question! I can honestly say I have never shared any of my intimate moments in my books. My husband might inspire many of the emotions behind my characters but I am fairly private when it comes to my home life. So no, much to my husband’s relief, our “private times” remain private. 😉

The Stand-In Blurb/Excerpt

Tagline:

She’s the best bridesmaid money can buy.

Blurb:HRthestandin

Failed actress Winn Busby is at the end of her rope. With no money and no prospects, she accepts the one job she never thought she’d see on her résumé. Professional bridesmaid. It should be easy. If only the idea of weddings and vows didn’t give Winn a case of the hives. Her role becomes more challenging when she’s told a reporter will shadow her work for a men’s magazine article.

Working for Player Magazine is Patrick Lincoln’s worst nightmare. A former political journalist, he used to write thoughtful columns for one of Toronto’s most respected papers. That is, until he was blackballed for allegedly sleeping with the boss’s wife. Overnight, Patrick becomes the city’s most reviled bad boy. And now he’s forced to write a seedy expose on, of all things, a bridesmaid.

Patrick begrudgingly accompanies Winn to a series of strange weddings. As they are forced to work together, he learns there is more to the stand-in bridesmaid than puffy dresses and pretty speeches. She, in turn, begins to question whether or not Patrick actually deserves the derision of his peers. As much as they fight their attraction, it begins to threaten their work and their sanity.

For so long, Winn has felt second-best. A stand-in. She finally meets a man who believes in her value. But can she let go of the past and accept him?

Excerpt:

She glanced at her computer screen again. “Let’s see. Ah, yes. We’ll have you meet with Winn. And by the way, she’s lovely. She has the perfect look for this job. Accessible and fresh, but not intimidating. You’re in luck. She’s in the building right now.” She texted a command into her phone. “I’ll have my assistant send her right in.”

In the time it took Margie Kent to flash her very pearly whites, a knock sounded on the door. These stand-ins were prompt. He supposed that was good in any business.

“Come in, please,” Margie called.

Patrick lifted his gaze toward the door and watched as a pear-shaped blonde entered. Christ. Margie had called this woman unintimidating. He knew a few dozen men who’d be intimidated into next year by her girl-next-door sex appeal. Chin-length golden hair framed her pleasantly round face. Amazing cheekbones. Bright blue eyes and a body that looked made for squeezing. Just the thought of pressing that luscious flesh made him hard. If she was a high-class call girl, and if he had to pay for love, he might be tempted to pull out his wallet. He cleared his throat and thought of the day Jason Dietrich fired him, just to make his boner disappear.

Margie did the introductions in her singsong voice. “Winn Busby, this is Patrick Lincoln.”

She stuck her hand out. “A pleasure to meet you.”

As he shook her soft hand, Patrick waited for the old “that  Patrick Lincoln?” but it never came. Thank God. Someone who didn’t know of his ruin.

 

The Stand-In is available Feb. 9 at Liquid Silver Books and other ebook retailers. You may preorder now at LSB,  Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Author bio:

Rosanna Leo is a multi-published, erotic romance author with Liquid Silver Books. Several of her books about Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters have been named Night Owl Romance, Two Lips Recommended Reads and Top Picks at The Romance Reviews. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair. Her next contemporary romance, Vice, will be published this summer by Samhain Publishing.

www.rosannaleo.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/rleoauthor1

www.twitter.com/LeoRosanna

www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826852.Rosanna_Leo

http://www.tsu.co/RosannaLeo

Guest Blog Goodness–Denise A. Agnew

Please welcome Denise Agnew to Musings! Denise and I have known each other for a long time (I won’t put a number to it, it makes me feel old :)), and I’m thrilled to showcase her here!

Most writers I’ve known say that writing is invigorating, while some say that it’s their therapy. How does your writing serve you? Do you express your life through the story or does the theme come from your vision?

That’s a big question. I like it. My writing serves me because it’s a part of who I am. To NOT write on a fairly regular basis means I’m not as happy. I make meaning with my writing. Sure, I have wonderful family, friends and my great hubby. I have a spiritual base in my life. But happiness comes from the inside out and writing stories has been a part of me since I was fourteen years old. I think writers who MUST write find bits of themselves to put in their writing and sometimes it is definitely therapy. As for the themes, some from my vision and the sorts of topics I find interesting and compelling. Controversial statement: There are writers who really don’t have to write because they’re not in it for the creativity and it isn’t honestly a genuine part of who they are. They could take it or leave it and they often do leave it.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?

Write a wonderful review on Amazon and other outlets!

What are your five “desert island” books?

Darkfall by Dean Koontz, Intensity by Dean Koontz, The Good Guy by Dean Koontz, Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard, Veil of Night by Linda Howard, Ice by Linda Howard. Okay, that’s more than five.

What advice would you give a new author?

Define early on why you’re writing. If you’re doing it for money that may last for a while but it won’t keep you going forever. If you don’t have something within you that wants to write no matter what, you’ll eventually run into a big wall of writer’s block and possibly depression.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂

No, I haven’t but there’s still time. Ha, ha!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ashfall

Denise A. Agnew
www.deniseagnew.com
Available at Liquid Silver Books
http://www.lsbooks.com/ashfall-p981.php

A strong woman and a former Air Force pararescueman tangle with a new world forged by an apocalypse no one could stop.

Mally Andretti survived an apocalypse that has altered the world. Tucked away in a huge compound she should feel safe, but loneliness eats away at her. Until a deep, mysterious voice tantalizes her over the ham radio and invites her into soul deep conversation. Who is the man who claims to be her friend, who awakens mental and physical cravings?

Working for a private security company takes all of former Air Force pararescueman Adam Becker’s time, until a sexy voice on the ham radio tempts him to do and say things he’s never done before. Mally calls on every fiercely protective instinctive inside him, and when she’s in serious danger he’ll do anything to get to her in time.
****
Adam and the two other men shuffled Tanner out of the house and through the gate. After they’d released the idiot outside the gate, only Adam returned to the front door. The other two men stood outside the still open gate, weapons at the ready. A curious mixture of excitement and caution mingled in her psyche. Whoever Adam Becker really was, he scared the crap out of her in so many ways. Her gaze snagged on his body, and just from the way he moved, from the confidence he displayed, she imagined he was an interesting lover. But which type of lover was he? Uncouth and ruthless, or gentle and accommodating?
     Really? She was thinking about this now? She’d officially lost her mind.
He stopped at the front door, a frown still in place, his weapon anchored over his body by a sling. He tucked the thumb on his left hand into his belt. His wide shoulders, muscled biceps and powerful forearms screamed intimidation.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Wonderful.” She knew her comment was laced with sarcasm.
“Can I come in a moment?” he asked quietly.
When she hesitated, he took off his sunglasses and hooked them in the front of his vest. She dared gaze into the darkest brown eyes she’d ever seen. But there was worry and warmth in those eyes, too. Now that his face was entirely revealed, she could see his heritage in his light cocoa skin. His features were craggy in that his nose was a bit sharp and long and his jaw too hard. His mouth was…well, it was just right. Kissable. Embarrassed by the ridiculous and out-of-place fantasizing, she felt her face heating. She jerked her gaze from his.
“Mally, I’m not going to hurt you.” He glanced down at the Glock in her hand. “Hey, you’ve got a weapon. If I pull anything, you can just shoot me.”
She couldn’t smile, the situation was too bizarre and her heart thudded too fast. She backed away to let him inside, and continued into the living room. Feeling a little ridiculous, she took a risk and set her Glock on the coffee table.
He crossed his arms. “Serious heat you’re packing there.”
“Do you blame me?”
“Hell no.”
For a few seconds he said nothing, but then he approached. Her insides trembled, uncertainty gripping her. He drew nearer, and she felt like a deer about to bolt. When he stood close beside her, his attention like a hot brand on her face, she tilted her head slightly back to examine him. He was easily over six feet, and at five foot seven she felt seriously at a disadvantage. In sheer muscle he outweighed her by a sizable amount. She could easily picture him saving other military personnel in his capacity of pararescueman. Right then her legs turned to gelatin. Either Tanner’s intrusion had disturbed her more than she thought, or this man’s mere presence set off a weird reaction.
Impulsively she put her hand on his vest, ready to push him away. “Think you’re standing close enough?”
His hand covered hers and held it in place, and he edged the tiniest bit closer. She drew in a sharp little breath.
“God,” he said softly as he looked down at her. “You’re trembling. It’s okay. No one’s going to hurt you. You’re safe with me.”
“What about your friends?”
He shook his head. “They’re solid guys. If one even considered touching you, I’d pound their faces.”
Heat danced through her, and she couldn’t help smiling just a little. She drew in a deep breath. He smelled like man…a mild mix of musk and maybe leather. It penetrated her senses and sent the warmth higher. Her fingers curled into his ballistic nylon vest. Recklessness beat in her veins, and she’d never felt anything quite like it before.
“You’re touching me,” she said, breathless. Heat filled her cheeks when it dawned on her how moronic the statement sounded.
A smile danced in his eyes and on his mouth. “Yeah.”
“That gives me the right to shoot you.”
His gaze drifted down to her lips. “Yeah?”
A wild tingle danced in her belly. Her lips parted. “Absolutely.”
Before she could do more than blink a couple of times, his mouth came down and brushed warmly over hers.

Wellness Wednesday–A Tale of 40 pounds (and 4 dress sizes)

Today was my weigh in, after being back at it for two weeks (I took six weeks off over the holiday for foot surgery).  We cranked out two miles this morning in 35 minutes, so I’m pretty happy with how the foot is holding up.  Hopped on the scale this morning (I weigh on Wednesdays) and I’m officially down 40 pounds (and 4 dress/pants sizes).  Which was pretty damned exciting.  I haven’t been this trim in over a decade (closer to 15 years), and I just feel stronger.

So here’s a look at what I eat in a typical day (about 1100-1200 calories):  2 cups coffee w/whipping cream, 3 oz meat and veg (either a salad or leftover roasted veggies) for lunch, 3-4 oz meat (usually roasted or pan fried), large helping of veg (salad or roasted root veggies), 3 pieces homemade dark chocolate, 2 glasses of wine (sometimes).

I could have never imagined living on 1100-1200 calories before we started doing this, but it’s purely amazing how many calories are in bread and pasta and such.  Cutting them out automatically lowers your calorie count significantly (as well as carbs, sugars, etc).

Want something sweet?  Here’s my recipe for dark chocolate.  You can either put it in silicone molds or spread out on parchment and pop in the freezer, then break up.

  • 1 cup organic cocoa (or any cocoa without soy or any other additives, I just choose organic)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, liquified
  • 3-4 tbsp honey (add more honey if you want this to be sweeter and “lighter” chocolate)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (or to taste)

And that’s it!  Mix it up in a bowl and partition out how you choose.  Because this doesn’t have the binding agents and filler that the chocolate you buy on the shelf does, it’ll need to be frozen for about 15 minutes, and then you can put it in the fridge.  Not sure how long it lasts, because ours is always gone in a week 🙂