Smart Girls Read Romance

Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog. Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

ROMANTIC GETAWAYS - THE EIFFEL TOWER

By Guest, Stephanie Burkhart

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France is one of the most recognized structures in the world. But what makes it a romantic getaway? The awe-inspiring views? The beauty of the structure? It's testament to stand the test of time? It's ability to stir the heart and soul of a nation?

I visited the Eiffel Tower for the first time in 1987 when I was 19. Almost immediately, I was struck by how imposing it was – tall and strong – it loomed over the city with a silent, yet steady heartbeat. I went to each floor and the view from each took my breath away. The sight of Paris thriving, moving, breathing, stirred my soul like a rousing rendition of Mozart's "Moonlight Sonata."

In 1992, I went back to the Eiffel Tower with my "sweetie." As I suspect all young lovers do, we shared a kiss underneath the romantic monument.
 
The Eiffel Tower at night


The Eiffel Tower is a testament to what human determination and imagination can accomplish. It's a reminder of not only France's industrial age, but the world's. Maybe that's at the heart of its romantic appeal?

How did such a monument come to stand the test of time?

In 1889, Paris hosted the World's Fair and wanted to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the French Revolution. Competing plans for a monument were submitted to the committee. The structure was intended as the entrance arch for the Fair.

Eiffel and Campagnie won the commission based on a design by Maurice Koechlin, a structural engineer in the company. Gustave Eiffel had a reputation for building quality bridges, buildings, and train stations. His company had also assembled the Statue of Liberty. Eiffel was not initially excited about the tower and told Koechlin to add more ornate flourishes. After he saw the revisions, Eiffel's enthusiasm for the tower grew.

Construction started in January 1887 and the tower opened in 1889. Many Parisians thought it was an eyesore. Famed novelist Guy deMaupassant detested the tower so much he often had lunch in the restaurant located at the base so he could avoid looking at it.

The tower had a 20 year permit. In 1909, the tower would become the property of Paris and slated for demolition. However, the structure proved useful as a radio telegraph tower. City officials decided to spare it. During World War I, the tower intercepted and jammed German radio transmission. During World War II, Hitler ordered the tower destroyed. That never happened, allowing the structure to become a symbol of the heart of the French nation. Today, the tower is 124 years old.

Did you know?
Gustave Eiffel was born Gustave Bonickhauser? He officially changed his name in 1880.

Question: Have you been to the Eiffel Tower? What's the appeal for you? If you have a picture of you at the tower, I'd love to see it. Post a link the comments.

I'll pick a random commenter to receive one of my Print backlist books: THE HUNGARIAN, THE COUNT’S LAIR, DANUBE IN CANDLELIGHT. Please leave your email so I can get in touch with you.

Stephanie Burkhart, Author

 Stephanie Burkhart is an award winning romance and children's author. She works for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher, loves coffee, and adores chocolate.

Her latest novel is THE SECRET DOOR, Book 4 in the Budapest Moon Series.

Reviews:

"The Secret Door's exciting action, paranormal elements, and romance will not disappoint a reader." - Joy Cagil, Amazon Reader
"I was quite pleased to find an original take on the werewolf mythology and was impressed by the author's choice of location and historical accuracy. The Secret Door is a fun read and is highly recommended." - 5 Stars, Jack Magnus, Reader's Favorite Reviews,

" There is plenty of action and strife in this story as well as softer and tenderer emotions between the couples. Overall, I found the story entertaining." 3 Cups, HCHarju, Coffee Time Romance
"The author held me captive until the end." – Deal Sharing Aunt
"A Great Read." – Rookie Romance


BLURB:
It's 1927 and Lord Zoltan Kristos, Hungary's Minister of the Interior, takes great pains to hide the fact he's a werewolf from the world. Despite his efforts, he's recognized when he goes to the Austrian-Hungarian border to inspect the area for damage from a recent rare earthquake.
Zoltan is accused of stealing Kurt Meklau's witch, Inna, and is recklessly pursed to Volturn Manor, a residence belonging to another werewolf family, the Vargas. After a fight with Meklau, Zoltan barely escapes and his adversary is found dead.
Sophia Varga and Tomas Martin find Zoltan. Sophia is determine to attend to Zoltan's injuries and protect her home, but when Kurt's father, Marcus, comes seeking revenge, Sophia is tested like never before. As Zoltan and Sophia work together, attraction and desire flame between them.
Will the secrets Volturn Manor harbors offer Zoltan and Sophia the clues they need to defeat Marcus and give them the opportunity to explore their feelings for one another?
EXCERPT:
He looked her over seductively. His heart skipped a beat with desire. She rubbed the lotion into her hands and placed them on his stomach. He groaned, reaching out with his left hand and threading his fingers into her hair, jerking her head back so they were eye-to-eye. She set her jaw. His pulse pounded. Something intense flared between them, yet she kept her hands on his abdomen. Encouraged, Zoltan tugged her toward him, pressing her chest against his. Her nostrils flared and her brow furrowed in confusion.
He stopped, reminding himself he needed to offer a choice. "Do you want me to kiss you?"
"No." The sound of her denial was weak. He held her close.
"Do you want me to release you?"
"No."
"How should I solve my predicament?"
"I don't know."
"I do." He leaned close, her sweet fruity scent sending his senses into overdrive. He placed his lips on her jaw and kissed her.
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Friday, June 28, 2013

WHY WE WRITE CERTAIN BOOKS

 By Caroline Clemmons

Do you wonder why authors write particular books? Years ago an editor said she would like to see a heroine from the past come forward in a time travel. I had enjoyed the time travels Maureen Child wrote as Kathleen Kane, so I thought I’d give paranormal a try. By the time I finished it, the editor had moved to another line, but OUT OF THE BLUE found a happy home at The Wild Rose Press. Since then, I’ve recovered my rights and have self-published this time travel romantic mystery. I recently changed the cover, but not all online sources have the new artwork. I think the heroine on the latest cover looks a bit like the singer Crystal Gale. What do you think?
 
Cover by Ramona


Because Ireland is a favorite travel destination, an Irish heroine popped into my head. I wanted a nurturing heroine, so Deirdre Dougherty is an herbal healer and a clairvoyant in 1845. Her mother died a week ago, and now a local bully has turned many of Deirdre’s neighbors against her in their tiny, remote village. The bully, Eogan, blames Deirdre for the failure of the potato crop and incites others to label her a witch. She has been planning to leave and has her haversack packed, but she is spotted before she can escape. Her only escape is the sea, so she leaps while praying for deliverance--and plops down OUT OF THE BLUE into a Texas lake over 165 years later.

My concept of Deirdre from iStock Photos
Who would be least likely to believe in clairvoyance and time travel? I decided a Texas police detective would scoff at Deirdre. Perfect. I wanted to force Brendan Hunter to grasp there are more things in heaven and on earth than man can understand. Why not lead him a traumatic chase? He is already on medical leave while he recovers from wounds he received from a drive-by that killed his partner and best friend. He certainly doesn’t need a crazy woman claiming to be from the past. Or, does he?

Brendan Hunter, Police Detective

Confidentially, just between us, my favorite character is Brendan’s mom, Blossom Hunter. She was a late hippie who lived in a commune turned cooperative farm in California. The farm is where she met Brendan’s dad, a rebellious rich kid who died too young while robbing a convenience store. Now Blossom owns a health food store, which makes her sort of a modern version of Deirdre, and is bubbly and optimistic. The two women become good friends immediately. Of course, Brendan thinks he has to protect his mom from this psycho who plopped OUT OF THE BLUE beside his bass boat and says she is a time traveler.

Blossom Hunter with her beau 
Together, Deirdre and Brendan discover who tried to kill him, who killed his partner, and who framed Brendan for the theft and murder. Two of my favorite places are Ireland and Texas. Combining them in OUT OF THE BLUE made me happy. I hope my effort makes you happy, too.

Here’s an excerpt from OUT OF THE BLUE after Deirdre is almost kidnapped by two killers. 

          What could a few ladies do against these two frightening men? She’d have to save herself, so she screamed again.
          The blond caught up with her and grabbed her arm. “No use screaming, lady. You’re coming with us.” He dragged her toward the car.
          She kicked him and screamed again, clawing at him with her free hand. She drew blood along his arm and scratched his face.
          He jerked her and grabbed both her hands. “You’re gonna be sorry you made me mad. I have lots of ways to get even.” He told her what he planned as he yanked her toward the car’s back seat.
          Strong as an ox, the man held her in an iron grasp so her feet barely touched the ground. He heaved her toward the open door. Suspended above the ground, she braced a foot against the car’s body. With her other, she kicked him between the legs, just as Ma had taught her.
          He turned red and released her as he doubled over and dropped to his knees. Without him supporting her, she hit the pavement hard. Her back took the force of her fall and the air whooshed from her. She couldn’t stand but she rolled away.
          The driver pointed a gun at her. “Get in or you die right here, right now.”
          What had Brendan said about this situation when they watched television? Never get in the car with anyone. But how could she resist without him shooting her? She recalled the blonde’s threats. If she had to die, she’d rather it be here quickly than at the hands of these two later. She made the sign of the cross and prepared herself for death.
          A horn honked and tires squealed. Brendan yelled. “Deirdre, I’m coming.”
          Blossom and Polly hurried toward her, each carrying a broom and wielding it as if they intended to beat on the blond man. Several associates came with them and lobbed jars of something at the car. In the heat, the jars exploded like small bombs. After one loud crack, red oozed along the spider-webbed glass windshield.
          “What the hell?” The scary man in black turned back toward the steering wheel. “Damn it, Rod, with or without her, get the hell in here.”
          She struggled to her knees then stood, backing away.
          Apparently unable to straighten, the guy she’d kicked hoisted himself back into the car. He yelled, “I’ll get you for this, bitch. When I do, you’re gonna beg me to kill you before I’m through.”
          The black car took off with a squeal from smoking tires, dripping red salsa and leaving glass shards in its wake. The driver had his head stuck halfway out the side window, his front windshield obviously too damaged and dirty for the wipers to clear. Aromas from the salsa’s spicy contents filled the air—cilantro, tomatoes, chili peppers.
Deirdre fell in love with those scents. 
          


Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What Kinds of Romances Do You Enjoy Best?

--By Vonnie Davis

Have you enjoyed meeting your authors this month? I’ve learned quite a few delightful things about some very talented writers. Haven’t you?
 

So now it’s time to ask you, the readers, a question. What kinds of romance do you typically reach for? Historical? Contemporary? Fantasy? Romantic Suspense? Paranormal? Inspirational? I’d love to know.
 

I ask because I’m an author trying to find her place. My name is Vonnie Davis, and I tend to write most sub-genres of romance, which makes my agent nervous. She tells me I should pick one or two and build a reputation as an author of those sub-genres. How can my readers find what I write if they don’t know where to look?
 

Her thoughts kind of make sense, don’t they? At least that’s what I tell myself.
 

Too bad my characters aren’t listening.
 

My heroes typically come to me at night, full of swagger and attitude. They introduce themselves, tell me a little about their lives and ask me to write their stories. It is them, not I, who decides the sub-genre of the romance I write. My agent's not having any of it. Sigh...
 

Take Storm Masterson, who sauntered into my bedroom wearing nothing but a pair of cowboy boots and a Stetson. Calvin snored through the whole episode. Not me, though. I was all eyes. Storm told me about the blue-eyed woman he’d dreamed about for three nights and his twin sister who was dying of leukemia. His story, Storm’s Interlude, was contemporary and has won a HOLT Award of Merit as best single title.
 

A Harley roared into our bedroom one night. Calvin snorted and rolled over. When the rider got off his bike, I instinctively knew he wore a prosthesis to replace part of his leg he’d lost in Iraq. He removed his helmet and sat on the edge of our bed. He’d met a woman with violet eyes, he claimed. Would I tell his story? Those Violet Eyes won first place in the novella category of the NERFA (National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award).
 

One night a tumbleweed rolled into our bedroom, followed by a rider on horse, his one arm banded around a little boy sitting in front of him. The horse reared and the man, his face hidden by his Stetson, glanced my way. I need a woman to raise my son and warm my bed. I started my first historical the next day—Tumbleweed Letters.

 

A French government agent slammed our bedroom door late one night. The sudden sound made me sit straight up in the bed. Wh…what was that? Who…who slammed that door? I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and glanced around the dark room. No sooner had I snuggled back against hubs than someone slammed the door again. This time I saw the scoundrel. He had dark wavy hair and mega doses of French attitude. His name was Niko Reynard, second in command of the French Counterterrorism Unit. He said there was a band of terrorists and an American art teacher who came to Paris and stirred up a mess. Mona Lisa’s Room was my first romantic suspense. It also won the HOLT Award of Merit for best romantic suspense and best book by a Virginia Author.
 

Then one night a pair of glowing golden eyes stared at me. Slowly a bear’s body formed. I whispered to the bear he had the wrong author’s bedroom, that I didn’t write children’s stories. He shook his head and then shifted into a kilt wearing Scot. He sat on the edge of my bed and I told him he still had the wrong bedroom because I don’t write paranormal. He aimed those golden, glowing eyes at me. “Aye, lassie, ye will. Let me tell ye how bears came to be extinct in Scotland.”  

Honest folks, sometimes I’m afraid to go to bed. Lord only knows who might show up next!
 
Now do you understand my dilemma? How can I only choose one or two sub-genres to write when so many men keep asking for my help? Could you refuse them? I certainly can't.
 
So fess up, ladies. What's your favorite category of romance? I'm giving away a $10. Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter today. Please include your email so I can contact you. Winning the gift card does not pull you out of the running for the Kindle.
 
To learn more about me, visit www.vonniedavis.com or visit my blog www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com  Hugs to all!

Monday, June 24, 2013

MY ONGOING LOVE AFFAIRS

 By Brenda Chitwood

Okay, I admit it, I have had an ongoing affair with Mr. Darcy. Well, to be honest, Rochester has always had a place in my heart, too. I'm such a slut. J. D. Robb's Roarke is to die for. 

Colin Firth in "Pride and Prejudice"

Who am I kidding, I love them all. One thing they all seem to have in common is being wealthy.  Money never hurts.

These guys don't sit around in their underwear munching cheese doodles and squashing empty beer cans on their foreheads. On the flip side, I doubt any of them would fall into mad lust with my lumpy figure or the chocolate smears on my mouth. 
Swept off her feet by a handsome man


That's the beauty of romantic fiction. The men are perfect and we find the heroines easily ignored. In fact, I become Elizabeth, Jane or Eve.  Although, Eve would probably kick me from New York to Texas.

Hugh Jackman, just because he's dreamy


As a reader, I fall into the arms of the hero and never have to pick up his dirty socks.  As a writer, I scream at the hero in my story to behave and stop being such an ass. 


Heroes don't write themselves--
and sometimes they don't cooperate
with their author

After hours of looking at a blank page and imagining my hero laughing at my frustration, I decide to change into my stretchiest  sweat pants, find my stash of Snickers hidden in the back of my bookshelf and see what chaos Karen Marie Moning's Barrons is creating.  Oh my, is he HOT!

I'll be giving away an Amazon Gift Card to one person who comments on today's post. The winner will still be in the drawing for the Kindle Fire HD Tablet on June 30th. Please leave your email address with your comment in the event you're the winner.

 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Heart, Humor and Healing the Soul, by Jude Bown


I’m honored to be a guest today at SMART GIRLS READ ROMANCE.  Thank you.
 
One of the greatest pleasures in life is living the best bits over and over and over again in our mind.  The most treasured experiences are replayed in 3-D, engaging all of our senses.  The scent of Coppertone may bring to mind the permeating warmth of exotic island sunrays.
 
Aroma triggers memories.
 
Sipping tart lemonade may instantly transport us to a lush garden, surrounded by 50 shades of  birdsong, two chattering squirrels in a nearby tree, and the gleeful squeal of a toddler running through a cooling sprinkler…even though the mountain’s bitter December winds whistle outside our hearth.
 
One sip can change a season.
 
Universal emotions know no bounds.  Do we ever forget a stranger’s look that pierces our soul?  Or the electricity generated from a lover’s touch?  No.  We relive every crystal-clear detail, as though it happened moments ago.
 
We filter information and interpret meaning through the lens of our personality traits, beliefs, behaviors and dreams.
 
The unwavering faith and tenacity of my mother, who lived four years when she was given a cancer-related expiration date of two weeks, carries me through troubled times.  The adventuresome spirit of my dad gives me the fearless confidence to traverse uncharted territory with the verve of Sally Ride.
 
When we read a great book, we are transported to a setting, a time period, a lifestyle.  We become intertwined with the townsfolk, invested in the heroine’s plight, and lay claim on the hero as our own.
 
We don’t read stories…
 
 
 
…we LIVE them.
 
Romance authors fascinate me.  The ability to paint with all the colors of the human heart intrigues me.  Creating stories—that are so authentic we hope, laugh and cry as though the fictional character’s heartache was our personal burden to bear—calls to me.
 
Every romance author yields to their siren song differently.  Yet, the appeal of writing happily ever afters is not without struggle or sorrow.
 
For many years, I was an International Speaker, specializing in personal and professional development—averaging 250 days per year on the road in a different city every day in six countries.  During that time, my last living parent passed following unexpected and extremely difficult circumstances.  As is the case with many, we ignore our grief and work harder and faster to numb the pain and outrun demons.
 
Two years after Dad’s passing, I enforced a self-imposed hiatus.  There’s no longevity in physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological exhaustion.  It didn’t take long for grief—and what-if’s from decisions I had made regarding life support options—to fill the battered cracks of my soul.  Nine months passed and I had not regained my footing.  To promote the healing process, I signed up for two writing courses; one non-fiction, the other fiction.  Hoping creativity would release my grief.
 
When I arrived at the fiction writing class, the over-exuberant registrar insisted the “genre” blank be filled.  Her frustration ratcheted several notches when I confessed I didn’t know yet.
 
She harrumphed and proclaimed, “You write romance!”  The tone of her voice mimicked talons clawing a blackboard.
 
That night, when the demons stoked their evil flames, extinguishing all hope of peaceful slumber, I dragged my battered soul to my bright little orange office.  Cracking the spine of a leather-bound journal, I wrote the words:
 
Shep sat on a cracked, vinyl bar stool sipping coffee from a faded mug.
 
 
 
I relied upon the precious roots of my blink-and-miss-it Montana hometown for inspiration.  Molly Kirkland, the heroine of REEL ME IN (Book One in a series of small town contemporary romances) has been pulled from the depths of that same battered soul.  Her pain seeped out of the cracks in my heart.  I wrote with the passion of innocence.  My demons became Molly’s burden to bear.
 
I tapped my wit.  My heart.  My will.
 
Writing REEL ME IN not only broke the chains of pain that bound me, the experience freed my spirit and brought the balm of healing.
 
We don’t write stories…
 
 
 
…with every cursive curl or keystroke, we pour forth our heart and soul, our deepest sorrow and an unwavering hope that every story ends with a happily ever after.  Even our own.
 
 
Several Editors and Agents are currently reviewing REEL ME IN for publication.  In the meantime, I’m tapping another scarred nook in my soul to create a happily ever after for Book Two in the series.  Excavating bruised emotions to honor our beloved military warriors—and calling forth the power of every heart that heals them when they return home.
 
Please visit me at www.JudeBown.com for updates and further information.  Also, subscribe to my twice-monthly blog at www.JudeBown.com/blog/ to receive posts at your cyber doorstep regarding your best self, quick and easy recipes and other time-saving tips.
 
__________________
 
REEL ME IN
 
Welcome to Hays River, Montana, home to rampant gossip, vicious busybodies and a cocky rooster with a red mohawk and a vendetta.  562 residents, each quirkier then the next.  Is it any wonder Molly Kirkland flung her mortarboard in the air a dozen years ago and created a new life in Chicago?
 
Molly knows things have hit rock bottom if Hays River is looking like home again.
 
On the verge of losing a promotion, Molly returns to her hometown to secure the area’s natural resources for her professional projects.  While there, she finds her aunt’s B&B nearly bankrupt.  Desperate, she recruits Mac McKay, a B&B tenant with expertise restructuring organizations.
 
Mac McKay has finally found a place to belong in Hays River.  While building his house on the river, he discovers valuable resources are being wasted and plans to open a reclamation warehouse, creating jobs and generating money back into the community he now calls home.
 
Wood chips fly when their trust and growing love is tested as they race to find solutions for Aunt Veeda’s bankruptcy, Molly’s promotion, and Mac’s reclamation warehouse.  Or will the choice be taken out of their hands when the past Mac turned his back on casts a shadow on the B&B doorstep.
 
__________________
 
Thank you for sharing your time—and comments—with me today.   Please leave a comment below (along with your name and email address) to be entered for a chance to win a $10 Target gift card.
 
SPECIAL INVITATION:
 
To celebrate their Grand Opening, throughout the month of June, the chance to win prices is offered every other day to those who leave comments.  MARK YOUR CALENDERS.  On June 30, a Grand Prize winner will be selected from the comments to win a KINDLE FIRE HD 7” with Dolby Audio, Dual Band Wi-Fi, and 16GB.
 
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Happy Saturday!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I KNOW ACTION!

by Geri Foster 

First, I’m so pleased to be here with these very talented ladies. I know several of the Smart Girls Read Romance blog members personally, and the others I’ll get better acquainted with as we go along. What an adventure, huh, gals?

My first blog for you Smart Readers is about what I know best. I’m not an outstanding wordsmith, as you’ll soon discover, but I know action. How to build it, use it and how it keeps you readers turning the page. If you don’t know by now, I write Romantic Suspense. I’ve just finished my third book in the Falcon Series, OUT OF THE NIGHT.

I write each book quickly. Down and dirty, some call it, but I prefer, ‘getting the action down on paper’. Well, actually a computer screen, but you know what I mean. By doing this, I pretty much know where my story is going, until the last third of the book. I never write the end until I’m completely finished with the first part of the story. That means I might write two hundred and seventy-seven pages before I even think about how I’m going to end the story. The last part of the book is where all the subplots are tied up nicely, the black moment hits, and then the resolution pulls the story to an end.

All through the book I keep the action very high by constantly having my main characters in danger. In other words, they’re pretty much running for their lives throughout the whole book. I do this by having both characters fighting to save whatever is at stake. And I make it big. I feel if you are going to write Romantic Suspense, make it big, meaningful and full of action. Yes, it’s a love story, but we all know they are going to end up living happily ever after, so, I make them work for it. Make them work hard. Take away what they value most and put it in the peril, or completely destroy it.

Action is the best vessel to make you readers care. Have an alpha male get the crap beat out of him, get shot, or make a wrong move that jeopardizes the one person he cares for the most. But, never let my characters give in, or give up. 

You know when you’re watching a movie or a TV show, and the good guy and the bad guy are both facing off, and the bad guy tells the good guy to throw down his weapon, and he does? That’s called stupidity, or extremely lazy writing. Have a hero tough enough, brave enough and good enough to take that kill shot.

Men of action are what dreams are made of. They run forward when others run away, they think quickly, rationally and intuitively. In all my books I force my heroes to face their worst fears and come out better people. They live on the edge and can’t afford to back down, for that would mean death and destruction to our country. They fight, struggle and win, because action is their middle name.

I hope you’ll check out my books, OUT OF THE DARK, OUT OF THE SHADOWS and OUT OF THE NIGHT.











Below is an excerpt from my first book OUT OF THE DARK: Mac and Emily’s first brush with danger in a Moscow hotel.

Suddenly, the door to their room crashed open and two guys rushed in. They were armed and ready to kill.

Glock in hand, Mac fired twice. Before the intruder’s eyes could adjust to the dim light, they were dead.

When Emily didn’t respond quickly enough, Mac jumped off the bed and grabbed her arm. “We have to leave now. It’s going to get real ugly.”

“What?” she screamed. “This isn’t ugly?”

“I’ve seen worse.” He released her arm.

Obviously, she hadn’t. No doubt, nothing like this ever happened in the normal world, especially hers. With her nice orderly life, Mac figured she’d probably never witnessed anything firsthand worse than a broken nail.

 “What’s going on?” Emily had her hands to her mouth, her eyes the size of saucers.

“Nothing. Get the pilot on the phone. We leave now.”  Grabbing what he could, Mac snatched up his bag and threw in an assault rifle that belonged to one of the Russians, then Emily’s briefcase, laptop and purse.

Shouldering the bag, he jammed his Glock in the back of his waistband. He took her cell phone off the dresser, handed it to her and repeated, “Get the pilot on the phone while we move.”

Mac inched around the corner where the door used to be and checked the well-lit, carpeted hall. Clear.

Taking Emily by the hand, he led her out behind him. They darted for the stairwell. Security would investigate the sound of gunfire, and Mac didn’t want to be anywhere around when that happened.

Down two flights of concrete stairs, Mac stopped and leaned Emily against the cinderblock wall in the narrow shaft. He took her chin in his hand. “Listen, we don’t have time for you to go screwy on me. Call the pilot now.”

“I don’t know...I don’t know.”

“Emily.” He shook her gently. “Call him and tell him to ready the fucking plane. You’re going to get us both killed.”

With shaking fingers, Emily punched several numbers before she actually got anyone on the line. “Mr. Malloy,” she gasped. “There is an emergency and we need to leave tonight.”

Listening for any sounds that they were being chased, Mac hugged the wall and kept an eye on the doorway. Nothing so far.

“I understand,” Emily said. “You have certain papers to file and all that, but we’ll be at the airfield in an hour. And you’d better fucking be ready to leave!”

She disconnected the call and looked at him for approval then her eyes widened and her hand covered her mouth. “God, I dropped the F bomb.”

“You did good. Now stay close to me. When we go through the door to the lobby, we need to act as calm as possible.”

“Mac, I’m scared spitless.”

“Nothing to it, Em. Stay close. I won’t let anything happen to you.” He looked into her eyes then brushed his lips against hers. “Not ever.”

Thank you so much for stopping by. OUT OF THE DARK and OUT OF THE SHADOWS are out now. OUT OF THE NIGHT will be released later this month. For more information, contact me at my website.


Don’t forget to leave a comment and win a free download of OUT OF THE DARK. You'll still be entered in the June 30th drawing for a Kindle Fire HD 7" Tablet. 

Keep reading!
Geri Foster
  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Process to “The End”

First, I’m so excited to be a part of this lovely and talented group of authors and to be included in posting on this fun blog. 2013 has been a great adventure for me.

101_3805

These are possibly the most important words an author can write on a page. They’re definitely the most fun. How do I know this? Because I just typed them on the last page of my romantic suspense manuscript, Code of Honor.

Every author has their own way to develop their story. We all plot, it’s how we plot that is the choice du jour. I have friends who outline to the point of writing the story in that outline, then embellish until the story is complete. Others are what people these days call Pantsers. These writers sit down to a blank page with a basic idea and go from there. After years of trying to outline and getting nowhere, I discovered I write the other way. Yes folks, I fly better by the seat of my pants.

I’ve been writing this little story of mine for a number of years, about seventeen to be more exact. I started out with my heroine, Maggie, as an art instructor tired of being put down by men, and with a working title of, Next Time Around. After learning a smidge more about writing, the plot became more involved with Maggie as a Registered Nurse, losing her husband in a plane crash and trying to prove him innocent of pilot error charges. The title at this point was Texas Skies. An agent suggested a title change to Without a Doubt, and with that done, I completed the manuscript and sent it off to a publisher. That sucker nearly met itself in the mail it came back so quick! That was 1999.

I'd had other rejections, mind you, but, for some reason, I couldn't make myself get back on that horse. I was so bummed, I shoved it under the bed and didn’t pick up writing again until 2003. Guess what? We’d survived 9/11 and my technical airline story was so out of date, I had to start over. Writing, writing, day job, critiquing, writing, day job, yada, yada, yada. I got nowhere until 2012, when I discovered my local writing chapter, Yellow Rose RWA, and the most wonderful group of supportive, nurturing authors anyone could hope for.

One of our monthly speakers told of her particular way to write and, as I listened, I realized that’s me! When I sit down to the keyboard to write a chapter or scene, I may have an inkling where I want to go, but that’s it. The majority of the time I look like I’m staring into space, but I swear that’s when the characters drag me along to where they want to go.

Now that I’ve typed, The End, there is still a chunk of work to be done. After the critique, there are rewrites/edits, and off to my editor, then rewrites/edits. Finally then we will have publication in July 2013. At any rate, this has been the most fun and I’m ready to do it all again.

This is but a small snippet of what a writer goes through to type "The End". I hope you enjoyed my little corner.


Code of Honor - Texas Code Series - Book One - Copy smaller size for blogsThe following is a short blurb and an excerpt from my romantic suspense, Code of Honor.

Blurb:

Graeme McAlister’s determined to unearth the truth behind his foster brother’s implausible suicide, but when he sees his widowed sister-in-law will he be able to handle the biggest revelation of all?

After the death of her husband, Wyatt, Maggie Benning resolves to establish a successful and independent life for herself and her son, Andy. Can she overcome past hurt and loss of trust to accept a new love in her life?

Excerpt:

  
Maggie held her breath and turned the key in the lock. The intense heat of the brass did little to warm her chilled fingers as she closed her hand around the door knob. She slowly exhaled and rested her forehead against the solid oak door.
            "You can do this," she muttered under her breath. "Just turn clockwise, push, and enter."
            This morning started out relatively normal for a Saturday. She and Dinah left at the same time but went their separate ways with Dinah promising to catch up with her here after lunch. First, she'd stopped by the hospital to speak with the administrator about getting her job back after being placed on suspension during an investigation into missing Morphine. Then, she'd gone by the bank to withdraw the last of her savings. Oh, and last, move back into the home she'd shared with Wyatt, until his death.
Normal? Who was she kidding?
            She focused on her breathing to slow the anxiety that threatened to overtake her, when her hand froze on the brass knob. Weird, since it was the middle of August in Texas and more than a hundred degrees here on the porch. She shivered slightly in spite of this knowledge, fighting for control. You're stronger than this.
After what seemed like an eternity, her world slowly righted itself, her tingling fingers fell away from the doorknob, and she slowly lowered herself to the porch floor. Covering her eyes with both hands, she massaged her temple and a sudden stabbing pain that felt like roughnecks drilling for oil. The sound of boots scraping on the steps diverted her attention away from the headache and she stiffened.
She'd come here today, in particular, because she thought she'd draw less of a crowd. The ranch hands were supposed to be out rounding up cattle in the north pastures. Bridey had mentioned she and Andrew had plans in Dallas for the day. The task before her was hard enough. She surely didn't need an audience.
             "Hey, Maggie, are you okay?" Graeme rested one hand on her shoulder, while lifting her chin with the other. He looked deep into her eyes with concern.
             The silence hung between them for a few seconds, but she answered him before he asked again, "Yes, I'm fine. Must be the heat getting to me." He cupped his hand under her elbow helping her to stand.
            "Yeah, it's a scorcher." He led her over to the porch swing. Sitting beside her, he took her hand and gave her one of his trademark smiles that, if she were to venture a guess, made most women weak in the knees. Years ago, she'd been affected, too. But, she'd become immune to the abundant charms the men in this family possessed in spades.
"Wow, two days in a row, I can usually hold it together better than this," Maggie said, embarrassed. Uncomfortable, she removed her hand from his and tried to deflect his attention. "Looks like I'm not the only crazy one. What in heaven's name are you doing walking around out here?"
"First off, I didn't walk, I rode." He pointed toward the horse nibbling on the dry grass by the iron fence. "Second, Junebug sent me up here to check on the old place. I think he wanted me out from under foot."
"Yeah, he never did want any of us hanging around." This was one of the things she'd thought about when she decided to move back out here. There was no privacy. Be it Junebug or Graeme, or the entire Benning family, she had to take control of her situation and the sooner the better.
Standing, Maggie said quickly, "I really need to go on in the house. I have to get ready for the moving truck that'll be here this afternoon. You can report back to Junebug that the house is fine. I'm sure you have other things to do today."
"No," Graeme said. "There's nothing else." He rested his forearms on his knees, laced his fingers together, and stared out into the small yard.
"Well, I have a list a mile long and I…"
"Listen, Maggie, I know it's been hard for you, and I want to say I'm sorry."
His apology caught her off guard. Granted, a few months ago she'd been mad at him. Now she didn't have the energy, but he piqued her interest. "Just to be clear, what are you sorry for exactly?"
"For starters, not being here when you needed me after the funeral."
"A strong shoulder would've been nice." She walked to the door, faced him, and smiled sadly. "Truthfully, you have no clue how hard it's been for me, or how many times I wished you were here."  
"Maggie, I'm…"
"Never mind, Graeme, there's a reason we're both here now." She offered her hand to him and when he took hers in a handshake, she said, "Hi, I'm Maggie Benning and I just moved into the neighborhood."
He followed her lead. "Graeme McAlister. If you ever need anything, I'm just a phone call away."
 
Code of Honor will be available, July 2013. You'll probably hear my shouts of glee no matter where you live but, in case you don't, please check on my website or blog for the release date.


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Carra Copelin
Fall in Love Under . . . Texas Skies