Friday, December 14, 2012

Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop





Twas the Night before Christmas –    Romance Style 

By: Christina Wolfer   
 
 

Twas the night before Christmas with a silk teddy draped over the chair
She put on the last of her makeup and ran her fingers through her hair.
The stockings were snapped to the garter with care,
In hopes that her hero soon would be there.

Into the teddy, she slid with delight
And checking the mirror knew it looked just right.
With tiny lace straps and in the color of red
Instead of standing by the fireplace, she chose to wait on the bed. 

Soft candle light flickered as her internal flame burned.
Every nerve ending pulsed and her stomach churned.
He was all that she wanted and wished for tonight.
She had only this moment to get everything right. 

And then to her wondering eyes he did appear
She could see by the look, his desire was clear.
Oh, how handsome, tall, dark and rough,
She knew in a moment, one night would not be enough. 

He strode to the bed, trailed a finger down her face,
Then continued down to touch the silk and the lace.
He said not a word as he let his hands roam
She drew in a breath and let it out on a moan. 

He lay down beside her, so lively and quick,
He took her to heaven for he knew every trick.
More rapid than eagles, he too then came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called her by name! 

She lay quietly beside him, waiting to hear
The words “I love you”. She waited in fear.
For every good Romance must have a great plot
And in the tangled story the heroin got caught. 

For in the beginning, she thought what a jerk
But as the story moved forward, his charm it did work.
They labored through the conflict, both internal and out
And then in a flash, she fell in love, no doubt. 

But now as Christmas morning drew near,
Only one thing remained she needed made clear.
And she pondered and wondered as she stared at the wall,
Did he feel the same thing or nothing at all? 

She started to speak, but he stopped her in stride.
His eyes – how they twinkled – his mirth he could not hide.
He kissed her mouth roughly, then kissed her once more
As he reached for his pants that lie on the floor. 

And out of his pocket our hero did take
A bright, shiny diamond and it wasn’t a fake.
He held it out for the heroine, who smiled with glee
For all of her wishes this Christmas had come to be. 

I love you,” he said as his sexy lips drew up like a bow
Outside in the beautiful Christmas morn, it began to snow.
And all was complete, wrapped up neat and tight
They heard in the distance “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!”

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Love Halloween

I live in the country, however, and there is one downside - I don't get Trick-or-Treat little ones at my door. So this year I'm making it up for this by taking treats to work tomorrow (graveyard brownies to the left) and by participating in a Halloween Blog hop over at Romance Author Hotspot

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's My Party and I'll Give Presents Away if I Want to

I’m turning 44 on July 19th and lucky for me, I’ve got nothing to cry about, except maybe a few more wrinkles and dimples that I didn’t have 20 years ago. But with each year that passes its hard not to look back and ponder the decisions I’ve made, to reminisce, think about where I am and what the future holds, to think about the accomplishments and yes, the failures.

I remember riding the bus for the hour-long trip to school everyday, staring out the window and being the star in the daydreams of my future. There was always adventure in those inspirational moments, many twists and turns, and oh, the drama. Inevitably, there were horses and I was a world-renowned horse trainer. There were sexy men with hearts of gold who swooped me off my feet. And the career woman who beat the odds in a male dominate world. I wanted to be anything but what I was and anywhere but on that school bus.

I had four major goals or vision for my life during those hours and years riding that yellow hunk of metal - they included the following:



1. Career woman
2. Barrel racer
3. Horse trainer
4. Published Author

The decisions and reminiscing:

1. Career woman - I went to college despite a school counselor telling me not to bother going because I’d never make it and a father who said I’d end up pregnant before it was all said and done. Jokes on them, considering that would never be possible, me getting pregnant that is. And not only did I make it through college, I did it with flying colors. Since graduating, I have done all the things I though a career woman would do. I’ve had the luxury of travelling all over the U.S. and staying in some magnificent hotels. I’ve worn fancy dresses to fancy dinners and drank some of the best Champaign (I’ll take a beer any day, thank you). I’ve given presentations to corporate staff and have sat in hour long meetings with customers from foreign countries. Was it as glamorous as the teenage girl thought it would be, at times—yes, but for the most part—no. It’s work just like anything else.

2. Barrel racer - When I was in my late twenties, I decided it was time to pursue this dream. I bought a 15-year-old seasoned barrel racing mare (Baby D), who taught me the ropes. We competed for fours years together and running some pretty good times when I had to retire her due to arthritis and the fact she’d gone blind in one eye. She’s thirty-two years old this year and looks like a spring chicken. She is doing great and enjoying life. Even though I don’t barrel race anymore, it’s still a dream fulfilled. I think about getting back into it, but it just hasn’t been the same since riding Baby D.

3. Horse trainer - This one is simple. I bought a yearling and trained her to replace Baby D. With the exception of hating to go in the horse trailer, she turned out to be an excellent all around horse. She is good in competition, but never managed to fill Baby D’s horseshoes. Where she does excel is with the little ones. Put a child on her back and she is the sweetest, gentlest horse you will find. I trained a horse. Goal accomplished.

4. Published Author - This one took the longest to achieve. More from lack of trying than anything, because once I tried things sorta happened pretty fast considering five years is nothing compared to the industry standard. It has been possibly the hardest to achieve because of the personal, emotional and time investment that it takes to write and then sell a book. And the time investment isn’t just your own, but your families, too. The time it takes away from them. It has been, however, the most satisfying, self-rewarding accomplishment because in writing I have found my passion.

Where I am:

Literally, right now? On my front porch, a cool breeze blowing across me and my laptop as I write. But in life terms—it’s all good. I’m still working the career woman angle until the movie deal comes through for one or all of my books. Hey, just because I’m 44 doesn’t mean I’ve stopped dreaming. I’ve still got my horses and I enjoy them even if I don’t barrel race or ride as often as I’d like. Spending time with them, watching them in the pasture and smelling them when I walk into the barn brings me peace. 

I have my dream home—a log cabin—and live on the farm I grew up on as a child. I have wonderful people around me—family and friends, many are both. 

I count on exercise now like never before and age defying creams all in effort to look younger than what I am. I’m playing softball again for the first time in 17 years, and that’s purely for enjoyment and because I missed it. 

God is a strong force in my life and I thank him everyday for the many blessings. I pray for strength to be the person He wants me to be and I hope one day to be worthy of His love and mercy.

What the future holds:

Who knows, right? It could all end tomorrow. Not the world, but my life or my life as I know it, but you can’t spend your time dwelling on that. You do the best you can and what’s meant to be will be. 

Work as if it all depends on you and pray as if it all depends on God.  

For my birthday, I’m giving away a FREE copy (e-book or print) of EMOTIONAL WARFARE and a $10 gift card to Amazon to two lucky commenters. Leave a comment below about a goal achieved or anything else or just leave your e-mail address to be entered to win.

Monday, June 11, 2012

ARC GIVE-AWAY: EMOTIONAL WARFARE

Leave any comment below regarding your plans for the 4th of July between now and midnight of the 4th and I will enter you in a drawing for an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of EMOTIONAL WARFARE. Winner announced Thursday, July 5th. Please leave your e-mail address if I don't already have it or check back for the winner.

Book Blurb:

When highly classified military parts go missing from Libby Aerospace Technologies, Dana Porter is sent to Wyoming to resolve the issues and negotiate a new contract with the United States Navy Defense contractor. But first, she’ll have to figure out why the parts are disappearing. The further Dana digs, the more dangerous things become, and when an ex-employee ends up murdered, she suspects someone is illegally exporting the goods.

Despite General Manager Nick White’s resentment of Dana’s presence, he cannot afford to lose the contract and knows she is his best bet in making sure that doesn’t happen. He left Indiana over a year ago to get away from her. Now, she is scrutinizing every aspect of his business, finding inconsistencies he can’t explain and awakening old feelings he thought long gone.

Together, they will race against time to stop the illegal exports and secure the contract, but with hearts and lives on the line, not everyone will walk away unscathed.


 Excerpt:

Khartoum, Sudan
Khartoum’s New Islamic Alliance Military Compound 

Zufar was dead.
The words like a mantra repeated in Rustan Hasan’s head, mocking his very existence.
Zufar was dead. Zufar was dead.
It should have been me. The thought roared through him like a freight train, the painful truth suffocating. Not Zufar.
The pressure in Rustan’s chest built, closing off the air in his lungs as the commander of the Khartoum’s New Islamic Alliance fraction told them of the attack against the United States. Blood had been spilled in accordance with the Quran. But Rustan, with his heart breaking, did not care about advancing Islam, about Allah’s law or the overall goal of the mission. He wanted to drop to his knees and scream out the rage tearing at his insides.
His legs trembled, and his stomach convulsed. A loud howling filled his head drowning out the words of his commander, but not the pain. The thought of his mother and sister pierced his heart. His shoulders shook beneath the olive green of his military uniform as his mind flipped back in time of two skinny boys playing along a dirt road. Makeshift swords of long twigs gripped in their hands as they fought an imaginary foe.
“One day,” nine-year-old Zufar had claimed. “I will fight and kill the real enemy.”
Rustan pulled away from the memories, snapping his shoulders back to quiet the trembling. He would not humiliate Zufar’s memory by falling apart in front of his comrades. He would not disgrace his family.
Zufar had been brave, and the Muslim Brotherhood would glorify his actions. Allah would reward him in the afterlife. Zufar had lived and planned for the day he would commit jihad against their enemy. His day had come, but to Rustan, it was without victory. The enemy had won. They had succeeded in killing a great man—his beloved brother.

Trinity, Indiana USA

The thrashing and groaning tugged Dana Porter out of a deep sleep. She bolted upright with the realization that her husband struggled with a muscle spasm. She jumped out of the king size bed and circled around to Ted’s side. His eyes squeezed tight against the pain, his fist clenched in a seized state. His sweat-slicked body scented the air with bitter pain. He tried knocking her hands away as she worked to roll him onto his stomach.
“Leave me alone,” he forced out between clenched jaws.
A part of her wanted to leave him to writhe in agony until he begged for help. But he would be stubborn, and she couldn’t allow the pain to go on that long.
She positioned herself, one hand at his shoulder, the other at his waist. Mentally, she counted to three, then lifted, and shoved at the same time. He screamed out as he rolled onto his stomach.
Tears stung her eyes.
“Okay, it’s almost over.” Climbing on the bed, she knelt over him and began to knead the knotted muscles of his back with the heels of her hands, ignoring the ache moving up her arms.
Dana consoled herself with the knowledge that things weren’t as bad as they had been right after the accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. The spasms had come weekly then, but over time had diminished to every six months.
He resented her help, but didn’t fight her with the enthusiasm he once had. Oh, he remained emotionally shut off, almost proudly so.
“That’s enough, Dana. The spasm’s gone,” he murmured, tugging her back to the present.
She climbed from the bed and helped him onto his back. The spasms always left him weak and unable to manipulate his way out of bed. He would need help, and the need would piss him off.
She pulled the blankets up to his waist and thought, as she often did, what a magnificent chest he had. His arms and upper body thick with rope-like muscles from years of dragging his lower body around. She had told him once how beautiful his body was, running her hands over his chest. He had looked at her in disgust and pushed her hands away. The memory kept her from touching him now, kept her from looking into those ice blue eyes.
“Do you want to get out of bed or sleep a few more hours?” She asked, bracing herself for his harsh response.
“What are you going to do?”
She glanced at him, confused by the quiet reply. “I’ll go ahead and get my shower, maybe head into work early.”
“I’ll just lie here a while longer.” He grabbed her wrist when she turned away. The voluntary touch surprised her. “Thank you, Dana.” His words stunned her.
She faltered. “You’re welcome,” she mumbled and then retreated behind the bathroom door.
Under the hot spray of the shower, she let the tears scald her cheeks while painful, silent sobs ripped through her body. Three years and it still broke her heart at how cruel fate had been to Ted, how brutal it had been to their love.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cover Reveal for WEIGHTED by Ciara Knight

Weighted is a young adult post-apocalyptic with paranormal elements. It is a prequel novelette to The Neumarian Chronicles, and will be released August 2012. Book I,Escapement, will be released in 2013.

Blurb:

The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself. It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Getting Lost in the Story

I’m one of those people who can completely get lost in a story, become part of the action and emotion swirling around the characters. My heart thuds in my chest along with the heroine’s as she rescues horses from a burning barn and it leaps for joy at the sight of the man she loves (TwoBrothers). I feel the beat of the music as a dancer takes the floor at a nightclub on the arm of a handsome partner and the pain experienced when the truth is revealed (Silent Partner). The tickle of fear streaks down my spine with a sickening churn in my stomach when I see the face of a teenage girl trapped in a burning building (Silent Scream).

But that’s me. 

I’ve learned over the last 9 months that not everyone gets totally lost in the story, even an exceptionally well written one. They can’t let go enough of their surroundings, their thoughts or worries to become one with what they are reading.
  
To me, this is the whole point of reading—it’s an “escape hatch” as Stephen King would say. And yes, I’m slightly addicted to King since finishing his book On Writing. I never expected to like it so much. 

Anyway, I’ve also learned that there are those who get even more engrossed than I. They invest so much of themselves into the story and the characters that they become very angry with the author for not giving them the ending they expect, the closure they feel they and the character deserve. 

As a reader, I don’t begin reading a book with an expectation of how it should end, except for the necessary happy ending that the romance genre is known for. That is why I read romance. I don’t expect the characters to act or speak a certain way. The unknown is part of the journey, the best part, in my opinion.

I started out writing this thinking about a few typos in my own published books. Some people noticed and some didn’t. Then an author friend told me not to worry, she found typos in every book she’s ever read. Okay, she actually mentioned my favorite author’s name, which I refuse to repeat. If you know me or have been here before, you know of whom we speak. I’ve never found a single mistake while reading many, if not all, of this favorite authors books. Why? I think it’s because I’m so immersed in the story that I don’t notice the mistakes. I’m not just reading the words, I’m living it, feeling and breathing it.

Some, maybe most, of the ability to get lost in a story depends on how well it’s written. But I think it can have a lot to do with one’s ability to let go of the real world. It’s kind of like sex, they say a woman can’t reach orgasm if she can’t relax, if she can’t let go of the worries of her day, if she’s uptight, tired, or stressed. Maybe the same is true when it comes to reading. If we are feeling guilty about sitting there, doing nothing, and thinking, “I really should clean or cook…” or whatever else it is we heap on our shoulders, then chances are we aren’t going to relax enough to get lost in the story.

So what do you think? Is it the Author’s ability or lack of to pull us in? Or do our own lives play a part in keeping us from getting lost in the story?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"I never did like this story."

Nope, this isn’t an April Fools' Day joke. Emotional Warfare was a difficult story for me to write. I think because it hit too close to home. They say to write what you know, but there’s something to be said for putting distance between your real life and the make believe world we create. Anyway, I shoved the story aside and went on to write two more novels, and found myself in a quandary. I could not, in good conscious let the story, the characters and the fours months I took to write the draft go to waste. It had potential and was worth the effort. So, I put my foot down with ME and wouldn’t write the next book or complete the two written since until I finished Emotional Warfare. I couldn’t do it. I sat spinning my wheels, not wanting to go backward and not allowing myself to move forward. Something had to give. More on that later.

This probably isn’t the smartest thing for an author to admit about their own work. After all, if I struggled with it then surely you won’t want to read it.

Not true. Really, you say. YES, I insist.

How many of you have seen the movie or read the book, Carrie by Stephen King? Did you like it? Have you watched the movie more than once? The answer is yes for me.

Well, King didn’t like Carrie White. He admits this in his book, On Writing, that he never did like her character. He might not have finished the story if his wife hadn’t found the crumbled up pages of the beginning in the trash and asked him to finish. He struggled to do so, but it is the novel that launched his career. He had published many other stories, and wrote several novels he liked better, but it was Carrie that gave him his big break. Because we liked the story even though he did not.

I can’t say my dislike for Emotional Warfare goes that deep. I wrote the first draft without any problem. I liked my characters, and there was merit to the story. But I was stuck. How many of you are asking yourselves, “Well, then why did you write it?” Because the characters were in my head and they had a story to tell. The first draft was easy because it was just the basics. It was when I had to get down to the details, when it got difficult that I wanted to walk away from the story.

With that said, here is some insight from King’s book, On Writing, that hit home for me:

I had written three other novels before CarrieRage, The Long Walk, and The Running Man were later published. Rage is the most troubling of them. The Long Walk may be the best of them. But none of them taught me the things I learned from Carrie White. The most important is that the writer’s original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader’s. Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position. King, Stephen (2000-10-03). On Writing (pp. 77-78). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I can say with some confidence, and I think my editor would agree, that I was not shoveling shit when writing Emotional Warfare. But then it is all in ones perception of what is good and what is bad—just like any work of art, beauty is subjective.

I like to compare writing to doing a painting. You do the first draft, which is the outline or sketch of the picture then you go back over and over to layer in the color, filling in the lines. I struggled to do that with Emotional Warfare.

Here’s what finally gave: I submitted Emotional Warfare to my publisher, thinking if they put me under contract, I would then be on deadline and forced to finish it. And that’s exactly what happened. It is almost done; currently working through it’s final (I think) round of edits. It’s a good story, if I say so myself, and will be released July of this year. Here’s hoping that, like Stephen King’s Carrie, Emotional Warfare will ultimately be the book that gets me known—Okay, I’ll say it, that it makes me famous. Hey, it can’t hurt to dream. After all, being published was once only a dream and it came true. My fingers and toes are crossed. 

Emotional Warfare blurb:

When highly classified military parts go missing from Libby Aerospace Technologies, Dana Porter is sent to Wyoming to resolve the issues and negotiate a new contract with the United States Navy Defense contractor. The deeper Dana digs into the issues, the more dangerous the situation becomes and Dana suspects the parts are being illegally exported.

Despite General Manager, Nick White’s resentment of Dana’s presence, he can’t afford to lose the Navy contract and knows she is his best bet in making sure that doesn’t happen. When he accepted the promotion and moved to Wyoming over a year ago, it was to get away from Dana. Now, she’s scrutinizing every aspect of his business, finding inconsistencies he can’t explain and awakening old feelings he thought long gone.

Emotions are high as they battle to control the situation and their potent attraction. Together, they will race against time to stop the illegal exports and secure the deal, but with hearts and lives on the line, not everyone will walk away unscathed.

 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Things to do:
  1. Drink green beer
  2. Wear green or maybe you like getting pinched.
  3. Go to a parade
  4. Hang out at an Irish Pub
  5. Attend church - after all it is about St. Patrick the Patron Saint of Ireland
  6. Watch March Madness
  7. Eat Cornedbeef
  8. Attend a St. Patrick's Day dance
  9. Kiss a Leprechaun
  10. Find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow (I think they call that the lottery)
How do you celebrate St. Patty's Day?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

HOME by Calisa Rhose

In September 2010, I took Eliza Knight's "Edit Your Book in a Month”, an online course I highly recommend, btw. Little did I know that I would come away from the class with more than editing skills, but a great group of friends who are there for each other during the highs and lows of not just our writing careers, but our lives. We call ourselves the WritingDiva's. 

So I am tickled pink to be celebrating the success of one very special WritingDiva, Calisa Rhose, on her debut release HOME. I finished reading HOME last night, read it in two sittings and love this story. The characters practically walk off the page. Great job, Calisa.

You are so going to want to leave a comment for chance to win a copy of this fantastic story.

Here is a little about Calisa: She is a small-town country girl who lives in a semi-remote area of Oklahoma with her husband, five dogs, one cat and one horse. All of her three daughters and their families live within throwing distance. She’s a member of RWA and the local chapter OKRWA. She intends to nurture and continue to grow as an author with the help of her family and supporters.

Welcome, Calisa. I'm happy dancing around the room in your honor.

Thanks for having me here, Tina! I’m so excited about this interview.

To give everyone a glimpse into who you, I've got just a few quarky questions. What does your husband think of your writing career? Does he read your stories?

Mitch is very supportive. He told me this summer after I sold my first book that he wants me to stay home and write so he can retire! He hasn’t read my books but he helps me brainstorm on occasion. He has a very creative imagination.

It's great that he supports and encourages you. I know how important that is. My hubby doesn’t read my stories either, but he knows them almost as well as if he had. So what can we expect to see from you next? What project is in the works?

I’m working on a contemporary cowboy short story that I hope The Wild Rose Press will pick up. I’m also working on a fireman story and a paranormal series.

Sounds like you’re keeping busy. I’m a sucker for cowboys, myself, so I would love to hear more on the cowboy short story. Now for some non-writing related questions. What is the top item on your bucket list? And why?

It used to be sell a book but now that I’ve done that...to take hubby on a real vacation. A cruise or something.

I know you love horses and since I do as well, tell us about your horse.
A topic so dear to my heart! My daughter bought Sonny for me when I returned to Oklahoma five years ago. She knew how much I miss my other horse I’d raised and had to sell a few years before the move. Sonny is 20 this year. He’s a 15.3 hands sorrel quarter horse and spoiled rotten. He’s so tame and easy going that my now six yo granddaughter learned to ride on him when she was just three. My niece used him to teach two young girls to ride and they rode him in NEOSHA horse shows taking 2nd-5th placements two years in a row.

That is great, Calisa. Sonny sounds like a special part of the family.


If you could be a cartoon character, which one would you be and why?

Hm- I’m gonna say Olive Oil because though I’m not tall, I am thin and I think I’m intelligent. :)

LOL. I would never have thought of Olive Oil, only because it has been so long since I've heard anyone mention her. Good choice.

If you were to write a book about yourself, what would the title be?

Never Marry a Mail-Order Preacher

Okay, I should have added a why? I’ve gotta ask, but I’ll do that in the comments section.

Man Fan Favorites:
Chest: Hair or no hair? No hair, though a little teaser trail is nice.
Face: hair or no hair? Typically no, but if worn right I like it. 
Boxers or briefs? Boxer briefs. I love how they cuddle and conceal! 
Jeans or Suits? Absolutely jeans! 
Dark or Blonde? Dark. 
Bad boy or Good boy? I like a good bad boy. *grin* Or a bad good boy maybe. 
Rough or gentle? Gentle

HOME Blurb:

What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?

Silvertown’s outcast, Poppy Tippen, has loved football hero Sam “The Force” Callahan forever. But he never seemed to know she was alive. Now he’s home from the war and she suddenly finds herself comforting him from the demons of “that damn war.” Is his attention merely an escape from the haunting nightmares? Or does she hold the interest of the only man she’s ever truly loved?

Sam Callahan’s only solace from the war nightmares wrecking his life comes in the unlikely form of a gypsy girl with stigmas of her own. He’s known Poppy his entire life, but there’s something different about her now. Something special he desperately wants to hold on to. Can he convince her she’s the only thing he needs to put the past behind him?

Get your copy of HOME at The Wild Rose Press and on Amazon.

Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com/

On twitter @Calisa_Rhose and Facebook @Calisa Rhose

She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at calisa.rhose@gmail.com

Calisa will be giving away an ebook copy of HOME to one lucky commenter. So please leave emails in your comment to make it easier to contact the winner. If I can’t find the winner, then I’ll choose another.