Sunday, February 24, 2013

Early Release Day!

Embrace the Darkness, my paranormal romantic suspense and sequel to my 2010 release, Out of the Darkness will release on June 21, 2013. But today, I got an awesome surprise in my email box. Embrace the Darkness is part of Amazon's KDP promotional program. So from now until June, Embrace the Darkness will be available excursively through Amazon!

As part of my planned, promotional posts, I'm going to be posting excerpts. But not just any excerpts. These excerpts are things people I know in real life say. And what fun I had "quoting" them.

I've never based a character off of real people, but my characters in ETD sometimes quote people I know. So, here's the first excerpt:

Setup: My heroine, Amber, and her partner, Reid, are searching for a suspected vampire, a mad scientist (Dr. Steve Weldon from the first book) and a kidnapped victim.

Reid looked at Amber as if daring her to disagree.“She has a point. We can’t just show up in another town, flash our badges, and enter a privately owned facility without a warrant. Even if your vampire buddies can manufacture the paper work we need to cover our asses later, we can’t just storm the facility with guns drawn and stakes poised. We’d look insane.”

Amber didn’t have an argument, but she wasn’t backing down.
It is what it is.

Today's line comes from my oldest daughter and a co-worker who use the highlighted phrase quite frequently.

Hope you enjoyed this brief excerpt. More to come later!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine’s Day – The Morning After

Belated Happy Valentine's Day! I hope it was a day filled with love and romance. Or at the very least, a good romance novel.

My guest blogger today is Sandra Dailey. Welcome, Sandy!

Did everyone wake up this morning to the sweet, rich aroma of roses and chocolate?

You may have had a date night or just a romantic dinner at home. Be honest, is that little black dress still lying on the floor? However you celebrated Valentine’s Day, I hope it met your expectations.

Now it’s time to get up, stretch and return to your daily routine. That’s right, it’s the morning after. Bizarre things will happen to off-set the magic.

I offer you an excerpt of a morning after from my newly released story, TWICE THE TROUBLE:

Looking in the bathroom mirror, she saw that her eyes were still a little swollen. She pressed a cold, wet cloth to them. She’d just started brushing her teeth when sounds came from downstairs loud enough to be a herd of buffalo in her kitchen. They were accompanied by a chorus of howls and laughter. What were those kids doing?

With toothbrush in hand, she raced down the stairs and into the kitchen. Sliding to a stop in the doorway, Lacey found Jerrod lying on his back in the middle of the floor. Alex was over the top of him with Jenna on his back. It was an Alex sandwich. They were all laughing hysterically.

Lacey nearly choked on her toothpaste when she saw Jerrod’s face covered in peanut butter. All three offenders froze in place and turned looks of wide-eyed innocence her way. They slowly got to their feet and faced her.

“We really screwed up this time, kids,” Alex mumbled. “She’s so mad, she frothing at the mouth.”

Both kids turned red and covered their mouths. Their eyes watered from the effort it took not to laugh.

Lacey rinsed her mouth, and then picked up the overturned peanut butter jar. “Would someone please tell me, what’s going on?”

Alex cleared his throat and squared his shoulders. He gave her a serious expression. “I’m sorry. I had no choice. Your son called me a sissy. He had to be punished.”

Jerrod scraped a finger down his cheek and into his mouth, looking unrepentant. “I stand by what I said, Mom. The man wears hair gel.”

Perhaps the blurb will explain:
Lacey Carlyle has worked for years to create the perfect blend of home, business and family. Now she risks losing everything when the land she farms is bought by the man who abandoned her thirteen years ago.

Alex has never understood why Lacey walked away from him. Now, he holds the deed to her farm and intends to make her pay. The only problem – two kids weren’t part of the plan.

Jenna and Jerrod may not see eye-to-eye but they are both determined to find happiness for their mom and keep their home safe.

Can Lacey and Alex put their pasts behind them and embrace a future together?

Still confused? That’s okay, I know it’s early. Perhaps you should read TWICE THE TROUBLE. It’s currently available on Amazon.

If you’d like to leave a comment I’ll be hanging around today. I’d love to hear about your morning after or answer your questions about TWICE THE TROUBLE.

About me:
I’m an avid reader and lifelong story teller.  I caught the writing bug after winning a short story contest.  The Chief’s Proposal was my first published work and now I’ve added Twice the Trouble, but I have many more stories to tell.

I currently live with my husband and house plants in north Florida.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sequel Secrets

When I first began writing the sequel to Out of the Darkness, I thought it would be easy. I already had my hero and heroine. Gerard and Tina were great secondary characters in the first book. They even had a budding romance. What could be better? It took about ten chapters for me to realize their story wasn't going to work. Tina had a daughter. And Gerard was a vampire.

Why did that bother me so much? Because as the mother of two daughters, I realized a good mother would never put romance ahead of her children. No matter how much Tina was attracted to Gerard, he was a vampire living in a dangerous world between worlds. Would a good mother risk falling in love with a man who's very existence could put her child at risk? Maybe. But would readers respect or even like a woman who did that? I had a hard time respecting her as I wrote their story. In my opinion, if Tina really cared more for her daughter than herself (which is how I feel about my own children) I figured she'd avoid getting involved with Gerard and she'd be upfront with her reasons. And if Gerard was as honorable as I wanted him to be, he'd respect that. So, I had to find another love interest for Gerard. And that's when I came up with what I hope is a gripping opening to the sequel, Embrace the Darkness.

The prologue practically wrote itself. I was on fire. I thought I could just keep typing away until the book was finished. But as soon as I sent a rough draft of the first few chapters to my critique partners, authors Andris Bear and Amy Corwin, I realized writing a sequel wasn't just a matter of picking up where the first story left off. As Amy pointed out, Embrace the Darkness wasn't Vincent and Megan's story. It was Gerard and Amber's story and Vincent and Megan had to take a back seat. And Andris informed me that although I needed to give readers enough information from the first book so the second book would make sense, I couldn't just dump it all in the first few chapters because it would still be backstory dump, which is a big no-no. So, I had to filter in the elements of the first book that would be crucial in the second book the same way I'd filtered backstory into the first book--a little at a time.

Easier said than done!

A lot happened in the first book. There were good vampires, villains, military operatives, a questionably bad vampire, a potential cure...How did I filter the information in without backstory dump? I figured I had to tell the first of the story from Amber's point of view. Amber is a new character. She knew nothing about vampires. So after the prologue, I began writing book two in her POV, and things seemed to click...for awhile. Then my characters took over and changed my plot, which left a lot of holes that needed to be filled.

To fill those plot holes, I had to do more research. And I found the answers I was seeking by researching some little known vampire myths. I finally finished the book in July and submitted it in August. And now I'm happy to report, Embrace the Darkness will be released on June 21, 2013.

For those who haven't read Out of the Darkness, here's what happened:

And for those interested in Embrace the Darkness, this is what you can expect:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's Ground Hog Day!

The Pennsylvania German call Groundhog Day Grundsaudaag Murmeltiertag celebrated on February 2 each year. According to folklore, the groundhog is a predictor of weather. If it's cloudy when the groundhog comes out of his burrow, spring will come early. If it's sunny and the groundhog sees his shadow, he'll run back into his hole and winter weather will continue for six more weeks.

In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Day is a celebrated event and Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous ground hog in the world....altough, I don't imagine the Punxsutawney Phill who comes out of his burrow today is the same Phil whose been "forecasting" spring all these years.

Here in north central North Carolina, groundhogs are more adventurous  The one who lives in my drainage ditch has been around all winter, just hanging out.

In fact, he's been hanging around since 2006. My daughters have even named him.
One suggested Butner Bill--after Punxsutawney Phill and Bill Murray from the movie, Groundhog Day. The other suggested Phill Murray--after the same. After much debate, we settled on Bill Phill Murray. And I just saw him yesterday. He was across the road, running through the pasture.

According to the news, Punxsutaney Phil saw his shadow and predicted an early spring. I haven't seen Bill Phil Murray yet, but if I do, I'll let you know what he says about the weather.