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Dee S. Knight: Communicating the Right Words… (Excerpt)
Friday, August 16th, 2019

As writers, we’re totally consumed with words—the style, the quality, the grammatical correctness, the tense, the appropriateness, the number, the… ACK!! Before you know it, you’re curled up in a corner with a glazed look in your eyes, mumbling verses like:

I write them short
I write them long,
But still can’t weave
An author’s song.
My keyboard’s hot
But still no words
That sound much more
Than worthless turds.

Been there, done that. No matter how hard it is to write and re-write, words are our business and their importance can’t be overlooked. Here’s an example of how vital communicating the right word can be.

It was a hot Saturday evening in the summer of 1964 and Fred had a date with Peggy Sue. He arrived at her house and rang the bell.

“Oh, come on in!” Peggy Sue’s mother said as she welcomed Fred. “Would you like something to drink? Lemonade? Iced tea?”

“Iced tea, please,” Fred said.

“So, what are you and Peggy planning to do tonight?” Peggy Sue’s mom asked when she brought the drinks.

“Oh, probably catch a movie, and then maybe grab a bite to eat at the malt shop, maybe take a walk on the beach…”

“Peggy likes to screw, you know,” Mom confided.

“Really?” Fred raised his eyebrows.

“Oh yes,” she continued. “When she goes out with her friends, that’s all they do!”

“Is that so?” asked Fred, incredulously.

“Yes. As a matter of fact, she’d screw all night if we’d let her!”

“Well, thanks for the tip!” Fred said as he began thinking about alternate plans for the evening.

A moment later, Peggy Sue came down the stairs looking pretty as a picture, wearing a pink sweater set and a pleated skirt, and with her hair tied back in a bouncy ponytail. She greeted Fred.

“Have fun, kids!” her mother said as they left.

Half an hour later, a completely disheveled Peggy Sue burst into the house and slammed the front door. “The Twist, Mom!” she yelled to her mother in the kitchen. “The damn dance is called the Twist!”

Poor Peggy Sue. Poor Fred.

So, how can we tell if we’re communicating the right words? Well, there are a few of ways I use. I won’t kid you, they’re all difficult as heck, but they work most of the time.

1. Find overused words like really, that and just and only. I use two ways to do this and both are good.

a. Use the Search feature. Each time one of those words is found, read the sentence and make sure the word is required for the meaning you’re trying to convey. If not, cut!! Yes, really!

b. Read your work out loud. Yes, all of your work, even those hotter than blazes sex scenes. If you have to take a flashlight into the closet to be alone, I can’t emphasize enough how helpful this can be, and for more than finding unneeded words.

2. Reading aloud helps you notice words repeated in close proximity.

*He wore a serious expression.

“We’re in serious trouble,” she said.

“Yes,” he answered, “I’ve hardly ever been in such a serious position.”*

And that’s before they got into bed.

3. Unneeded words bog down your writing. Pay particular attention to the ending of sentences and words immediately after verbs.

*He shrugged his shoulders before answering.* What else would he shrug? his shoulders is not needed.

*“Get out,” she said to her.* If there’re only two people present, to her is not needed.

*Her heart pounded in her chest.* Well, yeah.

*I must get out, she thought to herself.* Yes, if she’s thinking, she’s doing it to herself. No need to say it.

4. Turn your work over to someone else to read. The trick here is to find someone you trust. It’s okay if they like you, but it’s not a necessity.  As long as they’ll be honest about what they read and help you make your work as powerful as possible—meaning with the right words used in the right way—you’re okay. The sad truth is, the same way you easily see errors in someone else’s work, your critique partner will see them in yours. Damn it.

5. Think about what you want each scene to mean. Does each sentence, each paragraph help you accomplish your goal? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to cut words I really, really loved because they didn’t help the scene get where it needed to go. The same goes for scenes within chapters. This is tough to get used to, but if you read your work and you’re into 2-3 pages of narrative, take a step back and make sure you can’t turn that into dialogue or action. Readers have short attention spans and often don’t appreciate your genius in narrative. What’s a writer to do? Cut!

6. And of course (which are unnecessary words, but hey…), make sure the word you’ve used is the word you meant to use. As shown above, there’s a big difference between screwing and twisting!

Only a Good Man Will Do

Seriously ambitious man seeks woman to encourage his goals, support his (hopeful) position as Headmaster of Westover Academy, and be purer than Caesar’s wife. Good luck with that!

Daniel Goodman is a man on a mission. He aims to become headmaster of Westover Academy. For that he needs a particular, special woman to help him set high standards. Into his cut and dried life of moral and upright behavior, comes Eve Star, formerly one of Europe’s foremost exotic dancers. Her life is anything but cut and dried, black and white. Daniel is drawn to her like a kid to chocolate. Nothing good can come of this attraction. Or can it? He is after all, a good man.

Buy links:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2q7ovi4
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1129630612?ean=2940161770603
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/898008
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/only-a-good-man-will-do

Excerpt:

Daniel took his seat in the Academy dining room with a few of the boys from his dormitory. Each table sat six, with a permanent place for a dorm master or table monitor. Each month, the boys rotated tables, assuring they spent casual dining time with their dorm master and others, and learned proper table manners. Usually, Daniel enjoyed meals with his young charges. They were more willing than the older students to talk about what happened during the day, and he often picked up on budding problems by listening to their conversations. For this reason, even though late afternoon-early evening was the part of the day he had free, he usually liked to attend dinner.

However, he’d changed his calls to Eve from four-thirty to after dinner, and now Daniel counted the minutes until the evening meal ended. He urged the boys not to tarry after dessert and then cursed the fact he had to walk sedately rather than sprint back to the dorm. Once there, he made sure to lock the doors and get comfortable before punching her number on the telephone face. A minor dorm crisis requiring both him and his assistant had prevented their saying much more than hello yesterday, and today, though he’d just eaten, he felt like a starving man.

“Nothing a little sugar won’t cure,” he muttered, using Southern slang for kisses.

At the same moment, a deep, male voice answered. “Well, honey, you ain’t gettin’ it from me.” The man laughed. “Hey, doc. Eve told me to tell you she had to go out, and if she missed you, she’d call back as soon as possible.”

“Hi, Jed.” Of course Eve shouldn’t be hanging around waiting for his calls, but he couldn’t help the disappointment that hit like a sledgehammer. “Say, why’d you call me doc?”

Jed laughed. “Ask Eve.”

“I’ll do that. Thanks.” Well. Daniel set the phone back on the side table. All dressed up and nowhere to go. He looked at the remaining term papers he had to grade, but reading the opinions of high school boys on any subject, much less Romeo and Juliet, a love story that ended tragically, didn’t appeal. What he wanted was to hear the voice of the woman who’d ridden him hard and put him away wet on Tuesday evening.

About the Author


A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That’s how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she’s lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. For romance ranging from sweet to historical, contemporary to paranormal and more join Dee on Nomad Authors. Contact Dee at dsknight@deesknight.com.

Author links:
Website: https://nomadauthors.com
Blog: http://nomadauthors.com/blog
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DeeSKnight
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeeSKnight2018
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/265222.Dee_S_Knight
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B079BGZNDN
Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/h8t2y6
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/dee-s-knight-0500749

Desiree Holt: SEAL Undercover (Excerpt)
Thursday, August 15th, 2019

The enemy was hiding in plain sight…

SEAL Undercover
Dedicated to the SEALs who continue to fight for America’s safety and honor

SEAL Undercover is part of the Suspense Sisters Silver SEALs series.

I hope you will check out all the books. ~Desiree

Max DiSalvo gave his entire life to the SEALs. He would have married—he certainly enjoyed women—but he never could find one who understood his dedication to the Teams, even though many of his team members married happily. It takes a certain caliber of woman to be a SEAL wife and Max just never found one that fit with him. Now, at 48, he is out of the SEALs, running his own commercial fishing company in Maine where he grew up, and waiting for his assignments from DHS.

Regan Shaw, a SEAL widow, is an Intelligence Operations Specialist with DHS, and a woman who Max is drawn to from first sight. Part of her job is analyzing information to assess threats and she’s discovered a doozy—there is a secret group of very wealthy people who, in partnership with a powerful cartel, are using the border with Mexico to smuggle terrorists from the Middle East into the country. And word has come down that a high-level member of the government is clearing the way with them for everything.

The group is about to have one of its executive meetings at an exclusive resort in Texas and that’s where DHS is sending the two of them. Credentials have been arranged that would make him attractive to the group. A story has been set and there is backup for him should he need it. Regan, who has all the information on this operation, will go with him as his wife.

As they uncover more and more of the operation, they realize just how dangerous this group really is. When someone betrays them, and Regan is kidnapped, Max goes into war mode, because in Regan Shaw he’s found the woman he’s waited for all his life and he doesn’t intend to lose her now. But he will need every bit of the skills that he learned as a SEAL to rescue her and bring down this very dirty conspiracy.

Excerpt:

“And what does he get out of it.”

“He thinks he’s getting a free pass on prison and will have the opportunity to live out his life on some island in luxury.”

“He thinks? And what’s really going to happen.”

“That’s above my pay grade.” He walked over to Max. “Anyway, as soon as I saw the picture and heard the name, I knew we had to get you into this. You’ve got all the necessary skills. If you say yes, you’ve got five days to learn everything you need to know to become Max Ferron.”

“What happens then?”

“Their next very private, very secret meeting I told you about? It’s taking place at a lodge hidden away from the world. We believe it’s the final get-together before July 4th. We want you to go in there as Max Ferren and get every bit of information available to bring them down.”

Max gave a hard laugh. “You don’t want much, do you.”

“Listen. You’re our only chance. There’s no one else we can insert. We’ll give you all the protection we can. But, in the end, it may be up to you.” He sighed. “Will you do it, Max? I know this is a cheesy line, but like I said earlier, your country needs you.”

Max stared out the window for a long time. He knew this was risky. He might even get killed. But for the first time since he’d been shot, his blood was stirring and his pulse racing. He had a purpose. This was what he lived for. To serve his country in any way he could.

“Well?” Si prodded.

Max turned. “You knew I’d do it, or you’d never have come here. But I need the morning to get things organized with the boat crews and put someone in charge while I’m away.”

“No problem.”

“Fourth of July, huh? They picked a symbolic day to do this. On purpose, I’m sure.”

“No shit. The assholes. I’d like to take them apart myself.” He paused. “There’s one more thing. I haven’t discussed it with anyone except my boss and Regan.”

“Yeah? What’s that?”

“Part of their attack could include biological weapons.”

Max’s blood chilled, and he had trouble breathing. “Bioterrorism? Are you kidding me?”

“I hope so. We haven’t picked up any chatter about it, but you know it is a favorite of the terrorists in the Middle East.”

Max knew that very well. The possibility of it on missions was always there in the background, which was why they carried special gear.

“Fuck, Si. We need to shut this damn thing down before it goes any further.”

Si nodded. “That we do. Okay, I’ll have the chopper pick us up at one tomorrow. That do it for you?”

“The chopper?” Max chuckled. “Yeah, that’ll be fine, but we’d better do it somewhere away from here or the townspeople will be gossiping twenty/four seven.”

“Gotcha. Oh, and there’s a bonus with this. You’ll have a wife with you.”

“A wife?” Max stared at his friend.

“Yeah. Max Ferron was recently married. No one in the group has met her, but we had Bernardo vouch for her along with his brother.”

“They can’t be too happy about all this.”

Si nodded. “They’re not. But Bernardo’s been a driving force in this group. His arms and munitions are the key to pulling this off. He’s had to reach out to others to gather the quantity he needs, which means they’re no doubt already setting up the beginning of their worldwide network.”

Max stared at the other man. “And who is this woman who’s my supposed wife?”

“She works for DHS as an Intelligence Operations Specialist. Analyzes chatter coming in. She’s the one who first picked up on this. When she did, she was moved onto the Bone Frog staff so we could keep the people in the loop as few as possible. She’s been thoroughly briefed ln everything and will be a big help.”

Right. Some computer analyst who probably thought this would be a walk in the park.

Preorder here:

https://www.amazon.com/SEAL-Undercover-Silver-SEALs-Book-ebook/dp/B07SV4ZDX1/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=SEAL+Undercover&qid=1564088815&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Then come join us here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DesireesDarlings/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

You can email me here: authordesireeholt@gmail.com

Caroline Clemmons: An Agent for Magdala (Contest, FREE Read, & Excerpt)
Monday, August 12th, 2019

Thank you, Delilah, for hosting me as your guest.

Hello Readers, I’m Caroline Clemmons and I write western romance. That sounds a bit like I’m at an anti-addiction meeting, doesn’t it? Well, writing is an addiction—but I’m not trying to recover. I love being a writer. Of course, I’m a reader, too.

My husband and I live in North Central Texas where we are staff to three cats and a dog. Other than being with my husband and children, my happy place is in my little office that I call my pink cave. Surrounded by books and memorabilia, I create stories I love on my desktop computer. I hope readers love them, too. My intention is that readers are uplifted and entertained by my stories.

Usually, I write historical romances, but I also author contemporaries, time travels, and mysteries set in the west. So far, I’ve written fifty-two titles and I’ve plans for many more. No matter how many times I write the same time period, each book requires specific research. For my latest release, AN AGENT FOR MAGDALA, Pinkerton Matchmaker Series book 37, I searched for the land route from Denver to San Antonio, Texas in 1871. I was astonished to learn that not only were there no rail lines where I needed them to be, there were very few roads a passenger stagecoach would travel—rough terrain, little water, lots of Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache made travel difficult.

My two Pinkerton agents are assigned a case in San Antonio, Texas and must travel there from Denver. At that time San Antonio had a little over eight thousand people. This community had been a trade center beginning in the eighteenth century with the Spanish. They established five missions there: the Alamo, Concepción, San Jose, San Juan, and Estrada. Even people who are not from Texas have probably heard of the Alamo. I was surprised to learn that at the time of the famous battle in 1836, the Alamo had a flat roof and not the arched one added during restoration.

A large portion of AN AGENT FOR MAGDALA takes place in The Menger Hotel. The Menger has been an important San Antonio destination since 1859. When the hotel opened, Mary and William Menger were so successful that they immediately added more rooms. Through its life the hotel has been remodeled as new conveniences became available and has remained popular with travelers. There is a rumor that ghosts reside in the Menger but when our youngest daughter stayed there she did not encounter one. Frankly, she was a little disappointed even though she enjoyed the hotel’s accommodations.

AN AGENT FOR MAGDALA

She craves adventure, but this may be too much…
His job means the world to him…
Capturing jewel thieves will test them…

Magdala leaps at the opportunity to become a Pinkerton agent. Learning the position requires a paper marriage shocks but doesn’t deter her. She plans to get an annulment before her unusual family learns of the situation. She’s determined to prove she has the grit to be an excellent investigator. But, why does she have to be partnered with the one man who has been rude to her?
Douglas “Cloud” Ryan loves being a Pinkerton agent. Otherwise, he’d never go along with his boss’ crazy plan to marry him to a female agent. He’s certain women have no business dealing with criminals. After enduring the stagecoach trip from Denver to San Antonio, Maggie needs to stay in the background and let him solve the case. He has reasons to distrust women, especially women like Maggie.
Can Maggie and Cloud catch the jewel thieves plaguing an historic San Antonio hotel without becoming victims? Will they take a chance on the love growing between them?

Here’s an excerpt from their first full day in the Menger Hotel where they’re pretending to be Princess Magdala of Bayergrovenia and her husband, the Duke of Montpelier:

He’d learned that Maggie was cheerful when she first woke. He envied her because he needed an hour or two before he could appreciate people. There he went again. Concentrate on the case instead of thinking about her habits and moods.

Instead of the voluminous coat she’d had with her on the trip, today she wore a fur jacket. He had to admit that in a green dress that looked very expensive and wearing a fur, no one would doubt she was a princess. Her jewelry was less spectacular than she’d worn last night, but still eye-catching.

After breakfast, Cloud pulled out his pocket watch. “Perfect timing. Shall we meet the McMillans?”

He held her chair while she stood then she put her hand on his arm. Man, she was good at looking regal. If he didn’t know differently, he’d believe she really was a princess.

But, apparently people thought he was a duke. Even though the admission cost his pride, he had to confess he and Maggie made a good pair. They looked and acted—at least in public—their parts of a happily married royal couple who had plenty of money and time to spend it.

Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Agent-Magdala-Pinkerton-Matchmaker-Book-ebook/dp/B07V3G4QHY/

Contest

To thank you for reading this far, I’m giving a $10 Amazon gift card to one person who leaves a comment on this post telling me their favorite fictional hero or heroine.

I love to stay in touch with readers:
Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a FREE novella
Follow me on my Amazon Author Page where all my books are shown: https://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Clemmons/e/B001K8CXZ6/
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Join my Facebook Readers Group – Caroline’s Cuties https://www.facebook.com/groups/277082053015947/
My website is http://www.carolineclemmons.com

Once more, Delilah, thank you for sharing your blog with me.

Linda O’Connor: Hockey & Table Settings (Excerpt)
Sunday, August 11th, 2019

Thanks so much for welcoming to your blog, Delilah. I always enjoy visiting! I’d like to share the spotlight with Sarah, the heroine from Between the Pipes.

Hi everyone, Sarah here! I thought I’d pop in and introduce myself. From nine to five, I’m a family doctor, and two evenings a week I run a mobile clinic —essentially, I bring the clinic to teens living on the street.

Working at the mobile clinic is the best part of my week. It’s something I founded when I moved to Clarington after graduating, and I’m extremely proud of it. I’ve been in Clarington for 4 years now and share a lot of adventures with my three friends — Danni Angelo, Kelly Danali, and Jordyn Kendra.

I love Clarington, but I have a bit of a confession. I don’t like hockey. I mean, I really don’t like hockey. I know, shh. I think I’m the only one in all of Clarington who isn’t crazy about the hometown team, the Clarington Quakes. But frankly, if I never step foot in an arena, I wouldn’t miss it. But that’s okay. I’ve lived very happily and pretty easily under the radar — so far (despite my best friend being the team doctor!)

My favourite hobby when I’m not working is setting tables. I like to entertain, and I enjoy the creative process of creating a lovely tablescape. Funny — when I visit other people I’m happy to eat off paper plates if they want to make a meal for me. But when I invite someone over, I get just as much enjoyment from setting the table as I do sharing the meal. Here are a few of my favourites. (I have a lot of dishes 🙂 )

Between the Pipes
(In the Game Hockey Romance, Book 1)

In the Game Hockey Romance series
Medical Romantic Comedy
Sports romance – hockey

Sarah Jain is a family doctor in a hockey-crazy town. She hates hockey. She hasn’t gone anywhere near a rink in years, until her friend, the team doctor, calls in a favour. Mike Wallace is the starting goalie for the Clarington Quakes, the local professional hockey team. He’s not about to let an injury slow him down or a rookie doctor call the shots.

Sarah and Mike don’t respect each other’s jobs. When they have to work together, sparks fly and ice melts. Can they play a game they both can win?

Amazon Link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078SHLX8T/

Excerpt

She’d love any excuse to spend time with him. It’d be so easy to say yes. But going for coffee together veered into the realm of personal. If she could keep their relationship professional, it wouldn’t be a problem, but she was already attracted to him. Much as she wanted to say yes, her conscience said no. First, he was a patient, and second, how could she think about getting involved with a hockey player? Passion for hockey was the last thing they’d ever share. As tempting as it was, she needed to give this one a miss.

“I’m sorry. Unfortunately, I can’t.”

“You sure?” Mike smiled slowly. “I could spring for a jelly donut.”

She laughed. He didn’t have to sweeten the invitation. He was eye-candy enough. “Tempting, but…”

“Too much sugar? How ’bout an apple fritter? Sounds a little healthier.”

It really was too bad. “Ah well, I was going to go for a bike ride.” That was good. Sounded athletic…she had plans. Nothing personal.

“On your own?”

She nodded reluctantly.

“You know, I have the day off. I could come along and prove that my ribs are okay. If I can cycle, then I can play.”

His eyes looked so hopeful. She felt awful, but she needed to dissuade him. “I don’t go very fast.” Sarah winced silently. He potentially had a rib fracture. He needed slow.

“I don’t mind.”

“It might rain.” She scowled at the beautiful blue skies, without a trace of clouds.

Mike laughed. “I don’t mind getting wet. Why don’t I grab a picnic lunch, and we can meet at the South Lock parking lot in an hour? We can cycle along the river, break for lunch, and come back. How does that sound?”

Perfect, she thought glumly. For a bad idea, it sounded perfect.

About the Author

Award-winning author Linda O’Connor started writing romantic comedies when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at a local home décor store. Her books have enjoyed bestseller status. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic. She shares her medical knowledge in fast-paced, well-written, sexy romances — with an unexpected twist. Her favourite prescription to write? Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Website: http://www.lindaoconnor.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaOConnorAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaOConnor98
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-OConnor/e/B00S7CNLEA
Newsletter Sign up: http://www.lindaoconnor.net/contact/

Mary Marvella: Protecting Melissa (Excerpt)
Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

I think I have an entity that hides things from me. No joke! Twice in the past two months I bought allergy/mucus relief meds that got lost in my car. Maybe some entity was telling me not to take them, since I had been taking the meds a lot lately and some folks say they are bad for us. With the first set of meds, my calendar also disappeared. I still like paper calendars, and I depend on mine. Of course, I saw none for 2019 in the Dollar Tree, so I bought a notebook to fill in as a calendar and a calendar for 2020. As luck would have it, new calendars for the school year appeared in stores after I created my own. I didn’t find the lost one after I created one. Nor did the meds show up. Usually, things I replace show up to mock me. Maybe Mercury being in retrograde has something to do with my losses.

With the second set of meds I also had herbal tea bags in boxes. That bag never made it into my house, but it wasn’t in my car, either. The boxes should have made losing the bag less likely. BUT it didn’t! Again, maybe I wasn’t supposed to take the meds, but the tea?

The kicker, this time, is a blood pressure cuff and a pack of batteries. I bought it Sunday, but it didn’t make it into my house. Yes, I searched my trunk and the inside of my car, ’cause I tossed my wallet and my cell phone onto the driver’s seat and two larger bags into my trunk. The receipt for the BP cuff and I will go back to the store where I bought it and hope I left the bag in my buggy when I took it back inside.

The clerk seemed off when he rung up my purchases, but I know he gave it to me, and I know my allergy brain wasn’t working, soooo maybe I did take it back inside.

This summer has been crazy. I now have three books in the Protective Series.

Check out Protecting Melissa.

Protecting Melissa


Get your copy here!

Protecting Melissa is a Romantic Suspense set in Georgia.

Melissa isn’t looking for romance since the murder of her cheating, swindling husband. She wants to teach and mind her own business. However, someone her husband cheated is determined to make her repay money her husband stole before his murder in the bed of one of his paramours.

Complications arise when Gabe, her former crush, walks into her classroom to check on his son, one of her students. The kid has a secret, she knows that secret, and his father wants to know that secret.

When Gabe and Melissa leave a basketball game and find all four tires on her vintage Mustang flat, he determines she needs his protection, despite her insistence she doesn’t. Gabe and Melissa’s brother were best friends. He looked after her when she tagged along behind him and her brother. Since her brother is out of the country Gabe feels obligated to protect her, just until her brother returns.

Someone has planted cameras in her house and made intimate looking photographs he shares on the Internet with her students. Who is sending her threatening emails and how far will her go to get what he wants?

Excerpt:

Melissa and Gabe have been to the police station to report a threatening call from the night before and have returned to her house. Gabe has checked every inch of her house to make sure no one has been there or could get inside. Feeling safe, she checks her email.

Following the laughter, he found her at her desktop computer. “What’s so funny?” he asked.

“Email.”

He leaned over her shoulder, reading her message.

“Mom has her laptop with her. She sends stories about their stops. Look!” She pointed to a comment. “They’re having such a good time.”

“Be a shame to give them a reason to worry about you.”

“After all the stuff you did to my house, no one could break in here. I’m perfectly safe. So go away.”

She closed her mom’s email.

She didn’t recognize the next address. The subject line read Favorite Teacher.

She laughed again. “Probably a project for computer class. Let’s open the attachment and check it out.”

“No signature, darlin’. Do you recognize the screen name?” Gabe pulled a chair beside hers. Her gardenia scent nearly made his eyes cross with desire. Damn the situation. The damned situation was the reason he was alone with her and so close he could feel her body heat and the reason he’d had a hard-on much of the past two days.

“Do you really think I know all the screen names for my students? I have a hundred and forty students and a homeroom list of thirty. Then there are my past students and the faculty.”

“And they all have your email address?”

“A lot of kids use it to ask about assignments. Some keep in touch during school breaks and some send me photos. A few send me jokes and such. I discourage that because of the volume and time factor. Way too many kids.”

She downloaded the attachment and saved to the desktop. Then she opened it.

Her picture appeared on the screen. She stood in front of her classroom.

Gabe laughed. “An admirer, I see.”

“Probably from the yearbook candids.”

The first photo faded and a second one took its place. It showed Lissie running, concentration in her expression. It was grainy like an enlargement of a telephoto lens shot but still a good action photo. It grabbed his attention.

Seeing the third photo appear, he took the mouse from under her hand. Her gasp made him look at her, then back at the image of her sprawled across her bed, her eyes closed, the cover rumpled. Her gown had settled high on her thighs. One hand held the hem of the gown and the other rested on her breast.

“Pervert!” he growled. His cock loved the photo, but his conscience wanted smash the person who had taken it.

Gabe reached past Lissie to turn on her radio, in case someone was listening to them.

Her voice came out in a whisper. “How did that happen? Gabe, someone broke into my house and watched me sleep. That’s why I felt like someone was watching me.”

He grabbed his cell and dialed Bry’s number. (Bry is a cop.)

Lissie gasped. “Omigod!”

He wrapped an arm around her, waiting for Bry to answer his phone, and watched the next photo materialize on the screen. It showed her car with its slashed tires and Lissie examining them.

“Oh, shit! Come on, Bry, answer.” He pounded the desk. He muttered an obscenity as the voice mail rambled on. “Call me on my cell ASAP,” he muttered into his phone.

The final photo showed Lissie in her shower.

Links: Connect with the author
https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Marvella/e/B008E1SJ32
https://goodreads.com/author/show/4909455.Mary_Marvella
https://www.facebook.com/ARomanceCaper
www.MaryMarvella.com
https://www.facebook.com/mmbarfield
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Marvella- Author/121044561311561
http://pinkfuzzyslipperwriters.blogspot.com
Follow Mary Marvella on Twitter: @mmarvellab
http://amzn.to/22t6vOC
https://www.amazon.com/Her-Deception-M-Mayfield-ebook/dp/B07HF4X5V2/

Claire Gem: Writing Romance in Haunted Places
Thursday, August 1st, 2019

“Why do you write ghost stories?”

It’s a question I’m often asked, especially since my novels cross genres—contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and supernatural romantic suspense.

The answer is simple:

I believe in ghosts. Have I ever seen a ghost? Yes, and no.

I’ve sensed spirits, more than once, in more than one old, abandoned building. When the hairs on the back of my neck and on my arms rise, and there’s no chilly air to explain it, I know I’m in the presence of something supernatural. I’ve caught fleeting glimpses out of the corner of my eye of . . . something. A figure, a shadow, a presence that, when I turn to try and focus on it, evaporates like vapor. More than once I’ve not been alone when this happens, and my companions have had the same experience.

So yes, I do believe in ghosts, or spirits, or whatever your preferred term is. I think there are at least two kinds of hauntings: residual and intelligent. Residual hauntings are shadows of people who lived in a time past (or perhaps in the future). These apparitions are like black-and-white frames from an old movie. They are visible, or can be sensed, but keep playing over and over in an endless loop of whatever they were doing or experiencing when they were alive. You cannot communicate with residual hauntings. Over time, they gradually fade away and eventually disappear.

Intelligent hauntings, however, I believe are spirits who are trapped between this life and the next. They are stuck here, in our conscious realm, for whatever reason: a child or other person dies but does not know they are dead; a person died with some unfinished business here in this realm; they are confused, and don’t know how to “cross over.” Some of these intelligent hauntings can be communicated with, under the right circumstances. Some, angry because they’re trapped in between, can be dangerous (like poltergeists).

“How, since you work in scientific research by day, can you believe in anything paranormal?”

That’s an easy answer as well. There actually is a scientific theory, in quantum physics, of parallel universes. We may well be existing in our own conscious realm alongside those who have passed, who lived long ago, or have yet to be born. In my mind, the quantum theory explains it. Just because we don’t fully understand how it all works doesn’t mean it isn’t the way things are.

“Are your love stories between ghosts? Or between real human beings?”

No, my love stories are between very real, very human, very flawed individuals who all have issues of their own, whether inside or out, they need to resolve. They meet in some location where spirits are trapped. Sometimes they have a hard time believing in the paranormal, but one way or the other, the spirits make believers out of them. And in their quest to free the trapped spirits, they also happen to fall in love.

“Why romance plus the ghost story? Why not just write about hauntings?”

Another easy answer: because I believe in true love, and I believe in a happily-ever-after. I know most people would like to think it can be reality (thus the popularity of the romance genre), but not everyone is lucky enough to find their special soulmate. I married mine over forty years ago and have never looked back.

Also, because these are the kinds of stories I like to read: heart-melting romance laced with the thrills and chill of the supernatural. I couldn’t ever find enough to read, so I started writing my own.

In my newest release, ELECTRICITY, my heroine, Mercedes Donohue, is an electrician who fled her home in Atlanta with her teenage son after a particularly bad divorce. She’s returned to Massachusetts, where she was born and lived up until her teens, when her adoptive parents moved to Atlanta.

My hero, Daniel Gallagher, is also an electrician who works on the same team as Mercy. He has avoided any serious relationships since his fiancé was killed in a car wreck twelve years ago, after stubbornly refusing to take his advice, driving off in a terrible storm. He’s not getting involved with another stubborn, independent woman ever again.

When Mercy joins the team, though, she short-circuits his plans. The electricity between them is simply too strong.

Their first big job together is an old mental asylum, which has its share of secret tunnels and lingering, tortured spirits. Neither Mercy nor Daniel believe in ghosts, so there’s no problem, right?

The spirits of Gravely Hall figure out a way to make them believers.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/K6m8T51ziFU
Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2MdeRIY

New Release!
ELECTRICITY: A Haunted Voices Novel

She’s an electrician starting over with her son. New job. New town. New life.

He’s a coworker who’s interested in more than her ability to run conduit.

The building they’re rewiring was once an insane asylum…but it appears some of the patients never left.

Mercedes Donohue pulled up roots in Atlanta when her marriage imploded. She’s come back to New England, to the place where she was born. Mercy’s focus is to stabilize her teenage son’s life—he took the breakup pretty hard—and to establish her place, gain the respect of Progressive Electrical’s team.

She never expected so many sparks to fly so soon, both on the job and after hours.

Daniel Gallagher has been alone since his fiancé’s death. He’ll never feel that way about any woman again, and certainly won’t try with another independent, strong-willed one. Then Mercy short-circuits his plans.

Although the asylum closed its doors over thirty-five years ago, it seems some of the patients never left . . .

If you like a heart-melting romance laced with healthy dose of supernatural thrills and chills, you’ll love Electricity.

Link to Trailer: https://youtu.be/K6m8T51ziFU
Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2IJr0BD

Excerpt:

Mercy had gotten to the very last wire when the lightning struck.

At least that’s what it felt like. A burst of blue light momentarily blinded her, and a deafening crack pierced her brain. The force of the jolt blew her backwards and set her ears ringing.

The next few seconds slowed surreally. Dizzy and confused, Mercy, ladder and all, careened away from the wall in silent, slow motion. As if in a dream. No pain, no fear.

Then she landed, flat on her back on the floor, the impact rattling her jaw. Pain shot through her then as the ladder bounced off her chest once, and then settled heavy on top, pinning her to the dust-laden tile.

“DAMN it!” Mercy’s oath blew out with the last of the air in her lungs.

“What the holy hell?” Conner was standing over her in seconds, yanking the ladder off with one hand. The other two men raced over, and Daniel dropped to one knee to hold Mercy down by one shoulder.

“Don’t try to move till you’re sure nothing’s broken,” he muttered.

“I thought you said we were off at the main, Bro! Holy hell!” Jacob was wild-eyed, shoving Conner with one of his gloved hands. “You tryin’ to get us all killed?”

Mercy felt as though a horse had just trotted over her ribcage, squashing one breast under each hoof. The back of her head throbbed even though her safety helmet had protected her from a possible concussion. Her breath was coming in short, shallow bursts. “Let me up, Daniel. I’m okay,” she barked through clenched teeth, wrenching her shoulder from under his grip and sitting up.

She could not, however, feel her left hand. She stared down at the blackened fingers of her glove. Were there still operable digits under the leather? Or just charred stumps?

As though he’d read her mind, Daniel locked a strong hand around her wrist. His eyes flashed to hers once before he said, “I’m going to see what’s going on under here.” Slowly, he pressed on each finger of the glove. “Hurt?” he asked.

Mercy shook her head. “No. They’re numb. Or gone. I can’t feel them at all.”

Daniel sucked in a breath and said, “Not unusual to be numb for a while.” His eyes slid toward hers again, and she hoped he couldn’t see her fear. His gaze was steady, intense. “I’m gonna cut the glove off. Stop me if it hurts, okay?”

Mercy watched, holding her breath as Daniel wielded a pair of snips from his belt and began clipping away at the wristband of her glove. He worked methodically, gently, cradling her hand on his knee the whole time. Once he’d opened the entire back of the glove, he turned her hand over and did the same on the palm side.

He took a deep breath as he slid the cutting tool back into his belt, then raised his eyes to hers. “You ready?”

Mercy swallowed and nodded. Daniel grabbed the edges of the leather and gently worked the covering free.

She let out a whoosh of relief when she looked down on five fingers, only slightly reddened, complete with intact fingernails. They were still numb but began to tingle as she flexed her knuckles.

“Good gloves you got there,” Daniel mumbled. He flashed her a narrow gaze. “Forgot to use your tester first, huh?”

Mercy snatched her hand away, fury flaring in her chest. “I used the damned tester on the main feed, and on the first three fuses, like I always do. How the hell was I supposed to know there was more than one source to the freaking panel?”

***

About Claire Gem
Contemporary, Romantic, Soul-Freeing

Claire is an award winning-author of supernatural suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. She also writes Author Resource guide books and presents seminars on writing craft and marketing. Her supernatural suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival, and was a finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards.

Claire loves exploring the paranormal and holds a certificate in Parapsychology from Duke University’s Rhine Research Center. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University.

A New York native, Claire now lives in Massachusetts with her husband of 40 years. When she’s not writing, she works for Tufts University in the field of scientific research. She is available for seminars and media interviews and loves to travel for book promotional events.

Media Links
Email: gem.writer@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.clairegem.com
Blogs: http://www.clairegem.wordpress.com
http://www.hauntedpathways.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clairegem.author
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/gemwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8284235.Claire_Gem
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2nabvbm
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO-vB7WDZhEQ8U4YpC937ng

Cornelia Amiri: Groove On Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary — With A Far-Out Time-Travel Trip To The Happening In 1969 (Excerpt)
Monday, July 29th, 2019

Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary is this summer, Thursday, August 15 to Sunday, August 18, 2019. Fifty years ago, in 1969 from August 15 to 18, throngs of people came together in Bethel, N.Y. for four days of peace, love, and music. It turned out to be one of the biggest and grooviest rock festivals ever, and an iconic cultural and historical event. The concert was far-out with thirty-two acts including Joan Baez, Santana, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, Jonny Winter, The Band, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Jimi Hendrix with what was probably the most memorable performance of the festival—his profound rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Food was in short supply at Woodstock because the promoters only expected about 50,000, but around 400,000 showed up—which also created the largest traffic jam in the history of the Catskills, forcing State police to close the New York State Thruway’s Exit 104. Plus, on the second day of the festival, a downpour transformed the grounds of Max Yasgur’s dairy farm into a sea of mud.

Yasgur’s former farm, the site where all of this took place, has been remembered by the opening of both the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and the Museum at Bethel Woods on the grounds and was also added to the National Register of Historic Places.

I am a babyboomer but I was only 12 in 1969—too young to hitchhike to Woodstock, unfortunately. However I always wanted to go, so by writing about it, I got to go, at least mentally, and I get to take all you wonderful readers along with me as well as two of my favorite characters, Cash and Keith. This Woodstock, time-travel, baby boomer, comedy romance of mine is called Back To The One I Love.


The thrilling adventure of first love and self-discovery is just as groovy the second time around.

A free-spirited, baby boomer couple, Cash and Keith, find their marriage of forty-five years unraveling amid apathy, boredom, and retirement. Cash feels Keith is no longer attracted to her and he’s consumed with a couch-potato life of streaming The Orville and Game of Throne episodes all day long. Trying to hang on to their marriage and rekindle the romance they lost along the way they turn to a counselor. The therapist uses an unorthodox magical method of a time-traveling Volkswagen van to cast them back into the garden…four days of Eden at Woodstock….the epic music festival… where they first fell in love.
Will the freedom of Woodstock lure Keith and Cash to push their individual boundaries and seek new lovers? Or can Déjà Vu and grooving to music….truly lead them to rediscover the peace, love, and harmony they once shared?

Excerpt:

Cash’s mind was in a haze, floating with the music, moving her body freely―bouncing, jiggling, dancing her heart out.

Keith clapped with Cash as Jimi Hendrix picked the strings and worked the frets as he played “The Star Spangled Banner.”

In his hands, the inanimate object, the sleek, white electric Stratocaster, came to life, with jolts of electricity like Frankenstein’s monster.

This was no confused, lonely monster Hendrix created, Cash thought. This is raw, spiritual beauty.

“The notes are ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ mixed with truth and distortion, fear and hope, chaos and order, all fighting each other. It sounds like bombs and guns, screams of pain, and the whirl of army helicopters, all from the strings of his guitar,” Keith said.

“The national anthem has never been played like that before him or since him,” Cash said, with an edge of awe to her voice.

“He’s telling a story of freedom fighting to break through prejudices, lies, and cover-ups just by the way he’s playing the song,” Keith added.

“He’s incredible.” Goosebumps prickled on Cash’s arms when Jimi Hendrix laid the guitar on the stage and picked it as he ritually set it on fire, letting hype and lies go up in smoke and flames.

Tears formed in the corners of her eyes. “It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,” she said in an emptily charged, broken whisper.

Keith gulped hard. “It blows my mind.” He slapped his palms together, clapping with Cash, a long time after Hendrix left the stage.

“And we saw it twice, together.” She slipped her arm around Keith’s waist.

“How special are we?” He slid his arm around her shoulder and pulled her tight to him.

*~*~*

You can find more on Back To the One I Love here and Peace, Love, Music here.