Monday, 25 September 2017

Top 10 Books Scenes I'd LOOOOOOVE to Experience



Last week, I made a
top ten list of favorite items I'd steal from books. Number one? Nancy Drew's blue convertible. Oh, yeah!

Now please enjoy...

Top Ten Scenes I'd
Like LOOOOVE to Experience.

1. Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth and she turns him down. BAM!




2. Every Christmas feast at Hogwarts.

3. When Anne hits Gilbert Blythe over the head with the slate. I'd holler from the back of the school house, "Go, redheads!"



4. The entire fifteenth chapter of THE PRISONER of AZKABAN when Harry wins the quidditch cup by beating Slytherin. AWESOME!!!

5. To be alongside Lucy when she walks through the wardrobe for the first time. Narnia!

6. Being rocked by Aunt Beast in A WRINKLE IN TIME. (I love a good nap in space.)

7. Front row at the Reaping Ceremony. When Primrose's name is called, I'd volunteer before Katniss, and therefore Peeta would fall in love with me...and Katniss can have Gale or whatever.

8. Go to the chocolate factory with Charlie and Grandpa Joe, then eat candy grass, mushrooms and tea cups with Willy Wonka.





9. When Elizabeth Bennet has the showdown with Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the garden.

"He is a gentleman and I'm a gentleman's daughter, therefore we are equal."

How Elizabeth kept her wits in this scene is beyond commendable.

10. When Laura Ingalls sees Almanzo Wilder for the first time in THE LONG WINTER. *heart swells* Even though she was more smitten with his friend, Cap Garland...still, I smile every time.

What are some of your favorite scenes?


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Novel Spotlight: Between You and Me

BETWEEN YOU AND ME
by Lynn Turner




Love at first sight strikes Seattle Scientist Finnegan Kane at the worst possible moment, paralyzing him as he’s pitching his cutting-edge idea to powerful New York venture capitalist Emanuela Monroe…

Finn survived the crash that killed his parents when he was sixteen. Twenty years later, his smart devices are about to redefine what it means to be disabled.

Emanuela makes dreams come true for a living, but still longs to fulfill her own. Despite Finn's stunning secret, she thinks his idea might be worth the risk...and he’s determined to show her that he is, too.



EXCERPT

All the emotions from that night washed over him and the onslaught churned his stomach. “It was the same for me. But at the same time, I wanted to get far the hell away from you.” He watched her face for any sign of hurt, but to his relief, she just nodded.

“I know.” She frowned. “It was so strange. Almost made me sick.”

He drew in a sharp breath, noticing her stiffen in response.

“What?” she asked.

“That’s exactly how it was for me. It’s how I’m feeling right now.”

She nodded again. “We were both a little off. But your pitch was one of the more memorable ones I’ve had.”

“Don’t remind me. I don’t think I’ve ever botched it like that before.”

Excuse me?” She smacked his chest. “Maybe I should rescind that offer.”

He chuckled. He knew she was wide open, and he wanted her to trust him. It was his turn to be exposed. He tapped his leg. “This is the best one I’ve had so far, except I can’t deep sea dive with it.”

She reached for his hand. “How many do you have?”

“Just one. But I’m waiting for the military to finish developing those bionic legs so I can lift cars with my foot.”

Her slim fingers traced his bigger ones. “You don’t have to do that, you know. Self-deprecate. You’ve already seen me naked.”

His eyes raked over her, his pulse jumping at her words. “You have no idea how much I’d like to see that again,” he said, sensing her shiver. “But first I want you to see me too. The real me.” He looked down at their hands. “Only if you’re comfortable.”

“I want to see. I just didn’t know how to ask. Or if I should ask.”
She smiled. “I didn’t want to offend you.”

“You haven’t asked me to spank you with it, so this is already an improvement from my last date.”

Emanuela gasped. “No…

He laughed at her horrified expression. “’Fraid so.” He gently removed her legs from his lap and stood in front of her. “And that was an improvement from the date before that.”

“Oh my God.” She snickered. “That’s awful.”

“Well, some kinky stuff is fun.”

Ugh.” She narrowed her eyes. “Just drop your pants already!”

He grinned and turned away to do just that, bending to tug them off before coming back to sit beside her. Without further ceremony, he pushed on the front of the leg and a tiny motor whirred. “It’s vacuum sealed,” he said. “The button is hidden beneath this sleeve.”

He pulled down the flesh-colored skin covering his knee and the prosthetic leg. Then, he removed the prosthesis and propped it against the end table, glancing at Emanuela.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“It’s a sock. Just makes it more comfortable. Tighter fit.”

“How does it feel to take it off? Is it like taking your shoes off at the end of the day?”

“Wow.” He smiled wide. “That’s not half bad… It’s more like taking off a snug pair of jeans. Just by the way it feels.”

She nodded and he removed the sock, then peeled off the liner to leave his stump bare.

He watched her a moment, letting her take it in. Her eyes widened. Much of his leg was intact, halfway to his shin. It was smooth and conical, with a long pink scar at the tip of the stump.

“Some assembly required,” he said.

She made a sound that was half-gasp, half-laugh. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I was shocked the first time I saw it too.”

Her lips parted and closed again, darkness clouding her eyes. Finn could read everything in her face, and he silently agreed with the conflict he saw there. Part of him wanted to share the details about what happened, but another part of him wanted to preserve a moment that was new and exciting and full of promise. Another time. If she gives me a chance.

About the Author




LYNN TURNER is dedicated to writing stories that normalize diversity and celebrate what it means to be imperfectly human. She enjoys romance, historical fiction, science fiction, and anything with a healthy dose of travelogue or mention of food. She and her husband share their home in California with their two extraordinary children, and a collection of books that has outgrown its shelves.

Connect with Lynn!

Website
Twitter


Sunday, 3 September 2017

Top 10 Items I'd Steal From My Favorite Books







1. Nancy Drew's blue convertible. And a picnic basket in the backseat full of homemade snacks from Hannah would be nice too.

2. The violin case from The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I would fill it with chocolate bars.

3. The goose from Jack and the Beanstalk because you can never have enough golden eggs.

4. The conch shell from Lord of the Flies so I can be the speaker and have all the attention.

5. Laura Ingalls' lunch pail from Little House on the Prairie. I've always loved the image. Plus, it would be handy when collecting all those golden eggs.

6. The invisibility cloak from Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.

Think of the sneaking around you can do! Be careful of eavesdropping though, sometimes you don't want to hear what others really think of you (especially Professor Snape).


7. Pixie dust from Peter Pan and Wendy.

Imagine having the ability to fly without aid from a broomstick or a magic carpet! Rush hour traffic? Not for you. Late for a date? No worries. Need to get to class before the bell rings? Easy peasy.


8. The Everlasting Gobstopper from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

It's candy. No explanation needed.


photo credit, whenfallsthecoliseum.com

9. The blade from The Subtle Knife.

Slice through parallel universes and bend the space/time continuum? Sure, okay. Plus, I bet you can make a salad in seconds.


10. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.

Since it's my blog, I'll bloody well put him here if I want. And yes, I want Mr. Darcy.


What item would you like to take from a book?


Friday, 25 August 2017

Write Your Own Jane Austen Novel in 10 Easy Steps


austenprose.wordpress.com

Few authors have been endeared to so many generations of devoted followers. Even centuries after she was first published, Jane Austen still casts a spell over readers.

What is it that ensnares our fascination with her characters? And more importantly how can we
copy tap into that mysterious formula of book sales success?

Ahem. Here are ten easy steps to help you write your own Jane Austen novel.


#1. Your plucky heroine must be known for her determined spirit!However, she's also quite handsome which no one seems to mention.



fanpop.com

#2. When the protagonist meets her love interest they address each other formally, without with the slightest utterance of attraction—even though one is clearly smitten, but keeps their devotion a secret.

#3. An unsavory family member proves to be a reoccurring source of annoyance and conflict.

#4. Through a happy coincidence the heroine and her love interest keep bumping into each other in social situations that force them to be civil to each other, slowly the feelings of attraction become mutual.

#5. A walk down the garden path leads to a feisty confrontation with the antagonist or an unexpected pledge of devotion from above mentioned love interest.


bbc.com

#6. At the moment when true love seems unstoppable, a family tragedy occurs preventing the couple from pursuing any future plans.

#7. Time goes by and it rains a lot.

#8. When all seems lost the heroine finds herself either dripping in mud from a fall in the garden or soaked from a rain storm when her love interest happens by. Awkwardness ensues and no one proclaims their true affection.

#9. When the family tragedy from #5 is miraculously settled with a three page letter delivered in the night via post by horseback, your heroine remembers her life will still be miserable because her love interest saw her covered in mud or soaked to the skin.


fanpop.com

#10. A second confrontation in the garden path with the antagonist reminds your heroine that she is devoted to her happiness. When the love interest shows up one last time, she seizes the moment to declare her feelings and true love prevails.

The End.

Awesome, now go write your own Jane Austen novel and soon Hollywood will come calling.


janeaustenquotables.com

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Novel Spotlight: Love on the Risky Side


Love on the Risky Side
by Mariah Ankenman

Can she risk it all for love?





Wild Rose Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Peak Town Colorado, Book 3

Did he brush his lips against my ear?

“I can’t do that, Kayla. I’m the sheriff. It’s my job to help people in trouble, and, sweetheart, from what I can see, you are in a big pile of it.”

There he went with the sweetheart stuff again. She had no idea what that was all about, but he wasn’t wrong. She was in a big pile of trouble. A landfill.

“Please, let me help you.”

She wanted to. More than anything, she wanted to turn around, tell this strong, sweet man all her troubles and let him make them disappear. But she couldn’t. It wouldn’t be fair or safe. David was crazy. He would come looking for her, personally. If he found out Ryder helped her, there was no telling what he would do to keep his secret.

No, she had to solve this problem on her own. “It’s not safe.”

“I’m the sheriff of this town. It’s my job to handle dangerous situations.”

Still pinned against his chest, she felt the hard edges of his muscles, such a contrast to his comforting hold. The strong beat of his heart against her back settled her own into a synchronized rhythm.

Her breath caught in her throat, but not from fear this time. “But I’m not a part of this town. You have no obligation to help me. You don’t even know me.

Just when she thought she’d gotten through to him, that he was going to let her leave, his voice came as a soft, sensual caress. Dark, like chocolate, and just as tempting.

“I know it’s crazy, but there’s a part of me that feels like I’ve known you forever. Like I’ve been waiting for you. There’s something between us, don’t deny it. I know you feel it, too.”

She sucked in a sharp breath. Yes, she did feel it. She hadn’t realized he did. It was crazy and unexpected, but it was there. A connection apparently neither could deny. It terrified her even as it thrilled her. Unfortunately, this whole thing made her situation that much harder.

“Talk to me, Kayla,” he whispered in her ear. “Let me help you.”

Whatever powers that be—God, the Universe, or Aliens—that had led her to this man, they knew there was a reason she needed to meet him now, at this point in her life.

Maybe he wouldn’t turn her in. Maybe he would be the one to help her. David may be a cop…but so was Ryder. Could he help her find evidence to prove her innocence? That was his job, after all, solving crimes. Maybe she could trust him. Trust this insane feeling she got whenever he was near.

Taking a deep, shaky breath, and a giant leap of faith, she stepped out of his arms and turned, staring directly into those intelligent, warm eyes. “My name is Kayla Jenkins, and I’m wanted by the Chicago Police Department for the murder of my roommate, Jennifer Wright.”

About the Author



Her first book “George and the Green Glob” received high praise from her mother. Many years, and green glob stories later, Mariah received a playwriting degree from the University of Wyoming. After a few years in Hollywood, working in “the biz,” she came home to the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

When she’s not writing Mariah loves to read, crochet, and play her ukulele. She loves to hear from readers.

Connect with Mariah

Twitter

Website


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

10 Signs That Prove Miss Piggy Is Your Patronus


#1. You act like this for the rest of the day after getting your hair done.


Disney Youtube.com


#2. You're not afraid to let a guy know you like him.

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#3. How you respond when people keep talking to you while you're reading.

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#4. You're a true romantic...about shopping.

Jim Henson Company



#5. You realize the importance of making a grand entrance.

Jim Henson Company Youtube.com


#6. You don't care what other people think of you, unless they think you're fabulous.

Jim Henson Company


#7. You're no damsel in distress. You are your own hero.


Jim Henson Company Tumblr.com


#8. You're so amazing, you could have your own superhero costume.

Jim Henson Company Tumblr.com


#9. You never underestimate the power of great hair and the ability to 'walk your own walk'.


Jim Henson Company Disney.com


So...is Miss Piggy your patronus?


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Novel Spotlight: Addicted to Love

ADDICTED TO LOVE
by Jennifer Wilck

Sometimes love is the most addictive habit of all.




Dan Rothberg struggled after an accident killed his wife and he nearly lost custody of his daughter. He can no longer allow himself to get attached to anything or anyone. Until he meets Hannah.

Hannah Cohen is a young executive with a meddlesome grandmother and a troubled brother. She’d like nothing better than to find her own Mr. Right, after too many Mr. Wrongs. A sexy older man with a teenage daughter was never in her plans.

As they navigate their relationship through adolescent attitudes and grandmotherly interference, they realize age is just a number and love can be right in front of them. But when the terrible truth of Dan’s former struggles is exposed, Hannah must decide if she can get past his deception and allow love to conquer all.



AMAZON // WILD ROSE PRESS // KOBO // BARNES&NOBLE


EXCERPT

I enjoy being with you. He wanted to say it, but he wasn’t sure he could risk it.

She squeezed his arm. “Carry on.”

He blinked. When she returned to his side and hooked her arm through his free one, he blinked again. She’d accepted his explanation. Was it that easy? Maybe he should tell her how much he was attracted to her. Maybe it wouldn’t sound crazy.

“What are we looking at?” she whispered out of the side of her mouth, pursing her lips together and giving him an insane urge to kiss them.

“What?”

“I assumed since we’re standing here you must be looking at something, and I wanted to join in the fun. Or did you not realize we weren’t moving?”

Her nostrils flared and she bit her lip. Dan realized she was trying not to laugh. Now he really wanted to kiss her, to capture her mouth with his, to make her his own. Before he could act on it, his stomach growled.

“Was that yours or mine?” She looked at him, an eyebrow raised.

His lips twitched. His breath hitched. He couldn’t keep his amusement to himself any longer. It bubbled in his chest, and he let it out as he shook his head.

“Okay, while I am older than you, I’m not old enough to be senile. Yet. So yes, I did know we weren’t moving. But thanks for that. And yes, my stomach growled, because I’m hungry. Except I think I need to put eating on hold for a moment, because what I need more than anything else right now, what I’ve needed all night long in fact, is to kiss you.”

He reached his hand behind her neck and drew her close to him. This was what he’d waited for, her body close to his, the warmth of her nape against his palm. Tilting his head, he angled his mouth and brushed his lips against hers. A groan started in the back of his throat. Her lips were more delicious than he’d imagined. They were sweet and soft and for the moment, his. He deepened the kiss as her arms wrapped themselves around his waist. Good, because he didn’t intend to stop anytime soon. Her body fit against his as if it were meant to—soft breasts against hard chest—he pulled her closer, wishing they could blend into one. When she sighed, he slipped his tongue inside her mouth. It was like honey, and he couldn’t breathe from the sweetness.

Her fingers swirled against his back, leaving trails of fire. Shaking, he pulled away, though he wanted to keep her close. He rested his forehead against hers. Her pupils were huge, like his he suspected, her breathing quick. Her hands hadn’t stopped moving and well, he wanted her to move them lower. But they were in the middle of the street and he wasn’t an exhibitionist. He pulled farther away, took her hand, and led her toward the restaurant.

“Wait,” she cried as he limped as fast as he could to Isabella’s.

“What?”

“What about what I need?”

Before he could ask what she meant, she grabbed his head and pulled it down to her. She kissed him, hard, and pulled away.

“I wasn’t finished,” she said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Eventually, she started writing things down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day, mornings are evil and she does not believe in sharing her chocolate.

She writes contemporary romance, some of which are mainstream and some of which involve Jewish characters.


CONNECT WITH JENNIFER!

Website
Twitter
Facebook



Sunday, 9 July 2017

5 Things Every Writer Should Know


Writing is a solitary activity (thank god) and while we love those quiet moments when we're completely submersed with our characters, it also leaves us vulnerable to self-doubt.


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So here's a little pick me up for those of you feeling a bit like Eeyore, moody and glum, hunched over the keyboard.

#1. Every first draft is garbage, but keep that crap coming because you can't edit a blank page.

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#2. Stop comparing yourself to the writer who just got a movie deal. Television is where the big money can be made—aim for that instead.


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#3. If you don't write this story, no one else will. Imagine if other writers gave up.

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#4. What you're doing takes tremendous skill, concentration and heart, most will fail, but you will triumph.  


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#5. You can do this. You've got this. You've come this far, just a little further until you reach the finish.

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\
Congratulations! You made it to the end of this post.


Now go tackle that manuscript like the bad mother fuc*er you are!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Novel Spotlight: Home Field


HOME FIELD
by Laurie Winter

Can a second chance at love be just as sweet?




Warriors of the Heart Series

One year after her husband is killed in action, Julie Ellis is back in her hometown and focused on raising her young son. Then Reagan Harrison bursts into her life—a cocky, charming linebacker who leaves her off balance.

As a successful, professional athlete, Reagan believes he has it all. But after meeting Julie, he finds every excuse in the book to spend time with her. Despite his best efforts not to fall too hard, Reagan envisions a future with Julie, along with the little boy he’s come to love as his own.

While Reagan’s protective love begins to mend Julie’s spirit, she can’t suppress her continued deep devotion to her late husband’s memory. And when a letter arrives from beyond the grave, Reagan resolves to provide her with the answers she desperately needs to heal. Now Julie must choose either to keep her heart closed off or remove the lock and fight for a future with Reagan. Can a second chance at true love be just as sweet?

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Kobo


EXCERPT

The time was a few minutes before four o’clock, and Reagan roamed past the staff entrance of Warriors Stadium. He’d paced back and forth for the past fifteen minutes. Every so often, he would look out the glass doors for Julie’s car. If not for seeing Julie, he would’ve been in a crappy mood. Today had been a rough practice, with the coaches running the team ragged. Their tough love was part of training camp, getting men in shape for the season—the pain came with being a professional athlete. But tell that to his body, which ached like he’d been run over by a herd of buffalo. And tomorrow he’d go through the process all over again.

At four o’clock on the dot, he spotted a Jeep drive into the staff parking lot, Julie’s distinct red hair unmistakable through the windshield. He opened the door to meet her.

She stepped out of the car as Reagan approached.

“Hi, Julie.” His voice cracked. Get it together, Harrison, you’re not sixteen. He cleared his throat.“Nice to see you again.”

“Hi.” She went to the back door to let her son out of his booster seat. “Thanks for arranging this. Aiden’s really excited, so I hope you’re ready. He may give you a run for your money.”

“I’m ready for anything.” His wide smile might seem too eager, so he dialed it back a notch. Spending time with her son would remind him of why he didn’t date single moms. Although he was incredibly attracted to her, he figured a widow with a young son was too much responsibility. At this point in his professional career, he was very careful of who he let into his life. He didn’t need any distractions. This tour with Aiden should shake loose any romantic notions he had toward the kid’s mother.

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a dark-haired boy sprung out of the back seat and landed directly before Reagan. The kid was struck speechless. His wide, round eyes mirrored his gaping mouth.

“Hi, Aiden.” He shot him a friendly smile. He bent down and held out his oversized hand to shake Aiden’s. “I’m Reagan Harrison. Your mom told me you’re a big Warriors fan. Would you like to come with me and take a look inside the stadium?”

Aiden gave a slow nod and looked over at Julie.

She took hold of Aiden’s hand and gave him a soft nudge with her elbow. “He’s usually not this quiet. Enjoy the silence while it lasts because once he finds his tongue, he’ll be talking non-stop.”

Laughing, Reagan motioned for them to follow him toward the building. They walked to a large, glass-fronted visitor’s entrance.

“The stadium is pretty quiet right now, but during home games the parking lots fill up with fans for their tailgate rituals. This place can seat seventy thousand people, and the stadium can get unbelievably loud.” He held open the door for Julie and her son.

As they entered, their footsteps clicked on the black granite floors. Historical Warriors photographs surrounded them. The team colors of red and silver were everywhere, from the paint on the walls to the modern lobby furniture.

“I’m taking you to the front offices first,” Reagan said.

Julie and Aiden followed along into a large central room, with a half dozen office suites attached to this main hub. Behind a glass-topped desk sat a petite, dark-haired woman whose fast clicks on the keyboard sounded like a snare drum. She raised her gaze as the door closed behind them, her pink reading glasses perched on the tip of her nose.

“Julie and Aiden, I’d like to introduce you to the person who makes this organization run, Rosalie Turner. Rosie, these are the friends I was telling you about earlier. I’m showing them around the stadium.”

Rosalie came from behind her desk, approached them with her short stride, and gave Reagan a hug.

She was just shy of five feet tall, and Reagan knew he looked like a giant in comparison.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Laurie Winter is a true warrior of the heart. Inspired by her dreams, she creates authentic characters who overcome the odds and find true love. She keeps her life balanced with regular yoga practice and running. When not pounding the pavement or the keyboard, she's enjoying time with her family, who are scattered between Wisconsin and Michigan. Laurie has three kids and one fantastic husband, all who inspire her to chase her dreams.

CONNECT WITH LAURIE!

Website
Twitter
Facebook


Sunday, 25 June 2017

3 Traits Your Villain and Hero Should Share








A great way to show this in your story is to showcase the following elements that both your hero and villain should share.

1. Personality

We all have unique personalities. Some days we're awesome and some days we're quick to temper and kind of miserable.

When writing your villain, you're actually using the personality of the hero, but spotlighting all the less desirable traits, thereby showing what your hero could become if he makes the wrong choices and vice versa.
  

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When writing your villain, you're actually using the personality of the hero, but spotlighting all the less desirable traits


In the Harry Potter series, Malfoy is basically the snobbish rich kid, but deep down he's insecure and wishes to be the best wizard. He tries to accomplish this by cheating and buying his way through school, but Harry has to rely on skill and hard work.


2. Values


Heroes and villains can have the same value systems, in fact stories are richer for it as opposed to having a soulless bad guy. The reader will have a greater connection with the villain if his motives feel rational. When both the villain and the hero fight for what they believe in the drama is two fold.



Consider, Anne of Green Gables, Anne perceives Gilbert her main competition in the classroom, however even though they both work hard for their grades, Gilbert takes a more cheeky approach to Anne's more serious attitude. This results in making her infuriated, creating perfect drama in their shared scenes.


3. Goals


This is probably the most dramatic trait you can create between your protagonist and antagonist. A shared goal is what creates conflict and provides a reason why these two characters keep crossing paths.



In the comedy, Pitch Perfect, our heroine's choir is up against two other groups (one cheating and the other is unworthy) for the illustrious grand prize.



Why is this important?

Because the easiest way to get to know your characters is to find out what they want and why. In order to create worthy opponents start making a list of the things they have in common. You'll discover this provides a framework for adding depth to your characters and the plot.


Who are some of your favourite hero and villain pairings?

Friday, 23 June 2017

Novel Spotlight: One Night with a Duke

ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE
by Sandra Masters




The Duke Series, Book Five

Reclusive, cold as ice, the politically powerful Raven, Duke of Ravensmere, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby. He is bound by his vow never to allow love to enter his heart again. Samantha Winston permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started as a kiss in the name of safety, becomes something more pleasurable and not so safe after all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected desire.

Samantha, a young widow with a secret, irreverent and high-spirited, has constructed impenetrable walls against all men. When she and Raven meet again, strong wills clash. Political intrigues and a dreaded nemesis place his life at risk, and Samantha finds herself in a dire predicament. All the while, passion soars.

Can Samantha’s barriers fall with more kisses?  Can Raven be released from his deathbed vow?



Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Barnes and Noble //   Kobo // Apple iBooks



Excerpt

Samantha bestowed upon him a smile that rivaled the chandeliers in the ballroom. “I have warned Brandon he is not to bid for me. It would be a total embarrassment to have one’s brother do so. My widow status has its drawbacks, you know.” Her light and pleasurable conversation she hoped would make for a welcome change. “I do hope that none of the rakish kind will offer for my basket. Men do feel widows are fair game. I’m not sure how I would handle such rakes. I have insufficient experience, but I suppose I will have to learn.”

“My dear Samantha, do you expect me to believe that in these past three years, you haven’t encountered disreputable men?” He laughed. “I do believe you will have a sufficient amount of reputable young men who will bid on you and your picnic basket. After all, it’s for a good cause, isn’t it? But I do hope you will keep your conversation light, or you will suffer the young man to have indigestion or apoplexy.

Impishly, she said, “I deserved that. I like your sense of humor. It’s also good to hear you laugh. We do battle well.” Perhaps he could be a man of consequence?

“Indeed, but I warn you, I have not started my retaliation. When one acquires an enemy, I don’t believe in keeping him or her closer; however, I might make an exception for you.”

“Oh. No, I’m not your enemy, Your Grace. Please don’t consider me as one.”

“Perhaps if you try hard, you can change my mind.” A small grin curled his lips.

“What would I have to do?”

“I leave that to your resourcefulness…and mine…under a starlit night with nothing but our naked imaginations.”

“Sweet heaven,” she muttered.

Without further ado, he guided her around the ballroom floor with ease and confidence.

The music played on, and she wished it wouldn’t end. Samantha comported herself it seemed, and so far she managed not to step on his toes with pointed shoes or barbed words. What strategies could she employ to become his friend? Hmm, Aunt Min would tell her to use feminine wiles.

Aquarians, she thought, as they turned the dance floor again, were intellectual, fair, kind and sometimes progressive. Truth, honor, and valor were his trademarks by his admission. However, the other side, which could be considered the worst, was the ability to be remote, stubborn, arrogant and perhaps distrustful. What did she like best about him? After consideration, she thought him suave.

Oh, what a wonderful man.

The dance ended too soon. With exquisite manners, Raven directed her to a quiet corner where they sat on a settee, still in view, but a little more private. “Lady Samantha, we haven’t discussed truth, honor, and valor.” He relaxed his back against the tufted furniture.

She engaged his eyes. “Your Grace, I do apologize as I know that you are true to your sign and that truth and honor are paramount to your standards. It defines you in all you say and do, but pray tell which is more important?”

“They are both important. One does not exist without the other. Valor is thrown into the equation to make it more difficult. You, Samantha, are true to your sign. I believe they are your charm, wit, and a versatile inquisition which is in constant commotion.” He laughed. “I rather like that word commotion. It’s the essence of you.” He paused. “You are constant motion with your lips and mind.”

He spread one arm along the top edge of the settee and cocked his head. “I would also add outspoken
and, at times, impolite and irreverent, although I’m not sure it’s your sign. I think it’s just your nature. After your barrage this evening, allow me to enjoy this moment.”

About the Author



Sandra lives in Coarsegold, California with her husband, Ron, who is her plotster, and their two dogs, Silky Houdini and Sophie Chiquita. When she’s not writing, she’s busy cooking way too much rustic Italian food for friends and family. She loves bears of all kinds and prefers to collect them in paintings and wood carvings. Once in a while In the middle of ordinary life LOVE gives us a FAIRY TALE.

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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Confessions of a Romance Writer: The First Time I Touched 'It'



The first time I touched a penis I was eighteen. There were three of us in the room, two standing and one lying down.

I remember shaking and thinking, "This is it. I'm going to see a real naked penis." I was terrified, but I felt I was on the cusp of a monumental shift in my life, as if I was passing over a tangible line in the sand.

An epiphany, indeed. Everything that had happened to me up to that moment would be forever knows as BP; before penis.

When I was a teenager, if you wanted a sneak peek at the mysteries of the opposite sex, you had to rely on
National Geographic or the Encyclopedia Britannica for a glimpse at nudity. I still remember the first volume—A for anatomy—had these cool transparent overlapping pages detailing the multiple layers of veins, organs, and then finally the skin.

Ew. Penises were ugly. And don't even get me started on the hair. The shock of that picture was enough to make me take down my
Duran Duran poster—after all, that would make five dangling, hairy penises staring at me from the bedroom wall.

pinterest.com

Fast forward a few years and I find myself only a fraction of a body width away from a real one. There was no turning back, I would have to touch it...I knew that much.

Some people enter the pool by diving in and some take the stairs, inching themselves into the water, trying to convince their bodies to keep going deeper. For me, touching the penis was going to have to be tackled with the jumping-in-before-I-chickened-out technique.

I wrapped my hand around the spongy protrusion and waited. And waited.

Is this it? I wondered. Is this rubbery thing what all the love songs are about? Is this what I'll be married to one day?!

"Hold it taut," she said. Her voice was soft, but commanding. "Now gently insert the catheter, taking care once you reach the hub of the bladder." There was a pause. The nursing instructor leaned closer to the head of the hospital bed. She raised her voice and asked, "Are you all right Mr. Kline?"

The grey haired man lying on the bed nodded that he was all right, despite the fact a shaking student nurse was sweating under her gloves and querying the meaning of life while performing his catheterization.

Poor Mr. Kline—that wasn't his real name—I doubt his seventy-five-year-old penis found the moment as definitive as I did.

Once his bladder had been accessed and drained (actual medical terminology on my skills check off list) and the task was completed, my shift came to an end. I marched back to residence in my white, soft soled shoes a little taller. I'd seen a penis, even touched one—heck mauled might be a better word.

And I survived.

I had solved one of the great mysteries that had hung over my head since those days of flipping through the encyclopedia. There was an immediate essence of wisdom within my conscious, but there was also an underlying cunning, like I was harbouring a fantastic secret.

The world seemed a little less scarier or maybe I was a bit more brave.

That night, I decided to do something that terrified me even more than touching a penis. I walked into the local pharmacy, picked up a box of tampons and got in the checkout line that had a male cashier. I even made eye contact with him when I handed over my money.

I was invincible. Hear me roar.

Rest in peace, Mr. Kline. I hope you had many happy years after our brief encounter. Thanks for the memories.

Congratulations! You made it to the end of this post. Please enjoy Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman"



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