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Friday, June 29, 2012

Sherry Gloag's Gasquet Princes series

I'd like to welcome Sherry Gloag here today, who will be giving away the following prizes.
* One randomly drawn commenter at every stop will win a hand-crafted book thong.
* One randomly drawn commenter during the tour will win a hand-crafted selenite pendent (see photo at left)
* The host with the most comments (excluding Sherry's and the host's) will win a hand-crafted selenite pendent (see photo at left)

Thank you for inviting me to visit your blog today, and thank you, too, I think!, for your challenging question.

When I was asked to name the top three items on my bucket list, I had to ask a friend what a ‘bucket list’ was. *blush*.  Then I had to think very hard indeed.

Am I so lacking in ambition I have no ‘bucket list’ goals?  Not at all.  They were there, lurking in the back of my mind just waiting for me to tempt them out into the open.

And did I get a surprise when they finally made themselves known.  Below, not necessarily in any kind of order, are some of the things on my bucket list.

The first, I discovered, I have already achieved.  I had a certain birthday in mind when I set the goal to publish a book… no—let me re-phrase that—to have a book published by this date.  Not only have I achieved it but I’ve had five books published before the deadline.  So that is #1.  Does that mean I have to ditch this one and start again?  I don’t think so.  It was on my bucket list, and I achieved it.  Now I have it ‘out in the open’, I can create another goal to take its place.

Which takes me to my second bucket list wish; and because I cannot control this one, it is far more tenuous.  I’d love to have one of my books on a national best-seller list.  Did I say I cannot control this?  I did, and in part I am right again.  But unless I write something worthy of attaining that list it’s never going to get there.  So…

Let me skim over to my third bucket list wish.  Over the years I have met and made many wonderful ‘net friends.  Many have invited me to visit them, and circumstances have never allowed this to happen.  And—on the face of it, nothing’s likely to change anytime soon, so you might wonder why I even bother to keep it up there on my list.
Well, recently I met one of those ‘net friends, and we got to spend time together.  She came over to the UK from Australia with some friends and they all made time to fit in a visit with me.  We didn’t have much time together, but it is a wonderful experience I’ll never forget.  It proves to me that if you are open and let your wishes come to you, and don’t try to control them with expectations, anything can happen.  So… there are other ‘net friends I’d love to meet, and instead of assuming it’ll never happen; now I have given myself permission to hope and dream.

The first two wishes are book and writing related, the third is friendship related and in continuation so my next wish is about family. It is an odd wish because simultaneously to look forward I am also looking back.
There are times in life when you come up against identity.  Yours, that of the people around you, those you know, and think you know, and those you know about—like ancestors.
So my final bucket list wish is far more tenuous than anything else so far, and is for me and those I love to find that special place where everything melds together, and there is unconditional love.  I don’t need to have them around me 24/7 just to know they accept me for who, and what, I am, and that they also know I give that back.  Believe me this is the hardest wish of all, because I want something I sometimes struggle to give back.  *Unconditional* as a word is beyond powerful, and living up to it takes hard work, an open heart, and an ability to forgive.  None of which are easy.  Many of which are not wanted by the recipient of your endeavors.

To many these wishes may seem uninspiring, but you know, I am very fortunate, I have most of what I’ve ever strived for, and that leaves the *bigger* more nebulous ambitions ‘till last.  So I guess my wish list is going to keep me busy and fully occupied if I want to achieve everything on it before the bucket collapses :-)

BLURB “From Now Until Forever”:

For Prince Liam, families meant bad news, unwanted commitments, and the loss of his personal freedom.  Love spawned white picket fences, slippers at the hearth with a wife and kids making demands, so why did those images disappear when he met Melanie Babcot?

Melanie Babcot fought hard to escape the horrors of her youth and vowed to remain single and free, so when paid to protect Prince Liam from insurgents why did her personal pledge fly out the window?

Excerpt:
Liam Fitzwilliam Gasquet stared in amazement at the blooming patch of red milliseconds before the pain exploded in his arm. Some trigger-happy idiot had fired in his direction. Indignation didn’t have time to take root before another bullet kicked the dust at his feet.
Not ‘trigger-happy’.

Intentional.

The rebels had found the fourth and youngest son of Jean-Phillipe Gasquet, ruler of the tiny kingdom adjacent to the Swiss border. When had they discovered his whereabouts?

With a reluctant sigh, he faced the truth of it. They hadn’t ‘found’ him at all. They’d followed him.


BLURB “His Chosen Bride”:

Prince Henri Gasquet is happy to let his father, the king, choose his bride for him until he meets Monica Latimer.
 
Monica Latimer is not prepared to risk letting any man close enough to learn about her Gift. A gift that normally has men running for the hills when they find out about it.

Excerpt:
She lost track of time until the flames caught her attention once more. They flickered from orange to gold, to silver, to white.

A flurry of snowflakes masked the flames and for a second Monica watched the most beautiful, pristine snow-scene she’d ever seen. Her lips curved in longing. How she’d love to get a toboggan and slide down that slope. She knew where it was, and had done just that many times in her childhood, first with her parents and then, in clandestine manner, with her brother. Sneaking an old tin tray from the back of her mother’s walk-in pantry, she’d then grabbed Billy’s hand and they’d rushed out the back gate, heading for the lakeside track that led up into the hills.

Darkness, dense and thick with grief dropped over the scene.

Startled and disconcerted by the strength of emotion emanating from the vision Monica shifted to her knees, ready to stand, when a voice, a deep male voice, sharp with fear called out her name.

“Monica!”

She knew she’d never heard the voice before, and yet—it was as familiar to her as the image she saw in her mirror each morning.

“Help me, Monica.”

Author Bio:

Multi-published author, Sherry Gloag is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England.  She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs "thinking time" and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel.  While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.

Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office.  She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.




Buy Links for “From Now Until Forever”:



Buy Links for “His Chosen Bride”:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Guest: Patricia Yager Delagrange

Top 5 items on your bucket list:

Number one would have to be finding an agent to represent me and my books.  I started writing in 2009 and I know that it’s very, very difficult to find an agent to represent you right now.  Agents don’t want to take a chance on a new writer but would rather stick with a “tried and true” author who has an established fan base and has sold a ton of books.  But I will not stop sending out query letters and perhaps one day someone will trust my talent enough to offer me a contract.

Number two would be going on a vacation around Martha’s Vineyard.  For as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued by that area of the United States and I love reading stories that take place there.  I love the beach and have lived on the coast of California my entire life, except for the two years I lived in Corvallis, Oregon, while working for my Master’s degree at Oregon State University.  During those two years I could probably count on one hand how many days were not rainy and/or depressingly overcast.  Plus I felt claustrophobic living that far inland.  It was about thirty minutes to the coast and I felt too landlocked living in Corvallis.

Number three would be (maybe) parachuting out of an airplane.  I wanted to do this before I had kids.  Then I changed my mind because I didn’t want to take the chance of leaving them without a mother.  But now that they’re 18 and 13, maybe someday down the road I’ll try it.

Number four would be seeing how it would feel to take a horse over a few jumps.  I own a big, full-bodied almost-draft Friesian horse who would never jump a rail unless he thought a lion was going to eat him.  So, I probably couldn’t do it with my own horse.  But I’d love to see how it feels do jump over a rail on a horse.  I get a thrill every time I ride my horse Maximus.  Working with a 1,425-pound animal can be scary yet exciting at the same time.

Number five would be taking a slow, lazy ride on an old-fashioned paddlewheel boat down a river.  I don’t like boats that go on the ocean because the waves make me sick.  However, I think it might be fun to take a leisurely ride down the river on a boat powered solely by a paddlewheel.  I think they might have had one, or still have one, at Disneyland in Southern California that I took a ride on as a kid.  But I’m not sure if there are any left.

BLURB:

Following the death of their baby during a difficult birth, Brandy and Weston Chambers are grief-stricken and withdraw from each other, both seeking solace outside of their marriage; however, they vow to work through their painful disloyalty.  But when the man Brandy slept with moves back to their hometown, three lives are forever changed by his return..


EXCERPT

“What are you doing?  Where are you going?  Please, let’s talk about this.”

“I work my ass off in New York while you’re at home screwing other dudes?”

I pulled the sheet around me, ran over and grabbed his arm.  “I wasn’t screwing other dudes.”  He ripped his arm out of my grasp.  I was the one who was all screwed up.  Then you went to New York and all we ever did was argue on the phone.  You don’t tell your secretary you’re married and she treats me like crap on the phone...”

By now, he was fully dressed, shoes and jacket on, wallet grabbed off the bureau.  His hand hovered above the door knob.  His face looked void of emotion, wiped clean of all expression.  “I can’t do this,” he mumbled.

I sobbed, knowing I’d hurt him and betrayed his trust.  I felt like a slut.  “I’m sorry.  I made a mistake.  But I love you.”

He stood near the door, shaking his head, tears dripping from his chin.

My legs shook.  My stomach cramped.  I had to make him understand.  “I know I’ve hurt you and that wasn’t my intention, but I wasn’t thinking straight.  I’ll regret it forever.  You don’t deserve this but I’m asking you to forgive me.”

His eyes swam with tears and his chin quivered.  His Adam’s apple twitched up and down as he swallowed.  “I had sex with Carol Smith.”

About the Author

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I attended St. Mary’s College, studied my junior year at the University of Madrid, received my B.A. in Spanish at UC Santa Barbara then went on to get my Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University.  I live with my husband and two teenage children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with our two very large chocolate labs, Annabella and her son Jack.

My horse lives in the Oakland hills in a stall with a million dollar view.




Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Musings

Contemporary thriller? Historical paranormal?

Those are the questions I have this week as I attempt to construct a new story. Trilogy really. Shorts, 25,000-30,000 words.The questions is...thriller or paranormal...contemporary or historical?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Guest: Linda Juliano

I have a lot of dream vacations, actually, but at the top of the list would be a trip to the Amalfi Coast (preferably with my husband, no kids, pure romance). I adore family vacations, but some types of vacations are better as romantic getaways. I confess the last romantic vacation I took alone with my husband was on our 10th wedding anniversary. That was eight years ago! That may help to explain why, of all the world, a “romantic vacation” is at the top of my list. Plus, I’m a diehard romantic through and through.


Why Italy? My husband’s family (both maternal and paternal) is from Italy, so that’s one draw to the country. I’d love to visit the small towns his family (both sides) originates from in both middle Italy and very Northern Italy. We’ve been to Rome and Venice, but I’d like to see more of Italy, more of its romantic destinations. And I’m sure most of you would agree that romantic destinations abound in Italy.

Another, almost silly reason for choosing the Amalfi Coast, is that years ago we purchased a large lithograph of the Amalfi, and whenever I stop and gaze at it I think how much I’d love to climb inside the picture, into its sunny warmth, dazzling blue sky and breathtaking expanse of endless, azure waters.

Sure, visiting the countries of my own family origins would be great (I’ve already hit two, England and France), but as I’m a “mutt” (a mix of Swedish, Norwegian, French, English, and even American Indian); I’m fascinated by people with only one “ethnicity” or country of origin. So, I’ve developed a fascination with my husband’s. I’ll get to “my own countries” one day, but if we are talking “dream vacation”, the Amalfi coast is definitely at the top of my list. And truth be told, cliché or not, Greece isn’t far behind!


BLURB:

Soon after Josie Gianni moves to Cadence Beach, Oregon, she’s immediately thrust into a strange and chilling interplay with a demented stalker who believes the soul of the wife he murdered has returned through Josie.

Fueled by jealousy and fear of betrayal, the stalker's intentions grow increasingly dangerous when Josie falls for Gordon Forrester, the aloof, attractive owner of the local bookstore.

Will Josie's wit and Gordon's love save her, or will Josie fall victim to the madman's destructive behavior as he attempts to reclaim his wife's soul?



EXCERPT

Allan released his wife’s neck and sealed her swollen, blue mouth with a kiss. “Not even in death shall we part,” he whispered against her wet cheek before rising to dress slowly, methodically.

Like a photographer adjusting his model, he fanned Suzanne’s long, dark hair across the pillow. He pressed her legs together and gently arranged her arms by her sides then sat in the chair by the window and waited for darkness to fall.

At midnight, he scooped Suzanne carefully into his arms and carried her to their back yard where he’d often found her on her knees, lovingly tending the plants. He lowered her into the hole he’d dug earlier beneath the maple tree.

“Goodnight, my love,” he whispered, shoveling dirt over her naked body. “I’ll be seeing you.”

He pulled out 15 of the yellow daffodils Suzanne had planted along the edge of the yard and replanted them in three rows of five in the mound of soil that concealed his wife.

About the Author:

I spent the first 24 years of my life living in a suburb of Portland, Oregon until I was offered a job with United Airlines that took me to San Francisco, CA where I subsequently met my husband and accepted San Francisco as my new home. As strikingly different as Oregon and California (San Francisco, particularly) are from one another, I have a great deal of love for them both.

After the first of my two children was born, I left my job with the airline to become a full-time mother (what an adventure!). When both children were well into school, I began my pursuit of a writing career, following my lifetime love of the craft. I’ve done some children’s stories and several poems, three of which have been entered into a poetry anthology, but found my place as a novelist despite my initial fears and reservations about taking on such a demanding form of writing.

Like most writers (or any artists, really), I’m happiest when I’m engaged with my craft, and for me that means constantly tapping in to the endless supply of story ideas roaming the corridors of my mind.

Every day is a journey with writing (as with life), and with each bit of knowledge I gain, I feel a growing sense of strength and accomplishment. Perusing this as a career is not an easy road, but one of my favorite quotes (from Hebrews 11:1) helps to ease some of the angst. “Faith is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead”.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

This day in history: Earthquake and Port Royal

Pirate lover? Yeah, me too. Then you know all about this, but here's a bit anyway from The History Channel.

Earthquake destroys Jamaican pirate haven


On this day in 1692, a massive earthquake devastates the infamous town of Port Royal in Jamaica, killing thousands. The strong tremors, soil liquefaction and a tsunami brought on by the earthquake combined to destroy the entire town.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

National Geographic pictures

I was looking at the Your Pictures section of the National Geographic site, which is pretty awesome, and decided to share some of The Best of April photos. My guess is that the theme was water (except for that space photo). And if you ever get the chance to see the museum in D.C, I highly recommend it.





Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Guest: Lauren Clark

Stranger in a Strange Land by Lauren Clark

I moved to the Deep South twelve years ago after living on the East Coast for most of my life. When people talk about culture shock, I really know what they mean!

A month into living in Alabama, I began a new job at a television station in Dothan (WTVY-News 4) working the early morning shift (2 am – 10 am). I was the morning anchor, and try as I could, I still managed to botch words like “Choctawhatchee” and confuse mascots for Auburn and Alabama college football (Tiger and Elephant, BTW).

Joe, the man who directed the morning show, would chortle into my earpiece and Oscar Fann, my co-host and meteorologist would tease me relentlessly about being a Yankee!

One of the funniest experiences I can remember about that first month was running to grab lunch for my news director. I was headed to Subway, and my boss requested a chicken sandwich with “baked glaze.” I paused, as I had never heard of “baked glaze,” so I repeated it back to be certain. A bit annoyed at this point, he huffed his confirmation and sent me on my way. Ten minutes later, standing in line at Subway, I realized that he was asking for “Baked Lays” potato chips. Sigh. I did return with the Baked Lays, by the way.

Since that time, I’ve embraced all that is the Deep South. I've been to "meat and threes," a restaurant that serves an "entree of the day" like pork or beef, then adds 3 vegetables. I understand that when someone says "mash the button" they mean "press it." If a person says he wants to "carry you" to the store, it means "drive you there in a car." I no longer wonder why, on country road, would a stranger behind the wheel of a pick-up wave as you pass going the other direction. My second son was born in Alabama. Every bit the Southern boy, he spouts phrases like “I’m fixin’ to go to my friend’s house,” or “Where y’all going?” and talks about quail hunting and biscuits for breakfast.

Living in the Deep South is not perfect. It is 100 degrees in the shade mid-August, I have found lizards in the laundry (once or twice), and if you're not careful where you step, you might land on a bed of fire ants. They bite and your feet get yucky, puffy welts! I do miss snow at Christmas and the cool breezes on a summer evening. I miss my family. I miss the change of seasons and the brilliant autumn leaves.

But nothing can replace the Spanish moss hanging from the Live Oak Trees or the sound of children playing on the sidewalk outside our 100-year old home. Nothing can replace a neighbor offering to sit with you on your front porch when you’ve had a bad day. Nothing can replace the smell of honeysuckle on the vine in the spring.

For a while, I was a stranger in a strange land. But embracing change and cultural differences is something I truly believe in. My life is richer and fuller because of it. The South is home now and I love it!

BLURB:


Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?

EXCERPT

I’m a travel writer at Getaways magazine. Paid for the glorious task of gathering up fascinating snippets of culture and piecing them into quirky little stories. Jet-setting to the Riviera, exploring the Great Barrier Reef, basking on Bermuda beaches. It’s as glamorous and exhilarating as I imagined.

Okay, it is a tad lonely, from time to time.

And quite exhausting.

Which is precisely why I have to get organized.

Today.

I sink into my chair and try to concentrate. What to tackle first? Think, think.

“Julia Sullivan!”

Third reminder. Uh-oh.

Marietta rolls her eyes and jerks a thumb toward the inevitable. “Guess you better walk the plank,” she teases. “New guy’s waiting. Haven’t met him yet, but I’ve heard he’s the ‘take no prisoners’ sort. Hope you come back alive.”

I grope for something witty and casual to say, but all of a sudden, my head feels light and hollow.

I’ve been dying to find out about the new editor.

Every last gory detail.

Until now.

“I’m still in another time zone,” I offer up to Marietta with a weak smile. My insides toss from side to side as I slide out of my chair.

Marietta tosses me a wry look. “Nice try. Get going already, sport.”

I tilt my head toward the hallway and pretend to pout. When I look back, Marietta’s already disappeared. Smart girl.

“Fine, fine.” I tug a piece of rebellious auburn hair into place, smooth my wool suit, and begin to march toward the inevitable.

Our new editor.

My neck prickles.

I’m not going to worry. Not much anyway.

My pulse thuds.

Not going to worry about change. Or re-organization. Or pink slips.

Focus, Julia.



About the Author:
Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets.

A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends. Check out her website at http://www.laurenclarkbooks.com/.

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