January 2021

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

WeWriWa: A Wounded Hero . . . and a $.99 S*A*L*E!

Coming home to a place you’ve never lived. That’s what it feels like to Jimmy Redbone, hero in my new project, An Untarnished Hero, because the woman he loves lives there. Though the cost to this wounded lawman for making the trip is mighty, so is his need to protect his wife from a danger he knows is coming. Hope you enjoy this new snippet . . .

Defying the bone-weariness dragging on every inch of his six-foot-one frame, Jimmy Redbone stood in the unwelcoming dust of his wife’s greeting, mesmerized by sight of her walking away from him with that prideful snap of her hips. For a whip of a thing, she packed a mighty wallop of arrogance. He’d liked that about her from the first defiant lift of her chin to the steady bore of those soul-scorching dark eyes. Hers was a beautiful spirit, impossible for even the most determined man to control . . . not her grizzly bear of a father or her fool of a husband. And he was here to make sure it wouldn’t be broken.

Slowly, he shook the travel dust from the black Stetson with a thump against his thigh and then, calling up the same iron determination that kept him upright in the saddle for eight grueling miles, turned from one source of misery to tackle the porch steps. He groaned mightily at the effort of mounting each of the four warped risers, his face popping sweat and knees trembling by the time he reached the top. A low growl from the ugly animal crouched there made him pause, but fear of collapse forced him to step around the beast and head for the door under its scrutiny. He slipped another glance toward the barn as he caught his breath, then let it out in a shaky sigh.

( . . . and the rest of the scene . . . ) 

She was right. He shouldn’t have come back, not without naming the reason for their long separation. That answer he’d hold as close to his chest as the worry pounding through it. At least, until truth needed to be told. But for now, it was time to sit down before he fell down.

While I’m hunkering down to my first round of edits for this contemporary romantic suspense, I’ve got lots of things keeping me busy, starting with a $0.99 sale until the end of January for MIDNIGHT KISS, the first book in my “Touched by Midnight” vampire romance series. If you haven’t sunk your teeth into this series yet, what more encouragement do you need? 

I’ll also be doing a giveaway as part of Abbie Roads’ FB Release Party for her new book, CAPTURING FATE. Over 100 authors will be participating, each offering a unique prize on January 29th. Stop in and leave as many comments as you like for a chance to win your choice of one of my books from several different genres! Each author is only posting once. I’m planning mine for 10:00 a.m. EST. 

I’ll be making a BIG book giveaway announcement next week. I know . . . I’m such a tease!

One thing about this isolation is I’ve been diving deep into binge watching series old and new. Bridgerton, The Expanse, Oz, Teen Wolf, and now, North and South. Yes, I’m an eclectic viewer. What have you been tuning in or turning the pages of lately? 

All masked up and nowhere to go! My COVID-19 portrait: greying hair, no makeup, in my writing bunker. Looking forward to that shortest month of the year that brings us ever closer to spring!

Happy 2021! And Happy Writing, fellow Warriors!

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, January 10, 2021

WeWriWa: An Untarnished Hero

I grew up watching Westerns with my dad (who was MY hero!). I adored those strong, silent types who stood for good and demolished evil (by the end of each episode!) to rescue the girl, the dog, and the town before riding off into the sunset. Sigh . . . I often wondered what would become of that modern day hero if he stayed put, married the girl, and established roots beside her. How would he adapt to a life so different from the way he’d made his living? Jimmy Redbone, the stoic hero in my new WIP is that guy who, as a U.S. Marshal, dedicates his every waking hour to the service of his badge. Until he meets Willamina Sayers, a rancher’s daughter who’s determined to be that girl who won’t be left behind. Here’s a continued look at our hero’s rather single-dimensional life up until that fateful meeting . . .

During his years of lonely and more than a little dangerous duty, he’d had work associates, not friends. In four days, Jimmy felt closer to ranch foreman, Matteo Ramos than the agents he’d stood beside - some for better than a decade.

He’d lived detail to detail and didn’t own anything permanent except July. With no expensive habits to speak of, everything he made went into the bank. He woke up, showered, picked up his badge and gun and went to work. When on protective duty, he lived from cheap hotel room to rathole motel room on the road with folks who tried to bribe him, seduce him, or escape him while he did his best to keep them alive. He was a shield for the scum of the earth, a babysitter for drug addicts, money launderers and mobsters. Helluva good way for someone like him to make a living. But no way to build a life.

Willamina Sayers had been the exception, he admitted to himself, drawing in a deep, cleansing breath.

I’m so loving this story, having just reached the end of the first draft. What fun I’m having taking some of the shine off that unblemished surface! After angsting over a suitable title since Chapter Four so I can start thinking about promo (I know it’s a way down the road, but it’s never too early to start!), I finally found one that doesn’t show up a dozen times in an Amazon search. What do you think of AN UNTARNISHED HERO

While I take a short breather before starting the first round of revising, I look forward to seeing what you’re up to in your creative endeavors and how the new year is treating you so far.

Happy Not 2020 and Happy Writing, fellow Warriors!!

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, January 06, 2021

IWSG: To Correct and Serve!

Our Insecure Writers Support Group question for the New Year is: Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?

Like most writers, I’m a bookaholic! My TBR list is longer than the days I have left to read (and that’s a long, long time!). I read everything across the board: Thrillers, regencies, YAs, best sellers, romances, mysteries, westerns/historicals, even cereal boxes! As a writer, I’m just finishing the first draft of what will be my 71st published (hopefully!)book. I’m a frequent volunteer to judge published and unpublished contests (please don’t immediately contact me to judge – I am writing!). I find nothing sexier than a well-crafted paragraph (except maybe that Duke in Bridgerton!).

As a reader and a writer, I used to feel it was my obligation to finish what I started, both with manuscripts and with books I started reading. I’d make excuses: It’ll get better, I paid good money for it, someone thought it was good enough to publish so it must be! But when I started working fulltime once my boys were in higher grades, my time grew more valuable and wasting it on something I didn’t enjoy was something I could no longer afford.

My biggest pet peeve: Books that aren’t properly edited. Even the best story can go into my DNF pile if I’m continually pulled out of it by poor grammar, bad formatting, continual typos, and WTFudge! moves by the characters. BETA readers and a professional editor are the final polish ANY manuscript needs before going into the eager hands of readers. 

Of course even the best book can have errors that are out of the author’s hands. Example – my FIRST book on one of the first pages had the word “shirt” with the “r” left out if it! Mind you, this was through a NY publisher!

Throwing an unprepared, unvetted book out into the hands of the public is the biggest mistake an author can make, because once burned, even the most voracious reader is unlikely to return for seconds. And that next great book is what we’re all looking for, isn’t it? 

Hope all my IWSG friends are enjoying a less stressful New Year both on the home front and at the keyboard!!

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.The awesome co-hosts for the January 6th posting of the IWSG will be Ronel Janse van Vuuren, J Lenni Dorner, Gwen GardnerSandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Sunday, January 03, 2021

WeWriWa: A Fresh Start, A New Hope!

A fresh start, a new hope! Thanks to long time writer pal, Diane Burton for the Star War reference, I have my mantra for 2021! Putting aside old baggage and moving ahead. Getting stronger, wiser, kinder. Putting away fears, grudges, and obstacles of the past to begin a new journey forward. Starting with that stroke of midnight and continuing every day in 2021, it’s a plan I mean to keep in my writing. A new project, a different genre, and an excited outlook for what’s to come. And in this scene from my going on 55K romantic suspense, my U.S. Marshal hero Jimmy Redbone considers his job and his marriage in the same (though rather tarnished) light.

Willamina had looked at him as part savior, part trusted protector, intriguing him with the raw strength stretched taut beneath her fear. She’d treated him with equal parts respect and awe, obeying him to the letter and believing in him without question. In their four months of isolation, they were more comfortable with each other than he was with those he’d know his enter career. He’d seen everything he’d ever want in her honest dark eyes: Love, respect, need, desire. And then he’d ruined it all by not being able to return those things in kind.

She’d never belonged with him in Houston, caged in his apartment, wasting away, longing for the freedom of the life she’d led. But she loved him, so she stayed.  Until fate set her free from their marriage prison by calling her home.

(and the rest of the scene . . . )

After basking in her light, he suffocated in his own darkness without her. He’d always known he had nothing to give, that she, like everyone else in his life, was only temporary. He’d figured he’d just get over it and go on with the empty and perilous routine of his life.

Until Angel Soto gave him a reason to hope.

He’d sunk his teeth into that chance to make things right, seeing only the end result and none of the consequences . . . even at the risk of throwing twenty years of respect and hard work away.

As we’re learning more about him, he’s learning more about himself and what’s really important to him. He has a way to go yet, so I hope you’ll come along with me in the weeks to come to see what he discovers.

And now I’m off to find out what your characters are up to after taking another wintery look out at the world through my office window . . .

Happy Snowy New Year! And Happy Writing, fellow Warriors!!

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.