Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Guest blog: Mickie Sherwood - 'Cherished Moments'

July 27, 2014
Cherished Moments
Kissed, Loved, Lied & Left

Sweet Romantic Suspense
Price: $2.99

Senator Jordan Dupré is reluctant to revisit her past. That thought crumbles at the sight of Deacon Burke. His commanding presence and charming smile transports her back to her youth. Back then, she kissed, loved, lied, and left him—taking a life-changing secret with her.

Scorned by Jordan’s dishonesty, Deke swears he never wants to see her lying face again. However, his heart knows better, and he never stops thinking of her. When Jordan’s husband is killed, Deke is summoned to the Senator’s aid, by an unlikely source—Unfortunately, he brings a secret of his own.

Will secrets from their past reignite their cherished moments?

Deke stood—his expression blank. Apparently, he was also frozen in time.
Eyes wide and mouth agape, time had certainly stopped for her.
"Long time, no see," he remarked, closing the space between them.
As Jordan cleared her throat, she regained her composure. "That's an understatement."
With a sparkle in his eye, he seemed to scrutinize her from head to toe.
Embarrassed beneath his gaze, Jordan blushed. No longer was she the stick-thin; spunky, grad-student. Dressed in a colorful sleeveless top that accentuated the tone of her brown skin, she'd filled out in all the right places. Her tight jeans emphasized her mature, but curvy figure. Did this full-grown woman still mesmerize him?
Deke looked into her face. "Age hasn't impacted your beauty. Your brown eyes are still as beautiful as ever."
Uncertain of her response, Jordan drew a cleansing breath, and then moistened her lips.
With his eyes fixed on her lips, Deke beamed.
Had her innocent gesture sent him back to another time and place, when they once enjoyed each other?
"The look. Deke still has it."

Is there a future for these past lovers? What do you think? Leave me a comment.

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Monday, 28 July 2014

Forever His - Slaves in my Fiction by Lindsay Townsend

Roman woman and her slave
(Photo Giovanni dall'Orto, Peiraius
Museum (Wkimedia Commons).
Writing about the ancient and medieval worlds as I do I often encounter slavery as a fact of life. I explore this dynamic in some of my stories, in a careful way. Slavery was often utterly cruel and the harsh realities of life on the latifundia farms of Ancient Rome could be terrible.

For some slaves life could be a little easier, especially in personal, one to one relationships. So we have the tombstones of former slaves such as Regina (Queenie) at the ancient Roman fort near South Shields. Regina was a former slave, freed by her master who had married her. I explore that kind of hopeful dynamic in my novel Flavia's Secret and my shorter stories, Escape to Love and Silk and Steel.

I show the grimmer side of slavery in my epic adventure romances, Bronze Lightning and Blue Gold. In Bronze Lighting the heroine, Sarmatia, is captured and enslaved for a time by her enemy Carvin, the brutal king of the lands around Avebury. In Blue Gold, several characters are enslaved and must fight to regain their freedom.

Sometimes I explore aspects of submission and dominance in my stories. In my historical romances, I find this works well, fitting into the beliefs of the time. This is especially true in my medieval romances The Snow Bride, its sequel A Summer Bewitchment, and my forthcoming novella, The Virgin, the Knight and the Unicorn. Now with 10% off at Bookstrand until July 8th

I also have one light BDSM novel, Asking Too Much, set in a future where men or women can sell themselves into a consensual 'slavery' for a time.

The dynamics of acceptance and trust inspire me to explore such themes in my work. Bullying does not appeal at all to me but a situation where a man and woman come together in love, trust and respect where the heroine allows the hero to take care of her in masterful ways - that works for me.

You can see my slave and other fiction on my Amazon Author Page here and here

You can also see my slave and other fiction at SirenBookstrand at my Bookstrand Author Page here. This page also links to excerpts and reviews.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

New Book from Rosie Clarke

Hi everyone
I just popped in to tell you about my new book coming out on 22nd May 2014.
The Downstairs Maid
Rosie Clarke

This is a big saga set a hundred years ago, telling the sory of a young girl growing up on a farm, happy with the father she adores until she is forced to go and work as a skivvy at the Manor.  Emily is made of more than common clay and she will find a way to freedom and happiness.


Emily could hear the row going on downstairs and she stuck her fingers in her ears, burying her head under the pillows to shut out the angry words. It was warm in her bed, because she had two wool blankets and a thick eiderdown filled with duck feathers, and the sheets smelled of lavender. At night when it was cold out, she liked to burrow right down into her soft mattress, pull the covers over her head and disappear into her own world. In Emily’s secret world she could be whatever she wanted to be – a princess living in a castle with jelly and cake for tea every day. Or a lady in a fine house with a big diamond ring like Miss Concenii had – or…there Emily’s imagination ran out, because she knew so little of the world. The Vicar spoke of foreign lands sometimes, but the stories he told didn’t seem real but more like the fairytales in the old books Pa sometimes brought home for her to read. Pa was always bringing some treasure home for Emily. Usually, the bits of glass and china were chipped or cracked.
‘I can’t sell them like that, Em’ lass,’ he would tell her, taking her on his knee to explain that the latest find was Derby or Coalport or Worcester porcelain and the glass cranberry or Bristol Blue or perhaps a very early Georgian wineglass with a spiral stem. ‘If they were perfect they would be worth money – this scent bottle has a silver top, see – look at the hallmarks; that little lion means it’s proper English silver and the leopard’s head means it was made in London and that one is the date letter. See those four letters; they’re the maker’s marks but they’re a bit worn and I can’t see, but there’s a feel to this piece. That was made by a good silversmith that was and I’m not going to scrap it even if it would bring in a couple of bob. If this was perfect it would be worth at least two pounds, perhaps more – but the cap is dented, the stopper is broken and the glass is chipped. I wouldn’t get more than a shilling.’
‘I don’t mind,’ Emily said and hugged him. ‘I love it, because it is pretty and I don’t care that it’s damaged.’
She thought she would like to learn all the silver hallmarks but Pa didn’t know them all. He needed a reference book, so he’d told her. Emily decided that one day, when she had lots of money, she would buy him one, to say thank you for all he gave her
Pa nodded and kissed the top of her head. ‘That’s right, lass. Always remember when you buy something to buy quality. If it’s damaged it will come cheap and that way you can afford things you’d never otherwise be able to own.’
In Emily’s eyes the fact that her father had given her the treasure and took the time to explain what it was, where it was made and what it was for, meant more than the item itself. She liked to be close to Pa, to smell his own particular smell and feel safe in his arms. Emily knew her father loved her. She wasn’t sure if her mother even liked her, though sometimes she would smile and tell her to fetch out the biscuits or cakes, though she more often received a smack on the legs than a kiss.
The row seemed to go on for longer than usual that night. Driven at last by a kind of desperate curiosity, she crept down the uncarpeted wooden stairs, avoiding the one that creaked, to stand behind the door that closed the stairs off from the kitchen. Because it wasn’t shut properly, Emily could hear what her parents were saying.
‘But you’re his only relative,’ Ma said and she sounded almost tearful. ‘It isn’t fair that he should leave everything to that woman.’
Pa’s tone was calm and reasonable, the same as always. ‘Miss Concenii has been with him for years and nursed him devotedly this last year. The lawyer said he changed his will two months ago. I was the main beneficiary in the first one – most of the money and the house and contents…but then he changed it.’
‘And we know who’s behind that, don’t we?’ Ma said in a sullen tone. ‘She must have guided his hand. I told you to go and see him. I would have had him here and looked after him myself if you’d bothered to do something about it - but you're always the same. You just leave things and now we’ve been cheated out of a fortune.’
‘You don’t know that,’ Pa said. ‘He probably thought she deserved the house and money for putting up with him all those years.’
‘She guided his hand that’s what she did. You should go to court and get your share.’
‘He left me fifty pounds, a set of chessmen in ivory and ebony, a mantel clock and a Bible – and he left Em a ring. I’ve got it in my pocket…’
‘She can’t have that, it’s too valuable,’ Ma said. ‘Give it to me. I’ll look after it for her until she’s older.’
Emily wanted to call out that the ring was hers. She was frightened her mother would take it and sell it, but her father was speaking again.
‘I’ll just keep it for her. Albert left you this, Stella…’
Emily heard her mother give a squeak of pleasure. Obviously, the bequest had pleased her. Emily craned forward to peep round the door and look. She could see something on the kitchen table. It flashed in the light and she thought it must be diamonds, though there were blue stones too.
‘That’s sapphire and diamond that is,’ Pa said. ‘It’s a brooch, Stella – and worth a few bob.’
‘I can see that but it’s not worth as much as a house – and three hundred pounds. Think what we could have done with all that, Joe. You’ve been cheated of your fortune but you haven’t the sense to see it.’
‘Even if I have there’s no proof,’ Pa said. ‘She made sure of that – the doctor signed to say Albert was in his right mind when he made his last will…’
‘And what did he get out of it I wonder!’
Ma was in a right temper. Emily turned and went back up to her bedroom. She ran across the stained boards and jumped into bed. Her feet had turned cold standing on the stairs listening to her parents and her mind was full of pictures that troubled her. What had Miss Concenii done to poor Uncle Albert to make him sign his house and most of his money and possessions over to her?
Emily’s eyes stung with tears that trickled down her cheeks. She didn’t mind much that they wouldn’t be rich. Fifty pounds sounded a lot to her and she was curious about the ring Pa was keeping for her – but she hoped Uncle Albert hadn’t been made unhappy when he was ill. She felt sad for him having his hand guided and she felt sad for her father, because he’d lost his fortune.
Joe Carter worked hard from early in the morning to late at night, mucking out the horses and the cows, milking and watering and feeding the stock. His was only a small farm and he eked out a scarce living from his pigs, cows, ducks and chickens. He had one ten acre field put down to arable, which he alternated between barley, rye, wheat and potatoes, with a patch for vegetables for the house. He worked alone most of the time, though there was a lad of sixteen who came to help with the jobs he couldn’t manage alone. Bert was a little slow in his head but strong and a good worker. No one else would employ him, because he couldn’t be left to do a job alone, but Pa gave him a shilling now and then and he was always hanging around the yard, grinning at nothing in particular and eager to help. Because he was harmless and would do anything, Ma tolerated him and if there was nothing else for him to do she asked him to chop the logs for her.
When Pa had nothing much to do on the land he went out buying the things other people threw away. He had a barn filled almost to the rafters with old furniture. Ma said it was all junk, but Emily had seen some things she thought looked nice.
Pa had shown her some chairs with turned legs and a wide carved splat at the back, which he said were Georgian. He’d told her they were quality when new, but he’d only got five of a set of six and two of them had broken legs. One day he hoped to mend the legs but he was always looking for a single chair that would match the set – because a set of six was worth a lot more than five.
Best of all Emily liked the selection of silver bits, china and glass that Pa kept in a cabinet in the barn. She liked the delicate silver jug with a shaped foot Pa said was Georgian, the little enamelled snuff or pill boxes with pictures on the lids – and the silver box that opened to reveal a singing bird. That was lovely and Emily would have loved to own it, but Pa had to sell his nice things because there wasn’t enough money coming in from the land. He’d talked of having a shop in Ely one day, but Ma told him he was daft because he could never afford to pay the rent.
If Pa had got Uncle Albert’s house and money he could have bought a shop. Perhaps then Ma and Emily wouldn’t have had to hide from the tallyman ever again...

Look out for publication day on the 22nd May!

Hope you enjoy the book. I really do want this one to do well.  It's a long time since I was able to write something like this for Linda Sole fans.

Love from Rosie.

The WeWriWa Hop

I have a few author friends who like to attend weekly critique groups, they claim the system works. They bring a page or two of their current work-in-progress (before the story is finished) to read to the group. Sometimes changes are made based on the helpful comments made. That system doesn’t work for me. I’m called a pantser, I like to write my story from beginning to end before I begin any revisions, editing or re-writes. There is, though, a lot to be said for having another pair of eyes review your work before the finished manuscript is sent to submissions.
We all know that it is easier for someone else to pick out typos, grammatical errors and inconsistencies in the story, after all we KNOW what we MEANT to say and sometimes our own eyes play tricks on us and make us THINK we see what we know should be there. Sometimes it isn’t the typo we need to have pointed out to us.
In our writer’s mind we know where we want our characters to be going and we understand why they have personality quirks that would drive most people away. Our readers don’t necessarily understand this until that big reveal somewhere in the story which means they may become annoyed with the character flaws and simply stop reading. NOOOOOO!!!! I recently had my eyes opened about one of my beloved heroes, Adam in Courage of the Heart. Adam has a past that he is ashamed of and keeps secret because he just doesn’t feel very good about himself. Along comes Davie, a young innocent girl/woman – he’s attracted, she is too, but he manages to anger, insult and hurt her all at once (unintentionally of course) and now he fights to win her back.
I’ve been participating in the Weekend Writing Warriors weekly blog hop since last September (9/15/2013 to be exact). We share 8-sentence snippets from our works (published or unpublished) every week and then visit other participants, read and comment on their snippets. While several of the warriors use snippets from works in progress, some of us use pieces from already published works, like me. What benefit is there to using work that is already out there in printed form, either e-book or print, and can no longer be changed? I use the comments to see how well I have been able to communicate. The use of such small segments of each story can be challenging because it doesn’t allow for much room to make our point clear. It’s a lesson in making every word count.
Last week my fellow warriors noted that Adam seemed too persistent to the point of “creepiness”; now I am egotistical enough to console myself with some wonderful reviews I got for the book so obviously his actions are acceptable… to a reader who reads more than just the snippets. But this also means that I didn’t do my job as a writer. Writers need to keep a reader involved with the characters giving sympathy when appropriate or annoyance when it’s called for. When we fail to keep our characters real to our readers, we risk losing their interest in the story.
By seeing and understanding the story I wrote through other eyes, and not just for proofreading purposes, I have a clearer understanding that my intended thoughts are communicated. Even though my book was already published, I am able to use the insight from last week in my current work-in-progress to make sure that the inevitable genre formula where the boy loses the girl and works to win her back is not mired with “creepiness”. For those that are interested, I’m writing a sequel to Karma Visited and continuing the paranormal romantic suspense storyline between Annie and Dave.
In the meanwhile, this is an invitation to all writers to join this weekly blog hop we call Weekend Writing Warriors / #8sunday; post 8 sentences from a current writing project, published or unpublished, and then visit other participants and offer opinions, critiques, support. It’s a fun time as we hang out with other writers all striving to be better at what we do.

Please come visit me at my blog  Chelle Cordero, Author
at my web-site  Welcome to Chelle's World