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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Interview of Deborrah Girard

Today I have the pleasure to present an interview of romance author Deborrah Girard.

Latest Book: Sweet Survivor
Buy Link:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-177/Deborrah-Girard-Sweet-Survivor/Detail.bok

BIO:
I was born and raised in Northern Ontario, Canada. I lived in Timmins (home of Shania), before moving to a southwestern Ontario city. I am a crafter, hairstylist and a writer. I've been married to my husband, Ron, for thirty seven years. We have two children, a daughter-in-law, one grandson and a Himalayan cat who rules the household.

I enjoy all life has to offer, and wish for more hours in the day. Since curing myself of Fibromyalgia, I've embraced a healthy lifestyle, because I want to live to a ripe old age and have my children wonder where I am, and also to maintain a prolific muse. I belong to Romance Writers of America and too many writing groups to mention. Every month since 2003, I've taken a new and exciting class hoping to broaden my horizons and push my limit a little further. Writing under three pseudonyms, Deborrah Girard, Devorah Day and Debsy Girard, keeps me on my toes. I enjoy what I do and would love for you to pick up one of my books and...dream a little dream with me.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: The first thing I did was get hold of my hubby, told him I wasn’t cooking, that we were going out for supper and I didn’t want to hear any complaint. We had a nice quiet meal. But on the inside, I couldn’t squash that inside voice from rejoicing.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: The part that gives me grief a lot of the time is the middle. Even if I plot it all out, I can still write myself into a corner. Sometimes I’ll ask advice from those around me, or I’ll seek out my chapter RWA group. We have a thing called ‘plotting therapy’, where we can go for help and fresh ideas.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: My heroine in Sweet Survivor is my favorite. She embarks on a nine day canoe trip through the bush. In real life, my hubby made that trip several times--myself, well, let’s just say I was too chicken. Glenda, however, has no qualms about any of it. She’s determined to do it, and she succeeds with flying colors.


Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Tell us about your hero.
A: Wow. If that happened hubby and I would be going out for more than dinner--there would certainly be dancing afterward. LOL. I would love for George Clooney to play the hero. Something about that man always makes me turn my head.

The hero, Marc Bouvier, is a rugged man, who overcame hardships of his own to live the life he now loves. When the heroine, Glenda Demars, comes onto the scene, it isn’t long before he melts and gives in to her wishes.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A:Yes, I have quite a list of comfort foods. If these, or any variation thereof, are in the house, I will pick away at them. They are cheese cake, chocolate, and frozen yogurt. Enough said…

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I did a lot of crafting and designing. My work was in several craft magazines. I’m also a hairstylist. Today, I still do a little of both. Last summer I added blonde streaks to my grandson’s hair, and for the last several months he’s been counting the weeks until he can get here again. He wants more streaks this time. He’s designed a picture to show me exactly where he wants them. Too funny. We enjoy him so much.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: Ask him to teach me how to format my manuscript. Yes, I’m the only one on earth that can’t manipulate my computer into following word for word instructions. I can’t explain it. Beyond double spacing, and font choice, forget it. So, I would convince the ‘handsome man’ into giving me a tutorial. And if he looked like George Clooney, he’d get a very nice thank you.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: I always wanted to try a werewolf story. I finished one not too long ago. As soon as I get a chance to polish it up, I’ll submit it. It was a lot of fun to write. I love changing it up like that.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
www.deborrahgirard.com
www.desertbreezepublishing.com - pseudonym 'Deborrah Girard'
www.secretcravings.com - pseudonym 'Devorah Day'
www.eXtasybooks.com - pseudonym 'Devorah Day'
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Deborrah-Girards-Corner/116774098360225www.twitter.com/deb'sauthorfile

Coffee Time Forum--     I have a heck of a time getting into this....I am NOT computer savvy...(.Latte Lounge)


BLURB:
The cruel and unexpected deaths of Glenda's parents results in a ten year absence from her roots in Northern Ontario. At her uncle's invitation, she returns to take part in a nine day canoe excursion to Moosonee only to find her uncle sold the bush camp.

Marc Bouvier, the new owner, is led to believe 'Glen' Demars is joining them. He isn't instantly taken with the turn of events, nor is he convinced the bush is any place for a beautiful woman.

Glenda isn't looking for love, nor is she expecting her uncle to play matchmaker but she is stimulated by his audacity and Marc's assumptions. She agrees to Marc's pre-excursion test before embarking on the adventure that takes them through the
woes of mismatched hell to the depths of passion.

EXCERPT:
Morning dawned with unbelievable splendor. The water sat somnolent in the pale light, its mirrored surface reflecting the rolling scenery. Branches hung at suspended angles over the water and quivered in the rising haze. Clumps of earth and granite interspersed with stunted spruce trees, dissected the waterways, and Glenda sensed their first portage was not far off in the distance.

Through the weak reception of the transistor, the weatherman said the afternoon
promised to be hot with the possibility of a thunderstorm. Some storms often swept rapidly upriver and dissipated before building force, and some didn't. They were prepared for either.

Glenda looked around and wondered if anything anywhere had ever looked so peaceful.
She didn't think so. The beauty around her was in sharp contrast with her dreams. Even the faraway menace of a storm managed to enhance nature's portrait. From this vantage point, the place was a precious and sacred part of the world. She began to understand her family's devotion.

She looked over at Marc. Through the haze, she decided he was the most good looking
and powerful man she'd ever met. His non-fatigable paddling resulted in the removal of his shirt, and his muscles rippled in time to the waves. The rays of light that pierced the mist danced on his jet-black head and lent it the iridescent sheen of a blackbird. His tanned skin was a shade lighter, and Glenda watched, transfixed. Her gaze roamed to his mouth, to the tilt of his chin, to his broad shoulders that tapered to a concave waist, to his long legs, tangled in gear. He sat drenched
in a pool of light, looking vibrantly alive and unmistakably male.

When she realized what she was doing, she shook herself. Land loomed ahead, and they
would soon be on foot. Just as more pools of sunlight filtered through the trees in the one direction, dark clouds rolled in from another.

"The first portage is only about a half mile long. I hope we can get through it before the storm hits," Marc said on a concerned note.

Ray peered at him over his sunglasses. "The storm seems a long way off. Maybe it will miss us altogether."

"I hope you're right."

They paddled to the rocky shore, pulled the canoes from the water, and divided all the gear and supplies amongst them. When the boats were hoisted up over their heads, they began their trek. Glenda squared her shoulders and thought only positive thoughts.

I can do this. I really can.

They followed a barely discernible trail through the trees as they moved along. A
primeval silence enveloped them. As promised, the day was hot; the air, filled with a redolent scent. The ground was cushioned from the accumulation of fallen needles and the mosquitoes and black flies battled for supremacy.

"Are you okay, Glen?" Marc asked casually.

"Yes. I'm fine. I'm discovering the real meaning of 'battle of the bulge'." Her uneven load rubbed against her. No matter how she shifted, it wouldn't budge. For the moment, she willed the pain away through her subconscious but knew once they stopped for the night, she would be in for trouble. She hoped her muscle ointment went undetected.

Anything else you’d like to add?
SWEET SURVIVOR---JUNE RELEASE---Desert Breeze Publishing
BEST LITTLE GHOUL HOUSE IN TEXAS---JUNE RELEASE---Secret Craving Publishing
HEART WIDE SHUT---July release---Secret Cravings Publishing
LOVE, MARRIAGE, ANNULMENT---August release---Secret Cravings Publishing
UNDER THE TUSCAN’S SON---Oct. release---Secret Cravings Publishing

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interview of Charlie Kramer

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Charlie Kramer!

Latest Book: Don't Quote Me
Buy Link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/38411

BIO:
Charlie Kramer lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner.

She has worked in the building and facilities management industries for a number of years as both a General Manager, private contractor and author of specialised technical manuals.

Charlie is also an award winning speech writer and published short story author. Today she enjoys writing romantic comedy screen plays and novels.

In her spare time, Charlie enjoys creative cooking and watching chick flicks.

Her ultimate dream; to write a one woman stage play

Q: Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
A: I would have to say Claire Montgomery from “Don’t Quote Me” tugs at my heartstrings. Claire is so unique and lives her life to the beat of her own drum. Thinking she knows it all but in reality, she doesn’t really have a clue.

In the story, Claire suffers some significant losses in her life such as friendships and her sense of identity yet she finds the strength to work through her issues and bounce back. Whilst she is still Claire in essence she has changed and let go of her self-importance.

One thing I love about Claire is that she is an Audrey Hepburn look-a-like, dresses in vintage clothes, has more shoes than most of us has hot dinners. She also loves the movies from 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s and her lives her life via quotes from the movie starlets of that time.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroines?
A: I really gave a lot of thought to which A- List Hollywood actress would do my character justice and unfortunately I could not picture any of them portraying Claire Montgomery.

In my imagination Ginnifer Goodwin would make a wonderful Claire. Ginnifer has a tendency to make characters shine even when they are the underdog.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Tell us about your hero.
A: Clive Owen, oh please let me have Clive. With his dark good looks Clive would shine as my hero Sebastian Gionis from “Don’t Quote Me.”

Sebastian intrigues Claire from the moment that they meet in her studio. Sebastian however being a very wealthy businessman is less than impressed that he has made it to the top ten Chic magazine’s Man of the Year contest.

Sebastian is your typical alpha hero and that makes him the man of every woman’s dreams. He’s full of charismatic charm and yet keeps part of himself incredibly private and has a few secrets of his own he’s not willing to share.

Q: Do all your heroes and heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write?”
A: My characters come to me organically. When a character (usually the heroine) is ready she arrives in my imagination and I can see her clearly. It’s like meeting a person for the first time when you take in their facial features. No two characters are ever the same.

The hardest part is scouring the photographic websites for photos of people who resemble my characters. I use the photos in my book trailers, on my websites and blogs.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: I keep a jug of water and a bowl of fresh fruit and vegetables on my desk. I started this because I found that I was so captivated in the writing of my novels and screen plays that I was neglecting to eat. Not deliberately but time did get away from me.

I also love to cook with fresh herbs and produce. Unfortunately I haven’t found any inspiration in my fruit bowl.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so?
A: I am planning on writing a post-world war II drama in 2012. I’ve been planning to write the book since 2009 when I originally penned the screen play. I have everything I need to write the story from my characters to my outline.

I wrote a scene in which a character is murdered. I cried whilst I was writing and for a few hours afterwards.

Tell us where to find you.
http://www.charlie-kramer.com
http://wwwcharliekramer.blogspot.com
http://quotablewomenblog.blogspot.com
Twitter: charliekramer36
http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/charliekramer

BLURB:
Book 1 of the Quotable Women Series is Don’t Quote Me.
In this romantic comedy London’s hottest fashion photographer, Claire Montgomery has a problem.  Several actually.One; she remembers every event in her life by the shoes she is wearing at the time. Two; she has rules around dating. Three; her belief in monogamy stops her from marrying and four; her little hot pink book is literally on fire. She sees no problem that she lives her life from quotes of the movie stars of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.

Then she meets Sebastian Gionis. Sebastian shakes up Claire’s and forces her to re-evaluate her life and beliefs.

EXCERPT:
So shoe me. It may sound odd, but I tend to identify the events in my life by the shoes I wore at the time.
Charla Lawhon

I, Claire J Montgomery welcome Charla Lawhon to the sisterhood, and one day, when I could actually manage to find a spare moment, I would do a search on her to find out who she was. I believed she would be famous, especially since they were printing her quotes. I often thought a more appropriate surname would be Shoehorn.

Women in my sisterhood have to remember every adventure in their lives by the shoes they were wearing at the time. Since the age of fifteen, in the years when I still had my virginity, my shoes have stored away in their leather memory banks every rendezvous, from my first kiss with David Ryder under the apple tree in the school yard to Pastor John.

My shoes are like a monument to the dating game. A walk down memory lane is simply a quick trip into my shoe closet. It’s not really a closet. I have a room in my ultra trendy Mayfair flat housing my footwear.

It was a challenge turning my spare bedroom into a shoe closet, inner city flats are not abundant in size. But with the right designer and builder I’d simply achieved the unachievable.

It’s a good thing my footwear can’t gossip. I have shoes for every shag and all the blissful moments of sexual satisfaction. Mmm, and some not so blissful, of course. I tried to avoid those shoes which had the tendency to remind me of bad dates. I didn’t need any recollections of my failures.

I took the last drag of my cigarette and crushed it under the pointy toe of my stiletto. My watch read eight- forty. With no bus in sight, I had no alternative but to walk the two blocks to my office. It wasn’t a hardship this morning considering the sun was shining before lunch. What the hell, I’d already run one block chasing the bloomin’ bus.

I’m not lazy. It’s just that I never knew who I’d meet on the bus. Of the one hundred people packed like sardines, fifty percent are men, and of that fifty percent, three percent are potential love chunks. I’m a positive person who likes to find the potential in every situation.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hook Your Readers by Janice Seagraves

Hi, my name is, Janice Seagraves. I’m a romance writer.

I write romances of various genres. My depute novel, Windswept Shores, is an erotic contemporary romance. It’s published through, Pink Petal books.

I’m delighted to tell you that I’m the new contributing author for Romance Books “R” Us blog.

If you’re a fellow writer, that’s wonderful. If your finished your first full manuscript--congratulations. That in itself is a feat only a few of us can claim. A lot of people say they want to write, but only a few start and a fewer still ever finish.

But now the hard part really begins. The revision process and refining the beginning hook.

Let’s get a look at a beginning hook, shall we?

You'll need to start where everything changes for your characters. What they call in media res – in the middle of things.

At this point everything else is back-story. And the rule about back-story is no back-story in the first chapter. The first chapter is strictly for hooking your reader. Save the back-story for the third chapter. That way your reader is hooked into reading further to find out more.

However, you will need some kind of setup for the beginning scene, before you set the beginning hook. If you feel you need something of the back-story to help set the scene, then use a single sentence.

In this scene I do use a little back-story to help set the scene, but I used the rule of one sentence.

Here's the breakdown of my hook from my book, Windswept Shores:

Setting the scene:
Breathing hard, Megan flicked a glance at the teal-colored sea.


One sentence back-story: 
She’d thought a vacation to the Bahamas would be the perfect getaway, would be a solution to the problems she and Jonathan had faced. She’d been wrong—dead wrong.

This part is for reader sympathy:
Tears of grief filled her eyes. The never-ending crash of the waves on the beach and the cries of the seagulls seemed to mock her with the reminder she was utterly alone.

She’d felt like a tiny speck of sand last night when a violent storm had swept across the island. It had made a mess of her meager campsite, which had taken all morning to fix, and had demolished her seaweed SOS sign. She’ll have to recreate her SOS. Sighing, Megan trudged toward a pile of kelp. As she got closer, she saw a figure wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt. Her stomach lurched.

Oh, God, it’s another body washed up from the plane wreck. That would be number twelve. As always, she couldn’t help but wonder if the next one would be Jonathan. He hadn’t been wearing jeans on the plane, so she knew she’d been spared seeing his corpse this time. Thank God. She approached the body with dread. Tightening her resolve, she knelt.

The hook: 
Suddenly the “dead body” coughed and rolled over. With a scream, Megan jumped back. She clutched her chest and pressed a shaking hand to her mouth.

And now I reel my reader in:
He’s alive!

This part is to describe the hero: 
His drenched t-shirt molded against his broad shoulders and well developed upper body. Short, golden brown hair stuck out in all directions. Biting her lip, she stared down at the still-breathing man.

Add little humor:
Megan, get control of yourself. Don’t wet your pants the first time you finally see a living person. She got on her knees, plucked the seaweed from him and wiped the sand from his face.

Then add a little spice: His day-old whiskers scratched her palm. Reddened skin stretched across both cheekbones and over the bridge of his nose. Her thumb caressed his parched full bottom lip.

She patted the side of his face. “Hey, are you okay?”

Note:
I didn't start where Megan got washed up on Windswept Shores. No, I started when the hero did. Because for a romance this is where the story really begins. Everything else is back-story, which I do add but well after the first chapter.

Now let's put it all together:
Breathing hard, Megan flicked a glance at the teal-colored sea. She’d thought a vacation to the Bahamas would be the perfect getaway, would be a solution to the problems she and Jonathan had faced. She’d been wrong—dead wrong. Tears of grief filled her eyes. The never-ending crash of the waves on the beach and the cries of the seagulls seemed to mock her with the reminder she was utterly alone.

She’d felt like a tiny speck of sand last night when a violent storm had swept across the island. It had made a mess of her meager campsite, which had taken all morning to fix, and had demolished her seaweed SOS sign. She’ll have to recreate her SOS. Sighing, Megan trudged toward a pile of kelp. As she got closer, she saw a figure wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt. Her stomach lurched.

Oh, God, it’s another body washed up from the plane wreck. That would be number twelve. As always, she couldn’t help but wonder if the next one would be Jonathan. He hadn’t been wearing jeans on the plane, so she knew she’d been spared seeing his corpse this time. Thank God. She approached the body with dread. Tightening her resolve, she knelt. Suddenly the “dead body” coughed and rolled over. With a scream, Megan jumped back. She clutched her chest and pressed a shaking hand to her mouth.

He’s alive!

Biting her lip, she stared down at the still-breathing man. His drenched t-shirt molded against his broad shoulders and well developed upper body. Short, golden brown hair stuck out in all directions.
Megan, get control of yourself. Don’t wet your pants the first time you finally see a living person. She got on her knees, plucked the seaweed from him and wiped the sand from his face. His day-old whiskers scratched her palm. Reddened skin stretched across both cheekbones and over the bridge of his nose. Her thumb caressed his parched full bottom lip.

She patted the side of his face. “Hey, are you okay?” That’s a dumb question. He isn’t okay.

“Hmm?” Gray eyes fluttered open. He stared at her a long moment, frowning slightly. “G’day.”

“Hello there.” She hated the sound of her voice. It sounded rusty, unused.

Abruptly he rolled away from her to heave onto the sand, making a loud, ugly retching noise.

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, then looked at her. “Sorry, mate, I swallowed too much sea.” His gaze went over her shoulder in the direction of the bonfire which crackled and popped not far from them. “Mite big for a barbie.”

Sitting back on her heels with her hands folded in her lap, Megan followed his gaze, then back to him. “My signal fire.”

“Signal for what?”

“Help.”

His accent intrigued her. Was he English or Australian?

“G’darn,” he looked around, “where the bloody hell am I?”

“Don’t know. There’s no one here to ask.” Megan shrugged helplessly, but couldn’t contain her curiosity.

“Are you from England?”

“Naw,” he rubbed his eyes, “I hail from Sydney, but my port of call these days is Fort Lauderdale.” He blinked up at her. “You?”

Ah, he’s an Aussie. “I’m Megan Lorry, from Anaheim, California,” she said, barely loud enough to be heard above the sounds of the surf and the roar from the fire. “Are you a survivor of Air Bahamas flight 227, too?”
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Janice's blog: http://ladyjanice.blogspot.com/
Janice's website: http://janiceseagraves.org/
Find Windswept Shores at: http://pinkpetalbooks.com/Windswept-Shores-Janice-Seagraves.html

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

He Said She Said


Wouldn’t it be nice if men and women understood each other better? But alas, she’s from Venus and he’s from Mars. So, let’s use it to its best advantage in writing. When a misunderstanding comes, milk it for what it’s worth by amplification of their miscommunication. I go for the humor, but you can also use it to amplify the frustration and the angst. It’s your call.

Sometimes it’s the man who misunderstands and sometimes it’s the woman. Here are two examples. In example one from Mr. Wrong by Terry Campbell, Roarke, the hero, is coming to find Kat and bring her back to the hospital where her daughter is from drinking Ipecac in an attempt to bring her mother home and into Roarke’s arms. The little girl wants them to be married. Kat is off on a holiday with a wealthy man she thinks is marriage material despite her overwhelming attraction to Roarke, whom she has labeled as Mr. Wrong. Her time with the wealthy man has been a disaster in which she has led him into injuring himself multiple times. So, let the fun begin…

Easing out of his car, he headed around the side of the house. As he entered the rear gardens, he spotted the kitchen lights, aimed for the stone patio and stopped.
“Pull it and you’ll get the treat of a lifetime.”
“Slippery little devil, isn’t it?”
Slippery little devil? He was too late.

****

Kat jerked the tab. The shell separated from the crab and sailed through the air like Tory’s Frisbee.
Jason’s hand flew to his cheek.
“I’m sorry.” She battled tears as blood seeped from under his fingers. “I can’t seem to do anything right.” It was a good thing Jason wasn’t Mr. Right. She doubted he’d survive marriage to her, assuming he lived long enough. Guilt-ridden, she stood and moved cautiously toward him.
He bolted to his feet. “Stay where you are.” He edged around her and started to the bathroom.
She advanced. “I know what to do. After all, I am the mother of a six-year-old.”
“She’s lived that long?”
Tears of held-in laughter streamed down her cheeks. “I’m so sorry.” Her fingers touched his newest wound as a noise caught her attention. She turned and glanced at the open French doors. Rourke stood in the threshold looking like a savage warrior bent on murder. Her hand dropped to her side, and she offered a tentative smile as he moved toward them. “Rourke? What are you doing here?”
“Thank God. I’m saved.” Jason said, seconds before Rourke’s fist connected with his jaw.
“Get your stuff. Tory’s in the hospital.”
She stared at his disappearing back. “Wait.” she screamed. “What do you mean Tory’s in the hospital?”
Four minutes later and after hurried explanations, Kat stood beside the open passenger door and watched Rourke toss her bags into the trunk and slam the lid down. “You don’t understand.”
“I said get in the car, Katherine.”
She slipped into the passenger seat and jerked the door closed. This was ridiculous. She hadn’t done anything to deserve this frigid treatment, and Tory wasn’t in danger. Of course, Rourke saw everything in black and white.
“Thank you for coming out here. I’ll feel better once I see Tory’s okay for myself.” At his glower, she winced.
“That’s nice. God knows we all want you to feel better.”
A sharp retort threatened, but she bit her lip and watched in silence as he threw the car in reverse. “I realize she’s dehydrated, but it was Ipecac, not poison.”
“Which she drank because she wanted you home, not off for a weekend of love with your flavor of the month. Or is it, the week?”
“That’s unfair and out of line. Yes, Tory didn’t want me to date Jason. But that’s because she wanted us together.” She glanced at his grim mask and sighed. “Of course, kids dream the silliest things.”
He jerked the steering wheel to the right and pulled to the side of the road. “You discussed Jason and this trip with her?”
When he turned that slate-gray glare on her, she nodded. “I tried to explain—”
“I don’t want to hear it.” He faced front, put the car in gear and went from zero to seventy in six seconds. “That’s always been your problem, Katherine, you don’t think.”
She wasn’t sure which was worse, his burning glare of disgust or his cold frost of disdain. She’d never liked her name, Katherine, and now she hated it.
“You couldn’t even wait to make it out of the living room to start jumping the man.” He snorted and shook his head. “I’m glad you didn’t take me up on my offer. I’m not into S&M or having my bed partner draw blood.”
“Now wait a minute. That isn’t what happened. Jason was showing—”
“His equipment.”
She gasped. What an arrogant bully. Boy, was he going to be embarrassed when he discovered the truth. “No. I was learning how to pull—”
“A zipper. I can’t believe you called his equipment a ‘slippery little thing.’ I thought I taught you not to attack a man’s ego.”

Now here’s another example of our heroine misunderstanding the hero. In The Marriage Murders, my latest book written under my real name, Greg, the hero, wants to explain that he has just discovered he has a grown daughter from a love affair he had when he was very young. Roxie, the heroine, thinks he’s telling her he had an affair with the town’s new femme fatale . Roxie’s especially upset about his timing because she came to their date fully equipped with sex toys and a box of After Dinner Weanies.

“I have to come clean about something. It’s not like me to keep secrets, but I thought this was going to upset you, and I didn’t know exactly how to break the news.”
Finally, now, of all the odd and unexpected times, he was planning on unloading about his affair with Marlowe. Like she really needed to hear it on the night she’d hoped for a chance to check out his bed herself.  “I see. You may not have to tell me Greg. I think I already know.”
“You do?” He frowned. “How could you? No one around here knows.” He sighed. “I should have known you’d discover it. You always find out what going on. I want you to understand, what happened happened many years ago. If I’d known what I do now, it never would have occurred, not in a million years.”
She nodded. “I’m sure that’s true. When we’re younger, our hormones get the better of us. I would never have married Billy if I’d known about Georgia being pregnant.”
He stared at her, concern showing by the set of his jaw. “I understand exactly. But in all fairness to Billy, sometimes the woman doesn’t know what she really is doing to a long term relationship. You know, Georgia could have baited Billy, not told him the truth about birth control, even lied to him that she wasn’t pregnant, or worse yet, told him she’d aborted.”
Roxie grabbed the back of the seat cushions and stared at him in disbelief. She dug her nails into the fabric and wanted to gnash her teeth to powder. “You’re telling me you got her pregnant? You actually fathered a child with that woman?”
“That’s what I was trying to explain, but I didn’t know at the time. Now you’re sounding surprised. Look, I don’t know how you found out about this. Did Justina actually tell you?”
Her eyes widened in shock. “Justina? Who exactly is Justina?”
His mouth fell open and he stared at her like he’d lost all his senses.  “You said you knew. I just thought my daughter had somehow met you before I saw her.”
Roxie jumped to her feet. “This is worse than I ever thought it could be. You had an affair with her and now you tell me you have her daughter? Greg, you are not at all the man I thought you were.” She grabbed her paper bag and held up her hand, palm forward. “Don’t say another word. I’m leaving before I bite off the real version of the mints I have in my bag.”

See how the misunderstanding become worse, fueling the fire for more action? Try it in your writing, and please tell me about examples from your own writing.

Bobbye Terry writes mystery/suspense, romance, fantasies and dystopian fiction. The Marriage Murders, Bobbye’s Book 2 in the Briny Bay Mysteries series, was just released. Bobbye and Linda Campbell, writing as Terry Campbell, have a new cozy mystery short story collection, Slam Sisters of Serendipity, that released through Eternal Press.  For more about Bobbye, visit her at www.BobbyeTerry-MysteryHappens.com and www.BobbyeTerryRomance.com .

Monday, July 25, 2011

Interview of Cover Model/Actor Scott Nova

Today it’s my pleasure to present an interview of multi-talented Scott Nova. His career encompasses many avenues; actor, singer, dancer, model, IT work, training to become a firefighter. His resume lists a variety of items to include voice, drum/percussion training, modeling competitions, theatre roles, EMT and Fire Certification, theatre director, martial arts and weight training enthusiast, dancer. Definitely a man of many talents!

Where to find information about Scott Nova
Model Mayhem -- http://www.modelmayhem.com/891924
Facebook Fan Page -- http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002642030001

CONTEST: Leave a comment for Scott for a chance to win a Romance Books R Us hat and size XL tee-shirt. Contest ends midnight EST, 26 July. Please put your email address with your comment!

I had the great fortune to sit next to Scott at dinner one night at RT 2011. What a gracious gentleman! He made sure to answer all our questions and spoke with all of us at the table. AND, when I took my photo with the Mr. Romance contestants, I got to sit next to him again!

Q: With all the directions you’ve taken in career quests, is there one job you’ve thought about trying but haven’t attempted?
A: I've always wanted to own a restaurant...I love to eat (as most folks do) and now that I'm heavy into bodybuilding I'm constantly trying to find good recipes that are good for you and loaded with the stuff you need to build strong, lean muscle. I'd love to be able to share that with the people that would honor me enough to come to my establishment. Maybe someday! :)

Q: Congrats on your romance book covers! Tell us about the shoot you just did for Angela Knight.
A: The shoot for Angela Knight came out of nowhere. I'm affiliated with a new venture called On Your Cover and they were promoting me at RWA I think, and Angela saw Cindy Holby's latest cover for Quicksilver, which features me, and loved the look. So, I now became Tristan for her trailer promoting her latest book. Renee Needham is 1 of 2 photographers that I work with on a regular basis here in Columbus, and was very helpful and patient as I got the look that Angela wanted. Angela also bought additional photo's that I did a few day's after her shoot with Ken Tilley of Kens Fotoimages!

Q: How did you get your agent?
A: JD DeWitt is the owner of The View Talent Agency and she approached me Saturday night at the RT Con in LA and asked me to contact her after the competition to talk further. I explained to her that I was self-representing and that it was a daunting task. She has been an absolute GODSEND in helping me to make sense of this industry.

Q: You’ve entered modeling competitions, including RT’s Mr. Romance 2011. Tell us about them. Did you find other contestants friendly? Helpful?
A: HAHA...I almost forgot it was a competition in LA because I was having so much fun meeting so many great people. And to say my piece..I think it's a terrible idea to cancel the Mr. Romance competitions for future RT's. And getting back to the Question at hand...yes,. the other contestants were VERY helpful this year at RT. I made some good friends and picked up a lot of advice and tips from the other guys. Each guy had their own style of how to get to know the ladies and how to get their name out. My biggest, and most fun, was the dance floor at night. I had an absolute blast dancing.

Q: Your theatre credits are impressive! You played leading roles: Danny Zuko in GREASE, Seymour in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, and Ichabod Crane in SLEEPY HOLLOW. Tell us about your experiences. How did you prepare for your roles? Which one did you enjoy more and why?
A: I absolutely love this question...cause its easy to answer *grin* I was raised around fast car's, drag racing, and that whole 1950's era was popular with all the car shows I grew up going to with my family. So getting to play Zuko in Grease, was my ultimate favorite. Stranded at the Drive-in was my favorite song from the show. Zuko came naturally to me because of being around race cars and such all my life. Sleepy Hollow I had a blast with because I love horror movies. And Crane's quirks were a blast to have fun with. Little Shop of Horrors was actually my VERY first theater experience and I had a blast. I did that my senior year of high school...and I was dating the leading girl, so that helped :)

Q: Obviously, you can sing and dance! What training did you go through?
A: Singing training was by my high school choir teacher..she saw my acting ability and knew that I had a good voice. I just didn't know it yet. So she talked me into trying out for Little Shop of Horrors and with some confidence building, and lots of voice coaching, I pulled it off well enough that I didn't get hit with tomato's. Dancing? Well...that just comes natural. I am blessed with great rhythm.

Q: Describe a theatre audition for us.
A: The one's I've been to were very warm. They were all in College and only for the first one. You are given a script, not necessarily from the show that you will be doing, but typically something that requires some tone changes in your voice, and also some emotion. Some directors will require you to memorize it..and they pay attention to see how well you can remember it with a short period of time to learn it. I love that kind of pressure...I thrive off of it.

Q: What will be added next to your list of accomplishments?
A: Well, I'm hoping to make it onto a "PRINT" full size novel sometime soon. I met so many great authors when at RT...I'm hoping that I can continue to make a great impression and a author will give me the opportunity. IF we are talking accomplishments in general...I'm crossing my fingers and praying every day to be hired onto the Columbus Fire Department. Nothing, I mean nothing would be greater than watching my son climb around on the fire engine of the department that I'm stationed at.

Q: What type of training do you do to stay in great physical shape?
A: I have a pretty strict diet with carb's and sugars. I make sure to take in over 200g of protein a day as well as close to 3000 calories. I weight train at least 5 days a week and I eat, and workout like my favorite saying says: "eat like a bodybuilder, train like a power lifter" I heard that somewhere, but it rings true. I'm naturally blessed with good skin and it has stayed young looking for me. Also with my martial arts background...I keep tabs on my technique and form at all times.

Q: Favorite food?
A: Lasagna or a New York Strip steak...about 18oz worth.

Q: Favorite drink?
A: Well...if we are talking good for me drink, then it's a tall, cold, glass of milk. If we are meaning what I drink on my cheat days (or mental healthy days, whichever you want to call it) then I love a cold Full Throttle Energy Drink :)

Q: What would you plan as a romantic night out?
A: Well...this is one that I'm sure has been answered by guys with the "walk down the sandy beach and a candle lit meal that costs way more than its worth"...well, ladies, that just ain't me. Born and raised in southwestern PA, out in the country and definitely DOWN in a hollar...that type of stuff just doesn't fly with me. Beach's are nice...but there's NOTHING like sitting in the back of a nice tall truck over-looking a golden field at sunset. Easton Corbin playing on the radio, and my arms wrapped around keeping ya warm. Of course, that's after I cooked a killer meal (yes, I cook too) that consisted of a nice warmly cooked steak, and a robust, oak tasting wine.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you all for reading..I can be a little long-winded so I apologize :) but I am honored to have this opportunity to allow you ladies to get to know me. Please, do NOT hesitate to send me a friend request on my Facebook page. I will update it weekly with new photo's and information on my career and whats going on. I also will be working with certain agencies to have giveaways on my page. I wanted to have a little more control of my fan page so I did a whole profile, instead of just a "likable" fan page.

Be sure to keep your eye's open for "On Your Cover", where I will be featured along with some other guys from RT2011. Also, PNG Stock Pics with Franny Armstrong. *HUGS*

Thank you all again for reading, and take care!
Scott Nova

Sunday, July 24, 2011

USING YOUR ETHNIC HERITAGE IN YOUR WRITING



USING YOUR ETHNIC HERITAGE IN YOUR WRITING



by



Cara Marsi


You’ve all heard the old adage, “Write what you know.” Of course, we do research to write about places we’ve never visited, or we make up our own worlds. But regardless of what worlds we writers imagine, we put a little bit of ourselves into everything we write.

I hadn’t thought of using my ethnic heritage in my writing until my third book. In the first two books I wrote (one published, one not), my heroes and heroines had Irish/English names, as do most characters in American books. Face it, we Americans have an easier time pronouncing English, Irish, Scottish and German names than we do Italian, Polish, French, etc.

When I decided to write my third book, I had an epiphany. Why not make at least one of my protagonists of Italian descent, as I am? Thus, Doriana Callahan, the heroine of my romantic suspense, Logan’s Redemption, originally from The Wild Rose Press and now available on Amazon Kindle, BN Nook and Smashwords. Doriana, named after a woman I know who is an immigrant from Rome, Italy, is half Italian, half Irish. Doriana has the quintessential Italian mother, loving, but intrusive, named after one of my favorite aunts. Doriana’s Nana lives in South Philadelphia and is a sweet, tiny elderly Italian woman who is a terrific cook, modeled after my husband’s grandmother and mine. I had such fun writing these people because they are so familiar and dear to me. I put in a scene where Doriana, her mother, her cousin, and Nana are making Italian wedding soup. My cousins make wedding soup together every year.

I used my ethnic heritage again in my romantic suspense novella, Murder, Mi Amore, available now from The Wild Rose Press. Murder, Mi Amore is set almost entirely in Rome, Italy, with an Italian hero and an Italian-American heroine. I even included a whole chapter set in the small town in Abruzzo where my grandparents were raised. Writing Murder, Mi Amore brought back memories of my trip to Italy in 2006. Every bit of setting — the hotel where my heroine Lexie stays, the streets she travels, even the food she eats — are authentic, based on my own experiences. However, unlike my heroine and hero, I wasn’t chased through Rome by very bad people trying to kill me.

In the past two years I’ve sold a dozen short romance stories, most of them to the confession magazines. I’ve used Italian and Polish names for many of my short story characters too. You have to be careful when using ethnic last names. The names must be easy to pronounce - like Russo, DiMarco, Novak, Morelli, Brioni, Cortese. You don’t want readers tripping over the names.

But then there’s my werewolf paranormal, Cursed Mates, available now from Noble Romance Publishing. No ethnic names there. My hero is an English nobleman who happens to be over 500 years old. I’d originally given my heroine an Eastern European first and last name, but that didn’t work for various reasons. Now she has a name which better suits her, even if it’s not exactly ethnic.

Writing characters who are familiar, who might have a shared background with you, can make for stronger stories. But the name has to fit the character. I used an English name for the hero of Cursed Mates because being a tortured English nobleman is a big part of my story and of this character.

I’ll use an ethnic name whenever it fits, but I know, regardless of ethnicity, the characters’ names must tell the readers a little bit about them.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

GuestBlog: Jacquie Rogers: You've Made a Book Video - Now What?

Book videos are similar to movie trailers, only they’re for books, and one of the newer marketing tools for books, whether novels or non-fiction.

1st Turning Point http://1stturningpoint.com reviews videos every other week and the reviewers’ observations have been quite a learning experience for us. Before I get into what to do and what not to do, let’s talk about whether you should bother with a book video at all.

Some authors are sold on the effectiveness of book videos and contend that a good video can make the difference between brisk book sales and mediocre numbers.I haven’t ever seen any actual statistics to support the fans or the nay-sayers of book videos. Rather, I’m in the club that considers them just another tool in the arsenal. What might sell one book wouldn’t be the best tool to sell the next book.

They do have some good uses—web content for one. I feature the book cover and video on each of my book’s pages, then include other, less jazzy but necessary information below it. Here’s an example of Much Ado About Marshals (http://www.jacquierogers.com/maam.html)

Also, if you haven’t submitted your book video to Blazing Trailers (http://www.blazingtrailers.com) you’re missing a wonderful opportunity. Blazing Trailers offers you a page for each book, and it’s free. So you have the book cover, the blurb, the video, the buy link, and reviews all on one page. Readers sifting through the Blazing Trailers videos might land on your book’s page and be intrigued enough to buy, and they don’t have to go anywhere else to do it. Awesome concept. And the co-owner, Kim McDougall, is also proficient at creating videos, if you’re not of that bent. Here’s the Much Ado About Marshals page on Blazing Trailers: http://www.blazingtrailers.com/show/1604

Of course, YouTube is one of the most heavily used sites on the internet. When you upload to YouTube, be sure to put your website or a buy link to your book in the description.  It won’t be hyperlinked, but at least people will be able to cut and paste if they’re intrigued enough to purchase your book.

Most blogs are set up to use YouTube embed code, which they’ve simplified in the last few years. Once your video is uploaded, click on Share (right below the video) and you’ll get a shortened URL that you can paste on Twitter or wherever you want to advertise your book. Here’s the URL for the Much Ado About Marshals video: http://youtu.be/76P2zKXOO70

Below that is the embed code. This is the code you can use to paste into your blog (but be sure you’ve clicked the HTML view first): http://www.youtube.com/embed/76P2zKXOO70

It looks like gibberish but never fear, it actually does work—but not if you paste it into the body of a blog in compose mode. It has to be in HTML mode.

So use the video on your website, your blog, Blazing Trailers, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and any other internet place you can find.

What Makes an Effective Book Video?

The best videos are almost always short, and let the pictures tell the story. This is one area where we authors have difficulty because words are our method of communication. Not so in a video—it’s all about showing, not telling. The fewer words, the better.

A slideshow with a big bunch of words between each slide is boring at best, even with good music. A slideshow with a voice-over is more effective but only if the voice actor has the correct intonation. I made a really bad video with a voice over for my novella, Faery Merry Christmas. Yes, it’s embarrassing but here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4yWAX3JDSM&feature=youtu.be No, I’m not going to do anything like that again. Yes, I’m going to make a different video—this novella deserves better.

Sometimes a voice-over slideshow is just perfect, though. Take a look at the video I made for a friend of mine, Norman W. Wilson, PhD, who wrote a non-fiction book titled Shamanism: What It’s All About: http://youtu.be/rgQc-70Byi0 The author narrated this and he’s not a professional actor. Even so, his voice and intonation are perfect for this collection of essays on shamanism. If the script had been typed as captions, it would have greatly detracted from the power of the graphics.

Speaking of words—the video’s purpose is not to give a synopsis. When’s the last time you saw a movie trailer that was a synopsis of the story? Not for the last 50 years, anyway. Movie trailers go for tone, pacing, leading actors, and the funniest or best lines in the entire film, regardless of whether they accurately convey the story. They want butts in seats, and trailers are designed to get them there.

So don’t write a book video script that is a story synopsis. Premise and conflict are enough. The script for Much Ado About Marshals is 30 (or 36, depending on what you count) words. Yes, you can do it.

Which brings up music. Not really but that’s the next thing I’m going to address. The purpose of a book video is to encourage the viewer to buy the book. For Shamanism, Norman sent me a clip of actual shamanic drumming. Well heck, it about put me into a trance, so we had to get less realistic and go more for tone rather than accuracy.

Always remember that you’re after readers, and all they want to know is whether they should buy your book or not. If they’re viewing your video, they’ve obviously expressed interest already, so don’t give them a reason not to buy your book. Don’t bore them, don’t insult their intelligence, and do entertain them.

Much Ado About Marshals
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0058ON1LS
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/68395
Available in print August 15, 2011

Faery Merry Christmas Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002T44HHM
Trade paperback: http://amzn.com/1456599410

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Alpha Male-sinful and sexy


Is there a book or story written where the hero is anything but an alpha male? Probably not because we like our heroes to be strong, sexy, protective, leader. We want to know that the heroine can call on him in any and all situations. But there are so many misconceptions about what an alpha male really is. The definition of an alpha male is very simple: he is a dominant male among other males. And comfortable enough in his own skin that he cares deeply for his friends and the women he is with. He is not a man who simply dominates without regard for others. 
But what characteristics make him the way he is?
For one thing he knows who he is down to the core. His convictions will be strong enough to convince you (at least momentarily) that he is right. The alphas decisions are thoughtful yet usually come to him instantly. If he has a choice to make, he rarely moves back and forth weighing and wavering in indecisiveness. Once a decision is made there is little questioning on whether or not it was the right one. He simply assumes it is right and moves on to more important matters.
He knows what to do in every situation to survive, physically and socially. He adapts quickly to his environment and wastes little time thinking about what to do. Throw him on a deserted island or into an unfamiliar social situation, he will adapt quickly and find himself easily taking control of the situation, even if unconsciously. It is not uncommon to see people surround alpha males at cocktail parties and other events merely because of their ability to adapt so well to the situation.
A major attribute is his ability to take care of the people he loves. Unlike most, his fears are not self based but rather geared towards others he cares about. He could care less if he dies in a struggle as long as his wife and children survive. If you were to cross him be ready to throw your life on the line because you can sure he will do the same.
He develops himself in every possible way, works hard at his pre-set goals with grit and determination. He is naturally gifted with one of the biggest talents - the ability to laugh at himself, and he does that often. He has an excellent sense of humor which naturally draws people to him.
The alpha is a calculated risk-taker. He never risks more than he can afford to lose and makes an internal checklist of the expected return of any venture.
And of course, he is smoldering, scorching hot sexy. His physically honed body is enough to melt any woman’s panties and in bed he is concerned first about the woman’s pleasure before his own. He woos her, seduces her, commands her and takes her to the heights of ecstasy.
Meet Gabe Walker, hero of Night Mission, the ultimate alpha male, looking for one night of pleasure with a woman who is smart, sexy and mature. One night, with memories he can take into his next mission to keep himself warm. But when he meets Maggie Fitzgerald all plans go out the wind like tumbleweeds in the desert.
Where can you meet them?
 http://www.decadentpublishing.com
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html
http://www.amazon.com/Night-Mission-Stand-ebook
And come visit me at www.desireeholt.com

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Closing In On The Climax

Have you ever been so excited for something that's to come? (No pun intended, I swear.)

Well, this has been me for the past few months now. Ever since I began writing the final book of my Emerald Isle Trilogy, my heart has been in my throat, for many reasons.

For one, it's the last book of the series. The last time I will ever be with these characters. There's a sense of "letting go" that I have to get used to and I'm not sure if I'm ready. Unfortunately, whether I am or not, I have to be. And that is a difficult pill to swallow.

Second, this book is meant to complete the love triangle. In what way? Well, here lies my dilemma. I can't disclose that with you and it's killing me. It's like holding in a mouthful of water while someone is tickling you. I want to open my mouth and let it all out, to "spill the beans" so to speak. But I can't. It would ruin--utterly spoil--the climactic ending of this series and that is something I, as the author, wouldn't ever want to do. I want you all to experience the joy and excitement of this plot twisting, epic journey my heroine has gone through, in the way it was intended. And that means keeping my big mouth shut. haha

And thirdly, there's the blatant nervousness that keeps my nails just a bit shorter than normal. RAELIKSEN (Book 1) and MAC LIAM (Book 2) have gotten great reviews in the past. And, with the final book of the series, an author's worst nightmare is to write something the readers and reviews dislike, or are disappointed in. Obviously, that is not what I'm striving for, but the fear is always in the back of my mind. Realize, my gut tells me that my fans will just adore this book, because frankly, I adore it. I have put my sweat, blood, and tears into this trilogy and the last book is meant to be the icing on the cake.

So, in conclusion, I have to just persevere despite my angst, and put the words to paper. For my own sanity's sake. For my loyal fans' sake. For those who've not yet picked up the trilogy. And for those who've bought every book I've written. I will finish this book. And I will touch your hearts with an HEA ending that will stay with you for a long time. Cause isn't that what romance is all about?

Here is the blurb and an excerpt from THE FALL OF RAIN (Book 3) so you can get an idea of the direction I'm going with the final book. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for listening to me rant. Sometimes, no matter who we are--author or reader--we have to get things off our chests.
Happy reading!

The Fall of Rain
Coming December 2011
Turquoise Morning Press

Blurb:
Leif Dæganssen, an archeologist from Norway, is determined to trace back his Scandinavian roots as far as the Dark Ages and find proof of their existence on the Emerald Isle. After several yeas of living off the west coast of Ireland, he finally uncovers an ancient artifact—an intricately decorated chest with pagan carvings—buried beneath the very porch of his coastal cottage. Knowing it only confirms the presence of a glorified Norse-influenced settlement on Inis Mór, he’s determined to establish a link between himself and those who once inhabited the rugged isle.

For as long as she can remember, Lorraine O’Connor has had dreams of a Norse warrior kissing her. And even though she’s never fully understood the reason for her vivid subconscious imagination, she welcomes the meaningless and wanton pleasure of being in a Viking’s protective embrace—until the day she meets that brazen Northman on an impulsive vacation trip to Ireland.

Though blindsided by the relevance of her dreams and the strange familiarity of the man within them, Lorraine can’t help but feel a deep-seated intimacy toward Leif. And the more she gets to know him, the more she’s convinced they’ve shared a life together in a time long forgotten.

Are the clues to their ancestral past hidden within the contents of the chest or buried deep within their hearts?

Excerpt:
There he stood; a monument of beauty and power, sturdy as the ground beneath him. He had long blond hair, a well groomed beard, and skin darkened from the sun. His eyes revealed a sense of maturity and intrigue, but even the darkness could not hide their color for they were as blue as the ocean she had crossed to get to Ireland. His hands showed scars and calluses from years of hard work, yet his broad chest, tapering to a narrow waist, held most of her attention.

Lochlannach,” she breathed.

“Huh?” he muttered, crowding his brows. “You’re Irish?”

Lorraine swallowed, wondering where that word had come from. Hell, she didn’t even know what it meant. “No, I-I’m American.”

“I can hear that now in your accent, but you spoke Gaelic and called me a Viking. Lochlannach means ‘lake dweller’, and it was what the Irish called the Norse foreigners a long time ago.”

Lorraine stared at him, still unsure of herself or what had come out of her mouth.

“It’s okay,” he said kindly. “It’s not an insult as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been called worse in my time. Just didn’t expect it.” A smile started to tug at his mouth. “I suppose the blond hair gave me away?”

Not exactly, she thought. But it had something to do with it. It was not everyday a woman would meet and talk to the actual man from her dreams. And quite frankly, it was exceptionally difficult to wrap her head around it.

As she continued to gawk at him, there was no doubt he was, indeed, that very man. The only difference was that he wasn’t sporting a tablet-woven wool tunic, cow-hide boots on his calves, or a thick bear cloak around his shoulders. There was no sword at his hip or silver clips in his hair. He looked like a regular modern-day male—who just happened to step out of a Men’s Health magazine photo shoot, demonstrating the look of a perfectly balanced torso of muscled shoulders and biceps.

Lorraine sat up a bit straighter, uncomfortably hot next to the fire. But as she moved about on the floor, she felt a strange dampness in her clothes.

“You’ll have to forgive me,” he began explaining. “I tried to get you under shelter as quickly as I could, but by the time I mounted my horse with you in my arms, the rain poured from the sky. I would’ve taken you to your hotel had I known where you were staying, but I didn’t even know your name. Is there someone you want to contact? Someone you’re vacationing with to let them know you’re all right? It’s very late, almost midnight. I’m sure they’re worried sick.”

His considerate words stole hers right out of her mouth. If she had any residual fear of him, it had readily diminished. To know he had picked her up in his arms and whisked her away on his horse, just so she wouldn’t get wet, was astounding in itself. If he wasn’t her knight in shining armor, she didn’t know who was.

“Um…I’m staying at the Man of Aran B&B. But I’m not with anyone,” Lorraine clarified as she tried to stand up.

A little wobbly on her feet, he came rushing to her aid, bracing her elbows in the palms of his sturdy hands. Again, his brows furrowed. “You came to Ireland by yourself?”

She blinked rapidly, her reaction to his presence delayed, and suddenly she made an effort to step away from him.

“Here now,” he coaxed, putting his arm behind her back for support. “You need to sit.”

Lorraine looked up at him, his chiseled face only inches from hers, his large, brawny body hovering far too close, too quickly. She shoved him, only to clumsily teeter backward.

Before she could let out a gasp, he caught her and pulled her upright into his arms, her face smacking the warm blunt plane of his chest. “Are you trying to hurt yourself?” he asked, looking down the bridge of his nose. “’Cause at the rate you’re going, you’ll be spending your Ireland holiday in the hospital.”

Lorraine flinched at the approach of his hand, but he stopped short. “Your head…you passed out. Remember?”

She touched where he was pointing and winced. “Oh…I fell out of my bed.”

“I think you’re mistaken,” he corrected. “You were standing on the cliff near Dún Aonghasa when you went down and I’m pretty sure I didn’t see a bed.”

“No, I mean I this bump is from a few days ago when I fell out of my bed at home.”

His face drew back in surprise. “A grown woman falls out of her bed? That must have been some dream you were having.”

Lorraine froze, his tone sounding as if he knew something about her dreams. As if he were hinting he’d had the same. She studied him, peering into his beautiful blue eyes for a clue. But after a few moments of silence, he cocked his head, trying to read her just the same.

“Do you always make a habit of falling out of your bed?” he joked.

Though his jest made her smile with embarrassment, it confirmed she had hit her head harder than she thought. Before her, stood a man who resembled the brazen warrior in her dreams, and she had to start realizing that it was purely a coincidence. Nothing more.

Backing slowly out of his embrace, she began making excuses. “I’m merely jet-legged, I think. This vacation was a spur of the moment kind of thing. And…”

“Don’t worry yourself,” he said, giving her some space. “I’m just glad you’re all right. Now, take off your wet clothes and then you can have my—”

She reacted as if his words seared through her like one of Patrick’s red hot brands he uses on his horses.


“I most certainly will not!”

“You cannot get warm in sodden clothing,” he proclaimed.

“I will do no such thing!”

“Listen, princess,” he retorted, beginning to take off his belt and boots. “You, above all, should know this rain will be holding us here for many hours, if not days. I am not going to sit in wet, uncomfortable clothes when I have perfectly dry blankets at my disposal. And I suggest you follow my lead.”

She hadn’t long to contemplate his candid advice before he had completely disrobed.

“Oh, my goodness!” she gasped, turning her head away from his nakedness.

“You might as well get used to it, my lady. Soon you will be seeing me this way every night.”

“I will not!” she argued over her shoulder.

“Will you close your eyes to me even on our wedding night?”


“You are a stupid heathen of a man! How can you possibly think that I will want to marry you?”

“Marry you?”

Lorraine’s eyes flashed open at the sound of the man’s sharp, deep voice resonating behind her. She half expected to look over her shoulder and see him completely naked in front of her. But when she peeked around, he was standing there, hands on his hips, a look of bewilderment on his face.

“Don’t you think I should at least know your name before you propose to me?”

Lorraine brought both hands to her head. What the hell was that? One minute she was talking about being jet-legged in this man’s living room and the next she was standing in a cave—from what she could gather—watching the same man remove his wet warrior clothing while demanding she do the same on account of rain. It all seemed like a dream, yet she clearly was not sleeping.

“Is it still raining?” she asked curiously.

The blond stranger narrowed his eyes, confounded by the string of bizarre utterances coming from her lips. “It is…which is why your clothes are wet and why I was suggesting you remove them and get into dry ones.” He quickly pointed behind him. “In the bathroom, down the hall, of course.”

Relief washed over her. “I’m sorry…I’m…um,” she stuttered, words failing her.

“Are you sure you’re all right? There’s a doctor who lives up the road from here. At this hour I know he’s taken to his bed, but I think this would be considered an emergency. Clearly, you’re suffering from some mild head trauma.”

“No,” she said at once. “I don’t need a doctor. I’m fine. Really.”

He didn’t look convinced. “If you insist.”

“Yes,” she tried to say with confidence. “I just need a moment to gather my wits if you don’t mind.”

“Sure.” He reached for a pile of clothes from his coffee table and handed them to her. “I know they probably won’t fit you, but they’re dry, and I found a pair of pants with a drawn string so that might help. The bathroom’s two doors down on the left”

“Right. Thanks.” As her cheeks flushed with heat, she accepted the clothes.

But he didn’t let go of them, cocking his head in scrutiny. “So, why am I a heathen again?”

A nervous laugh fell from her mouth. “I don’t know where that came from. It was an outburst. It’s obvious you’ve been nothing but kind and gentlemanly. And I’m sorry it I came off as rude.” His eyes played over her, toying with her already scrambling mind. She’d never seen such brilliant color in a man’s eyes before, and it was hard not to drown in them.

Finally, he let go of the clothes and reached for her backpack sitting on his couch. “Trust me, you didn’t come off as rude,” he allotted, handing over her things. “However, I think you’ve given me too much credit with that ‘kind and gentlemanly’ nonsense. You might not think that come morning.”

Lorraine’s eyes widened.

“Joke, love,” he amended. “You know, for an American woman you sure are a bit uptight. I promise, I’m not going to hurt you.”

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