Saturday, April 29, 2017

Luck of the Draw Sample Chapter! @BonnieEdwards & Lyssa Layne!

I’m sharing samples from the books in the “good fortune changes lives” box set Luck of the Draw. 
This set contains 13 wonderful, eclectic stories revolving around taking chances and winning!


Luck of the Draw is an Amazon exclusive that contains all new stories and will be released May 11. 

Today, I welcome Lyssa Layne with her Prologue from Baby, Maybe. Enjoy the read!

For a very limited time this set is selling for only 99c.

To pre-order your boxed set click here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XNXRZM8
Baby, Maybe

Lyssa Layne
Prologue

    “I want a divorce.”

    His sentence echoes through my mind on repeat with no pause button to push. He uttered those words five months ago but it’s still as clear as the first time he spoke them. It’s not that I disagree with ending our marriage, it was over almost before it began. I was never a priority, being outranked by his friends, hunting, paintball, or anything else that wasn’t me. We’d been living separate lives long before he spoke those four words that changed our entire lives. It was like we were distant roommates that were forced to spend holidays together.

    “Mommy! Turn up the radio, it’s Meghan Trainor!” The curly haired blonde three-year-old  shouts at me from the backseat.

    I smile and do as she dictated, not taking the time to remind her to use “please.” The Goldilocks behind me is the reason I’m distraught over my marriage ending. She’s the reason I’d planned on sucking it up for the next fifteen years so that I never lost a single second with her. I fought to get pregnant with her and I sure as hell am going to fight to keep her as much as possible.

    “Oh, Mommy, look! It’s your favorite tree!”

    To the right is a giant evergreen lit up with colorful strands of Christmas lights. ‘Tis the season for Christmas decorations and a welcomed distraction from the real world that haunts me every day. Aside from kissing my girl goodnight, this is one of the other highlights of my days lately. We drive down our street before the sun is up, heading to the babysitter’s house, and we call out to each other which lights are our favorite. Listening to her voice squeak with excitement always brings a smile to my face and I wish we could drive around all day looking at Christmas lights.

    Her favorite, yet highly inappropriate, Meghan Trainor song ends and the DJ begins to explain a contest they’re running where a lucky listener could win $50,000. I’m only half listening because I’m not lucky, then again, apparently there’s a lot of things I’m not. I’m not a good wife. I’m not a good listener. I’m not a good lover. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not, but I really am. Personally, I think I’m an awesome person. I’m funny, compassionate, caring, giving… just not to him and it’s his words that mean more to me than they should. It’s his words that make me feel like a failure, that make me wonder how I have a single friend in the entire world.

    “Hey, Mommy?”

    I glance in the rearview mirror. “Yes, baby?”

    “I love you.”

    Tears well in my eyes. I must be doing something right to get that. Not wanting to let my daughter see me cry, I force a smile to my face. It’s time to stop thinking about what I’m not. I need positivity in my life. I need something to make me feel good about myself. I need to spread the love because everyone has a cross to carry.

    “I love you, too, baby.”

    The moment is over as she shouts about three more houses we’re passing. The people inside those houses covered with bright lights have no idea how much they’ve impacted our lives or the number of smiles they’ve created. It’s time to pay it forward, it’s time to pimp some positivity.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lyssa Layne is first, and foremost, the proud momma to her precious daughter, AR. In addition to working full-time and being a mommy to AR, she is also an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, a runner, blogger, and an infertility survivor.
Having watched one too many medical dramas and being inspired by author Rachelle Ayala, who introduced her to the world of indie writing, Lyssa decided to try her hand at writing a romance story. Her attempt turned into the Burning Lovesick series. You can find Lyssa’s own interests throughout her stories although all stories are fictional.
Contact Her:
Website:     http://www.lyssalayne.com/


Friday, April 28, 2017

The Value of Using Writing Logs by Cheryl Bolen

For the past twenty years I've considered myself a full-time writer, and for over fifteen years I have been using a writing log. I designed the template long ago, and run off copies for each book I write. (I like calendars and logs in paper, but others do this electronically.)  Here's a blank one.

When setting daily goals or weekly goals, I used to estimate pages a day or pages a week. Now I'm setting my goals in words. For me, writing 1,000 words a day is pretty easy. So a weekly goal of 5,000 words is easily doable and gives me days off.When estimating my weekly goal I take into account scheduled visits to the doctor or to the beauty shop--and since my husband retired, I account for our frequent trips.

I try to set realistic yet challenging goals, and I have learned that I work best now by giving myself a weekly goal. Each writing week starts with Monday. If I reach my weekly goal before Friday, I give myself three days off from writing.

One of the tricks I use is estimating at the outset of a book how many writing weeks--and logs--I will need. Then I print exactly that amount of logs and staple them together. Out of the approximate 25 books I've logged, I have only miscalculated twice. The first time I miscalculated was with a novella I estimated I could write in three weeks. I printed off three logs. That's 21 writing days. I ought to be able to write a 20,000-word novella in three weeks. But I didn't. I had to run off another page. Then another one.

Because my mouse pad is to the right of my keyboard, my log sits to the left. Because I'm right handed, when I scribble page counts and word counts onto my log, my handwriting slants peculiarly. Here's a copy of a recent log when I exceeded my goal and gave myself three days off--and a gold star!

At the end of a book, I punch holes in the logs and file them in a large, three-ring notebook with its own divider with the book's title. That way I can go back for more than 15 years and see exactly how long it took to write a particular book.


The disheartening thing about comparing the logs on today's books to those written at the beginning of the millennium is that I used to be almost twice as productive. Of course there was no social media, and I wasn't on a fraction of the email loops I'm on today. Which makes me wonder which was best. . . Cheryl Bolen's next Regency release will be Miss Hastings' Excellent London Adventure, a Brazen Brides novel.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

RONE nomination for Unstoppable! @lcrandallwriter





"Romance, action, suspense, and a finale that makes the series complete all the way round ... sensual and alluring in its build and flow." --4 stars, Book Junkie Reads

Unstoppable, Book 5 in my Fierce Hearts series has been nominated for a RONE award. Yay! I couldn't be more excited and grateful. For me, the nomination is enough. Still, I would appreciate votes for my book if you feel so inclined. Visit  http://www.indtale.com/2017-rone-awards-week-four and vote. It's easy. You'll find Unstoppable under Short Paranormal in the fourth week of voting May 8 - 18.
Here's the book blurb and an excerpt.
Blurb:
Reeling from the recent Project Powering battle with the evil Nexus Group, were-lynx and veterinarian Lara Monroe struggles with thwarting the group's plans to eliminate her colony while dealing with her own traumatic past. Still, when her fellow colony cat - and secret crush - Booker Chase needs help, she's willing to use her special healing touch to help him survive his emotional hell.
A formidable were-lynx and a physician, Booker has his hands full helping patients who were seriously injured in the battle. But nothing can repair his soul, broken from the loss of his wife and the PTSD from his service in Afghanistan . . . or can it? Now that his good friend Lara is standing by him in his emotional struggles, he's finding there is more to their connection than he realized. But dare he open his heart?
In the epic conclusion of the Fierce Hearts series, the colony takes its biggest risk of all to shut down the Nexus Group forever - will Lara and Booker survive to take their second chance at love?
Excerpt:
Lara tuned out whatever Marcus was saying as he inserted the blade inside her mouth. She closed her eyes, focusing tightly on soothing the terrified little girl inside her that had quietly endured so much pain. She recited the phrase she’d used to take her out of her body in the times her uncle had molested her. Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you, God, for everything.
Her eyes flew open and searing pain hardened her grip on the sides of the bed as Marcus sliced into her gum tissue. The affirmative phrase left her thoughts as her mind screamed. Or was that her shrill shriek pouring out of her mouth?
“Stop it! Stop it!” Booker demanded, a low, menacing growl rolling from his throat. “I’m sorry, Lara. So sorry, babe.”
Marcus withdrew the scalpel, twirling it casually. Lara tasted blood on her tongue, oozing from the cut in her gums. Nausea swept through her.
Booker rocked in his chair. “Hang in there. Lara. I’m right here.”
Marcus snorted. “Not that you can help her. That is unless you tell me where I can find my son.” The tone of his voice was a sharp edge.
A steadying wave of Booker’s healing energy filled her. It calmed her frayed nerves enough that the panic robbing her breath lessened.
Marcus smirked again and bent over her, and another slice sent her mind thrashing for the words she’d memorized years ago. What is that damn phrase? Umm … Birdies sing, angels bring … oh hell. She glared at Marcus and hollered, long and loud.
Buy Link: http://a.co/6Uj8Ae2

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Luck of the Draw Sample by Jade Kerrion @Bonnie Edwards

I’m sharing samples from the books in the “good fortune changes lives” box set Luck of the Draw. This set contains 13 wonderful, eclectic stories revolving around taking chances and winning!



Luck of the Draw is an Amazon exclusive that contains all new stories and will be released May 11. For a very limited time this set is selling for only 99c.



Today I offer our sample comes from Jade Kerrion's story, Owned

CHAPTER ONE

A ring is round, has no end. That’s how long I’ll be your—

Marie Vargas’s mental voice cracked as she twisted the wedding band on her left hand. The lump filling her throat made it difficult to suck down her next breath of air. Jeez, I’m such a basket case.

Divorcing Phil was the right thing to do.

It didn’t mean it didn’t hurt.

The unsigned legal papers that would end her marriage were a leaden weight in her tote bag, dragging her down as she walked along the street toward her lawyer’s office in downtown Manhattan. Passersby jostled past her, obviously unwilling to put up with her less-than-brisk speed on a busy Monday morning.

They were crazy if they expected her to run with excitement toward the end of a relationship that had meant everything to her, even if it was the right thing to do. In a fit of rage spurred by the demons of a war he had survived and the restraining order she had taken out on him, he had shot her—he had missed—and then he had shot himself, and mostly missed.

Marie squeezed her eyes shut briefly, but the image of Phil, bleeding from the grazing wound on his head, slumped to the ground, had seared into her mind. She had screamed. Neighbors scurried out and called 911. One of them—old Mrs. Jones who lived in the next-door apartment—had wrapped her arms around Marie. “It’s going to be all right, dearie,” she had crooned. “You’re going to be all right.”

Mrs. Jones had lied.

Nothing was going to be all right again.

Marie swallowed hard.

To be fair, nothing had been all right for a while. Not since the attack in Afghanistan that killed many of Phil’s marine buddies and sent him home with invisible mental and emotional injuries far more scarring and damaging than physical ones. The Phil she had known—the funny, calm, patient man—had become short-tempered, then hostile, and finally violent.

He had hit her. Not once, but many times.

How long would she have put up with the abuse if he hadn’t shot at her?

Too long. Perhaps one time was already too much, but she loved him, and he had loved her; she was certain of that much.

What else would explain the horror she had seen in Phil’s eyes after he pulled the trigger? The bullet had pierced the brick wall, inches above her head, but he had stared at her. Their eyes met. Nothing came out of his lips, but she could almost hear him scream his denial. She had never seen as much pain in anyone’s eyes as she had in that moment before he turned the gun on himself.

Marie sniffled. Tears leaked out the side of her eyes. Oh, jeez. She had to pull herself together before seeing her lawyer.

She entered the little convenience store on the first floor of the high-rise office building and idly browsed through its shelves—mostly to steady herself—before walking over to the counter to pay for her small pack of gum. Her gaze fell on the garishly colored poster behind the attendant. She and Phil had a small collection of lottery tickets they bought to mark important occasions. They had never won anything, not even $2 from one of those scratch-off game tickets, but over the years, buying a lottery ticket was their equivalent of sending a card to celebrate the date.

Today was momentous, wasn’t it?

So why not? Marie set her jaw. “I’d like one of those tickets, please.”

She tapped the end of her pen against the counter. Six numbers. The most obvious ones—her birthday and Phil’s—came to mind, but at the last moment, she changed her selection to two other dates.
Dates that meant everything to her.

Dates that were about to mean nothing to her.

Marie paid for her purchases and tucked her lottery ticket in her wallet before heading toward the elevators that would take her to her lawyer’s firm. She was promptly ushered into Nicole Lefton’s office. With the steadiest smile she could muster, Marie sat across from Nicole and pulled the unsigned divorce papers out of her tote bag. “Got a pen?”
~*~
A week later, 1,500 miles away from Manhattan, Phil Casteen drew a deep breath as he stepped into the cottage—cabin, he corrected mentally. Cottage was hyperbole for what was a hut on the edge of a cluster of trees. The furniture in the living room looked to be at least a decade old, judging from the patterns on the cushion covers, but were in excellent condition. The refrigerator, microwave, and stove in the kitchenette were newish, and the dishwasher, according to his manager, had apparently just been installed the previous week.

“Looks decent enough, but it won’t win any awards from Architectural Digest,” a voice behind him said.

Phil turned around and found himself staring into the eyes of a man about his age, casually dressed in a white T-shirt and denim jeans.

The man extended his hand and offered a friendly smile. “Rio Loren. I’m the permanent inhabitant of Dawn Cottage.”

Phil had heard about the reclusive writer who had put down roots in Coastal Escapes, a laid-back but exclusive resort on the eastern side of Key West. “I’m Phil Casteen, the new caretaker.”

“Yeah, Sophia from the front desk said you were starting today. How’s your digs?”

“Looking pretty good.” Phil swept his hand across the living room. “Bigger than my Brooklyn apartment, that’s for sure.”

Rio held up a six-pack of beer. “Welcome to the neighborhood.”

“Thanks.” Phil accepted it. “I didn’t know resort guests brought around gifts for the staff. Are you gay or something?”

Rio burst out laughing, displaying white, straight teeth. “Wow, you New Yorkers don’t hold anything back. No, I’m straight, or at least I was the last time I checked.”

“When was that?”

“Last night, when I picked up a chick at Spotlights.”

“That’s the club on Flagler Avenue.”

Rio nodded. “I’ve got a running tab there. Maybe we could go check it out sometime.”
Phil made a snorting sound. “You always move this fast?”

“You’re the only male staff here at Coastal Escapes.”

“So?”

“Sometimes, I want some rational conversation, and the girls at the front desk or in housekeeping aren’t the ones to provide it. Besides, I’ve been a guest for so long, I’m practically part of the crew.”

“Except you don’t do any work.”

“Work’s overrated.” Rio grinned again. He mimed typing on a keyboard. “I do plenty of work, just nothing that breaks a sweat.”

“Well, would be a shame to waste ice-cold beer, so why not?” Phil handed Rio a can and took another for himself. Both men strode out of the cottage to stand on the sand-blown porch. “Not much of a sunset.” Phil observed the darkening sky.

“We’re on the wrong side of the island for that,” Rio pointed out. “The sunrise is pretty amazing, though you’ll have to wake up for it.”

“I’ll probably be up and about pretty early,” Phil said. “Got to get some yardwork in before the day gets stupid hot.”
“Don’t sound so excited.”

Phil snorted. “What’s there to get excited about? The sand gets everywhere.”
“Not much of a beach bum, are you?”

Phil shook his head. The beach—Key West, in particular—had been more of Marie’s thing. What am I doing here?

He knew exactly why he was here—where he had never wanted to be. It came down to the sealed envelope his lawyer had handed to him before he boarded the plane. His divorce papers, signed and finalized. It was a done deal. His marriage was over. Marie would have her fresh start and he had his, here, in Key West, where she had wanted to be, where he could hold on to that part of her that still dreamed happy dreams.

It was the only way he could still be close to her.

Marie would have loved it—the endless sounds of waves and overlapping harmonics of the seagull cries, the salty breeze in her face, the wind tugging at her hair. He could almost see her smile, soft and sweet, the subtle curve of her lips infused with love.

Pain twisted in his chest.

Yes, she was here, in spirit.

It was nothing like having the real her—the girl he had loved since he was a boy—but it was the safest way, the only way. He couldn’t risk hurting her again. He loved her too much for that.
Sometimes, love separates instead of brings together—and it’s the right thing.

Phil’s mouth twisted into frown. He needed counseling, partly for his own long-term sanity, but mostly because he owed it to Marie. Psychiatrists abounded in New York City like grass in Central Park, but here in Key West— He snorted and wondered if he could trust the man, his new neighbor, who had come bearing beer and wearing a smile. “You know of any good therapists around here?”

“Physical therapists?” Rio asked.

Phil’s frown turned into a smirk. So, Rio had noticed his now-awkward movements. The bullet he had aimed into his skull hadn’t killed him as he had intended, but it had slurred his speech and saddled him with permanent nerve damage and the occasional tremor in his limbs. He needed physical therapy too, but it was out of his budget. Paying Marie’s alimony didn’t leave him with much. He’d have to make a choice on what kind of help to get. “No, not physical therapist. I meant counselors.”

“What kind?”

The kind that could teach him how to get a grip on his nightmares and memories. The kind that could show him how to control the powerful urge to strike out at the ones around him, especially the ones who loved him most—those who still looked at him as if he were a great hero instead of a broken soldier.

He couldn’t live up to what Marie wanted him to be. He couldn’t deal with the expectations, the pressure. Couldn’t deal with life.

Phil stared down at his fisted hands and then looked up. Rio was watching him without any apparent concern or fear. Phil drew a deep breath. He needed help. He needed to start somewhere, and why not here—with someone who had reached out in friendship and who hadn’t yet run away.
The story tumbled out, bits and pieces of it—the war that invisibly scarred him, the PTSD that turned him violent, the eventual divorce. Phil couldn’t bring himself to say Marie’s name, not yet. It lodged in his throat like a fish bone turned sideways.

Rio listened in silence before speaking, his tone as relaxed as if he were talking about local restaurants “I know of at least one—Dr. Biles—and I’m sure there are others. I’ll ask around and let you know. There are lots of other support groups in the area, although I haven’t heard of any specifically for war veterans. Most people just hang out at the local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter. They’ve turned into a catch-all for people who need emotional support and tough love.”

Phil nodded and took a slow sip from the bottle of beer. Emotional support and tough love. Just what I need. It won’t bring Marie back, but she deserved far better than she got. I owe it to her to be the hero she sent off to war, not the asshole who came back, even if there’s nothing left for me to come back to.
~*~
Six weeks later, Marie sat in another lawyer’s office, much like Nicole’s, but on the other side of the oak table was a heavyset man with jowls like a bulldog. He turned the page of the legal document on the table and pointed in three places. “Initial here and here, then sign here to acknowledge you’ve received the check.”

Her heart pounding rapidly, Marie scribbled her initials and then signed her name.

“Congratulations,” the man said in a monotone more suited for a funeral as he slid a check across the table.

She stared at the numbers on the check, scarcely believing the number of the digits printed on it. The lottery ticket she had purchased to commemorate the end of her marriage had turned into a million dollars—well, seven hundred thousand dollars and change, since she had opted for the amount up front instead of over thirty years. Regardless, it was far more money than she had ever had at once, ten times her annual pre-tax salary as a teacher.

Later that day, she sipped iced coffee at a cafĂ©, across from Nicole, who was not just Marie’s lawyer but also a pivotal friend through the eventual collapse of Marie’s marriage. “What are you going to do with all that money?” Nicole asked.

“Well, after the tax men take their share—” Marie wrinkled her nose. “—what’s left is going to bolster up my shaky savings account.”

“Really? That’s it? You’re not even going to give yourself a special treat to celebrate?”

Marie winked wickedly. “Well, I’ll buy drinks this time around.”

Nicole laughed and raised her glass of iced coffee to Marie. “Big spender.”

“But you’re right. I should do something for myself.”

“You’ve earned it.”

Marie nodded. Most days, it was a struggle holding her head upright and keeping her back straight. The stress knotted in her neck and shoulders were literally bowing her over, wrecking her posture and appetite in the bargain. She had lost ten pounds since her divorce, and not intentionally.

The divorce shouldn’t have affected her as badly as it did. Phil had moved out months earlier while their divorce was being finalized. It wasn’t as if the physical change had been jarring. Yet the emotional change from “separated” to “divorced”—Marie bit down on her lip. She hadn’t been prepared despite all the books she had read and websites she had browsed for advice on how to go about her newly single life.

“I could use a good holiday.” Marie stirred her iced coffee with a straw. “Though it’ll have to wait until the summer.” She wrinkled her nose again, a bad habit she had been trying to break for years. “Can I wait that long, or will I lose my sanity in the eight months between now and summer?”

Nicole chuckled. “How is work?”

“It keeps me busy.” Marie managed a weak smile. “I took on extra responsibilities, including after-school tutoring. It helps.”

Nicole nodded. Her gaze was sympathetic, and Marie knew she did not have to explain further. Keeping busy was the most important thing now; it kept her from thinking too hard or feeling too much the emptiness of her home and of her life.

Nicole reached for Marie’s hand and squeezed gently. “It’s going to get better.”

Marie nodded. “I know. It takes time, like everything else.” She forced gaiety into her smile. “It takes time to plan a fabulous vacation too.”

“Where are you going to go?”

She thought for a minute. There was one place she had always wanted to visit, but Phil had never been keen on it. My fresh start. I’ll go on my own, and by then, eight months from now, I’ll be ready. Marie grinned at Nicole across the table. “I want a beach vacation. A summer fling. I’m going to Key West.”



What readers are saying about Jade’s books:
“…I wish I could award more than 5 stars”–Hillel Kaminsky, Amazon Reviewer
“…This is the kind of series you’d expect to see with a movie deal.”–Full Time Reader, Amazon 

JADE KERRION defied (or leveraged, depending on your point of view) her undergraduate degrees in Biology and Philosophy, as well as her MBA, to embark on her second (and concurrent) career as an award-winning science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance author.


Her debut novel, PERFECTION UNLEASHED, won six literary awards and launched her best-selling futuristic thriller series, DOUBLE HELIX, which blends cutting-edge genetic engineering and high-octane action with an unforgettable romance between an alpha empath and an assassin.

LIFE SHOCKS ROMANCES features Jade’s sweet and sexy contemporary romance series, which proves that, at the very least, she knows how to alphabetize books.

Jade writes at 3 a.m., when her husband and three sons are asleep, and aspires to make her readers as sleep-deprived as she is. www.jadekerrion.com



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Luck of the Draw - Sample Prologue! @BonnieEdwards


I’m sharing samples from the books in the “good fortune changes lives” box set Luck of the Draw. This set contains 13 wonderful, eclectic stories revolving around taking chances and winning!

Luck of the Draw is an Amazon exclusive that contains all new stories and will be released May 11. For a very limited time this set is selling for only 99c.

Luck of the Draw  can be pre-ordered here:


Today I offer up the Prologue to Michele Shriver’s Fade Into Love…set in the fascinating world of movie-making and Hollywood. Enjoy!



Fade into Love
by Michele Shriver

PROLOGUE


Wren Morrow’s fingers flew across the keyboard of her laptop computer. She’d never typed this fast before, never needed to. Never wanted to when she was only taking notes in class. But this was far more important than anything she’d learned in three and a half years of college.
“Are you almost ready?” Her roommate, Kristen, asked from the doorway of their dorm room. “I don’t want to be late for class.”
“Almost. Give me a second.” Wren didn’t look up from the screen. Kristen worried too much about being late. It wasn’t as if they had an exam. No, it was just another boring lecture on Medieval History. The whole semester so far was a never-ending string of boring lectures. Thank goodness she only had another year left after this one. Wren contemplated changing majors, but that would put her further behind, and she didn’t want to delay graduation. Besides, she had no idea what major she’d switch to. No matter what it was, it would probably be just as useless as History, anyway. Weren’t they all?
Everyone told her to go to college, get an education, earn a degree. Fine. That’s what she did, because it’s what was expected, but there were days when Wren wondered why. Would there be any good jobs available to her when she did graduate, or was she working toward a degree that would only end up being useless? It sure seemed like it sometimes.
She gave one last read-through to the information on the screen, making sure everything was the way she wanted it, then hit the ‘submit’ button. There. Done. Her fate was in someone else’s hands now. Wren never considered herself to be the lucky type. That last thing she recalled winning was a stuffed frog, who’d since lost an arm, at a street carnival back in seventh grade. Even that didn’t come easily. It took ten tries to pop a balloon with a dart, because her aim sucked. The frog was cute, though, up until he lost a limb.
No, Wren wasn’t the lucky sort, and she had no expectations of winning this sweepstakes prize. None at all. But she had nothing to lose by trying. “There. Done.” She slammed her MacBook shut before shoving it into her bag. “And we’ll still be on time.”
“Maybe,” Kristen said, “if we run. At least it’s not snowing. What were you doing that was so important, anyway?”
“Entering a contest.” Wren swung her backpack over her shoulder and pulled the door of their room shut behind them.
“What? Like the lottery?” Kristen asked as they walked. “You realize no one ever wins those things, right?”
Wren couldn’t contain her eye roll. Why did people always say that? “Of course they do. I know the odds aren’t great, but people do win,” she said. “Besides, this isn’t a lottery. It’s a sweepstakes. There’s a difference. A lottery ticket would’ve cost me money. This didn’t cost me anything to enter.”
“Fine. Sweepstakes,” Kristen said. “What kind of sweepstakes? What are you not going to win?”
Wren zipped up her coat as they got outside. It might not be snowing, but it was Iowa in late January, and that meant bitter cold. “You should have more faith. I might win,” she insisted.  “It’s a trip to Hollywood to visit the set of Jake Morrison’s new movie, and have a walk-on role.” There was also a two thousand dollar cash prize, and Rodeo Drive shopping spree, but Wren was less concerned about that. Sure, it would be nice to have some spending money while she was in California, but she was far more interested in seeing the movie set, and hopefully meeting her favorite celebrity.
“Oh, jeez. I should’ve known,” Kristen said. “You’re so infatuated with him.”
“No, I’m not,” Wren said. Yes, Jake’s pictures might be hanging all over their dorm room, but Wren didn’t consider herself star struck. It wasn’t as if she spent her days fantasizing about marrying Jake. She knew he was married, and had a daughter, too. What was wrong with admiring his work, though? Especially since they shared the same hometown. After all, there weren’t too many people from Waterloo, Iowa, who made it big in Hollywood. “I’ve never been to Los Angeles, and this would give me the chance to visit, and meet my favorite actor, too.”
“Sure, whatever.” Wren could tell from Kristen’s tone that her roommate was skeptical, and she didn’t blame her. The odds of winning were definitely not in Wren’s favor. There was no harm in entering, though. “What’s the movie, anyway?” Kristen asked.
“It’s called The Exchange. It’s a Psychological thriller that starts shooting in July,” Wren explained. “Reece White is directing, so it has to be good.” He directed Wren’s favorite movie, Border Cowboys, that Jake also starred in, four years before. It won Best Picture and Outstanding Director, and earned Jake a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor, even though he hadn’t won. “Maybe this time, Jake will finally get his Oscar.”
“Hmm. Maybe.” They reached the lecture hall and went in, taking their usual seats toward the back of the room. “That’d be cool if he did,” Kristen said. “It’d be neat if you won the sweepstakes, too, but I’m not holding my breath.”
“Me neither.” Wren took her MacBook out of her bag. “But I can at least cross my fingers and hope for the best. Wouldn’t it be fun to visit Hollywood this summer?” she asked. “I did mention it was a trip for two, right? With a shopping trip?”
“No, you didn’t,” Kristen said, “but in that case, I’ll cross my fingers for you, too. I’d love to see Rodeo Drive.”
“I thought so.” Wren chuckled. It was something to hope for, anyway, while she was stuck in another boring lecture.

Michele Shriver is a National and International best-selling author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. Michele counts among her favorite things a good glass of wine, a hockey game, and a sweet and sexy book boyfriend, not necessarily in that order.





Friday, April 21, 2017

Bonnie Edwards & the Lucky 7 @JoanReeves #GemsInAttic

I'm so happy Bonnie Edwards has decided to reveal all in today's Lucky 7 Interview.

The Scoop

Multi-published author Bonnie Edwards lives with her husband and pets on the rainy coast of British Columbia.

She believes life should be lived with joy and humour. You can find both in her earthy, irreverent, love stories.

Sometimes her stories have a paranormal twist, likes curses and ghosts, other times not. But they’re always entertaining and guarantee a happy ending.

With 3 ongoing romance series (steamy paranormal, sexy contemporary and heartwarming Christmas) and contemporary family novels, she rarely spends a day without writing. She has written novels, novellas and short stories for Kensington Books, Harlequin Books, Carina Press, and Robinson (UK).

Bonnie is now an indie publisher of her work so you can look forward to more exciting releases throughout 2017 and 2018. For more info and sample chapters, visit Bonnie's website. sign up for Bonnie's Newsletter for the latest on her new releases.

Find Bonnie Online

Website * Amazon Author Page * Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest * Goodreads.

One of Bonnie's latest books is A Breath Taken. Here's a blurb to whet your appetite.

In the 5th Tales of Perdition, the spirits are up to mischief again, but this time lives are at stake. . .

Blue McCann wants a second chance to live. Drawn into a vintage clothing shop, she tries on an antique corset…and wakes up in 1913 in another woman’s body.

Dr. Colt Stephens is attracted to a woman he met in Perdition House. Unfortunately, he made the wrong assumption about her role in the exclusive “gentleman’s retreat.” By saving her life, he’s finally in her good graces and her bed. She’s everything he’s ever wanted…even if she’s not the woman he thinks she is.

Will Blue McCann stay in this life or will she return to the present where death awaits?

Universal Buy Link for A Breath Taken.

Bonnie Edwards and the Lucky 7

1. When you were 18, what did you want to do with your life?
At 18, I wanted what all working class kids wanted: a job that paid the bills so I could move out and be independent. (I was out at 19 and had a mortgage and a marriage at 21.)

2. When you hit 40, what did you want most in life?
At 40 I wanted to sell my first book. The drive to do that was overwhelming. The WAY to do it was to keep writing and studying craft. It took a couple more years. (I never give up my dreams.)

3. What is a character name you have always wanted to use but haven't?
I've wanted to use family names on occasion but haven't and won't. If I wrote historical fiction, I could mine my ancestors' names...they had some great biblical names.

4. What genre would you like to try but haven't?
I don't really want to write any other genre. Even if I attempted a mystery or thriller, I'd have a romance in it. I'm a committed romance author...through and through.

5. Let's go to fantasy land. If time, distance, and other conditions of reality were no problem, where would you go for dinner tonight and with whom?
I think having a cozy chat with Queen Victoria would be wonderful. I'd love to ask about how she managed to wend her way through the men and politics of her life and still be in a happy marriage. (It's said hers was a love match and that her only regret was not giving him more children -- they had NINE!)

6. Still in fantasy land, in the book shown above, who would you cast as the heroine and hero to star in the movie version of the book?
For A Breath Taken (Tales of Perdition 5) I'm not sure who I'd like cast to play the lead roles. I believe I'm rare in this admission: I do not ever SEE my heroes or heroines in a visual way. I never use photos for inspiration. Instead of seeing my characters, I FEEL them. So, given that I'd want my heroine to be played by someone who could be both weak and defeated in the present...but smart and strong in the past. (especially smart!) My hero would have to be erudite and decisive (while thoroughly confused by my time traveling heroine.)

7. Last question before we leave fantasy land. When the movie based on your book wins the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, what will you wear to the Oscars?
My dress for my night at the Oscars? Red sparkly crystals sown onto a form-fitting sheathe on my twenty-years-old body. Back then I could have done it...even without Spanx.

Thanks, Bonnie, for allowing me to interview you. (Like you, I long for my 20-year-old body!)

Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of sassy, sexy Contemporary Romance. She lives her Happily Ever After with her Hero, her husband, in a book-cluttered home in Texas.

Readers, sign up for WordPlay, Joan's mailing list/free NL, for giveaway alerts and new book news and receive a free ebook. Writers, sign up for Writing Hacks for tips to help with your writing business--and also receive a free ebook.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I will dwell... @Liz Flaherty

My husband and I have been asking each other questions. Well, in truth, I ask more of them than he does because the whole idea of deep conversation is pretty much annoying to him, but it's something I hunger for. So, I ask questions, we both answer them, and sometimes discussion happens. (Sometimes not, too, but you can't win all the the time.)

So last night I asked him what his favorite things and his least favorite things were about both of us. We talked about things, did some laughing--and some not laughing--and went on playing Farkle.

The whole conversation gave me an idea, and I wondered if anyone had done this. (Most of my brilliant ideas are only brilliant because they never occurred to me before.) Duane's least favorite thing about me is that I dwell on things. I don't let them go until they've twisted me--and sometimes him--into more turmoil than the issue I'm dwelling on deserves.

He is horrifyingly accurate.

So, the idea is to build protagonists around a single no good, very bad point. A heroine who dwells on things. A hero who never listens. Etc. Not that those would be the only personality points, of course, but they would be the ones that created the internal--or even the external--conflict.

When I write, I don't dig very deep into the process. I write the beginning, middle, and end, and hope I've come up with a conflict somewhere in there--I hate conflict. But, if I just used that one point...

Is this what people do who pay attention to the process? An interesting thought, isn't it?

Since I always dwell on things, naturally enough this morning I've been dwelling on...yes, dwelling. Someone smarter than me said you can't fix things that have already happened, so I'm going to work on that.

Except maybe my next heroine will dwell on things, and...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Luck of the Draw Sample Chapters - MINE! - @BonnieEdwards

I’m sharing first chapters from the books in the “good fortune changes lives” box set Luck of the Draw. This set contains 13 wonderful, eclectic stories revolving around taking chances and winning!
Luck of the Draw is an Amazon exclusive that contains all new stories and will be released May 11. 

For a very limited time this set is selling for only 99c .Luck of the Draw Pre-Order



This is my first chapter of Whole Lot O’ Love. I hope you enjoy it enough to click on this link and pre-order the set. 




Whole Lot O’ Love
The Brantons Book 3
By
Bonnie Edwards


Chapter 1

Life had a lot of peculiar twists in it for the Branton clan. Cousin Tyce married an heiress who turned out to be his first love, but their other cousin Teri Branton was ditched at the altar and married a stranger within weeks.

Yes, Ashlee decided, the Brantons were given different, unusual paths to walk, and now Ashlee had one, too. Considering she was only twenty-three, she’d already been handed some doozies. A teenage pregnancy made her run off alone to take on single motherhood. After a short stint in school, she’d landed a decent job that paid the bills if not much more. Lost that job and started waitressing at a diner and lived broke—very broke.

And now this. The biggest, weirdest twist she could imagine.

She stretched out on the bed, propped her head on her hand and stared at her lottery ticket again. The numbers blurred on the strip of paper as she blinked through tears. Fearful she somehow had the numbers jumbled, she checked the screen of her phone again. Not jumbled. There they were; her birthday, Cory’s birthday, and Tommy’s.

She fisted a hand into her mouth to stop a shout of triumph? Fear? Excitement? With Cory asleep on his side of the bed, she had to be quiet. No shrieking, no giggling, no wild crazy joy. Her son would be cranky if he didn’t get a full night’s sleep.

Tracing the numbers on the ticket with a fingertip, she checked the screen on her phone again. She’d used Tommy’s birthdate out of habit, though they’d broken up last week.

The shakes began when she formed the amount in her mind. Half a million dollars. Half a million.

Five hundred thousand. Dollars. Real dollars.

Okay, that part had to be wrong. Luck like this didn’t happen to people like her. People from the La La Land Trailer Park did not win big. Not in the money department.

Except her cousins Tyce and Teri had won the game of love. And Tyce’s wife, Lisa, had inherited a ton from her husband, so in a way Tyce and Lisa had won in the money game.
Why couldn’t Ashlee win money? Maybe it was her turn.

Tommy, that’s why. He’d want half, if not more. But Tommy was gone, wasn’t he? He’d walked out of their lives a week ago because she wouldn’t let him move in. But she had Cory to consider and he’d never understood that.

He didn’t get that being with him for six months wasn’t long enough to take a chance. Not with Cory. And she hated the idea of living with a man just for the shared rent. That path led straight downhill to dependence and no way would she get talked into being dependent on a man. She’d been stuck there too often as a kid.

She was better off without Tommy, even if it meant she and Cory had to stay in this crappy motel until one of her job prospects panned out. She was an experienced administrative assistant and soon she’d leave the diner behind.

Soon, meaning first thing in the morning. She didn’t have to wait for a new job.
Because life had just taken another strange turn.

And she and Cory had to get the hell out of town. She’d walked away from her life before and she could do it now.
~ ~ ~
At seven a.m. she showed up at work to get what pay Luis owed her. He cursed her out when he learned she was leaving him short a server. “I can do the breakfast rush. Sue-Ellen needs the help. But I’ll be gone right afterward.” Luis snorted his acceptance and got back to the griddle.

Cory waited silently behind her. He knew something big had happened and he seemed scared. No wonder, she’d had all their belongings packed and stowed in a corner when he’d woken.

It wasn’t until she’d seen his worried face that she realized she could leave everything but their clothes and his toys behind. She gave him a coloring book and crayons out of his pack and set him up at a stool at the counter.

Two hours later, Cory was bored, well fed and ready to leave. So was she.

Sue-Ellen called her over after Luis headed into his shoebox of an office to get her pay. “Is Tommy hurting you? Did he come back and do something?”

“No, Tommy’s gone for good,” she said and shook her head for emphasis, “but he’s not a bad guy and he’d never hurt me or Cory.” She smiled at Sue-Ellen. Behind them she heard Luis grumbling about undependable people. The sound of his shuffling feet drew close.

“I have family stuff to see to and I have to leave right away.” They hugged and Ashlee took her pay from her boss and left the diner for the last time. She held Cory’s hand and gave it an affectionate squeeze. “I’ll never have to sling burgers again.”

He smiled up at her. “Good. I didn’t like that job. I liked your old one. Are you going back there?”

“No, sweetie, I’m not. We’re going to live better than that motel, though. I promise.”

“Okay.”

If she were wearing a hat, she’d toss it in the air and twirl. Here she was, Ashlee Branton, single mom from the La La Land Trailer Park, completely free to do whatever she wanted when she wanted. She picked Cory up in her arms and swung him in a circle. “We’re moving away, Cory, and we’ll be happier than ever before, you’ll see.”

She staggered under his weight. He giggled, as he was meant to. “When did you get this big?” She dragged in a breath and set him down.

 “When you feeded me.” Their private joke made her laugh. “I’m five, Momma, not a baby,” he explained as if she needed to learn something important. She supposed their joke had grown old for Cory.

“So you are.” She held his hand to cross the street for the bus stop. Cory’s mittens were sodden from rain. February in Tacoma could be wet and miserable. Maybe they should go somewhere warmer instead of home to Bellingham. But Cory should have the benefit of more family, and she missed her mom and her cousins.

The bus arrived and she and Cory climbed on. She pulled his mittens off and warmed his hands in hers. She needed the anonymity of the bus, so she’d left her car behind the diner. Heading to the state lottery office to collect her win, she wanted her privacy. She did her mental checklist again.

Her lottery ticket was signed, her identification up to date, and she had a void check folded neatly in her wallet. Since she’d never actually used a check before, her mom had told her how to fill it out correctly. Unsure what to expect once she got to the office, her nerves jangled at the thought of her picture in the paper. But with it being a secondary win, and not a big jackpot, maybe they wouldn’t badger her about going public. Winners’ names may be public, but if it wasn’t a major jackpot then there shouldn’t be much fanfare.

She had enough money to pay for a nicer hotel than the dump they’d called home for the last three weeks. Once the money was hers, she’d go to a financial advisor at her bank and make decisions.
And then, in a couple of days, they’d go home to the La La Land Trailer Park and her mother. Tommy would never look there. But then, maybe he wasn’t looking. He hadn’t returned in the week since he’d left. Maybe she was concerned for no reason. If he didn’t care to come back then the money was hers, free and clear. He’d already left when she’d bought the ticket anyway.
Two days to gather her thoughts, make some plans and get advice. Easy. For once, her coming days would be easy.
~ ~ ~
Brick Harcourt took one last walk through the bungalow that would finance his dreams.  It had been a long hard road to get to this stage, but the house was ready. The stagers had done a good job. The furniture was cool and sophisticated, the knickknacks and pictures perfectly placed. He’d worked his butt off on these renovations and he wanted to be the one here on open-house day.

Now all he had to do was put some cookie dough on a tray and slide it into the oven. The house would smell homey and welcoming, and small touches helped on open-house day. At least that’s what his buddy Kyle McNamara told him. Everything he’d worked for hinged on this house selling, and the sooner, the better.

He pulled the tube of dough out of the grocery store bag and sliced it the way the instructions told him to. He should have pre-heated the oven first, but he did it now and had to wait. No problem; if this was the worst thing to happen today, he’d be a happy man. He could afford to be patient for a few more minutes.

He’d wasted a lot of years hiding from life, doing nothing, being angry and spinning his wheels. These last two had been spent on hard work and dreams. Patience had been key to this project.

He’d grown up next door to the McNamaras and Kyle’s dad had given Brick his carpentry apprenticeship. Once he was licenced, Kyle had opened up a place for him in his renovation business. Working with Kyle had forced him back into life and this house was the culmination.

Selling the house was also the beginning of the next phase of him putting his life in order. It represented success and moving forward. For the first time in years he felt free of loss. Free of anger and rebellion and all that rebellion meant. It was his time now and he would make the most of it.

He walked to the front door to check that the flags were flapping in the light breeze. The sun was out, rare in Bellingham in February. The day looked perfect. He heard a ding from the kitchen and guessed the oven had heated to the right temperature. He slid the cookie sheet inside and closed the door just as he heard a young voice coming from the front door. “Can we go inside now?”

“I think so,” came a woman’s voice in that singsong they used with kids.

His first prospect was here. He rounded the corner and stood in the hall, a welcoming grin on his face. There stood a boy and his mother. They were both young.

She had dark-blonde hair and wide, frightened blue eyes. Her mouth hung open in shock.

“Ashlee?” He looked from the woman to the boy who hopped through the front door like a frog.
Shock rose, causing his mind to stall out. And then some other emotion grew near his heart as he gaped at the boy. He thought he’d never get the chance to feel this warmth as he looked into the eyes of his own son. She’d run off pregnant, and now here she stood, with a kid who looked just like him. The boy rose to full height and blinked at him, not like a frog at all.

The boy had his eyes, brilliant blue, and his hair, midnight black. Ashlee put her hand on the boy’s shoulder and meant to pull him backward out of the front door, but Brick strode straight for them. The boy must have felt the tension, the shock, the tangle of fear, anger and raw pain because his eyes widened and stopped Brick in his tracks.

He fell to his knees to meet the boy’s eyes dead on. To show him he’d never need to be afraid, not of Brick, not ever. He worked to soften his expression.

“Don’t leave.” It was all he could come up with. The rest of whatever he wanted to say flew out of his head.

The boy looked up over his shoulder at his mother. “Momma?” He shrugged the shoulder Ashlee Branton was holding. “You’re hurtin’ me.”

He wanted to snatch up the boy, grab him to his chest and bury his nose in his neck to smell him, to know him. How he felt, how he smelled, how much he weighed, how soft his hair was, how deep his soul was, how fast his heart beat and how strongly. “Will you tell me your name? Please?” he addressed the boy.

Ashlee drew in a sharp breath but released their son from her grip and rubbed his shoulder where she’d pinched. “Go ahead, it’s okay,” she said, her familiar husky voice icily calm.

“I’m Cory,” he said.

“I’m Brick Harcourt, Cory.” And I love you already. “I’m pleased to meet you,” he said solemnly. Cory. His name was Cory. He blinked back tears.

Ashlee got a strange look on her face and then went board stiff. She tapped Cory on the head so he’d look up at her. When he did, she spoke softly. “Cory, you’ve asked about your dad, right?”

“Yeah, the other kids in school have dads.”

“Well,” she said, “Brick Harcourt is yours.”


Multi-published author Bonnie Edwards has written novels, novellas and short stories for Carina Press, Harlequin, Kensington Books and Robinson (UK) although now she publishes her work herself.
Sometimes her stories have a paranormal twist, likes curses and ghosts, other times not. But they’re always entertaining and guarantee a happy ending.
For more info and sample chapters: http://www.bonnieedwards.com/
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