Monday Mayhem – NoMoWriMo!

Well, this is it. The last day of NaNoWriMo for 2015. I’m happy to announce that I verified my word count yesterday and have completed my seventh challenge!

NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner

Also, in the course of NaNoing, I FINALLY typed ‘The End’ on the first draft of LOVE AND ROCKETS!

the end

Every year, I tell myself I won’t do it again. Who needs the worry? The stress? The sore wrists and fingers? Then, every year, I sign in, sign up, and get going again. Unlike the first time I did it, I know now that what I have at the end of NaNoWriMo is far from being ready to go out into the world. Thirty days and nights of literary abandon is great for writing, but doesn’t make for good reading.

Trust me on this.

For this reason, I have deemed December has become EditThisCrapMo. There are three stages to this process.

1) Distance. I can’t look at this book anymore. I can’t think about it. I just need to put it out of my mind and play with some other idea for a while. Believe me, it’s for the best that these characters and I go to our separate corners for a while.

2) Clarity. There are two parts to this one. The first part is acknowledging that a good portion of what I churned out in November is crap. But, even better, is coming to the realization that the majority of it is not-quite-crap. Crap gets cut, but I can work with not quite crap.

3) Reading like a reader. I think this is the most important step for any author. I read through the entire steaming pile before I make any drastic decisions. What might look like a dangling plot line at first glance, might be transformed into an additional layer of conflict, or a set up for future series installments. Reading like a reader means I have to look at the hot mess of a novel a whole before I tear it to shreds.

This is what I’ll be doing this month.

And shopping. Picking out a tree, decorating, and going to holiday parties. I’m also hoping to catch a few of my holiday favorites, now that I’m not in full-on writing frenzy. I always look for Holiday Inn, Going My Way, and the original Miracle on 34th Street when I’m cruising the listings.

Oh! The Grinch. Boris Karloff, not Jim Carrey. And, I love the one with Heat Miser and Snow Miser. Of course, it’s not Christmas until Lucy and I extort a few nickels from the mister.

lucy

Oh, and the baking! My 17 year-old stand mixer is moaning and groaning. The knobs have all cracked and been super glued. The plastic coating on my flat beater is worn through. I think I need this sexy beast as an early Christmas gift, don’t you?

KitchenAid_Artisan_Candy_Apple_Red_Stand_Mixer-sixhundred

Looking for a quick and easy recipe for the office party? Try these Magic Cookie Bars. Even my coconut-hating hubby eats these tasty tidbits.

cookiebars

What’s your plan of attack for the holiday season? Got any yummy recipes you want to share?

 

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Weekend Writing Warrior – 11/29/15

Here’s another taste of my current work, LOVE AND ROCKETS (Coastal Heat #3 – October 2016). This is the story of a rocket scientist who falls in love with a hardworking single mom and her brainy daughter.

****

“Jeez, Mom—”

Darla saw her daughter’s ire and raised her the mom hand. “Don’t start.”

“That was Doctor Dal—”

“I know who it was.”

“You embarrassed me!”

Those three little words were enough to take the starch out of any defense Darla might have presented. Like any woman who’d survived adolescence, she felt her daughter’s discomfiture keenly. “I’m sorry, Sweets.”

“We were just talking about how he liked my Saturn!”

****

Good luck to everyone sprinting to finish NaNo! Be sure to check out all of this weekend’s Weekend Writing Warrior posts!

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Fangirl Fridays!

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Got a crush? It’s okay to spill it here. Fictional boyfriends battling it out for your affections in your dreams? Talk movies, TV shows, books, or even video games. Do tell! Anything goes on Fangirl Fridays!

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Teaser Tuesday – Marina Myles

 

 Cinderella and the Ghost.ebook

 

Excerpt – CINDERELLA AND THE GHOST

 

All at once, Ella remembered standing in front of the long-case clock, precisely like this. But how could that be? She must have repressed memories from her visit here as a child. Yet, she couldn’t explain the vision of herself dancing with the handsome man.

Once she confirmed that a life-sized painting wasn’t hanging in the ballroom, she made her way up the grand staircase. Inexplicably, she felt drawn to where she was going. When she reached the second floor of the house, she studied a wall of faded frescoes depicting late seventeenth century life. When something told her to go on, she padded to the third floor landing.

A palpable hush filled the corridor ahead of her. Then a charged stream of energy rushed forward. Since all the curtains were drawn over the arched windows, the hallway sat in darkness and shadow. Ella should be doing so many things. Unpacking. Cleaning. Deciding which bedroom would be hers. But a sense of urgency prompted her feet to continue.

What will I find in this part of the house? Glimpses of the valiant but very dead Jean-Daniel Girard?

Gulping, she opened door after door and peeked in each one. She finally came to a storage space, with an additional staircase leading up to an attic. Creeping up those stairs, she surveyed the articles on the landing. Broken mirrors and articles of furniture draped in white sheets lay strewn about. Tangled strings of cobwebs swathed the wood paneling.

A glowing beam of sunlight angled into the room. Ella’s pulse sped. In the corner, she spotted an item covered with a black cloth. The object reclined against the far wall—and appeared to be larger than she was. Pushing the curtains open, she allowed more sunlight to bathe the space. Hands quivering, she moved back to the draped item and pulled away the black cloth.

The painting’s gilded frame was stunning. On it, Ella located a nameplate.

Jean-Daniel Girard—Viscount de Maincy

1677-1703

 Slowly, as though her life was being altered with every centimeter, her stare ascended to the nobleman’s astonishing face and instantly, the world fell into a compelling silence.

Jean-Daniel Girard was tall, muscular, and inarguably handsome. In fact, his striking good looks affected Ella so deeply that she could barely breathe as she gazed upon them. More than that, she knew she’d seen the viscount’s face somewhere before. While she racked her brain about where she’d seen it, her gaze roamed over Jean-Daniel’s sold body, penetrating aquamarine eyes, and angular features. He could be described as classically handsome. The epitome of male beauty, really. And thankfully, that classic quality helped him transcend the fanciful clothing and wig he wore.

Ella took a step in and studied him some more. True to subjects painted in that era, he wasn’t smiling. Rather, he seemed a pensive and a bit melancholy. However, she could tell from the laugh lines bracketing his generous mouth that he grinned often.

Incredibly lifelike, the nobleman seemed capable of emerging from the painting right then and there. Ella’s skin tingled.

Her gaze drifted to the adorable dog sitting at the viscount’s feet. A splendid example of a hound, it possessed a gleaming brown-and-white coated, an open mouth, and a protruding tongue. Oddly, the dog seemed to be smiling.

“I can tell you loved your master,” she murmured.

Mesmerized by the man in the painting, Ella stared at his image for what felt like hours. The more she analyzed it, the more she noticed its “lost soul” quality. She crossed her arms. No, that wasn’t it. Instead, there seemed to be something underlying the viscount’s solemn face. As if he weren’t solemn at all. As if he possessed a sense of unfinished business.

To die so young…

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Buy links:

http://www.amazon.com/Cinderella-Ghost-Cursed-Princes-Book-ebook/dp/B00NZZJ5N0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418060732&sr=8-1&keywords=cinderella+and+the+ghost

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cinderella-and-the-ghost-marina-myles/1120419439?ean=9781601832832

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/cinderella-and-the-ghost/id923819973?mt=11

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/cinderella-and-the-ghost

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Cinderella-Ghost/Marina-Myles/Q392155177?id=5953492178836

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Monday Mayhem – Thank you

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the States, and I want to tell you that I am thankful for each and every one of you. Thank you for being a part of my life. Here’s hoping the coming year is filled with popcorn, jelly beans, toast, and pretzels sticks.

thanksgiving

And if there’s an ice cream sundae sitting around, make sure you eat it too!

xoxo
Mags

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Weekend Writing Warrior – 11/22/15

Here’s another taste of my current work, LOVE AND ROCKETS (Coastal Heat #3 – October 2016). This is the story of a rocket scientist who falls in love with a hardworking single mom and her brainy daughter.

****

The solar system stretched the diameter of the seventy-two-inch round top.

Knowing her terrifyingly bright baby, she’d probably decided brown blob on the tablecloth was a meteorite. And Jake Dalton had probably given her a name for it. A real name. Not something silly like Andy Asteroid or Mario the Meteor. One more along the lines of Cassius or AvalonXJ5.

Her cheeks burned as she stared straight at the glowing papier-mâché sun. She closed her eyes and allowed the wave of pure mortification to wash over her. He’d done nothing more than take a few minutes out of his evening to talk to a little girl who’d spent almost two weeks getting the rings of Saturn right, and she’d stopped just shy of calling the man a pedophile.
This wasn’t the first time she’d fucked up royally.

****

That’s all from me this week. Be sure to check out all of this weekend’s Weekend Writing Warrior posts!

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Fangirl Fridays!

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Got a crush? It’s okay to spill it here. Fictional boyfriends battling it out for your affections in your dreams? Talk movies, TV shows, books, or even video games. Do tell! Anything goes on Fangirl Fridays!

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Teaser Tuesday – Sandra Jones

HIS MOST WANTED

By Sandra Jones

HisMostWanted72lg
It’ll take more than a badge to get her to confess her secrets.
Kit Wainwright only meant to stop the thief making off with his beloved uncle’s ashes. He wants to hang up his gun, become a law-abiding citizen and leave his violent past behind. But the mayor takes notice of his sharpshooting skills, slaps a badge on his chest and puts him in charge of cleaning up this lawless town. Starting with tracking down the notorious Velvet Grace.

Bordello owner Cora Reilly never meant to become a crusader. But after shooting the last corrupt sheriff in self-defense, she’s spent the last few months turning her hastily donned disguise into a local legend to defend the girls in her town from riff-raff.

There’s no way Cora can trust the handsome new sheriff. Yet Kit’s kisses leave her wanting to open her arms—and her bedroom—to soothe his grief. Even if it brings him too close to the truth that could send her to the gallows.
Warning: Contains a reluctant sheriff with a keen eye for a moving target, and a take-no-crap madam who isn’t about to let him get close. Okay, maybe just a little bit closer. Just this once…

Available in Print and Digital:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/His-Most-Wanted-River-Rogues-ebook/dp/B013HUVF4O/

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/his-most-wanted-sandra-jones/1122473891?ean=9781619226258

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/his-most-wanted

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/his-most-wanted/id1027696511?mt=11

All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hismostwanted-1873637-162.html

Samhain: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5635/his-most-wanted

Author Bio
Sandra Jones is a multi-published author of historical romances. A former bookseller and librarian, she’s always had her nose in a book.

When not researching or writing her next novel, she enjoys being with family, reading, cooking for her husband, and watching British TV. At home in the South, her house overlooks a river and a farm, where most days you can find her working to the sounds of wildlife and cattle.

Sandra loves to hear from her readers. Visit her website at www.SandraJonesRomance.com

Sandra Jones Pic

Author Links
Website: http://www.sandrajonesromance.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sandra-Jones-Author/428923117143918
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SJonesRomance
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/SandraJones

Teaser:

The gun, still warm from shooting the sheriff, fit just right against Cora Lynn Reilly’s ribs, wedged beneath her breasts between her corset and her blouse. Her heart thundered like a cannonball as she looked for a way to exit the room that wouldn’t require going near the body on the floor, but unfortunately, there wasn’t one. The sound of the blast would likely bring someone upstairs to check on the man, and she couldn’t be caught alone with him.

Balancing on her toes to miss the blood spreading across the boards, she stepped over the first booted leg, her skirt spanning Bill Sidlow’s bloated thighs. She lifted her hem to avoid dragging her petticoat across the man’s torso, now damp and crimson, and set her left foot down with care between his side and his spread-eagle arm.

Don’t look, don’t look. But morbid curiosity got the better of her. She had to be absolutely certain the bastard was dead, so she glanced down at Sidlow’s face. His sightless eyes stared back at her, familiar enough to make a frisson of terror run down her spine again after he’d cornered her against his apartment wall with demands of sex.

“Shoulda known better,” she scolded beneath her breath. But whether she’d directed her words at the sheriff or herself, she wasn’t sure.

He gave no response, his flaccid mouth and sagging jowls glistened with spittle—no different than in life, she supposed. When he’d visited the club earlier that night, he’d pulled her aside to invite her here to his place for a private word, and even then his breath against her ear had been wet and disgusting.

She’d assumed he wanted to talk about business away from the girls and their customers, because if he’d wanted to make any advances of a sexual nature, where better than the Willows, the popular social club she owned on the Row? But she’d been wrong. The sheriff had wanted more than to talk. He’d wanted to take, and that was something Cora wouldn’t allow.

Now, one mistake and a bullet later, she had to get out of his apartment fast before anyone found her here.

Tearing her stare away from the sheriff ’s corpse, she set her body in motion for the door, but the sudden tread of boots on the stairs outside stopped her in her tracks.

“Sheriff? Was that your gun I heard?” Mrs. Murphy, wife of the boarding house owner, called from a short distance below.

Cora’s pulse raced. She scanned the room again. There was a window, but she didn’t
recall seeing a way down. She was certain no one else had seen her enter the building. She couldn’t let Mrs. Murphy find her now, for who would believe a bordello madam who’d shot the sheriff with her pearl-handled pistol in his own bedroom?

No way would she allow anyone to hang her for the likes of Bill Sidlow. She’d never shot anyone else in her life and hadn’t even taken her gun out of its case before tonight. The only reason she’d brought the weapon was in case she was accosted by one of the drunks in the streets outside.

Besides, her girls needed her. Especially now that there would be no one to keep the town’s worst ruffians from their doorstep, and God knew, Fort McNamara had its share of those.

She swept another glance around the room for something she could cloak herself in. The bed was stripped to the sheet, but a long blue velvet drapery hung above the lone window. It would have to do.

A knock sounded at the door. “Sheriff? You all right?” Mrs. Murphy asked again.

Cora vaulted over the body and yanked the heavy fabric from the rod. Returning to the door, she swirled the drape around her head and shoulders until she’d fully cocooned herself, then she waited for a chance to escape.

The door metal rattled. When Mrs. Murphy peeked in, Cora threw her weight against the wood panel, knocking the woman outside off balance, and then barreled past. She descended the stairs, running as fast as she could in the tight wind of her drapery cloak.

As she reached the front door of the boarding house, she heard the woman’s shriek of horror at discovering her boarder’s remains. “Murder! Help, the sheriff ’s been murdered!”

Bursting outside into the darkened street, she kept to the shadows, holding the fabric closed at her neck as she dodged drunken cowboys looking for good times. She averted her face, praying no one would recognize her until she made it back to the bordello.

One thing she knew for certain, after this night, she had better get used to carrying her pistol.

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