romance

IMAGES – A LOVE STORY

Today I’m posting an excerpt from my short story IMAGES – A LOVE STORY. Unlike my novels, there are no horses but there is a touch of paranormal, another of my favorite themes.

Before I do that, I’d like to mention that I’ll be guest blogging twice this weekend. Friday through Sunday, I’ll have an excerpt from FOREWARNING on The Ruthin Trilogy, a romance book blog. http://the-ruthin-trilogy.blogspot.com/

Then on Saturday, I’ll be interviewed on Sallie’s Book Reviews and will offer a free copy of WYOMING ESCAPE to a lucky visitor. http://yesterdaydaugher.blogspot.com/

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Cover - Images - 2

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Lauren Carmody has a most uncomfortable and unwanted gift. She sees the images in other people’s minds. As a result, she hides from the world and only ventures out when necessary. When she encounters a very appealing man who doesn’t bombard her with unasked for pictures, she doesn’t know what to make of him. Does she dare let him get close or should she continue to hide?

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Excerpt:

“Can’t get much frumpier than this,” Lauren Carmody muttered, gazing into the restroom mirror. The reflection revealed a brown wig with hair falling forward that partially concealed her make-up free face, while a figure-hiding, too-large blazer, a long, loose skirt and tinted glasses completed the picture. Perfect.

She bowed her head, hunched her shoulders and opened the door. The sound of voices infiltrated the hall outside the Jorrow Publishing meeting room. Pausing, she visualized a golden ball of light that surrounded her and created a mental barrier. When a man opened the door and brushed by her, she gritted her teeth in frustration as a brief image of a woman’s breasts flashed in her head.

Damn. She strengthened her golden light, took a deep breath and entered the room. If only she didn’t have to attend these meetings. Why couldn’t she stay home, where she didn’t have to deal with other people’s thoughts or, more accurately, thought pictures? That was the reason she worked as a freelance artist after all.

She opened her portfolio case and laid a set of sketches on the table in front of Tom, the senior editor. “Here are my ideas for the fairy books.”

Pivoting, she spied Bailey at the other end of the large conference room. The modishly dressed children’s editor gave a small wave and motioned her near.

“What’s going on?” Lauren took the chair her friend had saved her. The room was unusually full for the quarterly editorial meeting.

“The new marketing director is being introduced today. We all want to see him first-hand.”

So that’s why everyone seemed so keyed up and why the images she was encountering—faces, clothes, someone’s tush—were so intense. She really had to work at her boundaries to keep all the overlapping pictures at bay.

“So who is he? Anyone I know?”

“Adam Traynor.”

“Really? How did Jarrow manage to land him? He’s got a tremendous reputation for someone so young. I hear he’s only about thirty.”

Bailey laughed. “Thirty-two, according to his bio. And you should like this. Apparently, he thinks your stuff is pretty awesome. I’m told he wants you to do more books for us.”

“Only if I still work with you.”

Lauren made it a rule to deal strictly with women. Men were more difficult for her to ignore, their thoughts more intrusive. Given that a normal man thought about sex several times an hour, the images they projected could be downright embarrassing. And, depending on the content, could change her perception of the person.

All conversation stopped when the door opened and a tall, blond man in a custom-tailored suit entered.

Lauren didn’t need to see Bailey’s mouthed “Wow” to pick up the reaction of all the women in the room. Eye candy in spades.

Tom, the editor, motioned the latecomer forward. “Everyone, I’d like you to meet the newest member of our team, Adam Traynor. Most of you already know about him. If you don’t, you soon will.”

He then asked everyone at the table to introduce themselves briefly. When it was Lauren’s turn, Traynor nodded and said. “I’ve seen your work. Very nice.”

Keeping her voice quiet and diffident, Lauren thanked him and gave a sigh of relief. He’d looked right at her, his blue eyes alive and knowing, but she’d felt no pressure, no intrusion. Her dowdy look was successful.

The meeting began and soon everyone was down to business. Lauren tried to tune out the discussion as she usually did until it was her turn. Today, however, Adam’s deep voice caught her attention and brought her back time after time. Something about his way of speaking, his whole persona affected her, grabbed her and wouldn’t let go.

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If you’d like to read the rest of Lauren and Adam’s story, you can get a FREE copy from:

Barnes & Noble           Kobo                        Smashwords

IMAGES is also available on Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price I could set. If other customers notify Amazon of the price difference, they might price match and set it to Free also.

Happy reading everyone.

Categories: Artist, Love, Paranormal, romance, Short story, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Weekend Snippets #11

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I’m back and continuing with a snippet from  FOREWARNING, the first book of my Horses and Healing Mysteries series.

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Kasey Martin, an energetic healer who has renounced her skills, awakens in the middle of a storm. When a sudden wave of pain hits her, she realizes that someone–a man–is injured and she goes to investigate. She finds the man lying under a horse shelter, but his pain and her fear make her hesitate and decide to go for help.

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The pickup surged backward then jerked to a stop. Kasey dropped her forehead to the steering wheel. He can’t wait for anyone else. She lifted her head and took a deep shuddering breath. Then she visualized a golden ball of energy surrounding her, creating a protective barrier against the stranger’s agony, while a shaft of white light filled her with calm and strength.

Shaken and unsure, she grabbed the first aid kit and a waterproof horse blanket from the backseat. The ground sucked at her boots as she hurried to the injured man, knelt and spread the blanket over him.

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Forewarning Cover
 Grieving and guilt-stricken after her husband’s suicide, Kasey Martin has closed her energetic healing practice and retreated to her Oregon horse ranch. One night, she rescues a badly injured man, and against her better judgment, uses her neglected skills to save his life. This starts her on an unexpected journey of healing and danger.  Complicating her life is Jim Bradley, an old friend who has long been in love with her and wants her to return to her work. When criminals looking for her patient invade the serenity of her world, she must use her skills to save all three of their lives.

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Be sure to check out more fabulous snippets on the  Weekend Writing Warriors website
and also Snippet Sunday, on Facebook.
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Happy reading!
Categories: alternative medicine, energetic healing, healing, horse personalities, Horses, Mystery, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized | 28 Comments

Weekend Snippets #10

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FOREWARNING Is On Sale at Amazon

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I’m super excited to have just released FOREWARNING, the first book of my Horses and Healing Mysteries series. It’s available now at Amazon.

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Now for my last snippet from this story.

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Kasey Martin wakes in the middle of a storm because something is wrong with her horses. When a sudden wave of pain hits her, she realizes that someone–a man–is injured and she goes to investigate.

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The dark forms of three horses in front of a covered feeding shed flashed in the headlights. A smaller shape slumped on the ground beneath its shelter. The man moved when the lights hit him and waves of pain threatened to overwhelm her. She hit the brakes, stunned that his suffering penetrated to her so easily—stunned at how badly hurt he was.
Gasping for air, she fought the panic that took her breath away. I can’t do this. She stared at the man for a long moment and with shaking hands put the truck in reverse. I have to get someone else.

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Forewarning Cover
   Grieving and guilt-stricken after her husband’s suicide, Kasey Martin has closed her energetic healing practice and retreated to her Oregon horse ranch. One night, she rescues a badly injured man, and against her better judgment, uses her neglected skills to save his life. This starts her on an unexpected journey of healing and danger.  Complicating her life is Jim Bradley, an old friend who has long been in love with her and wants her to return to her work. When criminals looking for her patient invade the serenity of her world, she must use her skills to save all three of their lives.

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Be sure to check out more fabulous snippets on the  Weekend Writing Warriors website
and also Snippet Sunday, on Facebook.
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Happy reading!
Categories: alternative medicine, energetic healing, healing, Horses, Mystery, romance, suspense, Uncategorized | 18 Comments

Interviewing Myself

Forewarning CoverWelcome back.

Today I’m taking part in an Author round-robin blog, where I talk about various aspects of my writing process and my new book coming out next week. I was invited to the party by Marsha West, author of the soon-to-be-published VERMONT ESCAPE. You can visit her and learn about her fabulous new book at: http://www.marsharwest.com/vermont-escape/

Here goes:

What are you working on right now?

I’m getting ready to publish my next book, FOREWARNING. I have my cover, it’s been edited and gone through beta readers, and now I’m in the process of formatting it for the Kindle. I plan on releasing it July 1.

How does it differ from other works in its genre?

It’s a cross-genre romantic suspense about an energetic healer who lives on a horse ranch. FOREWARNING is the first book of my Horses and Healing series. It tells the story of Kasey Edwards, an alternative healer, who rescues an injured man and gets drawn into an unexpected web of danger.

What experiences have influenced you?

I’ve had horses most of my life—started riding when I was three. Caring for, raising and training them has molded my approach to life. Animals ground you in a way that’s often lost in city living. They also led me into alternative approaches to medical care. When traditional veterinary methods couldn’t help one of my horses, complementary techniques did. So I’m a firm believer in both.

Why do you write what you do?

I like happy endings and I like mysteries that engage my mind, so romantic suspense is the perfect blend. My books tend more to suspense with romantic elements than traditional romance. In my Horses and Healing mysteries, of which FOREWARNING is the first, I also get to talk about complementary therapies.

How does your writing process work?

I’m a “puzzler.” I can’t just sit down and write, like a pantser, nor can I write to an outline, like a plotter. Usually, I come up with an initial idea, figure out where I’d like to story to go—the ending—then start fleshing out the characters, using character sheets and personality profiles. My characters may change while I’m writing, but I do need to know who they are to make them real. I’m always surprised and delighted by the serendipitous things that pop out as I go along. Maybe a comment by a character ends up setting up a later scene. Or I encounter someone or something that inspires an idea for my story.

What is the hardest part about writing?

Two things: turning off my internal editor and figuring out the turning points in the story. After I know my characters, I then have to figure out how to get them from point A to point B. By determining three or four turning points, I have an idea of where to go. But getting those points can really be a bear.

What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?

Historical fiction—suspense, of course. There already are several excellent writers, such as Suzanne Adair, doing early American mysteries, but I’d still like to try my hand at it.

Who are the authors you most admire?

There are so many, it’s hard to single them out. Some who come to mind are Jayne Ann Krentz, Nora Roberts, Kay Hooper, Elizabeth Lowell, Cait London, Robin Carr, Suzanne Brockman, Linda Lael Miller and Allison Brennan.

Who are new authors to watch out for?

Marsha West—can’t wait for her VERMONT ESCAPE. Susan Schreyer, Polly Iyer, Jerrie Alexander, Donnell Bell, and Susan Boyer to name just a few. All romantic suspense writers.

What scares you?

What if no one likes my book? Not what if it doesn’t sell, but what if they don’t like it? I want it to be a success, of course. (And make lots of money. J) Even more important, I want readers to enjoy my stories and to come back for more.

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And now I’m going to introduce you to the next link in this Author’s Chain—Susan Scheyer, author of the Thea Campbell Mystery series. Her next book, SHOOTING TO KILL, is due out soon. If you like humorous mysteries featuring horses, be sure to visit her blog “Writing Horses” http://writinghorses.blogspot.com.

Categories: blog hops, Books, dressage, healing, Horses, Mystery, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Trail riding, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Weekend Snippets #5

Welcome back to Weekend Snippets.

Here’s the next to last snippet from the first scene of WYOMING ESCAPE. Mikela Richards is running in a woodsy park when she hears gunfire, sees a man with a gun, finds a dead body and runs away when someone comes out of the woods.

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Wyoming Cover - 4x6 - #2

The footsteps following her faded. She glanced over her shoulder as she rounded a bend and spied no one. Had he stopped chasing her? Or had he used the shorter trail? She reached the edge of the parking lot a few minutes later, paused behind a bush and peered out. No one was in sight.

The five or six vehicles now scattered around the parking area reduced her car’s conspicuousness. She dashed to the SUV, ripped off the magnetic signs on each side, and threw them inside. Moments later, her tires squealed on the asphalt as she sped out the exit.

 

You can find Wyoming Escape on most e-reader sites: Kindle, Nook, Apple, Kobo and Smashwords

Be sure to check out more fabulous snippets on the  Weekend Writing Warriors website and also Snippet Sunday, on Facebook.

Happy reading!

Categories: Cowboys, Dude ranches, Mystery, romance, Romantic suspense, Uncategorized, Western romance, Wyoming | 32 Comments

Weekend Snippets #4

Welcome back to Weekend Snippets.

As part of the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday groups, I’m posting very short excerpts from my writings. I hope you enjoy the snippets and will considering buying my book.

Last week I posted a longer 6 paragraph piece which told about Mikela finding a dead body on the trail. You can find that bit on the My Books page. This weekend’s snippet continues right after the discovery:

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Wyoming Cover - 4x6 - #2A rustling in the woods jerked her upright and around. At the sight of a dark form advancing through the trees, Mikela bolted. The crashing of underbrush and a man’s curse goosed her even faster.

Wishing for the umpteenth time she had longer legs, she sprinted up the trail, unsure where to go. Even if she made it back to her SUV, the signs advertising Mikela’s Kitchen, her catering business, would tell her pursuer who she was. Hers had been the only vehicle in the lot an hour ago. Had others arrived to provide some cover?

You can find Wyoming Escape on most e-reader sites: Kindle, Nook, Apple, Kobo and Smashwords

Be sure to check out more fabulous snippets on the  Weekend Writing Warriors website and also Snippet Sunday, on Facebook.

Happy reading!

Categories: Cowboys, Dude ranches, fear, Mystery, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Trail riding, Uncategorized, Western romance, Wyoming | 37 Comments

Cowboys and Lawmen Blog Hop

Cowboys and LawmenThis week I’m part of the Cowboys and Lawmen Blog Hop!

From May 2-6, over 50 authors will share their love of Cowboys and Lawmen. Cowboys are known as bad-boys, but what happens when the bad-boy is also the law in town? Why are these small town sheriffs, Texas Rangers and ex-outlaws-turned-lawmen so irresistible?

Join us at http://cowboycharm.blogspot.com/ to find out.

Every time you leave a comment with your email address, you will be entered for some amazing prizes. ***PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO QUALIFY***

You will also be entered to win a free digital copy of WYOMING ESCAPE.

Grand Prize: At least a $100 Gift Card for Amazon or Barnes and Noble, your choice. The winner will be chosen at random from comments containing email addresses, and will be announced on May 7. This is open to both US and international readers.

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Gary Cooper – The Quintessential CowboyGary Cooper

The theme of this blog hop is Cowboys and Lawmen. My current book WYOMING ESCAPE has a minor character named Sheriff Red Eagle. While he only plays a small part this time, he is the hero of the second book of my Triple H Ranch series, WYOMING HOPE. Since he’s still revealing his story to me, I thought I’d talk instead about one of my favorite movie stars who often played a cowboy lawman—Gary Cooper.

For me, Gary Cooper, with his lean, lanky body, quiet confidence and laid-back approach, was the quintessential American cowboy. Although he rode the movie range long before tight jeans and rippling abs became the rage, he was a popular sex symbol of his era. His smoldering good looks and powerful presence drew women in droves. Here was a man who knew who he was and was comfortable in his skin. He didn’t have to yell for people to pay attention. And he had a twinkle in his eye that implied he knew how to have fun too.

Cooper grew up in Montana on his family’s ranch. So he had no problem playing cowboys when he moved to Hollywood. He consistently portrayed the strong, silent, secretly romantic hero. (In real life he could be considered overly romantic, but that’s another story. ;-)) His two most famous cowboy roles were in his first talkie, The Virginian, and one of his late movies, High Noon, for which he won an Academy Award. In both, he takes the high moral ground of a Western hero. In The Virginian, he helps to capture and eventually hang his best friend, who has turned outlaw. In High Noon, he plays a sheriff who takes on a gang of criminals single-handedly when the town folk won’t support him. Can’t get any more heroic than that.

So who is your favorite Cowboy hero—real or fictional? Do you know any real cowboys?

Leave a comment to be entered in the prize raffle – a free digital copy of WYOMING ESCAPE and $100 gift card . Don’t forget your email address. Otherwise, we can’t contact you.

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 Wyoming Cover - 4x6 - #2For an exciting read about a modern day cowboy, try my book WYOMING ESCAPE. Available on AmazonBarnes&Noble, Apple, Kobo and Smashwords.

One dead body is frightening enough, but a second one, plus a dirty cop, sends chef Mikela Richards fleeing for her life. The ultimate city girl finds a safe hiding place on a Wyoming Dude ranch, where she tries to discover if the murders are connected to the mysterious computer memory stick she found in her car. But her fragile feeling of safety is disturbed by a compelling Marine, home on leave.

Back from Afghanistan to heal both physically and emotionally, Shawn Saunders recognizes the type of fear in Mikela’s eyes—it’s one of the things he’s come home to forget. Even though he knows it’s a bad idea, he can’t stop himself from trying to help her, while she’s even more afraid of letting him. In spite of their reservations, neither can resist the pull of their attraction.

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Don’t forget to visit the other blogs talking about Cowboys and Lawmen. Go to http://cowboycharm.blogspot.com/

Cowboy Charm Blog Hops now has a companion FaceBook Group. If you’d like to join to receive blog hop and prize announcements here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/453991144693516/

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/24842486@N07/5426119444/”>erjkprunczýk</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Categories: blog hops, Books, Cowboys, Cowboys and Lawmen, Horses, lawmen, Mystery, romance, Romantic suspense, sheriffs, suspense, Uncategorized, Western romance, wild west justie, Wyoming | 37 Comments

Fear and How You See the World

© Forca | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Forca | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

A few posts ago I talked about Horses and Victims–about fear distorting how an animal or human deals with the world. Sometimes the reaction is a result of an over-sensitive individual having to put up with unaware or uncaring people, such as with my horse Glory. Sometimes it is a result of direct abuse. Recently I encountered an unexpected reaction which came from the latter source.

Last month I self-published a short story titled IMAGES – A LOVE STORY. Before I put it up I had several people critique and edit it. Everyone thought it was a sweet tale and seemed to enjoy it. Except for the last person who saw it. Her reaction totally astonished me.

My friend was extremely upset by the story. She thought the hero was manipulative, had ulterior motives and was not to be trusted. Going through it page by page, she pointed out all the suspect things he was doing. I was blown away by her interpretation of his actions. I would never have thought that about someone without a compelling reason. And frankly, she was amazed at the intensity of her reaction too. I’d really hit a hot button for her.

It seems she had been molested as a child and, even though she has been happily married for many years, that has skewed her view of men. Also, she has a daughter who has been in an abusive relationship, and she has worked with a battered women’s group. Talk about a different background from my nice, safe, sheltered life!  While I understood where her response was coming from, I didn’t think most people would feel the same and didn’t change my story.

But the incident pointed out again how differently people can react to the same stimulus. I’ve entered my stories in contests and received both perfect scores along with quite low scores in the same contest. Some people seem to really like my writing and others don’t. I’ve only gotten a few reviews for my novel, WYOMING ESCAPE, and mostly they’ve been quite good. But I did get one person who didn’t like the heroine at all–thought she was wimpy. Other people have admired her guts. As the saying goes, “different strokes for different folks.”

All writers go through the same thing and have similar stories. But it’s interesting to speculate on what provokes such opposing opinions. What happened in the reader’s life to cause this reaction? Hmm, fodder for a new tale?

Have youCover - Images - 2 encountered a really off-the-wall reaction to anything you’ve done? Were you able to discover the reason for the response?

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If you’d like to read IMAGES and compare your reaction to my friend’s, you can find it for Free on Smashwords.

You can also find WYOMING ESCAPE on most online bookstores.

Categories: abuse, battered women, Books, fear, horse personalities, Horses, romance, Uncategorized, writing, writing characters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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