Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy stopped by today to talk about one of her favorite teachers. It never ceases to amaze me how much of an impact teachers make on students' lives.
My seventh grade teacher phoned me the other night to talk about my novels and writing in general. She thinks I’ve hit on something with my historical romances but let’s wind back the years for a minute.
Seventh grade is a long time ago for most of us and sometimes we prefer not to remember those awkward adolescent years. But for me, seventh grade presented a pivotal point in my desire to become a writer and I found a teacher whose influence would stretch far beyond a single school year.
At the time, Mrs. Judy Buwalda had returned to her hometown, a small town
in the Missouri Ozarks where I was a recent transplant. She spent some time working on the staff of major magazines but returned home with her daughter after being widowed at a young age. She arrived just in time for a new project the local school district wanted to try– mini courses.
Once a week, seventh and eighth grade students were allowed to choose a
mini-course. Subjects offered ranging from building birdhouses and learning to cook to creating a magazine. I already scribbled and dreamed of writing so I opted for the magazine course. During the first semester of that year our class worked hard to learn how to put a magazine together from a pro. We also wrote our articles and I remember being so proud when mine – an article about Hanukkah –was chosen for the magazine. I still have my copy of our “Mini-Magazine” and I still have a friend and mentor in Judy.
Fast forward a few years and my former teacher returned to my life. After remarriage and spending years “back east”, Judy returned to Neosho with her husband, Bill Smith. By the time she returned, I was established as a weekly columnist for the local newspaper and had a string of bylines. I wrote one week about our little “mini magazine” and how much her guidance helped me.
She phoned me up when she read it and asked me to have lunch with her. So I accepted and we had a blast over some Thai food. Somewhere between the conversation and the memories we became friends, despite our age difference and our former association as teacher/student.
Now Judy and I talk about writing and our lives. I’m delighted she’ll be one of those in attendance at our second annual author fair in the small town where we live and I’ll looking forward to our next lunch out.
I spent a few years in the classroom as a substitute teacher myself and
because of the excellent instructors like Judy, I made every effort to make a
positive difference. Since the kids nicknamed me the “awesome sub”and now, three years after I subbed, I have former students who now call me a friend, I think I must have done something right. I wish I had time to list every teacher who served as a mentor to me and encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing.
I dedicated one of my novels, Witness Protection Program, to another favorite teacher – Gary Sims – last fall because he always believed in me.
Next week my thirteenth novel and my sixth with Rebel Ink Press, will be available on April 3. It’s not a historical novel– something Judy thinks will bring me the most success – but another romantic suspense. Since my
previous romantic suspense with Rebel (Witness Protection Program) has been
one of my top selling books, I think readers will enjoy Miss Good Samaritan. The next two Rebel titles after it will be historical so if Judy is reading this, I’ve got more on the way!
Miss Good Samaritan Blurb:
Robin Cavanaugh's ordinary Saturday goes awry when a wounded man leap into her car at a traffic light and refuses to go to the hospital. Robin's first instinct is to take him to the nearest police station but when he tells her his name, she realizes he's a member of her church. He swears he's one of the good guys and Robin feels inclined to believe him. So she takes him home and tends his wounds.
When his condition worsens, she even uses his cell phone to contact what turns out to be his brother, the local medical doctor. Robin soon learns that Gray is no criminal but an undercover agent whose life may be in danger.
As their relationship develops and Gray heals, Robin becomes part of the
action, too. When she gives him her heart and accepts his marriage
proposal, Robin has no idea if he'll survive his last undercover operation
Excerpt from Miss Good Samaritan/Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
“It's okay, Robin. I don’t mind,”
If he reacted or confessed to being a dangerous fugitive, she might not feel so guilty but remorse hung heavy on her soul. “I do.”
Her two words hung between them, suspended like a spider in a web.
“Why?” Gray questioned. He sounded sincere and without artifice.
“I didn’t like what I found,” Robin said. Her worst suspicions bubbled up with
force and she asked the hard questions she’d harbored. “Why do you have an officer’s badge and a gun? Did you kill the owner?”
His eyes widened, large and luminous but she couldn’t tell if it was with shock or confusion. “Is that what you think?”
Robin attempted to draw a breath and couldn’t breathe. Her heart
continued racing and her nerves jangled as she said, with a calm she lacked,
“Gray, I really don’t know what to think. I don’t. I want to believe
you’re innocent but I don’t understand why you’d have these.
Thank you very much Lee Ann for coming by today. Teachers have a soft spot in my heart. As a teacher myself, I enjoy hearing about teachers who make a difference in a student's life. Check out Lee Ann's upcoming release "Miss Good
Samaritan... a contemporary romantic suspense novel on sale April 3rd!
Today I welcome Krista Ames to my blog. She is a fellow Ruby Lioness Press author and Michigander.
Tell us about yourself:
Hi Melissa! My name is Krista and I’m a wife with an amazing husband. I have 4 kids ranging from 13 to 6 which makes my house totally chaotic J We live in Michigan and have 2 chocolate lab sisters and 2 cats. I’m a stay at home mom even though all my kids are in school so I get to write all day long except to do laundry or dishes and whatever else needs
done. What television sitcom is most like your family? Why?
Good question. I guess it
could be a lop-sided Brady Bunch since we are a blended family, 3 kids are mine and 1 is my step daughter. We need an “Alice” if for no other reason than for my own sanity lol. What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
My all-time favorite is to take a hot bubble bath in the dark with candles and a quiet bathroom, which means I need to lock the door so the kids will leave me alone. My only problem right now is we are in a construction phase so no bath tub. :(
Do you prefer…Public speaking or public singing?
Oh I don’t like either. Seriously. But if I have to pick one, I suppose I’d take singing, like karaoke maybe and if I was drinking
lolWriting in a notebook or typing on the computer?
All my notes and ideas go into a notebook and then make it onto the computer. I’ve been trying to convert but I always have my paper and pencil close by.Coke or Pepsi?
My husband would so laugh at this but I was a diehard Pepsi fan until I met him and now I drink Coke. Living without your cell phone or living without your computer?
I would rather live without my computer because I can do everything on my cell phone.Now about you as an author…
Did you always want to be an author?
No, I wanted to be a Veterinarian or an Interior Decorator.What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
Honestly I didn’t even like to read when I was growing up. If I did it was really rare.
As an adult however, it was reading stories from Linda Lael Miller and
Debbie Macomber that made me want to create my own stories. Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend)
Well pretty much all my family encouraged me.
My parents definitely. My aunts think it’s very cool and my sister and
niece buy everything I write. My husband has been my biggest supporter and my kids want to write with me. :) oh and our new kitten likes to sit on my shoulder and jump onto my laptop because she loves the sound of the keys when I type.What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite?
My favorite part
of writing is just letting my ideas burst onto my paper. I always know where the start is and I always know how I want the ending to happen but the middle always surprises me. My least part of writing is when I get stuck. Otherwise I love writing and even editing.What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on?
Uhm, probably the length of my writing. I’d like to write longer works. I’d also like to branch out into other genre’s as well. Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Most definitely……paper, pencil and caffeine. Sometimes music or mushy movies help me get into the groove.Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books?
No not so far anyway. What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
That it’s a
tough business and you kind of have to be a perfectionist of sorts when editing
before submitting and to not let it depress you if you get rejected. One rejection doesn’t mean anything, only that someone else might just love it!Tell us about your latest release: (blurb, excerpt, cover)
My latest release is a Navy novella called Second Chances. The blurb and the excerpt can probably tell you better about the story…..BlurbIf you could get a Second Chance...When the love of Dana's life leaves without a word, she is forced to move on with her life. Despite loving him, she believes she will never see him again but, little does she know, she's being set up for a night that will change her life
forever.Nicholas, A Navy man, did the only thing he could to save the woman he loved. Driven by a secret, he disappeared and now returns, years later, with hope for love. With one opportunity, will he be able to make things right, or is it just too late? Will she deny any desire for Second Chances?Excerpt: He watched her knees buckle a bit as Dana clutched at Amy’s arm,
never taking her eyes off him. She said something he couldn’t make out—he never was good at reading lips. He was good at reading body language, however, and he knew in an instant what she meant to do just as she turned and made a dash for the patio door. Instinctively, he propelled himself forward, his body miraculously unfrozen. He had to go after her. He was the reason she was bailing after all. He knew from the look on her face. He passed Dave and Amy and shook his head when Dave tried to speak.
"Don’t. I’m sorry. I have to go after her.” He closed the sliding door behind him and stood on the deck, searching the darkness. She wasn’t there. She couldn’t have gone far. She didn’t know anyone else here, and he doubted she was familiar with the area. He descended the stairs and walked out onto the yard along the water’s edge.
Where’d she go? He started walking and, with relief, caught sight of a silhouette against the water toward the end of his property. He approached her quietly. She stood, arms hugging tightly around her middle, and held her shoes in her hand while the gentle waves splashed up and over the seawall. Damn, he wanted to touch her. It’d been so long. He couldn’t deny the growing ache pushing against his heart and a sudden tightening of his groin at the sight of how well that dress fit her curves, but this definitely wasn’t the time for his libido to come to life. He wanted to turn her, hold her in his arms, and nuzzle her beautiful neck just below her ear like she’d always loved. Would she still like it? Maybe she wouldn’t. Maybe he didn’t know her anymore, but he couldn’t stop himself. God, he wanted this woman still. He wanted her to know how very sorry he was for hurting her, and why. But she wouldn’t welcome his touch, especially now. He was certain of it. She’d likely administer a low blow, which he would totally deserve, and bolt. She was unpredictable that way. He loved that about her, too. He was only human, however, and he couldn’t not touch her. She knew he was there—he’d seen her form go stiff at his presence. Careful not to scare her, he slowly ran his fingertips over her bare shoulders and down her arms, feeling her shiver at his touch before she took a step away. “Don’t, Nicholas,”she said in a low, shaky whisper.Links:
www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-chances-krista-ames/1109557099?ean=2940014310932&itm=1&usri=krista+amesNow some more specific questions about your book...How did you decide on your story plot?
I’m not really a plotter actually. I just came up with the idea of a Navy guy losing the girl( I love military men) and wrote the beginning, thought about how I wanted it to end then created everything in between. This particular time I picked the hero first and started writing. How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
Well, I have a huge word document that has hundreds of names on it. I pick up names everywhere and when I like one I just add it to the list. It grows constantly. From that list, I just decided which names I liked that sounded good
together.Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
I a couple scenes that I really like but in order not to give anything away, I’ll pick the one at the beginning, actually the opening scene where my heroine Dana is on a plane and not enjoying it at all. Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
I’m not sure that I directly identify with any of them, but I do think I have a connection with all of my characters in a way. I find myself mimicking them somewhat
off of my friends and family. I think it’s kind of funny but depending on how the character is acting, it makes me think of someone in my life that may act like that and I picture that the whole way through. I really don’t think any of my characters have been just like me though.
Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
I love visitors so they can find me at my blog, www.apassionforromance.blogspot.com
or my website, www.kristaames.com
. I am also on twitter, www.twitter.com/kristaames
and facebook, www.facebook.com/kristaames
. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
.Is there anything else that you want to share… feel free!!
Just that I’ve got a lot of new stuff in the works so I hope readers come and visit often to see what’s new!!
Melissa thank you so much for having me on your blog. I had a great time answering questions. I love it when they’re a challenge and make me really think about things. Thank you for coming by Krista! It's always a pleasure to chat with other authors, especially ones who understand the Michigan weather! :)
Thank you to all the many people who posted comments on my blog for the Reading Romances Drinking and Winning Giveaway Hop!
The winner chosen at random is.... <drumroll>..... Mel B.
Watch your email! I will send you a notice today asking for your mailing address so I can send out your Amazon gift card!
Thank you again to everyone who entered! Check back here for future giveaways, contests and author interviews and posts.
To help celebrate Reading Romances Blogiversary, I am taking part in the Drinking and Winning Give Away Hop! Each person who leaves a comment to this blog post recieves an entry to win a $10 Amazon gift card. The contest will run from March 24th - March 28th! The winner will be announced on March 29th! It's that simple, just post a comment below for your chance to win! And don't forget to click on the link (photo) below to visit all the contest sites!
Having been married the first time at age eighteen, with the legal drinking age being twenty-one, I didn't really have a big twenty-first birthday party with all the celebratory requirements. So last year when my friends heard about the lack of a proper twenty-first birthday party, they threw me one.
But before I was allowed to attend the party, I had to get back into shape for a night of wild drinking. I had given up drinking when I had kids, and hadn't been drunk in over twenty years. We would go out to the local bars and they would introduce me to new drinks to tantilize my tastebuds. My favorite was the pinapple upside down cake shot. It was sweet enough to mask the harsher taste of alcohol
At the party, I learned many wonderful games such as flip cup, which is where you have two lines of contestants each slamming, drinking and flipping their red solo cups onto the table top. We also traded all night bracelets (which I think we were supposed to use on our bottles to keep track of them) with titles like lush or frisky. It was fun to give a bracelet to someone and tell them that they were acting like the label. Needless to say, I had a wonderful time and enjoyed my over twenty years too late twenty first birthday party.
Now that I survived the party, we want to do it each year. Hopefully I won't have to start training from scratch. After all, I already throw a little coconut rum into my lemonade on occasion. :)
What are your memories from a big party night? Do you have any favorite drinks I should try?
Thank you Wendy for coming back to my blog to visit again. I understand that you have a new release coming out that you want to share. I can't wait to hear more about it! But first let's find out some more about you.
Tell us about yourself: Well I am actually a full time accounting associate at Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. I have 2 children that are actually grown young adults if they knew that I still referred to them as children they would scream. Actually my boys are great and so is my hubby; he is truly the inspiration to my writing.What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? READ!Do you prefer…Public speaking or public singing? Since I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket defiantly public speaking.
Writing in a notebook or typing on the computer? Computer because I lose my notes to easily.Now about you as a writer…
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? My favorite would be creating the characters and my least favorite is editing. Hate editing that is why I have a co-author Mollie Fiegel.What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? EDITING!Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Yep a good TV show, believe it or not my most productive writing happens during a good movie or show.Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? Besides the obvious “Love” but the most common theme would be friendships between the characters. Since I absolutely love having my friends around and enjoy being with them I think that friendship between the characters is key.Do you have a favorite scene? This is my favorite scene:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"Alli, you’re not fat and the clothes you have on look great. Rach, grab her and let's go. I want to dance sometime this century" Toni said, grabbing one arm.
As they pulled up at the club, they were all laughing at something only the three of them could laugh about. "Oh my God Rach, they look completely lickable! I just want to pick one, no wait, at least two, and start at the top and lick my way to the bottom!" Allison squeezed Rachel’s arm and spins her to look at a group of guys standing at the edge of the parking lot. She couldn’t see their faces but their bodies were exactly as Allison squealed about. Rachel wasn't looking for a man, not after that last disaster she called a relationship. NOPE. This weekend was all about Allison and her quest to find "Mr. Lickable."
They entered their favorite club, The Lion’s Den, and almost instantly ran into their friends who'd already snagged a table next to the dance floor. Allison didn’t think twice and hit the floor. But Rachel decided to hit the bar first.
Completely frustrated because she'd been standing there waving her money in the air yet the damn bartender still hadn’t noticed her, Rachel started talking to herself. I hate being short.
"If you want a drink you're going to have to be a little louder," came from a deep voice behind Rachel. Rachel looked back and all she saw was a chest so she looked up and found the most breath taking ice blue eyes staring back at her. "I've been screaming and waving this money like an idiot, but numb nuts over there hasn’t paid me any attention. Of course, why would he? I’m not 5’6" and 100 pounds with DD boobs hanging out of my shirt. Why should he pay attention to a paying customer?"
Oh shit. Did she really just ramble like that to Mr. Ice Eyes? Damn, where was that filter Toni was always talking about for her mouth. Toni said Rachel really needed to use that filter so she'd quit blurting out whatever came to mind. Wait, is he laughing at me? "Exactly what's so funny? Not all of us are built that way."
Still laughing at her, Mr. Ice Blue eyes offered a fix. "Hey Mike, down here man. How are you doing? It’s been awhile. Could you get me six beers and whatever this little lady would like. Just put on my tab."
"No problem, Chase. Got ya covered. What can I get you, little one," Mike said with a grin. Really? Did this just happen? Rachel stood with her mouth gaping open like a freak.
"Hey, little one, what can I get ya?" "Uh Umm. Corona, please?" Rachel wondered if she sounded as stupid as she thought she did.
Once again her filter failed her. Grabbing her beer and bolting to the security of her girlfriends, Rachel realized she hadn’t even thanked Mr. Ice
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? Allison
simply because she is totally out there and completely out there. You should see her in Allison’s Dilemma set to be released March 13th by Rebel Ink Press. Thank you for visiting with us again today and sharing your latest release. Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
Simple check me out at email@example.com
Thank you KT for stopping by and answering some questions. I'm so glad to have you on my blog. Your latest story looks like a tearjerker.
Tell us about yourself:
I grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, went to college there and earned a journalism degree. I live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, surrounded by white sandy beaches and warm weather! What television sitcom is most like your family
? I don't think there's a show to describe my family, but any of the Tyler Perry movies does. What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Watch football games and write books. If you had to be one of your characters, which would you be and why?
Probably ML Cotton from the Cotton series because he's got $75 million. Do you prefer…
Beer or wine?
WineExercise or Watching TV?
Watching TV, but I definitely need to exercise.Coke or Pepsi?
A pepsi product, Mountain Dew (ha ha)Living without car or living without your computer?
I need my wheels.Now about you as an author…
Did you always want to be an author?
Not really. I didn't think I had the patience to do so. Once I got into the groove, I couldn't stop. What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
Carly Phillips, Pamela Britton, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Holly Jacobs, Joanne Rock.Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer?
A former classmate said I should try it. I fought like hell until I gave it a shot!What is your favorite aspect or writing?
Developing the plot-line. Your least favorite?
Doing the edits when they come back.What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on?
Continue my development in all aspects: plot-line, showing emotions and making strong characters. Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
As long as I have wireless, I can listen to music.Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books?
I write under the Banner Sports Romance.What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
How to write with emotions and changing scenes.Tell us about your latest release:
Cotton Patch, which comes out today at Red Rose Publishing, chronicles the journey of ML Cotton's dream of becoming a black starting quarterback in the NFL. It's the sequel to Picking Cotton, released in 2009. Set in the 1980's, ML also has to handle playing college football trying
to graduate as well as address his pregnant girlfriend, Jennifer Monet. Guess
you can say ML has a full plate (laughs).How did you decide on your story plot?
From a forgotten time, the 1980's, It was one of those stories that I felt needed to be done. Interracial relationships in the 80's were not accepted like it is today. ML and Jennifer overcame those odds during high school in Picking Cotton. ML's mother, Annie Cotton, still had doubts about Jennifer. How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
I wanted my hero to have an important name. M.L. Stands for Martin Louis Cotton, named after Martin Luther King and boxing legend Joe Louis.Do you have a favorite scene?
The scene where Jennifer's water broke in their home and ML flipped out. She took charge of the whole situation in-spite of huge pain. Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
ML Cotton because he had to overcome so much adversity to find success.
Here's a link to Cotton Patch:http://redrosepublishing.com/books/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=100&products_id=1018Excerpt:
ML handed his blushing bride the white cordless phone, urging her to call her mother for a Christmas Eve wedding in New Orleans. “I want my beautiful woman to have the wedding of her dreams.”
She embraced him over the loving gesture. “This means so much to me.”
Full of radiant energy, she called her parents. “Momma, call Father Andrew, we want to get married around Christmas.”
Charlotte, folding up towels on the other end, questioned her motives. “Why do it so soon? Let’s wait until the spring.”
Biting her tongue, Jennifer covered. “We graduate in December, but we want to walk the stage with our classmates next spring. ML can get ready for the pros.”
Before the Monet' matriarch got the ball rolling for an elaborate Catholic-style, Christmas wedding, she handed John the phone.
“So you two want to get married.”
She released her emotions through the phone. “Yes daddy, I’ve never wanted anything else my whole life.”
Jennifer gave the phone to her secret husband for a man-to-man talk. “ML, is there something you want to say?’’ John asked.
“I’m in love with your daughter and can’t live without her. I want your permission to marry her.”
The young couple shared the phone, gluing their ears to hear John’s verdict. “I really like you and welcome to the family.”
“Thanks daddy,” a glowing Jennifer said.
ML called his parents for the announcement. “Don’t make any plans for Christmas, we’re getting married during that time.”
Annie, walking inside the home from a long hospital shift, was nonchalant.
“I’m not surprised this day came, congratulations.”
Herman was more upbeat. “We’re happy for you two.”
“Thank you Mr. Cotton; I can’t wait to join the family,” Jennifer gleamed.
With her parents’ approval, Jennifer surprisingly pulled out a thin paperback book from her suitcase and handed it to an unassuming ML.
“Before we get married for real, you need to read this for the next six weeks.”
“Why?” ML asked.
She placed her hands onto his shoulders and explained. “Since you’re not a Catholic, my religion requires non-Catholics to attend class. The baby will be raised as a Catholic, because I’m his mother. Do you have a problem with that?”
Wearing a befuddled mask, ML rubbed his eyes. “I had no idea, but I can live with that. It’s been wonderful living with one Catholic; it will be twice as wonderful with two Catholics.” She locked their lips together.
She turned on the radio to unwind before going to bed. Wham’s “Careless Whisper,”their favorite song in high school, was playing during her coronation as Homecoming Queen. He asked for her hand and they swirled around the bedroom to revisit the past. A burning desire filled their bodies during the slow ballad playing on WTOY 96.5 FM. On that muggy, moonlit Friday night in
October, 1985, they officially declared their love for each other. The fire still burned, resulting in marriage and a child on the way.
“I love you more now than I did back then,” a smiling Jennifer said.
ML matched her passionate words. “You’re still that beautiful person I fell in love with five years ago.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you… www.kenibird.blogspot.com
;www.twitter.com_tyroc10Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your latest story. Don't forget if you haven't read the first book in the Cotton series, it sets the stage for this book. You should read them both today!
Prior to becoming a writer of romantic fiction, Casea Major worked in the legal field for a non-profit dispute resolution company for ten years. She is now a full-time mom to three preschool children with whom she and her husband live happily...most of the time. When she isn't chained to her laptop, she enjoys Cary Grant movies and crocheting.Website / Facebook / Twitter
Blurb: Erotic Romance
On New Year's Eve workaholic Melody Manning is informed by her ex he's getting married. Devastated by the news, she blames the slave-driver tactics of her
former boss for her break up.
To release the heartbreak and provide herself with some much needed stress relief
, she enlists the help of an exclusive matching agency specializing in one-night stands.
At the Castillo Resort and Winery in Sonoma Valley, Mel meets the mysterious Dom who has agreed to the last minute rendezvous. The sexy masked
Master promises to get to the bottom
of Mel's guilt and provide ultimate satisfaction under the safety of his stern hand.
After an emotional night of submission and uninhibited passion, will her lover's unmasking lead to the end of their encounter or give Mel another chance at love?
Mel sucked in a breath, and opened the door. The darkened room flickered with the light of at least a dozen candles. She squinted as she walked in. The smell of incense and roses wafted in the air. Her sight adjusted, and the darker shadows of the space became visible. She scanned the scene.
In the middle of the room sat an oversized bed covered in black velvet and satin. Her arms and legs quivered. A roughly made wooden table stood with two straight-backed chairs in the corner, and a tray of appetizing food awaited.
She stood frozen, anticipating his appearance. Her heart thumped in her chest. Was he hiding? She began to turn--
“Do not turn around, Miss Manning.” His voice whispered against her ear.
She jumped at the husky sound, but didn’t try to move away.
He ran his hands across her shoulders and trailed his fingers down her bare arms. “Are you frightened, kitten?”
Her skin tingled at his simple, but intimate touch. The heat from his massive body radiated against her back though he never made contact with it. Although she couldn’t see him, his presence filled the room, and the walls seemed to shrink at his closeness. “I’m a little scared. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I guess you do—”
His finger glided up her shoulder to press against her lips and his whispered rebuke filled her ear. “Silence.”
Her eyes fluttered closed. Pleasure and fear mingled in her mind and over her skin. She wanted so bad to turn her head and look at him, but somehow she knew she shouldn't.
The spicy masculine scent of him filled the air, and his moist, heavy breath sent waves of heat down her neck. “During this portion of the evening you will only speak when asked a direct question, and you will address me as ‘Sir’.
Concentrating on his words, she had to strain to hear him over her pounding heart but nodded. In the dim light of the candles, her chest rose and fell rapidly. Excitement and fear zinged to her extremities and every place in between.
“There’s nothing to be frightened of.”
He trailed his tongue from her earlobe down to her nape. She gasped and tensed her shoulders as he nipped and sucked the sensitive skin. Goosebumps covered her from head to toe. Her nipples hardened and throbbed. The mystery of him enticed her as much as his touch and scent.
He swept his hand slowly over her stomach. She melted back against him, the heat of his body wrapping around hers, instant, carnal and very real. Throbbing need pulsed between her legs, replacing the chill of fear.
“I’m going to remove your dress.”
“Okay.” The word whooshed from her. Dizziness caused her to sway. Is this really happening? His velvet baritone held a familiar lilt she couldn’t place, but surely if she’d heard that sexy sound before, she’d remember. Right now she was so aroused, it could be her high school boyfriend and she wouldn't know—or care.
Her body tensed at his rebuke. “Okay, Sir.”
“You have enough discipline coming this evening for past transgressions, Miss Manning. Let’s not complicate matters by increasing their number. All right?”
“All right, Sir.” She sucked in a breath at the mention of punishment. What would he do to her? She had stipulated mild discipline, but what did that mean to him?
He moved his hands from her abs upward, smoothing his palms across her breasts, grazing her nipples with every finger as he passed over the fabric of her dress. A long, hot breath blew from her lips, and liquid desire gushed between her legs.
He trailed his fingers to her back and unzipped the dress, allowing it to fall to the floor with a whisper. The cool air of the room played
across her bare skin. The vulnerability of her position built a pressure in her
stomach not unlike the apprehension she suffered before her yearly employment
Pulling her back against his bare chest, his arms slipped around
her waist. His hands splayed across her flesh and grazed the lace of her bra.
His touch scorched her skin and desire for more flooded her. She ran her hand
over his forearms. The fine masculine hair stood at her touch, and he sighed
into her ear.
Thank you Donna Steele for visiting with us today. We are so excited to hear about your latest release, Rth Rising.
Tell us about yourself:
Well, I've been married to my best friend for 33 years and counting. He is a prince for putting up with the lack of cooking and housework because "I got an idea!" Both kids are grown and out of the house which can be cool – one is self-supporting and the other has a good chance at it. I'm a secretary (though that title has fallen out of favor) and am now called an Executive Assistant –think Della Street from the old Perry Mason shows. She knew everything that was going on, but didn't have to stand up in court and talk. At work I'm highly organized and in charge, then I go home… There I have no office, just a nest around my chair. It seems to workWhat television sitcom is most like your family? Why?
There's aren't many for empty nesters without grandkids. I'll have to think about it.What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Read, always has been.Do you prefer…
Public speaking or public singing?
Oh god, never singing, not in public, maybe alone in the car with the windows up. I can public speak now.Writing in a notebook or typing on the computer?
Depends on whether or not it's flowing. I usually write on the computer but when I'm stuck, I pick up a pen and pad to feel it.Coke or Pepsi?
Coke, even though Pepsi was invented in NC.Living without your cell phone or living without your computer?
Without the cell phone - I recently got a 'smart' phone and it's a lot smarter than me. I have learned to answer it now. My laptop understands me. Heaven help me if I ever have to upgrade it.Now about you as an author…
Did you always want to be an author?
Yes, I've been writing since I was a kid - but people will never see those early drafts. <g>What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
Well, my earliest romance was Valley of the Dolls (and I got caught too, but that's another story), but for characterization Larry Niven, Anne McCaffrey, for story Stephen King - healways weaves himself into my dreams, like I'm totally immersed. I love that.Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend)
Friends definitely. I had someone pick up something that I had written off my desk (I'd taken it in the work during lunch hour) and read it. I was mortified, but she loved it. I had a fan base of one for ages. I credit her with giving me the courage to show someone what I'd done. Then due to a lot of luck, I fell into an incredible group of writers – The Posse – and we encourage and help each other constantly. One of them led me to RWA and
<shudder> publishing.What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite?
Building the scene or world is my favorite. I'm a pantser with my characters full blown when they come to me - I know their grandmother's favorite colors. Now plots are harder.What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on?
My plots, I hate it when an idea fades out on me. I've taking some courses, but haven't hit the right fit yet. I will.Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
I keep the Chicago Manual of Style beside the chair, a place to put my feet up, and a glass of Sundrop (That's a southern citrus drink – think yellow jolt cola).Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books?
some reason sustainability keeps popping up. I didn't realize it at first, but I'm big on recycling, I drive a Highlander hybrid and hubby drives a Prius. We've cut way down on vampire energy in the house (you know all those little green lights that are on when everything is "turned off" - really brings the bill down unplugging rather than just turning off).What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
and perseverance, never quit writing and sending it in, and eventually you will
hear back – even if it's not what you want to hear the first time or two or three.Tell us about your latest release: (blurb, excerpt, cover)
Kat, a headstrong girl is raised in a space colony, far from Rth. There the colonists live under the protection of Puter, a computer programmed on Rth to serve them, but also control them.
One of Puter's controls is the testing to determine professions of every individual born in the colony. Thwarted from the area of study Kat yearned for by Puter's increasingly puzzling decrees, nevertheless, Kat determines to excel in her assigned profession - Enforcer.
As an enforcer, Kat learns even more about the infrastructure of the arcology she inhabits and the minds of the people who try to break the rules.
She is assigned by her mentor and head of the enforcers, to hunt down and return a 'shirker', any colonist who tries to escape Puter's authority. Kat sets out to make her mentor proud.
This shirker, Davd, a handsome and mysterious fellow enforcer, is more than she bargained for, and sparks fly when he turns the tables on her, capturing and kidnapping her.
Spirited away from everything she has ever known to an unknown village hidden in the wilderness, she is called upon to save his life and her feelings for him begin to change. Upon arriving at the village, she learns that these escapes have been ongoing for years. Kat decides to attempt to free her family and allow them to live in the freedom she has discovered is available without Puter's constant control.
With Davd's help, she returns to rescue her family, and in the attempt, discovers a conspiracy against her family going back three generations in the attempts to save the colony from the programming that would doom them all.
How did you decide on your story plot? These characters a seemed to feed it to
me. I know, there truly are no muses, but it kind of wrote itself.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story? It's easier when I build the world, but when I'm on Earth (Rth?) I usually pick North Carolina for the setting. It's where I know best. The names of the characters seem to come with them when they demand to be written.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? In this book, when she has to save his life. Everything she thought she knew is beginning to change and she has to adapt with it.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? My heroine - she makes the best of what she's given even if she doesn't agree.
Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…www.steelestories.com and
Is there anything else that you want to share…feel free!! I've finished a second novel (mildly paranormal this time) and sent it off with a kiss, so I hope to be promoting it as well in the near future.
I wish you all the best with your new submission. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your latest release! I hope everyone gets a chance to read this wonderful new story!
“Why don’t you also grab me some pretzels. I don’t know if the coffee will be good on my empty stomach. But with the snow that’s been falling, I want to make sure we can take the turnpike rather than Route Two.”
Route Two is know as ‘death’s highway’. The area of Route Two between Bono and Sandusky claimed many lives due to the large semi-trucks and
two lane road. People often couldn’t see what was coming around the next bend and head on collisions were frequent.
Welcome Maureen. Thank you for stopping by. One lucky commenter will receive a copy of The Pirate Circus. So tell us about yourself: What television sitcom is most like your family? Why?
I’m not sure they’ve ever had one that fits me…or mine…
What’s your favorite thing to do to
relax? Television. Sigh.
Would you really like to live in a time of pirates? Real pirates? Probably not. I do love to sail on tall ships whenever I
get a chance.
What would be most challenging about that time period? Not enough fresh water. I mean, I like to bathe! And of course there’s stds… Now, my Caribbean doesn’t have any of those nasty things… I’d love to visit there!
Do you prefer…
Public speaking or public singing? Singing! Honestly. I’ve sung at coffee shops and with the right prep, you bet. I’d rather do that.
Writing in a notebook or typing on the computer? Typing on a computer! All. The. Way!
Coke or Pepsi? Diet Pepsi, the blend at Taco Bell. Or water. Or the peach tea they have at Panda Express.
Living without your cell phone or living without your computer? I’d rather live without my cell phone. After all, with a computer, there is always e-mail.
Now about you as an author…
Did you always want to be an author? Not particularly…I always wanted to read, so it eventually morphed into wanting to be read.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R. Tolkien, Fritz Leiber…lots of sword and sorcery writers.
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend) Well, most teachers I knew were big on encouraging my writing. No one was talking novels, but I got good grades!
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? Favorite? BWHA HA HA! Playing God. Least favorite, the amount of energy that I have to spend on promoting myself.
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? I’d like to recover the speed at which I began writing, back in 2003. It moves so slowly at present!
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Must have fluid. At Starbucks, an iced decaf Americano, no room. At home? Water, big bottle of water.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books? I think the idea of second chances, third chances…however many it takes. I’m also big on an established couples remaining exciting. Sexually, tension…you name it. Things don’t stop once people commit! The happily ever after is a day by day struggle, and sometimes joy.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? Getting published is only the beginning. (Wow, sounds like I’m quoting fromThe Mummy!)
Tell us about your latest release: (blurb, excerpt, cover) The Pirate Circus
is the third in my Kraken’s Caribbean series. It features the
adventures of Janey, the Bosun of the Cursed Quill and her uncertain beau, Benjamin Silvestri. They dart about each other, not entirely ready to reconcile to what keeps them apart. Mainly, her being a pirate. Then Ben’s son and niece go missing and things get very interesting as Ben discovers that having a pirate on your side is the only way to recover the youngsters.
Bosun Janey knows who and what she is. A pirate. And a damned good one at that. Living a life of excitement, adventure, and sailing the seas of the Kraken’s Caribbean is enough for her. But when the Quill is stuck in dry dock, Janey is left to search for distraction along Tortuga’s waterfront. How does
a pirate occupy herself? Certainly not by making friends with a six-year-old boy or mooning after the boy’s father. That’s not how a pirate behaves!
Widower Benjamin Silvestri arrived in Tortuga seeking a fresh start. At first, the pirate haven doesn’t seem like a safe sanctuary for second chances, but life is full of surprises. The sun breathes life into his little boy, and new freedoms help his errant niece embrace her true nature. And then there's Janey. A pirate and most unconventional woman, she stirs feelings in Benjamin that are far from proper.
But who’s to say what is proper in Tortuga? Before he and Janey can explore the possibilities, Benjamin's son and niece disappear onto the high seas. Together, the
couple set out to rescue them—because only a loving father and a cut-throat
pirate stand a chance against the dangers of The Pirate Circus. Excerpt
“I’m sorry. I just….” He shook his head. “You’re a very attractive woman, Miss Janey. Here I am, alone with you in the dark of night. Do you have any idea how improper this would be in England?”
She snorted, amused yet pleased to hear him call her attractive. “Well, you’re not in England, and no one cares here.”
“Why do I care? Yet…I don’t want to care.”
God, maybe Tortuga was rubbing off on him at last. What a relief! “Then don’t. You left England behind, for good reason from what I understand. Don’t haul it back into your life.”
“I wish it were that simple.”
She slid from the chair and sat next to him, patted his arm. He was such a beautiful man, more than she could ever aspire to. But if she could help him, maybe they could be a bit more than friends. She hoped.
“Benjamin, it is that simple. They can’t touch you here. Whatever drove you here, it’s gone.” She wouldn’t mention the spirit Mama Lu had seen. Glancing over her shoulder, she hoped it wasn’t anywhere near. If it was Charlie’s mama, she should be hovering over her son
He set his hand over hers. “You’re a good woman.”
“I’m a pirate. I sail with the Quill, and it’s a good life. Just because I’m land bound at the moment, doesn’t make me a good woman. I’m a good pirate.” The heat from his hand raced up her arm and lodged at her heart. Under the quilt, her legs drifted apart.
“No, you’re both.” He turned his face toward hers. The firelight danced on the gold in his eyes.
She stared, mesmerized. When he kissed her, it seemed an explosion struck them both, setting off a natural chain of events she had no objections to in the least.
Damn, his lips carried the flavor of the whisky, smooth and heady. When he slid his tongue into her mouth, their tongues met with heat and desire, striving to taste and savor the situation. He cupped her head with his strong fingers, but they didn’t last long there. She groaned and shifted closer, the blanket ending up in a bundle at her knees, and one of his hands dropped to slide up her thigh.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~How did you decide on your story plot?
With the Kraken’s Caribbean, it was time to tell Janey’s story. I introduced my topsy turvey Caribbean in The Kraken’s Mirror
, and told the story of a modern woman’s arrival and learning to live and love amidst pirates. In The Chameleon Goggle
s, it was Jezebel’s turn, the captain of the Cursed Quill and how she ended up thriving on the turquoise seas… It was Janey’s turn! How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
I love the entire idea of the Caribbean and pirates, the romanticized version certainly! I find ships and the sea’s mysteries compelling. Names? Well, unlike a great many authors I know, I don’t devote a great deal of internal debate to names. Emily? I wanted something a bit old fashioned. (My mother was quite touched, telling me that was my great grandmother’s name. I did not realize that, but oddly enough, it really fit!) Jezebel? She needed to be a bit of a jezebel…hee, hee. Janey? To be truthful, that name rose from a mix of two dear friends. The heroes? Captain Silvestri is actually named after one of my favorite sound track composers. Captain Mick? Hmmmm…I liked the alliteration of Mick March. And Benjamin? He has slight old fashioned ideas, so I needed a nice old fashioned name.
Naming ships is fun, too. Silvestri sails the Immortal. Jezebel sails the Cursed Quill, which actually is cursed…they bought a spell that anyone who crosses them will find themselves facing the fury of a writer’s pen… Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
It’s a bit of a side scene, but when … geez, I can’t really tell it without giving away a big pivot point of The Pirate Circus. So…my second favorite scene…when Benjamin smacks the bully guarding his gate, using some ungentlemanly fighting and Janey calls him on how he can act the pirate when necessary…Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
Emily, from book one. I’d like to think that if faced with the same situation I would act the same. She carries my fears, my uncertainties and willingness to consider herself insane if that is the only way to survive.Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
I’m easy! I have a website… www.maureenobetita.com
and there is a contact link there. I have a newsletter, which I am woefully behind on. I’m on Facebook, as Maureen O. Betita and Maureen O. Betita Author. I’m on twitter, but don’t tweet terribly often. I’m easiest to reach on FB. I blog irregularly on my own website and regularly at www.romancewritersrevenge.com
. Reach out and touch me! I won’t bite!Is there anything else that you want to share… feel free!!
I’ll be attending a lot of conventions this spring and summer. Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, Clockwork Alchemy, BayCon, RomCon, Romance Writers of America Nationals, the Northern California Pirate Festival and later in the fall, SteamCon IV. If you see me…chat me up!
Contest!! Tell me a bit about yourself…what would be your pirate name? I’ll give away a copy of The Pirate
Circus to one lucky comment!