Tag Archives: fiction

A New Beginning

Blogs are like children. They need a certain amount of tending or they go off course at times. Mine has. I had intended to ramp up again in September which turned into November and…Luckily one friend did volunteer to guest and wrote a lovely post from Phoenix, the black cat,  for October.

And I haven’t been entirely lazy. In fact I can safely say I’ve been busier than ever having joined with some good friends and fellow writers to create a Sisters of Suspense blog which will be publishing their first Snippets of Suspense anthology this week.

And I’m still with Authors Billboard where I also blog monthly and am in the latest Book Bites for Romantic Suspense. I did a FB party with them last week which was great fun and a learning experience as well. I offered a booklet of Maxine’s chocolate recipes for anyone signing up to my newsletter and something went wrong. Nothing was showing for newsletter sign ups. I must say I was crushed. We’re talking chocolate recipes from Maxine of Death by Chocolate series and no one was interested?

It turns out when I changed the paragraph saying anyone signing up would get a free booklet of Maxine’s chocolate recipes I inadvertently removed some code. Thankfully my genius son was able to fix it and so, if anyone should want a copy of Maxine’s Chocolate Recipes the link is here.

Look for more blog posts from me and guest authors, I’ll also be sharing blogs from the Sisters of Suspense Blog and Author’s Billboard and I’ll be doing more Well Writer blogs. For this week I’ll be sharing a blog I did for the Sisters Of Suspense. What Would You Do is a blog on the terrorist attacks on Paris and Beirut and how that affects us. As well it’s a blog on the Syrian refugees. It’s impossible to speak for everyone or to know the answers to such horrifying events. It’s also impossible to ignore them.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

image

New Chocolate Worth Dying For Cover

 

 

I’ve teamed up with best-selling and award winning authors to offer free and reduced price books from now until the 28th. It’s a great way to find some new authors and fill Kindles for anyone who’s just received one. I have the first two in my Death By Chocolate series as well as Lost In Vegas. Check out the fill-up-fun Pinterest board for more and links.A Christmas Wedding To Die For

http://www.pinterest.com/authorsbillboar/fill-up-fun-dec-24-28-broaden-your-readingadventu/

Welcome To The New Old West and Jacqui Nelson

J Nelson 10_139-FlipHI’m pleased to welcome Jacqui Nelson to my page today. A fellow member of my local RWA group and a personal friend, Jacqui  writes historical romantic adventures set in the American West and Victorian London.

Her love for the Old West came from watching classic Western movies while growing up on a cattle farm in northern Canada. Her passion for Victorian London wasn’t far behind and only increased when she worked in England for four years and explored the nooks and crannies of London on her weekends.

Jacqui now lives in Victoria on the west coast of Canada where she works in a bookstore. Her previous jobs have included animator, systems analyst and fundraising event coordinator. She is a Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® winner and three-time finalist.

1. Who or what would you be if you could be anything you chose to be for a week? What would be your super power?

I’d like to be Annie Oakley with the super-human power of ace sharpshooting. I’d participate in as many Wild West shows as I could—from the stands with the spectators, backstage with the performers and onstage during my own sharpshooting act. I’d be sure to take lots of notes while asking Buffalo Bill Cody and his troupe all sorts of questions including what it was like to ride for the Pony Express as a teenager.

2. Why do write? And why western?

I’m currently writing historical romantic adventures set in the Old West. While growing up on a cattle farm, I watched a lot of classic Western movies. Two of those movies, The Outlaw Josey Wales and For a Few Dollars More, are still in my top 10 movies of all time. I like to include the word “adventure” because I feel that’s a big part of my stories. I guess I could use action or suspense, but I think adventure better describes a story like Between Heaven & Heaven which includes a sharpshooting and riding competition followed by a wagon train journey half-way across a continent. 

3. What would you say to anyone wishing to become a writer?

 Go for it! Life’s too short not to live your dreams, and I’ve always said, “If other people can do something, then so can I.”

4. Are you a plotter or a panster and what’s the difference?

I’m a plotter…to an extent. I usually outline scene-by-scene the 1st third of a book. Then while writing those scenes, I’m able to see the rest of the book and continue writing my outline…except for the end. For me, the end is always the hardest part.

5. How do you research your books and make them authentic for the reader when your books are set in a West no longer here?

I do a lot of my research online and at the library. I also have the complete set of Time Life Old West books which I often turn to for inspiration.

6. When you have a day job how do you fit in writing?

That’s another hard part—balancing writing with work and family and friends. In the past, I’ve cut back on sleep and exercise in order to write more, but I found that made me a bit grumpy. And an unhappy writer isn’t the most productive writer. One of the good things about my day job at the bookstore is that after I spend a day on my feet, I’m motivated to sit down…in front of my computer.

7. What’s the best thing about being a writer? About being Jacqui?

On the days when I don’t have to go to work, I get to stay home in my pajamas and turn a blank page into something that (hopefully) feels alive with words. Plus I get to hang out with my story characters and see where they will lead me. That’s a pretty rewarding experience. It’s also rewarding when I hear from readers who’ve connected with my stories. Writing is a solitary endeavor filled with an unending minefield of self-doubts, so hearing positive feedback is a gift beyond measure.

8. What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

I’ve made too many mistakes to remember them all, but my most recent one was underestimating the time it takes me to complete story revisions. But I’ve learned that I have to take my time if I want to create the best story possible, and I shouldn’t feel guilty about the speed of my individual writing process. It’s useless to compare ourselves to others. I’m me. I can’t be someone else. 

9. Do your friends and family members show up as characters in your books?

The personalities of my family and friends haven’t shown up in my books. At least, not yet! But things that they’ve done have. In the book that I’m currently revising titled Between Love & Hell, my heroine works in a Dodge City saloon where (on a particularly rowdy night when a wave of cowboys fresh off the trail enter the saloon) she decides to sing Amazing Grace. A friend told me that she sang this song in a karaoke bar one night, and afterward a man in the crowd said something like, “If I’d wanted a sermon, I’d have gone to church.” So that’s the response my heroine receives.

10. When you’ve had a hard day and characters just won’t do what you want what’s your reward for powering through?

I don’t set daily rewards, but now I’m thinking I should! In the past, I’ve bribed myself with the treat of a new purchase (like a pair of shoes) if I reach a bigger milestone (like a first draft or final revisions completed). Right now, I have my eye on a brightly colored pair of winter boots.

My next novel, Between Love & Lies, is set in Dodge City during the heyday of the cattle drives. It will be released…as soon as I get these revisions done 

So in the meantime let me share a blurb and excerpt from one of my already released books. I have Between Heaven & Hell (set on the Oregon Trail) and Adella’s Enemy (set in Kansas during a cutthroat railroad race).

Adella’s Enemy was inspired by the AMC’s historical Western TV series Hell on Wheels. It’s part of the “Steam! Romance and Rails” series where it can be read on its own or as one of three interconnected novellas in the Passion’s Prize anthology featuring fellow 2010 Golden Heart® finalists E.E. Burke and Jennifer Jakes.

JacquiNelson_AdellasEnemy_800PassionsPrizeAntho-1m

Blurb for Adella’s Enemy

Can the pursuit of an old enemy lead to a new love?

 The War Between the States ended five years ago, but she still pursues her enemy…

Rebel spy turned government rabble rouser Adella Willows receives her mission straight from a Washington senator—play havoc with the Katy Railroad and derail its bid to win the race. The senator craves wealth. Adella craves revenge against the man responsible for her brother’s death. But her plans crumble into chaos when she enters a battle of wits with the railroad’s foreman.

An ocean separates him from his failures in Ireland, but he’s still haunted by those who died…

Seasoned railroad foreman Cormac McGrady’s sole desire is keeping his workmen safe and employed, which means keeping the Katy ahead of its rivals. But the beautiful spy bedeviling his railroad needs protecting as well. Cormac must choose between winning the race and winning Adella’s heart, while Adella must choose whether she lives for revenge or dies for love.

Excerpt from Adella’s Enemy

New Chicago, Kansas—March, 1870

(The last town at the southern end of the Katy Railroad)

“Sorry to be such a bother.” Adella lowered her gaze and tried to appear contrite, which wasn’t difficult as she truly regretted seeing anyone involved in such back-breaking labor. But being a bother was her job. Now she must become even more bothersome. She must embrace every opportunity to delay this construction crew from reaching the border.

Her Irish rescuer exhaled a weary breath and said in a much gentler tone, “’Tisn’t your fault. Don’t worry about us.”

Oh, but I do. And to apologize for seeing your men’s lives made more difficult, I promise to buy each and every one of them a drink tonight.”

A round of hoorays went up.

“Now, lass, you needn’t—”

“I must.”

“Miss, it’s not necessary—”

“It is.”

“Look, lady, I can’t let—”

You can. And you can call me Miss Willows.”

Stubborn English,” he muttered.

Annoyance made her squeeze her valise’s handle even tighter. “I’m not English. I’m American.”

“Isn’t Willows an English name?”

She opened her mouth, then snapped it shut. She wondered if she might wrench the handle from her valise, so tight had her grip become.

His eyes narrowed even more. “If you’ve got something to say, Miss Willows, say it.”

“You’re overbearing and opinionated—an Irishman I heard all about in my youth.” Her mother’s tales of her home country hadn’t always been admiring.

Behind him, the McGrady Gang hooted in mirth. “She’s put ye in yer place, Mac.”

She felt no pleasure in the accomplishment. It served no purpose. Unfortunately, she was struggling to recall her purpose. Her befuddlement had arrived with the big Irishman, the one the men called Mac. Her reaction to him was dangerous. He was dangerous.

Refusing to look at him, she stared at the train. She was here to delay construction of the track, so Levi Parsons lost the race and his ill-gotten gains. She was here for Declan.

~~~

Buy Links

Adella’s Enemy (my novella): www.amazon.com/dp/B00EE1UW5E

Passion’s Prize (the anthology): www.amazon.com/dp/B00EDSCZK8

Between Heaven & Hell (my full-length novel):  www.amzn.com/B00L3AW2XE

For paperback books, visit my Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/jacquinelson

~~~

You can learn more about me and my writing at…

Website: www.JacquiNelson.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Jacqui_Nelson

Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/JacquiNelsonBooks

Facebook friend page: www.facebook.com/JacquiNelsonAuthor

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/JacquiAuthor

Be sure to sign-up for my newsletter for a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite on December 1st…

www.JacquiNelson.com/Newsletter.html

Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Pat! It’s always a treat to hang out with you.

 

Because Everyone Needs A Little Fantasy

Andrea Buginsky cover #3Destiny (2) (1)

The Chosen Cover Final (1)

With kids still out of school and no end in sight for our local teacher’s strike this seems a perfect time to share the work of a friend of mine and fellow writer who writes YA. Fantasy to be exact with her work sometimes compared to a young Tolkien.

Andrea’s first publication is The Chosen, a middle-grade fantasy she worked on for about three years. The second book in The Chosen series, Nature’s Unbalance, was released May 2014. Andrea is currently editing Book 3, Striker’s Apprentice.

Andrea’s second series, New Avalon, is YA fantasy. Book 1, Destiny, is available on Amazon. Fate: New Avalon, book 2 is releasing on September 30th. Readers of the first book will find Elena Baxter’s second year at New Avalon even more challenging, if possible, than her first.

Andrea has also published My Open Heart, an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. Her hope is that it will give encouragement to young adults growing up with heart disease, or other chronic illnesses, as well as parents of children growing up with heart disease.

Andrea lives in the Kansas City, KS area. She grew up in Florida, but is originally from NJ.

She has generously shared with me details of her writing career. The following are some questions and answers on what it means to be a writer for Andrea along with an excerpt of her work:

My Headshot (1)

How did you start writing?

 I had to change my major towards the end of my sophomore year of college. I didn’t know what field I wanted to go into. My sister said, “You like writing, why not do that?” So I chose journalism. When I graduated, I started writing freelance web copy from home. I then decided I wanted to try to write a book. After a few attempts at different genres and storylines, The Chosen was born.

What is the best part of writing?

Creating new worlds and shaping my characters to be who I want them to be…until they take over.

Why do you write?

Because I want to.

How do you come up with ideas?

*laughs* Another tough question. They usually pop into my head when I’m watching television and movies, or reading books. I’ll see something that sparks an idea, and take off with it from there.

 If you had one super-power what would it be and why?

Flying. I’ve always wanted the ability to take off and fly away, hovering above everything and everyone, and floating through the clouds.

 One wish?

This is a tough question, but if I had one wish, I would use it to heal my heart condition. I would love to be able to know the freedom of running up a hill.

 What would you say to someone wishing to become a writer?

Never give up your dream. Keep working hard, and persevere.

Social Media Links

 

 

 

 

Belle’s Beastly Valentine

A Beastly Scandal 600
My Dearest Pat,
Thank you for your very kind invitation to compose this “blog,” I hope I have that term correct, on the subject of Valentine’s Day celebrations. We call it Saint Valentine’s Day in my time, and it is a day of sweet joys when ladies and gentlemen share their deepest feelings.

There are shops along Bond Street where one can purchase Saint Valentine’s Day cards that have words already inscribed to give to those for whom we have a particular partiality, or, as is more common, we purchase special gilt paper on which to craft our personal messages.

This is also a day of gift giving, of sweets, jewelry, flowers, or, if adequate funds are unavailable for such luxuries, perhaps a simple love knot made of straw. I have heard that you have a wonderful sweet in your time called chocolates. I absolutely adore hot chocolate, that drink is my weakness. I can only imagine what it would taste as a solid, scrumptious comfit. I will not tell Lord Terrance of this, for if he ever discovered the secret of such a decadent pleasure, he would be sure to torment me with another game involving winning chocolate as a prize. It would be my Death by Chocolate for certain.

This blog would not be complete, however, if I failed to mention that there is a darker side to this festive day of love. This may no longer be the case in your time. Perhaps people have evolved past such petty actions, but there are a few in my society who take joy in inflicting pain on others. They send Saint Valentine’s Day cards with the deliberate intention of causing hurt, simply because a lady might not be as pretty or well spoken or from a suitable family background.

I am the granddaughter of a Marquis, and considered a beauty by some affectionate friends, yet I, too, once received a beastly Saint Valentine’s Day card. I share this distressing memory, dear Pat, to show that no one is immune to life’s arrows. My crime was that I have a knack to hear what most people cannot discern, and see what is opaque to others’ gazes. So people paint me as different, odd, leaving me open to being flayed by sarcastic wit.

My advice to others who might be the recipient of speech so atrocious in content on this day set aside for lovers, is to smile, for you have been commemorated on Saint Valentine’s Day for the very thing that made the saint infamous – he, too, was perceived to have behaved improperly, simply because he was a priest who believed his subjects were entitled to love, to marry and to live happily ever after, even if his Roman Emperor forbade such luxuries in a time of war. Sometimes, as with drinking (or eating) chocolate, forbidden conduct, especially if done for the purest of reasons, such as love, has an allure that’s simply impossible to resist.

I would be thrilled to hear from some of your readers about their feelings regarding this fascinating holiday. What do you like or dislike about Saint Valentine’s Day? I leave you with my Valentine’s gift for one randomly chosen commenter, a Kindle copy of A Beastly Scandal.

Affectionately,
Lady Annabelle (Belle) Marchant

—————

Belle Marchant is the heroine of
A Beastly Scandal by Shereen Vedam

For a chance at some chocolates or possibly a copy of Belle’s book, A Beastly Scandal, sign up for my newsletter which will periodically give you news on such things as new releases!

 



 

A BELLE OF THE BALL…
Lady Annabelle Marchant was a belle of the ball in London until she used her psychical senses to save a man’s life. She failed miserably, leaving him dead and her disgraced. All she wants now is a chance to comfort his widow by cleansing the woman’s home of her husband’s restless spirit. But the widow’s son, the beastly Lord of the Manor, accuses her of coming to the wilds of Cheshire to snag him as a husband. Thoroughly disgusted, she is bent on proving him wrong.

…BECOMES PERSONA NON-GRATA…
Lord Rufus Marlesbury, the Earl of Terrance, is suspected of murdering his father. He has come home to clear his name by finding the real killer before the new year or Rufus will be called in front of the House of Lords to answer for the crime. He does not have time to waste fending off a marriage-minded miss who has inveigled an invitation to his home by playing on his grief-stricken mother’s worst fears.

…WHEN A MURDERER IS ON THE RAMPAGE
With an unruly manor ghost terrorizing the occupants and corpses piling up in the village, Belle must find a way to see the man beneath the beast and Rufus must learn to believe in the love of a woman who has no reason to trust him. Only by working together can they stop a vengeful ghost before it torments the guests or before the killer strikes again.

A Beastly Scandal’s Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/TzFVC4czHOw

————-
About The Author

Shereen Vedam was born on a tiny paradise island called Ceylon, later renamed Sri Lanka. After she arrived in Canada, she moved across the provinces until she landed in British Columbia where she found a new paradise all her own, filled with people and pets and plants (including an awesome giant Weeping Sequoia) that nurture her love of reading, writing and dreaming.

Shereen’s website: www.shereenvedam.com
Her upcoming fairytale-inspired Regency romances (from ImaJinn Books):
A Devilish Slumber – (a sleeping beauty inspired tale) – October 2014
A Scorching Dilemma – (a Cinder “fella” inspired tale) – December 2014
A Perfect Curse – (a Snow White inspired tale) – 2015