Monday, September 30, 2013


I got content edits back on The Wrong Brother's Bride last week. So naturally, I took my editor's suggestions and then I ran the whole document one chapter at a time past Anna the Talking Robot. She found some stuff too. Much as I despite listening to Anna's flat monotone and her repeated mispronunciations (the hero's name is August. She's always calling him Oogust. *headdesk*), and her mix-ups when she thinks I've abbreviated island (every time she sees the word 'is' she thinks it's short for island. Ugh!) or when she sees sob. She reads s-o-b, every single time! Which is, on occasion, hilarious. Anna is frustrating, but she's a help, so I guess I have to love her.

Saturday, I dragged my poor husband to Wordfest. We immediately went to the wrong place, because have you met me? I like to make things as complicated as possible. God help us if I ever get where I'm going right the first time. I shared a table with V.J. Schultz, who has a way cuter set up than I do. My table decorating skills leave a lot to be desired. But what I lack in table design, I make up for in bad ass hat.

I just thought it was nice that the name tent had my name spelled write. Thanks, Wordfest staff, for spelling my name correctly. Not that anyone has ever misspelled it to my knowledge, but there are a lot of repeaty letters in there. Um...when I try to tell people who I am, I often tell them my real name because it's hard to remember I'm not who I am. That's a downside of having a pen name.

So basically, here are photos from the event.

Because I spent a lot of time making those chapter books!

Standing up because folding chair are only fun for so long.

I think he was thinking dirty thoughts. That's just the look on his face.

Random authors, anyone?

I take after my dad (eyes closed in a photo) and my grandma (who loved hats).
Um, it was a poor day for sales which we blame on lack of signage/advertising. Which is sad, but it got me out of the house and it was all rainy out, so it was something to do. Plus I got to talk to my writer friends, so it wasn't a total bust. I made the effort, right? Points for that.

It's Monday. It's dreary here. Just do your best today, okay?

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Friday Five - The Ugly Pants Version

So a couple of weeks ago, we did ugly sweaters. I think you know where this is going.

1) Um...uh-huh. There they are. You can fit a whole harem in there! There are more ugly pants here.

2) Curtain pants. Now you too can have the sheer privacy provided by curtains. Or not.

3) Dog pants. Can you believe these are sold out? Is that a poodle on your crotch, or...never mind. The most spectacular part...these are dude pants.

4) 'K, I don't even know what's going on here. Just put them away!

There you go, kids. As writers, we're creative, but, damn. Shouldn't someone draw the line somewhere (way) before crochet man shorts? They really should have.

Go, be, do! While you're going, being, and doing, don't forget to read my SYTYCW entry, Wildwood Spring, and mark The Convict & the Cattleman as a want-to-read on Goodreads.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fortuna Minusculus or Spike, For Short

I guess you could say, I'm writing my luck pony into the ground again. Because, why not?

There's something heady about winning (winning!) a writing contest. I gave myself this huge pep talk (that didn't work) on Friday evening about what a bad ass I am (it gave me a stomachache). I'm an award-winning author. I have contracts and a series. I'm awesome! But inside that cocoon of awesome is a frightened little writer. I wish I had half the confidence I had when I was 16 and I knew I one day I was going to be the Big Thing. Well, maybe I'm not the Big Thing, but I've had a darn good writing year.

Monday, mounted high on the back of the often elusive and semi-transparent, yet sparkly luck pony (fortuna minusculus) who I call Spike, I looked into the horizon and said, "You know what, Spike?" He whinnied in confusion, because this isn't real, and I continued as though uninterrupted. "I think I'm freakin' going to enter So You Think You Can Write."

I opened the website and looked at it for a while. I thought, I'll just fill in the blanks. That doesn't mean I'm actually entering. It's really easy to hit the X on the browser, after all. Then I cut the first 5000 words from the MS and copied them into the text box. Which still didn't mean anything, you know. Until I opened the short blurb and pasted it into a word counter and adjusted it so it was 100 words. Things got serious then, because there's a preview button. I hit it, just to see what it would look like. Then I wavered back and forth between actually pushing the Submit button. For probably twenty minutes. My mouse would inch that way, then I'd pull it back. It would creep toward the red button and I'd look in a different browser window.

I thought, this is crazy. Crazy like drinking from a pop can you left on the sidewalk while you went into a restaurant that doesn't allow outside drinks.

Let me be honest here. I don't make plans. The best laid plans of rodents and homo sapiens will fall through faster than you can blink if you're not uber-careful. So I'm milling around with this historical romance/gothic thing that's taken up a ton of my time lately and I'm all, I don't know what to do with this. Self publish it? Throw it at my editor? Hide it? And what do you know, here's SYTYCW. And then the mayor of Crazytown comes calling with his tempting little offer. It goes like this:

You have nothing to lose.

The call of the writer. Crazytown's mayor has visited me before. I've heard that noise and...I often respond to it. Mayor McCrazy is right. I have nothing to lose. So I hit that Submit button. There. It's done. So please, remember me in your writer's prayers. The top 50 manuscripts are selected in mid-October. I might be there, and I might not be. It's anyone's guess. But I never won or finaled in a contest I didn't enter and I never got a contract on a book I didn't submit.

You can read the first chapter of Wildwood Spring here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Hat Almost Stole the Show

Okay, I'm not sure if all my appendages are working (I know with 100% certainty, my brain isn't, but that could accurately describe 6 out of 7 days), but here's an attempt to recap the weekend. It was busier than I said it would be on Friday.

Let's start the story with the part where I'm running late. Because I'm me and I'm either way early or way late. Do nothing by halves, kids. Nothing. So I'm driving around in a part of town that I never, ever, never, ever, ever never visit. I find the hotel/convention center okay, because my instructions had a semi-perfect clarity. Okay, that's a lie. I got lost, but I figured out my mistake right off, then I found the hotel okay. I checked in, grabbed a cart and hauled some stuff for the raffles up to the room. Then I decided I didn't have enough time to haul the rest up, so I took off for the restaurant.

I got lost looking for it. Really, really lost. I drove around, I walked. I had to ask a cop for directions only to discover I was 14 blocks away. I don't know how far a block is (seriously), but in ballet flats with no support, when you're dumb enough to walk a neighborhood you don't know, it might as well be as far away as Upper Canada. I was so lost, I almost gave up hope and took up living in a cardboard box on the street. In the end, I walked myself back to the car and finally found the restaurant.

Fortunately, I was not too late for food. Also, there was alcohol involved, and about 30 seconds after I drank half a shot of schnapps in one gulp (I realize that's what shots are for, but I like to savor schnapps), life was suddenly beautiful. Dinner was excellent. One thing I will say about upscale restaurants is this: Rich people are crazy, no offense if you're rich. Upscale restaurants serve tiny portions of food at big cost. So, if you're rich, please tell me, do you eat lots of little meals every day, or are you hungry all the time? But it really was good. So, biggest lost idiot of the day got noms and didn't get lost on the way back. I'm always happy to admit I'm an idiot, but I'm stunned by my own dumbness sometimes.

Swag bag stuffing followed dinner back at the conference center. I forgot my flip flops in the car and again wore the non-supportive flats. I'm fine, I thought. Alcohol was coursing through my veins, right?

Lisa Medley and I (separately) hit the sheets a little after 1 am. Wake-up call came at 5:30 am. Poor Lisa's contact solution requires six hours to neutralize. She survived though. Good thing. She had a lot of conference coordination to take care of, and pulled it off splendidly, I might add. Everyone involved--you people are awesome and brilliant and none of it happens without you. Keep up the good work.

The coffee bearers didn't arrive in the conference room until almost 7 am. For the record, I don't drink coffee. That morning, I needed it. Um, although my first cup was mostly half and half and sugar. My second was still really pale, but at least I could taste the coffee in it. Thing about coffee is that just a little makes me crazy hyper. I probably should have been bouncing off the walls, but I was nervous about my pitch--which sucked, but the editor was warned it would--so mostly I was still sleepy and wondering if the OJ I downed after the coffee was going to reappear. Sometimes OJ and I don't get along real well.

My hat got so many compliments. It was truly a hat to admire.

I pitched. I had perfectly good notes. Perfectly good! When nervous, I lose the ability to read. And to think. And basically do anything except act like a paperweight. It was okay. She was familiar with my book because she'd judged the contest and she wanted the full MS. Words like "right up my alley" and "strong characterization" and good "voice" were thrown around. I promised to send it and that the synopsis would make more sense than I do.

I learned lots of good things. Ate good lunch. There was fresh mozzarella cheese on the table. You know, the fancy kind that rich people eat that comes in ball form. Or sometimes stick form. Or pearl form. I pretty much wanted to weigh my plate down with mozzarella, but I saved some for other people, because I am kind and generous. There was also fantastic cheesecake that made angels sing when I bit into it. I like food, in case you were wondering.

Lunch, of course, just made me sleepy, so for a while, things got a little blurry. I had to take a break once to whip out my computer and check my e-mail/update my FB status with the good pitch news. I got to announce the raffle basket winners. That was fun. And so weird, because talking about baskets and reading numbers doesn't make me nervous, even though there were almost 100 sets of eyes on me.

Then...the moment we all waited for! The Weta finalists sitting on the edges of their chairs, crossing fingers, holding their breath, praying to the deities...well, okay, probably not all of that stuff, but Lisa read off names and I tried not to bounce in my seat. My heartfelt congratulations to all the finalists and the winners. (You can find the list of winners here.)I was a little bit fascinated with the severe ugliness of the carpet when she got to the Paranormal/Sci-fi category. Mind, I'd been about 27 hours without a Dr. Pepper and the coffee wasn't cutting it. Do you know that the hotel didn't have pop machines? That blows my mind. Wait...I was taking about the Weta awards, wasn't I?

Oh yeah.

So when she called the 3rd place winner, it wasn't me. I think I might've forgot to breathe for a second. Then she called the 2nd place winner, a lady I met that morning, who writes Greek historical fiction. That was interesting. Also, since she entered the para/sci-fi category, she must've had some paranormal aspects in her entry. Right?

Off track again. Sorry. So then, because there's only one name left...I didn't get an honorable mention. I freakin' got 1st place. *Cue We Are the Champions* There was applause. There was a fancy certificate with my name on it. There was a photo in which I grinned like an idiot. Because in 5 years of writing, in 4 years of contest entering, I have not ever placed 1st. I have fought and struggled and bent characters to my will. I have done well, and I have done poorly, but this year I outdid myself. All thanks to a tombstone kiosk in the mall with one word on it--Heckmaster. Thanks, tombstone kiosk in the mall.

Oh my. Great event with greater people, and despite how exhausted I am, I'd do it all again in a second. In fact, I think I'll do it again next year! Next year, different shoes. My feet hurt so bad, I kind of want to gnaw them off. Next year, specific directions to point B. Next year, another hat! Viva la hat!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Friday Five - What's Shakin' This Weekend

It's here! The kick-off for the weekend I've waited on. That's right. Starting tonight and stretching into tomorrow, ORACon is going down! Months and months of planning have gone into this and it's sure to be enjoyable. Let's take a peek at five things that are going to happen!

1) Dinner tonight at Flame in downtown Springfield, MO. Admittedly, I am terrified of downtown because last year a shirtless hobo called me 'honey' and I smiled at a stranger's dog and if looks could kill, the lady who owned the dog would have murdered me. However, once inside the restaurant with 20-odd people I know, or have at least seen pictures of, my heart climbs out of my throat and I forget I have to face the weirdos again for two hours (writing weirdos good, stranger weirdos bad!). We'll worry about how I get back to my car after my stomach is full.

Also on Friday afternoon, there's a Meet the Authors event at the Barnes and Noble bookstore on Glenstone and Battlefield. I get off work too late to go and then make sure I'm presentable for dinner, but if you don't have to do that, the event looks like oodles of fun.

2) I will rise bright and early on Saturday morning to help at the registration desk and get the raffle baskets straightened out, and do whatever else requires the help of a peon. I make a damn good peon, if I do say so myself.

3) I will be wearing this bad-ass hat. You'll want to see it. It's time the fascinator makes a comeback and I plan to lead the charge. I've also included another fabulous hat creation in my raffle basket. It's perfect for an open carriage ride during these late summer or the early fall days. Because I'm just that awesome.

4) I made Book Cover Bingo, featuring ORA members' book covers. They are wicked cool. We'll be playing for an Amazon gift card. It features 25 fantastic covers like this one. (There's also a copy of that tucked into a certain raffle basket along with a super cool hat.)

5) By the time we've got everyone registered, sent their on their way to their pitches, headshot appointments, listened to our speakers, raffled baskets, signed books, and given out the Weta awards, I will need a big one of these:
A nap, not an elephant! 00109/
Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Defying the Skies (Sequel to "Searching the Skies") by Thea Landen

Defying the Skies (Sequel to “Searching the Skies”)
by Thea Landen
Erotic Futuristic Romance
Categories: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Carnal Desires/Double Dragon Publishing
Release Date: July 15, 2013
Heat Level: Sizzling
Word Count: 27,000

Available at:
Double Dragon eBooks:

In addition to her distinguished career with the Terran military, Commander Geneva Greyson has finally achieved harmony in her personal life. Her renewed relationship with her mother has grown stronger and she’s settled into a comfortable arrangement with the two men she loves. Marcus confesses a dark fantasy to her while she’s on leave from duty—not only does he have feelings for her, he’s developing an attraction to Ash.  He begs Geneva not to reveal his secrets before Ash arrives to spend the weekend with them.

The officers return to their posts after a relaxing, decadent visit. They learn of a distressing event upon completing a week-long mission: A terrorist group has organized a strike and taken hostages in their efforts to attract attention to their cause. When Geneva discovers Marcus is listed among the missing, she disobeys her orders and sets out to join the reconnaissance team with Ash by her side. Will they find Marcus before it’s too late for him to affirm his desires?

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains explicit sex scenes and/or situations (including m/f/m and m/m/f menage) and adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

“Take them out!” came Chase’s order via her earpiece. Geneva flattened herself against the narrow steel blockade and peeked around it. Three shadowed figures with massive guns stood just around the rounded edge of the hallway. One was halfway hidden behind a beam similar to hers, while another crouched behind a stack of crates. The body of the third jutted out from beside his squatting colleague. His exposed head and chest made an ideal target. She attempted to keep herself as concealed as possible as she aimed her gun and squeezed the trigger. A series of cracks behind her indicated her teammates shared her strategy. When their foes returned fire, she ducked back to safety and checked her ammunition.

“One down,” spoke a familiar voice nearby.

Glancing up, she saw Ash standing in a small recess on the opposite side of the passage. Their fellow men and women were scattered throughout the narrow tunnel, having taken cover behind any available barrier. Before she could say anything, shots echoed from the opposite side of the ring-like passageway where the other half of the group had gone. The battle for the hostages had commenced.

Her heart thumped in her chest as she tried to ignore the danger of their assignment. “Focus, Geneva,” she murmured. “Remember your mission.” She chanced another look out into the hallway. Another pile of discarded boxes lay farther up and across from her. Running on the diagonal would risk exposing herself to enemy fire, but it could give her a clearer shot at the second gunman. She lowered herself to the floor, waited for a lull in the barrage of bullets, and scrambled towards her destination.

Shots blasted overhead as she dove for cover, tucking in her legs as she rolled into the opposite wall. She kept her head down and visualized her goal. Taking her shot would leave herself vulnerable. There was no other option.

She listened to her opponents discharge their weapons. As soon as the last round was emptied, she sprung out from her hiding place. The top half of her adversary’s head poked up from behind the makeshift barricade while he reloaded his gun. She’d found success with much smaller targets in the past.

Her military-issue bullets penetrated her opponent’s helmet, and he slumped over. She didn’t wait for him to hit the ground before shielding herself once more. Leaning back against the protective debris, she surveyed the rest of the team’s whereabouts. Ash had taken her place beside the support beam, his rifle clenched in his hands. From her position on the floor, she could see two more of her associates partially hidden by various structures. She assumed the rest were behind them.

Gunfire sounded from the other end of the ring. Geneva hoped none of the shots fired had hit any of her allies. Her instincts were to offer assistance, but they had one more impediment to deal with in this half of the circular structure. “The last one,” she said, just loud enough for the others nearby to hear. “Anyone got a clear shot?”

Ash shook his head. “I know he’s still there, but I don’t see him.”


“Too bad we didn’t bring any grenades,” he joked. “Though we’d risk blowing a hole in the exterior and being sucked into space.”

She smirked in response to his attempt at levity. “We could run around the other side and help Chase and the others.”

“Or if we eliminate this last guy, we can attack the second group from behind and increase our odds.”


His brow creased behind his clear faceguard. “Want me to try to lure him out? I can be very enticing bait.”

“No!” A pit formed in her stomach at the thought of losing another close companion to the terrorists. “It’s too dangerous.”

“I’m more agile than I look,” he said. “And I trust this very expensive armor.”

“Don’t do it.”

“You’ll cover me.” Ash’s clear blue gaze met hers. “I trust  you even more than any of our equipment.”

Geneva swallowed. “Your mind’s made up, isn’t it?”

“It’s either this or stay trapped here indefinitely. I don’t want to be a sitting duck for whatever they’ve got in store for us next.”

“You’d better know what you’re doing.” She faced away from him and inched towards the edge of her barrier, remaining crouched behind it. “Let’s try not to get killed.”

Her muscles tensed as she waited to attack. Ash fired twice. Nothing happened. The next series of his shots rang out from the center of the hallway, close behind her. “He’s out! Go!”

Staying low to the ground, she sidestepped at an angle. The final gunman appeared to her, and she aimed her gun. Before she could pull the trigger, another slew of bullets burst forth from her foe. She blocked out the sound of Ash’s body slamming into the opposite wall and delivered three deadly projectiles to the face of her assailant.

When no one appeared to take the place of the slain enemies, Geneva whirled around. “Ash?”

About the Author:
Thea Landen lives in New York with her husband and a variety of houseplants. A former educator, she strives to encourage creativity and passion in all those around her, and uses writing to help inspire. Though she reads and writes in nearly all genres, she has a special fondness for science fiction and fantasy and anything that pushes the imagination beyond its usual limits. When she’s not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games.

Connect with Thea Landen

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Stuff That Baffles Me - Channeling Effie, Are We?

Ah, Halloween season. When I was a wee child, I was terrified of Halloween masks. I'm still not fond of them. However, I love the idea of costumes and dressing up, even though one year when I was going to a certain church, dressed up, prepared to trick-or-treat after the service (yes, I was like 16, shut up, okay? It's free candy, people!) with a friend, the preacher droned on and on about pretending to be something we're not. Technically, I wasn't pretending to be something I wasn't, because I was dressed like a cowgirl and I had a horse and I wore jeans/boots/hat frequently. So that preacher can sit back and...well, anyway.
I don't see anything wrong with letting loose and leaving the real world behind for one night. No matter how I try to convince my husband, I'm pretty sure I'm never going to be a pirate in the ocean or in space. Darn it. Without further ado:

Hats! Oh, you guys know how much I love hats! We found this at Target and I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a foamy version of Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games, or it's just...fabulous, but there it is. It's brilliant. Wonderful. I'm not sure you could get in the car while wearing it, but...I love it.

We went to Hercules Glade this weekend for a cook out. Every time we go "cook out" we wonder why the hell we decided to do that. I didn't say it, but I was thinking, why didn't we just stop for sandwiches? Because having a cook out seems like a good idea. It was a great day, nice and cool, it's just that the grill takes those little 1 gallon propane bottles and the Devil designed the couple pieces of both, so it's a royal pain in the sit-upon to connect. I thought I'd starve to death before we got hamburgers cooked. Eventually, though, we did get to eat. And then I took pictures, because sometimes I do that.

Um...why does that sign say 'Bear Country'? "Because bears
live around here." What?!
For the record, I saw a grand total of zero bears.

"Where is my hamburger, fools?!"

Hercules Tower. Where the buzzards live. No joke.

Seriously. A buzzard flew out of there, y'all. A big one.

A trail. Where there were no bears, thankfully. But there were
lots and lots of pecker gnats. I think I might have inhaled a couple.

A pond. Probably where the pecker gnats make sweet love
and lots of baby pecker gnats. And there are probably
snakes there too. I didn't investigate.
So there it is. Enjoy this Monday, unless you're having bad weather. We're currently getting soaked. I went out and there was already .95 inches of rain in the gauge, which is unreal, because I thought the weather man was full of it when it said "It might rain." If this is what you call "might rain", you need to just stop looking at the radar and go to work as a news anchor instead of a weather man. Just sayin'. It's still pouring. I'm not complaining because it was getting pretty dry around here and I managed not to fall down the stairs while taking the dog out this morning, so it's win-win so far. Except it would've been nice to sleep in because it's so dark out and so comfy in bed.

Go, be, Monday.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Friday Five - Ugly Sweater Season

Ugh, fall. You weather-y old codger. I don't like you. Stealing my daylight, adding a nip to the air (actually this is the first day in a while that it's not been boiling hot, but it's coming), making the leaves change and wither. You're not right, you know that? With fall comes a change in fashion. We're all looking to stay warm because Earth thinks it needs to rotate on its axis or something. I have for you today some sweaters. Personally, I hate them because they make my elbows itch. Weird, I know. So I want to see these in your fall line up, okay? And for the record, I didn't know Ugly Sweater Parties were a thing. Clearly I'm hanging with the wrong people.

1) Reindeer Double Date Cardigan by Tipsy Elves - Perhaps the meaning of 'ugly' here is 'vulgar', not 'Sh!t that hurts my eyes!' Everyone needs a little lovin'. Do not judge those reindeer. It's not like they live forever, I mean, do you really think that's the same Prancer and Dancer and Donner and Raphael the reindeer from stories of yore? Uh, no. I realize most of you think this is not fall-appropriate, but you have to consider that deer season approacheth, so it totally works.

2) Ugly Sweater - I actually like this one because it's honest. It's ugly and it knows it. It's not fancy or pretenious, it's functional and possibly comfortable. 'Nuff said. Tell the world, Ugly Sweater. You go, girl.

3) Vintage Hand Knitted Pastel Coloured Unisex Sweater - Um, it says it's parakeets, but I'm really questioning that diagnoses. At first I was thinking naked angels or something, but now I just feel confused. It does look warm though, I'll give it that. A real steal at $42.21.

Ugly Sweater - Grandma's On Acid and Thinks The Golden Girls Came From The Planet of the Apes - Unfortunately (right?) this sweater is no longer available for purchase. Easy to see why, I mean, it's got a lot going for it. Soft flowing fur and a modest brown color. It's aptly named. I imagine the person who currently owns this gets a lot of compliments.

And the grand finale:
That which has been seen cannot be unseen.

5) Onepiece Original LW Onesie Kofte Festival - Because sweaters are not just for your top, they're for everywhere. Perfect for the unemployed, those with abandonment issues, or when it's just too much trouble to put on real pants. Please, I beg of you, go out in public in this thing so that you can become the object of my ridicule. BTW, it's on sale for 50% off right now, so get it before it's gone.

It's (finally) Friday. Go, be, do.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Book Feature - By Love's Honor Bound" by Patricia Bond

By Love's Honor Bound
by Patricia Bond
Historical Romance
Categories: Action/Adventure, Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Release Date: July 17, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count: 98,000

Available at:

Someone is killing Conductors on the Underground Railroad one by one. With a cellar full of runaway slaves, Olivia June Mathieson must decide - is the handsome Fenton PierceSmythe savior or traitor?

Both Fenton Pierce-Smythe’s fiancee and grandfather were killed when runaway slaves spooked their horses. Determined no one else will face that pain, he hunts runaways to return them safely to their owners. But can he remain unmoved by their plight? And unaffected by the beautiful woman who risks her life to lead them to freedom?

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.


God, it was awful.

The whiskey was bad enough, and the stench of sour ale, unwashed bodies, and horse hung in the air like a sail in a calm, but this caterwauling could bring a strong man to his knees.

The girl was pretty, Fenton acknowledged. Remarkably so. She had blond ringlets, brown eyes, and a pair of delicate rosy lips pursed in an invitingly kissable shape. But, the noise coming from them was enough to make one wish for a fence full of toms serenading their lady love.

He closed his eyes and raked his fingers through his hair, praying for the singing to stop. Fenton Pierce-Smythe considered himself a patient man, unflappable and usually tolerant of his fellow man. Truly, though, this was testing even his limits.

Temperance songs were far from popular fare. Especially in taverns. Reactions ranged from drunken jeers and catcalls to being ignored. Fenton admired her courage though, both for her attempt to redeem the souls of his fellow patrons, and for her actually singing with that voice. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, wishing he had the guts to put his fingers in his ears instead.

The singing came to an end, praise God. He opened his eyes to see the object of his fantasies heading his way with a coffeepot. As she approached, the color of her eyes became clearer, a deep, rich brown capable of drowning a man as surely as sable invited one’s touch. Many souls had been lost for less. He watched her serve coffee at the next table. Then she was right there, standing by his table.

“Save your soul, sir, and give up the devil’s libation.”

He raised a brow and looked from his glass to her face, then slowly smiled. “Only if you’ll stay with me and keep me from temptation.”

Her blush charmed him. “I-I c-can’t. I must try to save all of you.” Her gaze flitted around the room, unable to land on any one place before returning to his face.

“Most of these poor sods could care less about saving their souls,” he said. “As soon as you leave, the whiskey will flow freely again. Wouldn’t you rather know you’ve saved one soul, than try to redeem many and fail?”

She stood there, speechless, which was a pity, for however horrendous her singing was, she spoke with a voice smooth and deep as velvet.

“Join me?” he asked, rising halfway and pulling a chair out from the table.

“I can’t,” she repeated. “Please, take some coffee instead.” She reached behind her for a chipped cup from a tray her companion held, and then took a step forward. Her foot hooked on the leg of the chair he had been bringing out for her, and she lurched forward. As she tried to catch herself on the back of the chair, the hand holding the coffeepot drooped down, pouring the hot liquid directly onto his lap and thigh.

Fenton yelped and jumped up as the coffee ran over him. His eyes cleared from the mist of pain in time for him to see the horror on her face. She looked as if she were about to cry. “I’m sorry,” he heard himself say, and wondered why he was apologizing. It was his manhood and parental possibilities that were at risk here.

From habit, his hand moved to his pocket for a handkerchief instead of reaching for the kerchief tied around his neck. He was immediately grateful he remembered to leave his monogrammed handkerchief at home. Plucking at the cloth of his rough trousers, he tried to get the warm fabric away from his skin. She was still staring at him, and despite his discomfort, he found himself thinking about the feel of her soft lips on his. Her chin trembled, ending his reverie.

“I’m all right,” he assured her, even though his thigh still hurt like hell, and the rest of him . . . Her eyes sparkled though her smile was watery. “Are you sure?” she asked.

Well . . . “Truly.” He nodded. What the hell? He didn’t want to make her feel too guilty. He doubted he was permanently impaired.

“I’m so glad,” she said in a rush. “I really thought I had hurt you. Would you like some coffee?”

She brandished the pot in his general direction. He quickly side-stepped away from her.

“I think I’ve had all I care for, tonight. Thank you just the same.” He restrained himself from grabbing the pot from her hand before she could come close again.

“You’re not from around here,” she stated, studying him. “Not many sailors come this far away from the Potomac. What are you doing here?”

Ah, well. Yes, what was he doing here? Looking for someone who was running slaves to the north, that’s what, but it was decidedly unhealthy to make that kind of information available.

Still, perhaps the girl might know someone. “I was told there was a captain here, looking for crewmen. I hoped I could find him, and sign on.”

Not bad as lies went. In truth, he was looking for a captain, and had been told that one of the “conductors” codenames was Captain. He watched her face intently. Her tears threatened to fall and he handed her the kerchief he’d used to wipe his leg.

Olivia June Mathieson, Livvy to her friends, took the proffered cloth, acutely aware of the paper in her pocket. The note from Dragonslayer was very specific. Was this man the Marauder? He’d given Jedidiah’s codename, but not the password she’d expected.

About the Author:
Ever since her first encounter with a long hooped skirt gown at age 5, Ms. Bond fell in love with the style. Her love of historical romance began a bit later, when she discovered Gladys Malvern’s books and scoured the public library for every one she could find. Reading Gone With the Wind as a teenager cemented her suspicion that she was born about 100 years too late. She daydreamed about writing novels but knew it was beyond her ability at that time.  Instead, she tried her hand at poetry and really bad iambic pentameter flowed from her fingers. Thankfully, for the world at large, it was a short-lived obsession.

After attending an all-girl high school run by Felician nuns, she enrolled in a local men’s college that had just opened its doors to women. (A Libra, she understands the need for balance.) She earned her B.A. in English, and met her future husband there.  Many years, four children and a grandchild later, the man who made her see fireworks with the first kiss is still her go-to research assistant for all things romantic.

The desire to write books never left, even as she worked selling property and casualty insurance, Avon, and craft kits. She sold luggage at a local department store to earn the money to attend her first RWA national conference and finally feels safe enough to admit to hiding a legal pad under her counter where she wrote scenes in between customers. She still does much of her writing longhand. (100 years too late, remember?)

RWA is the best thing to happen to her writing career, teaching the art as well as the craft of writing. It also brought her together with four of the most amazing women she’s ever known - critique partners and friends.  Special thanks and much love to Helen, Karen, Carol and Jan. An amateur photographer, Reiki master and Guild knitter, Ms. Bonds lives in Western New York one mile from the home she grew up in.

You can often find her at the lakeside, camera and notebook in hand.

Connect with Patricia Bond

Monday, September 9, 2013

Stuff That Baffles Me - Please Tell Me That's Not Used

Flea markets are a never-ending source for sh!t that will just make your mind blow up. I don't even have words. I only pray that that chamber pot has never been used.

Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the show! Tonight, we have special guests Tonya and the Port-a-Potties! Featuring instruments made from things you can use the bathroom in!

And it's for sale, hence the tag! Why, world? I...never mind. I don't want to know.

I had a killer headache starting Friday that hung on like tick until yesterday evening. Thanks, hardening blood vessels in my head. Or, neck muscles so tense you couldn't loosen them with a steamroller. Or whatever causes that. Despite that, I managed to a) find a dress for ORACon and matching earrings. They had a huge sale at J.C. Penney's and I was grabbing dresses left and right, like ooooo, cheap dresses! I can't even remember the last time I actually wore a dress anywhere. I'm doing it, kids. B) Dragged myself to the the ORA meeting, although I was a little late for critique because a) I needed a bacon and egg biscuit from McDonald's, and b) I needed fake Tylenol from Wal-Mart. Nevertheless, I arrived and good things went down. Critique, guest speaker, meeting. You're now looking at the blog of the 2nd year newsletter editor. If only I wasn't terrible at it. Well, it's going better that my own monthly newsletter.

Then I found out I finaled in the Weta contest, although I'm not at liberty to tell you the title of the finaled entry because the final judges are judging. I mean, the chances of them reading this blog are slim, because most people find me through dirty words and obscure things like cake name edits or hanging by your undies. I apparently talk about cake too much. Hmm... Anyway, we're now taking bets--odds on which place I take. In '09 and '11, I received Honorable Mentions. What are your thoughts on how well I do this year? I plan to dominate, but the best laid plans can sometimes wander hither and yon.

Congrats to the other finalists! We will be waiting on seat's edge until the moment the winners are announced. I will look spectacular doing it in my new dress and my bad-ass hat.

I accomplished zero writing, thanks to said headache. Thanks, headache. You dirty little so-and-so. I desperately want to get Wildwood Spring done so I can start The Heckmasters: Eban. Okay, so I can continue Eban's story. It does have a beginning, but I'm not very far into it. But we're saving that for NaNoWriMo. Still, it'd be nice to have Wildwood Spring done before then, wouldn't it? Yes, yes, it would.

Mmmkay, that's all I've got. Go run around and do Monday things, kids.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Friday Five - I'm Rambling Now

It was a short week, and I got nothin' for you, kids. I feel the same way as every other writer I know: I'm tired, I'm cranky, I'm ready for something to give, and I'm so distracted, I'm not getting a whole lot done. And it's annoying.

I'm halfway flitter-jibbed by the fact that it's nearly fall and I'm not ready. The weather is mood swinging big time right now, one day chilly all day, especially if you happen to be in the shade, one day hotter than Hades' South 40. I don't know if the rest of you sense shifts in weather (I'm sure you do), but even the slightest hint of chill sends me searching for apple cider, an over-sized hoodie, and about five blankets to huddle under until the equinox. Ugh, it's awful. On the upside, I do enjoy looking at all the Halloween decorations, so there's that. It takes a tiny bit of sting out of the stupid short days and cold air.

I have yet to purchase a new shirt/pants/dress/outfit/clothing of any sort to wear to ORACon. I hope to remedy that tonight by trotting my lovely t'other end to J.C. Penney's. I also have a hair cut planned, because this mop that's taken over my head may attempt to smother me soon. Most days, I let it do whatever it wants. It's time to take back some control. I've forgotten what it's like to have long hair, but hang it all, it's touching my shoulders and it's nice in some ways and weird in others.

I have Katy Perry's Roar stuck in my head. There's your Friday earworm. "You're gonna hear me roar... something about bees and getting knocked down and whatnot. Blah, blah, blah, something, something hero." You're welcome. (She's so bubbly it makes me nauseous. Or I'm just too cynical.)

Maybe part of the reason I'm so frustrated and disgruntled with life is that I've been stuck on the same level of Candy Crush for two months. Level 70 is kicking my tail. I applaud those of you who have mastered this level. I feel like I'm going to be stuck on it forever. You'd think if you lost the same level a hundred times, it would just take pity on you and let you pass. The world is such an unfair place. (One of my greatest problems in life consists of how to beat a computer at matching colored shapes. Meanwhile, the world is in chaos... That's dreadful.)

 I almost feel like I'm just turning into a cranky old person who likes to complain. It's probably time to get back on the chewable vitamins. Or get some exercise or eat a big cookie in a skillet. It's a good thing I'm really looking forward to the conference. At least there's something good coming out of September. I'll be a tired, worn out mess when it's over, but no more so than anyone else, right?

Yeah, I might go seek out that cookie in a skillet and get in some retail therapy. I'm sure that'll soothe my nerves for a little while. You all have any big plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Feature & Giveaway - Legal Ease (Sutton Capital #1)" by Lori Ryan

Legal Ease (Sutton Capital #1)
by Lori Ryan
Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Self/Indie
Release Date: April 18, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Length: 150 pages
Available at:


Jack Sutton is a man who's used to getting his way. So when his mother's will forces his hand, he does the only thing he can. Jack cuts a deal with the confident, sexy law school student who walks into his office with a proposition he can't refuse.

The deal may have kept Jack in control at Sutton Capital but his private life quickly spirals out of control. Just when Jack realizes that he wants more than a year with Kelly, his wealth puts her in great danger and he is left scrambling to save her life and their future together.

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

Kelly did a double take. The woman had stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine. It was Caroline Harridan, the fashion model. The woman graced the pages of Vogue and Elle magazines on a regular basis. 

Kelly looked at Jack as Caroline approached the table and saw a pained look on his face. Caroline completely ignored Kelly as she swooped in on Jack and planted an extremely friendly kiss on his lips. Kelly felt as though she were completely invisible and almost wished she was. They clearly had a relationship that was more than just friendly and Kelly knew she couldn’t hold a candle to this woman as she sat there in her dowdy strappy sundress and sandals.

Kelly cleared her throat and peered around the woman to Jack.

“Oh! Caroline, this is my wife, Kelly. Kelly, this is Caroline Harridan. An old, uh, friend of mine.” Jack stood and came around to Kelly’s seat as he made the introductions so Kelly stood 

with him and took Caroline’s hand in a brief handshake. Jack looked like the last thing he wanted to be doing was introducing Kelly as his wife and once again Kelly felt a pang of guilt at having put Jack in this position. Even though he said she was saving him from losing his company, she still felt like she had weaseled her way into the marriage and she knew she was nothing like the woman he would likely have married if he had been given a choice. 

Nonetheless, Kelly drew up her pride and smiled her brightest smile. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Caroline raised an eyebrow at Jack. God, Kelly had always wished she could master the one eyebrow look, but she couldn’t quite get it. On Caroline, it looked confident, cocky, and oh so silky smooth. “Married?” Caroline asked Jack as she drew her hand away from Kelly as if afraid she might be sullied by the contact. 

Jack nodded and slipped his arm around Kelly. “Yes, Caroline. Kelly and I were married a week ago. We haven’t quite gotten around to sending an announcement out about the wedding. We eloped.” Jack smiled down at Kelly as he said it in a very good impression of a man deeply in love with his wife.

Caroline pouted her best model pout and turned to Jack. “Jack Sutton off the market? Whatever will all of us single gals do now?” She put on a show as if she were thinking and then shrugged her shoulders and continued in a flirty voice.

“Well, maybe it won’t last.” Caroline reached out and pretended to brush an imaginary piece of lint off of Jack’s shirt in a blatant excuse to touch his chest. “You always know where to find me if things don’t work out.” Kelly had now seen Jack uncomfortable twice since she’d known him. Caroline ignored Jack’s discomfort and Kelly’s shocked look.

Kelly couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Hell, the marriage might be fake and she might not be able to compete with Jack’s exes, including the blond goddess standing in front of her, but she’d be damned if she were going to sit by and let this woman hit on her fake husband right in front of her. A woman has her pride, after all.

Kelly possessively caressed Jack’s chest in the very spot where Caroline’s hand had just sat, and smiled at Caroline. “I’m sure Jack won’t be needing your….” She paused and looked Caroline up and down as if she found her wanting in all manner before continuing, “Your…uh, company in the near future, Caroline. But it was a pleasure to meet you. Good-bye.” And with that, Kelly dismissed Caroline Harridan, super model and cover girl.

Jack laughed and pulled Kelly tighter to him. In a huff, Caroline turned and stalked away from the table. As soon as they took their seats again, Kelly felt the heat climbing her cheeks. 

“I’m so sorry,” she whispered across the table to Jack.

“What for?” Jack whispered back, smiling. 

“I’m sorry. You probably wanted to see her again after this is over and I think I must have just ruined your chances for that. I just thought… Well, I just couldn’t. I mean, she was just so rude, I just….” Kelly blew out a puff of air, blowing her bangs up in a small gust. “I’m sorry, I just didn’t think.”

“Kelly, first of all, I’m married to you for the next year.” Jack spoke quietly so no one would overhear their conversation, but also gently so that Kelly would understand that he meant what he said. “I won’t embarrass you or treat you with disrespect during that time. While we’re together, we’re together and I won’t be with another woman, even if you and I aren’t exactly together in the traditional sense.”

Jack continued as Kelly stared at him with wide eyes. “But, second, that woman drives me up the wall. We dated briefly. We went out a handful of times over the period of a month or so and she has stalked me ever since. Lord knows how she knew we were here today but you can bet it wasn’t a coincidence. She shows up at events and fundraisers and throws herself at me because she’s determined to marry a wealthy man and she couldn’t care less that we had nothing in common and no spark whatsoever between us. You can chase her away any time you’d like,” Jack finished with a smile and a wink at Kelly. 

“Hmm,” Kelly said, frowning. 

Jack laughed. “What now?”

“You didn’t have a spark with that?” Kelly said, looking toward the door Caroline had walked out of moments before. “How could you not sizzle with that?”

Jack looked at the door and back to Kelly and shrugged. “Just didn’t. She’s pretty vacant. Just a big old empty package with a huge bow but not a damn thing inside the box.”

"Breathless" "Couldn't put it down" "Captivating and steamy" "Loved it!!!!!"

With 4.6 of 5 stars on Amazon reviews, you can't go wrong with this new romance novel by Lori Ryan. 

Fans of Bella Andre or Marie Force will love the first installment of this new romance series!

About the Author:
Lori is an award winning author and stay-at-home mom. Her second book, Penalty Clause, won first place in the romance category in Lucky Cinda Publishing’s Annual Global Writer’s Contest in 2013. 

Lori has had a number of careers before embarking on her newest adventure of writing novels. After graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Law, she practiced law for three years, working primarily in the areas of utilities law and intellectual property litigation.

More recently, Lori owned and operated a dog training business in Austin, Texas, where she specialized in aggression and became an expert in the field of dog bite analysis. Lori sold her dog training business in 2013 and is now a full time writer and mother of two. 

Lori still lives in Austin with her husband -- who is endlessly supportive of her changing career paths -- and her two children, one cat, and three dogs. 

Connect with Lori Ryan
Want to be a part of Lori’s online street team? Email her at and put the words ‘street team’ in the subject line. She’ll email you back with directions for joining her team.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Tell-All

Ooo, pictures, pictures! After wheedling, whining, and moaning that I never get to go anywhere! My husband and I decided it would be a good idea to take a trip over Labor Day weekend. We went to fun-tabulous Eureka Springs, AR, or motorcycle hell, if you will. It was crawling with motorcycles. Loud ones. Who took up lots of space in the motel parking lot and scared my dog. But that was really the worst of it.

Saturday morning, we rose early-ish for us and got on the road. PeeWee was extremely excited, because all week I'd been promising him a long car ride. We rolled the windows down and let the wind stream through his fur. We stopped to fill up at a gas station and I checked my e-mail. And got spec-freakin'-tacular news.

The release date for The Convict and the Cattleman has been moved up from February to January 6th. That's my maternal grandma's birthday. She would have been 81 next year.

"I am so freaked out right now." - PeeWee
Then we were off again, driving through the country, trying to remember how to even get to Eureka, because admittedly, it's been a long time since we went. We found it, no worries. The lady at the Welcome Center was extremely unhelpful as to knowing which motels take dogs. We found one, no worries. And they didn't even charge us for him because they were packed pretty full and didn't have a dog room, so we snuck him into a non-dog room. Tee hee.

Unfortunately, he was terrified of the room and horrified that he had to be crated, because usually he just sleeps on the bed with us. He wouldn't eat his treats, but he did snarf down a can of Alpo. See, we hardly ever give him canned food and I knew he wouldn't react the same way to dry food, so I tricked him into eating, because it'll be a cold day before he turns down canned food.

Then we went driving around. And we're all, "Hey, a scenic overlook! We gotta see it!" And when we arrived, we found it was, in fact, the same scenic overlook we'd visited on our honeymoon. Who knew? We took this terrible portrait of ourselves (my idea), so to commemorate that, I said, "Let's take another horrible picture!" And we did:
"Suitably horrible!" -- Me

Here's the 1886 Crescent Hotel from the overlook. Zoomed in X5, because zoomed out, you couldn't make out a whole lot. A wonderfully creepy old hotel, it served as a hotel, a hospital, a girls' school, and a hotel. And a home to ghosts. There are all sorts of legends about the ghosts haunting this place and it is very spooky inside with it's Victorian decor. Delicious. Please see the following photos for some creepy.
Fountain outside the hotel.
Fountain in front of the hotel.
Hotel exterior. I almost broke my ankle taking this photo,
because I stepped in a hole in the parking lot. Stupid hole.
Stairwell inside the hotel, going up, I think about 4 floors.

And this is the overlook where we took the horrible photo!
Pond, complete with creepy fog.

Obviously, I played with this one a bit, but it was a
broken down bench. It looks way cooler with effects.
Now, in theory the idea behind this trip was, "I will do some historical research for my WIP, Wildwood Spring, while enjoying some relaxation time." Um...I did nothing related to the WIP except tell my husband the premise of the story and say that "Finny would be disappointed by this meal" and then have to explain that Finny is the cook in the mysterious mansion my heroine has taken up residence in with the equally mysterious hero.

"Noooo, no ghosts here." -- Ghosts
We visited the Ice House and Electric Light Company near the train station. It was awesome and the bad, naughty part of me wanted to sneak inside even though it clearly states you'll be murdered in your sleep by ravenous ghosts if you cross the threshold. Okay, it doesn't really say that, but there is a no trespassing sign.

It smelled funny though, like propane or something. In order not to get blown up on accident, I skedaddled back to the truck and we were going to play with some kind of giant windchime thingies in this sort of park-like place, but we saw a hobo and he scared us, so we got back in the truck. We don't do no hobos.

Because it was really, really miserably hot we had to go back to the motel and watch TV and try not to melt. We didn't spend any time downtown at the shops, but we did play mini golf at the park next door and I beat the pants off my husband, who whined and moaned and complained the whole time--in fact, I think he was pretending to be me, because that's usually my role, but I slaughtered him metaphorically. A first.

Before we played mini golf, we visited Magnetic Spring (supposedly if you put metal in it, it comes out magnetized. Old-timey people were gullible), which is not a very good example of the spring I'm writing about in my WIP. Some guy was dipping water out in a gallon jug to pour in his over-heated truck. He said he didn't know what the problem was (I don't know, it was only like a million degrees outside), and I quickly muttered, "I know what the problem is. It's a Chevy." I swear, those things love to overheat. Then I saw this and I tried to get my husband to drink out of it, but he wouldn't. Party pooper. (Okay, I didn't either)

"Drink from me!" -- Water fountain
I turned it on and the water shot out of that thing like ten feet in the air and six feet away. Okay, maybe not that far, but really far. I'll be that bush behind it gets watered a lot by surprised tourists.

Sunday, it rained and we decided to pack up and head home after stealing the little shampoos from the motel. I can safely say I learned this: Don't eat the pot roast at Myrtie Mae's. It was not super delicious. I'm not saying I wouldn't eat there again, because I liked the salad bar, I'm just saying I'd order something else next time. Also, maybe check the weather closer, because Sunday/Monday would've been better weather for wandering around.

When I turned the room keys in, there were some bikers standing in front of the motel lobby door. I was carrying the PW Monster so he wouldn't freak out in the truck. One of the bikers said, "Aww, she doesn't want to get her feet wet." And I was all, "Aww, actually she's a he and he doesn't like you."

And then we brawled. Okay, no, that didn't happen either, but I did think that. And PW doesn't like strangers, so that part is true.

So we drove home, PW trying to get comfortable on my lap the whole way because he was exhausted from being nervous the whole time, and me in a daze because traveling does that to me. I got about 4,000 words done this weekend. Maybe I was sort of inspired by the trip, or maybe I finally just broke out of that funk I was stuck in. Either way, I finally broke 20k. I would love to have this thing done by end of the month or beginning of October so I can start fresh on the second Heckmasters book for NaNo in November.

Okay, I have way too much catching up on other stuff to do now. It's Tuesday, after all.