Writer Wednesday – Meet Sandra Dailey

Today I’d like you to take a minute to meet Sandra Dailey as she interviews two of her characters, who happen to be twins.  Sandra, take it away.


Hi Lily! Thanks for inviting me to your blog and letting me bring a couple of characters along, and I do mean characters in every way.

I’d like to introduce you and your visitors to Connor and Caleb McCrae, my heroes. Besides being twin brothers, they both work for their family’s law practice and have interesting stories to tell about their personal lives. As a matter-of-fact, I have a few questions to ask them.

href=”http://lilybishop.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/CommonEnemy_w8699_300.jpg”>CommonEnemy_w8699_300CloseEnemy_w10168_300

Sandy: Are the two of you identical twins?

Connor: We used to be as identical as two spoons from the same drawer. Now, you could say I’m the one that got caught in the garbage disposal. He touches the deep scars on one side of his face.

Caleb: That’s why he took off for so long, living like a gipsy in an old van. He couldn’t stand the sight of my pretty face. Caleb shoulder butts his brother with a sympathetic smile.

Sandy: I read about the incident in COMMON ENEMY. That man, Bobby Ray Butler, was one scary guy!

Connor: I would have done anything to protect my woman, Jordan, and her little girl from that psychopath. It was a hell of a way to meet the loves of my life, but I’ll never regret it.

Caleb: I suppose you’re going to take all the credit. As I recall, I came close to buying the farm when I went down to Mayville to help out.

Connor: There were a few casualties, but I’d rather not talk about it right now. Your friends will just have to read the book. Caleb grips his shoulder in a show of support.

Sandy: Caleb, I heard you had a hard time starting a relationship with your partner, Leah.

Caleb: I’ll say! It took me months to find her after our first meeting and when I did she was in jail with a bun in the oven. The guy who had framed her, Bogdan Petrov, even had someone working there. He was definitely another nut case.

Connor: Of course I showed up to help, which I’d say makes us even.

Caleb: Whatever. Anyway, we went through hell with him too and a baby on board didn’t make it easy. You can read about it in my new book, CLOSE ENEMY.

Conner: You’ll find out his biggest challenge was changing diapers. The man is pathetic.

Caleb: Get bent, Connor.

Sandy: I believe the two of you take pot shots at each other as much as my twin and I do.

Connor: It’s the best thing about being womb-mates. We may throw a few verbal punches now and then, but we always have each other’s back.

Caleb: And, heaven help the man who tries to bring harm to one of us. Butler and Petrov can both testify to that.

Common Enemy blurb ~

Jordan Holbrook is the single mother of a five-year-old daughter. She’s just inherited her grandmother’s house in South Florida where she’s hiding from an abusive ex-husband who’s been released from prison early. A new man in her life isn’t part of her plans.

Connor McCrae is a handyman who lives out of his van. He walked away from a privileged life and loving family after being badly scarred in a vicious attack. He doesn’t believe a woman’s love is in the cards for him.

They are brought together by a rundown house, a mutual attraction, and a common enemy: Bobby Ray Butler, who is cutting a path of murder and mayhem through south Florida in his quest for vengeance against his ex-wife.

Can Connor protect Jordan and her daughter from the enraged Bobby Ray? Can Jordan learn to trust men again? If anyone has a say in this—it’s Connor.

Buy links ~

The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=5695

Amazon Print:

http://www.amazon.com/Common-Enemy-Sandra-Dailey-ebook/dp/B00ILYKD8G/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402881991&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=common+enemy+by+sandra+dailey

Amazon Kindle (encore):

http://www.amazon.com/Common-Enemy-Sandra-Dailey-ebook/dp/B0145P8J4Y/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1440555249&sr=8-1&keywords=Common+Enemy

Close Enemy blurb ~

Caleb McCrae is a powerful man with a broken soul. In six years, Leah was the only person to help him forget the painful memories, but only for one night. Now she seems to have disappeared. A mysterious letter arrives, and she’s in trouble…in more ways than one.

Leah Fletcher’s life is complicated. To care for her drug and alcohol addicted mother she works at a sleazy men’s club…until she finds out she’s pregnant and is framed for a crime that lands her in jail. When a stranger visits, she learns her troubles have just begun.

Bogdan Petrov has waited eleven years to get back the money Leah’s father stole from him. Despite her denials, he knows she’s hiding it. He’s arranged to infiltrate every part of her life until he gets what he wants, but soon realizes that an unknown person is doing the same to him.

Buy link ~

The Wild Rose Press:

http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=6515

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0166SHQGU?keywords=Close%20Enemy&qid=1445482436&ref_=sr_1_6&sr=8-6

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/close-enemy-sandra-dailey/1122767397?ean=2940150868960

Kobo:

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/close-enemy

Author bio ~

Sandra Dailey

Sandra Dailey

Sandra Dailey lives with her husband and mother in a small town in North Florida, far from the maddening crowds. Her children and grandchildren all live close and keep her ridiculously busy and active. Her passions are reading, writing, and crafts. Her addictions are coffee, chocolate, and football. Her aversions are cooking, housework and negative people. She loves to hear from fellow readers and writers, so get in touch.

Contact info ~

Website/Blog: http://www.sandradailey.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sandradailey.author

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sdaileyauthor

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/sandradailey

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551048.Sandra_Dailey

Remember: COMMON ENEMY and CLOSE ENEMY are a pair, but can be independent, like their heroes. Conner, Caleb and I would be happy to answer any questions or just chat. Feel free to leave comments and share this post.


It takes a good hero to make a good romance, and it sounds like you’ve got a couple of good ones there. Good luck with Conner and Caleb.

Anybody else intrigued with twin heroes in two books?

Writer Wednesday – Elaine Violette and Regal Reward

This morning as part of my Writer Wednesday feature I’m featuring Elaine Violette and her Regency novel Regal Reward.

If you follow this blog, you know I love romantic stories with a captor/captive plot. Here’s another one that I’ve found. This one has the flavor of a a traditional Regency. If you find yourself skimming racy scenes in other books, you won’t have to worry in this one, because the bedroom door stays closed.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

Marielle Henley, privileged and betrothed to Richard Craymore, has a EV Regal Rewardsecure future until her rebellion leads her into the path of the ruggedly handsome highwayman, York Blackstone. York, the first son of an Earl, turned thief, lives to avenge his family’s demise. His captive’s beauty and her sauciness makes it difficult for him to keep his focus on the prize, a hefty ransom for her return; that is, until she reveals the name of her betrothed. He discovers that she can bring him something money can’t buy, his birthright lost to him when his father was falsely accused of treason.

Marielle is unable to dismiss York’s contradictory behavior, one moment a tyrant, the next a gentleman, a much too attractive one. Is York Blackstone a fiendish rogue or the orphaned elder son of a once highly respected aristocrat? York’s cunning and invulnerable nature, hardened by life on the streets, is tested by Marielle’s alluring presence, but he will stop at nothing or allow anyone, including his lovely captive, to divert him from avenging his father’s disgrace.

York and his unlikely conspirators join together to bridge the gap between the power of the privileged and the determination of the discarded in society. York and Marielle’s passion for one another is seemingly lost in the web of conflicts. Could a meddling elderly aunt create the perfect plan to bring the two lovers back together?

I found the story fun, engaging, and full of twists and turns until the very end. You have to grab this book, if for no other reason than there’s also a sweet dog and puppies!

Elaine, tell my readers what appeals to you about the Regency period.

I love stories of aristocratic society, its customs and social seasons so different from our own; yet, the heroes and heroines of Regency novels share the same desires, emotions, virtues and vices that we can easily relate to since human nature rarely changes.  I am fascinated with the fashions, the elegant balls, the carriages, sporting events, and the expectation not only for women of the period but for titled men. The dashing hero, the lowly governess, the scoundrels, dukes and duchesses create a world that still values innocence, respect, and appropriate behavior, on the surface. It’s the novelist who digs deep into the hearts of the well mannered gentility and draws out the secrets, the desires and desperations of the debutantes and lords as well as the villains, the rogues and rapscallions. In my two eBooks, just released by Kindle, Regal Reward and A Convenient Pretense, I try to capture all the above.

What do you like most about these books and their characters?

In Regal Reward, I love the character of York Blackstone. He’s a man who began his life as the privileged first son of an Earl and ends up on the streets of London as a beggar. He turns to thievery to live and to care for his mother and younger brother. But, his inherited aristocratic bearing makes him a leader in his world of thieves. He’s obsessed with clearing his father’s name, reclaiming the title and lands lost, and making the villain who destroyed his family pay for his misdeeds. The younger brother, Martin, has his own story in A Kiss of Promise, Book Two of the Blackstone saga. Marielle, the heroine in Regal Reward, is spunky and defiant and never expects she’ll fall in love with the tyrant, York, who wants to use her as a pawn in his vengeance.

           I really should mention Aunt Cornelia since she was so much fun to write about. In a note to her niece Marielle, she writes, “My dear, I am an avid collector of the myths of the moment, relics of rogues and rapscallions and tales of meek mice, married to old bores, who give extravagant parties then scamper around at night in guest rooms, nipping on the tail of their newest catch.”

I love her perspicacity and her spirit! Regal Reward can be purchased on Amazon at  http://amzn.com/B013TRQ9C8.

 

In A Convenient Pretense, my second Regency, the heroine, Emily Grace, is a poetess, and one of my favorite female characters. I enjoyed being able to include a bit of fun poetry in the story. Emily observed her father and mother’s failed marriage and has chosen a single life much to her father’s dismay. Here’s a snippet of the opening poem which is a self-proclamation of her views on marriage.

Foolish is a maiden who sets her heart a flight   

with dreams of wedded bliss that surely lead to strife.

She might best consider a single life…

When her father forces her to go to London to find a husband, she must obey. That is, until she figures out a way to avoid the marriage mart. She devices a convenient pretense of courtship with the like thinking Lord Marcus Deming, only to fall in love with him.  Little does she know when she escapes London and returns home, a more sinister pretense is afoot, one that will destroy her family.  Only Marcus, the man she’s run from can untangle the deception. Are Emily and Marcus too much alike to realize they belong together?  A Convenient Pretense is available on Amazon at http://amzn.com/B014Q1EKU4

Fortunately, both these books were well received when traditionally published with excellent reviews. Regal Reward was a Golden Leaf finalist. When I chose to regain the rights and self-publish, it was to have more control over my writing and the business of writing.  I can choose better pricing and the covers that suited my characters and stories.  Regal Reward and A Convenient Pretense began my writing career. I will always be grateful to have begun with a traditional publisher. In the end, however, my books are products of my hard work and it’s a nice feeling to be in control of how my writing goes out into the world.

For more information on these and future books, I welcome readers to visit my website at www.elaineviolette.com and sign up for my newsletter, and “like” me on Facebook for more news at www.facebook.com/elaineviolette.author. I appreciate and reply to all comments.

Thank you, Lily, for celebrating with me on my new self-pub journey!

Thanks, Elaine, for stopping by! I wish you the best of luck in your publishing endeavors.

About Elaine

Elaine is a veteran English teacher and holds a BS in English Education from OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe University of CT and an MS in Educational Leadership from Central CT State University.  She presently teaches public speaking part time at a local community college. She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America, CT Romance Writers (CTRWA) and Charter Oak Romance writers (CORW). She resides on the Connecticut shoreline and especially enjoys being a wife, mother, and grandmother.

 

Writer Wednesday – Meet Barbara Donlon Bradley

HiddenDesireWelcome back to Writer Wednesday. Today I’m interviewing Barbara Donlon Bradley, a writer of science fiction romance. This is a genre that I’ve just started reading. Take it away Barbara!

What draws you to the genre science fiction romance?

It seems to be the way my brain works. I’ve always written SF or fantasy stories. When I was young I created my own super hero to fit in with Batman and a character to fit into the Star Trek world. When I play the ‘what if’ game most authors play there is always some sort of SF in it. What if my hero is an alien trying to fit into our timeline? What if my heroine is an astrophysicist and gets thrown back in time? I can’t help it.

What can you tell readers who may be intimidated by all that science?

My opinion is the science shouldn’t overpower any book. As a  writer I try to put in just enough to make their story believable but not  all the details that could bog down the story. People read to bond with our characters. To be swept away for a few hours – depending on how fast you read – not to be beaten over the head by scientific details.

How do you keep track of information about your world/universe?

I have a spread sheet that has details for each book, most of my character details that I don’t use regularly goes in that spread sheet too. I also have outlines of each of my books, something my publishers asks for and I find a good thing to keep on hand.

You’ve had a long career in publishing. Which of your books would you recommend readers turn to and why?

Wow, I guess it depends on what you like to read. My first book is a time travel, my second is an historical. If you like humorous stories I recommend my collection of short stories through Melange/Satin Romances. The rest of my books have been SF/Futuristics, which have been getting hotter and hotter. The series I’m working on right now, the Vespian Way,  are real scorchers.

I write light hearted stories. Humor is weaved through out my books and all of them are very plot driven. I like fast paced books and seem to write them naturally.

Blurb for Hidden Desire:

Heather wants to fight beside her people, not watch from a safe distance. So when her brother comes up with a way to disguise her she jumps at the chance. Now she can try out for an elite team to help defeat Reasta, who has a stronghold on their planet. No one knows who she is, including her mate, who has also been disguised. They must find each other, qualify for the team and help rescue the elders without being found out.

Buy Links:

Buy Directly from Publisher: http://www.phaze.com/author.php?author=21

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0072OTZJE

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Barbara-donlon-bradley

ARe: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Barbara+Donlon+Bradley

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?Query=Barbara%20Donlon%20Bradley

Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/search/books?Keywords=barbara%20donlon%20bradley

More about Barbara:BarbsBest

Writing for Barbara Donlon Bradley started innocently enough, like most she kept diaries, journals, and wrote an occasional letter but she also had a vivid imagination and wrote scenes and short stories adding characters to her favorite shows and comic books. As time went on she found the passion for writing to be a strong drive for her. Humor is also very strong in her life. No matter how hard she tries to write something deep and dark, it will never happen. That humor bleeds into her writing. Since she can’t beat it she has learned to use it to her advantage. Now she lives in Tidewater Virginia with two cats, one mother in law – who just turned 88, her husband and son.

You can find Barbara here: 

Website: http://www.barbaradonlonbradley.com/

Blog: http://barbaradonlonbradley.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Barbara-Donlon-Bradley/118673448173249

Twitter: https://twitter.com/barbbradley

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/barbaradbradley/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7773192-barbara-bradley

 

Writer Wednesday – Meet Irene Vartanoff

It’s been a while, but today I’d like to welcome Irene Vartanoff to the Writer Wednesday feature on my blog. Take it away Irene!!

Captive of the Cattle Baron

Blurb:Captive of the Cattle Baron by Irene Vartanoff

He’d Abducted Her!

Abducted by rancher Baron Selkirk—okay, it was an accident, but now he won’t let her go—former TV child star turned horse whisperer Addie Jelleff enjoys a respite from the media circus that ruined her quiet retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but she’s due back to town to defend her actor pal at his trial very soon. Baron’s vast, isolated ranch is only one of his many attractions, but he’s awfully domineering and she can’t possibly give in to their growing attraction while she’s virtually his prisoner, can she?

Baron sees the situation differently. He wants to save Addie from he thinks is a sordid drug connection. Forced to drop his geology career and take over the family ranch, he’s frustrated by too many people saying no to him. Isn’t he in charge? Why is Addie so mysterious about her past and her commitments to another man? Why won’t she give in to Baron, when every time they touch, they catch fire?

It’s a battle of wills—with neither one backing down. Addie can tame the wildest stallion, but restraining her own growing attraction to the high-handed rancher and keeping him from breaking through her defenses requires all her strength—and some help from unexpected sources.

Now that you’ve heard what the book is about, let’s hear from Irene.

How did you get the idea for the beginning part of this novel?

Diana Palmer once did a story about a country guy who didn’t want to be involved with a glamour girl from the city. That rejection of the glamour life was key to my initial thinking about Captive of the Cattle Baron. I thought, “What if some glamorous woman hid out from the media in some rancher’s car? And then he got the wrong idea about what kind of person she was?”

That was the start, but then I had to build my heroine as someone who had glamour but did not want to lead the in-the-spotlight Hollywood life. She couldn’t have a believable happy ever after on a ranch if she had constant commitments elsewhere. That’s when I started thinking that my heroine could be famous but not want to be anywhere near the fast lane. From there, making Addie a former TV actor who had spent years while a child on a sitcom was the next logical step to keep her as normal a person as possible.

Tell us a little bit about the setting. How did you choose Wyoming?

I chose Wyoming as the setting because I went there once on a car trip with my mother and sister. My mother had driven the west with her dad when she was a mere kid and most of the roads were single-lane dirt—and mud. She thought nothing of piling us into her car decades later and taking off on modern paved interstates, although without motel reservations, cell phones, or solid plans. After visiting Yellowstone National Park, we came down from the Grand Tetons into Jackson Hole and it was just so beautiful there I’ve always wanted to go back. So far, I haven’t. I did read up on the state and talk to a geologist who knows the rock formations in the southern part. I believe my descriptions of Wyoming’s geography and plant life are accurate. As to the hotel and the mention of a casino in Jackson Hole, I made those up entirely. I made up the overly ambitious, glory-seeking district attorney, too.

What is your favorite thing about your female character?

What I like about Addie Jelleff is that although most people think of actors as volatile personalities, she is a very logical and sensible person. She spent her childhood doing a weekly television show and adhering to legal work rules and having to memorize her scripts, and do schoolwork, and so on. She still thinks the rest of the world is run logically, the way the TV show was. She can’t quite understand how illogical and irrational real people can be in the grip of emotion. Including herself.

What is your favorite thing about your male character?

My favorite thing about Baron Selkirk is that he’s got the instincts of a hero. He wants to save Addie. He’s not the alpha pig his emotions keep pushing him to be, although he does make mistakes. He thinks he has to be the big tough boss, and he feels a huge sense of responsibility to do right by running the family ranch, but it’s a massive burden on his shoulders, a burden he’s carrying alone. His parents have checked out. His brother has his own problems, and his sister is acting up. No wonder he’s trying to control his world and everyone in it. Especially Addie, to whom he’s tremendously attracted and whom he desperately wants to save from what he believes is a sordid life situation. Unlike a genuinely abusive man, Baron’s motives are pure. Sometimes his actions are over the line, though. After all, abducting someone is a crime!

Baron acts very domineering with Addie, but she gives as good as she gets. She is never intimidated by him. In more than one scene, she’s the one who starts the fight. She also has a lot more control over her sexuality than he has over his. Well, he’s a guy. What do you expect?

Are other books planned in this series?

As I was writing this story and fleshing out the circumstances that make Baron behave as he does, I realized that by giving him a wounded warrior brother and a nearly off-the-rails sister, I was opening the door to sequels. Who wouldn’t want to know if J.D. will ever get out of the V.A. hospital and attempt to resume a normal life? How can an outdoors type cope with serious permanent injury and still lead that kind of existence? Did being in war change him drastically? What about Paula’s so far hopeless love for him? She’s rich, but mere money can’t solve his problems. And poor Tess, who thinks she wants to be a movie star. How will she ever find fulfillment? This family has big problems to solve, and it won’t be easy. Readers will have to tell me whose story they want to read next.

Excerpt

Baron Selkirk watched the beautiful blonde weave a meandering path until she turned a corner and drifted out of sight. Only then could he breathe again. The hot blood pounding in his veins finally began to cool off. He allowed the elevator doors to close.

He punched the Door Open button. As the metal walls parted, he lunged between them. He charged down the hotel corridor. Sure enough, once he’d turned the corner, he found her leaning against the wall, half-fainting.

“You’re ill,” he said. “I’ll call the desk for a doctor.”

Her eyes widened at his words.

“No, don’t,” she said. “Don’t call anyone.”

Was that fear in her expression? What was she afraid of?

“I’m not leaving you alone here to keel over,” he said. Although he wasn’t touching her, he stood close enough to catch her if she crumpled. Close enough to notice that her blue eyes were very dilated.

She half-lifted one arm and pointed down the hall to double doors. “Help me to that suite?”

“Lean on me,” he said, putting an arm around her soft shoulders. The moment he touched her, a thrill shot through his body. He willed himself to concentrate on getting her to safety.

When they reached the double doors, she disentangled herself and rested against the doorframe. “Thank you. I’ll be all right from here.”

He frowned. “Where’s your key?”

She shook her head. “It’s not my suite.” She knocked softly on the wood.

Baron spotted a doorbell and reached over to jab it. He kept his finger on the bell until he heard someone approach the door.

“Who is it?” a muffled voice asked.

“It’s me,” the blonde said.

The person inside must have used the peephole, for his next words were, “I can see you’re not alone. Who’s he?”

She glanced up at Baron. “A hotel guest. I’ve been feeling weird. He helped me here.”

“Make him leave.”

She shrugged. “Thanks for your help,” she said to Baron, “but you’d better go now.”

He got it. The door wouldn’t be opened until he left. “Are you sure you want to do this?” He angled his eyes at the door, indicating his doubts about who and what awaited her inside.

“I’ll be okay,” she said. “Thank you.”

Baron didn’t move. This was wrong.

“Please,” she said.

He tipped his hat. “Your call. Have a nice life.”

Her sudden look of dismay almost made him refuse to budge, but he turned and walked to the elevator, forcing himself to not look back. Once he was a few steps away, he heard the suite door open and muffled words. At the corner, he looked behind him. She was gone.

***

Bio

Irene Vartanoff

Award-winning author Irene Vartanoff started reading romances and comic books as a teenager. Emilie Loring and Superman were her gateway drugs, which led to the serious stuff, Gothic novels and Lois Lane comics—and romance comics. Writing comic books and working on staff at Marvel Comics and DC Comics absorbed her early career years, aspects of which are gently spoofed in her superhero adventure novel, Temporary Superheroine. Editing for major publishers of romance Harlequin, Bantam, and Berkley inspired her next career shift to writing novels. Captive of the Cattle Baron is her first sweet contemporary romance. Visit the author at www.irenevartanoff.com.

A Note From Lily

I don’t always had time to read the books that I present on Writer Wednesday, but in this case, I just finished it, and I highly recommend it. Despite the captive/abduction theme, it’s not heavy on sex or BDSM. I found it a sweet read with a lot of sizzle.

Happy Valentine’s Day – I think

Trashed Roses

Broken Heart, or Dead Flowers?

I am really not sure who today’s holiday is for.

Girls/women over the age of 16 who are otherwise well adjusted get upset if they aren’t part of a couple.

Boys/men over the age of 16 who aren’t dating rejoice that they don’t have to participate in this “commercial holiday.”

Couples who have been married a while don’t want to deal with the hassle of going out on the most crowded night of the year. My husband and I fit that category.

Women in relationships over a certain length of time have hope there will be a proposal today, but invariably they are disappointed because that’s just too overdone.

Guys trying to impress that new girlfriend spend way too much money or rack their brains to do something different or non-cliche.

So, to sum up, best I can tell, the only people that enjoy the holiday are little kids before puberty (because the candy) and women who have been dating less than a year who don’t expect a ring but whose boyfriend still wants to impress. So, for that subset of the population, enjoy your day. (Another exception is couples celebrating their anniversary on Valentine’s Day — they have a different excuse, right?)

For the rest of us, celebrate love in your own way, whether you are single or married or divorced or widowed or whatever. My husband says he is cooking dinner, which works for me as long as he cleans up after. :)

Remember that romantic love isn’t the only kind of love, and the legend is that St. Valentine sent handwritten cards. Not diamonds or rubies or flowers. The big consumer machine got you good on this one.

Christmas Songs that Aren’t – “Same Auld Lang Syne”

Christmas songs are here!!!! Some of the radio stations in my radio market started playing them November 1, but I promptly changed the channel. Now, I’ve finally given in, and I’ve started listening to Christmas music. Have you noticed that some Christmas songs aren’t?

One song often played during the Christmas season is “Same Auld Lang Syne”, by Dan Fogelberg. Today, I had to explain to my eleven-year old daughter what the song was about. It is a great song, poignant, about first love that might have been, but it’s not very upbeat.

Now, as a mom, married for more than 16 years, I have to ask what the architect was doing at home, on Christmas Eve, while his wife is drinking a six-pack of beer in the car with Dan Fogelberg? Like most families, Christmas Eve is hectic for us. We usually drive to see my family, we go to church, we have to get home and get everything ready for the next day. Now granted, this was back in 1975, before cell phones, but even then, you’d think the husband would be wondering where his wife is for a couple of hours when she made a quick run to the store. She’s not divorced in the song.

I went to the source, and asked wikipedia, and here’s what I learned.
Yes, the song was autobiographical. Dan Fogelberg did run into his old girlfriend in the grocery store on Christmas Eve. He never identified who she was, and he did change some details about her to protect her identity. But, according to Wikipedia, the girlfriend has since come forward.

According to Wikipedia,

As Fogelberg said on his official website, the song was autobiographical.[5] He was visiting family back home in Peoria, Illinois in the mid-1970s when he ran into an old girlfriend at a convenience store.

After Fogelberg’s death from prostate cancer in 2007, the woman about whom he wrote the song came forward with her story. Her name is Jill Greulich, and she and Fogelberg dated in high school when she was Jill Anderson. As she explained to the Peoria Journal Star in a December 22, 2007 article,[6] they were part of the Woodruff High School class of 1969, but went to different colleges. After college, Jill got married and moved to Chicago, and Dan went to Colorado to pursue music. On December 24, 1975, they were each back in Peoria with their families for Christmas when Jill went out for eggnog and Dan looked for whipping cream for Irish coffee. The only place open was a convenience store at the top of Abington Hill where they had their encounter, located at 1302 East Frye Avenue. Today, the store is still in business and named Short Stop Food Mart. They bought a six pack of beer and drank it in her car for two hours while they talked.

Five years later, Jill heard “Same Old Lang Syne” on the radio while driving to work, but she kept quiet about it, as Fogelberg also refused to disclose her identity. Her main fear was that coming forward would disrupt Fogelberg’s marriage.

Looking at the lyrics, Jill cites two inaccuracies: her eyes are green, not blue, and her husband was a physical education teacher, not an architect, and Fogelberg was unlikely to know his profession anyway. On the line, “She would have liked to say she loved the man, but she didn’t like to lie,” Jill will not talk about it, but by the time of the song’s release, she had divorced her husband.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same_Old_Lang_Syne

So, there you have it. As Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.

So, did that evening go something like this:

I’ll use the name Martha, since I’m not writing about the actual person in the song… and I’ll use Phillip for the husband. That’s a good name for an adult in 1975.

Martha parked her car outside the garage, not sure she could navigate the tight fit to squeeze in beside Phillip’s Buick. Between the couple of inches of snow in the driveway and the couple of beers she had had, the last thing she wanted to do was hit the side of the garage. She grabbed the container of egg nog, lukewarm by now, and started into the house.

Phillip was talking on the phone when she walked in. “Here she is. Thanks. We’ll see you in a little bit.”

He put the receiver on its base with such force it wobbled in the cradle. “Martha, where have you been? I have been worried sick. My parents have been calling, wanting to know when we’re coming over to decorate the tree. You’ve been gone two hours!”

Had it really been that long? Two beers. She guessed so. Dan had drunk four. “I had to go to a couple of stores. Everyone was out of egg nog.” The lie came easy. What else could she say? She ran into an old lover in a grocery store and talked to him in the parking lot? Sometimes the truth hurt more than a lie.

“Oh. Well, I was worried.” He glanced at her bluejean skirt and the red pullover sweater. “Are you going to change to go to my parents? You know they like to do the Christmas pictures tonight.”

“I don’t think I’m going. Tell them I have a headache.” That wasn’t far from the truth.

“Martha, you have to go! If you don’t, they will worry me to death about what you’re doing, why you’re not there.”

“I’m sorry. I can’t do it. You’ll just have to go on without me.”

And that summed it up more than he knew. She trudged up the stairs, deciding she would lay down for a while and hopefully he would get the hint and believe she had a headache.

Later, she heard him leave. Christmas wasn’t the time to break up a marriage. She would tell him after the new year. She would find an apartment, and start over. She drifted to sleep listening to the sound of the rain on the window.

_________________________________

Happy Thanksgiving!

Flash Fiction – Lost in the Maze, Part 1

Bickleigh , Bickleigh Maize Maze - geograph.org.uk - 1223716.jpg

Bickleigh Maize Maze from geograph.org.uk

Bickleigh , Bickleigh Maize Maze – geograph.org.uk – 1223716” by Lewis Clarkegeograph.org.uk. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

I mentioned a while back that I was gong to try my hand at flash fiction, short little stories less than 5,000 words.  Here is part one of Lost in the Maze.

 

Lost in the Maze, Part 1

Copyright Lily Bishop, 2014. No part of this story may be reproduced without permission.

 

Caitlyn rushed around her apartment while she talked to her sister, trying to get everything straight and in its place before her date with Cody. If her sister Maddy didn’t stop irritating her, she would put down the phone right now.

“Caitlyn and Cody sitting in a tree. K – I – S – S – I – N – G. First comes love. Then comes marriage. Here comes Caitlyn with a baby carriage.”

“Maddy, stop it!” Caitlyn fussed at her sister. “You don’t know anything.”

“I know you want to marry him,” Maddy said, giggling. “Why are you in such a rush, anyway?”

“What do you know? You’re still in high school.” Caitlyn tried to put her off, but unfortunately, Maddy did know. Caitlyn was tired of waiting, and she was ready to get married.

“And you’re a wise woman of the world at twenty-one. You’re just upset that he’s a senior and graduating, and you’re not. Why are you in such a hurry to get married? Not me—I want to travel first. I want to see London, and Paris, and Athens, Greece. I don’t want some boy tying me down.”

“When you meet the one, you’ll change your mind. Anyway, don’t jinx me. I just know tonight’s the night.”

“How do you know he’s the one, anyway?”

“I just do. We’re perfect for each other. We like the same things. We eat the same foods—”

“Sounds boring to me. Where’s the challenge in that?”

“Everything doesn’t have to be a challenge.” Caitlyn looked up at the sound of boots on the porch. “He’s here. Gotta go.”

She opened the front door and stood there for a heartbeat, smiling up at her Cody. Taller by about six inches, he leaned into her, just as he always did, and she draped her arms around his neck. His aftershave was familiar, his cheek smooth. His dark curls were just a bit damp. He wore his usual button down long-sleeved shirt, the first button undone, and his sleeves were rolled up on the forearms. The only difference is that tonight he wore jeans instead of khaki pants.

“I missed you,” he said. She leaned into him and puckered for a kiss. He kissed her like it had been a month. She had, of course, just seen him the night before, but none of that mattered.

“I missed you, too.” She backed up and pulled him into the main room. Her apartment took up half of the bottom floor of an old Victorian house on Main Street. She had a living room, a bedroom, and a tiny kitchen, if you could call a modified hallway with a stove and refrigerator a kitchen.

“I’ll wait out here while you change.”

She looked down at the flared-skirt dress with the nipped-in waist that she had picked out for this romantic evening. “You don’t like my dress?”

“I said casual, remember? You do not want to wear that for what I have planned.”

“I paired it with boots,” she said, frowning. This was as casual as she got for a date, especially one that she felt sure would be a proposal. “Where are we going, anyway?”

“Oh, no you don’t. It’s a surprise. Now go change.”

 

to be continued…


 

I know it’s short — probably three parts to this one. What do you think?  Caitlyn’s got her life all planned out.

Don’t miss a single scene. Subscribe to my blog to get the rest.

Romance Reader Survey

There are many puzzle pieces to putting together a book, including the genre, the cover, the sex scenes… I thought I would do a quick survey. Please take the time to answer a few questions. Help me get additional people to take the survey by sharing on twitter and facebook using the buttons below.

What type of romances do you like to read? Stand-alone? Connected books

What type of covers catch your eye?

All of these and more are covered in this quick survey. I’d love to hear your opinion, and I will share the results with my fellow writers.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Q9cT1AZAz6EeSp1hRmuxiSGqcH8fudxNMzy0q6z0ODc/viewform?usp=send_form

Thank you!  Did something in the survey strike a nerve? Feel free to tell me in the comments below.

(Don’t forget – I’m still waiting to give away a Starbucks gift card. Sign up for my newsletter here)

Welcome Guest Author Paty Jager

Today I welcome Author Paty Jager, who is interviewing her main character Isabella Mumphrey, Anthropologist.

Isabella Bookmark Front

Interview with Isabella Mumphrey

Today, I’m here to interview Dr. Isabella Mumphrey, an up-and-coming anthropologist, who received her doctorate at the age of twenty-two and has since become the head of her department at the University of Arizona. Her driving career goal is to link the people of Central America to the Native Americans within the United States.

Interviewer: Dr. Mumphrey, when did you discover you had a genius IQ?

Isabella: My mother has high intelligence and when she became aware of my acute memory, she enrolled me in schools for the gifted. But I don’t like to talk about that. I’d rather discuss my work at the university.

Interviewer: Dr. Mumphrey, we’re here to learn about you and not what you do at the university.  You know what they say about all work and no play? As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Isabella: Most of the time, I just wanted to be normal. To live with my parents and see them more than holidays and my birthday. To have friends. It’s hard to connect when you’re twelve and everyone else you see on a daily basis is a college student. They look at you as a freak. I just wanted to grow up and be normal.

Interviewer: What are your favorite TV shows?

Isabella: I don’t watch TV but my favorite movies are Indiana Jones. The way he gets out of tight spots and uses his whip…I know it’s all make-believe but to have that freedom…I guess in answer to your question above. I’d like to grow up to be Indiana Jones. (She smiles wistfully) I’ve had enough of the real world, I’d like to live in a make-believe world for a while.

Interviewer: What is your favorite meal?

Isabella: Any meal! I love food and have a high metabolism which makes it hard for me to keep any fat on my body.

Interviewer: What are you passionate about these days?

Isabella, staring past the interviewer’s shoulder with a happy grin: I’m still passionate about my work and discovering where my roots are, but I’d have to say right now in this moment I’m most passionate about a Venezuelan man who has come into my life and shown me I’m not a freak and can be loved for exactly who I am.

Interviewer: What do you do to unwind and relax?

Isabella: There is such a thing?(laughing) I like to chat with my cockatoo Alabaster, read about the Hopi culture, and spend time with my latest passion.

Interviewer: Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?

Isabella: Night person. If I’m working on a project I can stay up for days and nights on end. If a puzzle presents itself I can’t let it go until I’ve solved it. One of my greatest flaws I think.

Interviewer: What would we find under your bed?

Isabella: A whip I bought trying to use it like Indiana Jones. (She blushes) The attempt didn’t turn out too well.

Interviewer: What makes you happy?

Isabella: Discovering more and more connections between the people I study and the growing love and admiration I have for Augustino Constantine. Below is my first meeting with Tino.

Interviewer: I’d also like to add that Secrets of a Mayan Moon is the first of three books in the Isabella Mumphrey Series.

Blurb:

MAYAN MOON 1 (2)What happens when a brilliant anthropologist is lured to the jungle to be used as a human sacrifice?

Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.

DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.

Excerpt:

She deposited her backpack on the floor at her feet. The horn handle of a twelve inch Guatemalan blade protruded from the side pocket. Tino’s curiosity spiked another notch.

“I have a reservation. Dr. Isabella Mumphrey.”

Tino snapped the paper down and stared even harder at the woman. This was the frumpy, old anthropologist he was to guide? His gaze scanned the length of her one more time while tuning in the conversation.

“Ahh, Dr. Mumphrey, Dr. Martin said you were to get the finest room, no?” The clerk acted like a simpering fool giving the doctor her key and expounding on all the wonders of the hotel.

Gracias. May I borrow a paper and pencil? I need to make a list for the taxi driver.”

The clerk handed her the items. She stepped to the side of the counter and began writing.

Why would she make a list for a taxi driver? Curious, Tino folded the paper and strolled to a spot beside her. So intent on her list, she didn’t even acknowledge his presence as he leaned, reading the items. Army knife, candle, braided fishing line, hooks, swivels, 24 gauge snare wire…

“You are planning a trip into the jungle, no?”

She started at his voice. Deep green eyes rimmed in gold stared at him from behind wire-rimmed lenses. She blinked, focused on him, and narrowed her eyes.

“Didn’t your mother teach you manners? You don’t look over people’s shoulders to see what they’re doing.” She picked up her list and held it to her damp shirt.

Mi mamá did teach me manners, no? I am Tino Kosta, your guide to the dig at Ch’juña.” He held out his hand waiting for her to shake.

Her gaze traveled from his extended hand up his arm to his face. She squinted her eyes and glared at him.

“You’re not of Mesoamerican descent, so you can’t possibly be my guide. Are you in cahoots with the disgusting little man who stole my property?” She bent toward her backpack, giving him a good view down the front of her blouse.

Si, she didn’t wear a bra. The nipples peaking through her clingy shirt sat atop a palm-sized mound. Now, being a man who liked his hands filled to overflowing when it came to handling a woman—

¡Carajo!” The pointed end of the large knife that had been tucked in the doctor’s backpack waved inches from his nose. “What is this about?” A woman who ran around without undergarments shouldn’t be offended by a man viewing her body.

Secrets of a Mayan Moon is available at Windtree Press, Kindle, Nook  Kobo.

 

About Paty

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon.  On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

Her first book was published in 2006 by Wild Rose Press since then she has published seventeen novels, two anthologies, and five novellas. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

You can learn more about Paty at her blog; Writing into the Sunset  her website; http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager , Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005334.Paty_Jager  and twitter;  @patyjag.

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Paty, thanks for stopping by. Isabella sounds fabulous!!

Don’t forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter, where I provide updates on my writing and share recipes and other fun things. Every time I get ten subscribers, I have a drawing for a $5.00 Starbucks gift card. So subscribe now, and you’re guaranteed to be in future drawings. You can sign up here: Sign up for the Mailing List

 

Free Flick Friday – Sons of Dragons by Andrea R. Cooper

I had someoCooper-SonsofDragonsne cancel who was supposed to appear today, so I’m moving Andrea up from next week to continue my video posts.  Welcome, Andrea!

Andrea R. Cooper grew-up creating characters and never stopped. She lives in Texas, and when not writing stories, she likes to dance when no one is watching. 

Here’s a little teaser about Andrea’s book, Sons of Dragons:

Mirhana has given up on love, but then it comes to her in the form a prince. Will she acquiesce?

 

I hope you enjoyed this trailer. Now rush out and give Sons of Dragons a chance…

You can connect with Andrea here…
Author Website:www.AndreaRCooper.com

 


 

If you haven’t seen the book trailer for No Strings Attached, you can find it here…  If you’re a romance writer interested in visiting my blog or you have a book trailer to share for Free Flick Friday, let me know here. Thank you for stopping by!

Tomorrow I have a special treat for you — we’ll be celebrating the book anniversary of No Strings Attached by showing off the cover for the sequel.  I also have a special prize. Details to come tomorrow!