28 September 2012

Sweet Saturday Samples

Another Saturday and another sample :-) I can't believe how fast this year has gone, let alone the weeks. This sample comes from a scene in a wip which may become part of Sacha's story in my gasquet princes series.
Thanks to everyone who drops by.

Rosemary studied her son, Callum Hamilton. Eight years old, and the love of her life.
“You know,” he said, rising to his knees on his bed, “you look like a princess in that dress.”
“Oh!” Shocked almost speechless, Rosie swooped down and hugged Cal. “What a lovely thing to say. Have I told you recently how much I love you?”
Quickly knowing how much she’d embarrass him if she held onto him any longer than a couple of seconds, Rosie moved back and made a play of studying herself in the mirror.
“I lack the crown, don’t you think?” Angling her head from side to side, she met her son’s reflected grin in the mirror.
“You don’t need a crown when you wear that dress.”
The floor length pleated skirt of her diamond blue satin gown billowed round her legs when she turned. She still wasn’t sure about the single flowered strap that led the eye to the snug fitting bodice hugging her curves and emphasizing her slender waist, but had to agree it looked good on her.
Instead of her son’s voice, the words triggered the memory of his father’s voice when she’d joined him at the alter of the Estate’s church on their wedding day. On that day, she wore cream Nottingham lace over satin, with long slender sleeves ending in a ‘v’ on the back of her hand. The woman at the bridal gown shop gave it a fashionable name, which she’d ignored. Love at first sight, first with her almost husband, then with her wedding dress, and finally with her son the moment the nurse placed him in her arms.
And now…
Don't miss the opportunity to read some more fabulous stories at Sweet Saturday Samples.

24 September 2012

Tuesday's Tales ~ Finger (2)

Today's Tuesday's Tales prompt is Finger. So I have gone back to a former work in progress about one of my royal twins, Sacha.

While she cradled her son, Melanie watched the twins from her seat on the edge of the group. She noted while Sacha laughed and joked with his twin, the camaraderie didn’t reflect in his eyes. 

And Simeon? 

Of the two he was naturally more suave than Sacha, drew the women to him without even trying but beneath the free and easy fa├žade he presented to the world was a hard working earnest young man.  Sometimes too earnest, Melanie thought. 

Sometimes too earnest? 

Was that because as the younger twin he constantly felt obligated to prove himself?

But this man was hard, honed, and alert. But was it because he was a killer, or did he have some other, different agenda. No one here could deny the man could take out two of the four heirs to the throne—her heart stuttered—and their children. Would that make him a suicide bomber, or had he already secreted some device to go off after he left?

When the door opened and Liam joined them she studied his reaction to their latest visitor closely.  And there it was; the slightest withdrawal, the anxious glance in her direction, but no agitation.

Thrown by his lack of surprise she waited until his gaze rested on hers, narrowed and then with the slightest of nods he crossed the room to sit on the arm of her chair.

He took his son from her and cradled the sleeping child against his shoulder. “Did you know about this?”

Liam’s question wiped the smile from her eyes.

“I did not,” she snapped, and almost too late remembered to lower her voice. “Is there something you should have told me?”

“That’s just it, my dear. I may have got there in the end, but Sacha knew almost before the man got out of his car that he—“ He pointed to their visitor “— is not Simeon, and your father seems to have suddenly dropped off the planet.

Schooled to maintain her countenance under stress, Melanie knew she’d failed this time.  Fear for her father, and worry about their intruder coalesced and cut right through her normal ability to maintain self-control.

Laying a restraining arm on her husband’s shoulder Melanie rose, crossed to the wet bar and held up the whisky decanter.

“Anyone for a snifter?” When Liam nodded she glance at the picture of the grouse on the lable and splashed some of the finest blended whiskey into a glass and handed it to him.

“Simeon? What will you have?”

“Nothing for me, thanks, I’ve just told Sacha I’m on the midnight flight to the States.”

The midnight flight? There was no midnight flight from Glasgow and he’d have to leave now if he wanted to reach Edinburgh. And why state a specific flight time when their family jet would be waiting for him.

“Oh? I tend to forget that although the main Jubilee events are over, you all still have foreign celebratory tours to make.” Apparently without thinking she handed Simeon a glass of whiskey and watched him toss it back in one gulp.  Whoever schooled their visitor had overlooked a few of the little, but still important details.  Like Simeon never drank whiskey.

Sacha’s rueful glance in her direction affirmed his appreciation of her tactics. “I think I’ll have a drink too.” He rose, stood next to her with his back to the room. “It’s a pleasure to watch you at work. No wonder Liam failed to penetrate your cover. Although I at the time I thought it was because he was besotted with you.”

With a laugh she looked up at him and for the first time that evening, Melanie watched Sacha’s mischievous smile reach his eyes. “Besotted, Sacha?”

“Besotted, Melanie, and you know it.”

“Actually, no I didn’t.” her suddenly serious response had them both glancing at the man posing as Sacha’s twin.

“I have phone calls to make. Don’t let him leave before I return.”

Without a backward glance at her husband still snuggling their child, she left the room.

Thanks to everyone who visits me on Tuesdays and for the comment and helpful suggestions you offer. They are all appreciated. :-0

you ca click on the picture at the top to return to the Tuesday's Tales site for more stories.

23 September 2012

Coming soon...Where in the World are...

During the weekend of October, the 5th through the 7th, my publisher, Secret/Sweet Cravings Publishing is hosting a Where in the World are SCP Authors blog hop contest.

Please make sure to come back for details on how to win lots of prizes and have fun.

18 September 2012

Tuesday Tales Picture prompt

This is  September's Picture Prompt week. Thank you for coming by and I hope you'll visit all the other participants in this week's Tuesday Tales.
“You’re joking! Tell me you’re joking.” Max stared at the woman standing inches in front of him and wondered how it had come to this without him noticing.“I’m serious.  This is not a joke.” Doreen’s glance took in the opulent office, the panoramic view beyond the glass walls before fixing her husband with a steely glare. “If you spent less time wedded to your job than your marriage it may not have passed you by.  After all you’re the last to notice.”
His gaze dropped to his wife’s midriff, to the obvious swell of her belly. “We said no kids…”
You said no kids,” Doreen interrupted. “When I walked you promised we could have kids.”
“But so soon…”
“Five years is too soon?”
Had they been married so long?  It hit him how little time he’d spent with the woman he’d wanted to himself. Where had the years gone, and who was this hard faced stranger?
Automatically he took the papers she held out. “What’s this?”
“Divorce papers.”
Two ice-laden words, that pierced his heart. No joke, Doreen was serious. “On what grounds?”
“Desertion.” Raising her hand she indicated their surroundings.
Disbelief leant volume to his voice. “It’s given you everything you wanted. The house, money, cars, designer clothes.”
“But not your heart, you never understood that’s all I wanted.” Doreen hesitated at the door.  “Goodbye, Max.”
* * *
Releasing the past had been harder than expected.
“Well?” Allan’s love embraced her when she joined him outside the office buildings.
Doreen placed her hand in his. “It’s done.”
“To new beginnings,” she said, raising her glass thirty minutes later.
"New beginnings.” Allan echoed and reached across the table to brush a kiss on her lips before touching his champagne flute with hers. “New beginnings.”

12 September 2012

Tracy Krauss ~ Interview Swap

Today my guest Tracy Krauss and I are doing and 'Interview Swap', so I took the opportunity to ask her several questions before offering you a peek at her book cover picture along with the blurb and an excerpt from Wind Over Marshdale

Tracy Krauss is a best-selling author, playwright, artist and teacher. She is a member of 'American Christian Fiction Writers', 'Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship', and ‘The Word Guild’ as well as several writing related social networking groups. Originally from a small prairie town, Tracy received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Sask. with majors in Art, and minors in History and English. She teaches High School English, Drama and Art. Apart from her many personal creative pursuits, she also directs an amateur theatre group and leads worship at her local church. She and her husband, an ordained minister with the PAOC, have lived in many remote and unique places in Canada's north, including Churchill Manitoba - the 'polar bear capital of the world', the Yukon, and the NWT. They raised four children and were active advocates of the homeschooling movement for many years. They currently reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC, known for its waterfalls.
How long do you take to write a book?
Oh dear! It varies greatly. One of my books PLAY IT AGAIN took 16 years to write. (Yes, I said 16 years!) I was writing other stuff at that time, too, but... It was my ‘first’ novel, although not the first published, and it needed a TON of revisions. On the extreme opposite end of the scale, I just send one off to my agent called THREE STRAND CORD and I wrote it in three months. I wrote the first draft during NANoWriMo and then revised, and edited it this summer during July and August.

Who is your favourite character and why?
I love all my characters, but I’m still enthralled with Joleen Allen, the protag
She’s ‘bad’. (In a good way!) I think my favourite from my latest book is
Thomas Lone Wolf. He’s very multi-dimensional. (Plus he’s sexy :-)

How many times do you edit your work before you submit it? And do you edit as you go, or wait until your story is complete before you begin?
I do a little of both. It’s easy to get strung up on editing while writing, so I try to
just get the story out and then go back and rework it. I always re-read the
previous days writing, though, just to help me get back into it and I always end
up changing things. Once I’m all finished, I probably go through it two or maybe
three times, with a break in between, which gives perspective and allows for
more objectivity.

I love the pictures of the quilts you’ve created. I’d never heard of quilting until I read about it in a romance novel. Please tell us a little bit about it and why you enjoy it so much.
I took it up when my friend opened a quilt shop and needed support. I took a class from her just to be supportive, but enjoyed it so much that for about six years I was part of a quilt group that met once every month or so and we would do what we called ‘all-nighters’. There were about eight to ten of us and we’d meet at one person’s house (two of them had large basements) and stay up all night quilting.
Sometimes we’d stop at 3am for a hot tub break, but mostly we sewed until 8am. Good times! That’s when I made most of my quilts. Unfortunately, I’ve had eye trouble in the last few years and I can’t see to thread my sewing machine anymore.

Looking at your art work, I get the impression colour is very important to you. Do you write in colour, if that makes sense?I definitely see everything in my head. I went through a black and white period in my art,
though, and was asked by a juror at the gallery where my work was on display if I was depressed...

When I write myself into a corner, I’ll often do what I call Free-writing, and go off and write a scene, which I may, or may not manage to include in my current work. When writing fiction do you find yourself writing in scenes or do you write to a formal plot outline?
 I do skip ahead to a scene I’ve envisioned if I’m getting bored with what I’m writing. I like to make an outline but it always changes as the work progresses, so some scenes definitely hit the cutting room floor, even if they’re ‘good’.

How different is fiction writing from screen writing for you, and do they ever overlap? Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I actually write stage plays, which is a whole different entity from a screen play. With a play for the stage, there is no zooming in, panning to the left, or reliance on outdoor vistas and other elaborate settings. Writing for the theatre is also different from writing a novel in that everything the audience needs to know must come from either the dialogue or very specific actions, which can be tricky because you also don’t want the play to sound expository. (The old ‘show don’t tell’ dilemma.) So far all of my plays are comedies and/or parodies of classic tales, so there is really no overlap at all. It’s just another way to express my
‘split’personality. :-)

What is your favourite flower, and why?
I’m not sure I have a favourite. I love the smell of roses...

If you were a car, what model would you like to be?
No clue. Maybe a classic corvette. Something cool, for sure!

Who or what is your greatest inspiration? Do you ever include family or friends in your books?
In retrospect, I’d have to say my mother was/is my biggest inspiration. She was an artist, teacher, and musician like me, and also loved drama. She was an all around eccentric person who was always doing off the wall, creative things. Sometimes as a teen it was embarrassing (imagine seeing your mom outside painting a mural on the side of a building, wearing underpants on her head to keep paint out of her hair cause she couldn’t find a scarf...) but now I appreciate her zest for life and her willingness to just be the person she wanted to be without worrying about what other people thought. Maybe she’ll appear in a book someday... hm... now you’ve got me thinking.

What has been the most important piece of advice you’ve received since you started writing? What would you say to an aspiring writing?
#1 - Join a critique group and get professional editing.
#2 - Join a critique group and get professional editing. :-)

Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens.A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?

Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within  a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth/ Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters– one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax.
This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace

Published Novels:

AND THE BEAT GOES ON – a suspenseful romance where archaeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost      ISBN: 978-1-60976-809-6

MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER – a self proclaimed ‘cougar’ takes on more than she bargained for when she tries to juggle five men at once    ISBN: 978-1-60976-585-9

PLAY IT AGAIN – an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene sets the stage for this suspenseful romance   ISBN: 978-1-61204-392-0

WIND OVER MARSHDALE -  strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town in this story of prejudice, greed, passion and deceit.   ISBN: 978-1-62135-041-5

All titles can be purchased online at Amazon: http://www.kraussamazon.com  or go to Tracy’s online store for more options at http://tracykrauss.yolasite.com/online-store.php

Published Plays:

(Performance rights must be obtained from the respective publishers)

EBENEZER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL - a unique twist on a seasonal favourite. Published by Pioneer Drama Services

DOROTHY’S ROAD TRIP – Frank L. Baum’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’ comes to life with fresh new characters and few unexpected twists. Published by JAC Publishing

A MIDTERM EVE’S PHANTASM – based on Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ set in a modern high school. Published by Big Dog Plays

LITTLE RED IN THE HOOD – an eclectic cast of fairy tale characters come together in this comdey suitable for all audiences. Published by JAC Publishing

THE WESTERN TALE – not your typical western, this is Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’ set in the old west. Published by JAC Publishing

All titles can be purchased through the publisher’s online catalogues, or visit Tracy’s online store for the links. http://tracykrauss.yolasite.com/online-store.php

Please visit Tracy's blog http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/ for my version of the swap :-)

7 September 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample (8th-09-12)

Welcome back to Sweet Saturday Sample.  Today I am switching to my current Regency Romance WIP, Vidal's Honor.

        “What are you going to do when we reach the border?” she leaned forward and asked Consuela.
       "I go with Juan.”
       “He has agreed?” After his recent revelations, Honor wondered whether Juan would accept her plans.
        “We are discussing it.” Consuela tossed the words over her shoulder with an air of false bravado.
         Was that what they’d been arguing about earlier?
         “And if he refuses?”
         “Then I will come to England with you and find myself a new husband. The English, they have no passion. That’s acceptable to me, I do not want that. It is false.” She waved a hand at the scenery below. “Like that,” she said, pointing to the sinking sun.  Tranquil. “It looks so calm, and it is not. Deception comes in many guises.”
        Was Consuela warning her? If so, what about? Leaning forward Honor risked another question. “Was your marriage not a happy one?”
        “For a Spanish woman it is not the same as it is in your country.”
         ”In what way?”
         “Our parents arrange our marriage when we are children. Sometimes as soon as we are born.”
          While she’d married for love, Honor knew many English girls were forced to marry men years older than themselves. “Maybe not arranged from the cradle,” she conceded, “but it has been known. Marriages are arranged for financial benefits.”
"In other words, you are sold to the highest bidder. Is that what you are saying?"
Since Blogger's latest changes I can no longer control the formatting on my blog, no can I insert any pictures at all so my apologies if this ends up looking very peculiar.

4 September 2012

A Tuesday Taster

Today I'm offering another snippet from my latest release, and first Regency Romance, No Job For A Woman, and would love to hear your comments.

The shiver running up her spine owed nothing to the light spring breeze and everything to the memory of the gruesome tale she’d overheard one of her workers relating to another.
“Found ‘er in the river, they did.”

Thinking the men spoke of one of her cattle she’d moved forward, only to stop at the man’s next words.

“They do say as ‘ow ‘e killed ‘er and threw ‘er body over the side of the bridge, they do.”

“I heard tell Ned Granger never denied it.”

She recognized her foreman’s voice.

“Some even claimed he enjoyed the infamy of it all.”

“’e would too.”

Whether she made some sound or not, she’d never know when the men spun round, spotted her presence, and after doffing their caps moved away, still talking in low voices.

Now after the discussion and revelations of the night before, she gave careful consideration to her fears. Was it possible Harold’s death may not have been the accident the coroner claimed? Certainly she’d given it thought a few days ago but dismissed it as far-fetched. Now? Now she hated the thought her fears may be justified. Too many emotions to identify churned, coalesced, and gnawed at her gut.

1 September 2012

Sweet Saturday Samples

As always, thanks to everyone who comes by I always appreciate your comments. :-)

Sweet Saturday Samples brings an end to a very exciting week, when my first Regency Romance Novel released on 31st August.  So today I am sharing the prologue from No Job For A Woman ~


Julian Fanshaw ignored the other letters in front of him when he recognized one from his long-time friend Freddie Dalrymple, now Lord Worth. He broke the seal and scanned the single sheet with growing concern.

Julian, my friend, I am writing to implore you to put aside whatever plans you have in hand and to set out immediately to stay with us for an indeterminate period of time.

Thoroughly alarmed, Julian flipped the page in his hand to discover it had been dispatched more than a week ago.

If I bring to mind a certain student up at Oxford with us, and reveal that he and his wife are, and have been, my sister’s neighbors for several years, it will give you but an inkling of the root of my concern.

It has come to my attention, due to the arrival of his brother upon the scene, and recent events concerning my sister, Deborah, I am persuaded you need not only to know what is happening here, but be on hand to assist in circumventing any consequences of actions taken against her.

I have taken the liberty of gathering some friends together for a couple of shooting parties, thereby creating a reason for your presence.

Since his return from the Peninsular, Julian kept promising himself a trip to Worth’s Norfolk estate. Unfortunately in the last eighteen months, time and circumstances had worked against him.

Casting the letter aside, Julian strode to the door and called for his butler.

“I am leaving immediately for Norfolk. Please see that my bags are packed and have my horse ready within the hour.”

“You do not intend to use your chaise, sir?”

“No. I’ll ride, with a stop to visit Mr. Sewel. Arrange for Becket and French to follow me in the chaise with everything I’ll need for a month.”

Not by so much as a flick of an eyelid did Thomas reveal he recognized the name of his master’s man of business.

“Very good, sir.”

~ ~ ~ ~
No Job For a Woman is available HERE

Please visit all the other wonderful samples on offer this week at Sweet Saturday Samples