Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year

As the New Year approaches, people and me included, often reflect on the year that has gone by. Mine has been quite traumatic but that has been the case for many, especially the families of those serving overseas. These young men dying is terribly tragic. Let us hope the New Year brings a resolution but I am not optimistic.

On the positive side I had three books out this year. Not that I had written three, as two were re-working, but nevertheless a lot of work was involved, especially in the promotion side.

A Fatal Flaw was a completely new book and I so enjoyed writing it. It is set in my favorite Florida - I love Florida, my family are here and they are close to my heart. A friend who read the novel said I had captured Florida and that was the best compliment I have ever had.It was a different novel for me too, as it did not have spicy bits. Somehow for this novel, a romantic suspense,I did not think it appropriate. I do wonder what my readers thought - whether they were disappointed or not. Ah well, I guess I will never know the answer to that one.

I will be sharing New Year with my family before I return to England, I hope that 2011 will be a better year. I also hope to get back to writing properly instead of just playing around on the computer!

I want to take this chance now to wish you all a very happy New Year, may all your dreams come true and your ambitions be realized.

Blessings.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas


I love this season. The decorations are spectacular here in Florida. My neighbor's homes are lighted and festive and evening walks no longer require a flashlight. What I especially like are the holiday cards and hearing from old and new friends. I have all the cards displayed on the window seat in my kitchen.


I also like the shopping and wrapping but didn't do it this year. As a family we decided to skip giving each other presents and donate the money to charity. I selected a local mission that aids the children of migrant workers. I'll do that donation next year too but I might go back to giving presents as well. I kind of missed standing in line at the post office and all the holiday hustle and bustle. So the week after Christmas I'm going to start shopping for next year.


Have a great holiday!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Free Promo Opportunity

I'm so excited! I've been thinking about this for a while now and finally took the time to do it. I've created a new blog called Sex Between the Covers, where romance authors of all genres can showcase their beautiful book covers only. You can include a one line teaser, and one link for readers to check out if their interest is peaked.

SPREAD THE WORD!
Authors - send me a request to become a member so you can post book covers any time. There's also a FREE Author Spotlight twice a month if you're interested, sign up.
Publishers - send me your links and I'll post them
Promo/Review sites - send me your links and I'll post them

It's a new baby so don't expect too much right now. Please check it out, become a follower if you'd like, and let me know what you think.

email me - tory.richards@yahoo.com

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bear Cat

I alternate back and forth between living with my hubby and living with my daughter and her family. Since I tend to spend more time at my daughter's I brought my babies with me. That left hubby alone and miserable. So this past weekend I took him to the humane society to get him a cat.

The goal was simple. He wanted a kitten. But when I walked in a little black cat with gold eyes called out to me. He was so pretty, and starved for attention. I mean, he rubbed up against the cage and reached out for me, taking care not to catch me with his claws. He let me hold him and cried out when I walked away from his cage. It broke my heart and I knew immediately he was the one.

He wasn't a kitten.

Hubby waited in the car because he said if he went in and saw them he couldn't take it, he'd want them all. This is the man who hated cats when we first met. But Woofy, Gin Gin and Jezzie took care of that, and it wasn't long before he was hooked. You know what they say about giving the elderly a pet for companionship, something to occupy their time? It's absolutely true!

Now, before you think I'm the meanest woman in the world, I did offer to leave Gin Gin when I left, but he was adamant the cats not be broken up. So here we are at the humane society. It didn't take him long to come walking in. I called him over to Bear Cat's cage. At that point I'd taken him out and was cuddling with him. He was so friendly! I looked Earl right in the eye and said, "This is the one for you."

Bear Cat is almost a year old and has lived in the humane society since he was brought in with his litter mates, as a kitten. It broke my heart to hear that he'd been living in that cage for all that time. Why had no one adopted him? Because he was black I learned. What?! Then I was informed that black cats are hard to find homes for because no one wants them.

Bear Cat looks exactly like my little Jezzie, except that he has a smudge of white on his ear. I fell in love with him so we took him home. He's already adapted to his new surroundings, and has made himself right to home. He comes to us when we call to him. I know hubby is going to spoil the hell out of him. Because he spoiled our other three.

Bear Cat is going to spoil Earl, too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


One – Bitter Betrayal by Margaret Blake

There was no one at the reception desk. Michael believed there should always be a clerk ready to greet customers. It looked like you didn’t care if there was no one there. He rang the bell; it seemed to echo out along the corridor. He checked his watch, almost ten thirty… there should have been some guests checking out, or a clerk making up bills, something happening, not this feeling of emptiness. The atmosphere was so desolate that he wondered if he was off his head to contemplate buying this hotel. After all, he owned a chain of exclusive hotels and Blooms was hardly in that league, far from it.
He was just about to slam his palm on the bell again when a door opposite the desk that he knew let in onto the office, opened. A tall, slim person wearing a sweatshirt and grubby jeans stood there. There was a baseball cap pulled low on her head, for it was a she. The curves at her chest showed that clearly enough.
“Hi,” he said, trying to stem the faint feeling of revulsion washing over him. What was Bloom thinking about having someone like that as a hotel receptionist? No wonder no one wanted to stay at his damn hotel. “I’m here to see Charles Bloom.”
“Charley Bloom is here,” she said, “Mr Hernandez, you’d better come through.”
That was one strike up for her; she knew who he was. She opened the little gate and raised the counter so he could step behind reception, then led the way into the office.
The office was in a real mess, with papers and files littering the desks and most of the area of floor space. There was a filing cabinet, one of the drawers open, files piled high on their holders instead of sitting snugly inside.
“Take a seat,” she said, indicating the only chair that did not have files on it. He refused to sit. She shrugged and went behind the desk, but the chair was also cluttered so she perched on the edge of the desk. He wished she would not keep looking down; he hated it when people refused to make eye contact.
“So where is Charles Bloom?” he asked as politely as he could muster. He didn’t have all day and his limited patience was fast evaporating.
“What do you want? You had to have heard we weren’t selling,” she answered in a rather impudent tone of voice.
He had not heard. “We weren’t? Who’s the we?”
“My dad and me.”
“Your dad?” He thought he got it. “I didn’t know there was a me and my dad.”
“There wasn’t when you first spoke to my dad, but there is now.”
“Oh, yeah? Look, Miss Bloom, I don’t have all day. I want a definite yes or no from Mr Bloom. Is he selling or not?”
“He isn’t selling and neither am I, Michael…”
He threw her a sharp look at her use of his Christian name. She raised her chin, then her hand and pulled off the grubby baseball cap. Long nut-brown hair spilled out, falling in wanton waves over her slender shoulders. She met his stare; her eyes were so familiar, very pale tawny coloured round eyes that were shaded by long thick lashes.
“My God!” The words exploded from him. “Charlotte?”

Published by Wings Press Limited
And available as e book and print.
~ * ~

Tuesday, November 23, 2010



TWAS THE NIGHT OF THANKSGIVING,
BUT I JUST COULDN'T SLEEP.
I TRIED COUNTING BACKWARDS,
I TRIED COUNTING SHEEP.

THE LEFTOVERS BECKONED -
THE DARK MEAT AND WHITE,
BUT I FOUGHT THE TEMPTATION
WITH ALL OF MY MIGHT.

TOSSING AND TURNING WITH ANTICIPATION,
THE THOUGHT OF A SNACK BECAME INFATUATION.
SO, I RACED TO THE KITCHEN, FLUNG OPEN THE DOOR,
AND GAZED AT THE FRIDGE, FULL OF GOODIES GALORE.
GOBBLED UP TURKEY AND BUTTERED POTATOES,
PICKLES AND CARROTS, BEANS AND TOMATOES.

I FELT MYSELF SWELLING SO PLUMP AND SO ROUND,
'TIL ALL OF A SUDDEN, I ROSE OFF THE GROUND.
I CRASHED THROUGH THE CEILING, FLOATING INTO THE SKY,
WITH A MOUTHFUL OF PUDDING AND A HANDFUL OF PIE.
BUT, I MANAGED TO YELL AS I SOARED PAST THE TREES....
HAPPY EATING TO ALL - PASS THE CRANBERRIES, PLEASE.

MAY YOUR STUFFING BE TASTY,
MAY YOUR TURKEY BE PLUMP.
MAY YOUR POTATOES 'N GRAVY HAVE NARY A LUMP.
MAY YOUR YAMS BE DELICIOUS.
MAY YOUR PIES TAKE THE PRIZE,
MAY YOUR THANKSGIVING DINNER STAY OFF OF YOUR THIGHS!!


HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Fatal Flaw


Today I am posting an extract from A Fatal Flaw - enjoy!

Prologue
She was standing by the window, her arm hanging down at her side, a gun held limply in her right hand. The still hot handle of the gun burned into her palm like a branding iron. Irrationally she thought of the cliché, a smoking gun in her hand
Through the huge plate glass window she watched the rain beating against the pane beading – saw it pouring water, like tiny waterfalls, down the glass. Furiously it bashed the colourful plants and dripped from the pine tree.
In the distance she heard the wail of sirens. The police. Tucking the gun in her waist band she took from her pocket a remote control, activated it and the plate glass window slid open. Stealthily she slipped through it, pausing only to zap it closed behind her. The cops would not be able to activate the window without the remote. It would give her more time.
The ground was boggy, her feet slid in up to her ankles; wading through the mess she reached the edge of the lake, it was the only way to leave. Swim the lake, get to the other side. The streets would be too risky, she could be seen by neighbours, or even run into the police. The lake seemed the best bet though she knew an alligator rested in its murky depths. She remembered it as a small one – still it could do her damage and who was to say another had not moved in.
Alligator, police? It was no contest. She waded into the water, shocked at how chilly it felt against her bare legs. When it was deep enough she struck out and started to swim.
Somehow the blood was pounding through her, a charge of adrenalin combined with fear, giving her the ability to cut through the water; she was swimming like she was Esther Williams. Now and again something slimy slid between her legs, or snaked down her legs, only fear motivated her to keep moving. If it was slimy and not hard it was not going to be a huge reptile with a gigantic appetite.
Reaching the other side, she slid up the muddy bank, almost sliding back down the thick oozing mud and into the water. Gripping the thick glutinous stuff, she dragged herself on her belly, not even getting up when she reached soggy grass. She crawled and slithered like a snake until she reached the dense wood, then rolled into its welcoming cover.
The woods were thick with ground cover as well as tall trees; wild prickly plants tore at her legs. A warm wetness started to drip down to the inside of her trainer. Touching her leg she realized she had cuts and the dripping wetness was blood. As she stood a spiteful, thorn covered branch tore into her long hair.
It was so dark in the wood, she doubted she would find her way; there were swamps to be avoided and the rain and starless sky did not help. Looking back, peering through the trees she saw a shaft of light. The cops had reached the house; they had gone in and turned on all the lights. It was the impetus she needed. Florida still had the death penalty. She had to get away; there was no turning back…ever!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Nature of Friendship



Do you have "friends" in your novels, are they good friends? I know the essence of the romance is the love story but you can include friends as well, just so long as they don't take over the whole story. The stubborn Elizabeth Mary in The Substitute Bride, would be lost without her companion. Yes, the girl is her maid, but she is also Elizabeth's best friend and Elizabeth knows it. Kate in Dangerous Enchantment has an unusual good friend, and that is the male character's mother. Those who have read A Saxon Tapestry know that Alfled would really suffer had it not been for her friend and maid, Hild.

Thinking about this subject had me reflecting on my friendships I am very lucky in my friends they are wonderful people, and their friendship has recently been tested to the limit. But there are other friends too - friends you don't often see, or come to that friends you have never seen!

Fifty years ago I started a correspondence with a young man who was serving in the US Amy in Germany. I confess to being a bit giddy in those years, but George was the one person with whom I could be serious. By that I mean exchanging views on literature and the arts. He was the only person I could be that way with and we exchanged many letters over the years. We lost touch, as you do, but recently I found George on facebook. This was amazing. My inspiration for seeking him out was a stack of letters I found when clearing out the bottom of my filing cabinet (you don't want to go in there believe me). I found him right away. Amazing.

I think it proves that you don't have to meet someone to be a friend and you don't have to see them regularly. Frienship comes from sharing ideas, liking similar things and most of all being able to express your thoughts and feelings. Wonderful.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Release Day -- Coming Soon


Random House is re-releasing my novel, The Way It Happens in Novels, as an e-book.
Got the contract yesterday. And yesterday I also got a letter from a woman in California who had found this book in a used book store and found it especially relevant to her life.

Lovely surprises at a time in my life when it's hard to find time to write. I'm back to doing The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron which always sustains me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two October Releases!




Thought I would do a little promoting today. All the Right Moves came out on the 8th, Breathless Surrender came out on the 14th!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Welcome Tina Donahue


I am happy to give my spot over to the celebrated writer, Tina Donohue, so please enjoy.

Tempt Me, Tease Me, Thrill Me

As a romance writer – and reader – that’s what I want a story to do. It has to draw me in, tantalize me with the conflict, then provide an HEA that has me sighing, grinning, crying – preferably all three.

It’s what makes for a great story – the holy trifecta of romance, beginning with the first T:

Tempt Me: It starts with the hook, otherwise known as the blurb on the back cover. Those short paragraphs give the reader an idea of what to expect, the story’s tone (light, dark, somewhere in between), and the first glimpse of its characters.

For example: In my latest erotic romance, In His Arms, the blurb reads in part:

Owned by one man, loved by another. . .

Abducted and delivered into sexual slavery, Lori has surrendered her will in order to survive. For more than a decade, she’s been known as Summer, a lovely submissive, her owner’s possession until he gives her to his newest lieutenant, a mysterious man called RJ. Commanding and virile, RJ dominates without cruelty and possesses without threat, engendering a mixture of safety and passion. In his strong arms, Summer enjoys carnal pleasure she’s never known and tenderness she’s craved.

Immediately, the reader knows this is a dark novel, filled with suspense and very hot romance.

For one of my more playful works, Adored, the blurb reads in part:

A shameless fantasy come true…
When tall, dark and delicious Adam Farrell crosses Danni’s radar at a trade show in Vegas, it’s not lust at first sight. He’s been the star of her wicked fantasies for a while, pleasuring her in acts of domination and submission that leave her breathless. Aching for his masterful touch, believing she’ll never have it, Danni indulges in a public sex act Adam alone witnesses. What follows is a night of wild and unrestrained passion in his powerful arms. It’s only the beginning.

Once the hook’s in place, the hard part begins—the conflict. It must be there from page one, building continuously in order to draw a reader through the characters’ worlds and their stories. And that brings us to the second T:

Tease Me: Doesn’t it drive you crazy, but don’t you just love it when you want the characters to do something and they simply won’t cooperate? You’re aching to have the hero tell the heroine that he loves her, but he just can’t. Through each scene, you’re on the edge of your seat whispering, then shouting, “Tell her, dammit!”

That’s the effect I strove for in my erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. It’s clear that Nathan loves Adriana. She knows it. So, does he. But because of an incident in his past, he’s fearful of committing. He comes close, then draws away. It’s that back and forth that keeps readers turning the pages, wanting, wishing, praying for the correct resolution.

And that brings us to the final T…

Thrill Me: Ah, endings. To me, they’re the most difficult to write. They not only have to be satisfying, they must be memorable. I recall the first time I read Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I wept at the end. For days, the conclusion haunted me. That’s the mark of a great story. For my own endings, I want readers to smile and to cry, because finally the characters have made it. Whatever they desired in the story, they’ve achieved.

As an example: In my erotic romance Deep Dark Delicious, Eden has had a difficult time believing that Rafe could genuinely love her. Because of past disappointments, she hasn’t trusted love. But Rafe wouldn’t give up on her…an Alpha male to his core, he pursued Eden in a way every woman dreams of. At the darkest moment of the novel, when he thought he’d lost her, Eden came to him and what she did wasn’t a surprise only to Rafe, but to my fans and readers. And yes, there was laughter and tears.


Be tempted, be teased, be thrilled…it’s what romance is all about.


My latest release, In His Arms, is available now. Here’s the full blurb and buy link.

Blurb:

Owned by one man, loved by another. . .

Abducted and delivered into sexual slavery, Lori has surrendered her will in order to survive. For more than a decade, she’s been known as Summer, a lovely submissive, her owner’s possession until he gives her to his newest lieutenant, a mysterious man called RJ. Commanding and virile, RJ dominates without cruelty and possesses without threat, engendering a mixture of safety and passion. In his strong arms, Summer enjoys carnal pleasure she’s never known and tenderness she’s craved. In his heated gaze, she experiences a sense of recognition she doesn’t immediately understand until it proves dangerous in a way she could never have imagined. Bound by desire and their growing love, RJ traverses the shadowy world of human trafficking, risking all for Summer’s freedom only to learn she harbors a fateful secret that threatens to tear her from him, leading to an irrevocable event that risks both their lives.

Buy link: http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-8593-50-in-his-arms.aspx

My Bio (‘cause sometimes you just have to know about a writer) 

I’m a multi–published novelist in contemporary, historical and erotic romance. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised my work. I have reached finals and /or placed in numerous RWA–sponsored contests. Before becoming a novelist, I was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.

Email: tina@tinadonahue.com
Website/blog: www.tinadonahue.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/tinadonahue
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000458023097

And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for – a CONTEST!!! Yay!! To celebrate the release of In His Arms one lucky commenter on today’s blog will have her choice of one of my following books**:

1. Lush Velvet Nights – ebook
2. Adored – ebook
3. Deep, Dark, Delicious – ebook
4. Close to Perfect – mass market paperback
5. Bad Boys with Red Roses – trade paperback
6. Take My Breath Away – trade paperback

** Winner chosen at random. Winner in continental US has her choice of one of the six. Winner outside continental US has her choice of one of the ebooks.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Fatal Flaw


I have blogged myself to death this week. Everything seemed to come at once - so I am having a day off, thought I might just post A Fatal Flaw back cover which is as gorgeous as the front one.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Out!

Ebook or print, All the Right Moves has arrived and you can find it at The Wild Rose Press!

Men in Uniform Series

After discovering one of her patients dead in her office, Doctor Annie McCall finds herself on the run for her life. Detective Marshall Thomas isn't afraid to break the rules and offers her refuge. The only problem is who'll protect Annie from him?

Marshall hadn't counted on his primary suspect creating such a dilemma in his life. But once he discovers someone wants her dead, he is determined to keep his mind on the job in order to find the killer and to keep her safe.

As they struggle to stay one step ahead of the killer, their attraction for each other spirals out of control. And soon the only danger Annie's facing is the heat between them.

(Pages 236) Spicy
ISBN: 1-60154-824-9
Tory Richards

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review for A Fatal Flaw


From RomanceJunkies.com

Suspense/Intrigue
A Fatal Flaw
By Angel Brewer
Oct 2, 2010 - 9:36:26 PM





A FATAL FLAW reached out and grabbed me from the first page and kept me interested with its twists and turns. Suspense is the name of the game in this mystery and this tale is fraught with unanswered questions and possibilities. Kerensa is a woman with spunk if not a little innocence, her sheltered life and trusting attitude is a definite change. Ned is everything you expect in a hero, strong yet sensitive and of course smoking hot. The mystery is the main focus of the story but there is also the added bonus of the slow growing romance between Kerensa and Ned. I truly enjoyed this story and didn’t stop reading until I finished it. Applause goes to Margaret Blake on creating a story with interesting characters and an enthralling plot.



© Copyright 2003 by RomanceJunkies.com

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Welcome Pauline Holyoak




Welcome, Pauline Holyoak, a Whiskey Creek Press author. Hi, Pauline, please tell us a little about yourself.



Pauline: I grew up in southeast England; in a mining village my husband calls “The place that
time forgot.” I came to Canada when I was 21, in search of adventure and a new life. I live in Spruce Grove, Alberta with my hockey crazy husband, a lazy cat named Sam and an adorable Sheltie named Maggie Mae. We have two young adult children. They are the gems in my treasure chest.



Tell us a little about your latest book Merryweather Lodge

Pauline: Ancient Revenge is a paranormal suspense and the first of a trilogy…Every summer when I was a child we would visit my aunt and uncle at their quaint little cottage on Salisbury Plain. It was called Scotland Lodge and was situated not far from the historical Stonehenge. It was there as I roamed free, deep within the English countryside, that I experienced joy, enchantment, and some very odd and frightening occurrences. It was like a fairytale kingdom with a sinister twist. It is from my mystifying experiences at Scotland Lodge that this book has emerged.


I know what you mean about the Stonehenge area, very atmospheric. I think now that Stonehenge has the wire fencing, it’s not as wonderful. Somehow it detracts from the spirituality of the area, but that’s just my opinion. What do you think?

Pauline: Yes, I agree with you. When I was a child, there were no fences or fees, and not many tourists. We would take a picnic lunch and eat amongst the great monoliths. My sister thought they were cold and scary but I saw them as majestic and magical!



Do you have a favourite genre – also is there a genre you would not consider writing?

Pauline: I read across genres. I like suspense, horror, mystery and stories with colorful characters. Recently I was introduced to a new genre, historical romance. And I really enjoyed it. Thank you for ‘Saxon Tapestry’ Margaret. I could never write erotica.

Why thank you, Pauline. I am so glad you enjoyed my book. I couldn’t write science fiction or erotica. Would you like to add a blurb for your book, I am sure readers would like read a little more…

Emily couldn’t wait to visit her aunt and uncle in their quaint and mysterious little cottage near Stonehenge. But it doesn’t take her long to realize that her fairytale kingdom has a sinister twist. One night in her attic bedroom she is confronted by an entity that will
haunt her for the rest of her stay and long after that. Who is this hideous creature and what does she want? When Emily meets the gorgeous Jonathan McArthur she is infatuated, consumed with lust and an odd familiarity, as if they had met before. Will he be coxed by the peculiar old gypsy, to enter the dreaded wood-lot? Can the bloody ancient curse be removed before its too late?... A chilling tale of love, passion, sorcery and sacrifice; laced with mystery and tied with humor.


I know you said that the Wiltshire area of England inspired you, are there any other things that inspire, and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

Pauline:People with great spiritual depth inspire me. And the countryside, especially the English countryside. It’s like a smorgasbord for descriptive writers. Don’t you agree? Yes, I have suffered from writers bloke but I make myself pick up the pen and write something- anything, to brake through the silence.

Pauline, I do agree about the English countryside, I love your description as it being like
smorgasbord!

Do you have any advice for budding writers?

Pauline: Perseverance, patience, and bold determination! Believe in yourself and your work. Don’t get hung up on rejections. And, never, ever, give up!

Sound advice, Pauline and it might have come from me!
How did you go about finding a publisher for your novel

Pauline:I sent my manuscript to anyone who would read it; agents, publishers, on line critics, other authors, I just kept sending it out. After a million and one (well, maybe not quite that many) rejections, I found someone who wanted to publish it. Yay!

It is very difficult to find a publisher in these straightened times, and I know that many writers just give up, but you have to keep batting.

What are you working on at the moment?

Pauline: The second book of my trilogy, Merryweather Lodge – The Malevolent Spirit and two children’s books.








Thank you, Pauline, it’s been fantastic talking to you.

Pauline:Thank you Margaret. Here is my website…www.paulineholyoak.com

Monday, September 27, 2010

Everyone once in a while I come across a picture that just melts my heart. It's so sweet, that it makes you wonder how the photographer got so lucky. I mean, it's not as if he or she asked the two fawns to pose, though it clearly looks like a pose. How cool to come across a scene like this!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A FATAL FLAW




Last time I blogged I was bemoaning the fact that I hadn't received the cover for my latest book. The next week test copies arrived and now I have the "real" thing. I am so delighted with this as I feel it catches the essence of the novel.

This romantic thriller set in Cornwall and Florida was one of those books that it was fun to write. You all know the cliche "it wrote itself" and this novel did. From the moment I started to the very end it galloped away from me. I tried my hand at humour too, never easy and such a personal thing, what makes one person laugh makes another say "what's funny about that" anyway I shall just have to wait and see if the reader gets it!

Meanwhile enjoy the cover and blurb...October isn't too long to wait, is it?

A Fatal Flaw
Published by Whiskey Creek Press.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Healthy Day Diet


My editor sent me this diet. Doesn't it sound fun?

Breakfast

1 grapefruit
1 slice whole wheat toast
1 cup
skim milk


Lunch

1 small portion lean, steamed chicken
1 cup
spinach
1 cup herbal tea
1 Hershey's kiss


Afternoon Tea

1 The rest of the Hershey Kisses in the bag
1 tub of Hagen-Daaz ice cream with chocolate chips

Dinner

4 glasses of wine (red or white)
2 loaves garlic bread
1 family size supreme pizza
3 Snickers Bars

Late
Night Snack

1 whole Sarah Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from thefreezer)

Remember:
Stressed spelled backward is desserts.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Covers and Cornish Idyll

I'm waiting to see the cover for my new book A Fatal Flaw - let's say I'm waiting anxiously, as the novel is out in October!

Now you can't tell a book by its cover, we all know that, but you can't sell a book without a cover either. I can't post it here or anywhere else, since I don't have it!
Annoying because I'm anxious to do some publicity on this novel.It's a romantic thriller but with a light touch too, and I really enjoyed writing it. I hope that comes across to the reader.

It's also set in two of my favourite places, Cornwall and Florida. Both are places which have only happy memories for me. When we lived in Cornwall thirty odd years ago (my gosh was it really that long ago) John and I had a lot of good times. We were on the folk scene then and right away we made friends. Once we and the gang at the folk club were invited on a ship, after the pub closed, to entertain the crew. That was a night to remember. When we went on board the gangway was lying flat, when we came off at something like 4.00 a.m. the gangway was like a 4.5 hill!

I remember when the Bosun and his crew came in the folk club, they took up the front row and looked formidible, no smiles or bonhomie, but they must have enjoyed it as they provided us with food and drink and like I said, invited us onto their ship. Actually they took to John, who sang sea shanties, I guess that was the appeal. The Bosun insisted that he, John, had to come along.

Now I have strayed away from my original point - waiting for my cover "but my blog, my choice!" (Gosh I hate that advertisement). However, I think it was the joy we had in Cornwall and the lovely Cornish people, that made the book, although a suspense, a happy book to write.All my memories of that period in my life are golden and I think that shines through my character, Kerensa. Ah, well you will have to wait and see, just as I am waiting...now when will that darn cover arrive?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Birthday Week


Whip up the cake batter and get ready to sing because it's Margaret's birthday this week. She is a talented, adventuress and witty lady and am wishing her all the best.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cupid's Arrow

I've been so busy lately, sorry that I didn't post last week. Between moving, construction work at my house, relocating three terrified cats and a busy month at work...well, need I say more? I'm glad to put August behind me and hope September will be a calmer month.


So, on that note, I'm going to take a page out of Margaret's book and post an excerpt of my first contemporary romance. Cupid's Arrow was on the Whiskey Creek Press best sellers list for two consecutive months and is a sweet romance.


I can still remember how excited I was when I received the book cover. Mike and Emma had come to life, and the artist did a great job of depicting a scene right out of the book. There are some things you never forget and that is one for me. Enjoy the excerpt.


The bathroom wasn't all that big and when Mike stepped further into the room it shrunk even smaller. "Sorry if I frightened you." As he spoke his eyes moved around the room, searching for a good place for her to sit. There was only one place high enough. "Up." He patted the vanity top.

"Up? I don't think..." Before she could brace herself Mike's hands went to her waist, hoisting her up without any trouble. She caught her breath when her legs came in contact with the cold marble surface.

"You were saying?" He took in her pretty blush, noticing she couldn't meet his eyes.

"Do you always get your way?" There was a slight tremor in her voice, which didn't go unnoticed by Mike. He couldn't help wondering if she was as effected as he was by their close proximity. He began questioning his common sense. Her sitting on the vanity brought them almost at eye level.

"When it matters," he responded with amusement He lowered his gaze, taking in the blood soaking her costume before opening the kit to see what it offered. Not much, but at least it had bandages and antibiotic ointment. He set it aside, reaching for Emma's leg.

She stiffened immediately.

"Ouch."

His eyes shot up to hers. "I haven't even touched you yet."

"I'm practicing," she said with sass, the light in her eyes catching Mike's interest and turning him warm inside.

For a second he wanted to do something crazy, like kiss that soft mouth. He wanted to know if it taste as sweet as it looked. He wondered if kissing her would erase the humor that always seemed present in her eyes, replacing it with something else. Something hot and needy. When he realized he was staring at her mouth he literally shook his head, swearing beneath his breath.

"Are you okay?" There was nothing at all innocent about her question. Not when she used that low, seductive tone and was looking at him like something she wanted to lap up.

Was he okay? Hell, he hadn't been okay since the first time he looked into her large, brown eyes. He managed to find enough strength to ignore her comment, bending to the task at hand. His hands reached for the fabric covering her thigh, gently parting it where it was torn.

Taking a deep breath to steady his nerves and stop the shaking of his hands, he carefully inspected the wound. His fingers and knuckles grazed Emma's soft skin and he clenched his teeth to ignore the rush of heat exploding through him. He couldn't recall the last time he'd touched anything so satiny.

He gently probed the area, searching for any remaining glass. Emma caught her breath, stiffening, her hands falling upon his shoulders as though to push him away. Mike slowly raised his eyes to hers, losing himself in the sensual pools. His hands faltered. The glare of the bathroom light emphasized the situation between them making it more intimate than it should be.

"It's not deep, you won't need stitches. But if it heals up with glass inside it could become infected."

"I know you're not hurting me on purpose, Mike. Maybe I need a bullet to bite on or something." The soft look in her eyes told him she trusted him. "Do what you need to do."

What he needed to do and what he wanted to do was the same thing. If Emma only knew what she was inviting, he thought to himself. He was standing between her glorious thighs, touching her, his gaze dropped to her breasts noticing the peaks were crowned. They rose and fell softly with her every breath, teasing him, almost begging him for attention. If he made it out of there without making a complete fool of himself it would be a miracle.

As if sensing the direction of his thoughts Emma suddenly removed her hands from his shoulders. Lord, he thought, just let him finish up and get the hell out of there while he could still walk.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Days of Wine and Roses



As I shortly shift into a new decade age-wise, I was thinking about "The Days of Wine and Roses," not the excellent film but the poem by Ernest Dowson. Convincing myself I think, that these are my days of wine and roses.When I moved into the dreaded 60 decade, I took myself off to Australia and New Zealand. I did things I had never done before - traveling extensively on my own and staying at Youth Hostels part of the time. The latter, although frightening at first, was wonderful. I met many people older than even me, and made friendship with people of all nationalities, which was interesting and rewarding.

For some time I wondered what I should do this time and because of my circumstances now, being recently and sadly widowed, I can't get up the impetus to think where I should go and what I should do.

The beautiful picture shows Loch Awe in bonnie Scotland, and for those that have never been to Scotland, let me tell you it truly is bonnie, beautiful in fact, as you can see. This is where I am going next week. John and I were there same time last year, and it was lovely. We had booked a return trip and I've decided to go on my own. It was such a happy time that I know I won't be sad. I will remember the many laughs we shared on this particular holiday.

A week later I am off to West Wales - again a beautiful place - to stay with my cousin and his wife. John and I went there on a camping trip and we both really loved Wales.

Neither of these trips are as exciting at the one I took for my 60th, but never mind...these are my days of wine and roses and they aren't over yet...perhaps another adventure is waiting in the wings and if not...there is always Paris!

Cheers.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Excerpt - Beloved Deceiver


I am not lazy, truly I am not, but my mojo is still not working, so please bear with me as I post another excerpt from one of my contemporary romances. I enjoyed writing this book, I was able to have scenes in the Yorkshire Dales, a favourite area of mine.
Hope you enjoy.



Beloved Deceiver, published by www.whiskeyycreekpress.com

“I have something to ask you and I’m being perfectly serious,” Flora said, then, after taking a deep breath, plunged on, the words colliding. “I would like you to marry me!”
Marsden Collingwood had guessed at a variety of requests, but not this one. This one momentarily knocked the breath from his body. It was a good job he was sitting or he thought he might have fallen backwards. It was just as if she had struck him in the solar plexus. It was incredible!
He looked up the length of the girl standing before him and practically burst out laughing. The gall of it, the sheer damned cheek! She was a chit of a thing, a girl who barely reached his chest; her russet-coloured hair was a riot of tipsy curls and had not pretence of style about it. She was wearing scruffy jeans and a baggy t-shirt that bore the name of some American university, and she asked him to marry her!
“I know what you’re thinking,” she said brightly, smiling up at him.
“That you’re insane?” he murmured, in a more mellow tone than he believed she deserved. “Well, that has been said to me before, but I thought you might have been polite and said that the idea is insane. I am quite sane, as you’ll discover if you listen to me.” His intense scrutiny caused her to blush, but she made herself hold his gaze.
Of course he was surprised. He had to be really. He was considered quite a catch. Tall, well built…thick tobacco-coloured hair that curled at his neck and, in spite of his attempt to tame it, fell across his brow. His eyes were almost the same colour of gold with green speckles on the iris, unusual eyes that at that moment were sparkling with amusement. At least he wasn’t angry.
“I don’t mean a marriage proper,” she went on. “I mean a pretend marriage.”
“I see,” he said, mockingly. “I just let people think I’ve lost my mind and married you.”
“You could do worse!” she said, not offended. She could understand his feelings. After all she was no catch, and she knew that. He went out with really stunning women. She had seen his photo in the society magazines many times, squiring some goddess or other.
“We’d have to do it properly to have it legal, but it would be a marriage on paper and not one that’s in the…in the…”
“In the bedroom? How disappointing, and here I was thinking you were after my body.” His voice dripped sarcasm.
“I don’t want your body. I just want to be married...to someone.”
“Flora, I’m sure there are plenty of young men who’d be delighted to marry you.”
“But I want you…you wouldn’t be intimidated by my father…and that is why it’s so perfect for you, Mars. You’d be able to get one over on him…and you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Her smile was crafty.
“I must confess the idea of, as you so sweetly put it, getting one over on your father would be a real pleasure, but I’m not so desperate I’d marry his daughter!”
She sighed loudly, then sank into the folds of the sofa opposite the white armchair where he lounged.
Her legs stretched out; her grubby trainers attracted his eye. She had very small feet, but the trainers made them seem enormous. She was an urchin and a rather scruffy one at that. Her most redeeming feature was her lapis lazuli-coloured eyes; they were large, round and full of a charming innocence. However, any appeal they may have for him was soon obliterated by her snub nose that was smattered with freckles, her slightly protruding teeth, and her shapeless body.
“I look better when I try,” she said, as if reading his mind.
“I’m sure you do,” he said, “but now, Flora, if you’ll excuse me, I’m rather busy.” He checked his watch meaningfully. It was a ruse, of course, because he had nothing to do but laze around the villa until evening.
“Aren’t you curious why I am asking you?” she persisted.
“Not really. I think perhaps the sun has caused something to happen to your brain. When you get back to England, it’ll sort itself out. You’ll see how ridiculous you’ve been.”
“Ouch!” she said. “You don’t have to be cruel as well!”
“My dear…”
“Ooh, don’t do that either!”
“Do what?”
“Patronise me. I am not your dear, and have no intention of ever being your dear. I am talking business, Mars.”
“Ah, now that is interesting…business is a much better thing to discuss than marriage.”
She pulled herself up, shoving her small hands into the pockets of her jeans. He wondered why she had chosen him. Was it because of how they had met? Did she imagine him as her knight in shining armour?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Renovations are underway!

We're having the double car garage made into a room. Ever done any remodeling? My vision of turning it into a room was cut and dried. All we had to do was cut out a square in the wall and add a window. Then put up two walls, one with an interior door. Finally paint and add carpet. Short and easy and, ah, how much can that cost? Not much. Yeah...right!

The labor is far cheaper than the materials. I discovered that today when I added up the three receipts from Lowes. I never gave a thought to insulation, screws, nails, mud, and the materials it takes to build the frame before you hang the drywall. Then there's the electrical stuff like boxes, wiring and breakers. And a lot of other stuff that means absolutely nothing to me.

We spent half the day just gathering up supplies, it was exhausting. I kept thinking about the syfy I was missing. I know I'm spoiled when it comes to my Saturday ritual but it's the only day of the week I try to keep for myself. The day before my work week begins again. But I have to admit I'm glad the work has begun and by the end of the month I'll have a beautiful addition to the house.

Happy Monday everyone!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Technically Challenged


It's the last week to enter the Eppie Contest for e-books. It shouldn't be that hard to enter a contest? It took me hours and I'm still not sure I did it right.

Also there is Facebook where I don't know how to send a message. So I'm going to curl up with a good old fashioned book and try to forget how technically challenged I am.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Little Romance


I thought we would do something different today - I am going back to the very first romantic novel I hd published with Whiskey Creek Press. Fortune's Folly is set in England and the romantic island of Cyprus. It tells the story of a couple who divorced but when Andreas comes back into her life, Helena finds he is just as irresistable as he ever was! Hope you enjoy.

FORTUNE’S FOLLY BY Margaret Blake
Published by Whiskey Creek Press.

The chocolate-colored Mercedes made short work of the journey to London. Andreas had a chauffeur now; nevertheless, he chose to sit in the passenger seat in the front going through some papers.

Alone in the back, Helena looked out of the window and sometimes at the back of Andreas’ head. She saw the familiar, and yet at the same time, foreign, tiny curls of dark blond hair that grew down his neck; the exposed flesh was tanned and smooth and the collar of his white silk shirt fit snugly, disappearing under the rich material of his navy jacket.
He was the only man she had ever known intimately. The thought created a stirring in her lower stomach, causing her to move restlessly against the cream-colored upholstery.
“Don’t do this to me,” she silently implored her traitorous memory. It was warm in the car, it was teasing out the scent of the shaving lotion Andreas used, a familiar one that she remembered he liked. If only she could talk to him …. It would take her mind of these sensual memories, but she could think of nothing to say and so she moved along the seat, trying to stem the heated thrusts of her body. Only in her dreams had she had these erotic stirrings. Andreas had been a skillful and unforgettable lover. Looking at him now, she could remember vividly their sensual moments. It was horrible, she told herself and tried to drive the thoughts away but they would not go; they stayed a long time and she fidgeted through most of the journey, the only consolation being that at least he was not sitting next to her.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Comfort over Fashion

I met the sweetest couple in Walmart the other day, where I was doing my weekly grocery shopping. We were standing at the deli. They were getting their order, and I was waiting for my turn. The man was doing the ordering. His wife was just standing there, waiting patiently, looking around. We made eye contact a half a dozen times and just smiled at each other. After a while she came over and paid me a wonderful compliment!

She said every time she looked at me she couldn't help notice how pretty my skin was. I thanked her and said I would be fifty-five this year. She informed me she was eighty-nine. And then went on to say she wished her skin looked as nice, and mentioned she wasn't wearing any makeup. For an 89 year old woman she looked great, and I told her so. She mentioned she'd recently had cancer surgery on her face, and seemed to be very self conscious over it. I looked closer at her, and finally noticed the three little bandages on her cheek.

I hadn't even noticed them before, they were so close to the color of her skin. She seemed so relieved when I told her that. It was then I noticed how well dressed she was, her tasteful jewelry, and perfect hair. Her husband appeared just as well groomed. It was clear they'd had a good, prosperous life together.

Before she left she told me her husband was ninety-six, and that he still drove. I was amazed at how young they appeared, how they moved without canes or walkers. How they took care of their appearance. Not that the elderly turn into slobs, or anything. But some do tend to fall into the comfortable routine of wearing moo moos, shorts and socks. You know it's true. Nothing wrong with that either. I'll be one of them because comfort, over fashion, is everything to me:)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Skipping

Is it just me, or is the summer skipping by? I can't believe we're in the last days of July, yet the calendar says it's so. How did that happen? Are the days zooming by more quickly than they used to?

When I was a child, my mother always said that when I got older I'd see the difference in time. Back then, when the minutes during history and geography seemed endless, I brushed off her observations. Now, though, I know she was right. The older one gets, the faster time seems to slip by. At least that's how it feels here.

What about you? Did you ever receive a bit of information that, as time passed, seemed truer?

Hope you're having a happy Friday. Enjoy every moment of it!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dangerous Enchantment -


She sat by the brazier, wondering what she would do. Should they steal horses and try to escape? It was ludicrous. She had no idea where to catch a boat from that would take them to Burgundy and who on the roads would be their friends? Everyone would be afraid. Miserably she looked at the burning wood. Hearing a movement she turned. The lord stood in the doorway.
Quickly she left her chair, standing to face him, trying to stop her chin from tilting and her hands from going to her waist. She had to endeavor to stop her foot from tapping. She did not like the way he looked at her. He allowed his eyes to explore every part of her, from her bound head to her velvet slippers and delayed far too long on the way between them both. He stepped deeper into the room. She said nothing. He went to the adjacent chamber and looked inside. Seeing it empty he came back.
“Where is the boy?” he asked at last.
“I do not know,” she lied. Unsure of how vulnerable Richard was feeling, Kate did not want him to have to confront Caradoc just yet.
“You will no longer be served food here. You will come to table in the hall.”
“Will I?” she asked.
“You will. If you do not, then you can starve. It is nothing to me.”
“I am sure that would be very convenient for you — to have Richard and me starve to death. You would then be able to feel comfortable in your role here, happy in these lands without seeing Richard, who will be a daily reminder that you have stolen these from him.”
He smiled the smile that was not quite a smile. “I have stolen nothing, but if that is what you think, so be it, I care not for your opinion. I do not canvas your support or your favour. You are nothing to me. But while you are under my roof…”
“Your roof?” She could not stop the words.
“My roof, lady, and do not forget it. While you are my guest you will be treated as all other guests. You will dine in the hall, or you will not dine at all.”
“Your guests are whores and I do not treat with whores,” she said, matching his insolent gaze.
“Whores earn their keep. They are not parasites.”
“Are you calling me a parasite, sir?” she demanded, unable to stop her hands going to her waist, her elbows akimbo. She was unable either to stop her foot from tapping.
“I do not see you earning your keep…unless…” He strode across the room and before she could prevent him, he had moved to pull her hands from her waist and to fasten them behind her back. Slowly he bent her backwards and leaned over her. She could feel the intimate curves of his body pressing against her skirt. She moved, conscious of fear creeping up inside her. Her movement seemed to excite him; she felt the hardness more definitely. Somehow she dredged up her courage to meet his eyes. There was something in their gleam, something that was no longer cold, but a glint that told her of his intention to… She stopped moving.
“Do you rape as well as plunder?” she asked chillingly. For a moment he met her gaze, then, with a coarse word, he flung her to one side.
“Lady,” he spat, “you would not be worth my energy. I prefer my meat hot to cold.”
Then he turned on his heel and stormed out. Weakly Kate fell into her bed, the trembling began in her legs and soon her whole body was shaking. She had to be very careful in her treating with him. He was a dangerous adversary and she, she was beginning to learn, could be a fool.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Seems we all have new releases coming out in October. I haven't bragged about my next full length novel lately but now seems as good a time as any. All the Right Moves is my first release with The Wild Rose Press Crimson line. It's smack full of on the edge of your seat suspense, humor and sizzling romance!

It will be offered as an ebook and in print!


Annie McCall finds a patient dead in her office, and now she's on the run for her life. Detective Marshall Thomas is willing to break the rules to protect the beautiful doctor, but who will protect her from him? It isn't long before the only danger Annie's facing is the sizzling heat between the sheets.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Christmas Bargain


The cover for my October release with Avalon Books. Isn't it pretty?
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Saxon Tapestry - Excerpt


A small cage had been constructed, just large enough for the boy to sit in. He could not stand or lay down, but twice a day he was taken out and exercised. Ivo had put a collar about the boy’s neck, and the duty guard would tie a length of rope to the collar and pull the boy about. It always caused a great deal of amusement, but Le Blond somehow could not enjoy the humiliation and left the scene.
Le Blond’s cheeks still bore the scars from the boy’s long nails, and he had ordered his nails to be cut. He didn’t think the guards would have cut the nails gently, but even he was unprepared for the swollen tips of the boy’s fingers as he swung the flaming torch down into the cage and the boy, startled by the sudden furious light, covered his face with his hands.
“I do not understand you,” Le Blond murmured, almost to himself. “You walk to no set pattern. You are either a sniveling coward that no man can respect, or a fool who dares my patience. You change moods as suddenly as a woman at her moon time. I don’t want to treat you like this, but you test me so!”
He poured a measure of wine into a goblet and thrust it through the bars. The swollen fingers seized the goblet, and for a moment he thought the lad was tempted to throw it back in his face, but it was cold and the wine would be warm and whatever else he was, the lad was no fool. He drank greedily, then pushed the goblet back through the bars. Le Blond refilled it with a faint chuckle.
“Come, Alfred, give in, be my companion. God alone knows there is no intelligent company to amuse me.”
“Never. You have no right; you are trespassing on my land.”
Le Blond crouched low on his haunches, peering into the cage at the boy. How thin about the face he had become; gone was that slightly cherubic, innocent roundness, and in its place was an unpleasant wolfish leanness. “I have won by right of battle. I am the victor and this…” He waved a hand. “…is the spoil. Why will you not accept the inevitable? I should put you to the sword, but if you do as I wish, then I will fight to have you pardoned. I swear it.”
“Pardoned from what, pray?”
“For being a Godwineson. You know that the king hates all Harold’s family, yet he lets his sons live. When time has softened his memory, he will pardon you too. I am sure of it. Be sensible, Alfred.”
“You must be uneasy in your ownership, Rolf Le Blond, to let me trouble you so.”
“Perhaps my heart is kind, or maybe looking at you as you look now, my head is soft from too many blows. Think over what I have said. You have until tomorrow to decide. Bend the knee to me; that is all I ask. Promise me you will cause no trouble or do things against us...”
“And if I refuse?”
“There is little point in prolonging your agony. You will be executed at dusk.”
Alfled handed back the goblet. She could feel the wine warming her belly; it stilled her chattering teeth and made her forget her stiff limbs.
“One thing,” she asked. “I am curious, were it my sister left, what fate was to have been hers?”
“She was to be sold into slavery.”
“You would have done that…sold my sister?”
“I cannot say, truly I cannot.”
“It is hardly fair what you ask. You do not offer me the chance to escape?”
“I dare not, boy. It could all fall on my head should you find an army of supporters.”
* * * *
At one time in the night when the temperature was so low she could hardly breathe without pain, when her limbs were so stiff she could not feel them, Alfled felt that death would be a wonderful fate. Le Blond would have her executed swiftly. She knew she would not be tortured to death; perhaps he would hang her, or have a dozen archers shoot their arrows into her body. Maybe he would have her beheaded, but whatever the method, it would be over quickly.
Then as the dawn came, and the hall and its environs came to life, as the cock crowed and the dogs barked, the horses neighed with pleasure and human voices could be heard on the sharp morning air, she knew she would not take a step that might just lead to total blackness.
Part of her believed what the priests had told her, and she could even visualize the great golden gates of Heaven, but so too did she hear her brothers scoffing about it and declaring that there was no such place because if there were, it would be more crowded than Friday night at a London whore shop. No, she was afraid to take the big step voluntarily into the next world. There just might not be a next world, and she was young…so very young.
“The seigneur would have your answer.”
One of the house servants who knew her identity had come to ask the question. He looked at her fearfully; shame for the sorry state she had found herself in caused his cheeks to burn vivid red. There was nothing he could do to protect or save her; he had failed in his duty to the house of Godwine. Alfled read all these things in his face.
“Tell him…tell him…” She began to tremble so violently, speech was impossible.
“For pity’s sake, lady, do as he says,” the man cried.
“Never call me ‘lady,’” she spat. “You fool. I will bow the knee, tell him I will—I swear.”
“Praise be to God,” the servant muttered as he returned to the hall.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Uplifting

Hallelujah Hugs ~ this is wonderful. Do watch!


http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=hN8CKwdosjE

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summertime Eating

We're usually pretty healthy eaters here at Casa Leone. Lots of fruits, veggies and hardly any processed foods. We typically grow most of our own food, so it's all pesticide-free and lovingly tended.

This year, however, is somewhat different. We did not plant any gardens, so we're not surrounded by fresh produce. While the fruit trees and berry patches are doing well, they're not garnering much interest, either.

The thing that's gotten our attention? Ice cream. That's right, ice cream. You see, we've had a scorcher here in the northeast and while we're sweltering there just doesn't seem any more logical food to eat than ice cream.

We've had cones, sundaes, shakes, floats, pies, parfaits... you name it, if it has ice cream in it, we've probably given it a go! Not a bad diet, if I do say so myself. Not many pots and pans to wash, although there has been a shortage of clean spoons in the flatware drawer.

You know, I could get used to this. I do believe that if we lived in a hot place, like Florida, I might consider not even owning any kitchen items aside from ice cream dishes, scoops and, of course, spoons.

Yes, we're on an ice cream streak. What about you? Any foods have your attention during these hot, sultry months?

And, uh, if you're not using your spoons, feel free to send them our way!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 15, 2010




Today I am talking to Kaye Kelly, the New Zealand writer and Kaye
has given this little introduction to herself.


Kaye Kelly says she’s been an off and on writer for the past 17 years (Kaye confesses to having been more off than on at times) and still can’t shake the bug. She continues to head back to the computer on a daily basis even if she does sometimes spend more time gazing out the window than at the computer screen.

1) I think we can all relate to that – I am always drifting off into playing solitaire!
Kaye I know you live in the small town of Blenheim on South Island. I have been to New Zealand and found it breathtakingly beautiful; do you find the country inspiring?
.
Margaret, it’s hard not to find inspiration when I can look out my office window and see the Whangamoa Mountain range in the distance or a half hour drive takes me smack bang into the Marlborough Sounds. )

2) Wonderful I can well imagine how that can work for a writer. When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

Even as a tiny kid I used to ‘hear’ a voice in my head telling me I should write a book. Snag was, I didn’t want to write a book and I ignored it thinking it would go away. Instead the thought just got stronger until I finally gave in and wrote a book. Yee ha! I thought as I finished the last page, it’s done! Now I can pack that annoying little monster of a thought off to bed. But as any writer will tell you, it’s nigh on impossible to write just one book and I’ve continued to write ever since.


3) You are published by Random House which is a major publisher, how did you manage to have our novel accepted? Did you use an agent or did you just “go for it”?

For me, trying to find an agent was like trying to find a gold nugget in a supermarket - I couldn’t. Though the price of meat does make me wonder if it’s packed on gold lined trays. So I fired off a book to Random NZ. Six weeks later I received a very nice letter from Harriet Allan at Random declining the novel, but suggesting revisions and saying she would love to see the book again once I’d done them. I did the revisions and Random took me on. And here I have to say what an amazing person Harriet is. Approachable, she’s wonderfully encouraging and if not for her dedication to helping new writers, I wouldn’t have been published.

4) That’s wonderful. So many writers send off novels and just get a blank rejection. Please tell us a little about your novels, Kaye

Both novels are set in the late 1800s on the South Island’s wildly beautiful West Coast. Cross the River to Home is the story of an impossible love between Mai, a part Chinese woman, and Henry, an English immigrant to New Zealand. Against a background of opposing familial ties, a brutal husband, and racial prejudice these two young people struggle to be together.
In a Secret Mind, Mai and Henry’s story carries on, but a new character, Libby Budd, is introduced. Plagued by violent seizures, strange visions and premonitions, Libby
fights a losing battle against her viciously cruel step-father’s plans to have her committed to a lunatic asylum.

Around six months after the first book was published, Harriet emailed me saying two German publishers were bidding for Cross the River to Home. Both books have now been published in hard cover by Der Club Bertelsmann and trade paperback by Random, Germany. You can read more about them on www.kayekelly.co.nz


5) Kaye, how interesting that the German publisher picked you up. It must be very satisfying to realize that your novels have an international flavour. Also I have to say both books are really good. You are wonderful at characterisation as well as story-telling.

Thank you It’s great! Interestingly, the day before I heard the good news about the German bids, I had a nasty fall as I was stepping out the front door (stone cold sober, honest!). So that put paid to the saying, “Pride comes before a fall” because in this instance it was the other way round.

6) That's so you, Kaye to see humour in what must have been painful.Many people want to write today, what advice would you give to any aspiring writer

Don’t give up your day job! Seriously, though, I would advise any new writer to join a local writers’ group if possible, and any other national writers’ association. Writing is all about networking, contacts, friends, critique and polishing, polishing, polishing your work! I can’t stress that enough. You have to learn to harden up and accept critique for what it is. Not an attempt by other cruel nasty writers to hurt your feelings, but a genuine desire to help you make your novel the very best it can be.

7) That is so true. What are you doing now – do you have a book cooking?

Yes, I’m working on a fantasy. A bit of a change from historical novels I grant you, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time and I’m having a ball. But true to my roots, at some stage, Daliah ( pronounced Dar –lee – ah, not Day – lee – ah as she testily informs the friendly neighbourhood vamp) the main character in MoonShroud will travel back in time to the 1800s.

8) Kaye what do you do when you are not writing?

Well, that’s an easy question. I spend a fair amount of time in my garden. And I read, read, and read some more. Though I do get off the backside and go for walks, and sometimes, instead of airing the clothes on the Ab-Track (a nasty machine you lie on then grab a handle attached to the sides and pull yourself up
and down in a vain attempt to flatten the abdomen) I do actually use it.


Oh my goodness, it sounds like some form of torture. Anyway, Kaye thank you for being my guest. It’s been wonderful chatting with you and good luck in the future.

Thanks for having me, Margaret. It’s great to be the Lark Journals Blogspot.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Welcome Caroline Clemmons


It's so exciting to have a guest blogger today. She is both an excellent writer and a new friend. So Ill let her tell you a little about herself and her new book.

As long as I can remember, I've made up adventures. Okay, I admit the early creative stories featured me riding the range with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and saving the West. What a disappointment to learn that Roy was exclusively committed to Dale! Eventually, my best friend from across the street and I decided to become better detectives than Nancy Drew. We drove our parents and neighbors crazy sticking our pert little noses where they didn't belong. About that time I started writing down my adventures, but mostly I was a reader. Not until I read Nora Roberts' early novels did I decide to create my own romance manuscripts. My road to publishing was a lot slower than Nora's was. No surprise there! I still read Nora's books—as well as those of countless other authors—but now I write full time. Unless life interferes, that is.

My Hero and I live one a small acreage in the ranching and horse country of North Central Texas. Our two daughters are grown, and supportive of my writing. Living with Hero and me now are Webster, our sweet black Shih Tzu, and our two shorthaired cats: Sebastian, a black and white tuxedo who thinks he's our watchcat; and Bailey Erin, a shy apricot tabby. When I'm not writing, I love spending time with family, reading, traveling with Hero, browsing antique malls, and digging into family history and genealogy. I also love garage and estate sales, but have to ration myself—we only have so much room and I think we've filled our home until the walls are bulging. Writing about strong heroes and heroines who overcome amazing obstacles to forge a meaningful life together is my passion. I hope you'll share my stories with me.

Synopsis for OUT OF THE BLUE

Deirdre Dougherty has always been an outsider because of her clairvoyant visions and the fact she uses herbs to heal others. When the local potato crops rot in 1845, the people of her remote Irish village don’t realize the cause is a nation-wide blight. Villagers accuse Deirdre of witchcraft, and she flees for her life. Cut off from escape, she leaps off a cliff into the Atlantic and is propelled through time. She plops down 165 years later in Possum Kingdom Lake in North Central Texas beside the boat of Police Detective Brendan Hunter. He is the man from Deirdre’s visions, and he demands answers she can’t supply. Deirdre only knows that he’s in danger, and she senses an old vibe. Brendan wants answers. Who shot him and killed his partner? Why? And why does Deirdre know details only his late partner knew? The beautiful psycho’s story must be a colossal fabrication. He wants her gone before he becomes even more fascinated with her. Together they must solve the riddle of Deirdre’s displacement, battle a drug scandal, and stay one step ahead of the enemy—without knowing friend from foe.

Monday, July 12, 2010

If you've ever done remodeling at your house then you can probably relate, and yes sympathize, with what we're going through right now. I had three contractors come out yesterday to look at what we want done and to give estimates. When the first one arrived, three minutes early, my daughter laughed and said, he's a keeper! (The one we had come out last week was supposed to be here at 9:00, at 2:00 he called and said he forgot.) The other two were almost as prompt, but none of them had the same things to say.

We're converting the garage into a room, taking down the garage doors and replacing it with a double set of french doors. A wall will also have to be added to box in the water heater and air conditioner unit. I'll do my own painting and the carpet will be installed last.

There is one outside wall that will need to be insulated, another that only half will need to be done. Two contractors said we needed insulation in that half wall, one said it was already insulated. One said we needed electrical outlets every 6 feet, another said every 8 feet. One mentioned the septic tank might not be big enough and of course I said, there isn't going to be a bathroom in the room. He said it didn't matter, it went by the size of the house. One contractor said he could do the job in one week, another said three days and the third said it would take him three weeks.

This morning when my daughter went to pick up the portable air conditioner unit I bought she asked for the spec sheets on the french doors we bought. She was told there aren't any because the doors aren't hurricane resistant. Now these are outside doors, why in the world would they (a big home builder supply place who will remain nameless) sell outside doors that aren't hurricane resistant, if the county requires it when you're building?

So now I might have to return them for something else because the first contractor said the inspector will require them to be hurricane proof. Or change my plans, which we do have another option.

Later today I will receive their bids. My daughter and I really liked contractor number one so I'm hoping I can work something out with him. Keep your fingers crossed that this project will only cost an arm, and not an arm and a leg:)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cobwebs

We were away from home for a time recently. While the house was clean when we left, we found the most amazing additions to the interior landscape when we returned.

Cobwebs.

Can you imagine? In the corners, high above the furniture as well as on lampshades and bookshelves, we had cobwebs. They were pretty, and fairly simple to remove but they were, without a doubt, a surprise.

Who would have thought a house could produce cobwebs in just a matter of weeks?

It's been suggested that I begin writing something--anything!--in the near future. I've been told it will "keep your mind occupied" and "make things seem more normal", all of which is probably true. Still, I hesitate.

You see, I haven't written anything in quite some time. I'm wondering if there might be--you guessed it!--cobwebs in my mind. If there are, I hope they'll be as easy to dispense with as the ones in the house were!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dog on a Diet


Okay he got chubby. It took him years to train us that he needed a biscuit after we ate. He required sustenance during car rides and the sounds of vacuuming made him irritable and, of course, hungry.


So are skinny little rescue got a bit portly and our Vet has him on a diet. Spencer is annoyed. He has been giving me dark-eyed looks all morning. I have tried to substitute rice cakes for cookies and mash the kibble with green beans but so far the only one losing weight is me. I burn lots of calories as I try to drag him out for a walk. And he is incredulous, "me exercise in this heat."


But I'm staying the course because I want my not so little sweet pee to be healthy. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Saxon Tapestry



Since coming back from beautiful Florida I have been very busy promoting A Saxon Tapestry. It just so happened that many things came together all at once. It wasn't that I was running around arranging things to happen like this, it's just that when an opportnity comes along for you to talk about your latest book, you grab it.

If you have missed my many posts you can read about me at the following, and if you like leave a comment.

www.heroineswithheart.blogspot.com

www.blog.epicauthors.com/p=168

www.romancestudio.com

Also if you would like to read a review of A Saxon Tapestry, this can be found at www.longandshortreviews.blogspot.com

I thought I would give you an example of this review - so here we go. Hope to be chatting with you more generally next week.

"The ingrigues, subterfuge, scheming and conflicts that keep Alfled on the estate make A Saxon Tapestry spellbinding. The twists and turns in the plot tantalize.

The story is filled with cruelty, jealousy and continual battles that Rolf is pulled back into, making lives dark with misery with ony rare times of light, carefree, normal living.

Margaret Blake's captivating style of writing takes your breath away at times. While she shows the horrors of war she also slips in a wonderful love story that reaffirms the resilience of people to overcome hardships and built a life with hope for the future." (Long and Short Reviews).

A Saxon Tapestry published by www.whiskeycreekpress.com

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mirror Lake


I had to post this beautiful picture today. It's just about perfect, don't you think? Inspiring, peaceful, a place where you might sit and contemplate life. And romantic! I can definitely see a romance blossoming in some cabin in those mountains, or at a lake side picnic. Can't you just imagine the quiet surrounding you? But then, you hear a birds singing, or the grunt of an elk in the distance. This is truly a place where anything can happen.

Just let your imagination go...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gaining Altitude


Sorry I haven't posted lately. Family health problems have me distracted but did want to just pop in for a moment to wish everyone a happy summer.

Monday, June 21, 2010

After spending five and a half hours at a car dealership the other day I remember why it's been five years since I purchased a new car, and why it will most likely be another five before I go through it again. I'd received one too many of those special deal advertisements in the mail and just had to go check this one out. I haven't had a car payment in two years and my original plan was to wait and get a new car a couple years before I retired. So much for that!

Hubby and I made a 9:00 appointment to haggle with the sales person, I hate that part, too. We were just about to walk out because he was determined to talk them into giving me a free car, (they didn't budge, go figure) while I realized the deal I was getting. As we were heading toward the door I stopped him and said, if I don't get a car today I'm not coming back and that's it. I'm not going through this again. He didn't really care, after all it was going to be my car. So I turned around and went back in.

Well, I did get a good deal on a 2011 model that's already out so I took the plunge. Beginning next month I'll start up with car payments again. I hate those fat little booklets you get from the bank! It takes forever for them to go down in size. Thank goodness for on-line banking so I don't have to look at it.

I'll enjoy driving my new car until the payment book arrives:)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Monday fellow larkers, and the beginning of another week. I have been so busy lately that the days are just flying by. My daughter and son-in-law just closed on their first house and I have been helping out by painting and cleaning. The drive is an hour from work and two hours from my house, one way. They move in this weekend and there's still so much to do. I told them to take their time, after all, they have 30 years to get it all done!

Last week was also one of those weeks where it seemed I had some kind of appointment every day after work. Dentist, hair, pedicure...my schedule at work was all messed up because of one thing or another. One morning I went in at 5:00 because hubby was going to take a train to Boca Raton, only he changed his mind at the last minute.

Did I tell you I've had another book contracted by Ellora's Cave? Breathless Surrender is another Quickie. I'm working on my third now. Won't be long and I'll be busy doing edits again. I love my editor at EC. She's as professional and thorough as the editors I've had at Whiskey Creek Press so I'm very pleased about that.

Summer is definitely here. It's hotter than hades, the air thick and muggy. I absolutely hate the heat and if I'm out in it too long I get physically sick. Seems to get worse as I get older. On the flip side I love seeing the birds building their nests in our orange tree, and hearing them singing in the mornings. We have a pair of cardinals. The grass is thick and green again and the flowers are blooming.

LOL...I feel like I'm writing a letter to an old friend, catching her up on what I've been doing. I hope you all have a great week.

Tootles!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

writing

Today I had lunch with a friend here in Florida. We had such fun, both being writers we talked a lot about writing and books and had a thoroughly good time. Isn't it just what we writers do? Not that we are prone to bore everyone with our "writerly" thoughts, it's just that when writers get together this is what we do.

Realty we are solitary individuals, working alone in our attics or studios, talking to no one, when we are released into the world and we have a chance to talk, we go at it like mad.

So I want to say a big thank you to Jen, for making my day and trust she learned something from me, as I learned much from her.

Ciao.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Quick Writing Tip


Came across some wonderful writing advice from writer Alan Gurganus in the Iowa Writer's Workshop newsletter that I wanted to share.

"If a novelist mentions the name of a color in her first or second paragraph, the chance of a reader's staying put is instantly enlarged. Not just 'red' but 'wet-slate gray,' or 'pea-soup green.' Some trance occurs when your reader helps concoct a very specific color from the black-and-white page."

Every book I'm reading follows this advice so I'm off to check the opening pages of my novel in progress.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

From sunny Florida

I am basking in the warmth of another lovely day. I love the consistency of weather here. Great Britain being an island we are at the mercy of the weather not quite certain what will happen. Living by the sea we don't get as much rain as inland, dark clouds scud across the sky and dump their gifts inland...we have the winds. making it impossible to have perfect hair. In Florida I have perfect hair, my hair behaves so well, it loves the humidity.

There is a downside (well not really) in that the southern warmth makes me so laid back, my body welcomes the slow pace, if I lived here I would be talking like a southern belle, no problem, already my speech pattern has slowed. I listen to my grandchildren's way of speaking and just get into that rhythm, I love it. Mind you since Gone with the Wind and the novels of Frank Yerby I have had a thing about the southern states.

So I should be, having a book out now, be promoting like mad, and though I have done a little, not nearly enough. Will it wait till I get home...perhaps let's see how it goes. Meanwhile I am at www.theromancestudio.com and there is an excerpt from A Saxon Tapestry, as well as the lovely cover to see, you might even see me, if you want to!

In the meanwhile - see ya'll...

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Touching Story

With Memorial Day here I wanted to share this touching story with you. It brought tears to my eyes.

MAY GOD BLESS THIS AIRLINE CAPTAIN:

He writes: My lead flight attendant came to me and said, "We have an H.R. on this flight." (H.R. stands for human remains.) "Are they military?" I asked.

'Yes', she said.

'Is there an escort?' I asked.

'Yes, I already assigned him a seat'.

'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early," I said..

A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us.

'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia ,'he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.

I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.

We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. 'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board', she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia .

The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do.. 'I'm on it', I said. I told her that I would get back to her.

Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.

Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the text:

'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.'

I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.'

Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.

'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft',we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'

I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, 'Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His Name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. PrivateXXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army SergeantXXXXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'

We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.

When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of 'God Bless You', I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.

Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.

I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these United States of AMERICA.