Whirlwind Romance

A rush of emotion dropped a veil over all but the tiny world of the two people in seats 11A and 11B, in a jet plane floating somewhere over the Atlantic, in a still moment in time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Before We Had Monuments Men There was........... Triptych


A new movie, the Monuments Men starring George Clooney, tells the story of a group of academics drafted by the U. S. Army to comb through the rubble at the end of World War II and try to protect and preserve the glorious monuments of Europe. In honor of this movie (and the book it's based on)  I'd like to give readers a chance at another thrilling story of long-lost art works, preserved and protected in a secret place beneath a castle in Strasbourg. Triptych is romantic suspense at its best, a novel in which legend, history and romance intertwine in a triptych of suspense. 

Three sisters host a mysterious Frenchman who comes to Washington to peddle artworks—artworks that turn out to be lost masterworks of the greatest European painters—Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer. The heroine's misplaced suspicion leads to their disappearance, and it takes the ingenuity of all three sisters and their three lovers to solve the mystery.

Here's the blurb:

Both Miranda Cabot and her sister Honor prefer their solitude to romance, Miranda having watched her husband die in flames on the Potomac River rocks called the Three Sisters. Not so the youngest, Sybil, who invites a mysterious Frenchman calling himself the Chevalier du bon Arnaque to stay with them in their mansion overlooking the Sisters.

Misgivings about the stranger’s intentions lead Miranda and Honor to ask their neighbors Dieter Heiliger and his grandson Corey to chaperone. Three beautiful, strong-willed women living in a house with three handsome, virile men results inevitably in an intricate web of jealousy, sex, and intrigue. Add in long-lost master artworks, stolen prototypes and a resident genius and you have a recipe for romance. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend calls for?

Triptych has three Five-Star Reviews and tied for Best Cover and for Best First Chapter at D. Renee Bagby Presents First Chapters (November 2011).

Starting April 1 Triptych is ON SALE at Secret Cravings Publishing for a significant savings.

Excerpt (PG): A Masterpiece is Discovered

Forty minutes later she waited while her friend Polly Needles, one of the curators of Renaissance art at the National Gallery, frowned at the painting. The woman’s ice blonde hair, cut in an unfashionable bob, swung thoughtfully to and fro in the slight breeze from the ceiling fan in the tiny office. She fingered the fine set of pearls at her throat. Lips pressed together, she stood and straightened the skirt of her severe gray flannel suit.
“At first glance I’d say it’s authentic. By which I mean not a forgery, but a genuine original. Unless I miss my guess, it’s from the 17th-century Dutch school at Haarlem. It’s eerily reminiscent of some of Hals’ group portraits. Tell me again where you got this?”
“I told you, the man who’s staying with us brought them from France. He calls himself the Chevalier du Bon Arnaque. He claims to be acting as an agent for a collector who wishes to remain anonymous.”
Polly stopped and stared at Miranda. “What did you say his name is?”
“Chevalier du Bon Arnaque. Why?”
Polly put a hand to her mouth in an uncharacteristically girlish gesture. Through muffling fingers she gurgled, “Do you have any idea what it means?”
“N…no. Nothing came up on Google. And Dieter Heiliger, my neighbor, hasn’t been able to find any trace of his family in Alsace. Why? Do you think it’s an alias?”
By this time tears of laughter streamed down Polly’s face. She gulped, wiped her nose, and sat at her desk. “Yes, Miranda,” she managed between gasps for breath, “I do.”
Miranda sat down hard on the other chair. She realized that, subconsciously, she’d been hoping Polly would confirm Luc’s legitimacy, that her doubts and fears would prove unfounded. “Well?”
“Miranda, a “bon arnaque” is argot—French slang—for a good ssscccam artist!” And she went off into a long spasm of giggles again. “What a perfect choice for a charlatan!”
Her friend watched with alarm, trying to dispel the feeling that bits of her heart were breaking off and crashing into her veins like tiny ice floes. She let Polly’s mirth subside. “So, okay, now we know he’s a crook. But what about the painting?”
Polly sobered immediately. “Ah, yes. I’m almost positive it’s valuable and old. How long can I keep it? I’d like to have our conservators examine it.” She started to pick it up, then suddenly bent and peered at the upper right corner of the painting. “Wait a minute.” She grabbed a magnifying glass from her desk. “Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait…a…minute.” She straightened and turned to her friend, her eyes wide. “Miranda, I…I think this may actually be a Hals! I’d swear that’s his signature. I don’t think I’ve seen this one before, not in any catalogue I can think of.”
“What do you mean—how could there be any unknown Hals?”
“Frans Hals had a very long career, and toward the end of his life his style went out of vogue. There could be several works out there that we’ve never seen. He was a pauper by the time he died, and many of his paintings disappeared or were sold quietly for cash. If it’s real, that means your friend the scam artist has obtained a painting worth millions.” She tapped a finger on the frame. “But from where?”
Secret Cravings Publishing, November 2011
eBook, 70,055 words, Print (206 pp)
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 3 flames
Starting April 1 Triptych is ON SALE at Secret Cravings Publishing for a significant savings.

Buy Links:



Book Strand: http://www.bookstrand.com/triptych

To have your ebook autographed, click on Kindlegraph at my blog.

For more information on the real Monuments Men, check out this article in the Smithsonian Magazine: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-monuments-men-180949569/?no-ist

Friday, March 14, 2014

Please Welcome Angela Smith

Thank you for having me on your blog today! My book, Fatal Snag, is the second in a standalone series I call my Slopeside Series. The first, Burn on the Western Slope, is available in ebook and print version. I recently submitted my third and hope for a contract soon.

I had such fun writing this series! I fell in love with the characters and had a hard time letting them go. Fatal Snag features Chayton Chambers, brother to Garret who is the hero in Burn on the Western Slope. Chayton is a dynamic character who tried to butt in on Garret’s story and I knew he deserved his own. It also features Naomi, another character in Burn who became friends with Chayton but left without saying goodbye. Things don’t start out well for them when she comes back to help her cousin plan her wedding.

My series is set in the fictional town of Tanyon, Montana. Why did I create a fictional town when truth is so much better? Well, many authors create fictional towns for different reasons. Sometimes an author has a certain place in mind that either doesn’t exist, or doesn’t exist in the way the author needs it to exist. And it is fiction, after all. Sometimes an author knows of a town they really like, but they might not want to use it for libel purposes.And sometimes, an author just wants to use her imagination. And that’s exactly what I did with Tanyon, Montana. I had this idea of a town in my mind, and Tanyon fit perfectly (if only my map drawings were brilliant enough to share!)

Burn on the Western Slope is set in the Winter, and Fatal Snag is set during the early autumn. I had a blast making the setting just as much part of the plot as the actual characters are!

Thanks again for inviting me to talk about my books! I’ll leave with you a blurb and excerpt for my newest release, Fatal Snag.

Blurb:

Hollywood fashion consultant Naomi Fisher is happy to use her obsessive-compulsive planning to assist with her cousin's wedding, but her history with the sexy and sullen Chayton Chambers, the groom’s brother, terrifies her. When the groom is kidnapped at his own wedding, Chayton and Naomi rush to find an important relic to satisfy the ransom before her cousin becomes a widow before a bride. Naomi trades garters for guns as survival, and love becomes a deadly game impossible to resist.
Information about the book:
Title: Fatal Snag
Author: Angela Smith
Genre:Romantic Suspense
Release Date:17 March 2014

Buy Links:
Crimson Romance:http://goo.gl/84nFbt




Excerpt (PG)

Surprise flashed through his brain, but he narrowed his eyes before it had a chance to erupt on his face. He edged closer. In her heels, her nose usually touched his chin, but now the top of her head came under his chin. Her breath curled around his cheek, exerting an agitated pull on his hormones that left him shaky and hesitant. He camouflaged that hesitation with cockiness and confidence.
She inched her nose higher. He leaned down to look at her, his face a fingerbreadth from hers. “Maybe that’s your problem,” he grumbled. “Maybe you can’t get over the fact that I never tried to kiss you.”
He closed in on her, pinning her against the wall as he settled his hands on the wall near her head. She couldn’t move with him so near and he made a point to trap her.
He remained that way for several seconds, staring into blue eyes of defiance as they breathed in each other’s breath. His pulse hinged precariously close to plunging overboard and disrupting his steady poise, but for now he held on.
Then he kissed her. Hard.Briefly.Fervidly. Heat traversed from his toes, agitating his shaky thighs and roosting in his loins only to explode behind his eyes.
She deepened the kiss, a slight brush of her tongue against his. He held on another brief moment then dropped his hands and backed away before his point became futile. Swiping a hand across his mouth, he pinned her with a hard gaze. “Is that better?”
“I’m not here to ask your forgiveness.”


*****
Biography
During her senior year in high school, Angela Smith was dubbed most likely to write a novel, and that has been her dream ever since her mother read Brer Rabbit to her and her sister so often that they were able to recite it back to each other before actually learning to read. She’s always enjoyed stories about the adventure of love, and getting involved in the legal field developed her love of suspense. A certified paralegal, work gives her perfect fodder for her romantic suspense stories. When not caring for her small farm or spending time with her husband of two decades, she enjoys crafting, reading, and dreaming of the places she’ll visit one day.

Angela Smith LOVES talking to readers. You can contact her in the following ways:


First Chapter the Mason's Mark at Love Lust & Lipstick Stains

Want more than a tagline of The Mason's Mark? Want a whole chapter? Then check out Love Lust and Lipstick Stains today: http://lovelustandlipstickstains.blogspot.com/2014/03/first-chapter-friday-mark-love.html and find out what Claire found on top of the tower...

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Crime of the Century: JoAnne Myers on True Crime Writing

Writing True Crime


First, you must pick an interesting crime. I specialize in homicides in my home state of Ohio. Routinely reading newspapers will help the writer find murder cases. Find a homicide that has numerous good elements that will hold one’s interest.

Next you must start the investigation of your chosen crime. To find my information, I read newspaper reports of the homicide. I searched court documents for witness reports, and courtroom testimony. I interviewed witnesses. Persons that either were present when the crime occurred, or had after the fact information. Try to locate the victim’s family members, and see if they want their side of the story told. If the case goes to trial, the Defense’s job is to discredit the victim. To portray the deceased as the “bad guy.” This type of mudslinging does not sit well with loved ones of the victim. Give them a chance to speak for the deceased. Anyone that was involved with the case, will have something of interest to report. Don’t forget to locate the reports of the arresting officers and the homicide detectives. Try to locate the coroner's report, any eyewitness, or persons who reported hearing an altercation or gunshots.

Keep abreast of updates, and read everything that was written about the case. Build a relationship with the law enforcement officials who are involved in the case. I live in a very small town, where most people know one another, and many have relatives or close friends that are involved with law enforcement. Attend the trial and speak to everyone you can about the criminal, the victim, and prosecution and defense witnesses.

Last but not least, sit down and write. Now it is time to tell the story of the crime. Hopefully you will find most of the information you need in your copious notes--if not, go back and get the answers you need. Never throw away any notes or information concerning the case, not even after the trial is over with, and the story is written. Most convicted felons apply for numerous appeals, which take years to dissolve. Some cases never seem to end. The Crime of the Century was such a case. When the accused was found guilty and sent to prison, he and his attorneys, who always believed him innocent, continued fighting for his freedom. That blessed event came after the convicted spent five years on death row. He was cleared with DNA, but it still took nearly thirty years to find the true killers. If you want your true crime novel to be believable, you can't fudge the facts.

Summary of “THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY” available now

The residents of Rolling Hills, an economically ruined bedroom community of the Appalachian region of southeastern Ohio, were horrified when the dismembered bodies of missing teenage sweethearts, Shane Shoemaker and Babette Lloyd, were pulled from the murky and meandering local river. Multiple suspects surfaced, including relatives, ex-lovers, Satanists, and the Devil's Disciples motorcycle gang, but only one was charged: Babette’s stepfather, Richard Allan Lloyd, a known nudist and hothead. The rumors of his and Babette’s incestuous relationship only electrified the townsfolk and local authorities’ hatred of him.

What really happened on that cool autumn evening of 1982? What began as an evening stroll turned into what is found only in horror films, eventually dubbed ‘the crime of the century.’ Eighteen-year-old Babette, a voluptuous beauty contestant, horsewoman, and aspiring computer programmer, and her 19-year-old boyfriend Shane Shoemaker, a jealous and possessive unemployed printer, were last seen walking on the C&O Railroad tracks and crossing a trestle bridge that overlooked the river near a 52-acre cornfield. Twelve days later, a search party found their mutilated torsos. After another two days their heads and limbs were unearthed, suggesting satanic cult activity.

Richard Lloyd was the main suspect from the beginning. It took nearly a year, but in an investigation smeared with contradicting statements and a botched crime scene, investigators built a flimsy case against him. A financially motivated local man fingered Richard, accusing him of forcing the teens into a car at gunpoint. The police alleged Richard then killed the victims at his mobile home seven miles from Rolling Hills, with his wife and other step-daughter as witnesses. They accused him of dismembering the victims before transporting them to the Rolling Hills cornfield for burial. The State insisted an incestuous relationship between Richard and Babette existed, and the motive for the killings jealousy and Richard’s immense hatred of Shane Shoemaker. Richard’s multiple lies, his lust and jealousy, weapons availability, the hypnotized “eyewitness” and a disputed footprint expert bolstered the state's case against the now dubbed “evil stepfather.” Most of the evidence presented at the three-week trial was based on police corruption and ineptitude, melodramatic fiction, and forensic mishandling.

As a resident of Rolling Hills, Ohio, I, JoAnne Myers composed “The Crime of the Century
using case documents, newspaper clippings, signed affidavits, witness testimony, interviews, police reports, theories and rumors. This heinous crime not only shattered the sense of security for Rolling Hills, but destroyed two families, marriages, careers, friendships, and forever scarred the town. Crime of the Century is a detailed account of finding justice for Babette and Shane, of human injustice at the highest level, of one man’s perseverance to prove his innocence, and gain his freedom from death row, and righting a wrong.

Richard Lloyd was released on appeal after sitting on death row for five years. Prosecutors opted not to re-try him, but Lloyd and his family remained under a cloud of presumed guilt for 28 years. In 2008, two career criminals were indicted and convicted for the homicides.


JoAnne's Biography
I have been a long-time resident of southeastern Ohio, and worked in the blue-collar industry most of my life. Besides having several novels under my belt, I canvas paint. When not busy with hobbies or working outside the home, I spend time with relatives, my dogs Jasmine and Scooter, and volunteer my time within the community. I am a member of the Hocking Hills Arts and Craftsmen Association, The Hocking County Historical Society and Museum, and the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center. I believe in family values and following your dreams.

My books along with my original canvas paintings, can be found at: http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com

Other books by JoAnne:

Murder Most Foul-a detective/mystery
Wicked Intentions-a paranormal/mystery
Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between

Upcoming Releases:

Loves, Myths, and Monsters-a fantasy anthology available in April
Flagitious-a detective/mystery novella anthology
Twisted Love-a biography true crime anthology available in May



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Please Welcome Ceci Giltenan and Highland Courage


Good morning, Ceci. I understand you're going to tell us about Highland Courage, the second in your Highland Bride series.

Highland Courage is the second book in my Highland Bride series. Like my debut novel, Highland Solution, one of the central themes is arranged marriage. In Highland Solution, the heroine is essentially forced to marry a stranger. In Highland Courage that isn’t the case. True, the heroine, Mairead, doesn’t want to get married for her own reasons, but as is consistent with the era, she must marry the man her father chooses. However her betrothed, Tadhg, isn’t a complete stranger to her. Her little brother, Flan, is his squire and two of her older brothers know him well, respect him and consider him to be a good friend.
The arranged marriage isn’t the source of the conflict in Highland Courage. Tadhg and Mairead like each other immediately and their love grows as their relationship deepens. The central conflict is actually within Mairead herself. For a variety of reasons, including a very traumatic event in her past, Mairead is shy, fearful and lacks self-esteem. This is very much a story about Mairead developing into a strong, confident young woman and how the man she loves, supports her personal growth.

Her parents want a betrothal, but Mairead MacKenzie can’t get married without revealing her secret and no man will wed her once he knows.
Plain in comparison to her siblings and extremely reserved, Mairead has been called “MacKenzie’s Mouse” since she was a child. No one knows the reason for her timidity and she would just as soon keep it that way. When her parents arrange a betrothal to Laird Tadhg Matheson she is horrified. She only sees one way to prevent an old secret from becoming a new scandal.
Tadhg Matheson admires and respects the MacKenzies. While an alliance with them through marriage to Mairead would be in his clan’s best interest, he knows Laird MacKenzie seeks a closer alliance with another clan. When Tadhg learns of her terrible shyness and her youngest brother’s fears about her, Tadhg offers for her anyway.
Secrets always have a way of revealing themselves. With Tadhg’s unconditional love, can Mairead find the strength and courage she needs to handle the consequences when they do?

What is the buy link?


Where can readers find you?


Tell us a little more about you.
Ceci started her career as an oncology nurse at a leading research hospital, and eventually became a successful medical writer. In 1991 she married a young Irish carpenter whom she met at a friend’s wedding. They raised their family in central New Jersey but have recently moved to southwest Florida. Now with their youngest off to college, Ceci is breaking away from “primary efficacy endpoints” and writing a few “happily ever afters.”

Thanks so much for being here, Ceci. Your book sounds both heart-wrenching and wonderful.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Haven's Realm Welcomes the Mason's Mark Today

Tamara Faye Rudkin Monteau welcomes me and the Mason's Mark today to her dark and mysterious Haven's Realm: http://havensrealm.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/m-s-spencer-visits-havens-realm/. I have a new excerpt from my romantic suspense/mystery set at the National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, in which we meet the magnificant Dorcas. Come and read!

Destiny hides in the Tempest’s Heart--Lisabet Sarai's Rough Weather Makes its Debut

The romantically named Lisabet Sarai joins me today to talk about her wonderful new paranormal novella, Rough Weather. For extra credit, you can enter a contest for a chance to win a copy of Rough Weather and Hot Spell. See details below.

Lisabet, the floor is yours!



Ondine has always felt at home in the sea. Orphaned at birth and raised by her grandmother on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, she has never really questioned her extraordinary affinity for the watery world. She concentrates on her work as a marine biologist, spends her weekends relaxing among the waves and worries about human threats to her beloved ocean environment. Fears of a deadly pregnancy like her mother’s make her cautious about sex.

When she encounters an attractive but arrogant engineer on her private beach, surveying the site for a prospective off-shore wind farm, anger is her first reaction. A casual touch, however, transforms that emotion to incomprehensible, irresistible, terrifying lust.

Ebony-skinned Marut has his own talents—aside from his uncanny ability to swamp Ondine with desire. He can control the winds and summon storms. He informs Ondine that they share a supernatural heritage and claims she is his destined mate. She responds with skepticism and tries to resist the charismatic Haitian, but ultimately her scientist’s training won’t permit her to deny the evidence of her senses—and her heart. As a brutal nor'easter batters the island and Marut’s life hangs in the balance, Ondine learns that true power lies in surrender to her elemental nature.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of light bondage.

Rough Weather by Lisabet Sarai
Totally Bound (2014)
Paranormal erotic romance, M/F
15,000 words


Excerpt (R)

“Ondine.”

She whirled to face him. She hadn’t heard the squeak of the old screen door hinges, yet there he was, tall and dark as a thunderhead—gloriously naked. His piercing eyes pinned her in place. His noble forehead arched up to the explosion of frizzy curls that framed his skull. His skin gleamed as though it had been oiled. He stood before her—no, loomed above her—his muscled legs parted, his arms crossed over his chest, sniffing for her all-too-obvious scent. His nostrils flared like a thoroughbred racehorse and his prominent lips curled into a confident smile.

And there, rising from its nest of inky fur, was the cock she’d caressed out on the beach, a proud cylinder of dark flesh with a slick, mauve cap. In their frenzied groping upon the rocks, she hadn’t really seen his organ clearly, but now…

She’d read that primitive cultures worshipped the phallus as the source of all power. Now she understood, in a most visceral sense, how this could be. She wanted to fall on her knees before this vision of male potency, to beg for a touch, for a taste. Use me, something in her cried, though in fact his beauty and vitality struck her dumb. Helpless, terrified, swamped by need, she waited for him to make the first move.

The strange wind blew around them. Marut’s eyes glittered like chips of hematite. He stared into her soul, asking questions she didn’t dare acknowledge. Unable to bear his scrutiny for more than a few moments, she dropped her gaze to his bare feet, graceful and strong as the rest of him, and waited for him to take her.

“Ondine.” Her name on his lips was moonlight on a tropical lagoon, a gentle surf kissing the shore.

He won’t hurt me, she realised with sudden conviction. Then why was she so afraid?

He reached for her. She sucked air into her lungs, tensing against that first touch that she knew would drown her in irresistible lust. Instead, without any skin-to-skin contact, he took the T-shirt dangling from her hand and pulled it over his head.

Startled, she looked up. His massive erection bobbed against his white-clad belly, more prominent than ever.

“I’ll go now,” he told her. He turned to pull his pants off the line, sending clothes pins flying. As Ondine watched in fascination, he struggled into the tight garment and zipped away his swollen member. “I’d rather stay, but I don’t think you’re ready yet to face who and what you are.”

The bulge under the denim taunted her. Her mouth watered at her recollection of his smoothness, his hardness, his overwhelming maleness. Still she couldn’t bring herself to speak, to ask for what she wanted.

“I’ve left my mobile number for you on the kitchen table.” He headed in that direction and she followed like some mute animal. “If you call, I can be here in less than half an hour. I’m staying in Edgartown.”

“Um—ah—thanks.” She walked him to the front porch, where he’d left his boots. As he crouched to tie the laces, she marvelled that such a simple act could be so incredibly sensual.

When he was shod, he hoisted his pack full of equipment and faced her once more. He reached out to cup her cheek, following the curve without actually touching her. “I’m so grateful I found you,” he murmured. “I’ve been alone for a very long time.”

Sparks prickled across the gap between their flesh.

“But you need to realise that you’re in control. I won’t make a move unless you ask. I respect you, Ondine. I know before long that I’ll love you, as I did in my last life, and that you’ll love me.”

Love? This awful craving doesn’t feel like love. More like some disease.


****

Buy Links

Totally Bound:

All Romance Ebooks:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

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Contest!

Win a copy of Rough Weather plus a copy of  Hot Spell, the book in which Ondine and Marut first made their appearance. To enter, send an email to contest@lisabetsarai.com  with the subject line “Rough Weather Giveaway”. Contest closes on March 31, 2014.

****


Biography

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – more than fifty single author titles, plus dozens of short stories in various erotic anthologies, including the Lambda winner Where the Girls Are and the IPPIE Best Erotic Book of 2011, Carnal Machines. Her gay scifi erotic romance Quarantine won a Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention.

Lisabet has more degrees than anyone would ever need, from prestigious educational institutions who would no doubt be deeply embarrassed by her chosen genre.  She has traveled widely and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her indulgent husband and two exceptional felines, where she pursues an alternative career that is completely unrelated to her creative writing.

For more information about Lisabet and her writing, visit her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com). She also hangs out at the group blog Oh Get a Grip (http://ohgetagrip.blogspot.com), writes monthly reviews for Erotica Revealed (http://www.eroticarevealed.com) and contributes to the ERWA blog (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.com).