Sunday, February 24, 2013

Take Me Now by Nancy Jardine (Plus, a giveaway)

Today I'm honored to welcome Scottish author, Nancy Jardine, to my blog!

I've enjoyed getting to know her and I'm sure you will too. Here is her bio:

An ex-primary teacher, Nancy Jardine, lives in the fabulous castle country of Aberdeenshire - Scotland. Her husband is a great cook; just as well or they'd starve. Twice weekly she child minds her toddler granddaughter, not good days for any new writing to be done, but seeing the little one grow is precious time spent. Ancestry research is an intermittent hobby; neglecting her large garden in favour of writing is becoming the norm. Activity weekends with her extended family are prized since they give her great fodder for new writing.

A lover of history, it sneaks into most of her writing along with many of the fantastic world locations she has been fortunate to visit. Her published work to date has been two non-fiction history related projects; two contemporary ancesteral mysteries, one light-hearted contemporary romance mystery and a historical novel. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and Crooked Cat Publishing.

Decisions? How many are too many?

When I started to plan my contemporary Wild Rose Press novel, Take Me Now, I had a couple of intentions in mind. Since the idea stemmed from a fun jaunt in a seaplane to Scottish island haunts I wanted my romance to be fun and light-hearted, but I also wanted it to be a mystery and to have an edge of danger in there. A bit of a mix-up of plot and sub-genres -- I know -- but that's what I was aiming for!

Take Me Now was only my fourth manuscript I'd ever worked on and the second contemporary work. My two Celtic/Roman historical works -- one an adult romance The Beltane Choice, and the other meant for the early teens Dabbling With Time -- were 'derring-do' adventures. They had elements of danger in them but were not mysteries. My first contemporary -- Monogamy Twist published with The Wild Rose Press -- is a very sensual history/mystery romance. So, to break from work with a 'heavy historical' element, my Take Me Now was going to be a challenge to write. No history - just mystery. That was decision 1.

I'm not a natual comedian so I wasn't aiming for a romantic comedy per se but what did I need to add to make it light-hearted?

My tale was definitely going to involve someone flying a floatplane around the Scottish west coast. That was a no brainer, easy decision 2. Floatplane and seaplane flights in the west coat of Scotland are generally flights involving transport to and from the islands so I decided to have my hero, Nairn Malcolm, be someone who flew back and forwards for business reasons to his London base, and to the world beyond. Decision 3. But how to get some light-hearted banter in my dialogue?

Brawny highland heroes who live in castles are quite popular in romance novels but they're usually in historical or time-travel works and I was veering away from those sub-genres. But I'm a bit of a maverick, I suppose, since I decided that I would have my hero be a brawny highland hero -- and at six feet six -- they don't come much bigger! And he would live in a castle on a Scottish island, yet he would be a thoroughly modern man and an achieving alpha who has to learn to laugh at himself. Decisions 4 & 5.

It seemed too pat for him to fly himself around in this mystery I was creating so, although he was my hunky highlander, he was also going to be an incapacitated hero -- and would need help that he wouldn't normally seek. In stepped my gorgeous Vancouverite, Aela Cameron. Her west coast Canadian background, and the skills she'd learned there, would translate beautifully into the paragon that Nairn needs. Decisions? Probably, 6, 7, and at least 8. That many since she would provide the humour I needed to make the whole invalid situation fun and light-hearted!

Take Me Now grew on my pages. Further decisions had to be made. His reason for being an invalid? The most obvious thing that seemed realistic was a mysterious motorbike accident that puts him in crutches. The mystery evolved into what I now call my corporate mystery. Someone was not only sabotaging his health directly by tampering with his motorbike, but they were also causing havoc at his businesses. What was his business? Being such a lively alpha guy before the story begins he just had to be someone involved in daring adventure activities. New decision 9 or 10 or 11? The number of the decision ceased to be relevant. Nairn's company name became Adrenalinn Adventures.

The next series of decisions that took me forward on the number line involved the locations I could squeeze into their whizzing around as Aela transports him world-wide, and eventually finds his saboteur. I love writing about fun cities and the biggest decision of all was how many places? Nairn's a very active businessman and I know from experience how frequently people like that travel, and how fleeting their trips can realistically be.

I wrote about them having scary times in London where Aela finds herself in the firing line, and another where it's only her advanced driving skills that get them out of a deathly attack. Dangerous situations laced with humour -- well, I did intend it to be ultimately a light-hearted story. Paris was fun to write about though their sexploits are perhaps not the traditional lover's tales. I wrote in very eventful trips to Muscat in Oman, and the Caribbean -- but I'm not telling you here what their love life was like. You'll just have to read a copy to find that out!

The manuscript was accepted immediately. I sent it to my editor at The Wild Rose Press, but it was on the proviso that I wrote in even more fun places for them to go in Europe. I was surprised at that decision though gung-ho to add more. Barcelona and Rotterdam and Tallinn in Estonia were really great fun places to add.

So, Take Me Now really does take Nairn and Aela to a LOT of places! Too many decisions? I'll leave it up to the readers now to tell me how many big decisions they think they make during the process of writing a novel.



My Take Me Now cover is currently in the finals of the 'You Gotta Read' - Cover contest for February. Voting closes February 26th, 2013, so there's still time!! If anyone reading this feels inclined to add an extra vote for Take Me Now it will be incredibly appreciated. The link is here: http://yougottaread.com/vote-now-for-the-february-2013-cover-contest

** GIVEAWAY **
I'm offering an e-copy of Take Me Now to one lucky commenter, so please leave me a comment and a way of contacting you (email address) should you be my winner. Best of luck to you!

Thank you, and enjoy Take Me Now whoever you are.

Blurb for Take Me Now:
Nairn Malcolm's looking for the impossible. He needs a highly skilled, enterprising aide who'll be at his beck and call 24/7. No ordinary Jane Doe will do. He doesn't expect the only candidate who drops in at his Scottish castle for an interview to be so competent...or so stunning.

 Aela Cameron's got exactly the right mix of talents to satisfy all Nairn Malcolm's needs, and more. She loves the jobs he needs done, adores his castle, and finds his frenetic lifestyle energising. But she's only looking for temporary: not to fall in love with the man.

Can Nairn convince Aela she's tailor-made for him in every way...and not a passing fancy?

Buy details for Take Me Now:
Amazon http://amzn.to/r3ysrU
The Wild Rose Press http://bit.ly/WyaGGi
Also available in nook and other formats from Barnes and Noble, and other good e-book stores.

Amazon author page with details of all Nancy's novels and book trailer videos: http://amzn.to/RJZzZz

Author links:

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com
Website: http://nancyjardineauthor.weebly.com
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG
Twitter: @nansjar

Thank you so much for hosting me, Jan. It's a pleasure to visit you! My best to you and your readers.







    

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Amy Gregory - author of the Racing to Love series!

Today I'd like to welcome Amy Gregory to my blog. She's a fun, vivacious personality who also happens to be a remarkable author!
 


Amy Gregory leads an incredibly active lifestyle in Kansas with her husband and their three fantastic kids who keep them running in three very different directions. When she's not rushing her oldest daughter to tumbling, her youngest daughter to culinary lessons, or sitting track-side watching her son race motocross, she's taking the few minutes in between to scribble the next pages in her Racing to Love series.

When asked, "When do you have time to write?" Amy giggles. "In bits and pieces," she says.

Amy is known for her snarky, off the cuff sense of humor, which you'll find shining through in the characters she's created. Her debut novel, Racing to Love, Carter's Treasure, released in June, 2012, and Racing to Love, Jesse's Soul, released in December, 2012.

I've spent my whole life trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, and now I've finally found it. ~ Amy Gregory

 
 
 
 
     Jesse Frost lived the life most men would kill for. Fast bikes, fame, money and good looks. However, he wasn't a man that gave as much thought to that as most. Jesse was just an easy-going guy from a small speck of a town in Texas, a guy that worked hard for everything he had achieved in life. When everything else seemed to go his way, it was women that left him disheartened, and finding the right one always seemed to be just out of his grasp. After a run-in with his high-school crush left him even more confused and emptier than ever before, he had decided he would never find the type of love his best friend Carter had with Molly.
 
     Emery Kincaid had a last name that was revered in their world. Born into a world of gas, grease and speed, she was a woman in a man's world, but she grew up more comfortable with a wrench in her hand than a doll. Irish through and through, she has the temper and sass to boot, and a reputation that precedes her. Determined to carry on her family's legacy, despite the chromosomes she was born with, she works harder than any  man she's come across and never backs down. However, things aren't always as they seem. Emery had remained strong because she's had no other choice, but the pain she masks runs deep and hiding it is the only way she can survive.
 
     Thrown together by circumstance, and forced to be in each other's space day in and day out, sparks start to fly -- from chemistry and the brakes Emery desperately tries to throw on. Without a doubt in his mind, Jesse knows he has finally found her, but the girl that stole his heart has a stubborn streak a country mile wide.
 
     What Emery doesn't realize about Jesse is that he's a competitive guy, by nature and by profession, and he has no intention of letting her slip through his fingers. Not when she is the first woman to understand him, to appreciate his dedication to his career, and well, the fact that she's beautiful is icing on the cake in his mind. It is what Jesse doesn't know that could break his gentle heart. Hiding her true feelings for him is the only way for Emery to protect him, and in turn -- herself. She barely made it out the first time. If she lets Jesse in and he walks away, that's a risk her heart can't take.
 
You can find/follow Amy at:
 
 
Racing to Love, Jesse's Soul can be found on:
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Denise Moncrief - CRISIS OF IDENTITY


I'm happy to be part of Denise Moncrief's blog hop tour for her new romantic suspense -- CRISIS OF IDENTITY

 
A bit about Denise:

Denise wrote her first story when she was in high school -- seventeen hand-written pages on school ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She earned a degree in accounting, giving her some nice skills to earn a little money, but her passion has always been writing. She has written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. Her favorite pastimes when she's not writing are spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, two children, and over very chubby dog.

Denise's most recent release is, Crisis of Identity:

Blurb:

     Tess Copeland is an operator. Her motto? Necessity is the mother of a good con. When Hurricane Irving slams into the Texas Gulf coast, Tess seizes the opportunity to escape her past by hijacking a dead woman's life, but Shelby Coleman's was the wrong identity to steal. And the cop that trails her? He's a U.S. Marshall with the Fugitive Task Force for the northern district of Illinois. Tess left Chicago because the criminal justice system gave her no choice. Now she's on the run from ghosts and misdeeds past -- both hers and Shelby's.

     Enter Trevor Smith, A pseudo-cowboy from Houston, Texas, with good looks, a quick tongue, and testosterone poisoning. Will Tess succumb to his questionable charms and become his damsel in distress? She doesn't have to faint at his feet -- she's capable of handling just about anything. But will she choose to let Trevor be the man? When Tess kidnaps her niece, her life changes. She must make some hard decisions. Does she trust the lawman that promises her redemption, or does she trust the cowboy that promises her nothing but himself?

Excerpt:

My reaction gushed from my mouth. "How can you be sure it was cold blood?" I sucked back a gasp at my gaffe. My question probably seemed strangely timed and oddly constructed. "I mean...it could have been self defense."

He offered me a cold, hard stare with unblinking eyes. "I just know."

"That's...awful."

"I guess I followed my lead at the wrong time. I got trapped riding out the storm...just like you."

"What makes you think I got trapped?"

"If you'd had any choice, you would have left."

My brother Tony forced me to stay, but he left me. A storm surge so strong it pulled the house out from under us knocked him into the sea. The Gulf of Mexico spit me back onto the beach as if the ocean didn't like the way I tasted.

I survived, but I had no time to grieve. The realization impaled my heart.

(Denise is sharing a different excerpt from Crisis of Identity at each blog stop. To read the other great excerpts, go to this link for the list of participants and the URL's for each blog:  http://denisemoncrief.blogspot.com )



During the tour, Denise will be giving away two autographed print copies of Crisis of Identity. Please visit each stop on the tour and sign up for the giveaway using rafflecopter. The giveaway ends at 11:59 CST on February 16, 2013. Two winners will be chosen on February 17, 2013.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You can contact/follow Denise at:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cynthia Meyers-Hanson: Her publishing story & special highlights about the S.H.E. Anthology

Today I'd like to welcome a very special guest to my blog, Cynthia Hanson - author of Christian and Inspirational/nonfiction and fiction. She's going to share her writing and publishing journey, and also talk about the S.H.E. Anthology (A very special compilation - royalities will help charities involved in grief counseling or with mental health issues - especially for children therapies for the types of traumas witnessing massacres produce).

Welcome, Cynthia!      

Thanks for having me, Jan.

I work for GOD! I write many nonfictions that are really just scribing the history of HIS Stories. My tales are Christian based; at least one of those books points directly to HEAVEN. I explain how bad situations and good ones have the potential to bring hope and love along with stronger faith.

How did my writing adventure start? How do I do PR? How do I help others including other nonfiction authors? What is my latest effort? 

My early writing HISTORY comes first. In high school, with a math strong suit, I helped out in the library. At that time, I admired anyone that could write more than a five page term paper about science, history, math or some fact based subject. I was only good at nonfiction stories and joined the school's newspaper team. With my skills for logic, I went on to the telecommunications industry via computer programming, which was my college major. Until age 35, I avoided long winded writing until God handed me a book to scribe for HIM entitled Mom's on the Roof and I Can't Get Her Down. Many years later, God came knocking while pointing out that some of the prophecy mom and HE gave me and I copyrighted in 1994 was unfolding in the new millenium. In short, the account of mom's miraculous encounters with Heaven, angels, and God was proving itself to be true even without my help.

At almost the same time, people asked about Stacey. That girl was orphaned by her parents' deaths. When she was old enough to tell her story, she asked me to help her write Stacey's Song. In about that same moment in HIS story, friends and family asked if I'd write the story of our neighborhood's encounter with a curse; so I asked some of The Evans Terrace Girls to decide what might be said about their club's reaction to many deaths and their community's grief. Soon after those three books were written, other people asked me to co-author or direct their nonfictions. That writing with others kept me busy for a few years.

A book without a reader is like a day without sunshine. In the beginning, we sold or gifted copies of those books to friends or local mourners. Soon, I began trying to find a larger audience. Nonfiction branding is much harder than people think; biographies of the non-famous can be hard to sell. I'm sure that is why many mainstream publishers avoid those book genres - until they go viral. While doing that facet of publishing, I always keep in mind that I need to differentiate myself and books - especially due to the explosion of eBooks and indie authors. What makes my witness in books unique starts with my sense of humor; I can make light of hideous situations and yet stay real and truthful about the harshness of those realities. My ability to see and convey the light keeps me going - which is remarkable since I was born blind; landmark eye surgery and tenacity got me to today. I chronicled part of that inspirational tale in my nonfiction entitled The Vision.

Meanwhile, I rarely submit pieces for anthologies announced online or through writer's societies because their editors are usually looking for fictional short stories or poetry. Recently a random invite happened; someone offered to add one of my stories or essays to their anthology helping Newtown, Connecticut. I heard about the massacre in their elementary school and submitted a story that I co-authored. That tale was steered and illustrated by my grandchild when she was five; she is now six. I thought her empowerment storybook might help the struggling people of Newtown and elsewhere. However, the editors rejected my entry because they wanted poetry and prose; they compiled adult reading level stories about how it might feel to be a Newtown resident.

I appreciated the editors' candor. However, I was amazed the compilers of that anthology didn't realize what the children (and adults) of Sandy Hook Elementary might really need to go forward. I thought that town might enjoy rhetoric from kindred spirits. Due to fears and anxieties, I felt those kids and folks might feel less alienated and alone if they were shown the light at the end of their tunnels. I wanted to find a way to empower those children while revealing to them a HOPE that things can and do get better. I felt bystanders including health care professionals might enjoy those types of stories too. After pondering the anthology rejection, I woke up one day as God illuminated my next step. Thinking of three books that I had partial copyrights to, I immediately had the title of an anthology in mind. I began compiling that book.



By the way, the S.H.E. Anthology is NOT a romance anthology but it was written by all females. In this book, the girls recollected traumas, mostly related to death, that they faced while in elementary school. Their stories reveal their path out of mourning along with many minor miracles that they encountered. Their tales of hope and inspiration are true accounts from those children turned authors. One writer and illustrator is only six; Thai wanted to be a part of empowering children to survive harsh things in life, so her piece is story number three in this compilation.

The abbreviation 'S.H.E.' also refers to Sandy Hook Elementary. Isn't God the best at setting up coincidences? This book is meant to empower Newtown as well as others that read it. We hope that this anthology also sheds some new light on grief recovery in the minds of teachers, mental health professionals, and adults handling major life changes. The compilation's royalties will help charities involved in grief counseling or with mental health issues - especially for children therapies for the types of trauma witnessing massacres produce. For example, one local group 'New Hope for Kids' (Orlando) will get some of the profits from this compilation because the group that started this organization helped Stacey over 20 years ago.

Speaking of the child, in one part of this anthology, there's great insight into being the victim of death and childhood loss. Stacey's Song is an intimate look at a ten year old girl's personal story about the results of her mother's death due to cancer. She also deals with the aftermath of her dad's subsequent suicide. Obviously, tragedies such as Sandy Hook Massacre touch home with her. In her book contained in this anthology, the young girl talks candidly and inspirationally about surmounting her PTSD. Her honesty through writing is only surpassed by the miracles and guidance from those around her including God. The excerpt that follows reveals how God taps into this young girl's anger and grief to show her hope and HIS love as HE answers her naive childhood prayer.

Hail, What's Next?

...
          Later in another conversation, Cindy told me, "There are a ton of reasons why you need to live. First, you haven't even seen all the world has to share with you. There are some really beautiful places left to visit.
...
          "I get two weeks vacation in December. We can drive into the mountains and find snow for the holidays."
...
          (Her child) Jenny was hospitalized after repeated infections. Her tonsils needed to be removed, and the promised trip was postponed.
...
          "I wish it would snow here!" My response arrived.
          "Get real! It rarely snows in Central Florida. If it does, it falls in January and never hits the ground. It melts on the way. It sometimes falls just north of us and stays a few hours but nothing close to snowman weather. We can drive to see snow next winter, but we are not flying anywhere this vacation."
          "I'm going to pray for snow within driving distance of our house. I am going to ask for it now." My style less angry these days converted to belligerent.
          "Pray away! But, it isn't possible," she added as the other car passengers giggled. At age seven and nine, they realized I could be unreasonable at times.
...
          The next day, the front page of the local newspaper pictured the hail storm that happened just south of our home. Hail stones piled into drifts so high that it appeared to have snowed in Florida...

Since Stacey didn't see that version of snow in person, she kept praying for snow. What happened next? Read her full story in Stacey's Song or in the S.H.E. Anthology.

Also in that anthology, The Evans Terrace Girls give their account of what happened when 7 or more parents died within a year or 2 of each other in a small subdivision of about 110 homes. People started saying their land was CURSED. The children heard those rumors about their subdivision and were scared to death. When a neighbor lost her dad to a blood clot after surgery, the kids felt the need to help. When one of the girls heard the rumor that the mourning family ran out of milk, she set up a traditional solution or lemondade stand. That day, other angels or young children arrived; many of those neighbor kids ran door to door selling half glasses of hot lemondae. They raised enough quarters to buy milk and other perishables. More importantly, they formed a group that became a club and led their neighborhood out of grief. Find out how by reading their story; an excerpt follows.

'Tis The Season 

...
          One of the boys was just two weeks old and the other was eighteen months when their single mother died in her apartment of an epileptic seizure. These two miracles survived two days with their deceased mother before authorities found them. Their aunt's family was not well to do but had inherited two cribs for the boys. However, just near Christmas, they needed real beds for these toddlers.
...
          There were donations of new jewelry and Christmas items to raffle. We charged a dollar a ticket. On our little table sat our flyer of community services completed and goals to finish this year.
          As one guest read the document, she handed us a five-dollar bill whispering to my mother, "What is their goal?"
          "At least one bed," she responded.
          "Well, good luck. They probably won't even raise enough for a mattress," this woman added.
          "I've seen them sell one hundred and seventy one dollars' worth of lemonade and still have over half the original gallon. I bet they can get this bed," my mother defended.
          "Good luck," the guest reiterated.
           "I believe in miracles," Mom observed smugly. "'Tis the season!"
...
          The stranger stopped our movement back to our vehicles. "I'll let you have both beds for two hundred dollars but only if you can pick them up by tomorrow."
          "Sold!" We all screamed as Laura and Mom flinched. The club was sixty dollars from reality.
...

Did the girls find the cash? What other minor miracles happened when these angels joined forces with others to make wishes come true? Read The Evans Terrace Girls or their section in the S.H.E. Anthology.

By the way, I'm offering an eBook copy of the S.H.E. Anthology to anyone reading this blog. Use the link provided: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278511 . The promotional price will come up as $0.00 once you place the coupon code SZ68X in the box on that site's ordering page. This coupon expires on February 14, 2013 - the day of love. Please, leave favorable reviews if you freely download this book. Plus, feel free to share the eBook data. We hope you'll love the S.H.E. Anthology enough to buy copies of this book in paperback format for others to enjoy or at least be kind enough to leave a review. The paperback versions comes in black and white, and color.

Amazon -

Black and white version: 
 
Color version:
 
So come on, buy to be inspired and help grieving children. It's a WIN-WIN.
** A copy of this anthology went to Newtown's public library as well.
Author's bio:
          My favorite question during book interviews is: How did you get started writing? The short answer is that in 1991 my mother died. Some people dream of being authors; my writing began as what could be described as a nightmare! However - as she died, mom experienced what would be called a Christian Near Death Experience (NDE) or miracle. My witness became Mom's on the Roof and I can't Get Her Down. After that, I have co-authored or compiled other Divine and inspirational tales; they range from faith healing to other Near Death journeys. To date, my Christian books total seven. Meanwhile, I have ghostwritten novels including The Vision, which is based on a true story of overcoming blindness, bipolar dysfunction, and living 'The Golden Rule'. Also, I've produced four picture books for and with children. Finally, I wrote one historical, YA novelette. I use my real name, Cynthia Meyers-Hanson on nonfictions as well as children's literature. My pen name, Sydney S. Song is reserved for my fibs or novels. You can find out more about my writing on my author webpage which is at: http://mchanson714.weebly.com/ and you can follow my author blog indexed there too.
          I'm married with children and foster children. I also have two grandchildren under the age of seven; they are Stacey's girls. Their last name translates into SNOW. When Thai was born, I joked that we found a little snow in Florida in the summertime, too!
Other contact information:
My Smashwords generic link to all my eBooks is -- (they distribute to Sony, iBooks, etc.)
Amazon's generic link to all my Kindles and paperbacks --
My generic YouTube link to find my book trailers is --