Exclusive Excerpt – “It’s Complicated”

28d0e-itscomplicated_cvr_ebook“My daughter’s being taught to hate me.”

The widening of Maggie Lapage’s incredible blue-green eyes told Tom his words came as a shock, and he reminded himself this was about Hailey, not him. He didn’t need to delve into his own fears and frustrations.

“How about you sit back down and tell me what’s going on, Mr. O’Shay.”

He returned to the chair and sat, even though his instincts screamed for him to get the hell out of there. He didn’t need some nosy social worker-type offering sympathy and advice, telling him how to raise his own daughter. Especially not some young thing like the one facing him. To say she was attractive would be an understatement. Her long dark red hair flowed like liquid fire, and with her classic bone structure, full sensuous lips and tall slender figure, she could’ve been mistaken for a catwalk model rather than a children’s counselor.

He rubbed his fingers into his eyes. Who was he kidding? If he didn’t get some help, and fast, he might lose his daughter completely, and he’d walk through hell before he’d allow that to happen.

“I want to help, Mr. O’Shay, I really do.” Her voice was soft and full of compassion. And it made his jaw ache. “But first you have to help me. Please, explain the circumstances that brought you here.”

He drew in a deep breath and held it for a moment before slowly exhaling. “My lawyer told me I needed counseling for my daughter. If I don’t do this, I could lose custody. She mentioned something about Family Justice Counselors. Your agency’s on the list she gave me, so I assume you’re qualified?”

“I’m a licensed mediator, yes. I can work with the courts in high-conflict custody disputes, if that’s needed.” A perplexed frown wrinkled her forehead. “Excuse my confusion, Mr. O’Shay, but did you not say your wife had died?”

“She has.” It took real effort not to come off as frustrated and bitter. “My wife and I had been divorced for about a year before she died. She had full custody of Hailey and I had visitation.” Tom recognized the quick flash of consternation crossing Maggie Lapage’s face, and he rushed to clarify. “It was simply easier that way, not because I’m not a good dad.”

Easier for Deirdre, at any rate. He didn’t get a lot of say in the matter, and he didn’t have the money to fight her at the time. Just as he didn’t have the money to fight her parents now.

The counselor’s inquiring gaze clearly said she needed more information. He heaved his shoulders up and back and tried to formulate a logical explanation that didn’t reveal quite what a fool he’d been.

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Releasing “It’s Complicated”

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO 
IT’S COMPLICATED!
28d0e-itscomplicated_cvr_ebook
It’s Complicated
Contemporary Romance
by Joyce M. Holmes

Release date: December 4, 2017

 

He wants a real relationship, she’s afraid to love. It’s complicated, but is it impossible?
She’s a children’s counselor devoted to helping others; he’s a stubborn client reluctant to accept her assistance. He wants a warm and loving relationship; she prefers to keep things physical. Professional boundaries dictate neither of them can have what they want.

Having grown up with no one but herself to count on, Maggie Lapage carefully guards her feelings. Professionally, she goes above and beyond to give others the support she wishes she’d had as a child. When she develops a forbidden attraction to a client’s father, she does what she thinks is necessary, to save his family, and to protect her own heart.
 

Tom O’Shay finds his life caught in a nightmare when he risks losing custody of his daughter. It goes against his character to seek help, but he doesn’t have a choice. That doesn’t mean he has to like it. Everything changes when he falls hard for his daughter’s counselor, and he suddenly has two fights on his hands. One for his daughter, and another for the woman he loves.

It’s complicated, but is it impossible?

 
 
~~~oOo~~~
 
EXCERPT:
“That’s a big gallery, with lots of people going through it. Just think of the exposure your work would get.”
Tom did take a moment to consider it. The Langquest Art Gallery was highly reputable, and the show Tom had done with them had been a sell-out. But to have Maggie go on his behalf to seek out representation, that was too much.
 “What makes you think I want or need to sell my pieces in his gallery?”
“Because, excuse me if I’m wrong, but I had the impression you could use a little financial help at the moment.” The sympathetic look in her eyes made him squirm. No bloody way did he want her wasting any sympathy on him.
“The offer of support is nice, but seriously, my professional life, at least, is doing fine. You don’t have to fix it for me.” Which was the honest, if optimistic, truth. Business was passably good. It could always be better, but it wasn’t on life support yet, and he sure didn’t need Maggie out there drumming up customers for him.
She threw a hand up. “Look, maybe I’m interfering and you didn’t ask for help, but,” she hurried on, gaining speed as she went, “I spoke to this man with the best of intentions. You have lawyer fees and counseling fees, and heaven only knows what else with this court case. They can start to add up—”
“Okay, just stop. You’re making my head hurt.” He folded his arms across his chest. He had no intention of discussing the precariousness of his financial situation with Maggie. “This conversation is over.”
Her eyes sparkled with the love of combat. “Not if I keep talking, it isn’t.”
He glared at her, making it clear he didn’t appreciate her interference. She met his accusing gaze without flinching. “Know what your problem is?” she asked, after
an uncomfortably long stare-down.
“I only have one?”
She reached out and clutched at his hand, those long slender, talon-tipped fingers curling themselves around his, distracting him with their touch. Then she started yapping again, effectively killing the moment.
“You put on a good show, and sometimes I think you even believe it yourself, but you’re not invincible. You can use a helping hand once in a while.”
He shook his hand free and swung away from her, pacing off his frustration. “Contrary to what you believe, I’m not a charity case requiring someone to rescue me. I’ve always maintained if you’re looking for a helping hand, check the end of your own wrist first. I don’t need your pity.”
She moved in front of him, forcing him to stop, returning his impatient glare with an impressively irate one of her own. “It’s not pity, damn it. And it’s not charity. It’s a practical solution to your financial situation. Excuse me for caring.” Both arms flew into the air. “Excuse me for trying to help you out. For going out of my way to come up with
some creative ideas to increase your income. This is a winning proposition for you, one that can pay dividends for years to come. Why are you so stubbornly against it?”
Her logic was infuriating, and it fueled his temper that he didn’t have a reasonable comeback. “Please, just shut up already.”
“Come on. We both know I can’t do that.”
He threw his head back and laughed, more out of exasperation than amusement. “You really can’t, can you?”
“I was only trying to help.” Her tone contained a pout, but her expression remained fierce.
“I don’t want your help. I didn’t ask for your help. Anyone ever tell you how maddening you can be, Maggie Lapage?” 
The force of his words didn’t make her retreat. She stood her ground in front of him and poked a finger into his chest. “And you’re the most pig-headed man I’ve ever met.”
He smiled. “Thank you.”
“That was not a compliment.”
“Sure it was.” Even though he was still pissed off, it wasn’t hard to let the smile stretch into a smirk. She looked so damn exasperated, and for some perverse reason he found it amusing. 
“You’re infuriating!” she yelled and wheeled away from him, flailing her arms in the air again. “Why can’t you see my intentions were good?”
He let his smile twist cynically. “Have you heard about the road to hell?”
“I…give…up.” She emphasized the words by drawing them out slowly.
“Wish I could believe that.”

~~~oOo~~~

 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Joyce Holmes lives with her husband and very small dog in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. Photography and blogging about her travels are two of her passions, along with visiting her kids and grandkids. When she’s not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure, she’s off enjoying the great outdoors.
 
Links:
 
~~~oOo~~~
 
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“Must Love Fashion” – Author Interview

How long did it take from when you began writing your manuscript to the book launch?
Thanks, Lynne. This question has multiple answers. Must Love Fashion started out as another novel. It took about one year to get that version of the story written. This is where the story gets a little interesting and juicy. I’d been working with an agent for a women’s fiction novel and when that didn’t get picked up, she encouraged me to write a romance novel. I’d had very little experience with reading romances and the ones I had read were ‘historicals’. But I had the idea of a woman with health challenges who meets and falls for a man just getting over the loss of his wife. I took that idea, came up with a title (Not Must Love Fashion) and a setting. I thought so long as I had an HEA (Happy Ever After), I was set.
I was very wrong and didn’t realize it until I shot it off to the agent. She got back to me a few weeks later with a blistering harsh rejection. After I’d gotten over the initial shock and depression of that (three weeks), I realized I had wasted an entire year. I had been working full time as an in-house interior designer for a large senior living franchise, traveling a lot and was under an enormous amount of stress. So each night I would drown myself in a glass (or two) of wine, eat dinner and then try to write. What could go wrong there?
To make this long story short, I sent the rejected manuscript to a published author I know through one of my writing groups. She got back to me with several suggested changes and a lot of compliments. In short, she felt the story had merit and told me not to give up. I had a new manuscript written in four months. I’d also made the decision to leave my full time job. I’m getting started a little later in life and didn’t have years to make this happen. The time was now!

 What are you currently reading?
After I had submitted Must Love Fashion to publishers, I had decided to pick up another novel I started writing a while back. A vampire romance. One would think when as a writer you have the license to create a world in which anything your heart desires can land on the page it’s easy…it’s not. With great power comes great responsibility. And stress. I hadn’t ever been a ‘huge’ vampire fan. My first bite (no pun) was the Twilight books. And then the Sookie Stackhouse novels, by Charlaine Harris. Those books however are not traditional ‘romance’ novels.
And when trying to swim in the ‘romance’ end of the pool, there are rules. I had to find a few other vampire ‘romances’ for inspiration and guidance. I stumbled upon a book called Vampires Are Forever by Lynsay Sands. It’s part of her Argeneau series. The book helped in that while I was going off in all different directions trying to make my vampires unique with a host (no pun) of various qualities, Sands’ Argeneau vampires (Immortals, as they prefer to be called) were very simple. And that made them elegant. By following her lead, it helped my story not get bogged down in scientific hog-wash and allowed me to really concentrate on the love story between the two main characters.
As it turns out that Argeneau book was the 8th in the series of now 26 books! And I’m hooked. Reading them all.

What is your latest project?.
In Must Love Fashion we meet Gwen’s siblings, Greg Mallory, a police officer and Skye Mallory, an attorney. I had actually intended to write Skye’s story next. Even had the first chapters written. But the more I worked on MLF, I grew excited to tell Greg’s story more. So poor Skye got bumped.
There are plenty of ‘runaway bride’ stories out there. But the stories usually follow an arc where the bride finds new love with someone else. And usually the jilted groom is portrayed as a jerk and the villain.
But I had the idea…what if he’s not a jerk? What if he really is the good guy and what if the runaway bride came back! In MLF, we get a glimpse of what Greg has gone through and how it’s affected him. And at the end of MLF, we meet Faith (the runaway bride) and find out she’s back in Darling Cove!
The heart of Must Have Faith is ‘why did Faith really leave?’ She told Greg why two days before the wedding, but Faith really left for another reason.

I so loved writing this book. Because of what I’d gone through to get Must Love Fashion complete, with all the changes (including even character name changes from ancient drafts), I knew Greg and Faith inside and out from the start. Greg was so much fun to write. A handsome brooding police officer. Alpha male personified. But the man has a heart of gold and he was wounded.
Can Faith repair his heart and redeem herself? Readers will have to wait to find out.

 Was Must Love Fashion the first novel you’d written?
No. While Must Love Fashion is my debut published novel, the first novel I’d written and completed and submitted was a Women’s Fiction novel called Forty Times Platinum.
It was August of 2010 and I’d just finished another failed round of IVF treatments. My husband worked nights and I was probably lonely and depressed. I became quietly obsessed with a singer. Sitting on my laptop at night, I scoured the internet for news about him, concerts and listened to his music for comfort.
I came across a photo of him and an attractive older woman. Hey Now! Upon researching her, I learned she was a music executive who’d written a song for him. But in real life there wasn’t anything romantic between them. But what if there was? And so the idea for Forty Times Platinum was born.
That night, I wrote what became the fourth chapter in the book. And I kept going. A year and a half later, I hit 230,000 words and I thought to myself… this might be too long. Ha Ha. (The average manuscript is about 85-90K) I spent another six months breaking the story into two parts. But it didn’t split evenly. So I had to revise Book One and Book Two. I was writing them together.
When Book One was about 130,000 words, I decided to start showing it to people. And based on the feedback, I felt I’d had something I could do ‘something’ with. It took another year which included the reality check that it needed to cut even further, but I submitted it to agents and signed with one. Unfortunately, the book didn’t get picked up. And that agent was the same one who harshly criticized what became Must Love Fashion, which btw, I submitted to publishers myself and received a total of four offers.
I plan to take FTP and its sequel and try to get that published on my own next year. My dance card for 2017 is full!

 Name and explain two books which inspired you to write in the romance genre?
This is an exciting question to answer. I hadn’t been a big romance fan until several years ago. I suffered from the typical snobbery of the perception of what these books were really about; unrealistic, bodice-rippers, sugary, all that. A friend of mine who primarily reads women’s fiction had mentioned a book series called The Bride Quartet, by Nora Roberts. I have to admit, those books completely dispelled my myths. Of course, I’ve read a few since then that completely enforce those myths. But there are a lot of people on this planet and no two people like the same thing.
But those Bridal books were a bridge I could cross with my women’s fiction ideas and transform them into realistic, relatable happy ever after tales.
Once I started reading romance, I couldn’t stop. For a while, I was sneaking off to Barnes and Noble and gobbling up several a week. The books I had been drawn to however were mostly historicals. Johanna Lindsey’s Malory books drew me in big time. (It’s just a coincidence that my Darling Cove family has the same- but I spelled it Mallory).
When I attend conventions and listen to Keynotes and other speakers, everyone has that one book that not only drew them in, but anchored them to romance. My book was Seven Years to Sin by Sylvia Day. That book has never seen my bookshelf. I haven’t put it away. While struggling to make edits to Forty Times Platinum based on a proofreader’s comments, I dug through Seven Years to understand what the editor was talking about. Seven Years taught me how to write romance. It opened me up to the elegant way to craft a scene, build it and show…SHOW emotions not just tell the reader about them. And if I can offer one more book to this list which is my current emotional bible, it’s Jennifer Gracen’s third Harrisons Series book, Tis the Season. The emotional punches in that book still have me catching my breath. I’m lucky enough to know Jennifer (she’s a member of my local RWA writing chapter) and I was so glad to be able to tell her how her writing made me feel.
I just hope one day, I can do the same for someone.

Lynne, thank you so much for the opportunity to tell you about myself and my debut novel MUST LOVE FASHION published and available to readers everywhere.


Here’s an Excerpt from Must Love Fashion:

“Sometimes you don’t realize what a hole you have in your life until someone fills it.”

Annoyed, Gwen roughly draped her scarf around her neck and put on her coat. But those frayed edges once again caught on one of her charm bracelets. “Son of a…” Her free hand reached up to loosen the scarf from her neck before it strangled her. But it snagged on the clasp of her necklace and twisted; trapping her as if she were in a straitjacket. “Are you kidding me?” she growled.
Furiously, she shrugged out of the coat, sending it flying across the office.

“Excuse me.” A deep gravelly voice drifted in from the doorway.

Gwen swung around and locked eyes with the most devastatingly handsome man she’d ever seen. Andrew! “Oh hi!” She held up her hand revealing the tangled mess she’d made of herself.

“Looks like you’ve gotten yourself tied up there.” Andrew put down his bag and moved toward her with powerful long legs covered in what she knew had to be a pair of Prada dress slacks. In an instant, he was touching her hand and…her neck. “What’s caught on what here?”

“I can do it.” She backed away. It was startling to be so close to him. That photo did not do this man justice. He was even more stunning in person. He was so tall and broad. Heat radiated from his body; removing the chill that clung to her all week from the drafty window.

“I think you’ve done enough.” Andrew snagged her wrist again. His commanding hold made her feel like Lois Lane when Superman rose up, caught her and said, I’ve got you.


Author Bio:

 

Deborah Garland.png
Click for website

Deborah Garland is a former computer and sports journalist, turned romance and women’s fiction author. She likes to write about love and the struggles of complicated relationships. Her heroines are strong, and the heroes fall hard for them. She lives on the North Shore of Long Island with her husband and when she’s not writing, she’s either in the gym, or reading, cuddled up with their two pugs, Zoe and Harley.

 

Author Links:
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Released: “Must Love Fashion” by Deborah Garland

MustLoveFashion_CvrGwendolyn Mallory has landed her dream job. After years at a small fashion retailer, she’s been given a chance to show off her public relations skills for a major brand. What woman wouldn’t be excited to work for Prada in New York City?

Former male model turned Prada Brand Manager, Andrew Morgan is ready to move on with his life—his wife passed away from cancer fifteen months ago. Even though he and Gwen share an initial fiery spark, getting involved with a co-worker has always been on Andrew’s to-don’t list.

The weeks leading up to an L.A. fashion show bring Andrew and Gwen closer to the flame. At night, she dreams of this tall handsome man taking her on his desk. And Andrew is having a hard time keeping his own fantasies under control. But when one of the designers vies for Gwen’s affections, Andrew is awash with jealousy. And out of excuses.

After the show, they share an intense, passionate kiss and some killer heavy petting in one of the dressing rooms. And in her bed, Gwen brings out the man Andrew used to be, wild and hungry. But in the afterglow of their bliss, Andrew learns Gwen has been hiding something about her health. Unable to deal with all that pain again, he leaves.

During a business trip to Milan, Gwen and Andrew give into the heat still smouldering between them. Then Gwen finds out she’s about to be transferred to Italy. Andrew doesn’t want to hold her back from such a great opportunity, but he can’t live without her. He proposes in hopes of keeping her in New York, with him.

What woman wouldn’t be excited to marry a devilishly handsome man in a Prada wedding gown?


Published by Roane Black on White (click the logo to buy your copy now..).


Extract:

It was a secret Gwen would keep throughout the day. A secret for her and Andrew to share.
Gwen and Andrew… That did have a nice ring to it.

“So, he takes up a lot of oxygen in the room, doesn’t he?” Andrew pushed on one of his knees and stood.

“Salvatore’s all showy though.” Gwen fingered the skirt and swooshed the fabric back and forth.

“Do you prefer a man who is more subtle?”

It was the first time he’d dared to ask her personal preferences for a mate, and before he could retract his question or dilute it, she said firmly, “Yes, on the surface.” And smoldering underneath. Like you Andrew.
He stepped a few inches away. “I’m still concerned all the attention will be on you in that dress.” He held his chin, smooth and fresh.

“I was planning on wearing my hair up.” She gathered a handful of waves and swept them away from her face. But when he only stared at her bracelets as they clanged together, she let the bundle fall. “Or—”

“No. No.” The words caught in his throat. His fingers brushed past her cheek, lifting the hair off her shoulders again. “This is perfect.”

Yes, it is perfect. And he should be kissing her by now. Those amazing lips, pink and full on hers…and on other parts of her body, making her feel alive.
His eyes bore into hers, but he said nothing. Gwen preferred to not have to make the first move. How would she know if Andrew really wanted her in the first place, and wasn’t just taking advantage of a willing partner? But how long could she wait for him, before a crazy impulse took hold of her?

“I guess it’s settled. I’m wearing my hair up tomorrow,” she whispered, locking eyes with him.

He cleared his throat and stepped back, letting her hair fall. The weight of so many waves warmed her skin, even though she preferred the heat coming off his body. She stepped back as well and slipped into co-worker mode. “Andrew, be honest. Is this dress…too much? I prefer clothes that are simple and classic. Conservative even.”

“I would call you classic, Gwen. But not simple. You wear our clothes beautifully.” He ran his hand over the suit jacket she had draped on a desk chair. “The way they sit on you tells a story of…of the woman we know other women want to be.”

The compliment left her breathless. “Thank you, Andrew.”

“No, Gwen. I want to thank you.” His shoulders softened. “I need you to know, I couldn’t have done this without you.”

“That’s not true.” She swiped at eyes she suspected were shiny with tears, she wouldn’t let fall. Better to be respected as an equal, and not thought of as a weepy lightweight. “You’ve run plenty of these shows.”

“Yes, and I know what it takes to pull this off. There was no way I could have done what you’ve done…for this show.” He ran a hand through his hair, his wedding band was—gone!

The sight took Gwen’s own breath away. She twisted her hair to the side, to keep her hands busy. “Did you want to do one final walk through for tomorrow?”

“No. We’re set.” He bent down to the pick up the shoebox. His back straightened, emphasizing his dramatic height.

She moved toward Andrew to hug him. Immediately there was a different feel to his touch from the night of their first drink. The night when everything had turned around. And upside down. His fingers pressed into her skin. His body molded against hers. Oh, the smell of him, musky and woodsy. Masculine. There it was, his heart, beating wildly. There was so much of this man, his heart must work so hard to pump his rich blood through so many veins.

The feel of his grip softening, meant it was time for her to let go. “Have a good night Andrew.” She touched his hands and leaned upward for a kiss on the cheek. The edge of his mouth—warm and tender as she remembered—caught the corner of her lips. Tickle, Tickle went her stomach.

A strand of her long hair caught in his collar, binding them together for a brief moment. Creating a bridge that could bring them together…if someone was brave enough to cross.


 

Hounds of the Underworld- authors’ interview

Aren’t writers supposed to be solitary?

cover_Hounds of the Underworld
Cover designed by Daniele Serra

 

  • Dan Rabarts: That’s just a myth we like to maintain so we don’t have to invite anyone to our parties. Writers are actually about as social as spider monkeys, and we like to do many of the same things when we’re together: eat our bananas upside-down, groom each other for tasty insects, that sort of thing. But we keep this top secret because if everyone knew, everyone would want to be writers and come to our parties.
  • Lee Murray: It’s not exactly a party! There’s definitely a myth circulating that writing is a solitary occupation, and yet I don’t know any successful writer who works entirely in isolation, even those not writing in collaboration. Obviously, there are times when you have to glue your bottom to the chair, put your head down, and churn out the words, but most writers will contact experts to support their work, send early drafts out to a critique group or writing buddy, and then, when draft is completed, beta-readers and editors move in, all of whom contribute to the work in different ways. As far as I can tell, writing a novel is always a collaborative process.

How did you come to collaborate with each other?

  • Dan: A little book called Baby Teeth kicked it all off. I had a crazy idea and got some people on board and realised I’d bitten off more than I could chew, no pun intended. Lee stepped up to help pull it all together.
  • Lee: I think with Baby Teeth – a charity project ‒ the way the anthology came together was atypical, with stories coming in from both established and emerging writers, so from an editing perspective, it was always going to be a challenge. Professionally, Dan and I brought different skill sets to the table and we tried to make it fun and not too intimidating for the newbies. Ask any of the writers: it was like a comedy routine going on in the margins, the pair of us battling it out, trying to find the best way to polish the text. On the way we both learned some new techniques, which we carried over into our individual projects. By the time Baby Teeth went on to win the Australian Shadows and Sir Julius Vogel awards it was clear the partnership was something we should explore further. I threw it out there, and Dan said, why not? But ours is more than just a professional arrangement. On a personal level, we clicked from the get-go. We’re friends: I love Dan’s sense of humour, his can-do attitude, and his wonderfully weird and twisted way of thinking. And the great thing is, our families get on too ‒ we both have incredibly supportive long-suffering spouses ‒ so when we can, we get our kids together, crack open a few drinks, and fire up the BBQ. It’s not all work.

How did you split the collaboration process – decide who contributed what?

  • Lee: Hounds of the Underworld is a he-said she-said narrative, with me writing the science consultant Penny Yee, and Dan writing her ex-con brother, Matiu. So while we each contribute to the development of the other characters, it’s as if we have ownership of those particular story threads. In terms of process, the Dan and Lee approach is an odd mixture of planning and ‘pantsting’, with doses of affectionate squabbling. In fact, the sensible big sister and subversive little brother roles of Penny and Matiu apply to our writing process too, where I am the big sister who knows best and Dan has the crazy go-off-on-a-tangent ideas. Broadly speaking, we have an idea of where we want the story arc to go, but I never quite know what to expect when I open Dan’s latest section, exactly where he’ll have taken a scene. Down some dark alleyway, usually! Working with Dan definitely means taking the story to another dimension.
  • Dan: Yip, we manage to keep this balance of driving the narrative forward in our own ways: Lee with solid research and plausibility, and me with random unexplained explosions. But we frequently sit down during the process and make sure that, at least to some extent, we’re working towards the same goal. The push-pull dynamic that Penny and Matiu share to get their results isn’t that far removed from our collaborative process.

Tell us about the most {worrying / enjoyable} part of collaborating?

  • Dan: Worrying? There’s always the risk that one of us will be abducted by aliens or otherwise removed from the process, and the one that’s left will have to not only pretend to be the other writer, mimic their style, fall into their ideas, take ownership of plot points we’ve deliberately maintained some distance from, but also knowing we’d have to maintain the other person’s social media profiles until the aliens release them back into the wild. All those hashtags. So many hashtags.
  • Lee: {rolls her eyes} Lynne, please don’t get him started. I’m going to open up the next section of the sequel and find it has aliens in it now, aren’t I? The downside is that people assume we must be married! No, I think the biggest worry is that our lives keep getting in the way. Family. Work. We’ve learned to be flexible.
  • Dan But enjoyable? That’s the magic of it. It’s having an idea which is only half-formed, and bandying it around with someone excited and committed to the project, invested in the world and the characters. Lee will bring something new to that misshapen idea, an unexpected twist that gives it direction and completion, and you have this synergy going on that leads to cool things happening, taking form on the page. Whole is greater than the sum of the parts, sort of thing.
  • Lee: The thing I like is that I only have to write half the book. Actually, collaborating ends up being more work than writing on your own, but being a ponderously slow writer myself, sharing the work helps me with the word-count head games!

With which other writers would you / have you collaborate/d? Tell us about that…

  • Dan: We’ve both collaborated with other writers, and produced some fairly cool works as a result. I’m part of a writing band called Cerberus, which comprises myself, Grant Stone and Matthew Sanborn Smith, and one of our stories, Dada, has appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. We produce some extremely weird fiction. But my favourite collaboration outside of the Rabarts/Murray workload right now is a little story called “The People Machines”, which my ten-year-old son and I are writing at bedtime. It’s a story about two boys who get the power to turn into any machine they can imagine, just in time to protect the world from the evil, machine-eating Corlocks. Fart jokes and witty puns abound.
  • Lee: I have a collaborative YA novella, Mika, with YA specialist, Piper Mejia. We’d already worked together on a number of student anthologies, and when I moved to Wellington, the project gave us a reason to talk every week. With Mika, a Kiwi version of the Wizard of Oz, we wrote alternating chapters and then ‘smoothed’ the final text, so it reads like a single writer. I also have a couple of picture books out on submission, both collaborations with Eileen Mueller. But like I said earlier, all writing involves an element of collaboration.

 

 

Tell us what fun and games went into the cover design…

  • Lee: It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? It’s by Italian artist, Daniele Serra. In terms of fun and games, there weren’t any: we sent in some ideas, just concepts really, and it came back perfectly formed.

What’s your favourite way to meet your readers ‒ at book signings, conventions, or other events – and why?

  • Dan: Book launches, for sure. Because that means they might be buying a book. Yay! (Buy books, people. We love you when you buy books.) But otherwise, pretty much anywhere. Bars are good. Personally, I like those impromptu gatherings of a dozen people dropping in on an unsuspecting restaurant downtown somewhere to chinwag and press the flesh and talk books and writing and the deplorable state of American politics while comparing craft beers. Good times.
  • Lee: Any time you meet someone who likes your story. Online. At a launch. Conventions. Anywhere. There’s nothing more uplifting than to know you’ve inspired a reader. I walked into the supermarket once, and a woman came running over to me and said, “You’re that writer lady, aren’t you? You’re doing so well.” That was pretty special.

Red: Thanks, Dan and Lee for the distance interview

Raw-Dogs-Screaming

Hound of the Underworld can be purchased at
publishers {click the logo to go and buy}

 

 

One Character To Another

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T E Hodden has provided this insight to one character in  A Symphony of Heartstrings.
you will have to read the novel to work out which character wrote this letter, as it is a “bonus” – it is not in the novel.


From: Barbary, London.

To: CL9

Subject: Worrying anomaly.

Right, there is no easy way to say this, but there is something wrong with the Loom.

For any auditors reading this, I will assume you know exactly as much as everybody else who tells me how to do my job, which is to say I am going to assume you have trouble finding your own buttocks with both hands and a diagram. The Loom is the web of emotions and relationships that binds the mortals together. Every emotion and action echoes through the web. There are threads of light and magic that links you to every other life you have touched.

Assuming you were mortal. At some point.

The music of the Loom is the symphony of the city. For weeks now there has been a little romantic melody surrounding a girl called Jenny. Nice girl, as it happens, a librarian, born with cerebral palsy, but flourishing. Sweet, kind, and pretty. Her music swells, all strings and brass. That should mean she is meeting somebody who resonates with her. But it never sets. It drops away before it reaches a crescendo. I don’t think this is an accident. I think somebody is manipulating the Loom.

With me so far? Good. Then you are probably asking why somebody doesn’t investigate. They did. Opal had one of his agents, Bob, investigate, and… I am going to remain polite and suggest this is “a worrying anomaly” and not “an absolute shambles.” But… You understand there are only really three rules to what the agents are meant to do? “Help people find life, nudge the world towards harmony, and don’t be seen.” The third of those being somewhat important.

Was it really too much to ask, that Bob not throw himself at the poor girl and introduce himself? We have mortal peeping behind the curtain. This is never, NEVER, a good idea. Do you know how many times this has ended well? NONE!

Opal, you need to get your house in order.


Purchase From Roane Publishing


About T.E. Hodden

T. E. Hodden trained in engineering, and works in the rail industry. He writes as a hobby, when he is not walking the Kent coast, looking for forgotten nooks and crannies of history and folklore.

T E Hodden can be found at Facebook

 

Show No Weakness: Exclusive

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Taylor Sinclair, Joely’s teenaged son, has mixed feelings about his mother’s burgeoning relationship with Cole Dennison. In this exclusive, we “listen in” to Taylor’s phone call to his friend after visiting his father. Note: this is Not in the novel Show No Weakness.
Check the “Released: Show No Weakness” Page for details of the book, released 10th April


“Hey, Taylor, how did the visit go with your dad last weekend?”

“Ah, it was okay,” Taylor told his friend, Nelson. He sprawled out on the couch and thumped his feet up onto the coffee table.

“Really? Cuz, you don’t sound okay. You sound kinda pissed. Did something happen with your dad?”

“Nah.” Taylor frowned and switched the phone to his other ear, then reached for the glass of juice he’d just poured himself. “I’m choked with my mom.” He took several long gulps of juice and put the glass back down with a loud sigh.

Nelson laughed. “That’s been happening a lot lately. What’s up now?”

“You remember that cop I told you about?”

“The one you met when you got in trouble, and now you’re playing basketball with him?”

“That’s right. Cole. He’s a really cool dude, for a cop, and we’re actually, like, friends. But now I find out he and my mom are dating.” Frustration surged through Taylor, and he barely stopped himself from kicking the coffee table.

“Yeah, so what’s wrong with that?”

“Seriously, Nelson?” Taylor couldn’t believe Nelson didn’t automatically see the problem. “What are the chances they’ll stay together? Practically zero,” he answered himself before Nelson could say anything. “And then Mom will hate him, just like she hates my dad, and she’ll stop me from spending time with Cole, just like she’s done with my dad. Where’s that fair? He was my friend, first.” Even he could hear the pout in his voice, but he had a right to be damn mad about this.

Nelson kept quiet for a moment, then he said, “Yeah, but what if he and Joely do stay together? That’d be cool, wouldn’t it? And you’d get to hang out with Cole even more.”

Taylor gave another exasperated sigh. Before he could tell his friend what he thought about him taking Joely’s side, he heard the condo’s hall door open, signalling the arrival of his mom. No way was he sticking around to deal with her staring at him with that disappointed look on her face.

“Look, Mom’s home from work, so I gotta go. Talk to you later, okay?”

He chucked the phone onto the couch and bee-lined for his room without even glancing at his mom. If she didn’t like it, tough. She deserved the silent treatment.

~oOo~

Cover Reveal::Symphony of Heartstrings

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A Symphony of Hearts

A Paranormal Romance

by T.E. Hodden

to Be Released 24th April, 2017

Roane Black on White

Meet Bob. Bob is the guy between the lines of every love story you ever met. The lucky chance, the twist of fate, the astounding coincidence that sets sparks flying. Never seen, but always there.   Today Bob is assigned to help Jenny find love.

But there is something more than bad luck working against the quirky librarian. Bob might have to save her life, before he can help her find love.   And he can’t do that from the shadows….

2017-04-24 to 28_Symphony o Heart Strings

About the Author

T. E. Hodden trained in engineering, and works in the rail industry. He writes as a hobby, when he is not walking the Kent coast, looking for forgotten nooks and crannies of history and folklore.

Tom can be found at FaceBook  

“Poisonous Whispers”, by Jana Begovich

 

 

Released on December 5th, this is Ms. Begovic’s 2016-12-5-to-8_poisonous-whispers
début novel – a romance, but much more.
Written in a literary style, it is a saga of discovery
of true love.

In brief:
       “Don’t you ever forget about me…,” he whispers during their secret encounters. Like a curse, these simple words now haunt Leandra, a reputable psychiatrist, who finds herself in emotional chaos after the sudden breakup of her illicit affair. Unable to heal on her own and tormented by dreams in which supernatural forces create havoc with her fate, she desperately turns to David, a colleague psychiatrist, asking him to take her through past-life regression therapy. She hopes that this unorthodox and somewhat suspect technique will explain her profound connection to the lover who has abandoned her so abruptly.

The sessions take Leandra through 17th and 19th century Ireland, Italy and England, where love, loss and betrayal are the leitmotifs in an ambiance of co-mingled fantasy and reality. In her hypnotic state, Leandra recounts a saga of intoxicating love, dizzying passion, flaming lust and profound heartbreak. Despite the painful answers she finds under hypnosis, Leandra still cannot let go of the hope to reunite with her lover. Ultimately, the shattering revelations from her past-life incarnations, along with the turmoil over her ruined marriage, become the stepping stones of her introspective path to healing, self-discovery and an appreciation of true love.

With its seamlessly interwoven sub-plots, “Poisonous Whispers” lures the reader from one continent to another, from past to present. The affair at the center of the story is an anatomy of the heart in which the heroine’s sorrow-laced journey reflects the universal themes of love and loss.

The author:
jana-portrait       As far back as Jana can remember, she has been fascinated by storytelling and intoxicated with the written word. As a young child, she began spinning stories, talking to an imaginary friend and devouring fairy tales. As a teenager, she wrote maudlin love poetry; and as a young mother, a collection of fables. Her love of reading and writing drove her to study languages and literature, resulting in B.A. degrees in English and German Languages and Literature, an M.A. Degree in Literary Studies, as well as a B.Ed. Degree in English and Dramatic Arts.
She works for the Government of Canada in the field of military language training and testing and her work, as a subject matter expert, has taken her all over the world. She was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina but has lived in Canada since 1991, currently
in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband.
As of the time of this posting, she is working on her second novel, as well as a collection of short stories.

An excerpt:
       A tiny streak of pale light is cascading softly down the cell window and making a shy sliver in the veil of darkness. I open my eyes, disoriented. I do not move; I do not even dare blink until I get my bearings. Then I remember and freeze in horror. I sit up, an aching all over my body and cold dread in my heart. Instinctively, I try to disentangle my matted hair with my fingers, but it is hopeless. All around me, I smell mold, decay and death. How can I survive another day in this hole? The sound of the door opening with a screech makes me jump in terror.

The gaoler walks in; a heavy set of keys dangling and jingling in his hand.

“Come. You are being moved in preparation for tonight’s execution. A verdict was reached.”

I speak not but follow him. We climb a steep staircase. Below us, I hear moans and yells and what sounds like the death throes of those hopelessly lost to the world and forgotten by justice, compassion and mercy. Again, I am feeling dissociated from the event of my calamity; I see my body walking, but my soul is not in it and indifference over what might happen floods me. Death is not the end. Death offers me salvation from pain, from the torment of living a human life.

We leave the jailhouse and enter the house across the street to the village inn. The inn owner, James Bourke, looks at me with hatred and disdain. He also always hated my husband because his wife had hoped my husband would marry her. She was in love with him, and when he married me she tried to kill herself. James married her later, but has always known that she never stopped loving my husband.

The gaoler takes me upstairs to one of the guest rooms and locks the door behind me. The room is wide and clean even though sparsely furnished. The bed is large and looks inviting and I realize how exhausted I am. On the bed is a white, thin chemise and I immediately understand this is what I will wear tonight when I am pushed off the bridge into the water that is cool even on the hottest of summer days. Will I have the strength or the will to swim and save myself? What surprises and almost delights me under such grave circumstances is a bathtub in the corner of the room. There is steam rising from it and I immediately undress and slip into it, relieved to be able to wash off the dirt, the grime, and above all the horrible stench on my body. I rub myself raw trying to clean my skin. Washing my hair is more difficult because at home I have servants who help me with bathing, dressing and undressing. I have been spoilt by marrying a man of wealth and power. Where is my husband now? I crave his protection. If he saved me now, would I give up Kieran, would I give up love in order to live? I surmise I would.

Available at:
Roane Black on White

Print editions at…

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Digital editions at…

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Harvest Moon Authors Tell…

… About Their Enthusiasm for Writing, after harvest-moon-cover-reveal
contributing to Love Under the Harvest Moon.


Tom Hodden:
Defining enthusiasm is never easy. It is elusive and changes for each project. Sometimes it is as simple as not finding the book you want to read and realising you will have to create it yourself. Other times it is a way of weaving a picture, a piece of art that would not work on any other medium. Most often for me, writing is giving voice to the swirling maelstrom of ideas and images that are burbling away in my head, looking for a form to be given. Yes, I know how pompous and grand that sounds for somebody who writes little love stories. But it is how it feels at times. When you have the idea for characters, and story, for the piece you are writing you are fitting the splinters of a puzzle together, or layering textures and colours upon each other until, if you are lucky, it all sort of fits together. Of course we should also remember it is also fun. Very few writers would ever consider themselves the prose equivalent of a great composer, writing symphonies or concertos. They are garage bands, experimenting with guitars and drums, building up their songs, but looking to relax, express themselves and jam with others. We might all dream of a hit, but the driving force of our enthusiasm will often be those we bounce ideas of, and joke around with.


Nemma Woolenfang:
In the last few years, writing has become something of an addiction. Like many before, I caught ‘the bug’. It’s simply too hard not to write when ideas keep popping into your head!

Clockwork Evangeline was my first publication success, a steampunk short which won a competition. Now, several years on, my work has appeared in several venues, including: Flame Tree (Science Fiction Short Stories and Murder Mayhem), RIP (A Bleak New World), Corazon Books (Come Into the House), Mantid Magazine (Summer 2016 Issue), Romance Magazine (Vol. 04 No. 02), and Roane Publishing (Masked Hearts as well as Under the Harvest Moon). It’s been a delight not only to work with such great publishers but to get to know other talented writers on the ToCs and connect with the larger writing community. Since meeting new authors and reading their work, my tastes have broadened significantly. Now, I’ve become quite a fan of short fiction.

The genres I write in are rather broad… speculative fiction pretty much covers it. Fantasy, historical, and science-fiction mostly… Always, though, I like that romantic element. And sometimes, these genres crossover quite naturally, for example, I’m currently working on a historical science-fiction novel set in an alternative version of Victorian-era London, which recently won a competition.
For anyone who’s interested, you can find my work on Amazon and Goodreads.

Patricia Crisafulli
I have written stories all my life.  As a young child, I told myself stories for entertainment, to pass the time, and for comfort. Over the years, my love of writing has taken me in many different directions—as a news reporter and feature writer, and then publication of my first book, Remembering Mother, Finding Myself (published under the name Patricia Commins), written for adult daughters whose mothers have died, helping them to understand their mothers as the women who came before them.  I’ve also written books on business, economics, and leadership—as well as in the creative vein, with the founding of http://www.FaithHopeandFiction.com, an e-literary magazine, and a volume of short stories and short essays entitled Inspired Every Day, published by Hallmark.

What all these diverse experiences have in common is using the written word to explore the world around me. A story is the best way I know to interpret and understand, discovering deeper meaning and lessons hidden in even the most ordinary circumstances and relationships.

Claire Devon:
When I was younger I would write my version of fan fic. One of my fondest memories is when a friend and I took up the pen to write our fan fic version of General Hospital. Unfortunately, those notebooks were lost in one of our family moves, but the passion lives on. That’s the fun of writing. At any time, I can grab a story left untold and recast it and plot it as I would like to have seen it done.

I enjoy writing because even when things are the darkest, when my characters are being put through the mill I know how it’s going to turn out. I know that there will be a way out of the situation, whatever they are in, and that they will find their way back to each other. So I get to cast these situations with glee, knowing that they will be okay. It isn’t so easy with life, but with art I can always be sure of a happy ending. What is better than that?

Laura Lamoreaux / T.L. French:
As a working partnership, writing strikes both of us very differently.  For Laura, it’s all about the craft.  Finding the perfect words to convey the idea on the page.  The process of making something beautiful, brilliant and new is what she loves. Just the act of getting the words down on the page is a reward in and of itself for her.

As the other half of this crazy ride, my (T.L. French) passion is for telling the stories that are constantly swimming around in my head. It’s the process of discovering who the characters are and what makes them tick that drives me to discover the next story. I find the motivations of characters endlessly fascinating.

What really makes our partnership work however, is the opportunities to collaborate.  There is something magical about being able to bounce these ideas off of each other.  The joy of asking “what if…”  We could literally sit and talk for hours about these people that exist only in our heads–but for us, their stories are waiting to be told.

Love Under the Harvest Moon,
released 18th November 2016 by
Roane Black on White
is available at Roane’s site (click logo)
which lists other outlets.