How Do You Connect?

My, how the world has changed! With today’s technologies, we can be connected with friends from all over the world practically in an instant. I remember my grandfather telling me many years ago that the world was changing so fast, he could barely keep up. And that was before the personal computer saw the light of day. But I understand how he felt, because some days I feel I can’t keep up either. Maybe I have an old soul.

A hundred years ago, pioneers could only connect with others by one type of social media. It was called getting together and talking, face to face. People worked hard in those days–not that I’m saying we work any less–but they made time to connect with their neighbors, family and friends. They didn’t Skype, or have Face Time. They couldn’t email, or even phone someone. They simply hitched a team of horses to a wagon or sleigh and traveled to a neighbor’s farm for a visit. They appreciated their friends and took time to nurture their relationships.

As well as visiting, they also organized group events to keep in touch. The box social was a major function held in the fall after the harvest was finished. It gathered friends and family from the four corners of the district together in one place, usually in the one-room schoolhouse. At the same time they raised money for the upcoming Christmas Concert.

A box social was a simple concept. The women packed a lunch, wrapped it in some creative manner, and secretly took it to the social. The men would bid on the boxed lunches, and the woman who prepared the lunch would share it with the winning gentleman. More often than not, a husband knew which lunch was his wife’s, but there was usually a prankster in the group who loved to mix things up. Sometimes the outcome was good, sometimes not.

In my recently re-released book, Stubborn Hearts, the young school teacher has packed a lovely lunch for the box social. She wonders who will be the winning bidder. Will he be the blue-eyed Norwegian she rather fancies, or perhaps a father of one of her students? Or will he be that interfering, insufferable blacksmith she so despises? And who is that man funding the most hapless bachelor in the district? But no matter who buys the teacher’s lunch, he’ll be treated to some interesting conversation and delicious food.

Maybe the pioneers had the best means of communication after all.

 

 

Carol Presents: Angela Ford … Forbidden

A friend and BTGN author has kindly agreed to be a guest on my blog today. Here’s her bio:

77fc886513aa0ad8986c9e.L._V378434100_SY470_

Angela Ford originates from Nova Scotia…Canada’s Ocean Playground! Her love of the ocean and sunsets are always in her heart and give her inspiration. Her love for words keeps her turning the page. She is never without a book, whether she’s reading or writing. Now residing in Ontario, Angela works in Finance – numbers by day – words by night. Her dedication to volunteer and involvement with cyber safety seminars gave her an Award of Distinction and sparked the idea for her first book Closure – suspense with a dash of romance that hit the best- selling Action/Adventure. Her next release, Unforgettable Kiss, delivers a romance with a dash of suspense. Forbidden released in June 2014…Closure’s sequel. Between two jobs, being a mom with a home always filled with teenagers and rather interesting stories; she is lucky to have one very patient and understanding man. But it is the furry family members who rule the house – a Puggle, two loveable cats and two unique Guinea Pigs. Every possible quiet moment she finds, she treasures and just writes about the moments to come. Angela is an avid reader of romance, a member of the RWA and thrilled to be part of her new family BTGN.

***

My goodness, Angela is one busy woman! Let’s read the blurb for Forbidden which was published on June 22, 2014

Forbidden coverAgent Jessica Resario thought she found Closure with the arrest of her parents’ killer. She allowed her heart to love again and married Tom. Knowing a married couple can’t be on the team together; Tom stepped down and decided to train at the FBI academy. Jess is promoted to Supervisory Special Agent.

She continues to deliver spine-chilling seminars to parents about cyber safety. One seminar introduces her to Tiffany Bennett’s parents who are quite concerned for their daughter’s safety from an Internet Predator. Jess leads the team to protect Tiffany and discovers that the past can creep back into your life.

Excerpt from Forbidden

Startled from her thoughts, Jess turned and saw Tom in the doorway with a concerned look on his face. He walked closer to her and set a cup of tea on her desk.

“I thought you might need this.”

“Thanks Tom. You always know what I need. I love you so much.” She smiled and reached for his hand. Just his presence in the room warmed her from the cold chill she felt.

“I love you too.” He leaned down and kissed the top of her head.

“Now spill it Jess. I know that look.”

She laughed at his remark. He knows me so well.

“I feel like I’m reading about Trevor stalking me. This girl is in trouble, Tom. She’s being stalked. I feel it in my gut.” Jess took a sip of her tea. The warmth and sweetness of that Earl Grey Cream was exactly what she needed to calm her.

“That look worries the heck out of me. But I learned a long time ago I can’t stop you.” Tom picked up her phone from the desk and handed it to her. “Call Mr. Bennett.”

“At this time of night?” Jess looked at her watch.

“If he’s as concerned as you believe, Jess, he’ll be awake.” Tom kissed her forehead and smiled.

***

Sounds like a timely story considering all the creepy predators on-line!

Thanks, Angela for being a guest on Carol Presents. It’s always a pleasure getting to know more about our author acquaintances. I look forward to reading more of your books.

Here’s how you can reach Angela:

Social Media Links

Blog – Romantic Escapes http://angelafordauthor. com

Facebook www.facebook.com/writerangelaford

Twitter www.twitter.com/AngelaFord67

Goodreads  www.goodreads.com/angelaford13

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Angela- Ford/e/B00EAYZBYM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1 LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=286030681 &trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/aford1507/pins/

Stumble Upon http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/afor dauthor

Books to Go Now www.bookstogonow.com

 

Carol Presents: Nancy Weeks … In the Shadow of Pride

This time I have Nancy Weeks on my Carol Presents Series.  Hello, Nancy. Thank you for agreeing to be my guest today.

Hello Carol, I’m so pleased to be visiting with you today to share the news about my latest novel, In the Shadow of Pride. Pride is the fourth book in my In the Shadows series and I am so very happy with the way everything turned out.

How exciting it must be to have written your fourth in a series. Good for you! And I understand it was released only one week ago and is being well received. That doesn’t surprise me, you’re a talented writer!

Okay, readers, I know you want to know more about Nancy’s story, but please read Nancy’s short yet sweet bio first.

Nancy C Weeks profile pictureNancy C. Weeks lives in suburban Maryland with her husband of more than thirty years. With her two grown children out of the nest, she loves spending her days on her deck writing as the local bird population keeps her company.

 

 

Would you tell us a little about In the Shadow of Pride?

In this story, you will meet the third McNeil brother, Luke ‘Mac’ McNeil. Mac has a tough job as a FBI Special-Agent-In-Charge. One of the most heart wrenching experiences he had to live through was losing his best friend and fellow agent, Rico Trevena. Rico was on an undercover operation and Mac was his handler. The unthinkable happens and Rico gives his life to save Mac’s younger brother, Jason [from In the Shadow of Greed]. Rico’s last words to Mac, “Promise me you’ll take care of Lexie!”

Rico’s wife, Lexie Trevena has made that promise almost impossible to keep because she hates everything about the FBI and despises Mac. When Lexie’s life is ripped out from under her once again, she has a choice to make; accept Mac’s help or lose everything, including her two year old son, Gabriel.

Sounds like a great story. I enjoy reading romantic suspenseWas it difficult to write?

From the very beginning of this story, Pride captured my mind, my heart, and wouldn’t let go. It was joy to write. If you would like to see who I envisioned while writing this story, please drop by my WEBSITE. While you are there, check out the three free chapters: In the Shadow of Pride Google Preview.

Ooh,  free reads are always good! I’ll check it out.

So…have questions? I would love to answer them. Feel free to ask me anything. Here is a question to help get you started. Have you ever disliked someone, but over time, began to see this person in a different light? Did you ever become friends? I would love to give away a free digital copy to one lucky commenter so please leave an email with your answer. Carol, you get to do the drawing.

I can do the draw, no problem. But I want to be the first to leave an answer. (Don’t worry. I won’t be in the draw.)

I left a blurb and a short excerpt.

Wonderful!

I hope you enjoy In the Shadow of Pride as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you for hosting me. ((Hugs to all))

You are most welcome, Nancy. Good luck with your release! And congratulations!

9781440580321Now, here’s the blurb for In the Shadow of Pride: 

Lexie Trevena buried her murdered husband, discovered he had cheated on her, and signed to adopt his newborn son—all before noon. Now she just wants to raise her child in the loving, supportive home she never had. The last thing she needs is another man to complicate her life, but her best friends feel differently. Their matchmaking meddling accidentally places Lexie smack in the path of a terrorist who intends to use her as his pawn.

The only person who can help her is the FBI agent she holds responsible for her husband’s death.

Special-Agent-In-Charge Luke “Mac” McNeil watched his best friend and partner marry a woman he knew was too good for him, but he did nothing to stop the wedding. He stood by as Lexie adopted the cheating jerk’s son. But when someone goes to great lengths to make it appear that Lexie is responsible for launching a drone into the home of a prominent Texas senator, Mac’s conscience finally speaks up, and he fights for Lexie’s freedom … even though all the evidence leads to her door, and she has never given him a reason to trust her.

Can Lexie and Mac find the courage to forgive and trust, or will their pride stand in the way of love, allowing terrorists to bring another devastating attack onto United States soil?     Sensuality Level: Sensual

And the excerpt of In the Shadow of Pride: 

Lexie leaned her back against the cool stone and made herself release Mac’s hand. She then took a breath of fresh, clean air and tried to hide the shakiness in her voice. “Now what?”

“I’m going to drop down to the roof. You will kneel on the ledge and, using the window to balance, turn so your legs hang over the edge. Let go of the ledge, and I’ll catch you.”

“Are you crazy? I can’t—”

“Lexie, look behind you.”

She turned her head slowly toward the open window. Flames appeared under the door and the small office was completely filled with smoke. One word escaped her lips. “Trapped.”

“Once we get down onto the roof, there’s a fire escape ladder to the street.” He reached for her hand. “Gabriel needs you. We can do this together.”

Finding her voice, she whispered, “Not fair using Gabriel.” She bit down on her lower lip and dredged up an ounce of courage. “Mac, do what you have to do.”

With the grace of a trained athlete, he lowered himself over the side until only the tips of his fingers were on the ledge. An instant later, he dropped, landing on his feet.

“Tag, you’re it, Lexie. Just drop and I’ll catch you. Trust me.”

Lexie’s heart pounded like she had just run the 100-yard dash. After a quick glance into the office, she knelt, and holding onto the window, rolled onto her stomach.

“That’s it. Now just ease your legs over the ledge.”

The instant her feet hit empty space, panic ripped through her and she swung a leg back onto the ledge as her fingers dug into the window frame. God, she couldn’t do this. It was freaking crazy.

“You have to let go of the window frame. I’m right under you.”

“This isn’t the time to be nice to me, Mac.”

“Okay, then how’s this? I’m loving the view of the sexiest red panties I have ever seen that barely cover an ass that will live in my dreams for years to―”

Lexie dropped. Before she could get out the ear-piercing, girly scream that roared in her head, she landed in Mac’s arms. The impact crushed the air from her lungs.

“You’re okay,” he whispered. “I’ve got you.”

Wrapping her arms around his neck, she allowed his strength and his herbal all-male scent to soothe her. He eased her legs back on solid ground, but she didn’t let go. She couldn’t remember a time in her life when she felt so safe, protected.

She raised her chin and met his amused stare. Of all stupid days to wear a skirt to work. As soon as she got out of this mess, it was going to Goodwill.

Heat spread up her neck and her chest tightened. “This one time, I’m going to let that go.”

“Let what go, Lexie?” Mac’s hand moved slowly down her back to her waist and pressed her tightly against him.

His touch sent a flash of need that had been dormant for too long into her gut. Lexie swallowed but couldn’t look him in the face. “That wasn’t my best moment on that ledge. You shouldn’t have looked.”

“You told me not to be nice. I was saving your life.”

 All right!  What a fantastic excerpt! In the Shadow of Pride is going onto my to-read shelf right away!

Everyone, you can find Nancy at: 

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

GOODREADS

PINTEREST

Look for In the Shadow of Pride at: Crimson Romance ebooks | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | BAM

 AND…The first book In the Shadow series, In the Shadow of Greed is available only for a brief time in a bundle of wonderful authors.

Racing Hearts Romantic Suspense bundle 9781440583247RACING HEARTS: 10 THRILLING ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVELSONLY 99 CENTS!!!

The thrills—both in and out of the bedroom—never stop coming between these pages. Crank up your adrenaline while running from danger, standing strong in the face of evil, and staying one step ahead of the bad guys in these 10 fast-paced suspense stories by rising stars.

 

Amazon  | Kobo | Google Play

 

 

Carol Presents: Susanne Mathews … Echos of the Past

Today on Carol Presents we’ve switched things up a bit. Susanne Mathews kindly answers the question (one that most authors get asked sometime in their career) … where did you get your idea for this story? But first let’s learn a little bit more about my guest, Susanne.

me

Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. As a retired educator, she gets to spend her time writing, so she can share new adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

 

 

 

Let’s see what prompted Ms Mathews to write her story.

Echoes of the Past: Where Do Story Ideas Come From?

People often ask me where I get the ideas for new stories. Well, they come from hundreds of different places. The idea for my newest book, Echoes of the Past came to me when I visited The Lake of the Mountain Resort in Prince Edward County, Ontario, last September. The lake is a geological conundrum, a source of fresh water, seemingly bottomless in the center, constantly emptying via a small waterfall that tumbles almost 200 feet into Lake Ontario, but the lake’s water level never changes, and no one can figure exactly where the water in it comes from.

While I found that interesting, the legends associated with the lake sparked my interest. There are two. The first talks about a monster of the Loch Ness variety—interesting but probably nothing more than a large sturgeon. The second touched my soul. It was a Mohawk legend, a tragic story of lovers, forced apart by hatred and doomed to be kept apart in death until the Mohawk spirits felt sorry for them. That’s the story I used as the underlying love story for Echoes of the Past.

Before I left, I got permission from the owners to set my novel there. I brought in a new component as well when I crafted my heroine after my daughter’s best friend. Amazingly enough, the cover created by the publisher, Secret Cravings Publishing actually looks like the real Michelle.

***

So there we have it, the story behind the beginning of this story, Echoes of the Past. For writers, inspiration can happen anywhere, anytime. The key is to pay attention. That’s what Susanne did.

Here’s her book blurb:

EchoesofthePast_MEDBorn Mohawk, raised white, forensic pathologist, Michelle Thomas is trapped between two worlds—this one and the spirit world where the ghosts of those who’ve drowned speak to her. Haunted by crippling nightmares of her own drowning death and erotic dreams of a phantom lover, she strives to make sense of her life. When two suspicious deaths occur at the Lake of the Mountain Resort, she’s sent to investigate. She’ll face the greatest challenge of her career when her past and her present collide. One of these men is her future, but which one—the rich and powerful Mayor Ron Davies, or Tony Steele, the hydrology professor who may be responsible for his students’ deaths? Charged by the spirits of her Mohawk ancestors to atone for her previous sins by protecting Lake of the Gods, can Michelle solve the murders, save the sacred waters, and fulfil her destiny?

 

And the excerpt:

Tony wandered out onto the screened-in porch and looked out at the lake. The strong night winds whipped it into a frenzy as if the water boiled with anger. He checked his watch. Two in the morning again. He needed to break this habit. These unusually vivid dreams had started the first night he’d arrived at the resort. Most of them, exquisite, erotic fantasies, left him dissatisfied, but tonight’s dream had transitioned into a flight for his life. From personal research, he knew a dream’s meaning rarely had anything to do with its contents. This research project into the source of the water in the lake meant everything to him personally and professionally. He was afraid something would happen to ruin it. That explained being chased, but it didn’t explain the sexual fantasies. Those he understood easily enough.

He recognized the woman in his dreams as the shawl-wrapped stranger who walked along the beach every now and then. Beautiful and exotic, something about her called to his soul. He preferred women who didn’t look like carbon copies of others, and this one intrigued him. He thought about her now.

He’d noticed her the night he’d arrived. He never slept well in a new bed. Unable to settle, he’d stepped out onto the porch and noticed someone else apparently suffering from insomnia. A woman, a blanket wrapped around herself, her hair in a long braid down her back, strolled along the edge of the sandy beach. She’d moved southeast toward the edge of the lookout. He’d stepped outside to get a better look at her, but she’d vanished.

The next night, his imagination and libido had taken over, and in his dreams, she’d entered his leafy grotto, and they’d had mind-blowing sex. The things they’d done to one another. Thank God he’d awakened before his body had finished responding to his fantasy.

He’d gotten up, frustrated as old hell, and had gone downstairs. Standing in the screened-in porch, he’d looked out at the lake. Unlike tonight, the water had resembled a mirror reflecting the stars on its surface, and he’d been suspended between the water and the sky—everything brighter, crisper, and clearer than he’d expected. Animals scurried in the brush nearby. Bats swooped overhead. An owl hooted, and he’d shivered. Didn’t some of the Native American tribes believe death followed the cries of an owl?

He’d turned to go back inside when he’d glimpsed his mystery woman coming along the beach from the marshy area to the north. He’d called out to her. She’d turned at the sound of his voice and stopped. In the moonlight, he’d seen the sparkle of silver tears on her cheeks. Naked, he’d hurried into the kitchen, grabbed his damp swimsuit off the drying rack, and rushed out, but she’d disappeared.

He blinked, and the memory passed. He’d never seen a storm as vicious as tonight’s. The rain came down in sheets. Thank God the kids had made it back safely. He turned to go inside when a flash of lightning, the first he’d noticed tonight, illuminated the beach.

What the hell?

The woman, wrapped in her blanket, walked along the beach as if all hell wasn’t breaking loose around her. He ran to the door and raced across the short expanse of grass. He stopped at the edge of the water. Where had she gone? As she’d done every time he’d tried to catch her, she’d vanished. Wet through, he hurried back inside. He saw the light go out in Jackson’s room.

Tony entered the cabin, stripped off his wet clothes, and tossed them in the kitchen sink. Naked and shivering, he climbed the stairs and went into the bathroom. He took a hot shower and then dried his shoulder-length hair. He needed to get it cut. He grabbed a clean t-shirt and a pair of boxers out of the drawer. Exhausted, he fell into bed hoping for sleep.

***

Okay, you’ve got my attention. I’m hoping that Tony gets a chance to live out this dream with the mysterious woman. And since this is a romance, the chances are good. A sexy romance and a mystery. Yum!  Thanks, Susanne for being my guest.

Thank you, Carol for having me on today. I appreciate this opportunity to reach a new audience and make new friends.

You can find out where to purchase Echoes of the Past by visiting http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/

Follow Susanne on her: Website   Blog    Facebook page   Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page   and   Goodreads author page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A “Hearts Racing” Teaser

Hearts Racing 3I was away for an extended weekend retreat to work on my other creative passion, polymer clay. It was refreshing to take a break from writing, but I have to admit I missed my computer and the internet immensely. It was especially difficult because my second novel, Hearts Racing, was released on the first day of my retreat. So I’m back and ready to return to the work/fun of writing books.

Since my latest novel is brand new, I thought maybe I’d introduce you to it. Here’s the premise: Lexi Craig is sent to Travis Strong’s ranch to hide out until the police recapture an escaped convict who wants to kill her. This scene is very early in the story. Travis speaks to Lexi, while his housekeeper, Hilda, quietly listens to the conversation.

“Don’t tell Charley, but I thought I’d give her the filly for her birthday. She’s been pestering me for a horse for nearly a year.”
“Will she take riding lessons when the time comes?”
“What do you mean when? She’s been riding by herself since she was six.” Travis gave her a puzzled look as if to say every kid learned to ride at that age, and didn’t she know that. “What about you?” he asked. “Do you ride?”
“Oh, sure. Bikes, cars, buses, the subway. I’ve even been known to ride around on someone’s coattails. But a horse? There’s not much need for horseback riding in Edmonton, so I never learned.”
“Well, Miss City Slicker, no time like the present. As soon as we’re done with lunch, I’ll give you your first lesson.”
“Oh, no. You’re not getting me on a horse unless it’s made of wood and goes ’round and ’round in a carousel.”
Hilda tittered in amusement.
Travis raised an eyebrow. “I thought you told me you wanted to earn your keep while you were here?”

That’s all you get for now. I hope it piques your interest. There may be more excerpts to come later. It all depends on the feedback I receive. 😉

Of course, if you’d like to purchase it to read, here’s the URL: http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Racing-Carol-Ritten-Smith/dp/1499215657/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399043299&sr=1-3&keywords=Hearts+Racing

Company that Won’t Leave.

When we moved into our house in 1973, it was in ill repair, but we didn’t worry. We were newlyweds and we thought our love could surmount any problem presented to us.  Young love is so naive, isn’t it?

The first problem came along within a few days of our arrival and remained on and off for many years. Even now, nearly forty years later it occasionally returns. The problem has four tiny feet, a long tail, two beady eyes and a penchant for making me scream. Yes, it is a mouse and every time one scurries across the floor or pops its head out from behind a cupboard, I am ready to divorce the love of my life for bringing me here.

Certainly, I’ve heard all the trite axioms: it’s just one little mouse; or it can’t hurt you; or (the one most bandied about) it’s more afraid of you than you are of it.

First of all, it is not just one little mouse. That’s as ridiculous as saying it’s just one little ant.  There is never just one little ant. There are a million little ants, uncles and other various relatives waiting on the sidelines. And there is never just one little mouse. They come in hordes, which incidently is the technical term for a group of mice. They can also be called a mischief of mice. I prefer a tyrant of mice, myself. So don’t tell me it’s just a little mouse, because you are wrong.

It can’t hurt you, you say. Oh, really? Have you ever climbed up on a chair only to have it slip out from under you and you crack your head on hardwood floor? Well, me neither. But it could happen. And I’m pretty certain it would hurt!

Now for the most preposterous statement of all: it’s more afraid of you than you are of it. Give me a break. Has any one actually found a way to test a mouse’s fear? Did they have it sit in a chair viewing pictures of cats and humans? I am positive no one has ever strapped me to a chair, stuck electrodes into my brain and dangled a mouse in front of me to record my fear level.  I know I would remember that. Therefore there is insufficient data to conclude who is more afraid. But I remember quite clearly the evening I sat innocently watching TV when, quick as a mouse, a mouse ran along the crease of the couch directly at me. When I screamed, it stood on its hind feet, looking like a little furry ninja, and jumped at me. I left screaming. Don’t tell me who was more afraid.

Actually, I’ve always been afraid of mice. One of my earliest recollections of a mouse encounter was when I was around five. My brothers and I were playing in a snow-covered field. My one brother fell and was laughing gleefully. Seconds later he was jumping around and hollering like a banshee. A mouse had ran up his pantleg. EEK! If my brave brother was afraid of a mouse, then surely I should be hysterical.

A second incident cemented my fear of mice. I was about fourteen. It was one of those years when mice were at the peak of their seven year breeding cycle. There were hordes of them. Tyrants of them. When I walked to school, I could hear them rustling in the hedges. I realize now they were organizing a ninja gang attack. Fortunately, I foiled their plan by walking down the middle of the street, preferring to take my chances with vehicles. Once I got to school, there was a different problem: a group of disgusting boys waiting near the school doors with mice.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then fear is the daddy of ingenuity. I quickly developed a strategy. I joined a group of popular girls as they walked by, knowing the boys would rather drop a mouse down their shirt than mine. It worked.

As I sit and write this blog, I can hear mice in the walls. They can’t get into the house, but they have set up a race track along the studs. Yes, I know studs are vertical, but in our quaint home the studs have been restrapped horizontally for some reason. Regardless, the mice hold drag races in the evenings and well into the night. Apparently there is a lunch counter by the amount of chewing that’s going on. It is very annoying!

So now you understand why I hate mice. But mice are only one of the many challenges our old house has presented us.  I remember once there was a different noise in the wall. It was extremely quiet, but I could hear it …

I think I’ll tell you about it next time.