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: Dawn Luedecke … The Lighthouse Anthology Aug 10

Today, Dawn Luedecke, is stopping by to meet you and to introduce you to her latest book, The Lighthouse Anthology, several love stories about light keepers. I ask you, have you ever read even one story about a lighthouse keeper, let alone four? I haven’t. But soon will. The LIGHTHOUSE ANTHOLOGY should be a great read!

Here is Dawn’s biography:

A country girl born and bred, Dawn Luedecke has spent most of her life surrounded by horses, country folk, and the wild terrain of Nevada, Idaho and Montana. As a child, she would spend many afternoons reading books, watching western classics, and Rogers and Hammerstein movies. When she grew up she decided to leave the quiet country life for a chance to find adventure by serving a successful tour in the United States Coast Guard. During that time, she found her soul mate (and alpha male) and started a family and writing career. She enjoys writing historical and paranormal romance and spends as much time as she can working on her current manuscript. For more information visit http://www.dawnluedecke.com.

THE LIGHTHOUSE ANTHOLOGY  Blurb 

Lighthouse Series (5)

When violent ocean forces become too strong, the keepers are watching. They are strong, determined, and afraid of nothing. They will risk their lives to save others, and risk their chance at love to serve their country. Can love overcome the obstacles thrown in their path and shine the light in their hearts? They are the ladies of the Lighthouse Service and men of the Life Saving Service. Those who have vowed to watch and protect.

 

They are…the keepers.

 

 

*** And those keepers have saved the lives of many men and women over the years. Such an invaluable service! 

Here are blurbs for Dawn’s stories in the Lighthouse Anthology:

Beacon of the Night     Alone in the world, Sylvia single handedly runs the Destruction Island Lighthouse. Courageously, she puts her life in danger to save shipwrecked sailors. When she rescues a man during a storm, she learns that this notoriously handsome Captain has a notorious secret.

I Heard the Bells   Ever since she was young, Abigail has been infatuated with her brother’s best friend Gavin Walker. She is the lighthouse keeper’s niece, and not at all inclined to join in the deadly ocean rescues. He is a local hero and second in command at the Lifesaving Station in Cape Disappointment. A place known to many as ‘The Graveyard of the Pacific’. Can Gavin help Abbie save her brother, and nurse her uncle back to health before Christmas?

The Ghost ships Cry   Wade Alston is keeper of the Little Island Life Saving Station. He is haunted by his past, and the spine-chilling cry of the ghost ship that lies just outside the shoreline. To top it off, a crewman from the wreck is missing, and the man’s wife and daughter, Laura, continue to plague his life with a request that is not only against the rules, but downright dangerous.Laura asks him to attend her father’s wake, and Wade becomes the victim of deception. During which, he finally gets the courage to tell her how he has felt for years. But will her desperation to find her father jeopardize any future they may have together?

Burning Light Within  Vanessa has taken on the task of Dry Tortuga Island’s lighthouse keeper in place of her late husband. As keeper, “Nessa” rescues those who find trouble in the warm Florida Key waters. The brave young woman is challenged by a man she saves from the water — a man from her past. Will he raise the longing she once felt, or will she be reminded of a past that once was but is no more?

***    Dawn has kindly offered us more than one excerpt! Yeah!

Excerpt from ‘Ghost Ships Cry’   Laura scooted closer to the edge of her seat so her mother could enter the carriage without mishap. She waited until the door closed before bringing up the subject that bothered her since its inception. “Are you sure it will work?”

“It has to,” Parthena said. She settled in and fluffed her large, full skirt. “We need him, and we know he’s there. So there is no other option, if you want to see him again.”

Laura pulled her lips into a thin line. The plan they hatched was dicey—at best. There were so many ‘ifs’, that it made her uncomfortable. The carriage jerked and she bounced in the seat. She snuggled deeper into the bench cushions to draw out as much warmth as possible. “I just don’t like it, Mama. He is such a nice man, and I’ve known him since school. Isn’t there any other way we can do it?”

“Well…have the couple of times you pleaded with him worked?”

“No.”

“Then there is your answer. There is no other way. It has to be like this, and it has to be now.”

Excerpt from Beacon of the Night    Washington Coast, October 1895

The sea looked dark, a catalyst for the abyss and the final resting place of the brave men surrounded by the dark waters. Davie Jones called to them, beckoned his crew to the afterlife of a sailor. He was the only one left, clutching the floating plank of his ship and desperate for survival. He would live to get his revenge on the bloodthirsty pirate who did this to his beautiful ship, The Justice.

The sea grew angry, driven mad by the deadly storm that dominated the sky. Alex watched the waves, each one a wall of water as it reached to heights of up to sixteen feet, and the water cold enough to slow his body. He looked up and saw the land and flashing light of the lighthouse, a beacon of the night. They were close to shore when the storm—and the pirate—hit. Alex could see the dark outline of the land he needed to reach; his only hope for survival.

 He clung to the wood, buoyant against the raging ocean force. He kicked his feet and swam against the current, with no effect. He tried to reach the light. He struggled to keep his head up, his gaze on the horizon, and swim with all the energy he had left. His strength drained rapidly as the ocean temperature and physical exertion took its toll. No matter how hard he tried, it didn’t seem to work. The land stayed out of reach, and taunted him with its closeness.

There is a breaking point in every man. He saw it on many occasions with his crew, but never thought he would experience it. Now he knew differently—this was his. Mere moments after he hit the ice-cold water, he wanted to give up and let God take him.

He loosened his grip on the wooden plank and let his body sink. The water slid up to his waist, then chest, neck, and face. Just as his head sank below the water’s surface, he felt a sharp scrape against his back and he was pulled against the water’s current. Against his will, he reached the surface and glided across, to land with a thud against a wooden boat.

***

These stories sound fantastic and even though they all involve a light keeper, each has a completely different plot. I really enjoy anthologies like this because I get a complete story without staying up half the night to finish it. Of course there are those times when I end up reading the entire anthology at once!  So buyer beware, because all the stories sound intriguing.

Thanks, so much Dawn for being my current guest on my blog. I wish you all the best with this anthology and your writing career.

Buy Links

Amazon     http://www.amazon.com/Lighthouse-Anthology-Dawn-Ludecke-ebook/dp/B00F2WZK56/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404324373&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lighthouse+anthology

Social media links:

Website   http://www.dawnluedecke.com

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dawn-Luedecke/118877871497830?ref=hl

Twitter   @d_luedecke

Goodreads   http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4509191.Dawn_Luedecke

 Pinterest   http://pinterest.com/dluedecke

Youtube Book trailer   http://youtu.be/nhBEPCsswTs

 

 

 

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: Becky Lower … The Road To Comfort

Becky Lower has joined me today on Carol Presents with her book, The Road To Comfort. I’m particularly interested in her book because it’s about a cowboy with a broken heart. Don’t ask me why I have a thing for cowboys because I’ve never really had a chance to get to know one personally and as much as I love the look of horses, I’m terrified to get on one. I do remember thinking that I would marry this one cowboy because he looked like my little stuffed monkey (they both had the same grin and the cowboy had a twinkle in his eye) plus he was gentle with his animals…but mostly it was the monkey-face. Hey, I was only five at the time!

Wow, talk about getting off topic. Anyway, let me tell you a little bit about Becky Lower. Becky has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it present day middle America or on a covered wagon headed west in the 1850s. Contemporary and historical romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and a member of the Northeast Ohio chapter of RWA. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com. Visit her website at http://www.beckylowerauthor.com

***

Note to self: I must remember to ask Becky about her connection to cowboys.

 

Road to Comfort by Becky LowerHere’s the book blurb for The Road To Comfort

Juliette St.James has only done two impetuous things in her life, and the first resulted in her becoming a single parent at age 18. Now, she’s embarking on a cross-country trip to celebrate becoming an empty-nester. Not sure of what she will do now that she’s flying solo, she comes face-to-face with her worst nightmare—a cowboy.

Cyclone Kelley is a former rodeo cowboy who has broken one too many body parts to continue on the rodeo circuit. But the one body part that can’t be fixed by putting it into a cast is his heart, which was broken when his wife died. He wasn’t home to save her, and feels he’s unworthy for any kind of lasting relationship with a woman, so his life has been a meaningless string of one-nighters.

One broken car and an equally broken cowboy later, they are forced to decide if love is worth gambling on what could be. Or if tornadoes, and Cyclones, are better left alone.

And now the excerpt:
Lightning flashed in the distance, and the rain splattering on the windshield became more intense. Juliette raised her eyes from the book, her concentration interrupted. The storm was rolling in quickly, and grayish-black clouds now darkened the entire sky in front of her. Great. Now she’d have to fend off the corn children in the dead of night. Uneasiness threatened to turn into panic as it settled in, big-time. She jumped out of the backseat and climbed behind the wheel. She didn’t care if it seemed stupid, she turned the key once more, praying for a miracle. Nothing. She pummeled the steering wheel with her Cheeto-ed fingers as she assessed her situation. She was in a broken-down car on the side of the road, in Kansas, Nebraska, or Oklahoma with monster children about to emerge from the surrounding fields. Oh, and yes, a storm was rolling in. Could things get any worse?

A steady clip-clopping sound broke into her tormented thoughts. She glanced into the rearview mirror and spied a horse and rider coming up the side of the road behind her car. You’ve got to be kidding. Help had finally arrived, but it was in the form of a cowboy, wearing a black hat and a duster coat? And he was on a horse. Oh, yeah, she was a long way from civilized Ohio. The sun burst forth behind him in a last hurrah as the dark clouds raced toward them. Terrific. Evidently, things could get worse. Much worse.

***

The cowboy comes to the rescue. Yes! You can always count on a cowboy unless he’s in a country western song. Those guys will break your heart.

Well, Becky, it’s been a pleasure having you on my blog. I wish you the very best in your writing career. Looks like you’re well on your way!

Here’s the link to check out the Road to Comfort.

http://amzn.to/1ofOSuI

 

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: Jackie Marilla …Love Those Hula Hips

This time on Carol Presents is the lovely Jackie Marilla. I had the opportunity to read her Love Those Hula Hips and I quite enjoyed it. Not only do you get a great romance set in the beautiful Kona, you also get a taste of the local history and lifestyle.

jackie marillaHere’s her Bio:

Jackie Marilla lives on a macadamia nut farm in Hawai’i with her supportive husband, several feral cats and a flock of hodgepodge chickens. She writes contemporary romance set on the Big Island and places beyond.

When she’s not at her desk writing, Jackie loves to visit family in the Pacific Northwest, read, sew, and make lamp work glass beads. In a past life, she was an elementary school teacher.

Jackie is a member of the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America and the Contemporary Romance Writers.

 

 

 

Book Blurb, Love Those Hula Hips:

With the imminent threat of foreclosure of their beloved Kona Breezeway Inn, the Kawelu family is forced to take on an investor. In exchange, mainlander James Westerman takes control of the daily operations.

James craves one thing—a lucrative investment property that affords him the opportunity to earn his father’s respect. When he invests in the Kona Breezeway Inn, he is confident that as the general manager he will turn a profit within three years. His plans quickly start to unravel when he falls for Hokulani Kawelu, the owner’s hula dancing daughter.

Hokulani is committed to her family’s legacy to preserve and share the Hawaiian culture. She is determined to maintain the spirit of aloha at the Breezeway, despite James’s mainland business approach and his emphasis on the bottom-line.

James is certain that his fascination with Hokulani will not distract him from his business goals. He soon discovers that the bottom-line is a choice between business, as he knows it, and love.

Love those Hula HipsExcerpt from Love Those Hula Hips:

The music slowed and the emcee crooned, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, a tribute to all those in love, performed by our very own Ho-ku-lani.”

At first, James thought he was seeing things. The woman from the lobby moved across the stage in such a fluid motion, he thought she might be an apparition. She positioned herself not more than six feet from him. He leaned back in his chair and stared at this dark-haired beauty. She seemed to acknowledge his gaze with a slight nod and a sly smile, and then began her dance. “Ho-ku-lani,” he repeated to himself.

Mesmerized by Hokulani’s onyx hair and matching dark eyes, he tracked her flowing mane to her undulating hips and gaped when she stood in front of him. Her smile was magnetic and her hands delicate, but the way she moved her hips captivated her the most. He needed to know more about her.

 

****

Now doesn’t that make you want to see what James does to catch Hokulani’s attention? I know what he does, but I don’t do spoilers!

I want to thank Jackie for being my guest on Carol Presents. It’s been a pleasure having you.

Links:

jackiemarilla.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/jackiemarilla

http://www.amazon.com/Jackie-Marilla/e/B00J2N46VU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1403504889&sr=8-1

 

Carol Presents: R.A. Donnelly … Evelina and the Reef Hag

One thing I love about authors is their imaginations. I’m thrilled to have Ms R.A. Donnelly on my blog today because she has an imagination extraordinaire. Just reading her excerpt tells you this book is going to keep you highly entertained.

I requested she send me a brief bio and she took me literally: R.A. Donnelly is a Golden Heart and Golden Pen finalist. She lives in Canada with her husband, two children, and a crazy cat.

You’ve got to love an author who knows what ‘short’ means! Haha.

Reef-Hag-CoverHere’s the book blurb followed by the excerpt:

Evelina Crimm has to stop the Swamp Hogs from winning the Glaring, but a Reef Hag is killing off the competition.

Her powers are limited as a novice Water Witch, but she’ll fight the dark forces that conjured the Reef Hag to the bitter end. She’ll do what she has to to catch her parents’ killer, even if it means risking expulsion. Falling in love with a Time Keeper is just as forbidden, but it’s difficult to stay away from Frankie Holler, even when he keeps breaking her heart.

Frankie Holler is a Time Keeper on a mission. Like other Warlocks, he wants his tribe to win. But he’ll sacrifice glory and do what he has to, to save the future of the Water Witches, including breaking a few rules, to help Evelina Crimm.

CHAPTER ONE

“You’re dead, Crimm!” Henrietta Ledbetter leered across the aisle, jowls quivering, black eyes narrowed to slits in her big melon head.

“Evelina Crimm!” Sister Mary Rosalina, or Sister Mary Elephant as everyone called her, swung round from the blackboard, like a Smart car pulling a U-ie. The scent of shoe polish and mothballs swirled around her in a noxious tornado. The chalk in her hand slid away from the half drawn quarter note. “Eyes on the board!”

Evelina came upright in her seat.

Every hair sprang to life from the stubble on her legs to the tip of her ponytail.

She’d been thinking about Frankie Holler again. Whenever that happened her brain left the building.

Everyone turned to stare—sliding in their seats toward her, like water to a drain.

Her heart tapped louder.

The last thing she needed was another detention—one more and she’d be pulling garbage duty, or scraping gum off chairs.

She stared straight ahead, ignoring Henrietta’s hot glare, wondering what she’d done this time to incite her wrath? Not that it took much. She was a freak show.

Maybe it was that goose in her bed. Maybe not the goose so much, but what it left behind. Having just learned she was a Water Witch, Evelina didn’t have much control over her powers. Nights were cold at St. Cecelia’s in December. She’d only been trying to conjure a nice warm duvet. But things got a little out of hand—okay, a lot out of hand, especially when the goose escaped.

But who knew that was going to happen?

Not that she was ever far out of Henrietta’s beady sights. But right now Henrietta was relishing her power. Every day since her cousin, Sister Bellona became their new Phys. Ed. instructor, Henrietta had grown meaner.

She seemed to feed off the fear Sister Bellona incited. One gym class was enough to discover why. After two broken noses and a near fatal asthma attack, the school was on high alert. Bellona was out for blood.

A shiver ran up Evelina’s back.

Sometimes she hated school. Hate was a strong word, one you should never use, according to Grammy Crimm, but, today it seemed appropriate. Oh, she enjoyed the learning part, especially music, when the flute trilled in her hands like a spring robin. But all that theory she could do without.

And classmates like Henrietta. She took the prize for evil. It oozed out of every pore, dripping in foamy bubbles from the side of her mouth whenever she went ballistic.

Like right now.

She looked like a bull ready to charge.

Henrietta sprang from her seat, snatching the piece of paper from Evelina’s hand.

Henrietta held it high over her head like a trophy. “Lookee here! Whatcha got, Orph?” She slashed Evelina a look of poison. “Doesn’t look much like a treble clef!”

The entire music class roared with laughter.

A few clapped.

Molly Nuttle, Henrietta’s best friend, howled like a hyena, sending her greasy blonde hair swinging past her ears.

The caricature of Sister Mary Elephant with her pointer shaped like a claw floated above Evelina’s head like the angel of death. She hardly remembered drawing it. She was always drawing something.

Actually, it was a pretty good likeness.

“Oh, no!” Lily Huckabone, Evelina’s best friend, groaned, slinking down in the desk beside her. “Not good.”

She was right.

From the look on Sister Mary Elephant’s face, retribution was at hand.

“SILENCE!!!” She snatched the claw from the corner of her oak desk. The image was so similar to Evelina’s picture a few students snickered. “You think that’s funny, do you, Crimm?”

“No, Sister.”

Sister Mary Elephant’s pale blue eyes narrowed behind her black horn-rimmed glasses. “On your feet when I’m talking to you!”

Evelina scrambled out of her seat, taking the opportunity to snatch the picture from Henrietta’s meaty fist.

Henrietta gnashed her bulldog canines in a snarl.

Evelina leveled a fierce glare on her. For once Evelina was grateful for her height. She might be a feather weight, but at least she could look Henrietta straight in the eye.

Henrietta backed up, wedging her bulbous butt into her seat with a satisfied sneer creasing her face.

“Evelina Crimm!”

Evelina spun round.

Sister Mary Elephant’s pinched features constricted. “Go to Sister Juliana’s office at once!”

Evelina glanced back at Lily, who sat clutching her sandy braid like a rip cord, chocolate eyes as wide as cupcakes behind her wire-rimmed specks.

Being sent to the Mother Superior’s office was no small matter. Inevitably consequences followed, not usually of the pleasant kind. Sister Juliana meant well. But her discipline bordered on medieval, adhering to the ‘no pain, no gain’ philosophy.

Evelina strode from the room with a straight back.

But the hollow bang of the door closing chilled her blood.

***

Okay, you tell me. Wasn’t that the most engaging excerpt you’ve read in a long time? I’ve got a feeling that this book will keep you highly entertained with heaps of humor and many fun twists and turns. Eveline and the Reef Hag is the latest release for Ms Donnelly. Congratulations!

You might want to check out her links to see what else she is up to. And thank you, Rachel for being my guest. I can hardly wait to read Evelina and the Reef Hag!

http://author-racheldonnelly.blogspot.ca/

http://www.amazon.com/R.A.-Donnelly/e/B00KK0S2O6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Carol Presents: Peggy Bird … Sparked by Love

I am very pleased to introduce you to another excellent author, Peggy Bird, author of Sparked by Love, plus many other wonderful books. I’ll let Peggy tell you a little about herself.

Born in Philadelphia, I’ve spent most of my adult life in the Pacific Northwest where I have happily grown webs between my toes and moss behind my ears. Over my adult life, I pursued a number of careers—nurse, legislative staffer, lobbyist, public affairs consultant, non-profit association executive, workshop teacher, oh, and mother and wife—before deciding to leave it all for what I’ve loved through every stage of life—writing.

But instead of the intricately plotted mysteries and deeply moving memoir pieces I assumed I’d write, the characters in every piece of fiction I started wanted their love stories told. Even when I had many of them hanging around questionable people or involved in murder, intrigue and general mayhem.

That’s how my Crimson Romances were born. All the stories are set in some of my favorite places in the country—Portland, Oregon, the Puget Sound, Philadelphia. My second series, A Holiday For Romance, will be released beginning in June of 2014 and will focus on some of my favorite times of the year—Independence Day, Halloween, New Year’s Eve and a few more.

Still not mysteries but I’m working on it. I’m working on it.

Sparked by Love cover
Blurb:
Artist Leo Wilson has been awarded a grant to install glass fireworks at the Fourth of July celebration at Fort Vancouver, Washington where thousands of people will see his work. It’s the chance of a lifetime for him. All he has to do is get a few permits from the city and he’ll be set. But the crabby bureaucrat who answers his phone calls is making it impossible for him to get what he needs.

Shannon Morgan is responsible for organizing the huge annual celebration of Independence Day on the grounds of the Historic Reserve, one of the most significant pieces of real estate in the region. The only part of the job she hates is dealing with some fussy artist who thinks it’s all about him. He’s just like a couple of other men she’s known—her mostly absent father, her disappearing ex-boyfriend—who cared more about themselves than they did about her.

When Leo decides to confront the cause of his trouble in person he discovers a beautiful young woman who is as surprised by him as he is by her. A walk through the parade grounds where the event will take place settles their differences and sparks a mutual interest between them. Dinner, a movie and a few torrid kisses take it from spark to flame.

But then the father she has always wanted in her life appears—with her ex-boyfriend. Shannon faces a dilemma—how far is she willing to go to have her father around? And why is he hanging out with her ex? Are they hiding something from her? A lot rides on Shannon finding the answers to those questions.

If she makes the right decisions, she and Leo will create fireworks that rival the pyrotechnics that light up the sky on July Fourth. Privately.

Excerpt:
About fifteen minutes later, Leo returned, barefoot with his shirtsleeves rolled up and a necktie in his hand. “Ready?”

“Sure. Where’re we going?”


“I’m going to put this over your eyes so you can’t see and … ”


“Is the surprise some kinky sex thing?”


“Damn. I never thought about a kinky sex thing. I’ll have to remember that for another time. You’ll have to settle for what I put together tonight.” He motioned for her to stand. “Close your eyes.” He tied the tie around her head so her eyes were mostly covered. “Too tight? Or uncomfortable?”

“No, it’s fine. Now what?”

“Now I’m going to take you to the surprise.” From behind, he gently guided her in the direction he wanted her to go. When he stopped, she smelled something flowery, sweet. And she could hear soft instrumental music, the kind played in spas or as background for meditation.

He slipped the tie down around her neck and said, “Voila.”

While he undid the knot and removed the tie, she blinked so she could focus. He’d led her to the bathroom, not the bedroom. The overhead light was off. In the huge claw foot tub she’d never used, opting for the stall shower, he had drawn a bath and filled it with bubbles. Around the room, on the shelf above the sink and the windowsill, on the radiator and the back of the toilet, were candles—maybe a dozen of them—each one in a glass vessel, cup or vase of some sort so the light from the candles glowed through the glass in jewel-like colors. Looking more closely at several vessels, Shannon could see the candles didn’t quite match the elegance of the candleholders but it hardly mattered.

“Oh, Leo, it’s beautiful.”

***
Wonderful excerpt, Peggy! I gotta say I love romantic guys like Leo. How sweet of him to prepare such a luxurious bath for her… or maybe it’s for the both of them. Hmm, the possiblities!
Thank you so much for letting us get to know you a bit better, Peggy, and of course for sharing a snippet of SPARKED BY LOVE. I look forward to reading it!

Buy links: http://www.amazon.com/Sparked-Love-Holiday-Romance-Crimson-ebook/dp/B00KI2EYHA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400910345&sr=1-1&keywords=Sparked+by+Love

http://www.crimsonromance.com/crimson-romance-ebooks/crimson-romance-book-genres/contemporary-romance-novels/sparked-by-love/

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Search?Query=Sparked+By+Love+by+Peggy+Bird

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sparked-by-love-peggy-bird/1119589485?ean=9781440570391

The premise

Can the love of an honorable man be enough to forgive a woman’s one felonious act? Should that woman risk everything to find out?

When Tom Carver, Whistle Creek’s blacksmith, tackles a youth prowling in his barn, he certainly doesn’t expect that youth to be the recently-hired school teacher, Beth Patterson. Her feeble excuses invite his suspicion, so for the next few weeks, he devises “chance” encounters with her so he can watch her every move.

Hiding from the law, Beth had hopes of starting afresh in the town of Whistle Creek. But with one brother obsessed with stealing a horse, and the other younger one befriending the town’s intrusive blacksmith, she fears her ugly past will be uncovered.

Tom’s deliberate encounters with Beth reveal she is a deeply devoted sister, and a beautiful, loving woman. Soon desire expels his distrust and he purposely courts her romantically. Denying her own yearnings, Beth knows she must reject his advances for the sake of her small family.

Surely Tom, a decent and respected man, would condemn her for her one tragic deed. Wouldn’t he?