Sunday, December 21, 2014

What a Puzzle

I love word puzzles. Crosswords, word search, whatever the puzzle. I love them. Including the New York Times Sunday crosswords - the only word puzzle I do in pencil. All other puzzles, it's pen for me. :) 

I use them as a way to relax. Some people find that odd, but they really do relax me. Well, okay, not the NYT Sunday one - that one sometimes frustrates me - but I do them before I go to bed in order to unwind.

My dad first started me on crosswords when I was little. I was a "slow" reader. Then my dad, an amazing man who never had a lot of education, but who had a love of the written word. He would take me up on his lap and read to me or do puzzles with me. When we went out in the car, if we were stopped somewhere, he'd find a billboard for me to look at and ask me to make as many words as I could out of the letters on the billboard. He made learning into a game.

And it worked. I became a voracious reader, a writer, an editor... and to this day, I still love word puzzles.

Thank you, Dad. :)

A word challenge for you:
Choose one from #1 and 2 from #2 and use it to write a quick story:

1. "teller of secrets" or "celebrity stalker"
2. "backpack" or "guilt" or "letter to the editor" or "revenge" or "award ceremony"

Vicky

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guest author: KaLyn Cooper


That Sinking Feeling...Wahoo! A Submarine Ride


We just returned from the annual family vacation, celebrating Christmas early with Macho Marine’s side. They always choose a warm climate.  


Unlike the last several years, we did NOT go to Cancun. And in case you were wondering, those vacations were the impetus to write Christmas in Cancun which is now available most everywhere books are sold.

This year we cruised the Southern Caribbean. Look for Captivated in Cancun in 2015. Lilly’s story will take you into the world of human trafficking via cruise ships. Are you seeing a pattern here? 


If you’ve ever taken a cruise, you know there are excursions you can take in every port. I’ve always wanted to dive deep, but that becomes very complicated using SCUBA gear, so when I saw the opportunity to take a ride in a submarine, I jumped on it. Literally. 


For Macho Marine, it was no big deal. As a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he’d spent time in a “real” sub before deciding big gray boats weren’t for him. But for this woman, who at one time had dreamed of exploring the ocean’s bottom as a career, it was AWESOME! 


Through the large portals on both sides, you could see so much. Purple fan coral three-feet in diameter swayed in the current. Tubular, lime-green sponges shot straight up from the sandy floor. Whips of black coral six-feet long stretched to reach the surface far above. Yellow and red brain coral the size of an ottoman sat unaffected as the 48-passenger sub passed by. A school of juvenile, yellow tail fish, twelve to twenty inches, long circled us as we slowly we descended to 148 feet below the surface. The farther we went down, the more sparse the life. It became an undersea desert of white sand, and a shipwreck. The vessel had been scuttled several years ago as part of reef-building, but it was still cool. 


As an author, I want readers to feel like they are with Rafe and Harper (Explosive Combination) running through the dense, humid jungle in Colombia, and snorkeling on the colorful reef to see the underwater Virgin Mary with Jack and Jillian (Christmas in Cancun). Maybe someday I'll write a book about a submarine.


I want to hear from you - If for Christmas, someone gave you the trip of a lifetime, you could go anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go? What would you do? Tell me about your dream vacation and you’ll be entered to win the Christmas in Cancun promotion diamond earrings.



Author Links



Email:  KaLyn@KaLynCooper.com
Twitter: @KaLynCooperbooks
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/kalyncooper

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Jumping Into the Fire

I had an idea for a story two weeks ago. That's nothing new. I have notebooks full of ideas. I have binders full of manuscripts. New ideas hit me all the time.

But this one was different.

Why? Because it is for a straight-up contemporary sweet romance. Okay, I thought, I'll jot my notes down but this isn't what I normally write. Two weeks later, I have over a dozen pages. It's flowing like a story hasn't for me for a while. As I'm writing, I keep wondering when the spaceship or alien is going to appear? Or where are the witches and mages? After all, I write futuristics and paranormals, not sweet contemporaries.

And yet... it is flowing so well. So I'm going to keep writing this new story and see where it goes. Who knows? Maybe it will actually turn out to be something that works well for me.

And if it doesn't? I can always put them in outer space. :)


Monday, December 08, 2014

Guest author: Jessica Cale



Thank you so much for hosting me, Vicky! I have an excerpt for you from my new release, Tyburn, a dark historical romance that was just released today by Liquid Silver. I hope you enjoy it!


Tyburn Blurb:

Sally Green is about to die.

She sees Death in the streets. She can taste it in her gin. She can feel it in the very walls of the ramshackle brothel where she is kept to satisfy the perversions of the wealthy. She had come to London as a runaway in search of her Cavalier father. Instead, she found Wrath, a sadistic nobleman determined to use her to fulfill a sinister ambition. As the last of her friends are murdered one by one, survival hinges on escape.

Nick Virtue is a tutor with a secret. By night he operates as a highwayman, relieving nobles of their riches to further his brother’s criminal enterprise. It’s a difficult balance at the best of times, and any day that doesn’t end in a noose is a good one. Saving Sally means risking his reputation, and may end up costing him his life.

As a brutal attack throws them together, Sally finds she has been given a second chance. She is torn between the tutor and the highwayman, but she knows she can have neither. Love is an unwanted complication while Wrath haunts the streets. Nick holds the key to Wrath’s identity, and Sally will risk everything to bring him to justice.
      
Unless the gallows take her first.

Excerpt:

“You don’t need to fear me,” he said, in a voice he hoped was soothing.

“I don’t,” she replied, her voice hoarse. She cleared her throat. “Thank you for saving me.”

As Nick sat on the edge of his trunk behind her, he settled his thighs around her hips, pulling her close enough to allow him to see the even silk stitches he had placed a fortnight before. Her head swayed with the movement and he caught the sweet smell of her skin as she drew near. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before answering, “You don’t need to thank me. I’m glad I was able to.”

He eased the shift off her shoulders, his hands skimming her smooth sides. Her arms crossed her chest to clutch the loose linen over her breasts. Every inch of exposed flesh revealed a new piece of a pattern of crisscrossing scars that ran all the way up her back, culminating with the fresh knife wound beneath her right shoulder blade, angry and red.

He had seen the scars as he had sewn her up, and again the many times he had checked on the wound’s progress, but he had not been prepared for the sight of them in the unforgiving light of day. Nick let his breath out slowly, trying to hide his shock.

“You haven’t seen them in daylight.”

“I beg your pardon?”

Sally’s shoulders relaxed slightly. “I felt your breath on my back.”

Nick swallowed. “There are so many of them.”

“Years.”

Years. What kind of monster could do such a thing? He traced the edge of his thumb along a thick scar that crossed her spine from beneath her left shoulder to just above her right hip.

She shuddered.

“Forgive me.” He dropped his hand.

When she answered, there was a tremor in her voice. “It doesn’t hurt.”


Buy it here:


Liquid Silver: http://www.lsbooks.com

Bio:

Jessica Cale is a historical romance author and journalist based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at www.authorjessicacale.com.

Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaCale @JessicaCale
Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JessicaCaleWrites
Tumblr: http://authorjessicacale.tumblr.com/
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9819997.Jessica_Cale


Monday, December 01, 2014

Guest author: Annette Mardis


Thank you so much, Vicky, for hosting me. Readers, do you believe in giving someone who has wronged you a second chance? Do you think self-centered individuals are capable of true concern and caring? How long should a repentant person be punished for her misbehavior?
Those questions are at the heart of Shore Feels Right, Book 2 in the Gulf Shore series.
Once a pariah among her coworkers, marine biologist Monica Sims has spent months reinventing herself as she seeks redemption. A history of failed relationships leaves her leery of romantic involvement until she meets Cosby Williams, the new co-owner of Nauti-Toys watercraft rentals.
As things heat up between them, Gulf Shore Aquarium responds to the stranding of a group of pilot whales. When a billionaire bachelor lends his private plane to the rescue effort, Monica catches his eye—and an obsession is born.
How will she cope with the unwanted attention? And will her past sins come back to doom her newfound happiness with Cosby?
When we first meet Monica in The Shore Thing, Gulf Shore Book 1, she’s the quintessential mean girl. She’s messed up her once-promising relationship with cameraman Evan Sanders so badly that he initially vows never again to date another coworker. And then, when it appears he’s finally met his match in aquarium education specialist Dani Davidson, Monica tries to torpedo their burgeoning romance.
Monica finally is called on her misbehavior and forced to face unflattering truths about herself. She promises to become a better woman, but some colleagues remain skeptical. She spends months trying to make amends and even admits that Dani and Evan are meant to be together.
When Shore Feels Right opens, Monica has made significant strides toward redemption. But there still are people around Gulf Shore—the town and the aquarium—who aren’t willing to forgive, let alone forget, what she’s done.  
We’ve all known people in our lives like Monica: golden girls and boys who get away with acting spoiled and entitled because of their looks, charm or advantages in life. Sometimes they get their comeuppance. But often they keep on acting like the world revolves around them.
In the first Gulf Shore book, I wanted readers to dislike Monica—but not hate her. Though flawed, she’s good at her job and truly loves the animals under her care. A few people recognize her redeeming qualities, but most can’t see beyond her misdeeds. The failure isn’t with them; it’s with Monica for making it so difficult to believe the best of her.
Then along comes a truly nice guy who wasn’t around when she reigned as the queen of mean. He’s so taken with the new and improved Monica that he has difficulty imagining her being any other way.
But is Cosby letting lust cloud his better judgment and setting himself up for disappointment? Can Monica resist the lure of her boss’ billionaire buddy, who may be too good to be true? Or will she revert back to the old Monica and choose a man based on what he can do for her professionally, financially, and socially?
What would you do if you were in Monica’s shoes? And Cosby’s?

To read an excerpt from Shore Feels Right, visit www.annettemardis.com.

About the Gulf Shore series
Gulf Shore is a fictional west-central Florida beach town where you’ll feel sugary white sand between your toes, the warm sun on your shoulders, and a sea breeze ruffling your hair.
       You’ll meet swoon-worthy alpha males who aren’t embarrassed to cuddle a rescued baby dolphin in their muscular arms, and accomplished women looking for an equal partner who thinks that smart is sexy.
      You’ll get up close and personal with sea life, join the “snipe and gripe” club for girls’ nights out, and fall in love with a talking parrot who acts like a little boy in a bird suit.
      You’ll go behind-the-scenes at the local aquarium and out to the beach to rescue marine animals in distress. And once you visit Gulf Shore, you just may find yourself wishing you could stay.
The Shore Thing, Book 1 in the Gulf Shore seriesDanielle “Dani” Davidson vows to just say no to workplace romances after her first post-college job is soured by a messy breakup with a manipulative coworker at a fish hatchery. That’s just one reason she doesn’t trust any man with her heart, let alone one who swims with sharks for a living. So why can’t she get cameraman Evan Sanders out of her mind? 
Evan is twice shy, too, after an alluring but self-absorbed colleague at Gulf Shore Aquarium takes a bite out of his heart. Thought he’s dead set against dating anyone else he works with, he’s intrigued by Dani’s shyness and tempted by her intelligence and low-key sexiness.
Sharks, a stingray and an orphaned baby dolphin help bring them together, but will Dani’s inhibitions and Evan’s career aspirations ultimately tear them apart?

Single titles
Getting Her Money’s Worth Life often has been unkind, and sometimes cruel, to Allie Charles, and she’s determined not to be shortchanged and to live in the moment whenever possible.
She and close pal Shelby Martin want many of the same things: romance, fun, good friends and satisfying work. After meeting on a softball field on a frigid fall evening, they enjoy many adventures together: watching the piranha feeding at the National Aquarium; overturning their canoe in the deepest, blackest part of a river; getting stuck thigh high in mud on a golf course water hazard; winning tacky prizes at skee ball machines in Ocean City, Md.
Only one woman will see her heart’s desires fulfilled, while the other faces the biggest challenge of her life. This touching, poignant and funny story will make you laugh, cry and go for the gusto in your own life. 

Annette’s bio:
 As a girl, Annette dreamed of being an astronaut, but she stank at science and math and became motion sick riding the bus home from school. So she went with her second choice—newspaper journalist—and stuck with it for more than three decades. After years of ignoring well-meaning people who said, “You should write a book,” she finally did. And then she wrote a few more. When she's not working, Annette usually has her nose in someone else’s novel or her gaze glued to sports on TV. She has three totally spoiled pets, enjoys being the designated sightseer on her husband’s Harley, and volunteers at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of diva dolphins Winter and Hope from the Dolphin Tale films.
Connect with Annette
Twitter: @AnnetteMardis48