Tag Archives: #RomanceWriter
One of my favorite people and writers, fellow Wild Rose Sistah JEAN M. GRANT has recently put together a boxed set of her Scottish-themed novels titled THE HUNDRED TRILOGY. All ebooks are now priced at just $2.99 each or the trilogy is the amazeballs price of $5.99.
Jean recently let me in a little of the research she did for the books. Read all about it, below, then click on the buy links and get the entire trilogy! You won’t be disappointed.
Top 10 Things to See in Scotland
What to see if you visit Scotland? Here is my list of must-sees, which might be biased because of my love for nature and history. I visited most of these places while on a trip to Scotland in a rainy September…
- The abbeys
- The isles
- Crags & Glens
- Standing Stones
- Scottish Folk & Pubs
- The Lowlands
- The Highlands
- Highland Games
Now some details…
Abbeys are poetic, serene. We walked among ancient gray and rose ruins at Dryburgh and Melrose. It’s hard to not visit an isle while in Scotland. There are many: Lewis and Harris, Shetlands, or my beloved Uist. We visited Isle of Skye on a dreary day and could not even see the Black Cuillin in the torrential rain. Like isles, lochs, many glacial, are a must-see and hard to miss whether it is the deep blue Loch Ness, expansive Loch Lomond, or the inspiring Loch Awe. High and low crags abound…the Trossachs, Cairngorms, or the five sisters of Kintail are impressive mountains. With crags, come glens (valleys). Glencoe is not one to skip.
Standing stones are one of the few places we couldn’t visit on our trip as most are on the isles. Note to self for next time! Scots are pleasant people and we had a great time chatting with the locals. And yup, there are plenty of the other kind of locals: sheep! The lowlands often get overlooked, but they are green and lush with undulating hills. The Highlands are rich in clan history and natural beauty and oh so many hikes. Up for putting the stone, caber tossing, tug-o-war, music, and dancing…oh yes, and lots of kilts? Get thee to a Highland Game. We visited one in Pitlochry. Castles, last but not least! I visited over a dozen on my trip. My favorites: Eilean Donan (seat to Clan MacCoinneach in my books), Kilchurn (we kayaked to it), Threave (we took a rowboat across a river to it), and Borthwick (we stayed overnight in this 14th century tower house that is haunted). Scotland—be prepared for rain, be prepared for beauty of nature and people.
Tying a Trilogy Together
What seemed ages ago, but in the grand scheme of life, only about 6 or 7 years ago, I sat down to write another manuscript. With three “practice” novels written but shelved, I dug into a new story. I changed my time period from 12th to 13th century during the Scottish Wars of Independence, wove a mystical element into the story line, and on some invaluable advice of an agent, worked the heck out of that story to give it twists and turns to excite me reader. In 2017, A Hundred Kisses was born with the publishing house The Wild Rose Press.
The backstory of the heroine’s parents nagged at me. And guess what? When I looked at the history thirty years prior to the first book (which was 1296, and I looked back to 1263), lo and behold, it was a time rife with Norse-Scottish turmoil. The end of the Viking reign to boot. That story came forth in a flurry, and I found myself contemplating the third book in what was now becoming a trilogy. A Hundred Breaths (the prequel, and book one) released in 2019. Fast-forward to 1322, a time after the Scottish Wars of Independence, and A Hundred Lies was born, wrapping up my trilogy.
Each story is a standalone, but they can be read in or out of order. Each story tells a tale of a MacCoinneach family member “gifted but afflicted” with a mystical ability that comes at a cost: to heal but lose your own breaths in return, to feel auras/lifebloods but to feel others’ pain, and to see the future but to be unable to prevent the visions unless refraining from touch. Conquering Norse, Scottish lore, Ancient mystics, and invading English…the trilogy has a bit of everything. Can our mystical family hone their gifts for good, escape curses, discover mercy, find home, and find love?
A Thread of Elements
Water, fire, air, and earth…these elements have symbolic roots and importance in many cultures and communities from the ancient Greeks to current-day scientists. According to the Ancients in my trilogy, these elements are the essence of life. Each of my main characters in the trilogy has a supernatural ability linked to an element:
Water and healing.
Fire and feeling.
Air and seeing.
All are grounded in earth and woven together. In the words of one character, “Wind feeds fire. Water douses fire. Water nourishes earth. Wind churns water. Fire scorches earth. All are connected.”
Water symbolizes healing, purity, life, strength, and unconditional love, and is associated with autumn. Fire symbolizes vibrance, passion, and energy, and is associated with summertime. Air symbolizes perception, knowledge, and travel and is associated with spring. Earth ties them all together with the symbolism of order, security, nourishment, and grounding and is associated with winter. I admittedly, loved how the creative muse guided me in this thread throughout the “hundred” trilogy.
My Ancients are a mythical culture born of the western isles of Scotland, and they utilize the mysterious standing stones as part of their traditions. They pass on their history through written books and spoken word. But as their population diminishes because of wars and exploitation, will their stories and powers die with them? (You’ll need to read to find out). The origin of the Ancients is unknown…where did these people come from? At one point, they became mingled with the Norse people and their gods because of Viking expansion. They are a spiritual, mystical people open to the unknown…and I had such fun writing their journeys in the trilogy.
Because it would be no fun for readers if each gift resulted in an easy ride in life, each gift comes with a burden: to lose life with each healing, to feel too deeply that it debilitates you, or to see dark, bloody visions every time you touch a person. Not only does this trilogy explore the mystical realm, but it also highlights the deep-rooted beliefs of Christian/Norse/Ancient, the superstitions of the middle ages, the hunger to control and conquer, and the wars of independence from 1263-1322 A.D. Nothing like stirring a pot of history with mystic, aye? Oh yeah, each book has love and happy ever afters.
The MacCoinneach family is gifted but afflicted. Deeply rooted powers of healing, feeling, and prophecy run in their bloodline. Descended from the Norse and mystical Ancients of the Isles, they must each face the curses associated with their ability…they must each find the path to love.
A Hundred Breaths
Gwyn of Uist is a merciful Healer but loses breaths of her life with every healing charm. She barters an alliance with a Scot bent on revenge against her Norse kin, in the hopes to save her brother from their abusive father. But can she and Simon MacCoinneach outwit her betrothed and bring an end to the Norse-Scottish bloodshed when it will take all her breaths to save Simon on the battlefield?
A Hundred Kisses
Deirdre MacCoinneach feels the lifebloods of everyone around her…but vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Under the facade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A cruel baron hunts him, leaving little room for alliances with the lass he meets along the way. Amidst ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…
A Hundred Lies
Rosalie Threston’s fortune-telling lies have caught up with her and she’s on the run from a ruthless English noblewoman. Rosalie finds refuge in the halls of Eilean Donan castle deep in the Highlands, and in the arms of the laird’s mysterious son, Domhnall Montgomerie. Terrible visions plague Domhnall and he avoids physical contact to temper them. When an accidental touch reveals only delight, he wonders if Rose is the key to silencing the Sight. Mystical awakening unravels with each kiss. But can Domhnall embrace his gift in time to save her life, even if it means exposing her lies?
Norse invasions, Scottish fights for independence, and the plights of the mystical isles’ people come together in The Hundred Trilogy.
A little about Author, Jean M. Grant
Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing after children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.
Social Media Info
My very first RWA conference was in San Antonio in 2015. First timers are given an actual stick-on to place on their name badges stating they are first timer conference attendees. Like everyone else, I attached my badge banner after registration. I was standing by an escalator nervously trying not to look conspicuous and awkward in my solitariness, when ubertalented multipublished author Shirley Jump approached me and introduced herself. She stated she was an RWA Board Member and asked how I was liking my first conference. She asked what I wrote, was I published, what chapter did I belong to, all questions that engaged me in conversation and put me at ease. She was absolutely charming, lovely, and (if you’ve never seen her) gorgeous. She made me feel so special, I went about the rest of the day feeling less like a fish out of water.
Knowing that she took the time to reach out to me, a total stranger, to welcome me to RWA and to encourage me to take advantage of the parties, courses and workshops, gave me such a feeling of acceptance and belonging.
The next year, as a seasoned conference attendee now (LOL) I remembered that encounter and did the same thing Shirley did: I reached out to several people who had first timer banners on their badges. I introduced myself and then engaged them in conversation about their experience the same way Shirley had.
It felt marvelous to reach out that way. I met three women who were much the same age as me, who were at that point in their lives where they wanted to devote themselves to their writing more and were attending the conference to network, see what was happening in the industry, and take advantage of some of the fabulous workshops and courses. They even asked me advice on publishing. Imagine. Me!
Ego-boosting stuff to be sure.
Every year since then I’ve made it my business to connect like that with first timers. And every year I’ve made more writing friends because of it.
Every one of us who write has at one time or another felt that solitary, awkward, what-am-I-doing-here feeling. RWA is a supportive community of writers in all phases of their publishing careers and we should embrace one another on all those levels. A smile and a word of encouragement go a long way when someone is feeling out of place or overwhelmed. So, I’m challenging all of us RWA seasoned members to reach out this year to a first-time conference attendee and welcome them into the community we all love so much. You just may make a novice writer’s day. And conference.
Until next time ~ Peg
And don’t forget – DIRTY DAMSELS is available now here:Amazon KU +
Today’s little snippet from HOPE’S DREAM ( a Deerbourne Inn Novella) shows Hope’s playfulness. She’s attracted to Tyler in a physical way at first, but the more they’re together, the more she realizes he’s the kind of guy she could see herself with for more than a weekend of skiing…
“All warm and rested now?” she asked. “Ready to get back out there? You’ve still got an hour left on your time, and I think you’re ready for a harder trail.”
Before he could stop it, a groan swelled up from deep down inside him. Hope chuckled and zipped up her jacket.
“It won’t be too hard,” she told him. “Promise.”
He stood as well and slipped his cap on. With an exaggerated eye roll, he asked, “Why don’t I believe you?”
“City folk.” Her lips angled into the most alluring smirk as she shook her head and fisted her hands on her trim hips. “So untrusting.”
The laughter was back in her eyes, but it wasn’t as bright and free as it had been before the mention of her parents.
“Come on, New York. Let me make a Vermonter out of you.”
Why it sounded so darn good to him was a mystery.
Hope was, by no means, a divulger, so why had she told him about her folks? Even with people she’d known forever she didn’t talk about the accident. Everyone in town knew about it, of course. It had been the hot topic of the day when it happened and was gossip-fueled for years after by a rumor her dad had been drunk when the car careered over the embankment. He’d been stone- cold sober, but it hadn’t made a bit difference to some people. It did to her. Living in a small community where the residents knew everything about their neighbors— good and bad—was hard at times. Hope loved Willow Springs, but there were moments she wished she could disappear for a while where no one knew her, her parents, or what had happened to them.
She never spoke about the accident, especially to a total stranger.
Why, then, had she with this man?
There was something about him, something…familiar, which was ridiculous. She hadn’t known him before three hours ago. She would have remembered him, if not for his looks, which were yummy in and of themselves, but for his voice. Deep timbered and strong, it possessed a wake-up rasp that made an impression on a girl. A lasting impression. Whenever he’d spoken, all her senses had stood at attention.
Hope Kildaire gave up her dream of becoming a nurse practitioner when a car accident killed her father and left her mother an invalid. Working two jobs and caring for her mother leaves the twenty-seven-year-old with no time for fun or relationships. When a law firm representing her paternal grandparents sends her several letters, Hope ignores them. She despises the family who disowned her father and wants nothing to do with them.
Lawyer Tyler Coleman’s job is simply to obtain Hope’s signature on a legal document. Getting it is harder than planned, though, when an unexpected attraction blossoms between them. If Ty is honest with Hope about why he’s in Willow Springs, he’ll fulfill his assignment but may risk hurting her.
The opportunity to have everything she’s ever desired is at Hope’s fingertips. Will her dream come true at the expense of Tyler’s love?
Looking for me? I’m usually here:
Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB
and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio
Recently, I penned my very first Sweet romance. ( I hate the new industry term clean romance because it makes all the others sound a little….dirty. Just saying. ) Can I just tell you how hard ( no pun!) it was for me to write that story, sans sex? And it wasn’t only the lack of sex that was difficult to leave out. It was the fact I couldn’t curse, and had to convey desire in ways that didn’t detail any kind of sexual physical reaction. You know: nipples hardening ( and other things!).
I have to admit it wasn’t easy. But it was a great exercise in writing because I had to figure out other ways to show the h/h were falling in love.
In the June 2018 edition of Romance Writers Report, Stacey Donovan, the director of Hallmark Publishing ( yes, that Hallmark!) and Rhonda Merwarth, a freelance acquisitions editor for Hallmark, wrote a detailed and valuable article titled, Fifty Ways to Show the Spark Without the heat about how to show chemistry between your characters while keeping it “chaste.”
Some of the best tips mentioned were:
1.Finding a quirk or flaw that endears one character to another. I love this tip because we all know there are weird and quirky things about our lovers that we simply adore.
2.An increased heart rate. This can be described or shown in so many ways, that I can’t believe it isn’t one of my regualr go-tos!
3.Disclosing something private or vulnerable to another. Lovelovelove this!! Can you see how valuable this is in building trust and allowing someone “in?”
4.taking extra care with grooming before meeting someone. Again, the heroine changes 16 times before she meets the hero for — whatever! The hero realizes his hair is in bad need of a barber. Clothing selection is key, too.
5. A grand gesture to demonstrate love. Le sigh. Don’t we all simply adore a grand gesture?? Think about the guy in the movie LOVE ACTUALLY who showed up at Kiera Knightly’s door and was holding all the cur cards. Or John Cusak with a boom box over his head.
6.Flushed cheeks/mouth going dry/ prolonged eye contact without words. All signify desire and want without throbbing, pulsing, or lengthening descriptions.
7. A brush of fingers, accidental at first, then purposeful. Can we just say, Pride and Prejudice?
You may think these things sound trite, but believe me, when you’re used to writing about body parts thrumming, cores quaking, and certain areas of the body growing….damp, these little examples are gems.
I actually had to dig deep and remember what it felt like to fall in love. Hey, what can I say: it’s been a while. I’ve known and loved my husband for 2/3 of my life and my memory isn’t what it used to be, peeps. When I explored the way I FELT falling in love with him, it was easier to picture any and all of the sensations mentioned in the article happening. And if I could experience it, so could my characters.
It will be interesting to see if my readers appreciate this physically scaled-down version of my romance writing. I’ll keep you posted once the book is released into the world.
I live in New England where in Autumn, there is no prettier place to be, so this topic may be a little skewered to the FALL for me!!
For me, the best part of spring is the sense of ANTICIPATION I get. Flowers are starting to peek up from grass that is finally turning green. Daylight doesn’t disappear at four p.m. We shed our protective outerwear and begin to make plans for all the holidays to come – Memorial Day, The fourth of July, Labor day.
With SUMMER, I turn LAZY.
Mostly because I don’t like to sweat and the heat makes me clammy, so I tend to just not move much, hence, lazy. But….the days are longer and filled with …more. More of everything. More sunshine, more flowers, more ice cream, more vegetables growing in gardens, more reasons to relax.
AUTUMN, as I’ve said, is my favorite season.
Even though this is a season where things begin to wind down, I have to tell you the best part of this season is that I tend to RE-ENERGIZE during these months. When the leaves change and turn colors, I tend to clean out all the clutter from my house and life. I know I should be doing this in the spring ( they don’t call it spring cleaning for nothing!) but in the Fall, when I spend more time in the house and not outside in the heat, I fill the time with reorganizing, restructuring, and culling from my life, be it clothes that no longer fit, books I’ve read that need to be donated to the Library, or rearranging the furniture to satisfy my inner feng shui.
All the books I need to write for the next year; all the changes I need to make in my life in order to be a better person; all the things I need to do for the rest of the year that will lead to my happiness.
SO…what? You thought I’d write that the best part of winter is Christmas, gardening in Spring, picnicking in Summer, and apple picking in Fall? Well, duh! Of course those things are good. But for me, it’s not about the things, it’s about the feelings. Romance writer, remember? HeeHee
…and I’m sure my fellow #MFRWA authors have totally different takes on the best part of the seasons, so stop by their blogs and read all about it!
There’s this thought among writers that you shouldn’t read your reviews. The reason is a sound one: no one likes to hear (or read) negative things about themselves, their work, their words.
I get that. I’m the type of person who will brush off 1000 nice things that have been said about me and zero in on the one negative comment. It will consume me. I’ll analyze it inside out, upside down and right side up, backward and forwards to try and glean whether the person who gave it or wrote it had a valid point or a hidden agenda or is just a vicious nasty bitch with no life.
I’m trying to do better about not allowing the negativity to worm its way into my soul. Everyone has an opinion and a right to their opinions. That’s the basis of free speech, after all. So in honor of my new found ( hopefully lasting) endeavor to ignore negativity, I wanted to share this snippet of praise I received from a reader last night – one whom I don’t know. It literally made my week.
In a week of firsts, I’ve got another one today. Author KARI LEMOR is visiting me and she’s a fellow Kensington/Lyrical Press author, my new publisher. Kari’s new book WILDCARD UNDERCOVER releases today and she is super stoked. She’s having a huge facebook party today to promote the book as well and I’m pleased to be joining her. Click the link so you can stop by. There’ll be prizes, interviews, and lots of fun stuff going on all day.
Sit back and learn a little about my new writing sistah.
Kari Lemor, The Writer
- What drives you to write?
The voices in my head. And my muse who never leaves me alone and constantly pings me with new ideas that won’t go away until I do something about them. The characters themselves will sometimes haunt me in my sleep until I agree to write them. It can be very annoying trying to make them shut up.
- What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why?
I write suspense and contemporary. Suspense because I love adding a little (okay, maybe a lot) of danger to my stories. It gives us the hurt/comfort that my romantic soul craves. I write contemporary because I’m too lazy to do any kind of historic research.
- What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?
It might be better to ask what I don’t read. I was never much for Historical until Julia Quinn spoke at a conference I was at and we got a free book. I was hooked. But it’s not a genre I read as much. Same with paranormal. Not my thing unless it’s my Critique Partner, MA Grant, because she can WRITE!! And make me like it. She’s got a new M/M fantasy series that she’s working on that I am in love with. Who’d have thought? But mostly I love contemporary with every day people. Keep those sheiks and billionaires away from me. Totally can’t relate to that. I want the boy next door or a law man or firefighter. Someone who’s good with their hands…in many ways!!
4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?
I have a full time day job (groan) so can’t always put coherent words on a page after that. But I always do something related to writing each day. Reading, networking with other authors, promo, editing. I try and do all my new words on weekends and vacations. I’m a teacher so I get lots of time in the summer.
- Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?
Now that my kids are all grown and moved out, I actually have a nice office. My son painted it a lovely shade of peach for me (my favorite color). I always have some pretty smelling candle lit and my little water fountain going and my salt lamp turned on. I have tons of books in a series of book shelves that I made myself with wooden crates. And my desk is even made of wooden crates as well. Everything in there is just snuggy and cozy and makes me feel so good.
- 6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision?
I can’t have it too noisy. When my kids were younger I would put a classical channel on the computer while attempting to write. Now I just like the sound of my water fountain gurgling. I definitely can’t write in a coffee shop or somewhere public though I love being outside in the summer and hearing the sounds of nature.
- Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? No, although I could if it didn’t have words but I really love the silence especially after being in a noisy classroom most of the day.
- How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?
This book actually started as a dream. Not the whole thing, but the first scene. My heroine grabs the hero and kisses him and then accidentally pushes him in the pool. I was intrigued at what was happening and wouldn’t get out of bed until I figured out why they heck she had done that. Then I had to get out of bed and scribble about ten pages of notes. I didn’t actually start writing the story though for about another 5 years.
- Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?
I’m not sure which comes first. Usually, I get an idea of a character and something they are doing. I probably don’t have a full deep knowledge of who they are or exactly what they are doing but I have a basic premise. Then I start fleshing them out and as the story unfolds so do they. Sometimes they’ve surprised me with a few facts.
- What 3 words describes you, the writer? Goal-oriented, determined, verbose
Kari, The Person
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!
My great (x 5 or 6 ) uncle (Joachim Murat ) was married to Napolean’s sister Caroline
2. Who was your first love and what age were you?
This boy named Jim who sat in front of me in History class in college. I was around 20. That was a long time ago and he’s still my only love (and husband for 30 years.
3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….
The day after my first child was born. I was still in the hospital being waited on. They brought her to me and said she was hungry. I held her and drifted off again (tired from labor and delivery) and she stopped crying. When the nurse came back in I said I hadn’t fed her. She said, “I guess she just needed her mom.” Thinking of that moment still makes me cry.
4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? I’m liking these new boxer briefs.
5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? If I had to give something up… I guess it would be concealer. I’d use the face powder instead to hide my bags and dark eye circles.
6. What three words describes you, the person? Loyal, maternal, gregarious
7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? No one would ever ask me to sing. Take my word on this one. My children beg me not to. But if I could sing with Jimmy Fallon, then Paradise By the Dash Board Light. Fun song!
8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together? Hmmm, maybe Pollyanna because she’s always so perky and glad. We’d go fishing and picking berries and just hanging out in a sunny field relaxing.
- Favorite sound – water, any kind, ocean, lake, waterfalls, stream.
- Least favorite sound – the ice cream truck. Talk about an ear worm
- Best song every written – Desperado by The Eagles
- Worst song ever written – anything rap that talks trash about women
- Favorite actor and actress – Joe Flanigan and Kate Hudson
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Peirce Brosnan’s wife. Because …duh!
- What turns you on? Dads with their kids
- What turns you off? Intolerance
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) “Oh, I figured it out” (the plot twist of the movie we are watching – and then proceeds to tell me) And yes, this happened on a date.
- What’s your version of a perfect day? Bar Harbor, Maine, sitting listening to the ocean or Jordan Pond with the sun beating down and a cool breeze keeping it from being too hot. Top it with a good book and I can’t think of anything better.
Kari’s newest book WILD CARD UNDERCOVER releases today!! Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet your reading appetite:
All that glitters in Miami is not gold . . .
Lured in by a bad ex-boyfriend and the moonlight of Miami, Meg O’Hara is trapped in a nightmare situation, waiting tables for a crime boss and fearing for her life. When undercover FBI agent Christopher Shaunessy offers her a way out, she seizes it. Getting the goods on Salazar Moreno might not be easy, but she’ll do anything to be freed from her servitude and Moreno’s sexual advances, even if it means moving in with the charismatic agent.
Chris Shaunessy pretends to be Meg’s lover in order to keep her safe, but he steels his heart against further involvement. Passion has no place in the sordid world of organized crime. And yet, the closer they get to cracking the case, the stronger his feelings for the spirited waitress shine. It’s a dangerous game he’s playing, and taking Meg in his arms for real could prove a fatal misstep . . .
“Does that man never have a day off?” Margaret Kathleen O’Hara grumbled, grabbing her tote bag and sarong to move surreptitiously along the chairs by the pool. If the hotel manager saw her here again she’d be toast. He’d more than toss her out. Threats to call the police had been thrown at her for months now. Although in her case, that might be a better deal.
With her eyes trained on his location and the Miami sun beating down on her exposed skin, Meg backed along the water’s edge attempting to leave the area before he spotted her. She needed to shower the chlorine out of her tangled hair and change for work soon. He looked in her direction and she rushed behind the closest object. It was six-foot-plus of blond-haired gorgeousness. The man’s eyes were glued to something on the upper deck. Her boss was sitting there with one of his expensive bimbos. Did Blondie like that type? Maybe he wouldn’t notice her little game of .
She leaned around him, ducking back when she saw the Pool Nazi still present. Getting caught was not an option. She already owed more than she could ever repay.
“Are you okay?” Forest green eyes stared down at her, puzzled. Would he buy that she was simply looking for shade? He was big enough to provide it.
With strong hands, he reached for her shoulders and Meg reflexively batted them away. She got enough of people groping her at work. Scorching curses froze before erupting from her mouth as the hotel manager moved, staring in their direction. Her mind kicked into overdrive, scrambling for a way to hide in plain sight.
“Sorry,” she squeaked. Grabbing the man’s head, she planted her mouth solidly on his. Short, thick strands of hair tickled her fingers. Firm lips yielded no resistance to the increased pressure of her mouth. Better make this look good.
An electric current skittered over her skin causing her heart to race. Maybe too good? Slowly he pulled her closer with his muscular arms. Her eyes flew open and she broke the connection. His hair-covered chest was too close for comfort. And much too tempting. Distance, she needed distance.
Her eyes darted around, seeing no signs of the manager. A sigh escaped. Time to make her exit as well.
“Sorry,” she mumbled again, looking up. Big mistake. The stranger’s curious eyes captivated her. They were soft and tender and filled with something she could…trust? If she still had any of that left in her. His hands were gentle as they held her. A tiny smile played about the full lips she’d brazenly kissed. She couldn’t believe she’d done it. Her mother would be appalled. But it had worked.
The chlorine scent from the pool faded into the background as sweat and suntan lotion wafted off the man’s damp skin. Her stomach did cartwheels followed by a few back flips. Dangerous.
“Let me go,” she hissed as reality returned. She gave a swift shove at his well-defined pectorals, rushing to get past, to escape from this distraction and the possibility of being caught. Her head whipped around at the sound of a splash and water droplets from behind. Gorgeous was just breaking the surface of the pool. Had she pushed him that hard?
“Oops.” No time for apologies. He looked like the forgiving type. She had to blow this joint before the Pool Nazi came back. Grabbing her fallen sarong, she ran across the deck to hustle inside the luxury hotel.
The manager stood sentry near the front door. A crowd appeared at her back making that way impossible. The stairwell to the left would have to do. She’d go up a few floors then down to the side entrance. She wrapped her sarong around her as she carried out her plan to avoid being seen…and caught.
Meg should stop coming here to use the pool: this proved it. Sneaking in was adding to her already hellish life but swimming always helped work out the stress and the pool here was more accessible than any other on the strip. Pretending she had money to stay in a place like this, rubbing elbows with all the beautiful people, yeah, that got her through too. She’d learned the best times to come and not be seen. Well, for the most part. It was well worth the risk to get away from her dump of a room and its enchanting neighborhood. She’d leave this all behind her soon. She kept telling herself that. Had to believe it for her own sanity.
Footsteps behind her pushed those thoughts away. Her bare feet padded silently along the lushly carpeted hallway. Heart racing, she ducked into the ice machine alcove, her sigh echoing in the silence. She glanced down. Her bag? She must have dropped it as she rushed off. How had she not realized? It couldn’t have been the threat of being arrested. Or the crooked smile of the handsome stranger she’d kissed. The one with the kind eyes and gentle hands. No, she couldn’t allow herself to be led astray by a pretty face. Not again.
She continued down the hall, her trip cut short when someone grabbed her by the arm and spun her around.
* * * *
Kari Lemor grew up as one of those kids who read all night under the covers. Once she had her first glimpse of a romance novel at age 12, it was all over. Romance was in her blood.
It would be many years before the stories that ran rampant in her head finally drove her to put words to paper, though. She wrote self-indulgently for the first few years and only recently began penning stories to share with others.
She still writes stories that are self-indulgent but hopes others might get some enjoyment from them too. Now that her children are all grown and have moved out, she uses her spare time to create stories of love and happily ever after romances where heroes ride to the rescue of damsels who have already saved themselves.
She lives with her husband in a small town in New England dreaming of warmer weather. But only if it’s near the ocean.
1. What drives you to write? I love coming up with a germ of an idea and seeing where it leads. It’s like riding a rollercoaster. You never know what’s around the next bend.
2. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Romantic Suspense. Action, adventure and a great love story. What more could anyone want?
3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? Everything. I love romance fiction in all its forms.
4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday? I try and write for a couple of hours every day. Early morning works best for me. I think my brain’s fresher at that time of day.
5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I write in what used to be my son’s bedroom. I use his old desk and chair, but I’ve switched out the basketball posters for pictures that inspire me.
6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? I can’t write if it’s too quiet. I like some background noise.
7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? Old time country and western music is my favorite. Nothing like a little Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings to get my writing muse stirring.
8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? The idea for my current WIP came to me in a dream. Maybe I had too much spicy food that night, but when I awoke the next morning, the essence of the story was as vivid as if I’d watched it play out on television.
9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Definitely character. I create the characters and then let them direct the story. I often don’t know what’s going to happen next until I type the words.
10. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Pantster. Committed. Enigmatic.
Christine : The Person
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I spent seven months living in a tent in the backwoods of northern British Columbia conducting an archaeological survey. (Peggy here: WOW!)
- Who was your first love and what age were you? William Shatner. 11.
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. On my husband’s and my last wedding anniversary, all our family came to our cabin at the lake, and we spent a wonderful day, swimming, canoeing and playing games. To have everyone there, happy and healthy, was a dream come true.
- Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxers, most definitely.
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Blush
- What three words describes you, the person? Talkative. Active. Friendly.
- If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? ‘With You’ by Charly McLean. This is the first song my husband and I danced to at our wedding.
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Nancy Drew. Solve a mystery, of course.
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
1. Favorite sound: a cork popping on a bottle of red wine
2. Least favorite sound :mosquitoes whining
3. Best song ever written : ‘Hallelujah’ by kd lang
4. Worst song ever written: ‘Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life’ by Bobby Bare
5. Favorite actor and actress :William Shatner; Katherine Hepburn
6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)-Nora Roberts, so I could pick her brain for story ideas.
7. What turns you on? : a strong, confident man who isn’t afraid to show emotion
8. What turns you off?: Political rants on FaceBook
9. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date: “How tall are you anyway?”
10. What’s your version of a perfect day?: sitting by a campfire beside a fast-flowing river after a long hike in the mountains.
C.B.’s newest book, CHERISHED SECRETS is available now.
Twelve years ago, sixteen-year-old Carrie Ann Hetherington, pregnant with the child of a murder suspect, fled the small town of Cooper’s Ridge for the anonymity of Seattle. Now, faced with a family dilemma, she must risk her carefully reinvented life and return to her childhood home.
Eighteen-year-old Declan McAllister’s prom date is found beaten and strangled to death, and he becomes the prime suspect accused of the grisly crime. Now this successful Dallas businessman returns to Cooper’s Ridge to find the true murderer and finally lift the cloak of suspicion he’s faced all these years. In his quest to prove his innocence, he must join forces with the woman who shattered his heart to find a devious killer who will stop at nothing to protect a shocking truth.
Caught up in a menacing web of secrets, deception, and danger, they struggle to overcome past betrayals and present danger. Can they tear down the barriers they’ve erected around their hearts and rediscover true love?
Her breath caught in her throat. A small fragment of cloth lay atop her purse, the vibrant colors glowing in the meager, late afternoon light. With a shaking hand, she picked up the cloth. The smooth silk slid between her fingers. Mesmerized, she studied the scrap of torn fabric.
The air in the car was suddenly too thick to breathe. Fingers shaking, she turned the cloth over and jammed her fist in her mouth stifling a scream. Written across the silk in thick, black letters was a single, condemning word. Guilty.
She dropped the cloth as if it burned and gulped air. While she’d been traipsing around the forest looking for where the killer had dumped Skye’s body, someone had been inside her car and left this piece of Skye’s scarf for her to find. The same person could still be here, watching her, waiting.
Her hands shook so much she dropped the keys on the floor twice before finally fitting them in the ignition and starting the car. The engine choked, sputtered and died.
Buy Links for CHERISHED SECRETS
Author Holly Robinson recently wrote a great blog piece about her love of public libraries. I, too, have had a life -long love affair with those wonderful buildings housing the billions of words and bits of writers’ imaginations and souls within their walls. Here’s why….
As an only child raised in a family of elderly great aunts and grandmothers, I didn’t have an opportunity to play much with kids my age because, well, there weren’t any! It’s probably why I’m not such a great game player even at this age. While my peers were with one another enjoying a game of Mousetrap or Soul Survivor or any Milton-Bradley or Hasbro game you can remember, I was usually in the company of older people who didn’t want to play a board game, but who preferred to sit and drink and talk and fight with one another.
Yeah, I know: not a great childhood, but it was all I knew.
I was also a latchkey kid — a term I don’t think is used too widely these days. My parents both worked full time and from the age of 8 I no longer had an after school babysitter who’d watch me until my parents came home from work, usually around 7 each night. I was on my own from the time school let out at 3 until the evening, five days a week. Now, I could tell you that the temptations to be naughty and to veer toward the dark side and get into mischief were strong. But I had something that helped me fight those demons calling my name to act up and be bad: my local Library.
I would be dismissed every day from school and then walk the ten city blocks-alone-to the beautiful, brick faced, three story building overlooking New York harbor. First, I’d find an empty table in the kid’s section and do my homework. That usually took about 10 minutes! Then, I’d explore the book racks. I was an expert at the Dewey decimal system categories by the age of 9 and to this day, still order my own books in my home library using the same clarification system.
In that first year I read all the books in the kid’s section that were in my age group and most of the teen category as well. Nowadays this is called YA( for young adult), but back then they were all labeled as “Teen” reading. I learned all I needed to know about love, sex, hate, and teenage angst before the age of 1o. I devoured the complete works of Agatha Christie, Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew. I consumed the books in the biography section, learning everything I could about women leaders like Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart and Queen Victoria. Even back then I realized I could be whatever my imagination told me I could, despite being a girl.
You may have read that last sentence and said, WHAT??!! but remember, I was raised in the sixities when girl power was still in its infancy. It would be another 10 years before Gloria Steinem came along and preached female empowerment. And Title IX hadn’t been established yet.
Since I was most comfortable with older folks and not my peers, I had no trouble connecting with the librarians on a personal level, and I can tell you truthfully and without hubris, they loved me. Knowing how much I adored reading, and the categories I loved most, the librarians would routinely pull new arrivals for me to check out first. Loved that! Who else can boast they were spoiled by librarians?
The library became my second home, and in some ways, it was my refuge, a steady foundation against a home life that wasn’t exactly the American Dream. Within the walls of the library, I could get lost- safely- and go exploring. Again, back before there was Internet and Google, we did research the old-fashioned way: by combing through encyclopedias and trolling through microfiche. I think part of the problem I’m so tech-NO-savvy is because I still long for those little cellophane negative film strips covered with oodles of information that were sosososo much more easy to use than a computer. But that’s just me….
As I matured, my reading material did as well. By the time I reached my teens, the librarians were helping me find my calling in life. They knew I wanted to be a nurse or a doctor, so they introduced me to medical books and manuals routinely reserved for the medical community. Before I started Nursing school and College I was already proficient in medico-terminology, policies, and procedures. One librarian in particular guessed I like to write – how I will never know – but she would often pull books for me about craft and editing. She was the one who introduced me to the Publisher’s Weekly news magazine ( which I believe is all digital now) and would save them when they arrived each week for me to view.
These lovely, educated, warm and maternal women became my mentors, my friends, my surrogates. Most of them have probably passed on by now, but the wonderful memories I have of how they treated me, how special they made me feel, and how much they taught me, will be with me for the rest of my life. Maya Angelou said once,
“… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Can I just get an “AMEN” for that? It’s true.
There are as many pundits these days who state “Print is Dead” as there are those who espouse that print books will always be popular, especially if we have places to house them-namely, libraries. To this day I support my local library. In fact, tomorrow is the first day of the bi-annual book fundraising sale, of which I attend every session. All the proceeds raised go toward the library’s operating budget, since the city has had to economize and cut funding every place it can. There will never be a danger of the library closing its doors due to lack of funds while I have breath in my body!! That is fact and I know KNOW I am not alone in my thinking.
Show the love to your local libraries. Donate the books you have read and don’t want to keep. Support local authors ( very subtle hint, here!). Encourage your children and the kids you know to read. Reading is the single best gift you can give your child to help her/him explore their imaginations, develop critical thinking skills, and go into the world armed with the knowledge and expertise necessary to improve the world, their lives, and those of future generations.
I love libraries so much, I have a Pinterest board just for great libraries around the world. Check it out, here.
And when I’m not at my local library, you can find me here: