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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Monday Mayhem – Smoke & Mirrors Edition

That’s right, I’m about to use a little trickery to distract you from the fact that I have nothing prepared. Are you shocked? This is supposed to be mayhem, right?

I’ve been working on stuff, I swear.

Every day I write, edit, redit, and then edit some more. My life is dedicated to eradicating the mysterious words I swear I did not type but show up in my manuscripts anyhow.

I’m about knee deep in Containment and psyching myself up to wade in deeper. This book is already an emotional rollercoaster.

Did the final read though on Always the Groomsman – the short story I’m including in TMP’s Wedding Day Collection due out this summer. Did I tell you about my story? It’s Tom and Maggie’s wedding! Squee!

I’m also compiling the Long Distance Love short stories for release later this year. Remember Jack and Ellie? Well, I’m tweaking the older stories so they flow and working six new stories over until they come up to snuff. Want to see the line up so far?

Concourse Christmas

New Year, New Expectations

I’ve Got You to Talk to Me

Be Mine

Kiss Me, I’m Full of Blarney

Going the Distance

The Feeling is Pari-Mutuel

Declarations of Dependence

Labor of Love

A Voyage of Discovery

Hallowed Eve

Veterans of Domestic Wars

Thanks Be to Grandma

Taking Off

It was so much fun to spend some time with those two crazy kids again. Oh, who am I kidding? It was fun to crawl inside Jack’s…head again. (Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter!). I missed Jack. Oh, I love Ellie too, but there’s something about Jack Rudolph that tugs at me. So…You want a taste?

I figured you might. Just to bring you up to speed…When last we saw our couple (Declarations of Dependence), Ellie’s reticence had poked a few sizable holes in Jack’s ego. This is taken from Labor of Love

Before the whole debacle at her parents Fourth of July cookout, he would have called her. Hell, there would have been at least two or three messages waiting on her phone if she hadn’t called until ten o’clock. But not these days.

These days he only called her when he was calling her back. Despite the new job with the Chicago field office and a schedule was more flexible than hers, he hadn’t come to see her in eight weeks. Eight long weeks. As a matter of fact, he hadn’t even suggested a visit. That was the straw that broke Ellie’s back.

He answered the phone and she said only, “I think we need to talk,” in greeting.

His sharp intake of breath cut the silence that hummed between them. He let it go with a hiss and punctuated the sentiment with a low grunt. “So talk.”

“I’m downstairs, but I can’t find a parking spot.”

“What?”

The shock in his tone triggered a smile. For once, she got one over on her very special agent.  “Surprise.”

“You’re here? In Chicago?”

“Right in front of your building, Rudolph,” she confirmed. “Do you think you can come down and guide my sleigh to a parking spot? I might need your nose to scare off the creepy guy lurking in the alley a couple of blocks over.”

Jack hesitated for a moment. Her stomach dropped to her toes as she heard the rustle of bedclothes. He juggled the phone. “Uh, hang on.”

The echo of a woman’s voice sent shivers down her spine and alarm bells started clanging in her head. Mortification burned hot in her cheeks. It could have been the TV. She hoped with all her heart it was the TV. She was almost one thousand percent certain the voice came from the TV. Still…

“Maybe I should just go to Laurie’s.” The thought of turning up on her sister’s doorstep in a flood of tears wasn’t particularly appealing, but it beat the crap out of coming face to face with the infinitesimal chance that he wasn’t watching TV. Oh God, what if he wasn’t? Why did she ever think it was a good idea to just show up?

Jack’s derisive snort yanked her back. “Are you kidding me?” The exasperation in his tone stoked the dying embers of hope in her heart. “Come down the alley. I’m opening the gate to the lot. My neighbor’s out of town this weekend. You can park in his spot.”

The TV. The voice had to be coming from the TV. Surely Jack wouldn’t be cruel enough to invite her in if he was…entertaining company. Niggling doubt chased her taillights. She held her breath as she made the sharp turn from the narrow alley into the crowded lot.

“Joe’s space is next to mine,” he huffed.

Ellie pulled into the spot and killed the engine as the back door opened. Fluorescent light spilled into the parking lot. He stood silhouetted in the doorway. The gate rolled shut behind her, trapping her there. Taking a deep breath, she forced herself to open the door. She cast a glance over her shoulder as she climbed from the driver’s seat, keeping her hand wrapped around the top of the door. She had questions she needed to ask, and she was hoping the reinforced steel could shield her from any answers she didn’t want to hear.

Pressing the phone tight to her ear, she stared straight at him. “Do you still love me, Jack?”

****

Dun dun dun!

That was fun, wasn’t it? You know what else is fun? Talking about book boyfriends.

Jack is one of mine. I’m also partial to Jamie Fraser, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Roarke from JD Robb’s In Death series, and pretty much every Eversea and Redmond male from Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green series. Oh, and Morelli. I know, I know. Ranger is hot, blah blah blah. I like the guys who are the keepers, and that’s why I’m a Cupcake.

You?

 

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Monday Mayhem – Yay!

Days! I see my girls in just a few days!

M&G

Yes, I know I crowed about this the last time, but it’s been a year. Yes, an entire year has passed since I’ve seen some of these ladies. I don’t know how I survived it. I’m so excited I may bust right out of my yoga pants. Okay, that may be because of the chip kick I’ve been on lately, but you get the point. I am sad that not everyone will be able to make it this year, but I was born and raised a Cubs fan. I always believe next year will be our year.

I’ve made some progress on the book. It’s definitely not flowing as easily as some of the others, but I am trying to let go of the nit-pickiness and just write. A couple characters introduced themselves to me yesterday afternoon. I’m hoping they can light a little fire under me.

In other news, we’re in the final countdown to grandparentdom. Yay! Thanks to my fabulous friends, I have a swanky new Vera Bradley diaper bag, cementing my standing as the cool grandma.

 bag

Being the step-grandma, I got to choose my moniker. Therefore, I chose to retain the name that’s been pinned on me since I was a baby and declared myself the little man’s ‘Moogie’. Fodder will take the traditional route and be called ‘Granddad’.

Let’s see…what else?

I joined Weight Watchers again. (See bit above concerning chip binges) It’s amazing how fast I gain weight these days. I’m not going to get all het up about it, but I do want to keep it in check as much as I can. I’ve also gone back to the gym. I haven’t been running regularly since the flu took me out of the race last fall. It feels like I’m back to square one, even though I know I’m not. I’m scoping out 5k runs in the area, but I haven’t registered for one yet. The travel schedule for the day job isn’t set in stone, so I’ll have to wait to see where I may be in the coming months.

What are your plans for the week? Now that we’re past that first rush of resolutions, have you changed or added new goals for 2013? Yoga pants – scourge of fashion or God’s gift to middle-aged women? I could totally get away with carrying that diaper bag as a purse, couldn’t I?

These are the burning questions. Answer one or more of them and I may hook you or a friend up with digital copies of the first two books in Maggie Wells’ sizzling new Hot Nights in St. Blaise series.

Ready? Go!

JumpingMr.JanuaryFEB_MWells_MD

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Monday Mayhem – Nervous Nellie Edition

I’m home! I’m home, I’m home, I’m home! Well, I’m home for another 10 days. 🙂 The good news is that my next trip will be pleasure and not business. The bad news? Well, I seem to have misplaced my motivation. I have a novel to write and I’m having a hard time getting into it.

If you’re my editor, please stop reading here.

I’ll make the deadline.

I swear.

You see, this story is going to be very different from anything I’ve written before. This story will deal with a very difficult subject matter – marital infidelity.

I will state here and now that I have no personal experience in this area. At least, not that I know of. If any of you know something I don’t know, please keep it to yourself. I’m a huge fan of oblivion. Unfortunately, my character, Shel, doesn’t have that luxury. The poor woman is going to have to deal with her husband’s indiscretion head-on.

As an author, this is a very exciting and intimidating prospect. You see, the main character is ‘speaking’ to me in 1st person. I’ve never written in 1st, only 3rd. It’s going to be a big jump to master a new style. Dealing with touchy subject matter is another worry, but one I’m queasy (not quasi)-excited to tackle. So yeah…while I’m looking forward to facing this life challenge with my character, I’m praying it’s the only time I ever have to deal with it.

I know that, like Shel, I’m just going to have to jump and start wading through it. Here’s hoping we both come out stronger on the other side.

What do you have going on in your world?

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Special birthday blog!

Today is my good friend Evelyn Jules’ birthday! As her special birthday gift (and because this is one of those big-time-ends-in-a-zero birthdays) I finally gave in and let her come on my blog to play two truths and a lie. Seriously, the woman is obsessed with games. It’s be hard holding her back.

Anyhoo – please play along with the birthday girl by leaving your best guess in the comments below!

cake

When I heard that Margaret was playing Two Truths and a Lie on her blog, I begged her to let me on. Games are like my favourite thing in the world. Then she gently reminded me that I write steamier stuff, and her blog isn’t really directed toward my kind of readers. I said, “People can change, Margaret! I can change!” And then I cried and prostrated myself at her feet. She finally let me have my spot, mostly out of pity I think.

My latest release, Cheapskates in Love, pokes fun at the trials and tribulations of online dating…especially for cheapskates. I have ventured into the online dating world. I saw some things. Things that weren’t pretty. But I did manage to meet a really cool guy along the way. He’s fascinating, adorably nerdy, big and strong, and he makes me laugh. A lot. That’s the most important thing for me. The dating and the getting-to-know-you-ing is going very well so far, so keep your fingers crossed. 🙂

I figured I’d continue along the same theme with my two truths and a lie and talk about some of the boys I’ve been out with, or almost-out-with, over the years. Two of these stories are the truth, and one is a big, fat lie. Can you guess?!

1. My first almost-boyfriend’s name was Kerry. I loved him all throughout elementary school, but it wasn’t until Grade 6 that I decided to make my ‘move’. I asked my girlfriends to ask him out for me. Picture six twelve year-old giddy, giggly girls cornering him at recess and telling him I liked him. I was a nervous wreck the whole time, hiding behind a tree or something. And after recess, Kerry approached me in the hallway because, conveniently enough, our lockers were right next to each other. He asked me, “Is it true? Do you want to go out with me?” I said nothing. “Well?” he prodded. I finally opened my mouth and spoke words so inspiring they should have been set to music. “I…don’t know.” *cue awkward silence*

2. I met my first actual boyfriend, Jesse, in the recovery room of a hospital after he had his wisdom teeth removed. I was about fifteen but I remember his pick-up line like it was just yesterday. He said, “Heyyyyy, pretty girlllll” very incoherently on account of the excessive amounts of freezing in his mouth. I giggled like a school girl. “What’sss your phone nummmer?” he asked me. I giggled more and wrote down my number for him on a napkin. I soon learned that the ‘loopy’ bit wasn’t just a side effect of the anaesthesia.

3. I was friends with a guy named Victor throughout most of my first degree at university. Then one day he decided he liked me. As in, liked me-liked me. We were walking along the wooded pathway to the university and I believe our conversation went something like this: Victor: Wanna come over tomorrow night? Me: Night? But we can’t play sports at night. Victor: *chuckles* I know. I’m going to cook for you. Me: Oh. Are we going to WATCH sports? Victor: I thought I’d take you to a movie. Me: Ohhh. Is this a date? Victor: *chuckles again* I think so. Me: Oh. *silently processes* What are you cooking?

One of these is a lie. I think. But hey, while you’re deciding on that, here’s the blurb for Cheapskates in Love:

It’s couples’ skating night down at the local rink and Elena Armstrong can’t seem to keep her cocky jock blind date around long enough to knee him in the balls. Sadly, she was too much of a cheapskate to pay for a membership to an online dating site and based everything on Leonard’s personality profile alone. Big mistake.

At the opposite end of the rink, Ben Kessel, another cheapskate on a blind date with Iris, the ice princess, is having a similarly miserable time. Elena, a hater of all things sports-related, inches out into the skating world butt-first and collides with Ben. After sharing their hilarious and horrifying dates-gone-wrong stories, the two disappear and make everything right again on the floor in the players’ dressing room. Almost everything. They forget to exchange numbers. Now these two cheapskates need to make the ultimate sacrifice: pay for a membership to the online dating site so they can track each other down. But is the possibility of love really worth the price of $24.95 per month?

Cheapskates_EJules_SM

My Cheapskates are available at the following locations:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cheapskates-In-Love-ebook/dp/B00B14OMZI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358281364&sr=8-

Turquoise Morning Press Bookstore: 1&keywords=cheapskates+in+love+evelyn+jules

http://www.turquoisemorningpressbookstore.com/products/cheapskates-in-love-by-evelyn-jules

All Romance eBooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com//product-cheapskatesinlove-1043038-149.html

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/274775

Naughty Evelyn smaller

I’d love to chat with you all some more! Come visit me at my website! http://evelynjules.blogspot.ca

I’m on twitter https://twitter.com/#!/EvelynJules and facebook http://www.facebook.com/EvelynJules too!

Thank you so much for having me, Margaret! I’m forever indebted to you for this honour! Xoxo Evelyn 🙂

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Monday Mayhem – A Million Miles Away

Okay, maybe it’s not a million miles, but I am on the road today. My good friend Karen Booth is here to keep you entertained. If you were a child of the 80’s, you would know that the title of Karen’s new book is taken from the Plimsouls song I used as my blog title. And it may be playing on my iPod as I type this. Yes, I am that much of a nerd. See you soon, my darlings!

****

It’s only fitting that my first guest blog appearance after the release of my new book, Bring Me Back, would be on Margaret’s blog. I’m not sure she realizes it, but she was instrumental in helping me decide that Turquoise Morning Press was the right place for this book. After reading several of her books and eventually getting past my immense fear that I would never write as well as she does, I knew that the stories she likes to tell were very in-line with what I write. So, thank you, Marg. I’m oh-so-just-slap-me-now happy to be here. 

(Aw! I’m blushing. And squeeing. And blushing again. Thank you!)

One of the best parts of becoming an author, aside from the massive royalty checks and all-night sex parties, is becoming friends with other authors. Writing is a lonely business built on a house of cards—one day you’re on top of the world, you just wrote the most amazing ten pages in the history of literature. The next day, those ten pages have been deleted and you’re thanking the stars above that you didn’t get carried away and actually show those pages to anyone. This is why you need friends, preferably friends with large, unlocked liquor cabinets.

My friendship with Margaret has grown from fan/author to author/author, which has been an amazing process for me. Sure, Margaret and I first bonded over my ability to gush about her writing, but we’ve since moved on to more important things like our shared love for Duran Duran and our propensity for getting in trouble on Twitter. When she began to read Bring Me Back and quickly sent me an email saying she was hooked, I nearly fainted. After she finished reading, she sent me an email saying she loved it and I felt as if I’d won the lottery. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as she did.  

So, without further ado, I present my Two Facts and a Work of Fiction. From those who correctly guess the work of fiction, I will award the winner’s choice of my backlist eBooks. And, please, while you’re here, take a gander at the blurb for Bring Me Back.

Two Facts and a Work of Fiction

1)      I have performed on a stage one time in my entire life, in the middle school school talent show. I tap danced to “Me and My Shadow” with the only other girl who’d signed up for tap dancing—Shari, a sweet, but very poor-sighted and unusually uncoordinated fellow sixth grader.

2)      I didn’t have my first boyfriend or first real kiss until college. There were a few sloppy, drunken attempts at kisses in high school, but nothing I care to count. The college guy wore black leather riding boots and listened to The Cult and I thought he was the sexiest thing ever. Now, the thought of him makes me queasy.

3)      I spent the summer after college backpacking through Europe with my best friend, Jane. We spent most of our time in Hamburg and Amsterdam, even though I’d told my parents we were going to Italy and Spain and several other countries that we never made it to. We were having way too much fun where we already were. I’d like to say that I regret our lack of miles traveled, but it was the most fun I don’t totally remember.

Bring Me Back

BMB_KBooth_MD 

Music critic Claire Abby is a single mom dreading her daughter’s departure for college and worried that turning forty will leave her career running on fumes. She’s floored when she lands a Rolling Stone cover story on 80s British rock legend Christopher Penman. She spent her teenage years fantasizing he was her boyfriend. 

In person, Christopher is everything Claire feared he’d be—charming, witty and unwilling to address the rumors he’s dodged for a decade. Still, she contains her adolescent fantasies and manages to earn his trust, unearthing the truth and the devastating secret behind it. His blockbuster story is her first priority when she returns home, a nearly impossible task when Christopher starts calling and flirting. She knows she should maintain a professional distance. She knows she should focus on the story. She knows it would be best to simply walk away. But how can she say “no” to the man she could never forget?

Website: http://karenbooth.net

Bring Me Back on Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17187439-bring-me-back

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Monday Mayhem – Viking warrior edition

While I’m off traveling for the day job, my good friend Renee Vincent wanted to share the latest in her series of delicious Viking heroes! Whoo hoo! Here’s a little taste of:

The Temperate Warrior

He was her champion. She was his weakness.

Together, they loved with wild abandon.

Blurb:

Gustaf Ræliksen lives by the blade of his sword. After avenging his father’s murder and reuniting with his family, he wants nothing more than to settle down and have sons of his own. Only one woman will do—a fiery redhead he saved from the spoils of war.

No longer forced to warm the beds of the men who’ve taken everything from her, Æsa has nothing to offer the noble warrior but her heart.

When someone with a deep score to settle seeks revenge upon her, Gustaf’s world is torn asunder. He has but one vow—saving the woman he loves from the ignorant fool who dared to best the temperate warrior.

Excerpt:

“Dying a thousand deaths in my head to protect you is better than losing you one time in the flesh. I would never recover if I let anything happened to you.”

His voice was devoid of emotion, monotone as he laid open his heart for her. Most would think he was just being aloof, uncaring as he rattled off sentimental words in an impersonal way. But Æsa knew better. He was not only bearing his soul to her, but doing so the only way he knew how; by occupying his mind and body with a simple task so his heart couldn’t entertain the idea of failure.

Moved by his words, she stood and made haste to join him on the hide. Dropping to her knees, she laid her hands atop his wrists, impeding his progress with the knife. His eyes met hers and they stared at one another.

Long, heartfelt seconds ticked by as she absorbed the magnitude of his pain. She plucked the tools from his hands and set them at his feet. “I am so sorry for bringing this burden upon you.” Gustaf opened his mouth for rebuttal, but she pressed her finger to his lips, feeding his words back to him. “Yesterday, you were without burden, at peace knowing you had fulfilled your duty as a loyal son. Ready to start your life anew…remember?”

He closed his eyes as if forcing himself to hear her and wait his turn.

“And now, I have thwarted your future happiness with a dark past that follows me everywhere I go. You can deny all you want what I used to be and pretend that I am a woman of worth if it makes it easier for you to accept my shame. But I know what I used to be and I will not let you add me to the list of things you will punish yourself for should you fail. I am not worth it. I am not worth any man’s grief. Or death,” she added.

Slowly, Gustaf opened his eyes and stared at her. His lips drew a straight line across his face. He removed her finger from his mouth and held her wrist in a tight grasp. “May I speak?”

Æsa nodded, steeling herself for the tongue-lashing she knew would follow. He took his time replying, which was worse than having him berate her on the spot. The look in his eyes foretold of his disappointment, and his quiet reserve prefaced the exceptional temperance this man was capable of.

“I shall do my best to make myself clear,” he began, his eyes never leaving hers. “We all have a past and oftentimes we have an unfortunate moment in our existence we would rather erase from our memories. But it matters not what we have failed to do, but what we succeed in doing from those failed moments onward. In my past, I have failed to protect my family, as I am the only one left, save for my nephews on Inis Mór. While their deaths, brought about by various regrettable circumstances, were not a direct cause of my own negligence, the burden is still the same. Like you, I face that demon every day of my life.

“That being said, our demons do not become us. They are not the bones and flesh of our bodies, nor the substance of our hearts. They are recollections of what used to be and what is no longer. Your demon—or your previous life as a whore, as you like to beat upon my brow—is not who you are inside. Your worth is diminished only by the demon you place across your shoulders like a royal cloak. Divest yourself of that, my dearest Æsa, and you will understand the depths of my love and the extent to which I will go to protect you. Gladly protect you,” he reiterated. “Until then, you will just have to take my word for it.”

Author Bio:

I am an author with a passionate interest in Irish and Norse history. I live in the rolling hills of Kentucky with my husband and two children on a beautiful secluded farm of horses and hay fields.

I am a sucker for a good cup of coffee (lots of cream and sugar…and whipped cream if I can get my hands on it), great conversation, and a lilting Irish accent. I love to read and I can’t resist watching great epic historical movies.

From an early age, I’ve always had scenes playing out in my head. Whether it was a story with a moral or a tale with a twist, those ideas have never let me sleep until I wrote them out. And considering I have an eclectic ensemble of stories swarming in my brain at any given time, I write under a couple pen names to accommodate the various genre categories.

Renee Vincent
(Historical & Contemporary Adult Romance)
From the daunting, charismatic Vikings, to the charming, brazen Alpha male heroes of modern day, you’ll be whisked away to a world filled with fast-paced adventure, unforgettable romance, and undying love.
Visit my website at http://www.reneevincent.com/

Gracie Lee Rose                               
(Lighthearted, Fancy-free Women’s Fiction)
For those who love to read fun, wholesome, and endearing romantic stories that your mother, sister, friends, and daughters can enjoy.

Visit my website at http://www.gracieleerose.com/

Author Links:

Website: http://www.reneevincent.com/

Blog: http://pasttheprint.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reneevincentauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ReneeVincent

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3005290.Renee_Vincent

Romance Blog: http://www.deepintheheartromance.com/

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Monday Mayhem – Let’s catch up

Are you there readers? It’s me, Margaret.

Did you enjoy meeting Valerie Haight? She’s a doll. How about that round of two truths and a lie? It was hard to figure out which one was the fib, but Laurie and Carol got it right. Val is not a Courtney Cox wannabe.

I’m just back from a fabulous weekend in St. Louis with my girlfriends. Here’s a picture of us taken at the observation deck atop the Gateway Arch.

Arch

Laughter. Tears. Laughter through tears. Most of it induced by Cards Against Humanity. Had an incredible dinner at Trattoria Marcella on The Hill. A little winter weather and some other interstate complications made getting home a challenge, but I’m happy to report that no limbs were lost and no one was arrested.

Getting ready for an intense round of business travel. I’ll be leading three day classes in three West Texas towns over the course of three weeks. Oy.

What does this mean for you, dear readers? It means you get to meet more of my friends.

Next Monday, Renee Vincent will be here to talk about her latest release, The Temperate Warrior. On the 28th, by pal Karen Booth will visit. I’m very excited for her upcoming novel, Bring Me Back. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of this rockin’ novel!

What does all this travel mean for me? It means buckling down and cranking out some words in strange rooms. You’d think it was a simple matter of ‘have laptop, will travel’, but it’s not. Margaret is a creature of habit. Being out of my comfort zone throws me off my game. But, I did it during NaNo, and I can do it again. I have to. I have deadlines to meet. 🙂

What will I be working on whilst I’m away? Containment!

This will be the third in what I call (in my head) the Chicago Girls series. Containment will be Shel’s story. Shel was Tracy (Contentment) and Maggie’s (Commitment) roommate when they lived in the city. It will be an After Happily Ever story focusing on issues of expectations, trust and fidelity. It willl release Fall 2013.

In other news, I have roughed out six new Jack and Ellie stories to complete the Long Distance Love series. I’ll be working with TMP to release a compilation all of the stories used in anthologies, the free reads, and these new stories to bring their love story full circle. Look for it this fall too!

So, yeah…. Busy times. But I also have tons of good stuff to look forward to in the coming months. A few of the highlights:

  • I’m hooking up with my Super Cool Party People in February! Yay! I only get to see most of these crazy ladies once a year, and that’s not nearly enough. I plan to laugh until we all lay on the floor, panting and spent.
  • I’ll be attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Kansas City this May. Not only will I get to meet and chat with new readers, but I will have the added bonus of quality time with some of my author buddies. RT is open to the public. If you’re in the KC area and would like to attend, you can find more information here.
  • Miss Maggie is keeping me crazy busy with all these releases. What was she thinking? She was thinking the world needed more sexy, steamy romance. The Hot Nights in St. Blaise series has now been launched. Jumping Mr. January is available now, and February’s Fling will release the week of January 27th. There are 12 novellas in this series, so plan your 2013 reading now! Be sure to like Maggie’s page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter to keep up with the latest.
  • Downton Abbey and Castle are back. Thank goodness.
  • Tim Bunny is still cute. And bad. Cute and bad. No wonder I can’t resist him.

I think that’s the gist of what’s happening in my world. What’s happening in yours? Read anything good lately? Can you believe what happened on Downton? Could Castle and Beckett get any cuter? Any travel on your calendar?

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Monday Mayhem – Big Things, Wow Things

It’s a new year and a new look here at Writings and Ramblings. Take a few minutes to click around and let me know what you think of the redesign.

I’ve been all over the place lately. Last week I was at Everybody Needs a Little Romance and The Diamond State Romance Authors for my usual monthly bog posts. I’m on those sites the first Thursday and Friday of the month (respectively), so be sure to bookmark them!

Next week, my literary alter ego, Maggie Wells, will be at the newly launched Literary Lagniappe (1/10/13), Delilah Devlin’s blog (1/13/13), Madison J. Edwards’ blog (1/17/13), and Evelyn Jules’ blog (1/23/13).

Whew!

I also start traveling again this month, so you’ll get to meet a few more of my friends. I wanted to kick things off with a bang, so I asked the fabulous Valerie Haight to start us off with a little game of two facts and a piece of fiction.

Val has a fabulous new After Happily Ever release from TMP called Happenstance, and this summer she and I will be anthology buddies in the upcoming Wedding anthology from TMP, so play nice!

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Thank you, Margaret, for asking me over to your gorgeous new site and for allowing me to share Happenstance with everyone! AND you want to play a game!! *claps and bounces* I’m all about games. Two Truths and a Lie will reveal my inner doof. You’ve been warned. J

  1. I once petted an established, successful author. You heard me right. I attended Murder Goes South conference in Atlanta, GA where thriller author Erica Spindler was keynote speaker. I listened to her speak, stood in line for an autograph and a pic, and in the process of trying to touch her arm to connect with her in one of those I-so-get-you type gestures, she leaned in, I moved at the wrong second and my hand was on her arm an awkwardly looooong time as we both tried to regain our respective space bubbles. This awarded me the nickname “the petter” from my twitter peeps for an extended period.
  2. I almost electrocuted my bestie at Lori Foster Reader/Author Get Together in Cincinnati, OH. We were riding together to a restaurant and she handed me this battery back-up plugger-inner thingee and told me to push a button. I, not knowing what I was holding or what button to push, proceeded to act like a three year old and push them all. Turns out, she was holding bare wires and actually asked me NOT to push ANY buttons. She doesn’t ask for my help with that stuff anymore.
  3. I climbed onstage in true Courtney Cox fashion and danced with a local band that opened for Smashmouth in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was EPIC! There was a rocker girl in the band and we both wore short, stiff tulle skirts over striped leggings. We ROCKED it hard that night and surprisingly, I didn’t get arrested! J

Okay, now that you know WHO you’re dealing with, (I’ll wait while you grab your protective bubble wrap suit and face mask) it’s time to get to the WHAT part.

My very first book release!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

 I’m rolling it out with a big bang blog tour and I’m so excited! Today, I received praise for Happenstance from someone I don’t know and it was an AWESOME feeling. That’s not to say I didn’t love the feedback I got from mom, sis and the cousins! But this lovely gal friended me on Facebook, left me a rockin’ message two minutes later and told me she’d written a review on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble! SQUEEEE! It was Christmas and New Year and Happy Birthday all rolled into one and yes, I fainted a little.

The sites are still going live and every day I get giddy over some new piece of information regarding the book. This first release stuff has me bouncing around like an ant on crack and I can’t get enough of this new author high. I just know years down the road, I’ll see tweets from a debut author cartwheeling over the same fabulous and I’ll be jealous because I was there once and I know how cool it is. 🙂

Happenstance was published by Turquoise Morning Press on December 13, 2012. *Merry Christmas to me!* I wrote this story using some of the relationship conflict I witness on a day-to-day basis. I’m an assistant in a corporate setting so I get to see a lot of Peyton Place happenings. What’s a writer to do but file that juicy stuff away for the making of a romance novel?! Here’s what all those observations created:  

Taryn Ballard is happily married and a newly appointed analyst for a prestigious shipping company.  Her career upsurges in record time but she’s about to discover the real price of corporate life.

While on yet another business trip, Taryn suffers a brutal attack by a carjacker. Her husband isn’t there, but her co-worker Devin is.  The accidental bond Taryn and Devin share pitches them into dangerous and confusing territory. Taryn struggles to discern both her feelings for her sexy protector and Wade’s reaction to it all. Unfamiliar emotions blur the rules of the game and Wade’s ready to quit.

Taryn must rise above disaster to save her marriage. But is she ready to let go of the man who saved her life? In a single moment, Happenstance changes everything.

This story was so much fun to write because I really let loose and wreaked havoc on both Devin and Wade. I also put poor Taryn through the wringer! Yes, I’m awful in a creative writerly way. J I merged my favorite genres-suspense and romance-to create a story that lets the reader experience pain, joy, laughter and a little fright! Here’s a snippet to give you the feel of the book.

“Devin, it’s Taryn. You were right. The execs want me to meet them for dinner and I feel really foolish because I have a GPS and a connect-the-dot map from the concierge and I’m still lost.”

Devin laughed. “Not a problem. Where are you?”

Taryn took a second to locate the green street sign. “At the corner of First and Third at a tiny, ancient-looking convenience store.”

“Oh, I know the one. You’re right next to us. I could probably see you from the tower window. Okay, which restaurant are you looking for?”

Taryn grabbed the hand-drawn map. “Caminas.”

“I know where it is. Actually, it might be faster by freeway.”

“Of course it would. I just came from—”

An unexpected rush of damp, hot air hit her and Taryn turned, confused to see her door open wide. She sucked in a quick breath and saw too late the arm reaching for her. Terror gripped her as she zeroed in on the gun in her face.

Happenstance is one of my favorite creations and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! You can purchase Happenstance here!

Turquoise Morning Press

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

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Tweet with me @Valeriebrbr, follow me on Facebook or find out the latest on my blog about my upcoming short stories Raeanne Revealed in the Orange Karen Tribute Anthology out in April and Magnolia Brides in a TMP wedding anthology out in June!

Thanks again for having me here! I’m sticking around for a comment session! Let’s gab!! If you aren’t afraid I’ll somehow grope, electrocute you or dance with you through the screen! 😀

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