A Fairy Tale by Any Other Name….

Blog Hop

 

Welcome to my stop on the Beyond Fairy Tales Blog Hop. Please remember to visit all the sites listed below for a chance to win great prizes at each stop.

 

The criteria for a great fairy tale is not all that different from the formula used for an engaging romance. Both require the following:

  • A sensitive, brave, intelligent hero—preferably good looking, or at least confident in his appearance.
  • A strong, beautiful, empathetic heroine who’s not afraid to kick a little butt should the situation call for it.
  • A plot fraught with angst, danger and attraction. Whether the attraction leads to a chaste kiss or a steamy love scene depends on your audience.
  • A resolution that is both enlightening and satisfying, not only for the reader but also for the characters.
  • And, of course, the Happily Ever After required of all great tales.

My upcoming Beyond Fairy Tales story titled Do You Want Me is based on the Grimm tale, The Devil’s Sooty Brother. More macabre than romantic, The Devil’s Sooty Brother is the tale of a soldier who returns from war to find he’s lost everything he’d left behind.

In order to make a new life for himself, he agrees to work for the devil and earn the money he needs to begin again. The idea of creating a ‘devil’ gave me the perfect protagonist for my story. Do You Want Me also contains a king who has two daughters. While not a huge part of the original story, the idea of sisters fueled my naughty imagination.

So, how does an author of modern-day romances take a fairy tale written hundreds of years ago and make it current?

Beyond FT 1I started by finding some visual inspiration for my main characters. Outlining my hero was easy…it had to be the soldier from the fairy tale…complete with memories and scars. In most cases, the next character I’d work on would be the heroine. However, since in the original, there are no female characters present until the very end, I decided to flesh out other aspects of the story first before getting a handle on who would steal my hero’s heart.

There were also certain requirements set forth by the publisher. The biggest challenge among those was the inclusion of a narrator. Nicodemus, the storyteller, is a must for every book. I admit, I fretted over how to include this ‘outsider’. Then, two glasses of Baileys-over-ice later, I had it! (I do some of my best plotting under the influence of Bailey’s and crushed ice.)

I don’t want to give too much away other than to say, I have a sexy, battle-weary hero, a feisty tease of a heroine, a devil of a protagonist, and a father who holds an important position of influence (a king of sorts).

I’ve also done something I’d never attempted before. I wrote the entire story in the hero’s point of view…even the steamy love scenes.

I look forward to sharing my take on this fairy tale in the near future. The summer release date will be posted to my FB page and tweeted as soon as it’s available.

My Rafflecopter Draw:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Group Rafflecopter Draw:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Other Stops on the Multi-Author Tour:

T.L. Reeve

Bab’s Book Bistro

Gina Writes Words

Stephanie Beck

Vicki Ballante

Anastasia Vitsky

Dakota Trace

Sara Daniel

Erzabet Bishop

Louisa Bacio

Desiree Holt

Eva Lefoy

Jessica E. Subject

Nancy Fraser

VS Morgan

Taryn Kincaid

Cassandra Dean

Alexa Bourne

Jennah Scott

Sorcha Mowbray

Jewel Quinlan

Landra Graf

Zee Monodee

Tara Quan

Linnea Alexis

D.L. Jackson

Nicole Pouchet

Thank you so much for stopping by. Happy reading and good luck in the draws!

Nancy

A Picture’s Worth … At Least a Book Worth of Words

I’ve often heard other writers talk about how they use pictures to inspire them when they write. Whether it’s a headshot of the latest action movie hero, or a sexy singer, or even a god from Asgaard … if it works for you that’s great.

And while I’m well past the age of swooning over celebrities. I still like to use photos as inspiration. Quite often, when I begin a book, I’ll search my favorite stock photo site, 123rf.com, for what I need. I can usually find something to spur the imagination. And, if I’m lucky, I might even end up with a photo that’s cover-worthy.

As every author will tell you, the publishers’ art form is an important part of the process. Most often, they’ll ask for cover comparisons…another cover from their catalogue that sparks your interest. While I can usually find a few to inspire me, I most often attach links to the stock photo I prefer.

On two previous occasions, my stock photo became my cover.

Zack McCadeFirst, was the second book in my McCade Legacy series, The Lawman’s Agreement, from Entangled Publishing. I sent in this photo.

lawman_500And, lo-and-behold…the finished cover!

 

 

For my holiday novella, Pushing the Limits, also from Entangled, we went back and forth with ideas.

11064112_s12 Pushing the LimitsI’d originally proposed a single character (my sexy hero) dressed up as Santa. However, what we discovered was this same model had been used in other poses on a number of holiday books over the past few years. I didn’t want readers to think my hero was sleeping around so, instead we opted for a cute clinch.

 

 

Beyond FT 1For my current work-in-progress, my emphasis was on a sexy hero and petite heroine (although all my heroines have to have nice boobs). The story, a Beyond Fairy Tales re-telling of the dark Grimm fairy tale, The Devil’s Sooty Brother, is titled Do You Want Me (Decadent Publishing). My choice for inspiration was this steamy photo.

 

1NS 1I’m also working on a story for Decadent Publishing’s 1Nite Stand series. I wanted something uber-sexy to inspire me as I wrote, and I found this. Just as exactly as I pictured my hero…all business-like. And, my heroine…tempting as sin.

 

I’m still looking for visual inspiration for my next post-Civil War historical (3rd book in the McCade Legacy), but I’m sure I’ll find it.

Whether you listen to music, post photos of celebrities, or…as I do…scour the stock photo sites…inspiration is everything. Without it, we’d muddle through our work with no clear direction.

If you’re a writer, keep writing. If you’re a reader, by all means keep reading. You are why we do what we do!

Nancy

 

 

 

 

The Things Authors Say

 

As authors, we often look to other writers for inspiration. I thought I’d share some of my favorite writing-related quotes.

Writers on Writing:

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. – Douglas Adams

I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.  - Peter de Vries

If you start with a bang, you won’t end with a whimper.  - T.S. Eliot

There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are.  - Somerset Maugham

The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book.  - Mickey Spillane

If the sex scene doesn’t make you want to do it – whatever it is they’re doing – it hasn’t been written right.  - Sloan Wilson

Writers on Editing:

CartoonGet it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.  - William Faulkner

It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly.  - C. J. Cherryh

Never throw up on an editor.  - Ellen Datlow

 

Writers on Critics/Reviews:

Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.  - Christopher Hampton

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.  - Ernest Hemingway

It is advantageous to an author that his book should be attacked as well as praised. Fame is a shuttlecock. If it be struck at one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground. To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends.  - Samuel Johnson

Writing Self-Deprecation:

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.  - Robert Benchley

I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.  - Gustave Flaubert

Having been unpopular in high school is not just cause for book publication.  - Fran Lebowitz

A Writer’s Obsession:

We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to. – Somerset Maugham

When writing a novel, that’s pretty much entirely what life turns into: ‘House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.’  - Neil Gaiman

A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.  - Eugene Ionesco

A Writer’s Sense of Humor:

He was such a bad writer, they revoked his poetic license.  - Milton Berle

Writer

 

Just for Fun:

In honor of April Fool’s Day, the advent of spring and (hopefully) the end of winter, I’ve decided to hold a Rafflecopter draw for the month of April.

First prize: A $10 gift card the online book retailer of your choice.

Second prize: A digital copy of any of the books from my backlist (1 full length or 2 novellas)

Third prize: The chance to become a character in my next Golden Age of Rock and Roll novella. Or, if you’d prefer, my next erotic romance!

Please follow the instructions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Coming Soon:

perf5.000x8.000.inddOn April 22nd, The Wild Rose Press will be releasing the first five of my Rock and Roll novellas in one beautiful collection. Play It Again, The Golden Age of Rock and Roll, Volume 1 will be available in both print and digital formats.

 

 

 

Until next time, writers keep writing. Readers keep reading. You are why we do what we do!

Nancy

 

Can You Ever Have Too Many Projects in the Works?

laundry basketI guess it’s a good thing I have a lot of “around the house” clothes because I honestly CAN’T remember the last time I had all the laundry done at once.

coffee cupsAnd … is there really a bottom to my kitchen sink? Or, are unwashed coffee cups the preferred design?

The weather here in Atlantic Canada is forbidding … often a good thing where a writer is concerned because, barring power outages, we’ve got the perfect excuse to stay inside and write. However, we also have an opportunity to over-extend ourselves and enter into yet another “work in progress” or, for short, a WIP.

How do you determine whether or not you’ve got too many irons in the fire? How do you prioritize? Most importantly, how do you keep focus when jumping from one project to the next? Or, even more difficult, work on two or more projects at one time?

I don’t know about other authors but I’m a sucker for a new submission call. I see it posted on my publisher’s website, or it might be a call sent out via one of the many Yahoo groups. The moment I read the specs, my mind starts churning out ideas. And, it doesn’t seem to matter that I already have three projects scheduled. The creative mind wants what the creative mind wants … another outlet for my weirdly vivid imagination.

Rather than tell myself “NO”, I’ll usually open a new word document and jot down a few ideas … something I can come back to in a day or two when I’ve had time to let the idea percolate. I have to admit … I rarely wait that day or two. Most often, the “ideas” turn into a synopsis right there on the spot. How does this happen? Writers must be disciplined in order to write. YET, we can’t seem to resist the submission call.

4103952_sAs an example. Just this past weekend one of my four publishers put out a call for Valentine’s Day stories for 2016. The basis for the limited series was those sugar-rush candy hearts with the cute sayings on them. The title for each story (10,000 – 15,000 words each) would be taken from one of the candies. Authors who already write for the publisher would be given first chance at the series. All you had to do was submit your proposal to the editor with whom you work and, if they liked the idea, they would contact the coordinator for the series to “lock in” your title.

My few ideas turned into a two page proposal. I chose an appropriate candy title and sent the idea off to my editor. The next day I got a response … she loved the story idea and has contacted the coordinator to assure me the title.

Okay, add this to the pile of projects! When will I ever learn.

Now, here I sit, updating my blog … something that’s suffered greatly under the weight of my WIPs. Next, I really need to list and prioritize the following:

  • Final galley edits on my next release, The Mysterious Mrs. Pennybaker, coming this spring from Decadent Publishing.
  • Complete my re-telling of the Grimm Fairytale, The Devil’s Sooty Brother for Decadent Publishing’s Beyond Fairytales line. Titled, Do You Want Me, it’s my romantic take on a very non-romantic story. I have two chapters left, as well as the final read-through.
  • Complete the third McCade Legacy story. The Barrister’s Temptation. I’m about 5,ooo words from the end and still struggling with the loss of my co-author. Thank goodness my wonderful editor at Entangled Publishing has been patient. I will get this done.
  • Write the next novella in the Golden Decade of Rock and Roll series from The Wild Rose Press. Set in 1960, Are You Lonesome Tonight should be a fun project to complete.
  • First round edits on Eye of the Pharaoh, an Egyptian time travel from Soul Mate Publishing.
  • AND … finally (for the moment) the new novella based on my candy heart choice.

I’m sure I’ll add other projects along the way (e.g., the fourth McCade Legacy book or the 6th Rock and Roll novella) but, for the next couple of months, the list above should keep me busy.

How do I prioritize? - I prefer to prioritize by book length, the shorter novellas first. Of course, publisher’s deadlines and first round and galley edits take precedence over everything else. But, otherwise, it’s a real boost to the writer’s ego to complete a project. So, I go for the easiest first.

How do I keep focus? – I have an order to things. And, like prioritizing, everything has its place and time. When I’m working on a specific project, I surround myself with my research for the time period. I totally SHUT DOWN external media … no FB, no email … until I complete my goal for the day.

Can you work on more than one thing at a time? – I truly believe so. As a matter of fact, it’s what keeps my mind fresh and staves off boredom. I love working on two, sometimes three, things at once. I often find by switching projects, I come back to the first one with a number of new ideas. This doesn’t work for everyone but I encourage you to give it try.

Time to go make another cup of coffee … assuming I can find a clean cup.

Writers, please keep writing (I like to know I’m not the only one breaching insanity). Readers, please keep reading. You are why we do what we do.

Nancy

May

 

 

 

Keeping Track of Multiple Works-in-Progress

Like a number of authors, I write for more than one publisher. As a matter of fact, I currently actively write for four, have a complete manuscript out for consideration with a fifth and am running out a contract on yet another. Each publisher offers me something different, a way to avoid being pigeon-holed.

I also currently have Works-in-Progress (WIPs) for each of the four active publishers. Sometimes just the task of keeping them all up and running is as stress-inducing as the writing itself. Why then do I do it? Well, first of all, I’m in the middle of established series for two of the publishers. The third publisher gives me a chance to stretch my creative wings in a more “erotic” area not covered by the other publishers. And, the fourth, gave the book of my heart a home when everyone was telling me ‘secret books aren’t selling’. Since it’s release, that non-seller has been my best seller. Just goes to show you, not everyone can predict what will sell and what won’t.

How do I keep track of each project? Or, more precisely, how do I keep on track?

I calendar eachWIP. I set aside 3-day stretches per book and a half day for edits, followed by a day off before I move onto the next project. I truly like going from book to book, genre to genre, mostly because they’re so diverse I never get tired of writing. This week I thought I’d share a short tidbit from each of the current projects.

First, the next book in my Golden Decade of Rock and Roll series from The Wild Rose Press.

Are You Lonesome Tonight is a vintage historical set in 1960.

CHAPTER ONE

Elk Grove Village, IL, September, 1960

“Can you move just a little to the left?  Yes, that’s it. Much better.  Now, take it in your hand just like this.”

Lesley moved her hand cautiously across the smooth surface, eager to learn from Jake’s expertise.  Her hand slipped, her obvious ineptitude drawing his deep-throated groan.  Cautiously, she began again.

“Now squeeze, gently.  Good.  Not too tight,” he cautioned.  “You don’t want to do damage.”

“I’m trying,” she said.  “This is all foreign to me.  I’ve never done anything quite so daring.”

“I’m sorry. I guess I’m not used to doing this with a beginner.  You’ll get the hang of it eventually. Only a few more minutes and we’ll be done, I promise.  Just take it easy, and relax.”

“Hey, mom, whatcha’ doing.”  The sound of her son Tyler’s voice reverberated around Lesley, his words echoing in the small space, causing her hand to slip.

“I’m trying to fix this darned leaky pipe,” she explained.  “Jake…Mr. Spencer was teaching me how to wield a wrench.”

“Why don’t you just call the plumber?” Tyler asked.

“Because plumbers cost money, something we don’t have.”

“Can’t you just ask dad for the money?”

Lesley gritted her teeth in a mixture of anger and frustration. “I’d rather learn how to do this myself.”

Tyler removed a cookie from the jar on the counter, replacing the ceramic lid with a solid clank.  “Suit yourself.  I still think a plumber would do a better job.”

 

Next, the third book in the McCade Legacy Series from Entangled Publishing.

The Barrister’s Temptation is the story of the illegitimate leaf on the McCade tree.

CHAPTER ONE

Vicksburg, Mississippi, Early December, 1868

“You need to have a word with those women who work for your Mama, little girl. I don’t want the likes of them up here in my store.”

“They can go wherever they want. They’re free women.”

Aiden Parker shut his office door and secured the lock, his attention drawn to the sound of raised voices just two storefronts away. He recognized the first voice as that of the storekeeper, Miriam Hoskins, although the second voice eluded him.

Because Mrs. Hoskins was one of his valued clients, he turned toward the argument. Surely he should offer his assistance to mediate the heated discussion. What he really wanted was to head home, have a quick supper and relax in front of the fireplace with a glass of brandy clutched tightly in his fist.

Instead, the distinct ire of Mrs. Hoskins’ voice hurried his steps. “Their kind needs to learn their place.”

He came to an abrupt halt, just as the other woman—a diminutive redhead—fired the next volley. “That’s funny. I could have sworn Molly’s place was beneath the likes of your husband just two nights ago.”

Miriam Hoskins raised her hand but, thankfully, he caught her wrist on its way to the young woman`s cheek. “Ladies, perhaps I can offer my assistance to help—”

The redhead flashed him a scowl. “And just who the blazes are you?”

“I’m Aiden—”

Miriam Hoskins pulled her wrist from his grasp and turned on the younger woman. “He’s my barrister. I’m certain he’ll confirm for you, Cassie Maguire, the fact that I can refuse admittance to my place of business to whomever I choose.”

Miss Maguire’s amber gaze flared and met his head-on. A twitch tugged at the corner of his mouth and he fought back a threatening smile.

She planted her hands on slim hips and raised her chin an extra notch. “Is that so, Mr. Barrister? Can she refuse to allow my mother’s employees to shop in her store?”

He wasn’t sure who her mother’s employees were, or why Mrs. Hoskins wanted them barred from her establishment, yet he was reluctant to provide a firm answer. Especially, if it meant Cassie Maguire would turn and leave. He wasn’t quite ready to see her go.

He mustered up his most serious, lawyer-like expression. “Well, first of all, it would depend on the circumstances. Have these people done anything to warrant exclusion such as thievery or public drunkenness?”

She shook her head. Shoulder length hair dusted alabaster skin at the neckline of her dress. Aiden’s body clenched tightly. His fingers itched with the urge to gather a strand of the gossamer silk in his hand and run it between his thumb and forefinger.

“They’ve done nothing other than spend their hard-earned wages on the wares in this mercantile.”

He turned to face Mrs. Hoskins. “Have they stolen anything? Broken something.”

The shopkeeper crossed her arms in front of her, the thickness of her forearms settling beneath an ample bosom. “No, they haven’t. However, allowing women of such ill repute to shop in my store makes my other customers uncomfortable.”

Miss Maguire shook her head and snorted a laugh. “Oh, fiddlesticks. I’d wager at least half of your fine customers are regulars at The Wild Pony.”

The Wild Pony? Her claim caught him totally off guard. “The saloon…that’s your family business?” He tried to staunch the words even as they were leaving his lips. Or, at the very least, couch the sound of surprise in his voice. Unfortunately, it appeared he’d been unsuccessful when Cassie Maguire’s features pinched. Her lashes fluttered, as if fighting back tears or, possibly embarrassment. He wished, with all his being, he could take back the bald statement.

She stepped back and then off the wooden walkway and into the street. “Yes, The Wild Pony belongs to my mother, not to mention the attached whorehouse.” Sparing one last heated glance in Mrs. Hoskins direction, she met his gaze, her eyes widening with emotion. “You’re welcome to stop by any time.” She took two more steps and then stopped to add, “Although, we’re usually quite busy on Thursdays.”

Her sarcasm forced him to bite back an outright chuckle. He wasn’t sure what to make of Cassie Maguire. Surely she was beautiful, spirited and full of conviction. He admired the way she stuck up for her mother’s employees. He wasn’t sure why, but he felt he should say something to keep her from walking away angry. “Wait, Miss Maguire.” When she stopped but didn’t turn, he took a step in her direction. “Perhaps I could talk to Mrs. Hoskins on your friends’ behalf. Surely, their money is as good as any.”

He couldn’t tell if his offer had made things better or worse. She swung around slowly, her glorious mane of hair floating from side to side, teasing her shoulders and his senses at the same time.

“Their money’s better than most, I’d reckon.” She surveyed the open street around them. “After all, it used to belong to a goodly number of these fine, upstanding citizens of Vicksburg. So, Mr. Barrister—”

“Aiden. Aiden Parker.”

She nodded. Her shoulders lifted and fell on a delicate sigh. “Neither me, nor the ladies of The Wild Pony need your help. But, I do appreciate the offer.”

 

Third, is my next project with Soul Mate Publishing.

The Eye of the Pharaoh is a time travel set between modern-day New Orleans and 1920′s Egypt with a bit of paranormal activity thrown in for good measure.

CHAPTER ONE

Department of Art and Archeology, Princeton University

Teri Hunter stood in the doorway of the dark and musty storeroom. A dim light shone from a glass-enclosed workroom in the far corner.

She took a tentative step forward. The floorboards creaked beneath her feet, and she could have sworn something small and furry brushed against her ankle. A shiver ran down her back, yet she fought the urge to return to turn and run.

Her breath held, she pushed forward, winding her way past a half-dozen crates, some open, some not. To her left she heard a rustling of paper, to her right the distinct sound of footsteps. Her apprehension grew. The hair on her forearms stood at attention.

She’d barely made it halfway across the room when she bumped into something large and solid. When she looked up, she came face to face with the painted mask of an Egyptian noble. The chipped finish gave the death mask an almost deranged look of menace.

Side-stepping the ancient sarcophagus, Teri moved closer to the light.

That was when she saw him. Dr. Joshua Cain.

Bent over his workbench, he held an ornate canopic jar in one hand and a fine horsehair brush in the other. With each stroke of the brush, he cleared away thousands of years of accumulated dirt, revealing yet another fraction of an inch of the beautiful artifact.

She couldn’t see his face, yet his shoulders were broad. His hair, dark brown with a hint of gray, brushed the collar of his lab coat.

He shifted on the stool, inching closer to the small overhead lamp. When he turned the jar over in his hands, Teri found herself mesmerized by the gentle way his long fingers caressed the priceless object. Beneath the sleeves of her silk blouse, her skin tingled.

She waited for him to place the jar on the workbench before she cleared her throat, coughing softly to get his attention.

He turned on the stool, his attention draw to, of all things, her feet. Inside her sensible, three-inch heels, her toes curled.

He raised his head slowly, his intense perusal running over her like water from a hot shower, causing her cheeks to flush warmly. Their gazes met briefly, his brown eyes magnified by the protective goggles he wore. His jaw, covered with the stubble of a day-old beard, was square, his lips full and turned down in an obvious frown of disapproval.

“How the devil do you expect to work in that outfit?” he asked, his voice deeper, richer than she expected.

Teri glanced down at her suit, the pencil-straight skirt hugging her knees. “Excuse me?”

“I said—ˮ

“I heard what you said, Dr. Cain,” she explained. “I just don’t understand why my choice of clothing should matter?”

“You can’t empty dust-covered crates dressed like an uptight librarian?”

 

And, finally, my next erotic romance from Decadent Publishing, currently in the final galley stages.

The Mysterious Mrs. Pennybaker is set in 1922 Manhattan and the story of a woman who served as a “Hello Girl” during the first world war.

CHAPTER ONE

Manhattan – Upper East Side, May, 1922

“Mrs. Pennybaker, the Coppers are at the door. Shall I show them in?”

Ariel Trumont Pennybaker tucked the papers she’d been reading into the drawer of the chair-side table. She stood, pressed the wrinkles from her satin drop waist dress, and straightened the starched headband holding her wild, brown curls in place. “Yes. Of course, Marie. I’m always happy to speak with our wonderful men in blue.”

“Humph, wonderful indeed,” the older women grumbled. “Those flatfoots don’t know their arses from a hole in the ground. They’re all on the take.”

Ariel stifled a laugh at Marie’s disapproval of the local authorities. Although, given the trouble Marie’s somewhat colorful family had suffered over the past few years, her maid’s disapproval didn’t come as a surprise.

The moment the two officers came through the door, it was obvious this wasn’t one of their usual shakedowns. The captain himself had come this time, and that didn’t bode well for the topic of conversation.

“Captain Beaton, how may I help you today?”

“Mrs. Pennybaker, we understand you held a party here last evening. And, a loud party at that. Neighbors attest to the fact there was drinking involved.”

“I did indeed, Captain. A rather nice fundraiser in honor of the new rehabilitation home built for our war veterans.”

“And was there drinking, Mrs. Pennybaker?”

She nodded and smiled. “You bet your shiny silver badge there was. And lots of it.” She paused, studying the captain for a brief moment before adding, “And, as prohibited by the 18th Amendment to the constitution, I neither produced nor sold the liquor to my guests. Everything was given free of charge from my late husband’s vast cellar.”

“You don’t call making the swells donate to your cause the same as selling the liquor?”

“Of course not, Captain. I would have given them food and drink, whether they donated to the home or not.”

The second officer, a much younger man, stepped forward. “The Volstead Act…”

Ariel took a step forward until she stood opposite the man. Her bold advance stopped him mid-sentence. When their eyes met she raised her hand and ran her fingertip rather teasingly across the officer’s name tag.

“The Volstead Act, Lieutenant McMillan, does not prohibit the consumption of any wine or liquor purchased prior to its enactment on October 28, 1919. I assure you, my late husband’s cellar contains stock purchased long before the passing of either the 18th Amendment or the Volstead Act.” She edged toward the door, eager to escort her unwanted guests out. “Now, if you gentlemen will excuse me, I need to prepare for another fundraiser later this evening at the home of the mayor.”

Lieutenant McMillan started toward the door, but the Captain stood his ground. The sight of his well-fed and unkempt person making bile rise in her throat.

“Not so fast, Mrs. Pennybaker,” Beaton warned. “There’s still the matter of inspecting your cellar.”

“An inspection?” Concern hammered within her chest. The cellar held secrets far more dangerous than bottles of booze. She drew a few calming breaths and composed herself in a matter of seconds. She knew from experience, a calm demeanor would guarantee the safety of her cache.

“Yes. Despite your assurances, we need to see for ourselves there’s no bootleg liquor hiding among your late husband’s stores.”

With much reluctance she motioned the two men forward and then followed them into the hallway. “Marie!”

Within seconds the woman appeared at her side. “Yes, Ma’am?’

“I would appreciate it if you could accompany the officers and me to the wine cellar.” Turning to the captain, she explained, “I would feel more comfortable in the company of one of my employees. I hope you understand, Captain Beaton.”

The captain snorted, no doubt amused by her concern. “Whatever suits your fancy, Mrs. Pennybaker. We’re interested in the hooch. Nothing more.”

 

New Release– End of Lonely Street by Alicia Dean – Plus an Awesome Giveaway

Alicia Dean joins us today to share her latest release from The Wild Rose Press on what would have been Elvis’ eightieth birthday. End of Lonely Street is a Vintage Romance Short Story set in 1957, in the era when Elvis first burst on the scene. Like the heroine in her story, Alicia is a die-hard Elvis fan. (As you probably figured out, she took the title from a line in Heartbreak Hotel, which was Elvis’ first million selling record).

About the Book:

EndofLonelyStreet_w9180_300 (1)Can she let go of the past, before it destroys her future?

All Toby Lawson wanted was to go to college to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and the painful memories of finding her and the guy Toby loved kissing. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away, helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.

Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, and even though she knows her mother initiated the kiss, and that he didn’t kiss her back, she can‘t seem to get past what happened. He soon realizes that the true problem lies in Toby’s belief that she’s not good enough for him and in her fear that she will be just like her mother.

What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?

An Excerpt:

Chapter One

Mapleton, Tennessee, November, 1957

Toby Lawson closed her eyes and shut out all sounds of the diner, except for Elvis Presley’s voice. He was crooning about how she was the only one for him…no matter where he went or what he did… he’d spend his whole life loving her…

Rough hands landed on her waist and shattered the fantasy. She caught a whiff of hair tonic and too much cologne, and she snapped her eyes open. Wes Markham’s hateful face replaced the image of Elvis’ beautiful, crooked smile and smoldering blue eyes.

“Let me go.” She gritted her teeth, keeping her voice low. If her boss, Mr. Winstead, knew there was trouble on account of her, he’d explode. He’d barely let her have the job in the first place. Everyone in Mapleton knew the Lawson women were trouble.

“Come on, honey. If you like that hip swivel, Presley ain’t the only one who’s got it. I got it too.” He released her with his left hand so he could run it over his slicked down hair and gave her a big-toothed, wolfish smile. “Only we’d be naked.” He shot a cocky grin over to his two companions—Chuck Stenson and Billy Garfield—who were leaning against the jukebox making kissing and whooping sounds.

Toby gripped his right wrist with one hand, tightening her hold on the utensils she held in the other. “I said let me go. Now!”

“Aw, be a sport, Green-Eyes.”

The bulge of his pelvis pressed into her abdomen, and she gasped in shock. Nausea tightened in her esophagus. “Wes Markham, I’m warning you…”

She shoved against him, but he didn’t budge.

He pulled her tighter. “Your momma’s a whole lot friendlier than you are. They say the apple don’t fall far from the tree, so how’s about you cut the pretense and we go someplace quiet? Winstead won’t miss you for a few minutes.”

Her cheeks heated. She didn’t dare look around. No doubt the customers were watching, listening. Elvis had stopped singing and everyone in the place could hear what he’d said about her mother. It wasn’t like they didn’t all know, though. Constance Lawson hadn’t exactly kept her escapades a secret.

Toby clenched her teeth and brandished the utensils. She spoke loud enough for everyone to hear. “Release me this instant, or I swear, you’ll be pulling this steak knife out of your eyeball.”

He held her gaze for a split second, then gave a laugh that was somewhere between nervous and furious. “Sure, sure. Okay.” He released her and stepped back. “I was just foolin’ around anyway. I got better things to do with my time than waste it on a used up chick like you.”

Muffled laughter rose around her. Oh God, she could crawl into a hole.

“How about you apologize to the lady, then beat it?”

Toby whirled at the male voice. Noah Rivers stood behind her, looking handsome and sharp in his police uniform—even with his dark hair in the military buzz cut. Her knees weakened, and tingles swept over her skin. She swallowed against the sudden dryness in her throat. She’d heard he was back, but hadn’t seen him until now. And what a time to have a reunion.

About the Author:

Alicia Dean Tin Man Color (2)Alicia Dean lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Website: http://aliciadean.com/

Blog: http://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008364070487

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Alicia_Dean_

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/aliciamdean/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/468339.Alicia_Dean

 

Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.com/B00QQO3BK0

*** 10% of all of Alicia Dean’s net royalties for End of Lonely Street will go to The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation (http://www.graceland.com/epcf/ ) ***

Check out End of Lonely Street and enter to win GREAT prizes…

GIVEAWAY: - Entries accepted from January 8, 2015 through noon on January 22, 2015

Three prizes –

Elvis Gift Basket including DVD, CD, plus more

$25 Amazon Gift Card

$10 Amazon Gift Card

First place winner has first choice, second place winner has second choice, third place winner receives the remaining prize.

A Rafflecopter giveaway

Rocking In the New Year

The new year is upon us and, with it, a chance to dust off those bad habits and begin fresh. I don’t make resolutions because I believe they set you up for failure. Instead, I prefer to make goals, some long-term and a few of the shorter variety.

I’ve learned, living in Atlantic Canada in the wintertime, only a complete fool sets their goals (especially those involving a computer) based on a schedule. It can be a sunny, -5° Celsius one day (crisp but workable) and the next day, +2° but snowing up a storm. Experience has told us to brace ourselves because—where there’s snow—power outages often follow. So, being practical, I set my goals based on completed projects with a ‘floating’ finish line.

And, because I don’t go out a lot in the throes of winter, I also set a goal to do more promotional work … something I can do from a well-charged smart phone.

Speaking of promotion, I am currently at the mid-point of a blog tour for my recently released novella, Dream Lover, the fifth installment in my Golden Decade of Rock and Roll series from The Wild Rose Press.

About the Book:

15 Dream LoverHaley Parker lost her academic scholarship when she quit school to care for her dying mother. Now, eager to return to her studies, she must find the perfect job that will allow her the freedom to attend evening classes.

Her best friend Chloe teaches at one of Boston’s finest private schools, a job Haley had once hoped would be hers. When Chloe snags Haley a referral for a position as nanny to high-powered attorney, Eric Garrison’s, two young children, Haley looks forward to taking on the task.

Eric finds himself drawn to the intelligent and loving young woman who has bewitched his children. It’s not long before he’s re-thinking his plan to avoid romantic entanglements. On a family vacation to Paris, he finds it impossible to resist the lovely, yet innocent Haley.

Haley willingly gives up her innocence for a chance to make love with Eric, even though she realizes it will change their professional relationship forever.

A Short Excerpt:

“So, Miss Parker, what do you think of Paris?”

Haley rolled over in the big bed and wrapped her arms around Eric’s waist, drawing him closer. “I think the Eiffel Tower is compensating for something.”

“Perhaps, we could explore the possibility of what that might be. Comme vous le voulez.”

She relaxed back in Eric’s embrace and felt the wet press of his lips to hers, the scratchiness of his tongue… the…

She awoke with a start. Benji, the Garrison’s cat, sat squarely in the middle of her chest, his nose pressed against her cheek. Her heart pounded, the remnants of her dream coming back to her in embarrassing Technicolor. What in heaven’s name would have possessed her to dream about her employer in such an unusual and thoroughly inappropriate way?

Surely, she wasn’t attracted to the workaholic, albeit handsome, attorney. No, it must have been the few words of French he’d uttered at dinner prompting such a ridiculous dream. Haley mentally discarded any thought of herself and Eric Garrison.

She gave the cat a shove. “Get down, you pesky ball of fur.”

Benji jumped lazily to the floor, his loud hiss speaking volumes about his displeasure at being rousted from the bed.

 

Next Tour Dates and Stops:

January 8: A Book Addict’s Delight
January 9: Unabridged Andra’s
January 12: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
January 13: Long and Short Reviews
January 14: My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews
January 15: Romance Novel Giveaways
January 16: Shooting Stars Reviews

Please check out all the remaining stops for your chance to win a $15 gift card from the book retailer of your choice.

The Buy Links:

TWRP: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=242_176_145&products_id=5974

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PTA26GC

Dream Lover, as well as the first four novellas in the series, are all on sale for 99¢ now through February 14th. The entire set would make a great Valentine’s Day present for any lover of great rock and roll and romance!

Join me in January 8th when I’ll host Alicia Dean as she celebrates Elvis’ birthday and the release of her vintage, 1957 novella, End of Lonely Street

Until next time, writers keep writing and readers please keep reading. You are why we do what we do.

Nancy

 

The Holidays Are Upon Us …

I love the holidays and they love me. Okay, maybe it’s just my hips they love because they keep leaving a bit of themselves behind for the next year.

What I love most about the holidays is time spent with family, whether it’s around the tree or tucked in at the heavily-laden supper table. It’s all precious. I’m blessed to have my family close by and I feel for those whose families are spread far and wide. This year promises to be special as my youngest grandchild (17 months) will be at the adorable, gift-wrap-tearing-open stage. I look forward to seeing the excitement as he rips into each present.

Book BirthdayI also enjoy giving and receiving books for the holidays. I plan to send quite a few copies of my holiday romances to friends. Today, I’d like to share them with you … just in case you haven’t yet finished your cyber-book shopping.

ErinsGift (1)First of all, we’ll start with the 1920′s … a time when flappers were plentiful, holiday cheer flowed freely (although often illegally) and a good time was had by all. My Roaring 20′s holiday romance, Erin’s Gift, is the story of a young woman struggling to get by, an ill-fated night out with friends, and the discovery of a new and exciting man in her life. Add to that the festive season and an adorable child and you have the perfect holiday mix.

On sale for just 99 cents, all the buy links for Erin’s Gift can be found here:

http://www.entangledpublishing.com/erins-gift/

There’s also a first-chapter preview!

12 Pushing the LimitsFor those of you who prefer the modern day, my contemporary novella, Pushing the Limits, will take you on a sexy, saucy trip through the holidays compliments of a hilarious case of mistaken identity. When Cade Tucker is mistaken for a hired Santa, he can’t resist playing along. Especially if it will give him a chance to charm the auburn-haired beauty with legs that send his fake beard rolling up and down with excitement.

Also available for just 99 cents, the buy links and first chapter preview are here:

http://www.entangledpublishing.com/pushing-the-limits/

 

Now, a gift to my fellow authors/readers … my grandchildren’s favorite holiday treat!

Holiday CRACK ROLLS
Ingredients

1 loaf (16 ounces) thinly sliced white bread, crusts removed (you can also use 16 phyllo squares or 16 crescent rolls shaped into squares instead of triangles)

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened (chocolate cream cheese works great as well)

3/4 cup confectioner sugar

1 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

Flatten bread with a rolling-pin.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar.

In another bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture on each slice of bread.

Roll up, jelly roll style.

Dip in melted butter, then in cinnamon-sugar.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield: 16 roll-ups. Good warm or cold. ADDICTING!

 

No matter which holiday you celebrate, do it well and safely. I’ll be back next week when my next Golden Decade of Rock and Roll novella releases. Dream Lover is a wonderful throw-back to a simpler time and I look forward to sharing it with you. We’ll also be going on tour starting on the 29th with some great sales and giveaways!

May you be blessed with peace, love, and many, many great forms of chocolate!

Nancy

 

I’m Thankful For …

Garfield turkeyEven though I live in Atlantic Canada, I grew up in the U.S. — Detroit specifically. My childhood is filled with wonderful memories of the fall and winter holidays. Even though I was an only child, I had more than enough cousins to go around. The holiday tradition of good food and loving family was something I eagerly passed on to my children. And, even to this day, my younger son insists on celebrating American Thanksgiving in addition to our own Thanksgiving in October. Personally, I think it’s just his excuse to have two turkeys so close together! Not that there’s anything wrong with having turkey over and over again … including the awesome leftovers.

Speaking of leftover turkey, I thought I’d share my mainstay recipe. It’s been a favorite of both my sons and now their children as well.

Turkey Chalupa

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded turkey (both white and dark meat)

2 cups shredded cheese (I prefer a 3-cheese blend)

1 can cream of chicken soup (do not dilute)

1 16oz container sour cream

Optional: 2 T chopped jalapeno peppers OR 1 T juice from peppers

½ bag of ORIGINAL Fritos (If you can’t find Fritos, sea salt corn chips will also work – just don’t use nacho flavored/spicy chips)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly grease a large (14 x 8) bake pan

Crush Fritos and spread equally over bottom of pan

Spread cooked turkey over the chips

In a bowl, mix together the soup and sour cream; add peppers if using

Spread mixture over the turkey, covering from edge to edge

Top with shredded cheese

Bake for 35-40 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling

Let sit for five minutes before serving

***

Serve with a tossed salad or vegetable

I also enjoy garnishing with either guacamole or leftover cranberry sauce (or both)

***

I recently wrote a blog post for Decadent Publishing author blog. Since my scheduled day was Thanksgiving, I decided to write about the many things for which we, as authors, are thankful. One of the most important, of course, are the readers. It’s hard to truly describe how humbling it is to know that people are buying the book that you write. Despite my many years in the business, my hand still shakes a bit when someone passes me one of my books and requests that I autograph it. There is no greater joy than when asked ‘what do you do’, I can say, “I’m an author”.

I’ll be back next week with some insight into that “other” upcoming holiday. Until then, my best wishes for a safe and happy holiday.

Nancy

 

 

Juggling Back-to-Back Releases

Okay, I admit it … I hate social media. There, I said it. I also realize it has become a necessity — especially for an author who wants and needs to promote her work. So, here I am with a blog, a website currently undergoing an overhaul, a FB page, a Twitter account, and so on.

Compound my love-hate relationship toward social networking with the release of not one new book, but two very different books, and you can imagine how crazy it may get when my usually organized writing and promotion schedule takes a huge hit! Beginning on Monday, I will embark on two blog tours and work diligently to not short-change either.

VBT_TheMuse_CoverBannerFor my October 10th release, The Muse (Decadent Publishing), I chose to go with Goddess Fish Promotions … a company who specializes in blog tours. Not only because I welcomed the help but because this is my first erotic romance and I was unfamiliar with the market and the bloggers available to feature my work. Obviously, I underestimated the interest in erotic romance because the slots filled up as quickly as they were put up on the Goddess Fish site. They promote Monday through Friday and I have something booked every day starting on the 27th, with a couple of days having two stops. Part of the Goddess Fish tour includes a prize draw, so please check Nancy Fraser, Author for the daily link.

16 HomeIsWhereTheHunkIsConfident in their ability to guide my blog tour, I got ambitious (okay, make that cocky) and decided to put together my own blog tour for my contemporary romance, Home is Where the Hunk is (Soul Mate Publishing), which released October 22nd. I put out the call to the various writer support groups to which I belong. And, WOW did they come through for me. Nearly every day booked up, and one even double-booked. I also created a second Rafflecopter draw for my self-arranged tour. Those links will also be available on my daily Facebook post.

15 Dream LoverAssuming I survive the two and a half weeks of promotional craziness, my next release is scheduled for December 17th. Dream Lover (The Wild Rose Press), the next novella in my Golden Decade of Rock and Roll Series will also be going on tour … and I eagerly await all the frenetic excitement that will accompany the promotion.

You never know what you will get when you sign on to be a writer. The one thing we are sure of, is that there is no greater joy than creating entertaining fiction for readers who enjoy what we do.

The next time you read a book you really like, please take the time to leave an honest review. They are very much appreciated.

Please remember to go to my previous posts for information on the Fiction Fantatics Feud … a fun game and a neat way to win great prizes!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Nancy