Love's Destiny

Love's Destiny
on sale for 99 cents Sept. 17 -24!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lola Karns Writes About the Struggle of Wounded Warriors in Bad Traveler

Lola Karns visits me today to talk about what inspires her, what challenges her and what makes her reach for a cookie. I’m so pleased to have you as my guest today, Lola. Why not start by telling us about your book, Bad Traveler. What was the first seed of an idea you had for this book? How did it develop?

Three unrelated factors collided in my brain and provided inspiration for Bad Traveler.
A. There is nothing fun about flying cross country with an infant. I have been the screaming baby section and run through airports with car seats precariously dangling from the stroller. I have pretended turbulence is “super-fun bouncy ride in the sky” even though I’m more scared than the kids.
B. Living near the home of Seal Team 6, I grew more aware of issues facing veterans as they returned home from war. A series of reports in the Virginian-Pilot piqued my curiosity.
C. The bakery near me closed. I decided to invent one because it’s easier than opening a real one.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Look at Kathi Daley's Cozy Mysteries

What a fun day on my blog!  Cozy mystery author Kathi Daley is giving away two prizes: a copy of Haunted Hamlet and a Haunted Hamlet mug. Leave a comment on my blog to enter the contest to win either the book or the mug. This contest will run from today through Friday, Sept. 12 at 5 p.m.

Kathi, I am so pleased to have you as my guest today. Tell us about the books you’ve written. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your books? How did each develop?
The first book I published was Halloween Hijinks in September of 2013. It started as a whim. I was on Facebook and I got this idea to share my page with my dog. I wrote the following intro:

My name is Zoe Donovan. I’m a third-generation Ashtonite (our unofficial name for the citizens of Ashton Falls). The by-product of my wealthy mother’s single act of teenage rebellion, and my locally beloved but financially lacking, blue-collar father’s tender act of love, I’ve overcome my scandalous entry into the world and carved out a satisfying and peaceful existence.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Can Loglines and Beat Sheets Convert This Pantser?

At long last I am reading Blake Snyder’s book Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting that You’ll Ever Need.  Though it’s written for screenwriters, many author friends have recommended it as a resource for how to write novels. I haven’t finished it yet, but I have already found many pearls.


Logline
Snyder (1957-2009) describes a logline (also called a one-line) as a one-sentence description of your screenplay. As authors, we often hear of an “elevator pitch” which means if you were on an elevator and the publisher/agent of yours dreams was riding with you to the next floor, how would you pitch your novel? Quick—the elevator doors are closing—what is your “literary logline”? I am going to use these terms interchangeably since I am discussing novels, not screenplays…yet.

Some experts say you should write your logline before you even begin writing your novel. Doing so will keep you focused on the main idea of your story. Once writers get going, it can be a loopy journey to “The End” with many detours along the way. That’s fine, these experts say, as long as all those detours are necessary for the premise you pitched in the elevator. Snyder says if the logline isn’t compelling, perhaps you don’t have a story.

After reading an article about elevator pitches aka “literary loglines”, I wrote one for Love’s Destiny. Here it is:
When they are thrown together by her father’s will, an English girl and colonial patriot struggle against their growing love as rebellion simmers in America.

Here is my logline for The Cavanaugh House:
When Jesse Graham unlocks the door to the deserted house she inherited from her Aunt Helen, she doesn't realize she's unlocking secrets that had lain dormant for years.

This is also the first sentence of the blurb on the back of The Cavanaugh House. While neither exactly fit Snyder’s description of the perfect logline, both certainly kept me focused.

Beat Sheet
I had heard of “Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet” (BS2) in several resources and even looked it up on Google, but until I started reading his book, it made little sense to me.  This sheet lists in very specific terms when each scene should occur in a movie down to what page it should appear in the screenplay. I was skeptical, but I happened to be reading that chapter the night Rich and I were watching Jurassic Park, and I kept yelling, “Look, look!” I wasn’t yelling at T-Rex or the Velociraptors, I was yelling at how perfectly the movie was matching his Beat Sheet.

While it is difficult for me to plot out my novel because I’m a pantser, I have to admit that Snyder’s Beat Sheet has me intrigued. For one thing he suggests using index cards and colored markers which speak to any teacher’s heart. After you jot a brief description of the scene on a card, you place it where it belongs on a chart you’ve created…I love this stuff!

Since I am only on my first read-through of Save the Cat and I haven’t applied any of this knowledge yet, I may not be explaining Snyder’s techniques as accurately as purists would wish. I ask your patience as I intend to not only read the book again, but I hope to apply it to my novels…and perhaps my screenplays???

Save the Cat is available at:





Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Becky Lower Marries Romance to History Time After Time


I am so pleased to welcome my “Bundle-Buddy” Becky Lower today. Becky’s first book in the Cotillion Ball Series, The Reluctant Debutante, is bundle with Love’s Destiny in Time After Time. I love the way Becky weaves historical figures and incidents into her romances. Welcome, Becky. Talk about the books you’ve written. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your books? How did each develop?
The Reluctant Debutante came about during one of my writing group meetings. I love reading Regencies, but didn’t want to get into English royalty and the dictates they had to put up with. One of the men in the group (surprise, surprise) mentioned that England didn’t have the corner on debutante balls. So, I started researching when the tradition arrived on our shores, which happened to be 1854. It turned out the decade before the Civil War was chock full of great events. The Reluctant Debutante is the first book in my series, and takes place in 1855, when Amelia Bloomer was causing trouble in New York City, and railroads were expanding into the West. The sixth book, The Duplicitous Debutante, is set in New York in 1859, and features another sibling in the large Fitzpatrick family.

I love the Fitzpatrick family—and the people they fall in love with, too! How did you celebrate the publication of your first book?
After all the crazy excitement of editing for the first time in my life, and selecting a cover, getting a website developed in record time, and starting my blog, the actual release day was kind of calm. My good friend bought me flowers and the deliveryman wished me a happy birthday. In a way, it was a birthday. My first book’s birthday.

And getting to that first birthday takes a lot of work. How would you describe your writing process? Do you outline? Let the muse lead you? Or something else?
I have been fortunate enough to have Crimson Romance contract for all nine books in this series. But, in order for them to commit to the last five books in the series, they wanted to have a synopsis of each book. That’s my outline, and that’s what I start with each time. But my muse tends to lead me astray time and again, creating a slightly modified version of each book, but the modified version seems to work better than the synopsis.

One thing I love about your books is your commitment to authentic history in each story. What is your research process like? Do you enjoy it?
Research is probably the part of the book I like the best. Right now, I’m working on Valerian’s story, which is about the Pony Express, which started in 1860. I did a cross-country road trip and took side jaunts in Nebraska and Kansas every time I saw something relating to the Pony Express. I bought a number of books to read on the subject and really got a good flavor of the route. I’m excited to begin writing this one. And The Duplicitous Debutante, which releases September 1, is about a dime novel writer. In order for me to get the flavor of a dime novel, I wrote one myself, and it’s included as part of this book.

Has writing changed how you read books now?
Of course it has. I’m constantly looking for passive structure, too much backstory, things that just don’t work, threads of the story that aren’t wrapped up, things like that. On the flip side, though, if someone has a great voice, a gift for humor, or has a brilliant idea that I didn’t think of first, I have to give them their proper credit.

What are you currently working on?
I just put the finishing touches on a novella, which is a prequel to my series. It’s about the courtship of Charlotte and George Fitzpatrick. I came up with the idea while working on the fifth book in the series, The Duplicitous Debutante. Charlotte was reliving the days when she and George began to court each other. I thought it would make a sweet story. And, I’m just starting Expressly Yours, Samantha, about the Pony Express.

I can’t wait to read about Charlotte and George! They are such progressive parents, and I’m sure their courtship was unpredictable. What surprised you as you wrote The Reluctant Debutante? What amused or angered you?
When I started researching this book, I found out about the Gasconade River railroad bridge disaster, and I knew I wanted Ginger to be part of it. But I needed to figure out a way a well-bred young woman would have some knowledge of medical procedures. It turned out that Amelia Bloomer entertained a woman who began a school for nurses in New York the same year as my story. So Ginger became a Bloomer girl and got some basic training. I loved the way these little tidbits of research all dovetailed together for my story.

I can’t wait to read more of the adventures and misadventures of the Fitzpatrick family! It was great to have you as my guest today, Becky. I wish you great success with all of your writing.

Visit Becky at

Buy Becky’s books at:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Terri Herman-Ponce Talks About Her Past Life Series

My friend Terri Herman-Ponce hit several high-interest areas for me in her novel In This Life: ancient Egypt, past lives, psychology, and of course, romance. I am so happy to welcome you today, Terri. Talk about the books you’ve written.
I write the Past Life Series, which is about deadly do-overs and resurrected revenge. Love, lust, and murder wrapped up in a paranormal without the usual suspects. Here’s a short blurb:

When psychologist Lottie Morgan meets Galen, their encounter is as intense as it is eye opening. Something about him is familiar. His looks. His words. His touch…

Lottie can’t resist the urge to know more about him, or the smoldering memories that surface every time he’s near. Only Galen’s keeping a dangerous secret, one linked to a life shared thousands of years ago. One that could destroy the relationship Lottie has with her current lover David.
As Lottie and David discover connections between their ancient lives and their present one and search for answers others would kill to keep buried, they unearth a link to a past neither one is prepared to face. One filled with mystery where powerful passions ignite and deadly deceptions begin.
One reviewer in particular summed it up best: “This series is going to be really good.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Deborah O'Neill Cordes Looks to the Past to Write About the Future

Today I welcome my good friend and one of my favorite authors, Deborah O’Neill Cordes. Deborah’s book, Dragon Dawn will be a Kindle Countdown Deal—only 99 cents (99 pence in the UK)—from Aug. 16- Aug 22. Today Deborah talks about how genealogy has inspired her writing. 


It's All Relative, Mr. Pitt
 by Deborah O'Neill Cordes


Genealogy is one of my passions. It's a fascinating avocation for me, but it does have a down side, in that at times it's become positively addictive. As a novelist with multiple works-in-progress, I've had to cut down the time I spend researching the family tree. And yet, I don't believe I've frittered away the hours digging into past lives, because the information has provided the framework for several of my plots. If I hadn't done genealogy, I wouldn't have found some amazing and little known stories to weave into my novels.

Ever heard of King Alaric I of the Visigoths, his brother-in-law, Athaulf, and the Roman princess, Galla Placidia? I first learned of their heroic tales during research into one of my most ancient lineages, which goes back to the fifth century A.D. Their stories sparked the plot of the Morgan O'Neill Roman time travel series, which I co-author with Cary Morgan Frates. And how about King Otto and Queen Adelaide? Their amazing historical romance provided the fodder for our Italian time travel series. But, perhaps, the most astonishing tale comes from the Stroganoff family of Russia, part of my maternal family. The bloody tale of an ancestor who was skinned alive seemed a natural thread to weave into my own sci-fi, time travel novel, Dragon Dawn, Book One of the Dinosaurian Time Travel Series. To make it even more interesting, I gave my Dragon Dawn heroine that ancient Russian surname, and astronaut Dawn Stroganoff was born!



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Teresa Blue's Man of Her Dreams - A Dream of a Deal!

My friend Teresa Blue has a deal for you! Her romance, Man of Her Dreams, is a Kindle Countdown Deal for 99 cents for a few days only! Go to Amazon to order your copy right now! Well, after you finish reading this post and leaving a comment, anyway.

I’m so happy to be here musing with Elizabeth, a fellow Crimson Sister and also a chapter mate of MidMichigan RWA. We experienced our first sales and book signing together at an RWA weekend retreat in 2012. My how time flies!

So good to have you as my guest today, Teresa! We had a great time at that writers’ retreat. Why not tell a little about yourself.
I grew up in a very small community when the biggest thing to do was to go swimming off the train bridge. Seriously. We dove head first into the muddy St. Joe river and swam for hours.
Later, my friend and I would get our suntans while reading romance comic books. Years later, I joined the DoubleDay Book Club and anxiously waited for the hardcover books to arrive each month in the mail. Continuing sagas from authors such as Rebecca Brandewyne, Laurie McBain, and Johanna Lindsey. I didn’t want the stories to end and so I started adding to it for my own enjoyment.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Great Review of The Cavanaugh House!

The Cavanaugh House is featured at Romancebookworm.com today. Join me over there and see why I'm smiling  http://wp.me/p1Cc2Y-22Y

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Emma Barron's The Glass Orchid is a Regency Delight

Emma Barron is a fellow Crimson Romance author whose historical romance, The Glass Orchid, is included in the Time After Time bundle with Love’s Destiny.  Emma, I am so pleased to be “bundled” with you. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve had several careers in my life: student (yes, I made it into a career), ecologist, lawyer—but romance novelist has been by far my favorite. I currently live in Upstate New York with my husband, young daughter, and two large and impressively boisterous dogs.

Hey, I’m originally from upstate New York—a beautiful state, isn’t it? Talk about the book(s) you’ve written. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your book? How did it develop? The Glass Orchid explores what happens at the intersection of love and the Regency’s strict social constraints. I wanted to examine how the characters would navigate issues of love, freedom, independence, and individual choice during a time when those things weren’t necessarily valued.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Cavanaugh House is a Kindle Countdown Deal!

For a limited time, The Cavanaugh House will be available for 99 cents on Amazon. Part of Amazon's Kindle Countdown Deals, this sale will last through July 28, so order your copy today at tinyurl.com/kk8v4bk





Excerpt:



T

his house held secrets.  Secrets that wafted through rotting window sashes on the winter wind.  Secrets that spiders wove into webs anchored between the ceiling and walls. Secrets that scuttled on the feet of cockroaches across stained kitchen linoleum and scurried into its cracks. Secrets that peered from holes in the baseboard from glinting mouse eyes. This house held the secrets close to its bosom where they had slept for decades. No one had disturbed these secrets in all the years the house sat decaying from neglect. There was no reason to, and there was no desire.

June 1968
This might be the biggest mistake I’ve made yet, thought Jesse Graham.
She climbed out of her three-year-old yellow 1965 Volkswagen Beetle and waded through tall grass and weeds that scratched at her sandal-clad feet. Looming before her, the two-story house—her house—hovered, insinuating more height than it could actually claim. Wrapped in chipped and peeling greenish-yellow paint, the house looked weary, and the once-red front door had faded to a dull russet. The roof sagged, and the tiny porch appeared to be giving up the fight to support the small roof above it. She stared at the house, and the windows stared back, blank. Above the front door, two windows mirrored her dismay as the wood trim above them bowed down. In her twenty-eight years, she had never seen a sadder looking house.
“Oh my God, what have I done?” she breathed...

***

Mustering her courage, she pulled the fabric off the sofa. She shrieked as a flurry of grey shapes scattered in all directions—one straight toward her. She panicked as paws scurried across her sandaled foot. Mice! Goosebumps prickled her skin and adrenalin shot though her body. Heart pounding, she ran out the front door, off the porch and bolted to her car. Her knees gave out and she collapsed, trembling.
“Are you okay?”
Grabbing the door handle, she pulled herself up and looked around for the voice’s owner.
“I’m over here,” he said.
She looked toward the road and saw a blue pickup truck at the end of the driveway. Leaning out the driver’s-side window was a man about her age, with tousled red hair. Humor lit up his mouth and softened his strong jawline and rugged face.
“Are you okay?” he repeated as he climbed out of his truck and started toward her.
Jesse brushed herself off and ran her fingers through her hair.
“Oh, yes, I’m fine,” she said.
She saw his hazel eyes twinkle with amusement.
“I can see that. In a hurry to get somewhere? I noticed your quick exit.”
She looked at her watch and gasped.  It was after 2 p.m. If she were going to get any utilities started, she needed to get to town.
“I need to get my utilities started.”
Oh, that sounded intelligent. She was a little off balance, and not just because of the mice encounter; this man’s gaze was warm and unsettling. He chuckled.
“Well, I would never want to keep a woman from that.”
“What I mean is…”
He held out his hand.
“Joe Riley.” 








Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Emma Barry's "Brave in Heart" is the Civil War Novel in Time After Time

While Love’s Destiny covers the American Revolution, Emma Barry’s Brave in Heart is set the Civil War era in the TimeAfter Time bundle. I am absolutely bowled over by the commitment to accuracy that this author brings to her books. Welcome, Emma, please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a graduate student finishing a PhD in American studies. Brave in Heart started out as daydreaming during my dissertation research. While I still dabble in historical romance, at this point I’m writing mostly contemporary and I’ve started freelance editing. I have two young kids, a wonderful husband, a big garden, a crazy puppy, and an aloof cat.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Viking Fire by Andrea Cooper is One of the Books Included in Time After Time

Andrea Cooper is a fellow Crimson Romance author whose book Viking Fire is also included in the Time After Time bundle. Did I mention that Time After Time is a bundle of 10 historical romances set in various time periods, and it is available for $.99 at Amazon and CrimsonRomance? I am so pleased to have Love’sDestiny bundled with Viking Fire, and I welcome Andrea to my blog today. Tell us about yourself, Andrea.
I’m a wife and mom. Until July 2010, I was a Senior Buyer for a Petroleum Company. Then my one-year old at the time kept getting sick in daycare. After he had the flu, was dehydrated, and hospitalized for three days at six months old, we started to seriously consider me staying home (since my husband made more money at the time-otherwise, he’d have stayed home). I loved my job, but I loved my child and his health more.
Now I’m a stay-at-home mom to three kids: 19 year old son, 4year (soon to be 5year old) son, and a twenty-month old daughter.
I write to stay sane because I have no other talents (Arts/Crafts?- yeah, right. Sewing? – not unless crooked is a trendy fashion. Cooking? – only because I have to or we’d starve. Gardening? – that involves bugs, right? No thanks I run from wasps and roaches.)
I enjoy reading, writing, Zumba and dancing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mike Martin Talks About the Inspiration for his Sgt. Windflower Mysteries

Today I welcome author Mike Martin to my blog. Mike is a mystery writer who is inspired by his seacoast surroundings. Welcome to my blog, Mike. Please tell us about yourself.
I was born in Newfoundland, on the east coast of Canada. I currently live and write in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. I have always loved books and reading and can remember writing poems and short stories when I was quite small. I looked for jobs that had an element of writing to them but didn’t really start writing a lot until my forties. Since that time I have been a freelance writer and now have three fiction books published as part of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series.

How would you describe your writing process? Do you outline? Let the muse lead you? Or something else?
I am a truly creative writer in that I draw my writing from my imagination and try to connect to the creative current that’s inside all of us. I never plot out stories but simply write when I am inspired. I do have to be disciplined and write every day. You never know when the creative muse might decide to leave. The fun of writing, IMHO, is in watching the story unfold from your imagination, just like the reader does. The characters come. They tell the story. I write it down. I get to say where the story begins, and where it ends. At least for now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rachel Donnelly brings the Wild West to Time After Time


Rachel Donnelly sets her historical romance in the Wild West—such a romantic time period for America. Her novel, Lady Broke, is included in the Time After Time bundle from Crimson Romance. Welcome to my blog, Rachel. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a writer, teacher, mother, wife who lives on a ninety acre farm built in 1860 where I plot and plant and dream and sew.

Talk about Lady Broke. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your book? How did it develop?
Lady Broke is an adventure romance set in the old west. I had always wanted to write a western with outlaws and a sexy gritty hero. It’s a very romantic time. I love the history and the research. I’ve loved writing in the medieval and regency eras as well.

Who doesn’t love cowboys? How would you describe your writing process? Do you outline? Let the muse lead you? Or something else?
I’m more of a panster than a plotter. I keep a file while I’m writing with character descriptions to keep everyone straight and a timeline, since I like to write in scenes and that can turn into a bit of a wild ride. But, I would never write out a detailed plot. That would suck the fun out of it for me. Though I do have plot structure diagrams and snippets of theory plastered all over my office and have read Swain from cover to cover three or four times as well as many other writers’ journeys.

Writing is an art as well as a craft. Over analyzing it kills it dead. I agree with Hemingway, “Write drunk, edit sober.” At least that’s what I aim for. But, some days my inner editor won’t shut the hell up and I spend hours working one paragraph, pacing from the office to the kitchen, eating celery, drinking coffee and staring out at the pond.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Bundle of Love Has Arrived!



From Regency England to the American Civil War, from the Wild West to Viking battles for territory, Time After Time delivers the gallantry, the color, the passion of yesterday that captures every historical romance lover’s heart. Fall in love with these ten titles from some of Crimson’s brightest stars:

I am pleased to announce that Love’s Destiny is part of a new offering from Crimson Romance. As you can see below, this will be a delightful buffet for any historical romance fan because it covers such diverse eras. My publisher, Crimson Romance, is very excited about this new release, “This summer, Crimson will be offering eBook bundles of some of our favorite titles!…coming in July we're excited to bring you Time After Time: 10 Sweeping Historical Romances from Every Era"



Available July 7, the following titles will be included in the Time After Time bundle:


 
 
 

 

 



Many of these authors will be visiting my blog to talk about their books, so stay tuned.
Order your copy today at Crimson Romance

Visit me at elizabethmeyette.com

See my other books at:



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Elf Ahearn's "Regency Romance with a Gothic Twist"

Today I welcome Elf Ahearn to my blog. Elf’s novel A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing is one of the 10 historical romance novels included in the Time After Time bundle from Crimson Romance.


1. Of all the historical time periods that a writer could choose from, you've picked the Regency era for your series. Could you talk about why that specific time appealed to you?

My sister is totally into Regency romances, she won’t read anything else, so to guarantee at least one sale… well, I had no choice (Not true – she’d read any dribble I scratched on paper).  The real story is that the Regency chose me. I wanted to write something with sex and adventure – women risking everything – their reputations, their lives, their fortunes, for love. It’s very freeing that Ellie Albright, the heroine in A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing, can’t clap a cell phone to her ear and call the police when she’s in trouble; Hugh Davenport, my hero, can’t access a therapist to work out his hostility towards his mother, and my villain can’t be found via his credit card purchases. Working in the past is awesome.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Chat with Author Marie Patrick

Today I welcome author Marie Patrick to my blog. Marie’s book, A Treasure Worth Keeping is one of the 10 included in the historical romance bundle, Time After Time which also includes Love’s Destiny. Welcome, Marie! Please tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you so much for having me on Meyette’s Musings and to answer your question, I’m a wife, mother, dog lover, friend…oh wait, you don’t want to know that. I’m an author! Yup! I’ve been writing since I was fourteen. At first, I wrote little stories about what I wanted my life to be like when I grew up and then the most amazing thing happened…I read my first historical romance. From that moment on, I wanted to write stories about history and the people who lived in times past. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Christy Newton Packs Love and Suspense in Her Novels

Today I welcome Christy Newton to my blog. Christy is the author of six novels and in order to show them all off, we’re keeping the interview short and sweet today. Welcome, Christy! Please tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Indiana with my hubby, two daughters and a toy poodle named Lola.
How did you celebrate the publication of your first book?
You mean after I quit jumping up and down? LOL I think I may have eaten some dark chocolate and bought my own books.

How would you describe your writing process? Do you outline? Let the muse lead you? Or something else?
I never outline. I am a pantser all the way!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wise Words from Ellen Parker

First I want to thank Elizabeth for hosting me today. And in case you look at my name and say “who’s this?” let me tell you a little about myself.
            Long ago (decades) and far away (hundreds of miles from my current home), I grew up on a small
dairy farm outside an equally small village. We shared our house with books and magazines of all types. A search of our bookshelves during those years would have revealed schoolbooks, magazines, children’s books from the Little Golden series to chapter books to classic literature, plus a little serious history from Book of the Month.
            Life happens. Children grow up and move away to establish homes and careers. Events influence the amount and type of reading a person accomplishes. Then one year I must have encountered two or more books close together that made me think, “I can write better than that.” Spellcheck had come along by then and made life a lot easier for the woman who could never remember all the exceptions to the spelling rules. I practiced by doing and took an occasional workshop at the local community college. This is where I received the best writing advice in four simple words.
            Join a writing group.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Cavanaugh House Goodreads Giveaway

I love TheCavanaugh House so much that I want to share it with you! So, I have a Goodreads Giveaway going on and you could be the lucky winner of a free autographed copy of my book. Just click on the button next to this post to enter. To further entice you, here is an excerpt:


June 1968

This might be the biggest mistake I’ve made yet, thought Jesse Graham.

She climbed out of her three-year-old yellow 1965 Volkswagen Beetle and waded through tall grass and weeds that scratched at her sandal-clad feet. Looming before her, the two-story house—her house—hovered, insinuating more height than it could actually claim. Wrapped in chipped and peeling greenish-yellow paint, the house looked weary, and the once-red front door had faded to a dull russet. The roof sagged, and the tiny porch appeared to be giving up the fight to support the small roof above it. She stared at the house, and the windows stared back, blank. Above the front door, two windows mirrored her dismay as the wood trim above them bowed down. In her twenty-eight years, she had never seen a sadder looking house.

“Oh my God, what have I done?” she breathed…

The house was wider than it was deep, although an addition at the back accommodated a kitchen. Two outbuildings stood farther back on the property, one an outhouse, the other a small carriage house.

“Oh, Lord, I hope there’s indoor plumbing.”

Plumbing! Not yet; she hadn’t contacted the local utility companies to have water or gas and electricity turned on in the house. She checked her watch, relieved to see that it was just 1:30 p.m. She still had time to make it into town and take care of that.

Returning to her car, she rustled through her purse in search of the keys her mother had given her. Her fingers found the horseshoe-shaped key ring, smooth brass worn down by years of use holding three keys: a standard Yale lock key, a smaller brass key and a skeleton key. She headed for the front door and tested the first of three steps leading up to the porch.  Feeling confident that they would hold her, she climbed them and faced the door. Her body tingled as if ants crawled beneath her skin; what would she find in there? This was the first step to her new-found independence. No one was coming to her aid if her plans failed. The house was a tumbled-down mess, but wasn’t she as well? She had burned many bridges in Rochester, and the bridge with her mother was smoldering. Her father had been out of the picture for years, and she was an only child. Her dear friend Maggie was her sole support system.

Whatever existed on the other side of the door was now a part of her existence, too. This abandoned and rejected house was all she had. And she was all this house had. We’re in this together. Straightening her shoulders, she took a deep breath and selected the key.  She was surprised that the Yale key worked so easily in the old lock. Her heart pounded as she turned the doorknob and entered the house.

It took a moment for Jesse’s eyes to adjust to the dim interior, for the windows were thick with grime, and the trees filtered out most of the sunlight. The centrally located door opened into a small foyer, a room on either side. Straight ahead was a staircase, and beside it, a hall led to the kitchen. Musty air invaded her nostrils, dust turned everything a dull pale gray, and she felt ancient, powdery motes settle upon her like a second skin. Lacy cobwebs stretched from the high corners to the brass light fixtures hanging in the middle of the ceilings. She heard scurrying at the far end of the hall and resisted the urge to run outside.

To her right was the dining room with a door on the far wall that led back to the kitchen. Turning left, she entered the living room, sparsely furnished with drop cloths draped over the pieces. A chair sat perpendicular to a sofa with a round coffee table in front. A floor lamp hung its head in the space between the sofa and chair, and nestled in a far corner was an oak secretary with a drop-down desk. Drooping at the windows were barkcloth drapes that once had boasted white gardenias on a rose background, but now hung in faded tatters, eaten away by dry rot.
Jesse turned slowly, surveying the room.

“Wow,” she said. “Wow, wow, wow.”

Her thoughts traveled to Robert’s apartment with its white leather furniture, glass and chrome accent tables, and carpeting so thick it was like walking on moss. It was as though she was on a “Rat Pack” set when she was there; everything was sleek and modern, tasteful and expensive. She had lived in that world for the past two years. And like its furnishings, that world had turned out to be less ideal than it appeared. A world more than just miles away from this dilapidated house.

Mustering her courage, she pulled the fabric off the sofa. She shrieked as a flurry of grey shapes scattered in all directions—one straight toward her. She panicked as paws scurried across her sandaled foot. Mice! Goosebumps prickled her skin and adrenalin shot though her body. Heart pounding, she ran out the front door, off the porch and bolted to her car. Her knees gave out and she collapsed, trembling.

“Are you okay?”

Grabbing the door handle, she pulled herself up and looked around for the voice’s owner.

“I’m over here,” he said.

She looked toward the road and saw a blue pickup truck at the end of the driveway. Leaning out the driver’s-side window was a man about her age, with tousled red hair. Humor lit up his mouth and softened his strong jawline and rugged face.

“Are you okay?” he repeated as he climbed out of his truck and started toward her.

Jesse brushed herself off and ran her fingers through her hair.

“Oh, yes, I’m fine,” she said.

She saw his hazel eyes twinkle with amusement.

“I can see that. In a hurry to get somewhere? I noticed your quick exit.”

She looked at her watch and gasped.  It was after 2 p.m. If she were going to get any utilities started, she needed to get to town.

“I need to get my utilities started.”

Oh, that sounded intelligent. She was a little off balance, and not just because of the mice encounter; this man’s gaze was warm and unsettling. He chuckled.

“Well, I would never want to keep a woman from that.”

“What I mean is…”

He held out his hand.

“Joe Riley.”

She shook his hand and smiled.

“Jesse Graham.”

“Nice to meet you, Jessica,” he said.

“Not Jessica, just Jesse. The nickname for Jessica is J-E-S-S-I-E. I’m J-E-S-S-E. Pronounced the same, spelled differently.”

“Oh, like Jesse James,” he said.

“Yeah, I’ve never heard that one before,” she tossed back.

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