28 November 2010

A Haiku Poem
Sandringham Craft Fair

Crowds pushing, shoving.
Join with me today and see
crafts displayed proudly.

Handcrafted clinker
boats, rocked by adults to make
the small children laugh.

Trinkets glistening
enticing the purchaser
to open purses.

Lacemakers display
their bobbins and spandles with
deft dexterity.

Painted glasses shine.
Under hot lights they twinkle.
The shelves empty fast.

Young child has to walk.
Concrete Buddha in pushchair
child asks for a lift.

Lathe spinning, woodturns,
Dalgarno's talents displayed.
Crafted wooden gems.

Egg, chips and bacon
onions too, waft on the air
tea or beer swilled down.

Crystal necklaces
rings, chokers, many colours
show to advantage.

Painted faces, cats
dogs and other animals
all walk through the tents.

"All products homemade-
you should look at my kitchen."
Angel Blends came next.

With pictures painted
on canvas and leather bags
colourful choices.

For three days now, it's
the last one, vendors weary,
ready to go home.

Dogs on leads, pulling.
Children tired now, crying,
adults, bags bulging.

Been all the way round
finished now. Ready for home
and to share with you.
(Copyright Sherry Gloag 2004)

24 November 2010

Ducks galore

We used to live in a country village a large natural pond bordering one side of our property. Several trees shaded the far end of the garden and remained a roughly grassed area. This became a favourite congregational place for all the local ducks and in the summer I’m talking about approximately ten ducks enjoyed the facilities.

But they did not nest nearby.

For some reason, this particular summer the local children discovered several abandoned ducklings and brought them to me. I never did discover why they chose me, but I never turned them away. My son adored them.

All survived my ministrations but their problems began when I tried re-introducing them to the pond.

First they had problems staying afloat because their feathers lacked the essential oils generated when they preened. Something they apparently learned from their parents. Next I learned the hard way that the parents of each family protected their young against intruders and if a duckling attached itself to the wrong family the male would intentionally drown it.

It may seem hard, but the name of Nature’s game is ‘Survival of the fittest.’

The summer flew by and the local children turned up with two more orphans. I looked after them for a few days before considering releasing them onto the pond, hopeful and yet anxious for their future.

Fortunately a mother duck had just brought her eleven chicks onto the water for the first time a couple of days previously, so with bated breath I released my two charges into the melee of her chicks and waited for the parents to notice their additions.

Either these parents couldn’t count or didn’t mind looking after two more ducklings, because they flourished under the care of their foster parents, and in the winter, a line of fifteen fully grown ducks wended their way to my back door. Of the fifteen, thirteen never hesitated to come into the kitchen if they could, and two, I presume the parents stood outside clucking anxiously until they all headed back to the water again.

19 November 2010

Daryn Cross is my guest today

Welcome to The Heart of Romance, Bobbye. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thanks for having me, Jackie. I’m a writer of mystery/suspense and women’s fiction under my real name but also write romantic fantasy and science fiction under the pseudonym, Daryn Cross. I’ve been writing seriously for fifteen years and published four novels wit Linda Campbell as Terry Campbell, three of which were romantic comedies and one time travel during the Civil War period.

You mention on your website you have recently changed your pen name. What brought that about and why have you chosen your current name?
Linda and I decided to begin solo careers. Although our latest release is written by both of us, we used our new pen names so we had a starting to launch as solo writers.

If you could be any bird what bird would you want to be?
I’d probably be a bobwhite, wild, loves to fly and when heard, has a very distinctive voice.

Why writing? What motivated you to write stories, especially fantasy?
Writing is my passion. Like any passion, to deny it is like telling a person to stop breathing. I come from a family of storytellers, so writing them was natural. As for fantasy, I read a lot of sci-fi when I was young and I guess I gravitated back in that general direction. But, I love mystery/suspense too and have a two-pronged career path mapped out.

What is it about your favourite fantasy setting that sets it apart from others you have created?
It would have to be my setting in my yet to be published epic, the book of the Beginning series. It starts in current day western North Carolina on Lake Toxaway, but the backdrop of the family is set in Ireland in the land beyond the myst.

How many other books have you written and where can we find them?
As I said above, four are under the name Terry Campbell and should be re-released by early next year (Mr. Wrong, Fat Chance, Intimate Investor and Craig Legacy). It’s Magic makes five. Mid-year next year, I’ll release my first suspense, Coming to Climax, Turquoise Morning Press, under my real name and in October, my first solo fantasy, Walk Right In, L&L Dreamspell. In January 2012 the sequel of that book, Walk Right Back, will be released. But keep your eyes open because there will be more I can’t mention at this time.

If you could colour your hero in your new book, It’s Magic, what colour would he be?
Guy McLane’s definitely red: bold, outspoken, opinionated, but a true leader. He’s a man who leaves his mark.

Please tell us what the differences are between co-writing a book and writing on your own. How did your partnership came about?
I started co-writing and knew no difference. Linda and I began writing together when I met her at my first chapter RWA meeting. She was critiquing my WIP and suggested we write it together. I agreed because I didn’t know squat about writing fiction. However, I wrote better dialogue than she did at that time.
As for the differences, there are distinct advantages to each. With a co-writer you have a built in first editor and someone to commiserate with when getting published. Your weaknesses and strengths should even out with a partner if you have the right one. Writing on your own is much freer because there is no compromise on how passages are written. I like writing by myself now that I have written five by myself.

What is your favourite cookie?
Oatmeal raisin without question. It’s wholesome and reminds me of my childhood. 

Please will you tell us a little bit about your new book, and how it came about?One day I was thinking about what Santa did on his off-season. Surely, he didn’t spend all year in preparation. He had to have a staff. Voilá! Maxwell Magic was born, and why not have him bring magic into two people’s lives who have given up on everlasting love?

Please will you share a blurb of It’s Magic?
Can true love exist between a man who believes a woman is capable of sticking a shive in his heart while making love and a woman who is convinced men think with only one head? Maxwell Magic, an eccentric mysterious matchmaker swears it can and he’s the man to provide the stimulus to make it happen. Kasey Bell, feminist writer, and Guy McLane, radio’s famous chauvinistic psychiatrist, are his targets. Even with carefully executed plans, the road to true love is strewn with mishaps, mirth and money-hungry nighttime talk show hosts. Will Kasey and Guy risk their reputations by exposing secrets buried beneath layers of shame and self-doubt for a desperately needed big money pay-off? Or, will they claim what has evaded them their entire lives—a love that lasts forever?

Do you have an excerpt for us to read?
As Kasey followed the stagehand, Guy grimaced. Damn. Why’d she have to have sea-green eyes and be a natural, sun-streaked blonde? He was a sucker for natural blondes, she appeared to be one. Unlike his ex, Helen, he suspected Kasey Bell’s blonde hair wasn’t found just on her head.
His gaze took in her tight ass and long legs. God, what legs Some men were turned-on by big breasts. Others by asses. Not him. He was a leg man through and through.
And Kasey had the best set he’d seen in years.
Her dress clung in all the right places and was designed to make a man forget his own name. Not that it had a chance with him.
Guy studied her the way a connoisseur would a fine wine. Vintage seventy-three. He took another long, slow perusal and shook his head. He was wrong. The body on this Cabernet Sauvignon came from a perfect year. More likely a seventy-eight or if he were lucky, a classic seventy-five.
He grinned as she smoothed the sides of her dress while continuing to cross the stage on her perfectly toned legs.
Definitely still corked. She hadn’t had a chance to breathe, yet. He inhaled sharply. There was no mistaking a good mellow grape when he saw one. And when squeezed just right, the grape was memorable. One to be savored, never gulped.
No question about it, Ms. Kasey Bell was premium sipping quality. First, he’d give her time to breathe. Then he’d taste her, a little at a time, a gentle swirl over the tongue, a teasing of the taste buds.
As he continued to examine her, Guy swallowed hard. From the way her dress moved and the lack of lines, she wore a thong and thigh-high hose. Her derriere was the perfect size for his hands to cup each cheek as he pulled her flush against him. He could feel her long legs wrapping around him. And then there were her delicate ankles. They were so slim his fingers could circle them.
The whole package was enough to bring a grown man to his knees. Especially one like him who’d been alone for last three years. God, help him. Because if he didn’t, Guy knew there was no way he’d maintain his cool while seated next to her on stage.
“Dr. McLane?”
Guy snapped to attention. Standing before him were two lanky young men. “Yes.”
“I’m Josh Bell. This is my younger brother Jacob.”
Guy thrust out his hand and greeted each boy. “I understand you want to take some photos.”
“Yes, sir,” Josh answered.
“You’re our hero.”
Jacob frowned at Josh’s sharp jab to his ribs and Guy laughed. “What does your mother think of that?” He grinned as the two boys looked at each other, shrugged, then turned back to him.
“She hates it,” they said together.
“Dr. McLane, you’ve got two minutes.”
“Thanks, Al.” He turned to the boys. “We’d better get those photos taken.”
Guy started to move, then grimaced, again. Damn. He hadn’t reacted to a female this rapidly since adolescence. Back then, much to his embarrassment, all it’d taken was a slight breeze to get a reaction out of him. And at thirty-eight, the last thing he wanted was to look like a coat rack in some kids’ photos. “Both of you stand here,” he said, positioning the boys in front of him.
As Al Mack took more than a dozen photos, Guy wondered what it was about Kasey Bell that rang his chimes. They’d never met, yet he’d swear he’d seen her before.
Ah, well, he’d remember eventually. He never forgot a pair of legs, especially ones as spectacular as Kasey’s.

Do you have a ‘Buyer’s’ link for It’s Magic? www.CrescentMoonPress.com/Books/ItsMagic.com

Where can we find you? Your website and other links you wish to share? www.DarynCross.com

Thank you for joining us today, and best wishes to you and your writing partner L.J.DeLeon for your new book.
Thanks for inviting me, Sherry. I’ve enjoyed this interview.

18 November 2010

Dream Bigger ~ A Review

Title: Dream Bigger
Author: Julie Wise
Publisher:iUniverse, Inc
Genre: Self Improvement
ISBN-10: 1450253180
ISBN-13: 978-1450253185
Length: 133 pages

You can with Dream BIGGER, Julie Wise's heartfelt and inspiring guide to realizing your deepest desires. Using her experience as a life and relationship coach, Wise provides personal anecdotes and numerous client examples to create a living, breathing roadmap for those seeking insight and wisdom on their daily path.
The workbook format deftly illustrates Wise's motivational message, giving you the chance to work through past disappointments, doubts and fears using simple yet effective techniques. She shows you how to stay focused and achieve your dreams by creating a workable action plan. Divided into easy-to read chapters, Wise offers inspiring stories from those successfully living their dreams and covers topics such as revealing the dream, befriending the gremlins, reawakening your potential, seeing the signs, and much, much more!
Your dream is within reach. Let Dream BIGGER show you how to make it a reality!

It is all too easy to assume that author’s of self-help books may have the theory, but lack the personal experience. In this book Ms Wise shares some of her own dark moments and tells us how she managed to overcome them. Not once but on several occasions.
That alone reveals that sometimes life throws a nasty curve ball even to those who may appear to others ‘to have it all together’.
Each chapter deals comprehensively with its own subject. Most, but not all, have exercises the reader can use to help them rise out of their own dark chasms.
Dream Bigger shares real-life experiences of others who, combined with a quirk of fate changed, not only their own lives, but those of hundreds of others, sometimes continents away. They are examples, if you like, of the saying ‘If there’s a will, there’s a way.’
It is all too easy to let go of the dream, but with Ms Wise’s book, Dream Bigger, you feel as though you have a friend by your side each step of the way.
This book is easy to read, easy to follow, and easily inspires the reader to Dream Bigger.

17 November 2010

Please give a warm welcome to author Julie Wise

Hi Julie, thank you very much for agreeing to this interview about your book Dream Bigger.
Before posting my review tomorrow, I'd like to say how much I enjoyed it.

You cited several personal experiences in Dream Bigger, how hard did you find it to write about them, and did you find it cathartic when you’d finished?
Writing about my personal experiences was not difficult because they are situations from the past that I’ve written or spoken about before. One of the benefits of going through challenging times is being able to learn new skills and gain wisdom that you can later share with others who find themselves in similar situations. Every experience deepens you, grants you more insight, and expands your compassion for others.

How long did it take you write Dream Bigger?
The writing process took about three months. I committed to sitting down every day and writing for two to four hours. My goal was to write 2,000 words a day.

Apart from your own experiences, what or who motivated you to write Dream Bigger?
The idea for this book came to me last December while I was writing another book – one about my journey through Ireland in 2008. Dream BIGGER leaped into my mind and insisted on being written first. The title, section headings and basic outline of the book presented themselves to me. Each day when I sat down to write, the content flowed. It was as if the message needed to be voiced, and I was the one who happened to say yes to the task of writing it all down. The examples in the book are from my own life or from experiences with my coaching clients, and the six individuals I interviewed as “Dreammakers” are inspiring people whose stories I wanted to share with the world.

What has been the single most rewarding aspect of the experience?
It’s hard to choose one aspect! I thoroughly enjoyed the writing process. It flowed with such ease and brought me such joy that it confirmed for me my role as a writer. I was also thrilled when all six of the “Dreammakers” agreed to be interviewed without hesitation, even though none of them knew me personally and all of them have very demanding schedules. Perhaps the best part, however, is the feedback from readers, hearing how the book has inspired them, or changed their lives in some way.

If you had to write it again, what would you change, if anything?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I believe the book carries a message that is timely and it will touch many lives exactly as it is.

What are your future goals? Do you have any more books in the pipeline, and would you care to give your readers and fans a sneak peak into them?
I’m busy promoting Dream BIGGER at the moment, but also starting to get back into writing again. I’m working on the book on my Ireland journey. I travelled for three months alone, by foot, bus and train, had extraordinary experiences and met wonderful people. I lived in a cottage along the northern coast of Northern Ireland for a month, flew a glider plane on my birthday, learned how to make Irish soda bread, and tapped my toes to live music in a tiny pub surrounded by over two dozen musicians. I have many tales to tell, for sure!

What is your favourite car? And what colour would it be?
No question – BMW sport convertible in steel blue. Now that’s dreaming bigger!
LOL - as you say, we can all dream!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you like to settle down?
I think I have gypsy blood, so settling down anywhere wouldn’t work for any length of time. I love to travel and explore although I do need a home base. I’d love to live in another country for part of the year, and then return to Canada to spend the rest of the year writing about my experiences. Some of the countries I’d like to experience include Ireland again, Spain again, Portugal, New Zealand, parts of Italy …

Who, in the world, past or present, would you most like to meet?
I’d like to meet Oprah because she embodies the philosophy and spirit of dreaming bigger. Not only does she live her life this way, she shares the joy and abundance with everyone around her, including her television audience. In terms of the past, I’d like to meet Lucy Maud Montgomery, the Canadian author of the Anne of Green Gables books. I’d love to tell her what an impact her writing had on me as a child and how, even today, I reread the series from time to time.

What hobbies do you enjoy?
I don’t do much these days, but I’ve always danced (ballroom, flamenco), used to crochet, paint watercolours, and read a lot. I enjoy going for walks in the woods.

If you had to get up on a stage and sing a song, what song would you choose?
“My Way”, the song made famous by Frank Sinatra. I think it sums up my approach to life.

Please will you share the blurb and an excerpt of Dream Bigger with us today?
Book Description:
Take a moment to remember daydreaming as a child. Recall the joy, freedom, and sense of possibility you felt. Imagine being able to experience that every day!
You can with Dream BIGGER, Julie Wise’s heartfelt and inspiring guide to realizing your deepest desires. Using her experience as a life and relationship coach, Wise provides personal anecdotes and numerous client examples to create a living, breathing roadmap for those seeking insight and wisdom on their daily path.
The workbook format deftly illustrates Wise’s motivational message, giving you the chance to work through past doubts, disappointments and fears using simple yet effective techniques. She shows you how to stay focused and achieve your dreams by creating a workable action plan. Divided into easy-to-read chapters, Wise offers inspiring stories from those successfully living their dreams and covers topics such as revealing the dream, befriending the gremlins, reawakening your potential, seeing the signs, and much, much more!
Your dream is within reach. Let Dream BIGGER show you how to make it a reality!Excerpt from the introduction to Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease:
“Did you daydream as a child? Do you remember the magic of imagining you could fly like an eagle, or discover new lands like Christopher Columbus, or find a cure for cancer? Perhaps you pictured yourself standing on stage accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, hearing the thunder of applause or savoring the majestic silence from the peak of Mount Everest.
If you stop for a moment and remember what that felt like, chances are you’d describe a sensation of freedom, joy, and ease as well as a strong sense of accomplishment and a deep connection to who you truly are.
This is what it feels like to live our dreams. And, yes, we can experience that today, even if we’re all “grown up.” That’s what this book is all about—learning how to rekindle the magic of dreaming, creating a road map for the journey and moving past the obstacles along the way.”

Please will you tell us where we can find you?
My book blog is: http://www.wise1coaching.wordpress.com
My coaching website is: http://www.juliewiseconsulting.com 

There is also the Dream BIGGER Reinvention Challenge, a contest that people can enter to share their dream and win prizes to help make their dream a reality.
The website is: http://www.dreambiggercontest.com

Enter today because the contest deadline is November 29!

Please will you provide links where readers can buy your book, Dream Bigger?Dream BIGGER is available online through Amazon.com ( http://amzn.to/cdS1Yf )Amazon.ca ( http://amzn.to/bvLWz4 )
Amazon.co.uk ( http://amzn.to/c7sIUm )
Barnes and Noble ( http://bit.ly/dou6hh )
Borders ( http://bit.ly/a0ez3X )
Chapters/Indigo ( http://bit.ly/b2bltq )

Thank you very much, Julie for joining us today and best wishes to you and for your book Dream Bigger.
I’m so pleased I had the opportunity to read it.

Please remember to come back tomorrow to read the review of Julie Wise's stunning book Dream Bigger.

12 November 2010

As winter draws in I thought I'd share a summer story of two young children running across a field of corn to reach their 'Treasure Island'

The Expedition

As golden sun and summer morn
Steal away the sultry dawn
I watch the gentle breezes sway
Across a field of ripe'ning corn.

For reason not entirely clear
My vision shifts to vistas near
As shadows dance across the path
'Adventure's' aims that hold so dear.

Tread softly child of mine, and friend,
Let not the farmer find you then,
As secret jungles you explore
With twists and turns at every bend.

Through swaying corn you cut your path
I track your progress, by your laugh
That mingles with the rising birds,
And know my stick's become your staff.

To river wide and running fast
You make your way; your die is cast.
A trickle in reality, your
Mote will ne'er the summer last.

Your Treasure Island's safely reached
With bridge defences still unbreached.
The picnic's opened, games are played,
You've both enjoyed a scrumptious feast.

The sun has passed its zenith now
And time for you to make your bow;
Adventure's end, so homeward bound
To join us for the evening chow.

Again the perils you endure,
Have you been seen? You're still not sure.
A lookout for the farmer's kept
Until you're safely home once more.
(Copyright Sherry Gloag 2005)

10 November 2010

Please give a warm welcome to Tonya today

Hi Tonya, thank you for agreeing to join me today on The Heart of Romance, and congratulations on the upcoming release of your new book, Night Pleasure.
Thank you for having me here today!

Please will you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 24 years old, I live in Eastern Kentucky on a farm. I love animals. I am attending college, I am working on a nursing degree, then I plan to go on for my midwife. I love people. I love talking to them and getting to know them. What they like, hate, there personalities, etc. I was always that kid who would bug you to tell me a story about what it was like when you grew up, especially my grandparents, that always fascinated me. My papaw Callihan and great uncle Cleo always could tell some interesting stories.
I see you are an editor/copy editor for Class Act Books and Wings ePress, did you find that helped or hindered you while editing your own book? Were you able to bring the same objectivity to your own work you use when working with other authors?
I think in ways it helped me when I edited my own work. I took what I have learned editing and incorporated it into my own editing routine. I honestly think I was harder on myself than I would be with anyone else. As they say ‘you are your own worst critic’. So in some way it may have hurt my writing, because I edited it to death.

I see from your bio you enjoy reviewing books for several sites, too. How did you get into that, and does it impact on your approach to your own writing in any way?
When I decided to get serious about a writing career, I researched the writing field and the publishing world. I came across many review sites and of course I read some of the reviews of my favourite authors. On one review site I saw a link that said ‘Become a Reviewer’, I clicked on it and filled out the application process and was accepted. I later joined several other review sites as well. It’s a great way to get your opinion out and to receive free books.
And yes, it does impact my writing. If I am interested in a certain genre to write, which is mainly paranormal, I research publishers. Once I narrow it down, I pick paranormal books from that publisher and review them. It lets me know what that publisher is currently seeking. Then I will decide if I want to change my story in any way to fit their guidelines or find another publisher.

Do you have a special writing routine?
I usually eat before I write, so I’m not thinking about food and that’s not distracting me. I have to have caffeine so I grab a soda. If I’m in the mood for music, I pull up my ITunes, sometimes the TV background noise is fine. Then sometimes the only noise in the house is the dryer going and my pug, snoring at my feet and that, in its own weird way, can be soothing. I always check my emails first, this way I see new releases coming out, see what is going on with my groups, it’s always a motivation boost!

What is your favourite kind of music? Do you enjoy singing along with the radio?
I love country, it’s my favourite. I love to sing along to the radio, especially to Kenny Chesney. I can’t carry a tune, but I sing my little heart out:-)

If you were a flower which one would you be and why?
I would want to be a lavender orchid. They are my favourite flowers. It’s the first flower that I planted in a pot and took care of, the first one that lived anyway. I gave it to a woman in a nursing home; she loved flowers and had no family. She absolutely loved it and it made my day to see her smiling so big!

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
In a way, I think I am still an aspiring writer. My first book hasn’t officially been released yet. It’s still a shock to me that I am getting published. I would say, at this point in my career, the advice I could give, always write like you are an aspiring writer. Never think that because you have a book published that all of your stories will get published. Join critique groups or have a critique partner. Join groups on yahoo or google that focus on genre of writing you want to write. Do your research, ask questions. And never, never give up!! And I live by this motto “I can’t fix a blank page”, I sit down and I write, I don’t sit there after a few lines and say this is dumb and give up. I keep writing until its finished then I focus on editing it. I also don’t look at a blank page and ponder. I let my fingers do the talking.

If you could choose to live anywhere in the world, where would you like to be?

Who is your favourite actor/actress?
George Clooney, Channing Tatum, Russell Crowe.
Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Rachel McAdams, Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson.

Do you base your characters on people you know?
No, because no one I know is that perfect nor would I want them to be.

Which actor and actress would you cast as the hero and heroine of your new book, Night Pleasures?
Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum 

If you didn’t have access to a computer would you write your books in longhand?
I actually do that sometimes. I have been doing that a lot here lately. I find I am getting more accomplished if I have a legal pad and pen. I can basically go through the story in my head and on paper, it’ll be short, only the main points and then as I type it I fill in the missing pieces.

Where do you see yourself in five year’s time?
Still writing, finished with school, a career in the medical field. Maybe starting a family or getting ready to start a family.

Please will you tell us about your upcoming book and share the blurb and an excerpt with us?
Night Promises is the first book in my Night Pleasures series. They are all vampire books. All books connect, but at the same time can be read as one. It has been my favourite series of books to write and I really hope everyone enjoys the characters and the storyline as much as I do.

Kelly O’Keefe first met a vampire when she was twelve. Now the pair are best friends and have opened Night Pleasures, an underground club that caters to vampires and their needs. Once Kelly’s sister is murdered, she finds herself working with Connor, a vampire she's been in love with for months. Unable to
trust men, let alone a vampire, can she let him help her solve her sister’s murder?
Connor has been watching after Kelly for seven months with the help of his sire and best friend Micah. Connor has kept himself at a distance even though he knows they are life mates. But he's afraid of losing control and turning Kelly against her will. When he learns Kelly plans on investigating her sister’s death, he steps in and allows himself to get close to her.
But how close is too close?
Where will we be able to buy your book when it comes out?
You will be able to buy my book for early purchase for 10% off the cover price from December 24-26. After the 26th you won’t be able to purchase the book until it’s release date January 5, 2011. You can buy the book at: http://www.secretcravingspublishing.com/

And do you have a website and other links you’d like to share?
Website: http://www.tonyacallihan.weebly.com/
Blog: http://www.tonyasramblings.blogspto.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tonyawrites
FacebookFan: www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Tonya-Renee-Callihans-Night-Promises/155567004477447
Twitter: www.twitter.com/tonyacallihan
Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights: http://tabithablake.blogspot.com/ 

Best wishes for your new book and your nurses training. Thank you so much for being here with us today. :-)
Thank you so much for having me Sherry!

8 November 2010

Please welcome book-lover Zee

Today my friend and booklover, Zee, is going to talk about her first love and tell us what books work for her and why.  Thankyou so much for joining us today, Zee

Romance for Every Mood
Hello everyone! I am so excited to share my thoughts with you about romance and I can't thank Sherry enough for allowing me to post on her wonderful blog today. If there is anything I love more than romance books, it's romance movies. So I have put the two together to provide you the ultimate book and movie recommendation for your every mood.

In the Mood for... A Romantic Drama?
What girl doesn't like a good dose of drama? If you are looking for lies, secrets and intrigue, then I absolutely recommend The Brat by Sherry Gloag and Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. If you are into historical romance, then you must read The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. The drama is to die for and luckily Something Borrowed is currently being made into a movie which will be released in 2011. I hope Hollywood will do it justice!

In the Mood for... A Fashionable Adventure?
Our closets are like sacred fashion vaults, and if you want to read about what happens to Holly when Audrey Hepburn originals go missing, then Holly Would Dream by Karen Quinn is the way to go. Need more fashionable drama? Pop in "The Devil Wears Prada" for a stylish roller coaster ride.

In the Mood for... A Life Changing Experience?
If you want a book that will inspire you to open your heart and take the biggest risk of your life, then you can't miss Elizabeth Adler's Invitation to Provence. It totally moves me to the core every time I read it! Want to see something similar on the big screen? Go rent "The Holiday" featuring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz.

In the Mood for... Something Sweet?
I have the biggest sweet tooth and Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen Mystery series always satisfies my cravings. All of her titles carry a food theme (for example, The Cream Puff Murder), and there are a handful of delicious recipes provided in every book. Yum. For even more sweets, watch "Because I Said So".

In the Mood to... Find Yourself?
When life hands you a lemon, flip through the pages of The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne. We can all take a few lessons from Melissa Romney-Jones on how to make the best of any situation. Want to watch an equally thrilling movie? You must see "Someone Like You"

Despite what novel you choose, all of these books have three things in common. First, they all feature wonderfully flawed leading ladies. Second, the author explores various types of relationships (for example, familial, romantic and self love). And finally, they are all amazing stories. You will find yourself rooting for the heroine, cheering her on as she overcomes personal challenges, and rejoicing when she finds love. Have you read any of these books? Seen any of these movies? Or have recommendations of your own?

Blog: http://www.fpreviews.com/

1 November 2010

Please welcome Sue Roebuck to The Heart of Romance today

Hi Sue, thank you for agreeing to guest at The Heart of Romance today.

Please will you tell us a little bit about yourself?
First, Sherry, thank you for having me. I love your blog and appreciate the opportunity to appear on it. Me? I’m very boring. I’m British although I’ve lived in Portugal for the past twenty years. I teach English for the Portuguese Civil Service which means I get to meet high level civil servants who go to EU meetings in Europe. Perhaps that’s why Portugal’s economy isn’t doing too well…
I also translate Portuguese to English (which is something I hate because I always think I could’ve written the original better!). It’s strange because after so many years abroad, I never lose my “Britishness” and people can spot me a mile off.

Why writing? Did you ever want to do anything else, and if so, how did you get into writing?
I’ve always loved the arts – painting and writing. But they don’t pay the bills, do they? So until now they’ve both been just hobbies. I did win my first prize for the best book at school when I was thirteen or fourteen, so that probably boosted it.

Who/what was your inspiration?
My muse was my brother who, unfortunately, is no longer with us. He could just feed me a line and I could visualize a complete painting or book. The book I won at school and a couple of painting prizes were thanks to him. He was far more creative than I am and I like to think his spirit is still with me because when I go back and read something I wrote, I often wonder where it came from.

Who is your favourite author, and if you had to colour them, what would it be?
I read so much, all the time. And there are so many: Mervyn Peake is definitely gray; J.R.R. Tolkien’s rainbow-colored; Harper Lee’s yellow; Salinger is green; Terry Pratchett is brown and gold; T.C. Boyle… I think I’d better stop, don’t you?
:-) Thank you for colouring your favourite author's I've found it fascinating.
If you also have a colour for your favourite authors please share it with us here?

I know you write sweet contemporary romance, and that they are m/m; do you ever have problems getting into the heads of your main characters?
Not at all. But they often just change through the book (so I have to keep going back to alter them). People have criticized me (in a nice way) that I put my characters through a lot and it’s true I do. Don’t ask me why.

Why did you choose this genre?
It chose me. One of the main characters is called Sam Barrowdale and, at first he was a girl! But the more I thought about that character, the more he had to become male, mainly because I didn’t think a girl could’ve done the things Sam did (OK, feminists, I’m ready to take you on here).

How long did it take you to write Perfect score, including editing and re-writes?
Ages, and you’ll see why: I never wanted Perfect Score to be erotic. I wanted a sweet hetero romance but then it changed. So I read up on the m/m genre. First, books classified NR17 and I knew immediately I couldn’t write such erotic details. But then I read the classics and found I adored them: “The Line of Beauty” by Alan Hollingworth”, books by Michael Cunningham such as “Specimen Days”, and of course “Maurice” by E.M. Forster. They gave me hope because I wanted to portray pure love (without the yukky bits as one reviewer pointed out). I just wanted two very unfortunate people to achieve the happiness they craved. And I think, after many re-writes, I managed it.

Please will you tell us about your road to publication?
Long and twisting. Half-way through the book, I started thinking about publishing but decided, “I’ll worry about it when the time comes”. When the novel was finished, I sent it to a London Literary Consultancy and paid an arm and a leg for an edit. They gave me a lot of hope – and made some very important changes. They even gave me a second edit for free, because they were testing out a new reader and this woman did the best job of any of them. What a wonderful chance. :-)
I had no idea how to approach agents and I now hide my head in shame at my initial submissions. When the first rejections came in (some so fast, I was sure they hadn’t read it), I found every book, every website I could about how to submit. I had thirty rejections before two US publishers accepted it on the same day (it’s a bit like buses, you wait for ages then two come along at once). ROFL. They were small publishers and publish e-books initially. But I was sick of rejections (although I’ve later discovered thirty rejections is nothing – some people go into the hundreds) and I chose the larger of the two. I’m very happy with my publisher; I love the cover they did, and my editor was the best I ever had.
It's a wonderful cover, full of energy.

Are you a plotter or panster?
Definitely a panster. I adore the USA and often say that being born American is like winning the lottery of life. My first inspiration came from a trip I had in Upstate New York in the Catskills when I stayed in spooky lodge, inspired by the Munster family. The small townships around were full of home-made gift shops and aged hippies that reminded me of Woodstock in 1969. In a roundabout way, that’s how it started – Alex was a successful rock star, playing at Woodstock and Sam (Samantha) was a fan. Then I went to Denver (and read too much of Kerouac’s “On the Road”) so I moved Alex to Denver (which is called Verdigris in the book). New York was too far for Sam – now called Samuel - to travel and, anyway, he’d never get on an airplane. So I moved him nearer to somewhere like Montana. He had to work so the most obvious was in agriculture. But even then, I had Alex’s evil Uncle Tim actually liking Sam. That soon changed and, after twenty-seven versions “Perfect Score” was finally settled. If that’s not a panster, I don’t know what is.

Do you like silence or background music while you write?
I like silence while I write, but I do all the household chores with my i-pod firmly in place.

If music, what music inspires you?
David Gray, Damien Rice, Snow Patrol, Cold Play, The Killers, Leonard Cohen. It’s eclectic but there’s romance in all of them somewhere and Damien Rice stimulates my dark side.

What do you do to relax?
I swim, and walk a lot on the beach which is nearby and where the rhythm of the waves provides much inspiration. I still paint. I love being with friends and just having a good laugh. I’m also religious so, if I’m anxious, I benefit from a good chat with the Virgin Mary.

I get the impression the natural world and environment is important to you? Will you tell us why?
I care deeply, you’re absolutely right. I’m like Sam, I get “twitchy” or “antsy” in big, busy cities. I’m trying at the moment to save the beautiful laurissilva forest in Madeira Island (see blog: http://lauracea.blogspot.com/ Sam’s original name was Sam Riverdale until I realized he had the same initials as me. I did wonder if I was writing about myself, and in some ways I was – I love horses and wish I had Sam’s gift with them. Like him, I’m interested in herbal cures and I know the names of so many plants that I bore the pants off my husband. I don’t have Sam’s problems, though, and I’m not dyslexic. Thank God.

Do you have a daily writing routine?
I know I should. But it depends on family commitments and inspiration. There are days I can write reams and days I can’t do a thing.

What is your favourite food?
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate (dark, that is).

Please will you tell us a little about your new book, Perfect Score?
This is the story of hard-won love between two very likeable but flawed men, Alex and Sam, who first meet on a windy street when they are both fourteen years old. The following years portray their struggle to survive almost overwhelming obstacles. Born at different ends of the economic spectrum it is essentially the story of rich versus the poor. The title comes from a song Alex wrote for Sam. As one reviewer has said: “This book isn’t just about the two characters’ desire to be together, but their struggles as individuals and how the love they have for each other develops throughout the story. It is a must-read because of the excellent way the author set out, not only to bring out the characters’ emotions, but also the reader’s”. Sorry about the plug – but she really got the essence of the book.


Feckless, exasperating Alex Finch is a rich, handsome and talented singer/songwriter who longs for two things: a career as a professional rock singer, and to have his love for Sam Barrowdale reciprocated. But drifter Sam's two aims are simply to earn enough money to pay his sister's medical bills and to hide from the world his reading/writing and speech disability. At this time the word "dyslexia" is generally unknown so to most people he's just a "retard". From the severe knocks life's dealt him, Sam's developed a tough outer coating and he has no time for a spoiled, selfish guitar player.
Despite his defects, Alex's love for Sam never wavers and when Sam unexpectedly disappears, Alex begins a somewhat bungling quest to find him, only to discover that Sam has a fearful enemy: Alex's powerful and influential yet sociopathic uncle.
As Alex spirals downwards towards alcoholism, many questions need answering. Just why did Alex's evil uncle adopt him at age eleven yet deny him any affection? And what's the mystery behind Alex's father's death?
Both seem to face unbeatable odds. Are they doomed to follow separate paths forever?

Chapter One: Sam

Spring 1968
The wind blew straight off the frozen prairie and rattled the ill-fitting window panes in his hut. Sam opened one eye. Five am. Don't ask him how he knew. It wasn't the owl hoot, or the coyote yip, or the creek ice splitting, or even the cattle coughing that gave it away because these noises were constant throughout the night. He just knew it was time to get up.
He rolled out from under the warmth of an old moth-eaten wolf pelt and, without bothering to light his paraffin lamp, pulled on jeans and a stiff-with-wear plaid work-shirt. He laced up scruffy, ancient leather boots before finishing it all off with a green wool jacket.
I'll block those holes with creek mud, he thought as the wind whistled through the gaps in the raw-wood plank walls. He put his shoulder to the door. Oil for that too--maybe Josh Pike had some in the barn.
He'd hardly put his left foot outside when snow seeped through a hole in the boot sole. Standing on one leg, he broke the ice in his ceramic sink, splashed the small amount of water pooled there on his face and drank a handful.
Six hours of shoveling hay and muck, he thought as his boots rang on the iced-up alkali path leading to the main yard. A Canadian goose hooted a teasing honk. Laugh all you want, birdie, Sam stuffed his hands in his pockets and hunched his shoulders. At least I'm not up to my butt in freezing water. Just my left foot. His hair blown horizontal, he bent into the biting wind and squinted through stinging hail as three yellow cow dogs rushed up the path, their tails whirling, breath white and freezing on their whiskers.
"Can't find a darn cow dog when I want one," he'd heard Josh Pike complain the previous day.
"That's because they're always with the boy," Mrs. Pike responded. "Sam."
"But I feed 'em."
"Animals love Sam because he has such a kind face, and everyone knows amber eyes make the animals feel lucky."
"Never heard such a load of horse poop in all my life," Josh Pike muttered, his eyes skimming his land.
The Pike place had pretensions to be a ranch, but Sam didn't think it quite made it. Divided into three sections: a creek, steep terrain and some disordered pastures lying in a flood plain, the property bordered the much larger Raw Pines ranch next door. Josh Pike told Sam he'd worked the land for twenty years but, as far as Sam could see, with little to show for it except the old man's love for the place which was as rigid as the winter weather: driving stinging snowstorms that stank of rusty nails. And a wind that could blow a calf over.
Three hours later, the range in the distance just visible across the frozen prairie, Sam removed his jacket, hung it on a gate post and pondered his next task.
He took a closer look at the steer lying on its side, kicking its legs and bellowing as if Sam was about to knife it. Can't have been easy forcing your darned head through the rails in the fence, he thought. He rolled his sleeves up, picked up an axe and got to work on the fence rail with several powerful swings, taking care not to jolt the animal's head.
"Cain't you smell that good air?" Josh Pike had clambered onto a section of the fence, unaware or uncaring that he was tossed up a few inches every time the axe hit the rail. He raised his weathered face to the watery sun with all the pleasure and leisure of a sunbather on a distant beach. "Have to punch the bastard to get him in the chute." He nodded at the struggling steer, his words jarring with each blow of the axe. "Yet he done put his head through the fence happy as a flea. Takes some beatin' huh?"
Sam had no breath for words, but Pike continued undeterred. "Betcha we could show them folks you worked with in Silver Creek a thing or two, eh boy? On how to run a cattle ranch. Betcha learned more up here in this month than you did in the three years you were down there. Eh?" He leaned closer to Sam, his face alight as he waited for Sam's affirmative. "Eh?"
"Near...nearly," Sam gasped, referring to the fence.
With one final massive blow, the axe-head wobbled as it finally split the fence rail. Sam kicked at the steer's rump to encourage it up and watched it skitter back to the herd, still bellowing its woes.
"You reckon you could slaughter beef?"
"If...if I have to."
The old man nodded as if satisfied with the answer. "Make some people weep. So pretty."
Sam rubbed his hand over his face. Like so many conversations in his life, this one made no sense at all. Why was the old man leaping from subject to subject like a demented grasshopper? And what was pretty? The back end of the rapidly retreating steer or a slaughtered cow?
"The view," Josh Pike explained although Sam hadn't voiced his question. The old man nodded at the distant range where the peaks were shining pink like his bald pate. "And you know little guys like us can."
Sam raised his eyes to the gun-metal grey sky above them. Can what? Sam was the first to admit that even on a good day his own mind was at best in total disarray, but it wasn't in the chaos Josh Pike's evidently was.
"Cry. Cry at the view." Josh spoke as if explaining to a first grader. "Little guys get away with it. Betcha bawled when you left your family in Silver Creek. Eh?"
Bawled? Cry? Sam stared at the farm owner in disbelief. Sure he'd been sorry to leave-Silver Creek held all he loved. But cry? Sam couldn't remember the last time he'd cried. When did he last cry? He wracked his brains.

Where can we buy your book?

Do you have a blog and/or website?
My blog - http://lauracea.blogspot.com/
My website http://www.susanroebuck.com/

Do you have anything else you’d like to share, that I have not thought of. Please feel free to add it here. :-)
First, although I’m a Brit and the book is set in the US, be sure it has been edited to within an inch of its life to be properly American.

And, secondly, I’ll give a free copy of “Perfect Score” to anyone who can give the best (in my opinion) reason why the laurissilva forest should be saved. Comment here on Sherry’s blog.

Once again, thank you Sherry.