Thursday, September 14, 2017

Did I Flub?

We all have moments of doubt where we question if we did the right thing. I'm faced with a particular self-inquiry right now. It's regarding the title and cover art for my latest release, CHARRED SNAKE FOR TWO. The interest has been low since I launched it in the early part of August, so I had to take a step back and examine why. Is the title off-putting? After all, it's a romance. But it's also about danger, survival, and conquering your fears. I posted this question on social media: 

"I've gotten mixed reactions for the title of my latest book -- CHARRED SNAKE FOR TWO. Some have said it 'would' scare people away. Some have said it 'might' scare people away. Others have said, it was a cool title. I've given serious thought to changing it, but the rebel in me wants to keep it. Any thoughts?"






So far, the comments are split 50/50. Half think the title and cover are intriguing. (Some who read the story think I'm spot-on) The other half think I should make changes because the title and cover don't fit the genre. ♥

All the comments were great, regardless if they were for or against the title and cover. I appreciated the input so much. What's an author to do? Heed the candid advice of those who feel I missed the mark? Acknowledge my flub and give my book a makeover? Or let the rebel inside reign for a while longer and see what happens? 

Here's the blurb...

Unable to get her head and heart back on track after her marriage crumbled, Alexandra Henry signed up to take part in an expensive, radical self-help, self-esteem program that would put her on a secluded island for seven days with someone just as broken. Together they would team-up to survive, renew trust in the opposite sex, and grow mentally stronger through candid conversation, while taking on nature at the same time.

Expecting someone tired and downtrodden, Alexandra was shocked when they delivered energetic, dark-haired, cocky, Adonis - Carson Jack.

How could someone like him know about heartache? Hope fizzled on the spot. She wouldn't come out of the experience any better than when she went in. Or would she?


Which side of the debate would you choose? Keep things as they are? Or revamp? 

(I just enjoyed a piece of Dove dark chocolate and here's what the wrapper had to say. 'Give them something to talk about and Choose less ordinary.' Is it a sign? *grins*)


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

October Winds! by Katie Mettner




Today I have the pleasure of introducing Katie Mettner's new book:

OCTOBER WINDS!












October Halloran left her past behind and found happiness in a tiny northern Minnesota town working at a local truck stop. At least she was happy, until Sheriff Jett Raven started asking questions she didn’t want to answer.

Jett didn't buy the story ‘Sarah Banks’ sold the rest of the community. Smitten since the moment he first laid eyes on her, he knew she wasn't who she claimed to be. It wasn't until she stumbled across a dead body that he had a reason to dig into her past, and bring her into his home.

Murdered truckers and attempted kidnappings lead October and Jett to the startling truth. With dozens of girls’ lives on the line, it’s up to October to discover who’s after her and why. It’s up to Jett to keep her alive.


I flicked my hood up over my head, staying clear of the camera when I exited the building, after Lanny buzzed me out. We didn’t have a lot of cameras on the outside of the building, which most would say isn’t very smart, but the opposite is true. Truckers like anonymity. They want to be able to do whatever they want to do, or to let whomever they want to do, into their trucks. We have cameras on the gas pumps, because no trucker pulls off the road and doesn’t put gas in their tank. We always get a license plate at the very least, but usually a face as well. Once they drive their truck behind the building, they’re free to do as they please. I know our privacy first policy is the reason we’re always full of trucks while other stops are empty. Truckers appreciate their privacy. The majority of truckers are also men, which is why I had to come out here twice a day and clean up after them.

I stooped to pick up cigarette butts someone decided shouldn’t go in the cigarette receptacle, and wiped off the plastic tables we leave out for them to sit at. Sometimes a group of guys will get together, smoke cigarettes, drink beer, and play cards. Once they’re drunk and broke, they head back to their cabs to sleep it off. At least I hope they sleep it off and don’t drive a metal death machine drunk. Since I had a pair of gloves on and an empty bucket, I cleaned around the outside of the truck stop picking up crumpled wrappers, empty soda bottles, and condom wrappers. I told you my job is glamorous.

While I wandered about I kept my eyes peeled for anything helpful to me because winter is fast approaching. Sometimes truckers buy new clothes inside the store and leave the old ones in the dumpster. I opened the lid to dump in the trash when I noticed a hooded sweatshirt and jeans lying at the bottom. It must be my lucky day! Even if the jeans were too big I could wear the sweatshirt to stay warm at night. I set the bucket down and glanced around for anyone who might be watching me. I was alone, so I dove in and grabbed the hood, yanking up on it. I expected it to come out easily, but it was caught on something. I bent over the edge of the dumpster as far as I could and used both gloved hands to tug on the shirt. The hood was finally loose, but there was a human head lying in the dumpster, still wearing the sweatshirt and jeans. I let go of the hood and backed up several steps, my heart pounding.

He was dead. How did I know? He was gray and stiff, which meant rigor mortis had set in. Breathe and think, October, I ordered myself, my mind using my real name to shock me back into reality. I couldn’t be the one to find a dead body in the dumpster. Something of this magnitude would open me up to investigation, which can’t happen. What do I do? I can’t dump the trash in there now, they’ll know I saw the body and didn’t report it. They’ll accuse me of killing this guy, and then what? Then I’m in hot water and I can’t afford to defend myself. Then the US Government will find out October Halloran still exists, and then my next address will be in a cell at the Shakopee Correctional Facility. I lowered the lid on the dumpster then picked up my bucket and strode to the loading dock doors to gain entrance without Lanny seeing me.

I marched through the lounge, each step purposeful as if it were any other day. I dumped the bucket of garbage inside the garbage can in the women’s bathroom and tied the bag closed. I lifted it from the waste bin and set it next to the bathroom door. The gloves were stuffed in my pocket because if I threw them away, someone might find them, too. I would burn them later in the fire. Now all I had to do was convince Lanny to take out the trash for me and she would be the one on record to find the body.

I moseyed up to the front where she ran the cash register and pointed at my watch. “You need a smoke break?” I asked and she held her hands in the prayer pose.

“Please, more than anything in the world.”

I laughed and motioned her out from behind the counter. She grabbed her purse and then stepped aside so I could take her place. “I’ll watch the register for you, but don’t dawdle. I’m not the best at this.”

“I won’t be long, I promise.” She took her pack of cigarettes and a lighter from her purse and handed the rest back to me.

She was a few steps from the counter when I called her name, hoping it sounded relaxed and nonchalant. “Would you grab the bag of garbage by the bathroom on your way out?”

She saluted and weaved her way through the shelves to the back of the store. Once she was out of sight I had to wait until she buzzed the door to see if she had the bag. When the buzz sounded, I jumped, my heart racing. I forced my heart to stop pounding and opened the door. She was carrying the garbage and I let out a sigh of relief. Thank goodness the cameras didn’t film the dumpster, or there was no way I could claim I wasn’t the first person to find the body. A full body shiver skittered up my spine as I waited, knowing she would reappear soon. When she did, she hit the button as if it were any other day, but the way she glanced around her told me she found the body.

I buzzed her in and she was up to the counter in a matter of seconds. Her finger was pointing backward and she could barely form words. “There’s, there’s a dead, dead guy in the dumpster.” The only indication she was freaked out was how she spoke through her teeth with a smile so fake the Joker would be jealous.



This was an incredible book! It dealt with some of the worst conditions a person could find themselves in - homelessness, parental abuse, sex trafficking, and more. Katie handled the story with sensitivity, yet she conveyed the brutal truth of those horrible circumstances through her character, Sarah Banks/October Halloran. There were many great themes throughout the book - how you can run only so far and so long from your past until you're forced to face it, how resilient the human spirit can be, how even the most broken person can learn to love and trust again if the right person comes into their life. Katie made it clear that homeless people matter. It was amazing what Sarah/October did to survive. Her heart, body, and soul had been battered to the point most people would have given up. She was strong, but without Sheriff Jett Raven's help she probably would've perished. She followed her instincts and finally her heart. The descriptions, dialogue, settings, and characters were powerful. I felt like I was there, witnessing the scenes as they unfolded. I also liked the Native American elements to the story. 





Katie Mettner writes inspirational and romantic suspense from a little house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She's the author of the four part epic family saga, The Sugar Series, Sugar's Song being runner up for sweet romance in the eFestival of Words contest. Her other romance series, The
Northern Lights Series, The Snowberry Holiday Series, Kupid's Cove Series, and The Magnificent Series are all set in the Midwest. If you love romance and romantic suspense, her books are for you.


Read about more of Katie's adventures as an amputee writer at KatieMettner.com
Follow Katie on Amazon
Follow Katie on Twitter
Come chat with Katie on Facebook
Are you a Pinner? Pin with Katie at Sugarsballroom

Katie lives with her soulmate, whom she met online at Thanksgiving and married in April. Together they share their lives with their three children and two leopard geckos. After suffering an especially bad spill on the bunny hill in 1989, Katie became an amputee in 2011, giving her the much needed time to pen her first novel, Sugar's Dance. With the release of Sugar's story, Katie discovered the unfilled need for disabled heroes and heroines! Her stories are about empowering people with special circumstances to find the one person who will love them because of their abilities, not their inabilities. Katie has a slight addiction to Twitter and blogging, with a lessening aversion to Pinterest now that she quit trying to make the things she pinned.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Have you ever...?


...been smitten at first sight? Or been mystified by the physical pull you felt right away for someone? 

In my lighthearted romantic suspense -- STAY CLOSE, NOVAC! Jessi is disturbed by a tug toward Ian. ♥   


Jessi exchanged her shorts and T-shirt for the light pink camisole and matching stretchy Capri's she used as pajamas. She fell onto the bed and hugged the pillow. "Ahhh" whooshed out of her. Finally, peace and quiet. No hammers, power tools, or stalkers. She inhaled a deep breath and then slowly exhaled the tension of the last twenty-four hours. The second she closed her eyes, an image of Ian flashed through her thoughts. "Oh no you don't." She clamped her eyes really tight thinking it would send him away. But he didn't leave. In fact, he strutted across her brain like he owned it. She could see everything from the plain white T-shirt that stretched across phenomenal pecs to his boyishly handsome face. His sparkly green eyes were the next thing to keep her from drifting to sleep. Actually, it was a toss-up between his eyes and those darn lips.

Ugh. What the heck was she doing? She was supposed to be hiding out and getting some rest and relaxation. So far, no hiding out. No R & R. Only drooling over the clumsy nephew of the guy who owned the adjacent cottage. She was struck by a daunting thought. What if Ian wasn't who he said he was? Maybe he was the heavy breather and the author of those explicit notes. What if falling off that ladder was deliberate; to reel her in and win her trust? And then when she let her guard down... Jessi's hand went to her throat. She bolted to a sitting position.





P. S. The cute little dog on the cover is named Gordon! 



If you'd like to read more about Jessi, Ian...and Gordon, you can find Stay Close, Novac! at Amazon



Love,

Jan

www.authorjanromes.com