Saturday, March 29, 2014

Second Chance Ranch Excerpt from Author Audra Harders




Today as promised, I bring you an excerpt from Audra Harders' Second Chance Ranch.
And if you leave a comment she's giving away a book to a randomly chosen name, 
so leave contact info.
And the WINNER is Lisa Potocar.  Congrats Lisa.


Blurb:
Pediatric oncology nurse, Jennifer O’Reilly returns home to Hawk Ridge, Colorado to establish a mountain recreation camp as a safe adventure for children battling cancer. Her path to ownership depends on developing a profitable business plan to convince the bank she can manage not only the camping facility, but the entire Trails’ End Ranch operation.

Generations earlier, one misplayed hand of poker lost part of the family ranch, and Zac Davidson, youngest son and financial genius of the Circle D, wants it back. Intrigued since childhood by the legend of his great grandfather, Zac is the only family member who holds out hope that one day the ranch would become Davidson property again. When the ranch goes on the market, money is no object, only Jennifer O’Reilly stands between him and his dream. 

High school sweethearts, Jennifer and Zac have wounded each other, and the scars run deep. Jennifer is forced to reveal a secret she’s protected for twelve years. Will past mistakes jeopardize the future of both of their dreams or give them a second chance?

Excerpt:
Jen hesitated as Zac tugged her toward the door, his warm fingers tangled with hers. Patrick and a couple of the house parents were gathering the chairs and sweeping the floor. Tina stood beside the stereo speakers, grinning at her. When she opened her mouth, Tina frowned and waved her away before catching Patrick and handing him a stack of electronics cords.
She bumped into Zac’s shoulder. He pressed close, his arm settling around her waist. “Are you okay?”
She’d been dismissed by Tina which was better than asking permission to leave. “Of course. I just had a great night of dancing and the kids are all happy about it. Life couldn’t be better.”
“Doesn’t take much to make you happy, does it?” He held the door open as they stepped out into the cool night air.
Jen waved to the campers as they ran around under the glow of the yard lights. She spotted a couple of counselors standing along the corral fence watching the kids and Jen relaxed. “It never has.”
“Oh, I don’t know. I remember a gal all bent on getting into the right school years ago. Had to have a good pre-med program. Had to be DU. You can’t tell me your little world wouldn’t have caved if the University of Denver hadn’t accepted you.”
She rubbed her face against the hoodie jacket he wore, releasing the woodsy scent of his aftershave and taking her back years. “Getting that scholarship was sweet. Made my dad happy, too.”
“I was proud of you.” He hugged her closely as they followed the trail to her house. “Academic, full-ride. Everything you’d always wanted.”
He grew quiet. Jen basked in his praise. “I was proud of you, too. Rodeo, full-ride.I’ll never understand how you coupled team roping and math.”
“The same way I did it all through high school, a little luck and a whole lot of praying.” Their steps crunched along the dirt path in time. “It wasn’t just me, remember? If you hadn’t tutored me when I had pneumonia, I probably never would have understood the way numbers worked together.”
She leaned into him as she kept time with his stride. “What else was I supposed to do? Your family took us in when my mom died, and then you had to go and get sick. I was just trying to keep you from driving your mom nuts.”
“You and Kade could’ve ignored me and watched TV.”
“Yeah, I guess we could have, but then Kade wouldn’t have figured out you knew your way around the end of the steer he couldn’t quite figure out.”
“See? Hooking up with Kade for team roping got me the rodeo scholarship, and hooking up with you to help me with my math homework flicked the I got it switch in my brain.” He hugged her closer. “I came up with the hooking-up-with-you-as-my-girlfriend all by myself.”
Her throat burned at his tone of longing. High school had been a great time. Too bad all good things came to an end. She laughed with half a heart. “I made you sit down and study, and you made me close the books and have some fun.”
“Guess we were quite a pair.” They slowed as the yard light behind her house shone through the trees in the distance. There were times she thought the distance from her house to the barn was too far…tonight, it wasn’t far enough. “Probably a good thing we didn’t go to the same college after high school. We wouldn’t have gotten any studying done. Or at least, I know I wouldn’t have gotten any studying done.”
A fleeting image of his dorm came to mind, but she pushed it away. Not tonight. All she wanted was one good night with Zac. “God knew what He was doing, no matter how much I pouted.”
They got to her porch, the light of the crescent moon behind the towering pine almost picturesque. Zac loosened his hold of her, but didn’t let go. Jen turned in his arm so she could see his face, relish the moment. His brown eyes blended with the shadows making it impossible to read his thoughts, but shifted in all the right places making him look like a cowboy legend. Zac had always been larger than life to her. Even now, her heart thumped in her chest just like it used to whenever she saw him.

“I’m sorry you pouted.” He drew her closer until his breath warmed her cheek. “I would’ve fixed that.”


Buy Links:

Bio:

Award-winning author, Audra Harders, writes "rugged stories with heart" featuring cowboys who haven't a clue about relationships rescued by ladies who think they have all the answers. In real life, she's married to her own patient hero, has two adult children, and is surrounded by everything conducive to writing about farming, ranching and cowboys at her day job in the county Extension office. She began writing right after her son was born and sold her first book to Steeple Hill Love Inspired mere months before that same son graduated from high school. Surviving those years in-between reminds her God does have her plan for her life...and that He has a tremendous sense of humor.

You can visit her at www.AudraHarders.com. Readers and writers alike are invited to visit Seekerville, a group blog where Audra, along with twelve other inspirational authors, share wisdom and ideas about writing, life, and of course, food!

Find Audra:




Friday, March 28, 2014

Last Friday of the Month Recipe~Olive & Cheese Penguins from Elysa Hendricks plus an Excerpt from Must Love Cats




When I saw the picture of these, I just knew I had to make them.  
Now can I eat something so adorable?




OLIVE & CHEESE PENGUINS

Ingredients:
1 can of jumbo or large black olives

1 can of small black olives
(I dislike black olives, so next time I'm going to use green ones. Strange looking Penguins, but tastier - at least to me. Maybe I'll color the cheese red and they'll be Christmas Penguins.)
1/4 to 1/3 pound of soft cheese, such as fromage blanc, or cream cheese (softened.)
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds
Frilled Toothpicks

For the feet:
Cut a triangle out of the carrot rounds. The big piece will be the feet.

Take the small piece and cut into small slivers for the beak of the penguin.

Next take a large olive and cut a quarter inch wedge from it.

Now stuff olive with soft cheese and smooth out.

Take your carrot feet and place the cheese filled olive on top, then place a small olive on top of the large olive.

Use a toothpick to secure. Poke a small hole in the middle of the small olive and then place a carrot beak in the hole.

You can use strips of pimento as scarves around the Penguin's neck and tiny cloves for their eyes.

Blurb:
Killed in a car wreck Thomas Cash (TC) Riley is given a chance to redeem himself.
With the help of a little girl and a young boy, can TC bring together two damaged people, remember his past, and save his soul?
And can he do it all as a cat? 

Excerpt:
Daniel pulled his car into the gravel lot alongside the quaint, white clapboard farmhouse. His gaze focused on the classic lines of the lovingly maintained building, at first he didn't notice the slim woman standing arms akimbo at the base of a ladder propped against the house.

As a successful, commercial architect, he admired and envied those who designed houses, creating warm, welcoming, comfortable homes for people. At one point that had been his dream, but pressure from his father convinced him otherwise.

"The money and prestige is in public buildings. No one remembers who designs houses." His father's words came back to him. At the time, Daniel hadn't had the nerve or the courage to argue, to bring up famous architects who'd designed homes. He was well aware that of those, the public, which included his playboy father and socialite mother, only Frank Lloyd Wright's name was recognizable. As always to avoid conflict, to gain his parent's approval, he'd fallen into line.

Marrying Hannah had been the only time he ever went against his father's wishes. Maybe his parents’ objection had been what drew Daniel to her. Even if his father had forgiven him, that relationship had been doomed. But his parents had died before he could reconcile with them. And now Hannah was gone as well. All that remained was Alana.

"Daddy, look! A bird boy!"

Alana's delighted shout and a child's scream drew his attention to the boy clinging precariously to the steeply slanted roof. A makeshift parachute wrapped around his arms, and tangled around his thrashing legs prevented him from gaining a good grip on the roof's shingles. Another look at the woman confirmed his fears. Her ashen face reflected her terror at what was about to happen. A fall from that height, more than twenty feet, would certainly injure, if not kill, the boy.

"Stay here," he told Alana and bolted out of the car. His gaze went from the boy to the ladder. No help there. The old wood wouldn't hold his weight. What other option did he have?

"TC." He heard Alana call out.

His attention focused on the boy, he ignored the streak of black and white racing past him. With only one chance, he calculated the boy's height, weight and the angle of his fall and positioned himself below.

"Hey, son," he called softly.

The boy turned panicked eyes toward Daniel.

"Everything's going to be fine," he reassured the boy. "Let yourself slide down. I'm going to catch you."

The boy nodded in acceptance. Panic drained from his eyes. Daniel felt a punch of fear mingled with gratitude for the boy's instinctive trust.

He held out his arms. "Let go now."

Without hesitation the boy released his grip on the shingles. He slid down then the cloth wrapped around him snagged. His body twisted sideways. He was coming down head first in a different direction. Too fast. Daniel dove to the side, hoping to at least break the boy's fall. He braced for the impact.

He heard the woman's gasp. At the last moment, as the boy plunged off the edge of the roof, his body jerked to a halt to dangle about fifteen feet above Daniel.

Quickly Daniel righted himself below the boy and looked up. At the edge of the roof the cat stretched spread eagle, its claws clinging to the fabric of the makeshift parachute and the shingles. Though its slight weight was no match for the boy's, it had stopped his headlong plummet for a critical few seconds.

Daniel's eyes met those of the cat. For an instant he could have sworn the cat winked at him. Then with a yowl the cat retracted its claws and the boy dropped neatly into Daniel's outstretched arms. They tumbled together to the ground.

Buy Links:
Kobo 

Bio:
Elysa Hendricks is 5'6" tall. She has brown eyes and curly hair. She's an author, a wife, a mother, and a daughter. Everything else is subject to change without notice. Here "real" life motto is: Boring is good. Excitement is vastly overrated. So she saves all the adventures for the characters in her books.
 
Find Elysa:


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Meet Multi-Published Author Audra Harders and A Working Woman's Hybrid Plan On Writing




It is my extreme pleasure to bring you talented and muli-published author 
Audra Harders.  And don't forget to come back Saturday for an excerpt from her latest book, Second Chance Ranch. 

NEWS FLASH, AUDRA IS GIVING AWAY A COPY OF HER BOOK, SO LEAVE A COMMENT AND YOUR EMAIL!
 Susan Anne Mason, you're the winner today!!
Don't forget Saturday's excerpt and another chance to win a copy of Audra's book.

Ha, ha. Leslie, you always make me laugh. Thanks for the awesome introduction.

Over the last year, I’ve been cleaning up rejected manuscripts and preparing them for what I call the Working Woman’s Hybrid Plan. It’s very easy; anyone can do it. Take all those manuscripts that have been rejected by the Big 5 (formerly the Big 6 consumer book publishers of note. As we know everything is shrinking…except maybe my waistline – but I’ll save that for another post) or by your own publishing house editor; review them with a critical eye; run them past a content editor, copy editor and impartial readers; and then, package them up and offer them through any number of digital and print venues.

Why call it Working Woman’s Hybrid Plan? Because, that’s what I am. I’m a published author with Love Inspired Books, Amazon, and I hold a full time job.  All three are important to me, but putting all of one’s eggs in the same basket, in this day and age, is just…lazy. Opportunities abound for those who dare to grab for it.

Now the concept of working full-time while writing for publication is not new, but it has evolved. There once was a time when authors would clock in their 8 to 5 at the office and then return home and log in another 5 or 6 hours at the computer writing towards a New York deadline or hoping one day to attain a New York deadline. The days and weeks would pass and manuscripts would pile up, and so would the rejection slips adding to the devastation of the hearts of really good writers whose work just didn’t fit into the slot of a commercial publishing house. Does that mean your writing is bad?

Well, maybe.

But chances are, if you’ve worked with a good critique group, joined national organizations for writers such as Romance Writers of America or American Christian Fiction Writers (the two I belong to), have been active in your local chapters, and entered contests for feedback, you have a pretty good estimation of the caliber of your work.

My situation is probably more common among published authors than you realize. You sell a book that is part of a series. If you have a really good agent, they might get a 3 or 4 book deal for you right away. That was not my case. Love Inspired Books bought the first book of my Circle D series, but then didn’t pick up the next one. Now remember, I work full-time on a – at times – erratic and unpredictable schedule. By the time I had the third one on their desk, they thought too much time had passed for readers to relate to the characters and setting.

I can understand that. Doesn’t mean I like it, but I understand it.

So, what do I do with the books that are finished and gathering virtual dust on my hard drive? Need I mention I love the setting and the characters? My heart swoons over the heroes and I’d love to live in a community like Hawk Ridge?

Well, FIRST, I had to obtain permission from Harlequin’s Legal Department to use the characters and setting. Very important you read the fine print in your contracts! I worked with their representative on my options, and concluded I can publish my other two books using the same characters and setting as long as I didn’t sign away exclusive rights to anyone else. Harlequin retains first dibs.

Not a problem. The rights belong to me and I’d be happy to continue the series for Love Inspired anytime they’d like : )

Then I moved on to evaluating content. After determining where tweaks in the plot were needed, I ran the version by several authors, looking for advice specific to each one of them. Then I ran it by my copy editor for line edits. Worked with a cover designer to give my stories a brand, and VOILA!  The culmination of my efforts is now alive and well and living on Amazon.

Remember that pesky day job I mentioned? Well, the time I have available for book marketing made publishing exclusively with Amazon my best bet. I don’t have the time right now to monitor all the outlets for distribution and manage it well. The print version will be out shortly, but in the meantime, I love stopping by my author page on Amazon and just looking at my pretty cover, and thanking Jeff Bezos for the having the foresight and vision to offer authors an opportunity to see all their publishing dreams come true.


Blurb: 

Pediatric oncology nurse, Jennifer O’Reilly returns home to Hawk Ridge, Colorado to establish a mountain recreation camp as a safe adventure for children battling cancer. Her path to ownership depends on developing a profitable business plan to convince the bank she can manage not only the camping facility, but the entire Trails’ End Ranch operation.

Generations earlier, one misplayed hand of poker lost part of the family ranch, and Zac Davidson, youngest son and financial genius of the Circle D, wants it back. Intrigued since childhood by the legend of his great grandfather, Zac is the only family member who holds out hope that one day the ranch would become Davidson property again. When the ranch goes on the market, money is no object, only Jennifer O’Reilly stands between him and his dream. 


High school sweethearts, Jennifer and Zac have wounded each other, and the scars run deep. Jennifer is forced to reveal a secret she’s protected for twelve years. Will past mistakes jeopardize the future of both of their dreams or give them a second chance?

Buy Links:

Bio:

Award-winning author, Audra Harders, writes "rugged stories with heart" featuring cowboys who haven't a clue about relationships rescued by ladies who think they have all the answers. In real life, she's married to her own patient hero, has two adult children, and is surrounded by everything conducive to writing about farming, ranching and cowboys at her day job in the county Extension office. She began writing right after her son was born and sold her first book to Steeple Hill Love Inspired mere months before that same son graduated from high school. Surviving those years in-between reminds her God does have her plan for her life...and that He has a tremendous sense of humor.

You can visit her at www.AudraHarders.com. Readers and writers alike are invited to visit Seekerville, a group blog where Audra, along with twelve other inspirational authors, share wisdom and ideas about writing, life, and of course, food!

Find Audra:

Facebook




Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Reluctant Rancher by JD Faver on Excerpt Day




As promised, here the excerpt from The Reluctant Rancher by JD Faver.  Enjoy!! 


Blurb:
E.J. Kincaid has one thing on his mind. He wants to get the hell out of Dodge, or in this case, Langston, Texas. He sees nothing but miles and miles of Texas panhandle, even though his daddy does seem to own most of it. He wouldn’t be here at all, except that his father committed a heinous crime, for which he is serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison. E.J. feels obligated to stay and try to hang onto the land and cattle empire his father built for him. He has also infuriated the local veterinarian, Jenna Lewis, who thinks he’s a complete jackass.

In spite of their thorny relationship, a prank of E.J.’s turns the tables on the lovely red-head who proves to be both a worthy adversary as well as a fiercely loyal ally. As his world starts to fall apart, it’s always Jenna who stands by his side. When murder, cattle rustling and kidnapping occur right in his big back yard, E.J. turns to one of the local ranchers who hates everything about him, especially his name. Will E.J. be able to rescue the woman he loves, or will his efforts result in forfeiting both their lives?

Cowboys, murder and romance. Oh, my! Grab your copy and read a spell...

Excerpt:
(After some verbal sparring with E.J. Kincaid earlier, Jenna, the local veterinarian, has gone to the Eagle’s Hall to hear the live band and dance. She has just left the dance floor and returned to the bar.)

She turned back to her beer and jostled the tall man standing beside her. He spilled his shot of whatever he was drinking. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said and reached for a stack of napkins. She turned to the man and began mopping at his sleeve.

“Thanks a lot, Jenna. That’s a nice thing to do for a jackass.”

She gazed up into the smirking face of the biggest jackass in her entire frame of reference. E.J. Kincaid. Her napkin-wielding hand froze in mid-air. “Sorry,” she muttered and wadded the wet napkins into a ball. She lobbed it over the bar and into a trash can on the opposite wall.

“Three points.” E.J. toasted her with what was left of his drink and tossed it down. “You must have been a star of the girls’ basketball team.”


She huffed out a disgruntled sound. “As a matter of fact, I was.” She looked him over. Too freakin’ perfect. “I don’t suppose you dirtied your lily-white hands to play sports, did you?”

He chortled and signaled the bartender for another drink. “As a matter of fact, I did.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. Did you go out for theater arts or floral design?”

“Soccer, rugby, la crosse, field hockey, tennis, equestrian and, yes…I did play basketball.”

“Well, consider me impressed.” She didn’t tell him what she thought of all those fancy, private school so-called sports. Soccer? Hadn’t he heard of good old American football? “Let me pay for your drink, since I spilled it all over you.”

“That would be nice, but I can’t let you do that,” he said. “We jackasses always pay our own way.”

She sucked in a breath and took another sip of her beer. He’s not going to let that one go anytime soon.

The bartender poured a shot of Patron in the empty glass and E.J. motioned for him to leave the bottle.


“I must say, Jenna. You look amazingly attractive tonight.”

She arched an eyebrow. “Amazingly?”

“I should say, I have never seen you look as pretty as you do this evening.” He lifted the glass and let the tequila roll down his throat.

“You’re not feeling any pain, are you?”

He snorted. “You think I’d have to be drunk to compliment you?”

“Well, it sure doesn’t hurt.”

“Nooo,” he drawled out. “I always thought you were pretty. Just didn’t think you knew how to be a woman.”

“Wha-a-a?” She drew herself to her full height and stared up at him with her mouth open. “I’ll have you know I’m more woman than you could ever handle.”

“You’re probably right,” he grunted and finished off his drink. “Come on. Let’s dance. Then you can say you’ve danced with a jackass.”

He grabbed her hand and led her to the middle of the dance floor. Just as he twirled her into his arms the band finished the fast song they had been playing and changed to a slow one.

She found herself staring up into impossibly blue eyes and pressed against a chest as hard as concrete. She knew for a fact that this guy didn’t work at much of anything. Maybe he got those pecs by lifting his hairdryer.

He pulled her closer and began moving to the music. He was easy to follow and led her around the dance floor without running into anyone. That was a plus. And when the next song started up, he slid right into a two-step without any hesitation.

Okay, he can dance…and he’s got a great body, I’ll give him that. And he’s gorgeous to look at, but he’s still an arrogant jackass.

When the song was over, he tucked her hand in the crook of his arm and escorted her back to the bar. “Do you want to sit down?” he asked.

“Yeah, I guess so.” She wondered what the regulars were thinking of her dancing with Eldon Kincaid’s fancy-pants son, but when she looked around, no one was paying any particular attention.

“Bartender, another glass.” E.J. motioned to the bartender who brought him a second shot glass. He picked up the bottle and both glasses and directed her to a table on the far side of the dance floor.

She nodded and led the way, conscious of every head that turned her way. Well, now they’re checking us out. Great!

E.J. set the bottle down and pulled out a chair for her and then seated himself. At least his manners are impeccable. Maybe if he just doesn’t talk.

He filled both glasses and offered her one.

Oh, what the heck! She picked up the glass and clinked it against his before throwing the fiery liquid down her throat. She sucked in a breath of air and it seemed that her entire gullet and esophagus were enflamed.

After the next round of dancing, E.J. refilled her glass and it didn’t seem quite so scorching this time.

She was surprised that he could actually carry on an intelligent conversation. At least he could make her laugh. Well, she was on her home turf. All her friends were here, although they seemed to be keeping their distance. Probably intimidated by the big, rich E.J. Kincaid. But, she wasn’t afraid of him. What could happen?

Buy:
Amazon US
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CR8JWLG
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CR8JWLG


Bio:
J.D. Faver lives near Houston, Texas. She writes steamy contemporary romance and romantic thrillers/mystery/suspense. She loves to kill people...on virtual paper, that is. Although she writes daily, she still finds time to enjoy family and friends. She is a foodie and an adventurous cook. Determined to preserve generations of family recipes, she is publishing a series of cookbooks entitled A Texan in the Kitchen.

Gardening is another passion (and linked to the food thing) since she has an orchard of fruit trees and berry bushes/vines in her back yard. Tomatoes and other veggies round out her kitchen garden.

All other interests (painting, drawing, sewing, quilting, crocheting, weaving, stained glass and pottery) have taken a back seat since they require hands-on participation which is difficult if your fingers are always on the keyboard.
An active member of several Houston writer's organizations, she belongs to National RWA and is a member of Houston chapters.

She is owned by two cats and a small, yappy rescue dog. As a former educator and healthcare professional, she is an advocate for children, animals and elderly/disabled individuals.

She would rather be sailing or on a beach somewhere, but if not, you can probably find her with her fingers on a keyboard, pouring word images onto the virtual films playing in her head.
 
Find JD:
Website
Blog  
Twitter
Facebook
 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An Interview With Author JD Faver & Her Three Top Tips For Writers


 
Today you get to read my interview of JD Faver. And don't forget to come back and read her excerpt from The Reluctant Rancher on Saturday.  

Please welcome JD.
 
JDF: Hey LA, thanks so much for having here today.
 
LA: Hey back. I'm so pleased your with us. Tell us about your current series.
 
JDF: I actually have 2 series, but both are contemporary and set in Texas. Badlands, the series, is set in the Panhandle of North Texas with cowboys and big ranches. The Edge of Texas series is set on the coast near the border with Mexico. Both are romantic suspense, with The Edge being edgier, while Badlands has cowboys. 
 
LA: What’s next for you?
 
JDF: I’m just finishing BAD DREAMS, #4 in the Edge of Texas series. It’s a romantic suspense/thriller I expect to be released in April 2014. 
 
LA: That's soon!! How has your experience with self-publishing been?
 
JDF: It’s been fabulous! A friend, Anne Marie Novark, led the way and has mentored me from day one. I try to pay it forward and share what I’ve learned with others as I fumble my way through the publishing maze. I’m a member of RWA and attend 2 local Houston-area chapters. I was especially thrilled when I made PAN in a couple of months with the release of my romantic thriller, ON ICE. Since RWA has such higher standards for indies, I was really irked, but I thought I should go through the rigmarole to pave the way for other indies and to give us a place among the traditionals. 
 
LA: Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?
 
JDF: I use my initials to differentiate my life as a writing professional from my former life as a healthcare and nutrition professional. 
 
LA: What is your writing routine like? 
 
JDF: I write every day. It’s as simple as that. I turn on the computer every morning and go from there. Not steadily, but I do have a daily word count goal. I make myself turn it off in the evening so I can relax and gear down. Otherwise, those characters dancing in my head would have me writing all night long. I have a PC, a laptop and a netbook. I also have lots of jump drives so I can write anywhere. I have a group of friends who like to join me in writing sprints online. This is when we gather in IM and create a chat window. We do timed word sprints, usually lasting 45 minutes with a 15 minute break. These are very productive. 
 
LA: Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing? 
 
JDF: For me, the most exciting thing is when a reader contacts me on my website or some social media to tell me they like my books. That is the frosting on the cake. And then there are the times when I have introduced myself to some famous author, whom I admire, and they respond with, “Oh, I know who you are.” Yes, I almost swoon right there. 
 
LA: Which aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most? 
 
JDF: I love everything about writing. I’m eager to revise and polish. The only thing I ever hated about writing was the dreaded synopsis…guess what? I don’t have to ever write one again. Yay!
 
LA: Describe for us, if you will, your writing style, as in plotter vs. seat of the pants, and do you put more time into developing characters or plot or are they equal?
 
JDF: I just write. The first year I did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I over-prepared, as most Virgos do. I made a very detailed outline and filled the fridge/freezer with easy to grab foodstuffs so I didn’t starve. At midnight, on the first day of November, 2005, my brain went sideways and I wrote an entirely different book. I finished BAD MEDICINE in the first 18 days of NaNo with 56k words. I was so manic and all my friends were still writing, so I grabbed another novel I had picked at over time (THE DOCTOR’S CHOICE) and finished it in the last 12 days. I had 69 pages of it to start. Of course, they were a mess. I revised BAD MEDICINE to a respectable 93k word romantic suspense/thriller and now it’s the first in my Edge of Texas series. THE DOCTOR’S CHOICE became the first of the Badlands series.
 
LA: I love NaNoWriMo, it's very inspiring to just write. Was there a person who inspired you to write?
 
JDF: Absolutely! Sister Anastasia, my second-grade teacher, was the best! She gave me a box of colored chalk and allowed me to stay in at recess to draw ‘sets’ on the 3 chalkboards. I wrote out my 3-act plays by hand (3 acts to go with the 3 chalkboards) for each member of my cast and directed, produced and acted in my plays. How is that for a great education?
 
LA: Pretty awesome.  Do you have key advice for other writers? 
 
JDF: Three top tips:  

  • Just write. You truly get better as you go along. I consider writing my full-time job and I write every single day. I’ve logged over 1,600 days of daily writing, since I made a commitment to do so. The best thing is, you’re always in the story. No groping around wondering where you left off. The characters are always right there whispering the next line. Never had writer’s block. Never will. Not sure I believe in it.
  • Decide. Are you a writer or a hobbyist? If writing is your hobby, have fun with it. But, if you consider yourself to be a writer, make it your career…your job. Write and be proud of it. Don’t listen to negative people. Do take classes and read Swain and Vogler (among many others), enter contests, get feedback, polish your work and never, ever give up.
  • Mingle. Hang out with other writers. If you’re a hobbyist, they may not take you seriously, but if they see that you’re seriously trying to improve and break into the big wonderful world of publishing, most will embrace you with open arms. Writers are some of the most generous people. I call my wonderful critique group and the writer meetings I attend, “mingling with my species”. They always renew my spirit and reset my drive. I wish all writers lots of words.
 
LA: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be, and what would you talk about?

JDF: Mae West. I was a tall, teen and terribly shy, I used to pretend I was Mae West. When I walked into a gathering, I would slip into my Mae persona. Instead of running off at the mouth, I would take a deep breath and roll back on one hip to answer. I adopted her habit of taking a beat before responding, along with a long, blue-eyed gaze, and lowered my voice a notch. Took a lot of the heat off.
 
LA: Someone has cut you off in the checkout line. How do you handle it?

JDF: You mean if I don’t stab them to death? Well, I’ve never had someone cut in front of me in the checkout line. Maybe there’s a reason for that. <g>
 
LA: It's the gaze, for sure. Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

JDF: I used to be an avid sailor. I competed in Hobie Cat (catamaran) races and had a shelf full of trophies, before I got tired of dusting them. The kicker is that I cannot swim. Yes, I’ve been way out in the Gulf of Mexico or on a big lake. Yes, I’ve fallen off the boat. Yes, I always wore my life vest.
  
LA: Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

JDF:  I have two: 
“I yam what I yam” ~ Popeye the Sailor Man 
“Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from stepping up to bat” ~ Babe Ruth
 
LA: Societal pet peeve … sound off.

JDF: I really, really, really am allergic to bigotry. Please! You don’t have to be any particular color, sex, religion or sexual orientation to be my friend. Just be a decent human being, have some brains, and try not to be a complete d**k!


Blurb:

THE RELUCTANT RANCHER (Badlands~Contemporary Western Romantic Suspense)

E.J. Kincaid has one thing on his mind. He wants to get the hell out of Dodge, or in this case, Langston, Texas. He sees nothing but miles and miles of Texas panhandle, even though his daddy does seem to own most of it. He wouldn’t be here at all, except that his father committed a heinous crime, for which he is serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison. E.J. feels obligated to stay and try to hang onto the land and cattle empire his father built for him. He has also infuriated the local veterinarian, Jenna Lewis, who thinks he’s a complete jackass.

In spite of their thorny relationship, a prank of E.J.’s turns the tables on the lovely red-head who proves to be both a worthy adversary as well as a fiercely loyal ally. As his world starts to fall apart, it’s always Jenna who stands by his side. When murder, cattle rustling and kidnapping occur right in his big back yard, E.J. turns to one of the local ranchers who hates everything about him, especially his name. Will E.J. be able to rescue the woman he loves, or will his efforts result in forfeiting both their lives?

Cowboys, murder and romance. Oh, my! Grab your copy and read a spell...

Buy:
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CR8JWLG
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CR8JWLG


Bio:
J.D. Faver lives near Houston, Texas. She writes steamy contemporary romance and romantic thrillers/mystery/suspense. She loves to kill people...on virtual paper, that is. Although she writes daily, she still finds time to enjoy family and friends. She is a foodie and an adventurous cook. Determined to preserve generations of family recipes, she is publishing a series of cookbooks entitled A Texan in the Kitchen.

Gardening is another passion (and linked to the food thing) since she has an orchard of fruit trees and berry bushes/vines in her back yard. Tomatoes and other veggies round out her kitchen garden.

All other interests (painting, drawing, sewing, quilting, crocheting, weaving, stained glass and pottery) have taken a back seat since they require hands-on participation which is difficult if your fingers are always on the keyboard.
An active member of several Houston writer's organizations, she belongs to National RWA and is a member of Houston chapters.

She is owned by two cats and a small, yappy rescue dog. As a former educator and healthcare professional, she is an advocate for children, animals and elderly/disabled individuals.

She would rather be sailing or on a beach somewhere, but if not, you can probably find her with her fingers on a keyboard, pouring word images onto the virtual films playing in her head.

 
Find JD:
Website
Blog  
Twitter
Facebook
 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Excerpt From Freddie Owen's ~ Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie’s Story




As promised, an excerpt from Freddie Owen's Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie's Story
And forget Freddie's Rafflecopter of a Kindle Fire ending March 28th
 

Blurb:
Nine-year-old Orbie already has his cross to bear. After the sudden death of his father, his mother Ruby has off and married his father’s coworker and friend Victor, a slick-talking man with a snake tattoo. Since the marriage, Orbie, his sister Missy, and his mother haven’t had a peaceful moment with the heavy-drinking, fitful new man of the house. Orbie hates his stepfather more than he can stand; this fact lands him at his grandparents’ place in Harlan’s Crossroads, Kentucky, when Victor decides to move the family to Florida without including him. In his new surroundings, Orbie finds little to distract him from Granpaw’s ornery ways and constant teasing jokes about snakes.

As Orbie grudgingly adjusts to life with his doting Granny and carping Granpaw, who are a bit too keen on their black neighbors for Orbie’s taste, not to mention their Pentecostal congregation of snake handlers, he finds his world views changing, particularly when it comes to matters of race, religion, and the true cause of his father’s death. He befriends a boy named Willis, who shares his love of art, but not his skin color. And, when Orbie crosses paths with the black Choctaw preacher, Moses Mashbone, he learns of a power that could expose and defeat his enemies, but can’t be used for revenge. When a storm of unusual magnitude descends, he happens upon the solution to a paradox that is both magical and ordinary. The question is, will it be enough?



Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE
EVERYBODY ON EDGE
Thursday, June 6th 1959


Momma and even Victor said I’d be coming to St. Petersburg with them.  They’d been saying it for weeks.  Then Victor changed his mind.  He was my stepdaddy, Victor was.  It would be easier on everybody, he said, if I stayed with Granny and Granpaw in Kentucky.  Him and Momma had enough Florida business to take care of without on top of everything else having to take care of me too.  I was a handful, Victor said.  I kept everybody on edge.  If you asked me, the only edge everybody was kept on was Victor’s.  As far as I was concerned, him and Momma could both go to hell.  Missy too.  I was fed up trying to be good.  Saying everything was okay when it wasn’t.  Pretending I understood when I didn’t. 

Momma’s car was a 1950 model.  Daddy said it was the first Ford car to come automatic.  I didn’t know what ‘automatic’ was but it sure had silver ashtrays, two of them on the back of the front seats.  They were all popped open with gum wrappers and cigarette butts and boy did they smell. 
One butt fell on top a bunch of comic books I had me in a pile.  The pile leaned cockeyed against my dump truck.  Heat came up from there, little whiffs of tail pipe smoke, warm and stuffy like the insides of my tennis shoes. 
It rattled too – the Ford car did.  The glove box.  The mirrors.  The windows.  The knobs on the radio.  The muffler under the floorboard.  Everything rattled. 
We’d been traveling hard all day, barreling down Road 3 from Detroit to Kentucky.  Down to Harlan’s Crossroads.  I sat on the edge of the back seat, watching the fence posts zoom by.  Missy stood up next to the side window, sucking her thumb, the fingers of her other hand jammed between her legs.  She was five years old.  I was nine.
I’d seen pictures of Florida in a magazine.  It had palm trees and alligators and oranges.  It had long white beaches and pelicans that could dive-bomb the water.  Kentucky was just old lonesome farmhouses and brokeback barns.  Gravel roads and chickens in the yard.
Road 3 took us down big places like Fort Wayne and Muncie.  It took us down a whole bunch of little places too, places with funny names like Zaneville and Deputy and Speed.
Missy couldn’t read.
“Piss with care,” I said.
“Oh Orbie, you said a bad word.”
“No.  Piss with care, Missy.  That sign back there.  That’s what it said.”
Missy’s eyes went wide.  “It did not.  Momma’ll whip you.”
Later on we got where there was a curve in the road and another sign.  “Look Missy.  Do not piss.” 
“It don’t say that.” 
“Yes it does.  See.  When the road goes curvy like that you’re not supposed to pee.  But when it’s straight, it’s okay; but you have to do it careful cause that’s what the sign says.  Piss with care!”
“It don’t say that.” 
“Does too.”
We crossed a big pile of water on a bridge with towers and giant ropey things looping down.  On the other side was Louisville, Kentucky.  After that was just small towns and little white stores with red gas-pumps, farm houses and big barns and fields, empty fields and fields of corn and fields where there were cows and horses and pigs and long rows of tobacco plants Momma said cigarettes was made of.
I had me a war on all the towns going down.

Tat Tat Tat Tat!  Blam!  There goes Cox Creek! 
Bombs away over Nazareth! 

Blam! Blam! Boom!  Hodgekinsville never had a chance!
“Let’s keep it down back there!” Victor said.
“A grenade rolled into Victor’s lap!” I whispered.  “BlamOOO!  Blowed him to smithereens!”
I wished Momma’d left him back there in Toledo like she said she would.  She was always threatening around like that, but then she would get to feeling sorry and forget all about it.  She’d been mad ever since Victor spilled the beans about Daddy.  Victor was mad too, drinking his beer and driving Momma’s Ford too fast.  After Louisville he started throwing his empties out the window.
I liked to watch them bust on the road. 
“Pretty country, Kentucky,” Victor said. 
Buy Link:
AMAZON


Bio:
A poet and fiction writer, my work has been published in Poet Lore, Crystal Clear and Cloudy, and Flying Colors Anthology. I am a past attendee of Pikes Peak Writer’s Conferences and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and a member of Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver, Colorado.

In addition, I am/was a licensed professional counselor and psychotherapist, who for many years counseled perpetrators of domestic violence and sex offenders, and provided psychotherapy for individuals, groups and families.

I hold a master’s degree in contemplative psychotherapy from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

Visit his website at www.FreddieOwens.com to read more about Freddie.

Connect & Socialize! TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS
  
Kindle Fire Giveaway information: 
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the Kindle Fire HD.
  • This giveaway begins January 24 and ends March 28.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, March 31, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply. Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thursday 13, From the MFRW Blog ~ My Favorite Trips

#Thursday13 Top Trips with #MFRWauthor LA Sartor @LesannSartor (via MFRW Authors)
MFRW Author L.A. Sartor is here today to share a special Thursday Thirteen that goes along with the travel adventure theme of her book, STONE OF HEAVEN. Leslie Ann Sartor (aka L.A. Sartor) began telling stories around the age of 4 when her mother,…

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Meet Freddie Owens & Read His Post on That Which First Troubled Us



Freddie has included quotes by Eudora Welty, and I've italicized his take on them because they hit me at the core of what I try to do as a writer. 
 
Please welcome self published author, Freddie Owen.

Freddie Owens is giving away a Kindle Fire HD! See information below.

 
THAT WHICH FIRST TROUBLED US
(A brooding thought or two from a self published author)
I guess I should be more circumspect in public and not say that it astounds me that so many people now have read Then Like the Blind Man and actually like it. In fact, there's been a surfeit of praise. I'm tickled of course, but can this be possible? Am I not dreaming a pleasant dream from which I'll awaken one day to discover the harsh truth, i.e., that my book is sub par, mediocre and yet another example of self published claptrap? I ask myself this. And I'm a little embarrassed, I guess. I mean I'm out there now, publicized in a way I'm only gradually getting to know. It's sort of like having been behind locked doors for years and years and finally finding a key of sorts and using it to open the door and stepping out into the sunshine - where everything is now exposed. The temptation, of course, is to crawl back, go back inside, shut the doors, shut out the over bright lights. Seems odd and a little disconcerting at times but I seem to have an abiding affiliation with the darkness, more so than I do with the light - it is the darkness that interests me, that causes me to explore. But that requires light, doesn't it? I need the light; but I love the darkness. 

I find myself at times afraid of success, though this is what I seem to be striving for. Success is not bad, of course. We all (probably) want it. You (probably) want it. I want it. But I wonder whether efforts made on its behalf are truly fruitful.  I have made compromises; I've had to market my book, for example, more than I had envisioned, being self-published. This has eaten into my writing time. In fact, of late, writing time has been next to nil. Sometimes I wonder if there's an easier way to success, whether or not a more preplanned, formulaic approach to writing would yield greater results.  

I aspire to literary fiction - but I think I may be more of a crusader-novelist than I would like to admit. I haven't written in other genres (or on second thought maybe I have and just don't know it yet) so I really don't know what it would be like to do so. I imagine that genre writers do a good deal more of preplanning, you know, of the sort that requires outlines and careful, even meticulous, attention to things like plot points and how to best position them along the line of the story the better to form 'mind blowing' (hyperbole mine) transitions from beginning to middle to end - all well and exceedingly good no doubt. On the other hand, writing literary fiction - if that is what I am trying to do - seems messier and I think must involve a fair amount of brooding, imagining hairline fractures (where none exist) or just fumbling about aimlessly in the dark.

Here's a quote from Eudora Welty that I think speaks to this. From The Eye of the Story / On Plot and The Crusader Novelist: "With a blueprint to work with instead of a vision, there is a good deal that we as the crusader-novelist must be at pains to leave out. Unavoidably, I think, we shall leave out one of the greatest things. This is the mystery of life. Our blueprint for sanity and of solution for trouble leaves out the dark. This is odd, because surely it was the dark that first troubled us." Imagine that.   

Eudora envisions something beyond merely producing a book that sells well and I think – as self-published authors – we might do well to consider it. For Eudora writing is an act of courage, of dealing with that which troubles us, using the pen's eye, so to speak, to probe the darkness. Whether or not the story produced is a best seller is beside the point. Whether or not it receives accolades from the so-called literary establishment is also beside the point.  Is it true, seems to be the point. It could be fantastic, paranormal thriller material – but is it true? To the extent it is based on plan and formula, to that extent, it may not be; it may sell well, it may even garner readers and help build a 'brand', but again, is it true? Does truth matter?

I don't think I could write an outline before writing a book (at least not easily). However, in writing Then Like the Blind Man I remember I had a large flat tabletop covered with scraps of paper and pages of copious notes semi-haphazardly-organized into semblances of chapter sequences, which I would mull over obsessively, from time to time getting rid of whole sections or adding new ones. You might have mistaken me then for the mad but brilliant mathematician John Nash (who Russell Crowe played in the movie A Beautiful Mind) with all his walls covered in papers and desperate red lines connecting imaginary dots across miles of paranoid space. Eudora could well have cited me for having provided a blueprint for sanity and solution for trouble. She might also have commended an effort, though gross and faltering, at navigating the darkness. It wasn't about money or marketability – at least not at that point.
 
You might recall the comparison (I can't remember where it came from) that describes writing a novel as being a lot like driving at night with headlights. You might not be able to see the journey's end, but you can see far enough ahead to make it. I like that comparison, and I come to no conclusions. You might throw plans out the window and end up with a kind of hodgepodge nobody understands. And what good would that be? Where's your vision?
 
 
Blurb:
Nine-year-old Orbie already has his cross to bear. After the sudden death of his father, his mother Ruby has off and married his father’s coworker and friend Victor, a slick-talking man with a snake tattoo. Since the marriage, Orbie, his sister Missy, and his mother haven’t had a peaceful moment with the heavy-drinking, fitful new man of the house. Orbie hates his stepfather more than he can stand; this fact lands him at his grandparents’ place in Harlan’s Crossroads, Kentucky, when Victor decides to move the family to Florida without including him. In his new surroundings, Orbie finds little to distract him from Granpaw’s ornery ways and constant teasing jokes about snakes.

As Orbie grudgingly adjusts to life with his doting Granny and carping Granpaw, who are a bit too keen on their black neighbors for Orbie’s taste, not to mention their Pentecostal congregation of snake handlers, he finds his world views changing, particularly when it comes to matters of race, religion, and the true cause of his father’s death. He befriends a boy named Willis, who shares his love of art, but not his skin color. And, when Orbie crosses paths with the black Choctaw preacher, Moses Mashbone, he learns of a power that could expose and defeat his enemies, but can’t be used for revenge. When a storm of unusual magnitude descends, he happens upon the solution to a paradox that is both magical and ordinary. The question is, will it be enough?
Buy Link:
AMAZON

Bio:
A poet and fiction writer, my work has been published in Poet Lore, Crystal Clear and Cloudy, and Flying Colors Anthology. I am a past attendee of Pikes Peak Writer’s Conferences and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and a member of Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver, Colorado. In addition, I am/was a licensed professional counselor and psychotherapist, who for many years counseled perpetrators of domestic violence and sex offenders, and provided psychotherapy for individuals, groups and families. I hold a master’s degree in contemplative psychotherapy from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

Visit his website at www.FreddieOwens.com to read more about Freddie.

Connect & Socialize! TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS
 
Kindle Fire Giveaway information: 
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the Kindle Fire HD.
  • This giveaway begins January 24 and ends March 28.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, March 31, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply. Good luck everyone!
ENTER TO WIN!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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