Flotsam & Jetsam

What set Ellie off anyway? A thought intruded. No, couldn’t be. He checked her profile. Nah. But his mouth formed a hopeful smile, and he leaned back, humming his favorite tune. Flotsam & Jetsam

The dashing Frenchman or the handsome handyman? Who will she choose? For the Love of a Spy

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

It's Complicated--New Romance from Joyce Holmes

Please welcome Joyce Holmes, another wonderful writer at Secret Cravings Publishing. Joyce's novel It's Complicated, released yesterday from Sweet Cravings and she'd like to tell you about it.

Thanks for having me, M. S.  I’m excited to share my newest release, It’s Complicated, now available on the Sweet Cravings Publishing website and coming soon to all other sites.  It’s Complicated is a sequel to my first novel, Show No Weakness. However both are stand-alone stories.

Having grown up with no one but herself to count on, Maggie Lapage carefully guards her feelings. Professionally, she goes above and beyond to give others the support she wishes she'd had as a child. When she develops a forbidden attraction to a client, she does what she thinks is necessary, to save his family and to protect her own heart.

Tom O’Shay finds his life caught in a nightmare when he risks losing custody of his daughter. It goes against his character to seek help, but he doesn’t have a choice. That doesn’t mean he has to like it. Everything changes when he falls hard for his daughter’s counselor and he suddenly has two fights on his hands. One for his daughter and another for the woman he loves.

He wants a real relationship, she's afraid to love. It’s complicated, but is it impossible?

Sweet Cravings Publishing, Released April 28, 2014
Contemporary romance, 67,000 words, M/F, 2 flames

Joyce's Life So Far:

Joyce Holmes lives with her husband and very small dog in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia.  An empty-nest mom, she treasures family time, especially with her two precious little grandsons.  Hiking, biking, boating and photography are pursuits she enjoys when she's not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Man in the Mist: Musings on Longboat Key

Longboat Key, on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is the setting for my latest work-in-progress, Whirlwind Romance. Like all barrier islands, it is a capricious place, quick to change--placid one moment, and in the next vicious billows gallop overhead obscuring the turquoise sky. Sunsets are particularly unsettling. They rake the heavens with clashing colors--a palette of all those hues we were taught not to wear together—and strafe the poor defenseless clouds with rapier blades of coral and salmon and orange. On the cusp of dawn or dusk the unfallen rain sometimes fills the air with a deep pink mist.

I wrote this one evening in summer as I wandered near my house.

How do I describe this place, this moody, hag-ridden, ghostly place, this island riddled with mangrove swamps, this strip of sand haloed in mist, pinpricks of hazy light piercing the haze? Paradise? Or haunted heaven?

Tonight the moon is neither waxing nor waning. It's a Cheshire cat smile, a slice of weird humor or cantaloupe. Is it grinning in anticipation? No, in "post-icipation." It knows us, knows how superstitious we are. It plays with us, sending curtains of white fog to set the mood. Street lights join in the fun, clicking on as the night descends. Soft music flows from the gutters---the chuck chuck of rats chewing on old newspapers, the tap tap of the dew dropping from mahogany trees on old newspapers, the rasping of grackles teetering on telephone wires and pooping on old newspapers. So much for the power of the media.

The ghost slips by me. He wears a purple Vikings jersey and Green Bay socks. The mist glistens on the sparse hairs crowning his head. He lopes, except when he limps. He stops under the streetlight, wipes his forehead, rub his thigh as if it aches and runs on.

I go on home to bed, but the mist stays with me, hanging outside like a lost kitten, hoping I'll go back out and let it envelope me, drawing me into the old island dream where pirates dance and Indians dwell and treasure hides. A rum ride.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Mason's Mark is in PRINT

If you’re interested in international intrigue involving renegade masons and black ops, long-lost papers of George Washington, and great romance, then you want to read The Mason's Mark: Love and Death in the Tower. If you must have the feel of wood chips boiled to a paste and reamed into paper between your fingers, then you're in luck: The Mason's Mark is NOW IN PRINT! And it's okay to have BOTH ebook and print versions because...well...why not? Here's the link: https://www.createspace.com/4776771. It will be available at Amazon as well in five days, but why wait? 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Welcome to the Spring Fling Blog Hop! Over fifty authors and bloggers have joined together to bring you some amazing posts, great giveaways and lots of fun! Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter to win a Kindle tablet, gift cards, paperbacks and swag and be sure to check out the other blogs taking part.

My three books set in Alexandria, Virginia—Artful Dodging, Lapses of Memory, and the Mason's Mark are each set at a different time of year. Artful Dodging occurs during the winter months and the Mason's Mark at the height of the humidity-laden summer. Only Lapses of Memory gets to enjoy the sweetest season in Washington—the spring. Here and there I managed to slip in a bit of description of a white marble city bathed in pink and purple azaleas, yellow forsythia, and cherry blossoms. Old Town Alexandria is a Colonial city with cobblestone streets and row on row of narrow brick townhouses. In spring the tiny gardens overflow with wisteria, daffodils and tulips. It is the perfect place for an stroll after an Easter sunrise service.
Here are two short excerpts from Lapses of Memory that give a hint of the glories of an Alexandria spring: 

She lapsed into quiet meditation as the brick townhouses of Old Town Alexandria zipped by them. The earliest Piedmont azaleas were in bloom, their delicate lavender spikes blending with the cheery yellow forsythia bushes, while gold-kissed daffodils peeked through their stockade of leaves. The cobblestone streets swarmed with delivery vans and construction trucks off-loading materials. With a shriek of tires the car suddenly skidded. The chauffeur spoke over his shoulder. “Sorry ladies. Pothole. There’s still a bit of ice on the roads. Don’t know if we’re out of the woods yet weather-wise.”
            “In April? I do hope you’re wrong, Pickens.”

             Sydney gazed beyond her daughter at the tulip magnolia in the front garden. In full bloom, its large cup-shaped pink and white blossoms opened in a lavish paean to spring. “It’s another beautiful day. Let’s take a picnic down to Belle Haven Park, shall we?”
Olivia rose and stared out at the Potomac River. Sunbeams danced in her rich, brown hair, reminding Sydney of Elian. Beyond her, a pair of kayaks raced each other in the calm water. The soft Washington air smelled of wisteria and narcissus.

Lapses of Memory
Secret Cravings Publishing (May 10, 2013)
eBook (70,000 words); Print (243 pp.)
Romance, Action/Adventure, M/F, 3 flames

Buy Links:

To win a copy of either Lapses of Memory, Artful Dodging, or the Mason's Mark, please leave a comment below along with your email address. A winner will be chosen at random on April 25. And be sure to enter the Rafflecopter contest for the grand prize!
Enter to win!

Now head on over to the other fabulous authors. Click on any name here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Please Welcome Courtney Giardina and her Heroine Haylie

Courtney Giardina published her debut novel, Tear Stained Beaches in February 2013. Tear Stained Beaches is a novel about the strength and struggles of a woman dealing with her crumbling marriage. Rave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads include these gems:
"This book was so good, it made me angry and it made me cry. I would recommend it to everyone!!!” and "Can't wait for her next book as her writing is superb.”

The story:
Haylie Julian wants nothing more than to put her crumbling marriage back together. Chase used to be a fun-loving, light-hearted husband but had lately become an obsessed with climbing the corporate ladder.  His secretive phone calls and late nights at the office leave Haylie feeling alone and afraid of what he might be hiding.  Ignoring his pleas to leave well enough alone, she continues to dig for answers and discovers a heartbreaking truth.

Struggling with what she has just learned, Haylie sets off to a quaint little North Carolina beach town to decide if her marriage can survive. It isn’t long after she arrives that her world is once again turned upside down as Chase’s secret stares her right in the face.

Tear Stained Beaches explores what happens when a marriage isn’t the happily-ever-after you thought it was. Can trust be rebuilt? Can a wife forgive the ultimate betrayal?

Courtney, I see you brought Haylie along with you today. Perhaps we could get her to give us some advice on some of life’s common struggles. 

Thank you so much for having Haylie and me on your blog today, M. S.! Tear Stained Beaches is meant to be an empowering novel, showing women that they should never settle for less than what they deserve—that they always should stand up for what they think is best for them and nobody else.
Let's get right to the interview then.
CAG: So a big thank you to Haylie for taking the time to chat with us today.

HJ: Absolutely! Of course I have all the time in the world for the girl who brought me to life. Well, almost all the time. I do have to get a run in today. You know me and my running.

That is very true. Let’s get this show on the road then. We are going to get inside your head today. So let’s get started with the first question. What are your thoughts on the title of the book?

Oh I think the title, Tear Stained Beaches, is just awesome! It really captures the true emotion that is conveyed throughout the novel. At some point or another we all struggle with big decisions that can be painful and that truly is what this story is all about. But it’s also a story about finding your inner strength that helps you past those hard times. This is the point where the tide sweeps in and washes those tears away. It’s a great title because if we look at it that way, we understand the book is also about how sad times don’t last forever and something more exquisite will surely come along!

I think that is well put! Can you tell us a bit about your move to Charlotte from Copper Grove? I know you struggled a lot with starting over and finding your place in a new city. What sort of advice would you give women in your shoes?

Yes I certainly did. We moved to Charlotte for a new job opportunity for my husband Chase. I was ecstatic for him, but for me it was hard. I didn’t know anyone there and I left a great job back in Copper Grove. I was miserable at first because while Chase was working crazy hours, I had no one.
I would definitely recommend putting effort in finding social activities around your area. What interests you? I love running and fitness, so perhaps finding a running club, joining a fitness center or boot camp would be a great way to meet new people. I started hanging out with the other ladies on my block after awhile. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself; it’s a great first step. And even though it wasn’t a necessity, finding the part time event planner job was a nice way to get me out of the house. I could interact with people all day and not feel so closed off.  If it’s something you can fit into your schedule that would be a great idea as well.

There is one point in the book where you reveal something pretty serious to your neighborhood lady friends as you were in need of some support. However, the reaction you got from them was quite shocking. Can you offer any insight into friendships and what to do when your friends don’t see it from your point of view?

The one great thing about friendships is that everyone brings something different to the table. I love that all of my friends have something unique about them. As for offering advice, real friends will tell you like it is. They will share their opinions on the topic with you because they only want the best for you. So it is quite common that you may not see eye to eye on a lot of things. Especially when each of you has not walked in the other’s shoes. However, when all is said and done, the choice is yours and a real friend should support the decision you make even if it’s not what they might have done. A friend is supposed to be someone you can lean on, who holds you up at your weakest moments and if they are loyal, they will do that. Those are the people worth holding on to.

Great advice Haylie. I love your way of thinking. A lot of your story takes place on Kettlewood Island and that’s where you headed once you discovered the truth about Chase’s sudden change in behavior. Some people may have seen this as running away from your problems. Do you agree?

Yes, I have certainly heard that as well, but in my opinion I didn’t see it as running away. The whole situation was a lot for me to handle and I needed to face it with a clear head. I didn’t want to make a rash decision or say something I was going to regret in the long run. What I think Kettlewood Island did for me was help me listen to my own thoughts. I needed that time by myself to really understand what it was that happened. Throughout my time there I began to really see what it was that I wanted out of life, what I needed from a partner and what I deserved to have for the future.

There is one particular scene I love in the book. It’s on Kettlewood Island when you’re standing in the bathroom looking in the mirror. You’re struggling with the flaws that you see in yourself.  I know that is something many people, women especially, have a hard time with. Can you let us in a little bit on why you focused so much on it at this point and how you look at yourself now?

I think that when you hit a point in your relationship where you aren’t communicating anymore or you feel like you’re competing with something, not necessarily another person, but anything. It could be your significant other's job, friends, hobby—it's just in our nature to wonder what it is we are missing. I did a lot of soul searching on the Island about how maybe I could’ve been more supportive, skinnier or prettier. It was an emotional roller coaster that drove me crazy and that point in the bathroom was really the climax of it all. Once all of those thoughts stopped creeping into my head I started to fill it with all of the amazing things I had to offer. It’s one of those mind games that you really have to focus on. Stop looking at the negatives you think that someone sees and start looking at all the positives that you see. Everyone has so much to offer and the right people will always appreciate it.

Oh goodness, look at the time. I better let you get ready for your run before the sun goes down. Thanks so much for talking with me today and the wonderful advice you had to share.

It was my pleasure! I hope all you lovely readers out there take the time to read about my journey in Tear Stained Beaches and it gives you inspiration you can use in your own lives. Thanks everyone!

Thanks so much for being here today, Courtney and Haylie! Courtney, could you tell us a little about yourself?

     I'm a Rochester, NY native who currently resides in Charlotte, NC. After 9 months of wearing out the delete button on the keyboard, Tear Stained Beaches was completed. I'm currently working on my second novel to be published in 2014. When I'm not writing, I'm an avid health and fitness lover. I've currently taken up a love of boxing as a member of Title Boxing Club and I love trying out new healthy recipes from Pinterest.

Where can readers get in touch and find the book?

Please visit
www.courtneygiardina.com or follow her on twitter (www.twitter.com/sweetangeleyz)

Tear Stained Beaches (158 pp. Take Two Publishing, 2013) is available in both paperback and ebook at  http://www.amazon.com/Tear-Stained-Beaches-ebook/dp/B00BIP6CQW

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Teaser for Artful Dodging at Time for Love

Zip over to Christina Cole's 25 Words of Less : http://kcchristinatime4love.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/25-words-or-less-april-2014/  for a teaser to my romantic suspense/murder mystery Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders.You're in luck too—Artful Dodging is now ON SALE at all sites.
For a piddling $3.99 you can enjoy murders,  misunderstandings, misfits, and misadventure with Milo Everhart and her happy band of artists.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

HUGE Sale on Books Now at SCP and All Fine eBook Stores

The sale prices are finally up on all sites. 

Great news for all who have been holding off buying my books, hoping for a good deal! Secret Cravings Publishing is holding a HUGE sale on books published in 2011 and 2012. That means you can get LosersKeepers, the story of a romantic triangle enmeshed in murder, set on the Atlantic barrier island of Chincoteague, AND Triptych, a tale of lost artworks, jealousy, sex, larceny and genius set high above the mighty Potomac, for a piddling $2.99 each! Best-selling Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, a story of murder, misdirection, mistrust, and misfits set in Old Town Alexandria, is going for a measly $3.99This price is good for ebooks at Secret Cravings, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BookStrand and AllRomanceEBooks.

Here are the blurbs for all three, to refresh your memory:

Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice dispenser extraordinaire, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of  Chincoteague to write her novel would clear her sinuses, if not her heart, of any feelings for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk.  It’s just her luck that her first week on the island she’s in the right place at the right time to be involved with a murder.  Only she doesn’t know it.  Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know.  Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, interfering with her new romance with Tom Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge.  Complications ensue when her Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.
Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or fall back into the arms of her first tempestuous passion?

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?

Waiting out the rain, Milo Everhart takes stock of her widowhood and the handsome man standing in the door to the bar.  Little does she know she will meet that man again and again under both passionate and terrifying circumstances.
Tristram Brody waits for his date, too conscious of the beautiful woman sitting by the door. Little does he know that she will hate him for trying to destroy her beloved art center, and even suspect him of murder. Nor that she will be drawn inevitably into his arms.
Little does either of them suspect they will be embroiled in not one, but two murders, in which the fate of the Torpedo Factory, an art center housed in an old munitions factory on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, will be decided.

Click on the titles to take you to the buy page or here: