August 2016

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

WeWriWa: The Perfect Illusion

If only we had the perfect figure, the perfect face, the perfect job, the perfect home, (the perfect manuscript!) then everything else would be . . . perfect! Right? That’s what the heroine in my Dana Ransom contemporary TOTALLY YOURS believes when outward changes lead to fantastic opportunities. Until she discovers an attractive wrapping doesn’t change what’s still inside . . . 

She didn’t turn on the lamp because sneak eating, like forbid­den sex, was best if done in the dark, a temporary fantasy against the reality waiting back in the icy winds of Michigan, where a book of business, a fat gray cat, and no man’s arms waited to keep her warm, and now, she didn’t even have the comfort of her own personal insula­tion to guard against the chill of loneliness.

A sudden tap on her door sent Lisa rocketing to her feet, furtive in­stincts making her shove the half-emptied plate be­neath her bed and brush­ at the brownie crumbs that dotted the front of her skirt before she went to answer the door.

She smiled, positive Harlan Jameson could see those calories settling about her hips as he asked, “How ‘bout we share a little moonlight together or have you got something better lined up for this evening?” He touched the corner of her mouth, coming away with a telltale glob of whipping cream as Lisa cringed, waiting for his lecture.

Instead, Harlan sucked the goo off his thumb, offered his arm, and the lure of cream puffs disappeared.

The endless expanse of water was like a rippling field of dark wheat, bathed in the golden glow of the liner’s running lights as the vessel smoothly cut through the restless sea, sending up a fine mist they could feel even five decks up.

Angling toward Lisa, Harlan asked, “Mind if I get some­thing out of the way?”

She had barely enough time to shut her eyes before his lips touched hers, the kiss brief, unpressured, and as wonderful as she’d imagined.

“I can’t resist the taste of chocolate, either.”

When she looked up, her invitation was plain—Help yourself to another sample.

The above is a peek from a reissue that’s ON SALE for only $1.99 (!) through the 31st. A last call for summer to enjoy, living the dream on a cruise with the reality of winter waiting.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

TOTALLY YOURS by Dana Ransom

When a popular self-improvement program gives Lisa Reynolds a smoking hot body, she wins an unexpected prize: a Caribbean cruise as the club's corporate spokesmodel. Lisa, a hardworking insurance sales rep who prides herself on her brains, hesitantly accepts the siren call of being admired for her figure, too. 

But suddenly this new glamour girl faces magnetic CEO Harlan Jameson, whose interest in her matches her attraction to him, except...the "real" Lisa isn't this workout babe he created. And old self-doubts about being loved for herself resurface.

Harlan's not what she thinks. A self-made success, lonely, and isolated by a busy schedule...he's drawn to Lisa's honesty and warmth. When he understands her fears, he sets out to prove there's only one thing he wants her to change for him: her last name.

Happy weekend! Happy Writing!

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of your writing on Sunday. Visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their 8sunday posts.

Spread the word, share the love, warriors - Hashtag #8sunday.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

WeWriWa: Revisiting a Tempting Trail

So much backlist, so little time!

For the past month, I've been spending my lunch hours at the grueling task of making sense of a scan from the cut-out pages of a long out of print paperback. The end result will be the reissuing of a five-book award-winning Western Historical romance series I'd written as Dana Ransom, with a follow up original novel. Yeah! The '90s floppy discs had long since degraded, so it was either re-type or de-cipher. Scans are tricky business. Format jumps all over the place, hieroglyphics mysteriously appear in lieu of words, font styles change in mid-sentence. The upside - remembering just how much I loved this story, these characters - enough to carry them through five going on six books! Here's a peek at my half-Apache Dime Novel hero saddled with an Eastern runaway in search of her missing brother and a fortune in jewels following TEMPTATION'S TRAIL . . .

"When I tell you to do something, I'm not talking just because I like the sound of my voice."

"I don't know why you're so mad at me," she declared angrily, "when I'm paying you good money and you back down at the first sign of trouble. Some hero. The Harmon Bass."

"I fight when I can win," he told her with a curious quiet, "and I don't let pride make me foolish when I have to watch out for a little girl who doesn't know how to follow directions."

"They didn't tell us anything."

"And they weren't likely to, either, not when they were running stolen cattle down into Mexico." He goaded his horse forward with the thump of his heels, his thoughts hot with fury because she'd disobeyed him and placed them in terrible jeopardy. Not from cattle thieves, but from men who were hungry for the sight of a woman like Amanda.

And because part of him wanted to play Harmon Bass, the Hero in her dreamy eyes. 

My next task, redoing the cover that made my sleek, short hero uber steroidal.

Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose - Here I come!

Happy Weekend Y'all!!

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of your writing on Sunday. Visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their 8sunday posts.

Spread the word, share the love, warriors - Hashtag #8sunday.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

WeWriWa: And Now for Something Entirely Different . . .

Write what you know, right? But sometimes you get intrigued enough to step outside the comfortable parameters you’ve set for yourself.

Several years ago, having fallen for the series started by my fellow Pocket authors Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter, I was bitten by the exploration bug. I knew paranormal, but attempting a Young Adult series (especially, ewwww, first person!) was way outside my realm. I thought about it, played around with several ideas, thought some more and then drafted three chapters and a synopsis that, after getting a YA reader’s thumbs up, I finally submitted . . . right when the bottom was falling out of the paranormal market. The editors loved it but wouldn’t buy it. So, back to the thumb drive and all but forgotten. Until (there’s always an ‘until’ in publishing!), my former editor at Belle/ImaJinn joined another house, and what was she looking for? YA paranormal!

Fire up that thumb drive!

Here’s an excerpt from the prologue of the first book. What do you think?

They say your life flashes before your eyes. My 3-D hindsight only had time to rewind to back to this morning. As the strange events of the day rolled by, I realized I was watching a supernatural murder mystery unfold. I hadn’t understood then, but now, I could see the awful pattern. My dad’s a detective. He solves crimes by studying unrelated pieces, fitting them together like a gruesome jigsaw puzzle until they formed an ‘Aha!’ picture. 

I didn’t know when I got out of bed this morning that I’d be stepping into one of those spooky movies I hated to watch alone, but I guess when you’re the star of that particular creep show, you’re not in on the need-to-know fact that life as you know it is over. It sneaks up, slowly, stealthily, until you doubt what you hear, what you see, what you believe, until you’re convinced that the world’s gone mad and you’re the only one sane. 

That was the world I stepped into at 6:30 a.m. on this, my last morning as just plain Regina Graham, 17-year-old senior at Rayburn High. 

It started out so simply . . .

Maybe I’ve already got too many irons in the fire: I’m on the second book of my House of Terriot foursome; still promoting a paranormal boxed set; about to start tweaking the final book in my re-released vampire romance series; and, I’m going through the agonizing process of reformatting scans from the first book in the historical Western series I plan to reissue. Isn’t it already hot enough? 

Guess not! Just had to throw in that “H.o.T.” teaser (for “House of Terriot,” snort!).

Happy frantic writing weekend everyone!

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of your writing on Sunday. Visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their 8sunday posts.

Spread the word, share the love, warriors - Hashtag #8sunday.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

WeWriWa: Where Is This Plotline Going?

My office cat editor asks a good question. I’m working through PRINCE OF POWER, the second book in my House of Terriot Foursome shape-shifter series and in this second book, unlike the first book PRINCE OF HONOR, I didn’t start on page one and write straight through as I usually do. Why? Because I stopped part way in because I realized I had to write PoH first. So, what to do with all those random scenes that bombarded me on my drive to work? I wrote them down the second I got into the office, of course, and saved them to use when I returned to that now second book. Here’s one such scene for today’s 8-10 line sneak peek:

The ride up to their family compound in a hired limo was mostly silent as the three of them sat lost in their own thoughts of what they’d left and what they were returning to. In New Orleans, they’d been visitors, out of place and carefully watched, but when the gates swung open to invite them back inside the walls they’d protected for generations, they were suddenly more.

They were princes, clan rock stars, envied, feared, desired, and each of them felt the pressure that came with the precious stones in their ears, because with power, came responsibility and a certain cautious distance they’d briefly shrugged off in anonymity. 

Colin stood in the doorway to his room, confused by his hesitation to cross the threshold. Like several of his still single brothers, he’d had a wall knocked out to increase his space, allowing for a massive closet, a king bed that had seen more traffic than most national monuments, and a huge sound system housing his collection of ‘70s and ‘80s rock. It held all his adult memories, a place he’d used to change his clothes and spend nights he rarely remembered . . . or cared to. Upon entering the carefully regimented space, there was no sense of welcome. All he felt was alone. 

While he quickly stowed his travel kit and traded up from his rumpled attire to meet with his king and fellow princes, a deep down realization stirred uneasily inside.

He wasn’t glad to be back.

Sounds easy taking all those scenes and linking them together. But when I began, I remembered why I never finished any of the dozens of stories stashed away in my closet. It’s like having ingredients with no recipe! Which goes first? When does this get added in? Of course, back then I wrote long hand into a notebook and didn’t have the luxury of cut and paste.

It’s coming along, but will definitely need some filler and smoothing once I’m “done.” Back to it.

How are things fitting together for you this weekend?

Weekend Writing Warriors is a weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of your writing on Sunday. Visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their 8sunday posts.

Spread the word, share the love, warriors - Hashtag #8sunday.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

IWSG: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie!

This month's IWSG question asks about that first literary endeavor and where it is now. Mine is where it deserves to be, in a drawer, filed under "Learning Curve."

I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I just didn't quite know how to go about it. Back in the '80s (Yes, I'm an '80s Lady!), the most you could hope for as a wannabe author was that your library had a copy of the Fiction Writers Market. No Internet, no social media, no chat groups. I didn't know another writer LIVED in the state of Michigan let alone how to find them. But I had a story I wanted to tell - a huge historical tome that involved martial arts, secret identities and a trip to China. From my handwritten notebook, I typed up those 600-some pages on my Smith Corolla, thumbed through FWM and found six publishers to query (whatever that meant!). Off went my proposals only to discovery four of the six didn't publish the type of book I'd written. I got one photocopied rejection and amazingly one request for a full manuscript. Off it went boxed in dreams. And back it came with a pleasant "No thank you" and no comments. The worst feeling ever, having the manuscript box delivered back to your door. I would never be an author.

Two years went by before I thought about writing again. When the bug bit, it bit hard, and within 14 months, I had three more completed manuscripts and again decided to try my luck - this time just typing up the proposal from the best of the three potentials and sending it off to another four publishers. Three I never heard back from. One responded in two weeks. Zebra/Kensington wanted to see my Regency-set historical! I had to run to the grocery store to see what their books looked like. Oh, dear! Those pink and purple covers! I scrambled to type it up and expressed (!) it to the requesting editor. Three days later, Carin Cohen called with an offer and asked what else I had! I ended up selling another of the four along with an option book.

Sixty books later, I look back on that first requested manuscript with a nostalgic sigh. Will I pull it out and try to earn something off it self-publishing it along with some of the rest of my backlist? Not in a million years. It's value was something far greater than royalties. It paid off in experience.

How about you? Do you know what your first manuscript is doing?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG 

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the August 3rd posting will be Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders!