Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Spooky Read on What to Read Thursday!

Happy Halloween! 

Last Halloween I was looking for a romance that was a spooky read.  I didn't care if the book had ghosts, witches, werewolves, vampires... I just wanted it to cast an atmospheric and moody spell over me.

So, this year, since What to Read Thursday conveniently lands on Halloween, I thought I'd make a recommendation in case someone else is also looking for a spooky read: Amanda Stevens' The Graveyard Queen series. I read her first novel in January 2012, and gobbled up the later books in the series as soon as they were released.

There are four books in the series:

The Abandoned (Prequel, Novella): Amazon
The Restorer (Book 1, Novel): Amazon
The Kingdom (Book 2, Novel): Amazon
The Prophet (Book 3, Novel): Amazon

Be prepared for ghosts, cemeteries, witchcraft, secrets, the rich setting of Charleston, and murder!

Here is a little description of the first novel in the series (which was my favorite):

THE RESTORER by Amanda Stevens

Story: This is Book One of Stevens' Graveyard Queen series. Amelia Gray, who is a graveyard restorer, sees ghosts, but she has been trained by her father to ignore the displaced spirits. Unfortunately, when a murder victim is discovered in one of her restoration projects, she is drawn into ghostly interactions, primarily through the intriguing and attractive detective, John Devlin, who is haunted by his dead wife and daughter.

My Thoughts: As soon as I read The Abandoned (the novella prequel to the series) I was hooked. What's not to love? There were cemeteries (which my family knows I can't get enough of), ghosts and a sexy detective - PLUS I loved the way Stevens' developed this premise. In The Restorer, Stevens' writing is poetic and spooky, making it even more enchanting than the prequel. The attraction between John and Amelia is nicely integrated, but it was only one of the many layers of the novel. I knew that this book was part of a series from the beginning, which is important for me. (I like to know from the beginning if I should expect all of the questions to be answered by the end of the book. In a series that is less important.) Stevens integrated enough larger character questions to keep the story flowing into the next book in the series, but the major plot questions for each novel were resolved in each book. I highly recommend this book / series to anyone looking for a spooky and intriguing ghost story / murder mystery.

~~~

I would not classify this as a romance, though... more of a paranormal with romantic elements.  So, I'm on the hunt for a spooky romance!  Do you have any suggestions?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Is it Christmas? In October?

Wow! What a difference 14 days makes! 

As you may recall, two weeks ago I posted a photo of the tree outside my office window.  It was so beautiful with its yellowy leaves. 

Today, it looks like this:

Did I mention how short
autumn was in Alberta?

But, that's okay.

For one thing, I know it won't last for long.  After looking at the forecast, I think the snow will be gone by Tuesday. *fingers crossed*

And, secondly, I am feeling rather Christmas-y. 

Two of my book covers, which I sell through http://www.selfpubbookcovers.com/, were purchased by authors over the weekend!  Yay! 

AND, on Saturday, I finished my revisions on Annie's Christmas Plan. Annie and Quinn's story is now in the hands of my fearless editor. (This was followed by happy dancing and wine drinking.) Their story is set largely in a winter wonderland of hope and Christmas crafts, so the snow is a perfect accompaniment.

Sign up for my newsletter to get first-hand news of Annie's Christmas Plan's upcoming release and other news! 

Now, if only I'd hung my Halloween decorations before it snowed...

~~~

How do you feel about the first snowfall of the year?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Planning for Spring!

Yesterday I planted flower bulbs! (Shhh... I stole away from my edits for a little while to play in my garden.)  I'm so excited!  I now have tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinths and crocuses in the ground!  I hope most of them survive and come up in the spring!  *fingers crossed*
 
I always love the first flowers of the year!  They usually arrive when I'm not sure if it is truly spring yet, and they convince me it is true. 
 
These are the first bulbs I've planted at this house.  I used to have a lot at my last home (these photos are from that home), but it was too late in the season to do landscape work at our new house last year.  So, this past spring was a little dreary. 
 
But, spring 2014 will be a riot of color and I can't wait!
 

 



Do you plant spring bulbs?  What are your favorite spring flowers?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kate Warren - What to Read Thursday!


Yay!  It is that time again, when I have the wonderful opportunity to introduce you to my lovely writing friends and their fabulous books. 

Welcome to What to Read Thursday!

"What to Read Thursday" is posted every other Thursday (for previous posts,
click here.) The focus of these Thursdays is on romance novels. Sub-genres of romance are welcome, but Happily-Ever-Afters (or Happy-For-Now) endings are mandatory! :-) 

~~~~~

This week, I'm excited to welcome 
Kate Warren to my blog!  I first met Kate through the now defunct Six Sentence Sunday blog hop, where she got me hooked on her book, Bridging the Gaps, which she is talking about today!  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I can't wait to hear what Kate has to say about it!

~~~~~

Book Cover
for Bridging the Gaps
What was the inspiration for your story?
Three things: I wanted to write a romance about people who aren’t in their twenties and don’t have six pack abs; an idea about a dentist who gives out candy on Halloween; some stories my mother told me.
Lorraine: LOL.  I know what you mean about people who aren't in their twenties! Some of my recent characters are also not in their twenties.  It is fun to explore new age groups!  ;)    
Where/when did you set your story and why?
Bridging The Gaps is set in a small town in Wisconsin.  People say “write what you know,” so I did.  The city of Troy Falls is an invention, a combination of several small towns I’ve either lived in or visited over the years.  The time is 2009, because that’s the year it was when I started writing it.
Lorraine: That's great!  I love learning about new places.  I visited Wisconsin (very briefly) a few years ago and have wanted to return ever since!  
What was the last romance novel you added to your “keeper” pile or list?
That would probably be Tessa Dare’s A Lady By Midnight.  I have her latest but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.  I’ll read anything she writes because I know it will be wonderful and hilariously funny.  She’s such a talented and genuine person.  I’ve been a fan since her pre-fame days.
Lorraine: Excellent!  I think I've only read one of Tessa Dare's books, so I'll have to add this to my list!  :) 
What’s next?  Do you have another story on your desk you’d like to tease us with?
Currently I’m working on the sequel to my very first novel, The DeFord Chronicles, Part I.  The sequel is called The DeFord Chronicles, Part II.  Shocking, I know. ;)  This book refuses to be finished.  I can honestly say it’s my longest work to date. 
I also have plans for a humor novel, some regency stories, more DeFord Chronicles books, and quite possibly a sequel to Bridging The Gaps.  One day I hope to write a serious work of historical fiction, but I’m not certain I’m capable of being serious long enough to accomplish that.
Lorraine: I also have a book that keeps growing, so I understand what you mean about a book refusing to be finished.  Sounds like you have a lot on your desk!  
What is one of your favorite lines or snippets from your story?
I love the character of Matt and one of his lines is my favorite.  He’s just come home from a weekend at his father’s, and is disgusted by the lovey-dovey relationship Dad has with his girlfriend: 
“If you’ll excuse me, I have to go wash my ears out with acid.”
Lorraine: Fantastic!  I loved Matt's character!  :)
~~~~~
ABOUT KATE WARREN:
A very regal
looking Kate Warren!
Kate Warren was born on a cold day, in the early morning. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, she is not a morning person. Kate writes humorous and dramatic novels, novellas, flash fiction, and poetry. She also writes songs and has an unfinished stageplay to her credit--or shame, whichever works.
She is a former spelling champion with a lovely singing voice, an appreciation for reading, music, movies, and art, and a deep and abiding love of really bad puns.
Kate currently lives in a small town in Wisconsin with her husband and four children--three of whom have autistic spectrum disorders--and a very cute dog.
If Kate could choose a superpower it would be the ability to fly, and if she were an animal she would be a horse. She loves Jane Austen's works and her favorite bird is the black-capped chickadee.
~~~~~
WHERE TO FIND KATE WARREN:
katewarrenthewriter (AT) gmail (DOT) com
@TheKateWarren on Twitter
~~~~~
Ellen Pritchard thinks the world is over now that her husband has left her. If only that were the case. Instead she's forced to confront her fears and find who she is all over again while dealing with troublesome teenagers, an alcoholic son, and a man from her past who just might offer a second chance for both of them if Ellen can find the courage to take it.

With her eldest daughter and a group of unforgettable friends to lean on, Ellen will learn that "that which does not kill us" is life, and love is always worth the risk.
~~~~~
 
WHERE TO BUY BRIDGING THE GAPS
On Amazon  
~~~~~
EXCERPT OF BRIDGING THE GAPS
Should he kiss her goodnight?  Was it appropriate on a first date with someone else’s wife?  Did she want him to?  Did he want to?  Yes.  He did.  But was it a good idea?
Ellen’s thoughts were running along the same lines.  But she wasn’t sure if she wanted Henry to kiss her.  Maybe a handshake?  Or a hug?  But that would be too impersonal. 
She was about to suggest they discuss the issue when he leaned toward her.  His lips brushed her cheek softly and she felt disappointment surge through her.  She did want him to kiss her after all. 
~~~~~
I love the mix of emotions in the excerpt!  Dont you?
 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What happens at the rodeo? An Excerpt from DEVIN'S SECOND CHANCE

Here is an excerpt (aka a hint) for The Romance Reviews Year-End Splash Party event, which runs from November 1-30, 2013. 

Be sure to check it out for some great prizes!  I'll be giving away a print copy of Devin's Second Chance!

~~~~~

Devin's Second Chance Excerpt


Devin stared at Claire and cursed. Why the hell was she here? No, he could figure that out well enough. His mother and her schemes were going to kill him. Tonight, the minute he got home, he’d be sitting down with his darling meddling mother and they’d have a long chat about how she was going to quit interfering.

Claire had cringed when she saw him, then she glanced away. Her reaction was exactly what he would have expected. She’d told him clearly enough he was an ass the last time they’d been together. He’d had his hand in her pants, and she’d told him to get lost. That was pretty damn clear.

When she looked at him a second time, he motioned for her to come down. He probably should go up there and explain things, but she was sitting in front of Hanna May, the busiest busybody on the circuit. That woman didn’t miss many rodeos and she certainly never missed any gossip. His mother had probably planned that, too.

Claire took a deep breath, then nodded. When she stood, Devin had to drag his gaze away. She was wearing a snug T-shirt and jeans, displaying her tight little body. Making him think about things he really shouldn’t…couldn’t. He was not going to gawk at her breasts pressing against the thin material.

He wasn’t.

Devin tapped his foot and turned to watch the barrel racing while Claire climbed down through the spectators. She was going to be as pissed as he was. Hell, the last time they’d spoken she’d essentially said she never wanted to see him again.

When Claire arrived at his side, he forced himself to look at her. He expected her to be tense but she had an easy smile on her face.

“I’ve never been to a rodeo before,” she said. “It is wonderful. You should see the pictures I’ve taken.”

Devin nodded and drummed his fingers against the railing. “My mother called.”

Claire’s eyebrow lifted.

“She’s left the rodeo. She asked if I could take you home.”

“You’re joking, aren’t you? She was—” Claire squinted toward the seats they’d shared.

“No joke.” Devin rubbed his neck. “Listen, I’m sorry.”

“Is she okay?”

Devin cleared his throat. “On the phone, she started off by saying she thought she might have gotten a bit of heatstroke, but—”

“We should find her, check on her. She shouldn’t be driving. She should have come and got me.” Claire started to press through the crowd beside the bleachers, then she stopped. “Are you coming? I don’t know where you’re parked.”

“Stop for a minute.” Without thinking, Devin put his hand on her arm to stay her. Her skin was warm from the sun and smooth as silk. He jerked his hand away. “Mom doesn’t have heatstroke. The truth is she—I don’t know how to say this—she’s got this idea that you and I…” He glanced at the people beside them, but no one was paying much attention.

Claire stared at him.

“I’ll talk with her,” he said.

Claire fiddled with the strap on her camera bag, like she had in the barn the other day. No, he would not think about what had happened in the barn. He cleared his throat.

“You think she brought me here and then left so that you’d have to take me home?”

Devin shrugged. “That about sums it up.”

“Are you blushing?”

“God, no,” Devin said, adjusting the angle of his hat. “She doesn’t know about…well, she doesn’t know you’d prefer to stay away from me. I’ll find someone else to take you home, okay? That way you don’t have to worry about anything.”

“You’re going to ask someone else to take me home?” The way Claire’s eyebrows came together, she looked a bit hurt. But damn it, she was the one who kept putting up roadblocks between them.

“If you want.”

“No.” Claire straightened her shoulders. “That is not what I want.”

It was Devin’s turn to raise his eyebrows.

“I want to watch the bull riding and any other event that is still to come. Then if you are ready, you can drive me home. Don’t you dare pawn me off on someone else.” She stared up at him, as if she was daring him to defy her.

“Bulls, hey?”

She lifted her chin. “Yes.”

Devin tapped the front of his hat and nodded at her. She was taking this situation with more grace than he’d expected. “Yes, ma’am.”

~~~~~

DEVIN'S SECOND CHANCE
Devin's Second Chance Book Cover
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 84,000 words
Series: A Morning Lake Novel: Book 1

Digital Copies Available Here:
Amazon.com | Smashwords 

All Romance eBooks | Kobo 
Indigo-Chapters | Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk

Print Copies Available Here:
CreateSpace | Amazon.com 
Barnes & Noble | Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk

Blurb: Cowboy Devin Trent can't believe his matchmaking mom is trying to set him up with Claire Best, the photographer at the local art gallery.  She should know better than anyone why he doesn't deserve a second chance at love. What surprises him even more is that he is drawn to Claire and she seems interested in him, too. Their mutual attraction grows every time they see one another, but when he suspects Claire is keeping a secret he becomes wary. After all, his first marriage was ruined by secrets and lies.
Can Devin earn Claire's trust? Or, will Claire's secret end their relationship before it begins?

Excerpt: Read Another Excerpt Here

Reviews of Devin's Second Chance can be found on:
Goodreads | Amazon.com | Smashwords | LibraryThing | Amazon.ca

~~~~~

Don't you just love a matchmaker?

Inspiration for Devin's Second Chance

I love Aaron Pritchett's song "Warm Safe Place" and, coincidentally, it was one of the inspirations for Devin's Second Chance.  I don't know if that comes through in the story, but I can't hear this song without thinking of Claire and Devin's relationship. 





~~~~~

DEVIN'S SECOND CHANCE
Devin's Second Chance Book Cover
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 84,000 words
Series: A Morning Lake Novel: Book 1

Digital Copies Available Here:
Amazon.com | Smashwords 

All Romance eBooks | Kobo 
Indigo-Chapters | Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk


Print Copies Available Here:
CreateSpace | Amazon.com 
Barnes & Noble | Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk

Blurb: Cowboy Devin Trent can't believe his matchmaking mom is trying to set him up with Claire Best, the photographer at the local art gallery.  She should know better than anyone why he doesn't deserve a second chance at love. What surprises him even more is that he is drawn to Claire and she seems interested in him, too. Their mutual attraction grows every time they see one another, but when he suspects Claire is keeping a secret he becomes wary. After all, his first marriage was ruined by secrets and lies.
Can Devin earn Claire's trust? Or, will Claire's secret end their relationship before it begins?

Excerpt: Read an Excerpt Here

Reviews of Devin's Second Chance can be found on:
Goodreads | Amazon.com | Smashwords | LibraryThing | Amazon.ca


~~~~~

Do you ever associate particular songs with books?

Monday, October 14, 2013

10 Things to Love about Fall in Alberta

Here is a pic of the tree outside my office
window today.  Beautiful!
Autumn in Alberta always seems notoriously short.  I don't think I fully realized this until I spent a few years in Ontario.  Actually, in Ontario, fall and spring both seemed so much more vibrant and long, but today I'm thinking about autumn. The fall leaf colors, which seemingly were taken from every hue of yellow, orange and red, vibrated against the sapphire blue skies for weeks and weeks and weeks.  It really was a visual treat. 

In Alberta, by contrast, autumn can slip by in a heart beat.  One minute the leaves are green, then there is a flash of yellow across the countryside, then, in the next moment, the trees are bare.  Which means, I think, that Albertans need to celebrate that little yellow window and enjoy it as much as they can.

So, here is my list of 10 things to love about fall in Alberta (Okay, I know some of these aren't exclusive to Alberta):
  1. Canadian Thanksgiving lands in mid-October... and there is so much to love about Thanksgiving, but particularly family, food and thanks! 
  2. My sister's birthday is in October, and birthdays are one of the occasions we always try to see one another.
  3. The view from my office window is stunning.
  4. The farmer's fields are being worked with big combines into tidy little geometric squares.  It is quite pretty.
  5. Snow is settling into the mountains, making them a beautiful sight against the clear blue western skies.
  6. Hockey has started up again, which means I have more evenings to write! (Okay, perhaps this isn't exclusive to Alberta...)  Edits on my upcoming book, Annie's Christmas Plan, are zipping right along (finally)!
  7. More blankets get added to the bed, so mornings are all cozy and toasty. In the summer, cozy and toasty aren't really "the thing."
  8. The sun starts appearing later and disappearing earlier, which I freely admit isn't the best thing during the work week, but, on the weekend... awww.  Today, for example, it was still dark when I awoke, so I stayed under my cozy, toasty blankets and read a book.  It was such a luxury.  That doesn't happen as often in the summer because there are always so many things to do once the sun is up.
  9. Oh, and Pumpkin Spice and Ginger Spice Lattes are back in the coffee shops!  Yum, yum, yum!  (Again, I know this happens elsewhere, but it really did need a mention!)  I'm not sure everyone appreciates how happy this makes me!
  10. And, this fall, I've had the opportunity to teach my first online class for ARWA, my local writing group.  The Social Media for Writers 101 Class has been a lot of fun so far, and we're only a few weeks in!
~~~~~

Okay, your turn, what do you love most about autumn?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Austyn Faulkner - What to Read Thursday!

Welcome to What to Read Thursday!

"What to Read Thursday" is posted every other Thursday (for previous posts,
click here.) The focus of these Thursdays is on romance novels. Sub-genres of romance are welcome, but Happily-Ever-Afters (or Happy-For-Now) endings are mandatory! :-) 

~~~~~

This week, I'm excited to welcome Austyn Faulkner to my blog!  I was recently introduced to Austyn through a mutual writing friend. Today, she is talking about her debut release, Payne Management, and I can't wait to hear what she has to say!  I love the premise of her book!

~~~~~

 
What was your inspiration for this story?  

What a vibrant cover!

I love Brandon Lee and wanted to read a story about a character like him. I could not find one so I wrote my own.

Lorraine: I love find out where people get their ideas!  That's great!

What did you enjoy the most about writing this story?
 
The humor. I loved writing the banter between the two main characters.
 
Lorraine: I love humorous banter!

Where / when did you set your story and why?
 
I set this one in New York because of the hero. Usually anything I write is set in Louisiana. (The heroine is from New Orleans)
 
Lorraine: I've never been to either New York or New Orleans, but both are on my bucket list!  I can't wait to see those locations through your characters!

Do you have a favorite time of day and / or place to write?
 
Although I hate getting up early, that is when I love to write. I do most of my writing in my living room with the my dog curled up beside me.
 
Lorraine: Nice!  Your routine sounds a lot like mine!

What’s next?  Do you have another story on your desk you’d like to tease us with?
 
I just finished my story “Ghould Gone Wild” about a woman who accidently summons a ghost of a movie star at a Halloween party séance. It’s with beta readers right now and I’m anxiously waiting to hear from them.
 
Lorraine: I love that premise!  Sounds wonderful!  I can't wait to learn more about it!
 
~~~~~
 
ABOUT AUSTYN FAULKER
 
The lovely Austyn Faulkner
on a very special day!
I was born and raised in a small town in Mississippi. My family and I are very close. I have one younger brother and a nephew who hung the moon. I am married to a man who absolutely hates reading (gasp!) but thankfully, enables my reading and writing addiction. We have one four-legged and furry daughter named Ophelia Spunkmier. (Her friends call her Spunky.)
 
My favorite suspense authors are Tami Hoag, Sandra Brown, and Linda Howard. I love reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Patricia Preston’s stories for the humor.
 
My fantasy is to be able to quit my job (working in a doctor’s office), move to Louisiana, and write full-time. That is my wish everytime I find a penny or a four-leaf clover.
~~~~~

WHERE TO FIND AUSTYN

Facebook: facebook.com/austyn.faulkner.9
Twitter: twitter.com/@austynfaulkner

YOU CAN BUY Payne Management at Amazon!

~~~~~

BLURB for Payne Management

The North and South are fighting again! Will the South come out with a long-awaited win or will the North claim yet another victory?
 
In the gray corner, hailing from the bayou of Southern Louisiana is Dr. Payne Carrington, who left her beloved Big Easy to move to the mean streets of New York. She moves in with her godfather and opens a Free Clinic for indigent patients. The only fly in the ointment is her godfather’s hired henchman, Jake, who hates her at first sight.
 
And in the blue corner, stand the Big Apple’s own Jake Lee, local boy turned thug-for-hire. He’s handsome, lethal, and has no time for the pampered princess that his employer dotes on. Her southern accent and choice of cars give him plenty of ammunition to use in bullying her back to the land of crawfish and etoufee.
 
Payne spends her days at the Clinic and her nights planning Jake’s painful, disfiguring demise. But when a threat is made on her life and Jake is assigned to keep her safe, Payne is forced to cease fire on her enemy. Jake, however, waves no white flag and continues his barrage of insults. But, as he is forced to spend time with her, he starts to see another side to the Louisiana Belle. A side that gives a whole new meaning to Southern Comfort.
 
Can they stop the feud long enough to become friends? Or is the attraction they start to feel doomed from the start?

~~~~~

EXCERPT from Payne Management

“Don’t they have a word for a woman like you?”

She slowly turned to face him. “Physician?”

The smile that slid across his handsome face made her hand itch to slap it off. “That wasn’t quite the word I was thinking.”

“Sorry, was it too big for you? Try this then, doctor.”

His laugh bounced off the walls and made her wince inwardly. She knew better than to verbally joust with him. She just couldn’t seem to help herself.

~~~~~

See, doesn't this book sound like fun???