Thursday, July 31, 2014

A new favorite author...

Not long ago, I posted about discovering Hallee Bridgeman at this year's Arizona Dreamin', a Readers' Event.

I'm a planner in many things, though writing isn't one of them. In writing, I'm a pantster. Sorry, sidetracked. Yes, I'm also easily sidetracked. Where was I?

Conference. I knew I'd have the opportunity to choose to meet several authors, so I looked over the names. Many of the authors I already knew or they wrote romance novels I wasn't particularly interested in reading. I'm not a huge fan of first person, except in the case of an autobiography. I know, not typical, but I've never claimed to be typical.

The authors I didn't know I investigated. I checked their websites and looked up their books on Amazon. If they had a free download of a short story, I accepted the opportunity.

I read Hallee's novella Greater than Rubies, a follow up to her novel Sapphire Ice. I loved it. I wrote about the wonderful experience in a previous post.

http://laurelhawkes.blogspot.com/2014/06/hallee-bridgeman.html

I bought her paperback book The Jewel Anthology in the bookstore provided at the conference. It includes all three of her Jewel novels and the novella. It also includes the study guides and recipes accompanying each book. It made to the top of my To-Be-Read pile this past month. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. It was a delight to have all the stories together. The heroes and heroines are unique and yet share common threads of faith, either well developed faith or stepping onto the path.

They're Christian romances with real characters. People who have made mistakes. Horrible things have happened in their lives. They question their faith and struggle. In each story, I searched my own heart, my own faith, my own journey. I finished feeling uplifted and inspired.

These stories are the kind of romances I like to read. I've added her suspense books to my wish list.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bits and bobs about writing...

I spend a lot of time researching. It doesn't matter which series I'm working on. There's always something I need to know. Here are a few of things I've looked up lately:

Draft breeds. I needed a pair of dray horses. I looked at several and decided on the Clydesdale. They were bred in Scotland, not long before my story takes place.

Moon phases, in 1817. Yes, timeanddate.com provide the date of the new moon, first quarter, full, and third quarter.

Sunrise and sunset times, comparing winter to summer. I've learned about astronomical twilight, nautical twilight, and civil twilight. Also available at the same site, though I figured this year would be close enough.

I search maps for towns for my stories, and then look up the towns.

In the upcoming Tarnished Knight, Jack sails into Berwick-upon-Tweed. It's a walled port town in northern England, almost to the Scottish border. After visiting their webpage, I want to visit.

The problem with research: It's distracting. The next thing I know hours have passed. However, I've a much clearer picture in my head of the places my characters live.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I have an announcement...

I'm going to be 1 of 27 authors featured at Arizona Dreamin', a Romance Readers Event, at the end of May 2015. I'm nervous and excited.

I'll also be attending the Buidlin' the Dream event.

http://thedreamsconvention.com/

I'm going to make Thursdays my information day here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Take a moment to breathe...

It's been a busy last few months, preparing two books for release. Two more or coming, so I actually can't breath yet. However, I am taking a moment to thank the Good Lord for all the many blessings He has granted.

Friends.
Nature.
Warm fuzzies.
 Laughter.
Prayer.

Monday, July 21, 2014

DBP newest releases on July 21...

In 1986, England, an American woman, her trust in God shaken, searches for new dreams, never anticipating the challenge of a faithful British gentleman. 

Finding Home, Book Four in The Silver Locket Sisterhood series, is here!

It's the 21st, which means there are new releases out over at Desert Breeze Publishing...

http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/

And wherever ebooks are sold, though some are slower at posting than others.
 
American Becki Bagley's dreams are within her grasp only to be shattered along with her faith. God promised to give those who are faithful the desires of their heart. Why does He deny her? Where did she go wrong? Perhaps she failed to be good enough.

Ian Morgan, British self-made businessman, is settled in his life. He's already raised a family, his younger sister. Another family holds no interest for him, although his pretty American neighbor tempts him to reconsider.

Sometimes home isn't a place but a feel when the right person is near, and sometimes finding the right person requires leaving everything familiar behind and exercising new faith and trust...


 Excerpt:

He held her gaze and tightened his hold on her hand, ever so slightly. Her heart fluttered, and her breath hitched. Did the same sensation affect him?
With her luck, not likely.
This couldn't be happening, not to her. She couldn't be interested in him. Her body had betrayed her on more than one occasion, responding to unacceptable men, men who would never qualify as candidates for a healthy relationship. What was wrong with her?
Maybe this was why God forced her to be alone? He knew how badly things would turn out. Everything in her past pointed to a single life. Maybe God was cruel to be kind.
Perhaps her resolve was being tested. She wouldn't fail. Not this time. Becki attempted to withdraw her hand, but Ian held firm.
"Are you here to take Becki sightseeing?" No one could miss Franny's hopefulness.
Becky tugged on her hand, but Ian refused to release her. His smile broadened. Her panic deepened. Embarrassment cloaked her, anger hard on its heels. She'd promised herself no man would be allowed to affect her as Ted had. More especially, none would fluster, humiliate, or embarrass her ever again.
God made it plain she was meant to be alone, and she'd come to terms with it. She'd pass this test, with flying colors. Despite another unobtrusive tug, Ian continued to hold her hand.
"Not to worry, Auntie Franny. I'm fine on my own." It was all Becki could do to remain civil. She reminded herself she couldn't punch one of her aunt's friends, no matter how much she itched to do so or how much he deserved it.
"You don't want a ride somewhere?" Ian arched an eyebrow. "It would be ever so much easier on you."
Was there the slightest sneer in his voice?
"I'm quite capable of using public transportation. Thank you."
His breath-stealing blue eyes widened. Surprise? She extracted her hand from his slackened grip.
"You truly intend to take public transport?"
The incredulous edge in his tone needled a sore spot deep inside. Exactly what she didn't need, another person who didn't believe in her ability to take care of herself. Why did everyone think her inept?
Her anger spiked, and she battled it down. Unreasonable fury belonged to her past. It held no place in the future she wanted for herself. London was supposed to be a new start. Within moments of meeting the illustrious Ian, he had dragged her into the past she'd vowed to leave behind.
Franny's words the first day rang in her head. This was the lovely young man who'd bailed the first day. If she never saw him again, it would be too soon.
"Why don't you go along, Ian?" Franny smiled, all benevolence.
"No need to interrupt your day," Becki assured to keep from swearing or at least saying something she'd regret once it left her mouth. God hated her. No doubt about it. "I'm not doing anything particularly special or interesting."
"I could come along to ensure you don't become lost."
"Not necessary." Arrogant man. "I've an excellent sense of direction. In fact, my friends called me 'the finder.' No matter what city we'd land in, I was appointed navigator to make sure we arrived where we intended."
"You travel a great deal, do you?"
Was it his accent that made him sound condescending? Peter and Franny's didn't.
Maybe the electricity she sensed was irritation.
 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Links to Share...

Patricia Johns shared a post on body image:
http://patriciajohnsromance.com/2014/07/13/dressing-up-the-paintbrush/

The Bookaholic Bookworm shares reviews. After reading this particular review, I added the book to my wish list. It's my kind of cookbook. It isn't available until 2015.
http://bookaholicbookworm.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/hugh-said-you-can-come-into-my-kitchen/

Writers In The Storm shared a great blog on the importance of small edits, including examples:
http://writersinthestormblog.com/2014/07/small-edits-can-make-a-big-difference/

Jude Urbanski, a Desert Breeze Publishing author, was interviewed over at Genesis 5020:
http://5020genesis.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/write-to-the-point-with-jude-urbanski/

Melissa Finnegan, from Genesis 5020, shares her writing journey over at Kristena Tunstall's blog:
http://kristenatunstall.com/the-journey-with-melissa-finnegan-acfw/

Lynette Endicott shares a short bit of good writing advice:
http://www.yosemiteromancewriters.com/when-does-the-characters-know-more-than-the-author

So many amazing people willing to share a bit of their world.

God bless.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Finding Home...

Book Four of The Silver Locket Sisterhood series will be available on Monday the 21st, in eformat. It will be available in paperback, next month.

In 1986, England, an American woman, her trust in God shaken, searches for new dreams, never anticipating the challenge of a faithful British gentleman.

American Becki Bagley's dreams are within her grasp only to be shattered along with her faith. God promised to give those who are faithful the desires of their heart. Why does He deny her? Where did she go wrong? Perhaps she failed to be good enough.

Ian Morgan, British self-made businessman, is settled in his life. He's already raised a family, his younger sister. Another family holds no interest to him, although his pretty American neighbor tempts him to reconsider.

Sometimes home isn't a place but a feeling when the right person is near, and somtimes finding the right person requires leaving everything familiar behind and exercising new faith and trust...

Excerpt:
 
-->
He held her gaze and tightened his hold on her hand, ever so slightly. Her heart fluttered, and her breath hitched. Did the same sensation affect him?
With her luck, not likely.
This couldn't be happening, not to her. She couldn't be interested in him. Her body had betrayed her on more than one occasion, responding to unacceptable men, men who would never qualify as candidates for a healthy relationship. What was wrong with her?
Maybe this was why God forced her to be alone? He knew how badly things would turn out. Everything in her past pointed to a single life. Maybe God was cruel to be kind.
Perhaps her resolve was being tested. She wouldn't fail. Not this time. Becki attempted to withdraw her hand, but Ian held firm.
"Are you here to take Becki sightseeing?" No one could miss Franny's hopefulness.
Becky tugged on her hand, but Ian refused to release her. His smile broadened. Her panic deepened. Embarrassment cloaked her, anger hard on its heels. She'd promised herself no man would be allowed to affect her as Ted had. More especially, none would fluster, humiliate, or embarrass her ever again.
God made it plain she was meant to be alone, and she'd come to terms with it. She'd pass this test, with flying colors. Despite another unobtrusive tug, Ian continued to hold her hand.
"Not to worry, Auntie Franny. I'm fine on my own." It was all Becki could do to remain civil. She reminded herself she couldn't punch one of her aunt's friends, no matter how much she itched to do so or how much he deserved it.
"You don't want a ride somewhere?" Ian arched an eyebrow. "It would be ever so much easier on you."
Was there the slightest sneer in his voice?
"I'm quite capable of using public transportation. Thank you."
His breath-stealing blue eyes widened. Surprise? She extracted her hand from his slackened grip.
"You truly intend to take public transport?"
The incredulous edge in his tone needled a sore spot deep inside. Exactly what she didn't need, another person who didn't believe in her ability to take care of herself. Why did everyone think her inept?
Her anger spiked, and she battled it down. Unreasonable fury belonged to her past. It held no place in the future she wanted for herself. London was supposed to be a new start. Within moments of meeting the illustrious Ian, he had dragged her into the past she'd vowed to leave behind.
Franny's words the first day rang in her head. This was the lovely young man who'd bailed the first day. If she never saw him again, it would be too soon.
"Why don't you go along, Ian?" Franny smiled, all benevolence.
"No need to interrupt your day," Becki assured to keep from swearing or at least saying something she'd regret once it left her mouth. God hated her. No doubt about it. "I'm not doing anything particularly special or interesting."
"I could come along to ensure you don't become lost."
"Not necessary." Arrogant man. "I've an excellent sense of direction. In fact, my friends called me 'the finder.' No matter what city we'd land in, I was appointed navigator to make sure we arrived where we intended."
"You travel a great deal, do you?"
Was it his accent that made him sound condescending? Peter and Franny's didn't.
Maybe the electricity she sensed was irritation.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Saving Lisa...

Book Three in The Silver Locket Sisterhood series is available now in eformat and will be available in paperback in August.

Everything Eric Hudson owned burned to the ground. Over a year later, in the late spring of 1985, it's time to gather what few threads remain and see what he can salvage. A job in Thailand offers a fresh start. A relationship is one complication he does not need especially with a woman who believes God solves everything...

A new job is the answer to Lisa Montgomery's prayer. Relationships are out. Travel is the only adventure she wants. The main impediment to her hopes and dreams is fear. In her efforts to conquer it, she embarks on a dangerous journey and discovers a world she didn't know existed, human trafficking. Nothing stands between her and slavery. Faith isn't only about trusting God but trusting self...

The difference between running away and running to is the difference between fear and faith.

Excerpt

In the Seattle airport, the gorgeous guy walked ahead of her. It didn't strike her as odd until he stopped at her gate. She stood behind him at the check-in counter. He glanced back at her, his focus encompassing her.

Butterflies fluttered in her stomach and spread through her veins.

"Where're you headed?" he asked, the rich baritone reminding her of hot fudge over cold ice cream.

"Thailand," she managed to articulate without stuttering.

"We're going the same direction." He smiled, his dimple winking at her.

"Do you always talk to complete strangers?" Could she possibly sound any more off-putting?

"Actually, yes, I do," he chuckled. "Long-standing habit."

He accepted her challenge and lobbed it back. All she could do was stare at him and pray her mouth wasn't hanging open.

"I've done a lot of traveling," he continued. "The people are half the fun. I'm Eric. Eric Hudson."

"Lisa. Lisa Montgomery. I've never traveled anywhere alone in my life, until today." She slapped her hand over her mouth. "Blabbing everything is one of my faults," she mumbled through her fingers.

"You haven't said too much," he assured, "yet -- I promise not to take advantage."

She inspected him from head to foot and back again. Who was he? What was his interest in her? She was nobody but a socially awkward misfit. An acceptable description she used to describe herself rather than the less flattering terms her family used.

"I'm supposed to trust you?" she blurted.

"Tickets?" the check-in agent asked, sparing them a glance.

"Could we be seated together?" Eric handed over his ticket.

"You're not traveling together?" the man asked.

"We are, if you're agreeable." Eric arched an eyebrow at her and glanced back at the agent. "Todd," he read the nametag, "she should be safe with me on the flight, shouldn't she?"

The agent glanced between them and directed his attention to her.

"Is he bothering you?"

Was he? Did she mind? Did it matter? Her internal danger radar remained silent. She couldn't always depend on her senses, not after the way her family trained her to ignore warning signals.

She reminded herself part of therapy included engaging a healthy sense of measuring the level of danger around her. Lessons involved desensitizing her hyper-vigilance and sharpening her awareness of safe options. Maybe now would be a good opportunity to test what she'd learned.

"I'll answer any questions you want to ask," Eric pleaded his case. "This is my third trip to Thailand."

Plead was probably too strong a word. She met Todd's steady gaze, and he gave her an encouraging smile.

"I can arrange for him to miss this flight and take a later one," he offered. "If you'd like."

"No." She struggled not to sputter, wanting to vaporize on the spot.

"Hey!" Eric complained, but his eyes twinkled. "It's a long flight, and rumor has it I'm a passable traveling companion."

"What if I'm not?" she dared to ask.

"I'll take my chances."

"You always have the option of asking the flight attendant to move you or him to a different seat if he becomes intolerable," Todd offered obligingly.

"No help from the peanut gallery," Eric grumbled.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Links to share...

Writers In The Storm blog shared some hints for beating writer's block:
http://writersinthestormblog.com/2014/07/unblocking-yourself-ten-ways-to-beat-writers-block/

Genesis 5020 offered a review and link to a free novella:
http://5020genesis.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/appalachian-serende-by-sarah-loudin-thomas-free-book/

Over on my author page on FB, I've offered a few sneak peeks to Tarnished Knight.
https://www.facebook.com/LaurelHawkes

God bless.

Friday, July 11, 2014

DBP new releases on July 11...

It's the 11th, which means there are new releases out over at Desert Breeze Publishing...

http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/

And wherever ebooks are sold, though some are slower at posting than others.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mark's Grace...

Book Two of The Silver Locket Sisterhood series is available in ebook format and will be available in paperback this August.

1983, California

Grace Williams loves her new job as the manager of Blink in Time, the art gallery Angelinos are raving about. Burying herself in work means she doesn't need to face the past.

Mark Callaghan, the gallery's curator, fell for Grace the first time he met her. Pursuing her is his other full-time job, but so far the relationship produces friendship, not love.

An old flame hunts Grace down. Mark fears his own affection for her may be too little too late.

Will Mark's patience and life-changes win Grace at last, or will her past destroy whatever future they might have shared?

Excerpt

"Grace!" Mark burst into the showroom, his face alight.

She wrenched herself back to the present, blanked the memories, and turned her full attention to Mark.

"I found the perfect place, a duplex. It's a two-story, single dwelling home. Well, it used to be a single dwelling. Now, it's divided into an upstairs and a downstairs apartment. We'll be able to move in before Christmas."

Her heart shredded into a million pieces. Mark Callaghan's words implied a nonexistent closeness. How she wished she could go back and change everything, but she couldn't. Even if she succeeded, it would mean she never would have met him anyway, because her brother would never have created an award-winning triptych for her. She pushed the past away, and gave her attention to the man grinning in her. Essie's directive to question Mark floated into her head, and she pushed it right out again.

She didn't have the right.

Luxurious dark hair, cut short around his ears and long in the back, brushed back from his chiseled face. One lock curled on his forehead, which always made her itch to slide her fingers through it and mess it up a bit. Dark straight brows and long lashes emphasized his hazel eyes.

His straight nose drew her perusal to his well-formed masculine lips. Her mind pictured the rest of him without difficulty. His athletic build filled his black suit to perfection. His boyish grin, belying his thirty-four years, always made her heart flip, her stomach fill with butterflies, and her mind cease all rational thought.

It would embarrass him if he knew how often she daydreamed about him falling in love with her. It embarrassed her. More than his good looks, he possessed the rare gift of making whoever he was with believe no one and nothing else was more important than they were.

She tucked the fantasy away. She wasn't in his league. She wasn't even in the same universe.

"You'll love it," he enthused.

The combination of his smile, bracketed by deep masculine grooves instead of dimples, and bright eyes sparked sensations in her she shouldn't feel.

"There's a wide, terra cotta tile stairway outside for the upstairs apartment," he continued with barely a breath. "An additional inside stairway connects the two kitchens, but two locked doors keep them separate -- one at the top and one at the bottom. I was thinking you'd take the upstairs, since it has a balcony. I know you love balconies. Besides, I'm gone so much, you might as well enjoy it. Better, you'll be close enough to keep an eye on my place, bring in my mail, use my truck. What do you think?"


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Luck in Love...

Book One in The Silver Locket Sisterhood series is available now, in ebook format, and will be available in paperback this August.

In 1983, housekeeping in the century-old Lake Yellowstone Hotel beckons to Sara Budge's desire to escape her abusive family. The summer break from college offers the time to determine her plans for the rest of her life.

Peace eludes Luck Williams, and the opportunity handed to him to photograph his favorite place on earth is irresistable. Even caught up in the pristine beauty he is unable to escape the haunting nightmares of one horrific day.

A fresh start doesn't guarantee the past stays in the past. The fragility and carpiciousness of life guarantees pain and disappointment.

Choosing perfect serenity and safety over love and trust may spare dips into the valleys, but the awe-inspiring views from the peaks are also forfeit. God provides gentle inspiration and the precious gift of choice, for those willing to risk the leap of faith.

EXCERPT

A movement to the right, deep in the trees, caught Sara's attention. She turned toward it, endeavoring to decipher what she'd seen. Another shift in the greens, blacks, and blues, and she blinked, uncertain, but then, the shadows and shades moved again, separating into a person in jeans and a green, long-sleeved pullover.

She caught a glimpse of his face. Her first impression was he couldn't be more than sixteen. He looked up from inspecting his camera, and she forced herself to meet the steady dark-eyed gaze. His eyes were older, years older. She could imagine how much he hated having the Peter-Pan gene, looking perpetually younger than he was. It was always more difficult for boys. So how old was he? It didn't matter. Once he had a good look at her, he'd retreat. Most men did, at least the nice ones. Bitterness coiled in her middle. What did it say about her wanting him to retreat? Then she'd know he was one of the good guys? When it was too late?

"Who is he?" she whispered.

"No clue," Wendy murmured. "From the look of his camera equipment, an educated guess says he's a professional photographer."

The man in question noted them watching, and one eyebrow inched up his forehead.
Sara's bitterness evaporated and heat crept up from her neck into her face. She nodded, acknowledging she'd been caught staring. An invisible fist squeezed her heart. How could anyone look so sad without tears streaming down their face? It was all she could do to keep herself from moving toward him to offer comfort. She couldn't keep from offering him a tentative smile.

He did not smile back.

His jaw tightened, and his whole face turned to stone. He turned away, snipping the tenuous thread spun between them without mercy. She should not feel bereft by the loss, but she did.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sharing links Saturday...

Jessica R. Patch shares a delightful post on learning to love reading the Bible.
http://www.jessicarpatch.com/2014/06/but-i-dont-like-bible.html

One of the best posts, ever, over at Writers in the Storm blog, about Spooks:
http://writersinthestormblog.com/2014/07/truths-of-spycraft-you-dont-see-in-fiction/

God bless.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sharing a link early...

Genesis 5020 is sharing a giveaway, but it's only good through Independence Day, tomorrow. Then it goes up to 99 cents, which is still a good deal. If you don't own a reader, she's also offering a PDF. Good deal. However, for those who need a little gift without feeling guilty, here you go:

http://5020genesis.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/i-have-a-story-published-and-its-free/

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

DBP new released on July 1st...

It's the 1st, which means there are new releases out over at Desert Breeze Publishing...

http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/

And wherever ebooks are sold, though some are slower at posting than others.