Monday Mayhem – Big things, wow things

I’m on the road this week, but I wanted to share a little news. In case you missed my squeeing across multiple social media platforms….

Commitment has been chosen as a finalist in the Single Title category of the GDRWA Booksellers Best Awards!

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2013BBAfinalist

The winners will be announced in July, but check out the fabulous company I’m keeping!
The Greater Detroit RWA would like to congratulate all the finalists for the 2013 Booksellers Best Award Contest.  Winners will be announced at a private reception in Atlanta at the RWA National Conference in July.
 
The finalists are listed below.    * denotes a Best First Book finalist
TRADITIONAL
Snowbound in the Earl’s Castle – Fiona Harper
Bet You’ll Marry Me – Darlene Panzera – *
The Nanny Who Saved Christmas – Michelle Douglas
Kincaid’s Hope – Grace Greene
The Rebel Rancher – Donna Alward
 
SHORT CONTEMPORARY
The Doctor’s Not So Little Secret – Cindy Kirk
Redemption of a Hollywood Starlet – Kimberly Lang
The Good, The Bad and the Wild – Heidi Rice
Enemies at the Altar – Melanie Milburne
Christmas Conspiracy – Robin Perini
 
LONG CONTEMPORARY
The Marriage Bargain – Jennifer Probst
The Long Way Home – Cathryn Parry
When Lightning Strikes – Brenda Novak
More Than A Kiss – Stacey Joy Netzel
Far From Perfect – Barbara Longley
 
SINGLE TITLE
The Reason Is You – Sharla Lovelace – *
Commitment – Margaret Ethridge
A Man of Honor – Loree Lough
Back To You: Bad Boys of Red Hook – Robin Kaye
Just Down The Road – Jodi Thomas
 
ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Dancing With Danger – Laura Sheehan – *
Revenge – Dana Delamar – *
Death of a Beauty Queen – Mallory Kane
Deadly Dance – Dee Davis
Dangerous Affairs – Diana Miller – *
 
SHORT HISTORICAL
Lessons In Loving A Laird – Michelle Marcos
Lady of Shame – Ann Lethbridge
Too Tempting To Resist – Cara Elliott
The Homesteader’s Secret – Lacy Williams
Return of the Viscount – Gayle Callen
 
LONG HISTORICAL
Twas The Night After Christmas – Sabrina Jeffries
Sweet Deception – Heather Snow
The Promise – Kate Worth – *
Highland Surrender – Tracy Brogan
When You Give A Duke A Diamond – Shana Galen
 
INSPIRATIONAL
The Rose of Winslow Street – Elizabeth Camden
Short Straw Bride – Karen Witemeyer
Twin Peril – Laura Scott
Christmas Roses – Amanda Cabot
Devotion – Marianne Evans
 
PARANORMAL/TIME TRAVEL/FUTURISTIC
Love, Eternally – Morgan O’Neill – *
Vengeance Born – Kylie Griffin – *
Flirting with Fangs – Peg Pierson – *
A Soul For Chaos – Crista McHugh
Gather The Bones – Alison Stuart
 
EROTIC
Circle of Deception – Carla Swafford
Playing To Win – Jaci Burton
Circle of Danger – Carla Swafford
Hidden Paradise – Janet Mullany
A Little Wild – Kate St. James
 
NOVELLA
The Governess Affair – Courtney Milan
Be My Texas Valentine – Jodi Thomas
Rising Above – Stacey Joy Netzel
Once Upon A Frontier Christmas – Debra Cowan
Miracle in New Hope – Kaki Warner
 
YOUNG ADULT
Pushing the Limits – Katie McGarry – *
Riley’s Pond – Harley Brooks – *
The Mephisto Kiss – Trinity Faegan
Forgiven – Jana Oliver
Courtship and Curses – Marissa Doyle

Squeeeeee!

To celebrate, I’m going to give away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter. Tell me, have you read any of the books selected? Any on the list you’d like to try? Comment and I’ll draw a winner next Sunday, May 26, 2013.

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Monday Mayhem – Sharon B freaks out

When I talked to Sharon Buchbinder about doing a little guest stint on my blog I offered her the chance to play two truths and a lie with y’all. Apparently that wasn’t very kind of me….

Play along, will ya? I think she’s on the edge.

Truth-Truth-Confabulation

When Margaret shared that her blog was now featuring author guest posts with two truths and a lie, I had writer’s block for the first time in years. Normally, I have what I call writer’s logorrhea, which Miriam Webster’s online dictionary defines as “excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness.” Yes, even my academic pals have marked up my work with the dreaded words, “over writing.” I paced the room, wrung my hands, and moaned, “Why me? Of all the writers in all the blogs in all of the world, why did Margaret do this to me.” See. I over write. And then I have to KILL MY DARLINGS.

So, on that note, I now present two truths and a confabulation involving my book babies and killing my darlings. I leave it up to you to guess which one is the lie. From those readers who correctly identify the confabulation, I will award the winner’s choice of a book from my backlist.

1.  The only problem I had with Desire and Deception was getting an agent, editor or publisher to give it a read was because it had “too much sex.”  When I submitted it to an erotic publisher, the editor liked it, but complained it had too little sex.

2.  Some Other Child is based, in part, on growing up the child of a sociopath.  My mother taught me not to pay parking fees and to use American Sign Language to pretend I was deaf when confronted by angry attendants. I deleted the scene where she kept a shovel and newspaper in the trunk of her car so she could steal plants when I saw ones she liked.

3.  Obsession originally came in at 100,000 words. After three rounds of revisions, and a virtual blood bath of killing darlings, the book is now 70,000 words long. Many of the words were related to hot monkey sex in Mexican jungles and expletives in English, Spanish, and Russian.

~~~~~~~~~~~ 

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Now Available from The Wild Rose Press: OBSESSION

A year after a barbaric childbirth, complete with a near-death experience and an encounter with her guardian angel, Angie Edmonds is just happy she and her son, Jake, are alive. She’s finally in a good place: clean, sober, and employed as a defense attorney. But at the end of a long work day, she finds herself in a parent’s worst nightmare: Jake has been kidnapped and taken across the Mexican border by a cult leader who believes the child is the “Chosen One.”

Stymied by the US and Mexican legal systems, Angie is forced to ask the head of a Mexican crime syndicate for help. Much to her chagrin, she must work with Alejandro Torres, a dangerously attractive criminal and the drug lord’s right-hand man. Little does she know Alejandro is an undercover federal agent, equally terrified of blowing his cover—and falling in love with her.

~~~~~~~~~~

Author Bio and Links

After working in health care delivery for years, Sharon Buchbinder became an association executive, a health care researcher, and an academic in higher education. She had it all–a terrific, supportive husband, an amazing son and a wonderful job. But that itch to write (some call it an obsession) kept beckoning her to “come on back” to writing fiction. When not attempting to make students, colleagues, and babies laugh, she can be found herding cats, waiting on a large gray dog, fishing, dining with good friends, or writing. You can find her at www.sharonbuchbinder.com

~~~~~~~~~~~

SBB_Sandman Bookstore Headshot 3

Where Sharon Buchbinder can be found on the Internet

Website/Blog http://sharonbuchbinder.com/blog/

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001IODIE2

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4417344.Sharon_Buchbinder

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sharon.buchbinder.romanceauthor

Twitter @sbuchbinder https://twitter.com/sbuchbinder

The Wild Rose Press http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/

Book Trailer for OBSESSION http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1kujUWoGbk

Book Trailer for DESIRE AND DECEPTION http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drjvWmZEHrU&feature=player_embedded

Book Trailer for SOME OTHER CHILD

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EMvzxE-iBY

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RT 2013 – Day 5

I’m at the Romantic Time Booklovers Convention in Kansas City this week. To Celebrate, I thought I’d post a bit from one of my books each day that I’m away. Looking for one of my books? You can find them all on my page at All Romance eBooks!

qrcode.Margaret ARe

Today I’m featuring Spring Chickens

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You don’t have to be a spring chicken to fall in love.

 

The residents of Heartsfield, Arkansas think Lynne Prescott has it all. The wealthy suburban divorcee captures everyone’s attention when she blows into town to dispose of the family farm. But her nosy new neighbors don’t know she ran away from home.

 

Bram Hatchett’s interest in buying the land adjoining his farm is yesterday’s news, but the handsome widower’s inability to contain his attraction to the land’s beautiful owner quickly becomes fodder for the local gossip mill.

 

A rickety old porch and a disturbing decrease in the poultry population bring them together—but with wagging tongues and grown children against them, Lynne’s inclination toward flight comes smack against Bram’s aversion to fight. Can they whittle away the secrets of the past in order to scratch out a future together?

And here’s an excerpt!

The photograph of her aunt with his uncle served as an easy out. Lynne laughed and shook her head. “I found something I wanted to show you.”  She offered it to him with a sheepish smile.

Bram took the snapshot, shooting her a wary glance before lowering his eyes. The glimmer of a smile twitched his lips then blossomed. “This is them,” he said in a soft, reverent tone.

“I know. Look at how happy they were.” He squinted and stretched his arm, leaning back until he could focus. “Wanna borrow my glasses?” she asked, waving the drugstore readers in his direction. His glare might have leveled a lesser woman, but she figured she’d already shown him her worst. She flashed her biggest grin. “Need longer arms? Want me to hold it over here?”

He snatched the glasses from her hand and slipped them onto the end of his nose. “Hell to get old,” he grumbled, moving the photo closer until he found the right spot.

She leaned against the doorframe. “Tell me about it.”

Bram whipped the glasses from his face and handed them back to her with the photograph. “I usually don’t need them. I didn’t get much sleep last night.”

“Chirping keep you awake?” she asked with a wry smile.

He chuckled and shook his head. “I don’t keep my chickens in the kitchen.”

“Smart man.”

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RT 2013 – Day 4

I’m at the Romantic Time Booklovers Convention in Kansas City this week. To Celebrate, I thought I’d post a bit from one of my books each day that I’m away. Looking for one of my books? You can find them all on my page at All Romance eBooks!

qrcode.Margaret ARe

Today I’m featuring Commitment – an All Romance eBooks best seller!

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Tom Sullivan wants a woman who is willing to accept him as he is. The successful divorce attorney has seen enough of the flip side of love to know better than to promise forever. Women have tried to pin him down, but none have managed to make it stick.

Until Maggie McCann.

Maggie is only interested in one thing. Her fortieth birthday is looming and the tick-tock-tick-tock in her head means her biological clock is about to strike midnight on her dreams of finding Prince Charming. Armed with a new plan for her happily ever, she foregoes the Fairy Godmother routine and makes an appointment with a fertility clinic for a rendezvous with a sperm donor.

The last thing Maggie needs is to get mixed up with a player like Tom Sullivan.

A chance encounter and the opportunity to scratch a decade-long itch prove irresistible, and what starts as a one-night stand turns into a game of cat and mouse when Tom learns of Maggie’s plan to start a family on her own.

To Maggie, messing with a guy like Tom Sullivan is the single-girl equivalent of playing with fire, but she convinces herself to take what she can get for as long as she can and expect nothing more. But Tom falls hard and fast for Maggie, and now that they’re planning to have a baby together he starts banking on his own a happily ever after.

And here’s an excerpt!

The kitchen gadget aisle of Bed Bath & Beyond isn’t the place to make major life decisions, but there she was—there it was—staring her right in the face.

“No.”

The word popped out of her mouth before it registered with her brain. Maggie McCann glared at the plastic tube then turned away, feigning interest in a set of matched measuring cups until she could gather her wits. The answer wasn’t unreasonable. The thought was ridiculous, the location…highly inappropriate.

Inappropriate, but not unusual. A born nester, Maggie liked taking a spin through the house wares super-store. She found it relaxing. There was nothing in the world she wanted more than to have a real nest to feather. Not that the apartment above her shop wasn’t real. The entire brick and mortar building was very real. She had the gigantic mortgage to prove it. But she wanted a house, no, a home.

Maggie didn’t consider her forays into this Valhalla of domestic bliss a stop gap. These excursions were not a desperate attempt to fill an empty life with candleholders, no matter what Oprah implied. She just had an itch for Egyptian cotton, and the best way to scratch that itch was by indulging her yen for plush, thirsty bath sheets. Hell, the terry cloth tantalizers practically leapt from the shelves and into her arms, desperate to be the towel she wrapped around her bubble bath-scented body. Maggie clutched the latest volunteers to her bosom. How could she deny them their destiny?

Under normal circumstances, she didn’t bother with the kitchen section of the store. Maggie shopped to satisfy her bed and bath jones. She considered anything that required her to spend time slaving over a hot stove definitely ‘Beyond’, but her ancient can opener was grinding to a slow and painful death.

Sadly, Fred was the only one around to witness her heroics when she called ‘Clear!’ and jolted the appliance back to life with a stout slap. Not that he cared about her histrionics. The only thing that ever concerned Fred was his next meal. The longer she took to serve him, the louder his complaints. Just that morning, in the midst of her appliance saving routine, the overstuffed tabby took his dissatisfaction out on her by stepping on her toes, butting her with his head, and nudging her with his bulky body before he resorted to violence.

The pebbled scratch on her ankle itched. She wanted to blame cat scratch fever for the heat coursing through her body, but she knew Ted Nugent didn’t hold the answer. Panic clawed at her throat. Maggie focused on every piece but the one that called to her. She scanned the rows, desperately searching for the fancy hand-held can opener she’d seen advertised on TV—the one that guaranteed a soft silicone grip and safely rounded edges.

She spotted her quarry and stretched to yank the package from the wire hook. It clung for dear life, almost as if the damn thing sensed it was doomed to an existence filled with tomato soup and economy-sized cans of Gourmet de Gato.

“Join the club,” she muttered.

Maggie gave the opener another yank and it surrendered, sending her stumbling into a display of mixing bowls. She gasped and flailed. The turquoise towels she’d taken hostage in the bath department fell to the floor in a heap. She caught the edge of a shelf and the can opener landed on the heap of terrycloth with a muffled plop.

Above her head, the rattle of plastic and cardboard warned of imminent disaster. Maggie groaned in surrender as bubble-packed kitchen gadgets began to rain down from over-stocked hooks. A torrent of teaspoons and tablespoons clattered against the flour sifters, colanders, and measuring cups lining the bottom shelf. Her jaw dropped, and her eyes popped. A melon baller teetered on the edge of its hook, telegraphing its intent.

“No, don’t jump!”

It didn’t heed her plea. On its descent, the thick silicon handle caught the top of the package on the rung below. Maggie winced as she made eye contact with the dastardly implement again. The cardboard backing swung wildly, rocking to the tip of the prong.

“Oh no….”

Maggie stared in horror as it let go. The bulbous rubber ball caught the edge of a mortar and pestle set and sent the plastic tube bouncing in her direction. Her grip on the shelf tightened as her knees buckled. She blinked in dismay when the taunting tool defied all laws of physics by landing face-up, its tapered tip pointing directly at her.

She stared down at the turkey baster, blinking back the hot rush of tears prickling her eyes. “No.” Her whispered refusal lacked conviction, and she knew it.

“That’s okay. It happens all the time.” A woman in a blue polo shirt hurried over. “I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”

“No.” Maggie shook her head to clear it. “I mean, yes. Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry about the mess.”

“Sometimes the stockers get a little overzealous,” the woman said, offering an apologetic smile. “I hope you weren’t hurt.”

“No, not at all.”

Pulling a card from her pocket, the woman stepped over the forgotten towels. “I’m Jackie Dunforth, Store Manager. Take that up front and tell them I said to give you twenty percent off your purchase.”

“Oh, that’s not necessary—”

“You almost got sliced by a grater. It’s the least I can do.”

Maggie bent to scoop her selections from the floor, carefully avoiding the turkey baster as she groped for the can opener. “Thank you.” She juggled her purse, towels, can opener, and business card.

She didn’t bother shaking her hair back from her face when she straightened, hoping a curtain of hair might camouflage her flaming cheeks. “Sorry,” she whispered again and slinked away.

“Oh! Ma’am?” The manager’s voice rang out, echoing through the aisles. A grimace twisted Maggie’s lips. She turned, eying the store associate warily. The woman held up the turkey baster, waving the damn thing in the air like a flag for all to see. “Did you forget this?”

Maggie shook her head a tad too vehemently. “No!” The woman took a quick step back, a puzzled frown creasing her brow. Dragging in a deep breath, she straightened her shoulders and tossed her hair. “I don’t need it, and it’s not my fault if the damn thing is suicidal.”

With that, Maggie McCann, towel tramp and candle craver with an itch for Egyptian cotton, turned on her heel and fled from the beyond and the terrifying thoughts a taunting turkey baster implanted in her mind.

 

 

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RT 2013 – Day 2

I’m at the Romantic Time Booklovers Convention in Kansas City this week. To Celebrate, I thought I’d post a bit from one of my books each day that I’m away. Looking for one of my books? You can find them all on my page at All Romance eBooks!

qrcode.Margaret ARe

Yesterday we had a peek at Paramour. Today, we’ll continue Frank DeLuca’s story with Inamorata.

 

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After twenty-five years of cooling his jets in a wall sconce, Frank DeLuca figured the afterlife owed him a break. Hadn’t he been a model ghost? He didn’t possess little kids, screw up the television reception, or throw random objects across the room just to get attention. Hell, he never even made creepy noises in the dead of night.

 

All he asked was a peaceful existence where someone would turn him on every once in a while. The light, that is. He needed just a little bit of light in his afterlife.

 

Instead, he got a sullen, silent little boy who cried for his mommy every night. The kid came with a set of hyper-tense grandparents whose marriage was crumbling under the weight of old insecurities and words left unspoken. As if that weren’t enough to drive a guy to hide out in his light fixture, providence tossed in a little a spitfire of a girl who flipped his switch in every way. Gina Ferro turned out to be the kid’s mother. She also happened to be a ghost.

 

Thrown together by Fate and bound by history, Frank and Gina must learn to trust each other with the keys to their pasts in order to unlock their eternity.

And here’s an excerpt!

“Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.”

Frank DeLuca closed his eyes and prayed harder than he had ever prayed before. Considering the fact that he’d been trapped in some bizarre kind of purgatory on earth for the last twenty-five years, you can bet he’d done some pretty hard praying. But there was always room for improvement, and since he still hadn’t been sprung from this stupid fake-brass Brady Bunch wannabe light fixture, he gritted his teeth and tried again.

“Come on. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.” His fingers curled into his palms. He tightened his fists, trying to cling to his last shred of patience. “Just turn on the light.”

He opened his eyes. Not that it made any damn difference. Everything in his world was black. The way it had been since he last saw Cam. The way it had been since he pried the screwdriver from her hand and asked her to turn out the light. It seemed like the right answer at the time. Of course, with Cam popping in and out of his room, he’d never had to deal with such a dark stretch of eternity before. Lesson learned.

“Turn it on, turn it on, turn it on,” he chanted into the darkness. “Turn. On. The. Fucking. Light.”

His order went unheeded. He could hear someone moving around the room. Her. The woman who moved a bunch of crap into his place and chattered away endlessly to some kid too young to talk, but still wouldn’t turn on the goddamn light.

“Sorry, not goddamned,” he whispered to whoever might be listening. After a quarter century in never-never-land, and god-only-knows how long in the dark, he was willing to concede the belief in anything if it meant a little light. “I can’t take it. I can’t take it.”

The mumbling was nothing new. He’d been mumbling to himself for days, weeks, months, and possibly years. Time lost all meaning when cricket chirps of one evening bled into a thousand others. His half-life hadn’t been worth a damn since Cam walked out of his world and into the land of the living. Okay, so she’d never really belonged in his half-here, half-somewhere else world—seeing as how she was alive and all—but still, Cam knew him. She knew about him once upon a time. And with nothing but time on his hands, Frank couldn’t help but wonder if she remembered, or if she was too busy living her perfect little life with her perfect college boy. Stupid, living, breathing jerk-off….

“Is he okay?”

The question jolted him from his reverie. Frank clamped his mouth shut and perked up. A man. The woman who’d been tearing his room apart came with a man. That made sense if there’s a kid, he reasoned. Then again, a woman doesn’t need a guy around to raise a child. He was proof of that. It had been just him and his mother after Big Frank bought it in a convenience store robbery, and no one missed his flying fists one tiny bit.

“He’s fine. Aren’t you, Jay?”

There was no answer from the kid, but that didn’t stop the lady from running like a freight train. At least he assumed it was a kid. For all he knew, the chatty broad could have redecorated his old bedroom for her dog.

“I think he likes his room. Don’t you, Jaden? Do you like your new room?”

No response from this Jay person. He shook his head. Please, God, let it be a kid and not a dog. A dog would just be too damn annoying. Frank clenched his fists, trying to conjure up a little of the patience he’d honed over a couple of decades stuck between heaven and hell. At least, he hoped his stint in this god-forsaken wall sconce wasn’t the final destination, otherwise organized religion had sure as hell picked the wrong travel agent for booking accommodations in the afterlife.

“Do you like all your new toys and games?”

Frank sighed. Desperation wormed its way into her voice. He should know; he’d been listening to this broad’s rhetorical questions since the truck squealed to a stop out front. He sure hoped she was talking to a kid and not a dog. Either way, he couldn’t blame the pooch/tyke for keeping his trap shut. What was the point in trying to edge a word in sideways when she was happy to plow on regardless, or worse, answer for him.

“Do you want to hug the teddy bear? I can hold Bugs for you if you want,” she offered. “Or maybe Grandpa could hold Bugs. That would be cool, wouldn’t it? If Grandpa held your bunny?”

Frank snorted and rolled his eyes. The coaxing routine was a repeat as well. “No, lady. He doesn’t want to hug the bear, or the duckie, or the mother-fuh…stupid platypus. He doesn’t want you to hold his bunny for him. You know what? I think he wants you to turn on the light and read him a book. A book would be great, huh? You don’t want the kid to grow up illiterate, do you?”

“I’ll, uh, I’m going to…”

Frank frowned when the man’s explanation trailed off down the hallway. Whatever the guy planned to do sounded sketchy and more than a little vague, even to a dead guy living in the light fixture.

“Awkward.” He tried to imitate the wry, singsong tone Cam used to use, but it sounded flat. Lifeless. Like him. Before he could sink into a fresh bout of self-pity, a sharp clap of hands ricocheted through him like the report of a pistol.

“Okay! Grandpa’s busy unpacking, but maybe later.”

The woman’s brittle cheerfulness made him cringe. He squeezed his eyes shut again, trying in vain to stem the trickle of sympathy that made his fingers twitch. Biting his lip, he hoped for the metallic tang of blood even though he knew it wouldn’t come. Purposefully, he flexed his hands, stretching his fingers and spreading them wide. He didn’t need the light to know exactly how much oil and grease there was ground into his nail beds and the creases of his knuckles. The pattern had been exactly the same for too damn many years.

“A book.” His voice came out ragged, the order more of a half-plea. “Just read to the kid. Please.”

Silence hung heavy in the air, muffling the scrape of drawers opening and closing and the rhythmic zffft-zffft-zffft of a box cutter slicing through tape. The silence rang in his ears like an alarm, the blare so loud he almost missed the sigh of a swallowed sob. Almost, but not quite.

“Oh shit,” he whispered into the darkness. “Okay. Never mind about the book. Forget the light. Okay?” She hiccupped softly, and he groaned. “Come on, lady. Don’t do that…”

He flinched, bracing himself when she sniffled loudly and clapped her hands again. There was no need to see her. He could almost feel the impact of her forced smile through the darkness. If asked to give testimony, Frank would swear to the god who never listened to him that he heard this woman swallow her pride. His throat ached, tightening around the lump that rose there.

“Want to read a book?” she asked in that damn Mary Poppins voice. There were rustling sounds as she flitted about the room. “I got a new Thomas book. Want to read Thomas?”

“Aw, shit-shit-shit.” Frank pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes, bracing for the inevitable.

“And look, Jay, look at this cool old lamp above your bed.”

The switch snicked and that soul-deep pull grabbed him by the throat. Light—warm, golden, gorgeous light—beckoned him. He knew she wouldn’t be there. Cam had probably long-since forgotten him and married pansy-assed college-boy Brad. She was in the land of the living where she belonged, and he was…here. Always here. Trapped in nothingness.

A fingernail tapped the faux-brass sconce. “Maybe Oma can find you a new one, huh? Something more up to date?”

He let go, allowing the soul-crushing pain to swamp him, plummeting to earth once more. He couldn’t crash and burn any worse than he had before. Twice before. Once when he was living, and once long after he’d been dead. Frank blinked the glare from his eyes and focused on the blank wall in front of him. The rosebud wallpaper was gone. The sheetrock had been stripped, sanded, and painted blue. A blue that was just a half-shade lighter than the blue that coated the walls in nineteen-eighty-seven.

He shook his head to clear it. Finally, his gaze tracked to the right where he spotted a bookshelf loaded with books, games, and stuffed animals. At the very top, a collection of trophies like the one he once kept in this very room was proudly displayed. Tiny gold men holding bats glistened in the soft amber glow of evening. He gaped at them perched atop their faux marble and fake brass pedestals.

He could see it so perfectly in his mind’s eye. A spotless trophy, gleaming bright gold in the light cast from the cheesy 70s directional sconce mounted on the wall. His mother running her fingertip over the engraved plate bearing his name.

“Francis DeLuca.”

The name rolled off his lips even though he hadn’t spoken it aloud in nearly two decades. Not since the night he introduced himself to the little girl who moved into his room. Not since he fell in love with Cam.

His eyes locked on the gilt batter glued to the top of the tallest trophy. He couldn’t look away. Obviously they didn’t belong to the little guy snuggled into the race-car shaped bed. But something told him they belonged here, just like him.

He stared hard at that trophy, seeing his mother’s wind-up, flinching just as he flinched when she hurled it across the room, smashing the bulb in the brass-colored wall sconce to bits, stealing the last wisps of breath from his lungs, and sentencing him to an eternity as the middleman.

On August nineteenth, nineteen-eighty-seven, he died. That was the day he broke his mother’s heart. That was the day his fate was sealed.

 

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RT 2013 – Day 1

I’m at the Romantic Time Booklovers Convention in Kansas City this week. To Celebrate, I thought I’d post a bit from one of my books each day that I’m away. Looking for one of my books? You can find them all on my page at All Romance eBooks!

qrcode.Margaret ARe

 

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Camellia Stafford has never been alone in her room. For twenty years, she’s been engaged in a fierce power struggle with her bedroom’s previous tenant, Frank DeLuca, the ghost trapped in the light fixture above her bed.Frank has one soft spot—Cam.

When Cam suffers the loss of her beloved father, she returns home to say good-bye, and confront her feelings for Frank–but finds an unexpected shoulder to lean on in neighbor, Bradley Mitchum. Cam falls hard and fast for the handsome ad man’s charming smile and passionate nature, but Brad’s easy-going exterior masks a steely backbone tempered by adversity.Now Cam must determine if her heart is strong enough to choose which dream could lead to a love that will last a lifetime.

Be sure to read the sequel to ParamourInamorata!

Praise for Paramour:

“Paramour is that story prolific readers search for that only happens once every now and then.” – BookingIt.net

“Everything about Paramour-the setting, the dialogue, the pacing and the hot sexy scenes, and most of all three of the most interesting characters you could want to meet plus a surprise ending-will keep this story in your mind long after the final page is turned.” – The Long and Short of It Reviews

“There are so many wonderful things about this book and I highly recommend it. It’s a different twist on the paranormal element, the chemistry between the characters is amazing and the love scenes are hot.” – Everybody Needs A Little Romance

And here’s an excerpt!

Heedless of her stained jeans, Cam fell face-first onto the narrow single bed. She wrapped her arms around a pillow stuffed into a faded rose-printed cotton sham. Inhaling deeply, she picked up the scent of Cheer detergent and searched for a hint of Love’s Baby Soft that used to linger in the room.

A tinge of something different tickled her nostrils. The heady, familiar aroma made the tiny hairs on the back of her neck stand at attention. The tantalizing fragrance wasn’t a trace of her father’s traditional splash of Old Spice. She raised her head, and her nostrils twitched as she tried to pick up the thread once more, but it was gone, drifting away like a memory.

Cam groaned her frustration and flipped onto her back to stare at the popcorn ceiling. She cataloged the familiar peaks and valleys while she ran through the list of things she’d need to accomplish in the next few days.

The silence hummed around her. Her stomach growled as if to chastise her for the casserole wasted on the kitchen floor. She rubbed the edge of her thumbnail over the pad of her index finger. When fidgeting didn’t prove effective, Cam pressed her hand over her heart and carefully measured the strength of each beat against her fingertips.

She told herself everything would be okay. Here in her room, she was safe. Her eyelashes fluttered with the herculean effort it took to open them.

Cam reached up and twisted the tiny stem on the cone-shaped reading lamp above her bed. A beam of light swept the length of the bed, bathing the faded comforter in a warm, golden glow. Cam basked in the soothing pool of light, safe in her girlhood room. She studied the rosebud-patterned wallpaper and silently thanked her mother for being too bohemian to collect Madam Alexander dolls. The silence throbbed like an ache. She closed her eyes and wished she could hear her father’s tuneless humming just one more time.

She didn’t stir when the edge of her bed dipped. Instead she held her breath for a moment before opening her eyes. Francis John DeLuca sat perched on the edge of the mattress.

She stared at him, drinking in the little details. She knew the leather bracelet he wore had sixteen rows of studs. The ends of the strip of coarse black hair he wore in a Mohawk curled ever so slightly. A tiny gold hoop in his ear gleamed in the light and a Metallica shirt stretched taut across his shoulders. The sleeves cut into his biceps, but the fabric made no indention in his smooth olive skin.

The scent was back, flooding her senses with the relief of homecoming. She wondered if he knew how many hours she’d spent at the men’s cologne counter sniffing samples, trying to place the fragrance. After twenty years of friendship, endless fights, and one unforgettable kiss, she’d wondered if she finally earned the right to ask questions.

“Are you really here?” she whispered, afraid she’d scare him away.

“Yeah.”

Their eyes met, and she tumbled into the depths of his dark gaze. Cam knew if she didn’t take the chance this time, she may never have another.

“What cologne do you wear?”

Frank’s eyes narrowed with typical caution. “Polo.”

“Huh. Smells different on you.”

His thick eyebrows rose, and a sardonic smile twitched his lips. “Might be because I’m dead.”

Cam swallowed hard and sat up. “I’m glad you’re here.”

“Welcome home. I’m sorry.”

She shook her head, forcing a small, flirtatious smile. “Did you miss me?”

“Every damn day.”

“Then don’t leave me again.”

Frank raised his hand. His fingers twitched. She could feel heat radiating from his palm. Those warm fingers curved along the contour of her cheek. “I’ll make sure you’re never alone.”

Cam smiled, smoothing her palm over the rough hairs on the back of his hand. “With you around, how could I be?”

She stretched out once again and closed her eyes, certain he’d stay perched on the edge of her bed watching over her as she slept. Cam drifted off, secure in the knowledge that she would never truly be alone in her room.

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Monday Mayhem – Holly G in the house!

I’m messin’ with Texas, so my friend Holly Gilliatt was kind enough to step up and keep you all entertained in my absence. Her new release, ‘Til St. Patrick’s Day is atop my TBR pile. She’s talking about girlfriends – a topic near and dear to my heart. Please give her a warm welcome. I miss you all!

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Thanks so much, Margaret, for letting me hog your blog today! First of all, I want to say that I LOVED your books Commitment and Contentment. So I’m a little star struck that I’m actually on your blog. J

I know in the book world, we need to categorize what our writing is, but to me that can sometimes limit readers that would otherwise enjoy it. I suppose my new release, ’TIL ST. PATRICK’S DAY, is technically women’s fiction, some might call it chick lit…but in my mind, it’s in the vein of a good romantic comedy. You know, the kind of movie that makes you laugh along the way and root for a happily-ever-after. And in my opinion, most good romantic comedies are as much about the friendships as the romance.

When I write female friends, I have to confess that it’s a piece of cake. That’s because I’ve been lucky enough in my life to experience some amazing friendships. I absolutely love my family, but I also love my three best friends that I consider my hand-picked family.

Have you ever met someone and knew within an instant that you were going to be good friends? That’s how it was with my friend, Angie. With her welcoming smile, warm brown eyes and easy laugh—I think it only took about two days of working together as bank tellers to know she would become my best friend. That was more than twenty years, millions of laughs, hundreds of tears and countless hugs ago. We’ve shared relationship disasters, weddings, job problems, pregnancies to each of our three kids (but she had to showoff and have all three babies at once!), and our deepest, most intimate thoughts. And when things go awry in your life, that’s when you find out what true friendship really is. Whether it was taking off work early to drive me and my newborn to rent the only available breast pump in the area as I panicked (!), or being there with me as my oncologist delivered the worst news of my life…she’s there for the fun times, but helps carry me through the bad ones. I wish everyone could have an Angie in their lives.

Then there are my friends Kara and Leigh. Sometimes good things come out of bad experiences, and that is how the three of us came to be best friends. We worked together in a hostile environment that gave us a shared sense of having made it through the trenches together. At times, it was akin to working in a war zone, and as we emerged on the other side, beautiful friendships blossomed. We first bonded over drinks and inside stories that only the three of us can truly appreciate. But soon enough, it was about the friendship instead of the war. The wonderful thing is that as lousy as the job situation had been, it allowed the three of us to meet, and I doubt if our lives would have ever crossed paths otherwise. But now I can’t begin to imagine my life without them and the laughter and love they have filled me with.

In ’TIL ST. PATRICK’S DAY you’ll see the importance of having a sisterhood as they navigate their relationships with their boyfriends, husbands and potential partners. And I hope you’ll laugh and maybe even get teary-eyed along the way—as any good romantic comedy should make you do.

 Til St Pats

If you’d like to watch a trailer for ’TIL ST. PATRICK’S DAY, click here:

http://animoto.com/play/05FrnC06NsNzx6g04wOwIw

Here is a blurb:

For three best friends, one winter will change everything.

Chronically optimistic Jayne is surprised she’s still single at twenty-eight. But as always for Jayne, there’s hope. This time his name is Gray—a successful, gorgeous marketing VP that she can’t believe is going out with her. She’s never given up on the belief that the right man for her is out there, somewhere. Maybe Gray could be the one…if she just works hard enough to make it happen.

Her cynical friend Karen is suspicious of Jayne’s new guy with his model looks and over-inflated ego. She’s concerned for Jayne, but has her own relationship to worry about. Not that anything’s wrong with her boyfriend. He’s actually perfect for her, which is why she’s terrified. Not sure she can ever fully trust a man again, she considers bailing on yet another relationship.

Claudia is always there for her friends, no matter what they’re going through. She mothers them like the children she craves to have, relieved she’s no longer navigating the dating world. Happily married, Claudia can’t wait until the day her husband finally agrees it’s time to start a family.

‘Til St. Patrick’s Day is a novel exploring the depths of friendship and what happens when love doesn’t go according to plan.

You can buy my book at your favorite online retailer!

TMP Bookstore

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

HollyG 

And if I haven’t bored you too much, here is more about me and my other books:

www.hollygilliatt.com

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Monday Mayhem – Acting Contrite

Hello, my friends! I’m in the great state of Texas again, but I haven’t left you lonely. My friend Linda Rettstatt is here to talk about her new release, Act of Contrition! Please make her feel welcome!

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I’m a juggler. It all starts first thing in the morning when I open my eyes and juggle the desire to close them again and snuggle back into the blankets with the desire to pay the rent. Most days paying the rent wins and I haul myself out of bed. My day job (which is how most of us authors refer to the work we do to pay the rent because we then write well into the night) is that of a social worker. And, again, I juggle my way through the day, determining who needs what, how to help them get it, and who might be feeding me their own brand of fiction to get unneeded help. It’s always a judgment call that requires a good measure of investigation and whole lot of faith.

Evenings are a whole new juggle—making dinner and taking the time to eat it without a thousand distractions, then deciding between something interesting on TV versus the writing or editing I need to do versus the laundry waiting in a pile.

When I started writing, I delved into writing women’s fiction. Well, they say write what you know and I know being a woman. Most women I know are jugglers, even if they’re not writers. It’s a fact of our existence. (In fairness, men may also find themselves juggling, but I can better speak to the female experience.) Women can make a sandwich while feeding a baby and taking a phone call all at the same time. Some call this multi-tasking, but juggling is, I think, a more descriptive term. Don’t drop the sandwich, the baby or the call. Some days you feel you’re juggling Nerf balls and other days it’s butcher knives.

Now, let me try to juggle two truths and lie for you.

1.  I used to play guitar for a folk group and worked as a semi-professional musician for over ten years. We recorded one album during that time, but mostly had a blast playing live concerts in small venues. Once we played a ski resort where we were paid with drinks, ski equipment use, and lift passes—not a good combination.

2.  I’ve been married and divorced three times. Number One was a college jock who never quite made it to pro sports and took up drinking instead. Bottoms up and bye! Number Two was a nice guy who taught math on a college level. In the end, we just didn’t add up. Number Three—well, let’s just say he had a wandering eye. And I don’t mean an optical problem. I’m staying happily divorced now.

3.  I got over my fear of heights by flying (in a window seat) to the Grand Canyon to stand on the edge and look down into that beautiful, terrifying abyss, and then to take a hot air balloon ride over Sedona, Arizona at sunrise. Whew. I’m cured.

But back to juggling. In my women’s fiction novel, Act of Contrition, Jenny Barnes has to learn to juggle grief, guilt, love and forgiveness. Here’s a blurb:

The argument ended as blinding headlights bore down on her. The steering wheel spun beneath Jenny’s fingers. A horn blared, and then…nothing. Jennifer Barnes wakens to learn she is the sole survivor of the crash that claimed her husband and eight-year-old son.

Why did she survive? The question haunts her even after she retreats to her cottage on the coast of Maine. She’s seeking a place to grieve and to escape the guilt that eats at her. Instead of the solitude she anticipates, Jenny comes face to face with her past.

AOC_LRettstatt_MD 

Here are the links to Act of Contrition:

Turquoise Morning Press  http://www.turquoisemorningpressbookstore.com/products/act-of-contrition-by-linda-rettstatt

Amazon.com   http://www.amazon.com/Act-Of-Contrition-ebook/dp/B00B1HGWNU/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1363565119&sr=8-1

B&N.com   http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/act-of-contrition-linda-rettstatt/1114146466?ean=2940015999747&isbn=2940015999747

And you can find me on the web at www.lindarettstatt.com and at my blog at www.onewomanswrite.blogspot.com

Thanks so much, Margaret, for having me here today.

Linda Rettstatt

****

Now see if you can guess the lie! Ready? Go!

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Monday Mayhem – Picture post

Had a busy weekend! It started with visitors:

Joey and Raylon
Mommy and grandbaby

Which led to much cooing and cuddling:

I think he likes Moogie best
I think he likes Moogie best

Then we took off to Southaven, MS for the M.R. Davis Library Mix & Mingle

I brought my lovely assistant along to flirt with the ladies.
I brought my lovely assistant along to flirt with the ladies.

Got to meet my fellow TMP author, Linda Rettstat

Linda
Linda

And met historical romance author, Mary McCall

What can I say? I gravitate to the chicks who like men in kilts.
What can I say? I gravitate to the chicks who like men in kilts.

Then we came home to this:

And just where have you been, Moogie?
And just where have you been, Moogie?

So we had to cuddle until we got back in his good graces

Granddad and Moogie are funny!
Granddad and Moogie are funny!

All in all, it was a pretty darn good weekend. I have a busy week ahead. Getting ready to head off to Texas for the day job. I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks, but I invited some friends over to keep you company. No keggers. I mean it.

So how was your weekend? Got a busy week ahead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – Appearances

I’m making some appearances (of the not deceiving variety) this spring. Check it out!

This weekend (March 23, 2013) I will be in South Haven, Mississippi for at Mix & Mingle at M.R. Davis Public Library. I’ll be chatting it up and signing books with seven other authors from 11:00am – 2:00pm. If you’re in the area, please stop by!

March_23_event 

May 1-5, I’ll be attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Kansas City, MO. This is a big one, with authors and fans coming from all over to attend. I can’t wait! I’ll be signing at the Expo, so be sure to look for me. See button on sidebar >>>

June 7-9 I’m heading back to Cincinatti for the 2013 Reader and Author Get Together at the Marrott West Chester! I can’t wait to hook up with my writer and reader friends again!

reader-author2013-03

Other than that, all I have is business travel set in stone. What about you? Got any weekend dashes planned?

 

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