The inspiration behind A Christmas Cowboy to Keep–a contemporary western collection

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I posed the question “What is the inspiration for your story?” to the seven authors who contributed to this collection currently on pre-order for only 99 cents to release October 25th. Here are their answers:

Christmas, Liberty, and the Three Minute Man

Carra Copelin: The inspiration for my story came from my brother who has a much more colorful past than I do. He’s also a Country Western Gospel singer/songwriter, who writes some amazing songs. Last year he helped me with an idea for a book I was writing at the time and I asked him for some insight into a character he had helped me develop. I wanted to be sure I had the flavor of the personality right in the dialogue. He said, “Sis, I don’t know anything about writing books. I’m just a three minute man.” Well, I knew I had to write a book around that statement. That’s when I came up with the story about Liberty Hart and Daniel Layman. It’s a fun read about a sassy event planner from Nashville and a sexy cowboy songwriter from Texas. I think you’ll like it.

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A Christmas Carole

Andrea Downing:  You say, ‘Christmas book’ and the first one that pops into my mind is Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  So what could be more inspirational than that?  Of course, transferring ideas from the story into a contemporary western romance is another matter. The story wasn’t going to be paranormal so out went the visiting ghosts for a start.  And could someone actually be named Scrooge? I played around with the spelling and came up with Schrugge—if you google ‘pronouncing the name Schrugge’ Scrooge comes up. In other methods, the name comes out as pronounced both Shrug or Screw-gy.  Since I have a friend whose last name is pronounced three different ways by three branches of her family, I felt justified in choosing ‘Shrug.’ As for the rest of it, well, there are Staves instead of ‘Parts’ as per Dickens, a tiny Tim, and definitely a look at Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come.  I hope I’ve used just enough of Dickens to give a nod toward that most well-respected story.

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The Peppermint Tree

Kristy McCaffrey:  The main inspiration, initially, was the Christmas theme. I wanted a fun title that conveyed the holiday, so I came up with THE PEPPERMINT TREE first, not really knowing how I was going to work it into the story. I also decided early on that my heroine, Skye Mallory, would be a lawyer. This caused me no end of angst because I know nothing about lawyers LOL. Time to research. The rest was fleshed out during car rides with my husband. He’s not a writer, but he’s usually a good sport in helping me brainstorm. He gave me the idea for shifting property lines because true north moves ever so slightly over time, as well as insights into the types of vehicles the hero and heroine would drive. The steamy love scene in the country club bathroom facilities came about because I was recently visiting my in-laws in Florida and their club restrooms were so spacious—practically mini-apartments. Seemed like the perfect spot for a romantic encounter. I really had a good time writing this novella, and I sure hope readers will enjoy reading it.

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The Devil’s Christmas Kiss

Devon McKay: The inspiration for my story came from my 3 year old granddaughter. She was telling me of a boy who likes to pick on her during play dates. After a two hour long conversation, I summed up that Connor pulls her hair, especially when she wears pigtails, steals her baby, and likes to make her cry, all of which was accompanied by over-the-top dramatic sighs (she is seriously either going to be an actress or an author). When she finished her story, I suggested maybe taking her to another play date group. Her response was crocodile tears and a loud, “No! Connors my boyfriend and I’m going to marry him one day.”

For some reason, I thought this would make a perfect romance.

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Slay Bells

Hildie McQueen: The inspiration for my story came from my last visit to Wyoming and Montana and my marriage. I can definitely relate with Carmen, the heroine in that she would have never settled in Missoula or even considered it, if it wasn’t for falling in love.

As a young woman I would have nixed the idea of life in the small town where my husband grew up. He was raised on the border of Montana and Idaho and I lived in San Diego, CA.

Nowadays, if my husband were to ask me to move to Montana, I’d do it in a heartbeat!

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The Best Christmas

Hebby Roman: The inspiration for my story was a movie/documentary about rehab ranches that help handicapped and/or troubled teenagers. I wanted to show a heroic, counselor-type cowboy who ran a non-profit converted dude ranch near Bandera, TX, the self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World.” I wanted to depict a heroine, who was not married to the son’s father and is an immigrant, and the struggles she has gone through, keeping custody and contact with her son, once he becomes older and is being mentally and emotionally manipulated by his father, who is super wealthy and has a lot of clout.

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 Counting Down to Christmas

Patti Sherry-Crews: I was inspired by the Christmas spirit: family, traditions, and giving all tied up together. Is there another holiday that evokes as much nostalgia as Christmas? I put all the sights, scents, and details I associate with the holiday in my story.

There is no one who embodied that spirit more than my Grandma Alma did. I drew my inspiration from her. I also named a character after her.

Early in December, we’d help her bring down all the boxes of ornaments. After the tree was set up and decorated (always a seven foot Douglas Fir) there were dozens of cookies to be made. Making and decorating cookies was an all-family affair, where we’d sit around her large kitchen table and work together, using cookie cutters and recipes that had been in the family for generations.

My grandparents belonged to a small church in their neighborhood. I have memories of walking into the side door and heading up the dark stairway to the community room at the top of the stairs for the holiday bazaar. I have my heroine, Melody, walk up those same stairs, and Alma is the first person she sees.

Grandma Alma lived to be 96. Family does change. It got harder to get everyone together as people started their own families and moved away, so we had to find different ways to celebrate the holidays. I remember in later years debating whether to get a tree for Grandma or not. Were we forcing a Christmas tree on her for our benefit or hers? Still, every year until she was gone, we got down all the decorations and set up a 7-foot tree for her.

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Amazon pre-order link for October 25th release of 99 cent collection

Contest for Small-Town Romance Titles

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I’m participating in a contest where two lucky people will be chosen from those who enter to win a book from each participating author. Hosted by BookSweeps, this contest run through October 24th.

My book Laced by Love, is one of 40 ebooks in the giveaway. Other participating authors include Shirleen Davies, Cathy McDavid, Kathye Quick, Charlene Raddon, and many more.

Free reads go to every entrant and an ereader is the grand prize.

Good luck!

Join the fun here!

Guest post–Progressing a Character through a Series by Jean Lamb

 

“In my end is my beginning”—Mary, Queen of Scots.

When working with a series character who changes and grows during the series, it would be well to keep in mind how he or she is going to die–or turn into an Immortal God, a saint, or other extreme change in the character that will keep you from using him or her for most of the time. We know that death isn’t always the end for some people.

Some writers do this progression very well; Tiffany Aching, in Terry Pratchett’s series that begins with WEE FREE MEN, grows from a child just discovering her powers to a fully-fledged witch stabilized in her Granny Aching’s hut on the Chalk—and at the same time gives another character, Granny Weatherwax, a proper send-off. Some writers freeze their series characters, and that’s their choice; but a lot of fans enjoy the first method better, because over time, they become invested more in the character’s progress through life than if the character never changes. Many love Rand al’ Thor better than say, Conan (though even Conan eventually becomes a king).

How many of us agonized with Raistlin during his long death-bed? I know I did. But fewer would have cared if he had not grown and changed during the Dragonlance Chronicles in which he played a part. How many of us cried when Granny Weatherwax cleaned her privy for the second time, because we knew why?

This is why I have planned out my series about Tameron dayn Sidian from his beginning in HATCHLING, through THE DRAGON’S PEARL, and to his eventual end. It will be a long journey, and the details will change along the way. I won’t be locked into a specific scene, though I can see it in my head. Characters do funny things when you’re not looking, and trying to force them into a mold they outgrew in book #5 is a mistake. But I know the flavor of his end, and that is as sure a guide as any writer needs.

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Tameron dayn Sidian is the only son of the Protector of Fiallyn Mor. All his relatives, and those of the ruling class of this country, have magic.

But he doesn’t. How can he be his father’s heir without the gifts that would make him worthy? How can he make sure the common people are heard?

Wait, there’s more. He finds out he does have one special gift, but it will mean he’ll live the rest of his life as a prisoner, with all his partners chosen for him.

What can he do now? Find out how he discovers what he must finally do. And someday he’ll know what all his dreams of dragons are about.

Hatchling is the first volume of a multi-volume series titled “Tameron and the Dragon.”

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EXCERPT

Stine attacked. Tameron barely blocked her sword in time and gasped for breath. Full armor was heavy, and he wasn’t used to it yet. The battle-hardened old woman facing him thrust again. Tam stepped to his right, and let the sharp-edged metal scrape along his shield.

He struck back. Stine beat his assault out of line, but he recovered quickly. He raised his blade again, only to falter when she whirled and punched his sword-arm with the top of her shield. The sword left his grip and clattered to the floor. Tameron desperately flung his own shield up and crouched down to retrieve his weapon under its cover, but a blow from her boot knocked him over and left him defenseless. He twisted over to grab at her ankles, but she easily evaded him.

“Not bad, not bad,” Stine said, letting the point of her blade droop towards the floor. She gave the sword to an assistant and offered him a hand up. “When you’re older and stronger, this won’t be so easy for me.”

Tameron dayn Sidian a’ Piran wished he was older and stronger now, as he struggled to his feet. He’d be fifteen in two months, but glumly knew it’d be years before he could dream of besting the Protector’s arms-mistress. It helped to have fine armor and a sword made at Diesa Tower, but not nearly as much as he hoped for on days like this in the high-ceilinged practice room. The only privilege he had as the Protector’s son was having a turn with her at every session.

Tam bowed in respect to Commander Stine, and stood in the back of the spacious room with the rest of the novice guards. He relaxed as Stine picked on someone else to humiliate.

Lorin, one of the other trainees, whispered in sympathy, “Just wait till your powers come in! Then you can get back at her, even if you’re not as strong a mage as your father.”

Tam smiled. “I know. If my Element is air, then I can read her mind and figure out what she’s going to do next. If it’s earth, then I’ll make her armor too heavy for her.” It was only fair, considering what a weight his armor was for him.

Lorin sighed. “But with your luck, it’ll be water and you’ll have to give up fighting!”

“On days like this I don’t know if I’d mind!” Tameron said. Healers were sacred. Not even Stine would dare strike at him then. Besides, everyone knew that the gift of healing could also bring death.

Lorin shrugged. “Of course, you could get lucky and end up with fire!”

They both smiled. Several other trainees sighed, the look in their eyes giving away their own wishes. Tameron could think of quite a few pranks to play when his magic finally emerged, and knew he wasn’t alone.

To be fair, Commander Stine was never cruel, but he knew he wasn’t the only one who would like to find a way to defeat her without having to work for years to get better. Most of the other novice guards were older than he was, and already knew they had too little of any one Element to give them magical powers.

Was he going to be like them? It was said that talents like his father’s showed themselves when the body changed from childhood. He was growing fast enough that he sometimes dreamed of what might happen during his first Festival next Midsummer, but he hadn’t seen any trace of wizardry in himself so far. Time was passing quickly. Soon everyone else would begin to wonder if he was going to have the powers that separated the rulers of Fiallyn Mor from the rest of the people.

After the practice session, he bathed and changed. Surely he’d learn which Element would rule his life soon. Some, like his father or the Guardian of the North, had the aid of two. His own silver hair and gray eyes marked him as the child of wizards, while high cheekbones told of a trace of Outsider blood. No foreigners were able to enter this land through Wizardwall without strong magic of their own. Surely that meant he had a strong potential as well. After all, his four brothers and sisters had had magic before their deaths.

As soon as he dressed, he decided he’d waited long enough. He had to know! Tameron received permission from his tutor to skip a study session. He presented himself to Coris Mimn, the Lord Protector’s dark-haired, dark-skinned friend, and requested an audience with his father as soon as it was convenient. He waited nearly an hour, but he was used to it. In fact, he was lucky the Protector was even in residence here in Kelemath, rather than on progress in some other city.

It was almost sunset when he was ushered into the small sitting-room behind the large audience chamber. Tameron was proud that he was allowed to bear a weapon into his father’s presence. Only favorites like Mimn and Commander Stine had that privilege as well.

Lord Sidian dayn Riallan a’ Piran, the Protector of Fiallyn Mor, was a tall, blue-eyed man with red hair turning white at the temples. His long, slim hands caressed his curlwood walking stick, which had a brilliant ruby inset at the top. His bright blue robes were trimmed with pale fur, though he rarely felt the cold.

Tameron bent his knee in brief homage, then asked, “Father…I will be fifteen this Midwinter. I wonder…how will I know when I get my powers? Will there be problems because I’m so late? And how will I know what element I’m going to be strong in?”

Jean Lamb

Jean Lamb is a 60-something woman with five novels on Amazon. Her story “Galley Slave” in MAN/KZIN WARS VIII was on the preliminary list for the Nebula in 1994, but she was seduced by the pretty songs of fantasy and romance in novel form. She’s been married for 44 years to a chemistry teacher and lives in a small town in Central Oregon. She has 30 books left to write.

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Guest promotion–One Red Shoe by Diane Burton

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It Happened One Night meets Knight and Day

When elementary teacher Daria Mason left Iowa for a writers’ conference in New York City, she didn’t expect to come home with a wounded spy. Sam Jozwiak works for a shadow agency that gathers intel vital to U.S. security. From the moment he steals digital files from a Russian Mafia kingpin, Murphy’s Law takes over. No matter how he covers his tracks, the kingpin’s assassins find him. What’s worse than getting shot in the butt? Accepting help from an Iowa tourist. Thus, begins a road trip that takes Sam and Daria cross country with the assassins right behind them.

PRE-ORDER LINK for October 22, 2018 release (revision of previous title released by The Wild Rose Press)

EXCERPT

For the second time in her life, Daria Mason came face-to-face with a man pointing a weapon at her. A pervert, with unzipped jeans, wielded a green box knife. Because she’d raced into the restroom without checking out the situation, he now stood between her and the exit.

She was at the end of the proverbial rope. After walking in circles, she finally found a restroom and nobody was stopping her from using it. Especially not someone playing copycat with that guy in the movie who wore one red shoe.

“I am having a really bad day,” she declared in the don’t cross me voice she used on her brothers. As soon as her words echoed off the hideous pink and black tiled walls and floor, she lowered her voice. “You are in the wrong place, mister. Now zip up and get out.” She pointed straight-armed toward the door.

The man shook his head and set the flimsy knife on the counter. “Lady, you have more guts than sense. You are in the wrong place, at the wrong time.” His voice was even softer than hers. He eyed her with a look so dark and intense it paralyzed her like a hawk freezes its prey. She swallowed past the fear in her throat, certain it sounded like a gulp.

Diane Burton 2-for July 10

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

 

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Sale on Gothic Mystery Novellas–99 cents each

 

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A World of Gothic…Gothic Mystery Novellas ON SALE for ONLY 99 cents each through Halloween!

A group of authors from countries all over the world were drawn together by our love of the classic gothic mysteries by authors such as Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney.

While the stories are stand-alone, they each share a recurring thread of a Spinel stone, which can play a small or large part in the plot. We have stories set in Scotland, Greece, Oklahoma, Florida, France, Ireland, and more.

We hope readers have as much fun reading these stories (we recommend you do so with the lights on) as we had writing them.

Dark Hunt ~ A World of Gothic: Florida by Tamrie Foxtail

Ghost in the Rain ~ A World of Gothic: Scotland by Marie Treanor

House at the Edge ~ A World of Gothic: Greece by MM Jaye

Haunting at Spook Light Inn ~ A World of Gothic: Oklahoma by Alicia Dean

Haunting in the Pines ~ A World of Gothic: East Texas by Janis Susan May

Raven of Blackthorn Manor ~ A World of Gothic: Ireland by Gemma Juliana

Blood-Stained Memories ~ A World of Gothic: Florida by Kathy L Wheeler

Sea of Darkness ~ A World of Gothic: France by Amanda McCabe

Shadows and Lies ~ A World of Gothic: Louisiana by Raine English

Sinister Ceremony ~ A World of Gothic: Maine by Stacey Coverstone

Guest Release–By Reservation Only by Barbara Edwards

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New kitchen, new owner, new future–all rooted in three hundred years of history.

It’s the grand opening of The Deerbourne Inn! Award-winning Chef Nathan Harte has worked long and hard to restore this historic property in Willow Spring, Vermont. He’s ready to greet his guests with fine cuisine, comfortable rooms, and maybe even a ghost or two.

He’s escaping the rat-race of the city for a slower more rewarding life, but is he ready to deal with a broken arm, a quirky arsonist, and a long-ago mystery? And what might he find up in the 300-yr-old attics?

This  novella is the launch title in The Wild Rose Press’s latest multi-author series, Deerbourne Inn.

BUY LINKS

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EXCERPT

Since the inn was quiet, Emily pulled on a long t-shirt and opened the door. Her heart fluttered. She was disappointed Nate wasn’t waiting for her in the dark passage. She blew out a frustrated breath and opened one of the bedroom windows to let the fresh breeze blow in. A whip-poor-will called from the hill.

The comfortable bed beckoned her. Flowery potpourri scented the bedroom air. She lay on top of the handmade quilt and stared at the ceiling. Sleep eluded her. She lost count of the times she turned over, punched the pillow, yawned.

An owl hooted from the nearby woods. The call of the whip-poor-will sounded closer. The curtain flapped and the scent of smoke tainted the air. Her watch claimed it was only twelve thirty, not nearing dawn. She swore and rolled over again.

Someone knocked on Nate’s door and called his name. Emily pulled on her pants and sneakers before she opened her door.

“What’s happening?” Her pulse raced. Smoke, she smelled smoke.

BEdwards

I’m Barbara Edwards, a native New Englander, and a graduate of the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I write poetry for myself and novels when I need to tell a longer tale. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally turned to writing historical romance. The dark paranormal stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love.

I lived in Florida for several years and am past president of the Central Florida Romance Writers and a member of Romance Writers of America.

When I returned to Connecticut, I founded the Charter Oak Romance Writers, a Chapter of Romance Writers of America, along with several close friends.

My husband is a retired Police Sergeant. We share an interest Civil War re-enacting and travel the Eastern states to participate in events. I love visiting museums, galleries and battle sites, gathering information for my stories.

I taught Romance Writing at Manchester Community college for three years.

I’m fond of gardening and growing antique roses with limited success.

Most of my exercise is when my Belgian Shepherd, Keeno, demands a walk.

Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.

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New Release–Chasing Adventure

 

 

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I’m thrilled to announce my next story in the “Entertainers of the West” series is now available. Set in the Montana Sky world established by Debra Holland’s award-winning books, Chasing Adventure takes place in the fall of 1887 in Sweetwater Springs and Morgan’s Crossing.

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Dime novelist, Thora Alviss, seeks out an ex-US Marshal, Harte Renwyck, for an interview, but he wants no more publicity about his past life. Determined to make her stories better, city-bred Thora rushes into exploring the frontier life. Thora’s thirst for a good story is stronger than her ability to get herself out of danger and Harte comes to the rescue time and again. Will she give up and return east, or will she learn the survival skills she’s been writing about?

Ex-US Marshal, Harte Renwyck, has left his past behind and looks for no more acclaim, but a pesky author wants to interview him about his former profession. While Harte can’t deny a growing respect for her efforts to make her stories stronger, he’s been wronged by the press in the past and fights to keep his distance. Can he look past his prior grudge and see the adventurous woman close at hand?

Free in KU and for purchase at AMAZON

EXCERPT

“No hotel?” Wide-eyed, she stumbled and grabbed for the rail. “How will I ever find him?”

At her words, Harte narrowed his gaze. She sought a man but hadn’t made arrangements for said man to meet her? Strange. The woman’s face paled, and Harte edged close, fearing she might faint. If ever a woman was out of her element, that person was Miss Alviss.

“I’ll help the lady, Jack.” Before thinking through the situation and realizing what he obliged himself to, he’d opened his mouth and made the offer. Why not? He had to walk in the same direction to return to the office and could carry a bag or two. A stroll through town with a pretty lady on his arm could prove a pleasant diversion. He thought back to the last time he’d walked out with a woman. A casual activity he hadn’t enjoyed in too many months to count. Or could even be years.

Miss Alviss flashed a smile, creasing a dimple at the left corner of her mouth. “What a truly chivalrous and gentlemanly offer, deputy. I do admit to being a bit travel weary and the assistance is much appreciated. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Giving a nod in his direction, she continued up the steps.

Lofty praise for lending a neighborly hand. When was the last time he’d had such pretty words aimed in his direction? Moving with the speed of Mercury, Harte vaulted the steps to the platform and rounded the corner of the depot office. A small mountain of luggage comprised of a portmanteau, two valises, two carpetbags, and a satchel squatted beside a wooden bench. His boots skidded to a stop. Looked like he’d be the one making multiple trips.

“Oh, dear.” She let out a sigh. “In New York City, the porter used a push cart, and the quantity of my bags didn’t pose such a problem.” She dashed forward and grabbed the satchel, lifting the long strap over her head so it rested on her opposite hip. Then she leaned over and reached for a carpetbag.

Knew she was from a really big city. Not wanting her to strain anything, Harte moved to her side. “I offered, although I didn’t know you had so many pieces. But I’ll manage. Somehow.” For a man accustomed to traveling light, he couldn’t imagine what she packed inside all these cases.

Cheeks blushing, she straightened and turned her head, her neck stiff. “Deputy, I am a healthy woman perfectly capable of assisting with the transport of my own belongings.”

“Duly noted, miss.” His words came out more clipped than he intended. Years of dealing with criminals had stolen his ability for idle talk. Setting his jaw, Harte hoisted the portmanteau to balance on his left shoulder then stooped to grab the handles of the matching carpetbags. “If you lift the valise, I can stretch my fingers around the handle.” Barely, but for his pride’s sake, he needed to make the offer.

Bending over, she lifted both valises. “I’ve got them. Now, if you’ll indicate the direction, we’ll be on our way.”

The corner of the leather case dug into his shoulder, and his right hand already ached from the weight. “Head toward the brick building down a ways on the opposite side of the street. The boardinghouse is past the mercantile.” He trudged down the steps, each move jolting his shoulder muscles. The lady’s rigid posture and swishing bustle informed him she still resented his thoughtless remark. Not exactly how he envisioned his morning walk through Sweetwater Springs. Chivalry, my backside.

Fall Into These Great Reads Bookathon

Today’s my featured spotlight on N.N. Light’s Book Heaven’s Fall into These Great Reads Bookathon. Highlighted is Laced By Love, Book 1 in the Entertainers of the West series. Click over to here and enter for a chance at winning a $150 Amazon gift card. Rafflecopter drawing ends September 30 with the winner being announced on October 1st.

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Guest Cover Reveal–Between The Shadows by Casi McLean

Between the Shadows for July 13

Blurb:

She never expected to confront deadly villains…let alone fall in love with one…

After her friend, York, encounters the ghostly image of a young woman, Mackenzie Reynolds seizes the opportunity to initiate a time jump, thrusting them back to 1865 Georgia. Resolved to thwart the girl’s untimely fate, Kenzi stumbles into a deadly conflict over a stockpile of stolen Confederate gold.

An injured Civil War survivor, James Adams departs for home with a war-fatigued companion he’s determined to help. After pilfering a horse and kidnaping a woman, he never dreamed his hostage would steal his heart.

Kenzi and James must unravel a deadly plot, while helping York save his ghost woman from a brutal death. But can she leave York in a violent past to save James’s life?

A Gripping Novel By Award-Winning Author Casi McLean

Amazon pre-order link

Excerpt:

“Don’t you dare die on me, James Adams.”

Kenzi pressed the blood-soaked gauze against the left side of his abdomen. “I won’t lose you. Not now.”

Barely clinging to life, he opened his eyes a slit, raised his hand still clenching Colin’s gun, and shot two rounds.

Stunned, Kenzi snapped around. “No.” She screamed and dove for the gun through the hazy blue mist engulfing them.

“Brady…” His voice faded as he slipped into semiconscious mumbling.

Yanking the pistol from his grip with her right hand, she maintained pressure with her left. A heartbeat later, the cylinder encasing them rotated open. Kenzi stood then sprinted across the room and pounded on a fist-sized alert button affixed to the wall. The resulting alarm shrieked through the underground chamber, reverberating as it radiated throughout the compound. Two men dressed in white jumpsuits burst through double doors.

“Gurney. Now.” Kenzi screamed at the attendants. “And O-Neg blood. Hurry. Go, go, go.” She ran to James and knelt beside him. Lifting his head, she slid a knee underneath it for support and smoothed a chunk of his dark brown hair from his face. “I’ve sacrificed way too much to have you die now,” she whispered. “My ass will burn for this. Not to mention the repercussions for abandoning York.”

Pulse racing, she checked his bandage. Despite her efforts, streams of crimson still oozed from the wound. Pressing again on the gauze, she shook her head. “Geez. You’ve lost so much blood. Please, hang on.”

Again, the double doors swung wide. This time, a gurney pushed through, followed by the two assistants. One man ran to Kenzi.

“Help me lift him.” Her hands, slick with blood, shot to her white T-top, already drenched in crimson. On second thought, she swept them down the rear of her jeans. Sliding her slippery arms beneath his back, she braced her stance with one bent knee.

“One, two, three.” They heaved him in tandem onto the gurney. She doused her hands with Betadine then splashed more on James’s forearm, snatched an IV from the attached supply basket, and punctured a vein on the inside of his wrist with the sterile needle. Once connected, she hooked the blood pouch on the IV pole and barked at the team, “Let’s move. If this man bleeds out, there will be hell to pay.”

The men, poised with hands on the side of the rails, awaited their next move. “Where to, Dr. Reynolds?”

Kenzi stared at James’s ashen face, worried her meager experience wasn’t enough to save his life––but she had no option. “Surgery.”

Springing into action, one man rolled the gurney down the hallway, while a second leapt onto the base and slipped an oxygen mask over James’s nose and mouth. “I hope this guy isn’t allergic to Propofol.” He attached an anesthesia drip to the IV. “Damn, what caused this gaping wound?”

“He was shot…with a musket.”  

Romantic Suspense, Time Slips, And Supernatural Mystery with a Sprinkle of Magic ….

Award Winning Author

2016 Best Romantic Suspense  Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence 

Winner 2016 Best Heroine Still Moments Magazine

2016 Aspen Gold Finalist for Best Romantic Suspense

2015 Top Pick by Night Owl Reviews

2015 Chicago Fire and Ice Finalist

2014 Winner 2014 AWC Short Story Award

Fiction:

  Lake Lanier Mysteries

     Beneath The Lake

     Beyond The Mist

     Between The Shadows 

   Destiny Series:

     Destiny

     The Gift

     After Midnight

     Convergent

     The Pegasus Chronicle

   Deep State Mysteries

       Reign Of Fire

       The List

Nonfiction:

Wingless Butterfly

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Guest Post-Writing is a Solitary Life by Diane Burton

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Linda. Since we both belong to a special group called Authors Helping Authors for so long, we should call it Friends Helping Friends. That’s one of the great things about technology and writing—meeting so many writers online and becoming friends, even when we’ve never met in real life.

Writing is a solitary business. When we’re in the groove, we don’t want to be bothered, we don’t come out of hiding until we’re exhausted or famished, then we dash back into our cave and work some more. Being “in the zone” doesn’t just apply to athletes. I’ve felt the rush that comes when the words flow and everything falls into place. I’ve also felt that frustration, almost depression, when nothing comes, when the Muse takes a vacation. I’ve never faced a blank screen because starting a new project is exciting. Getting those first words down is exhilarating. Around chapter eight, I bog down. I need a plan. Or at least a better one than “they live happily ever after.”

My frustration comes when I reread what I’ve written and wonder “where the heck was I going with this?”

My latest release, Numbers Never Lie, a romantic suspense, began about fifteen years ago. I knew where that story was going. I wrote and wrote. I was in the zone. Then, Life intruded (as Life does), and I set aside the story. This winter, I remembered how much I’d written, including the ending. I thought it would be a piece of cake to tweak it and release it. Hah! I wasn’t as “finished” as I thought. I hadn’t written the ending—I wrote about how the ending should go. Consequently, I had a lot more work to do than I’d thought.

My mother always said easy jobs are the ones that take the longest because something always goes wrong. She was talking about fixing a leaky faucet or a squeaky floor board. The same could be said about writing. Twice, now, I’ve taken an old manuscript and brought it up to date. And, twice, I’ve said it’s easier to start new than rewrite a story.

Still, I enjoyed Numbers Never Lie. I liked the premise—a fish out of water—before I realized it was more mystery than suspense, and more about second chances. The story didn’t change as much as my perspective.

Be sure to see the Rafflecopter at the end of this post and sign up to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Numbers Never Lie  for July 10

Blurb:

A shocking secret brings danger to Jack Sinclair and his sister Maggie.

As kids, they were the fearless threesome. As adults, Jack’s an accountant; Drew, a lawyer; Maggie, a teacher and camping troop leader. Upon returning from a weekend camping trip, Maggie receives horrifying news. She refuses to believe her brother Jack’s fatal car crash was an accident. If the police won’t investigate, she’ll do it herself. Convincing Drew Campbell to help is her only recourse.

Drew Campbell was too busy to return his best friend’s phone call. Too busy to attend a camping meeting important to his teen daughter. Too busy to stay in touch with Jack. Logic and reason indicate Jack’s accident was just that–an accident caused by fatigue and fog. Prodded by guilt, he’ll help Maggie even if he thinks she’s wrong.

A break-in at Jack’s condo convinces Maggie she’s right. Then her home is searched. What did Jack do that puts Maggie in danger?

Numbers Never Lie is available at Amazon.

Excerpt

Maggie Sinclair wondered for the tenth time that morning why she hadn’t had her head examined before agreeing to Ellen’s offer. The week before, Maggie called off the trip when not one parent volunteered to chaperone. She hated disappointing the girls who had been crushed when their leader moved away. For the past two months, they talked about camping again. But week after week they returned with the same news. Their mothers refused, and their dads were too busy.

So when Ellen said her dad would help, the girls went wild. And Maggie, who should’ve known better, believed Ellen who swore she’d asked and her father agreed. Maggie should have followed up with a phone call, but years of avoiding Drew Campbell prevailed. Years of unreciprocated longing—from when her heart first took notice, through the years when he was single, then when he was married. Except for that one time, she never let him know. Avoidance was best.

Now here she was needing his help with the girls. Preparing them for a week-long camping trip to Isle Royale had been Trish Morrow’s goal when she started the group four years ago. The girls loved roughing it. They just needed more hiking and camping experience before tackling the primitive island in Lake Superior.

Though they’d gotten a late start this morning because of the fog, Maggie noticed the girls’ energy start to flag after the fifth mile of the hike. That was when she put Drew Campbell at the front of the line. From the rear, she watched him trying to set a faster pace—especially after Gretchen’s assurance that they could keep up. The man was in a world of hurt even if he was making a concerted effort not to show it. He looked so trim, so athletic, Maggie had assumed he was in good shape.

Typical desk jockey. He probably got his exercise in a climate-controlled gym. No, wait. In a health club.

For better or worse—and she was afraid worse was the operative word—she was stuck with him for the next thirty hours.

Are we having fun yet? she mocked herself as she tromped through the woods with eight tough little girls on the brink of womanhood and her brother’s best friend. From the back of the line, Maggie watched his long-legged stride and the way his navy golf shirt revealed his strong shoulders and the way his obviously new jeans conformed to his butt. She lifted the tail of the bandanna knotted around her neck and wiped the sweat from her upper lip. She couldn’t blame the sun for the heat coursing through her.

Okay, Sinclair, she told herself, keep your mind on the matter at hand. And not how good Campbell’s butt looked in tight new jeans.

Good Lord, she felt fifteen again—instead of thirty-four. Her stomach in knots, her skin on fire. Lusting after the man who said she kissed like a guppy.

Diane Burton

About the Author:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Connect with Diane Burton online

Blog:  http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/dmburton72

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/dianeburtonauthor

Goodreads: Diane Burton Author

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dmburton72/

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf

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by author Linda Carroll-Bradd