Mar 18

Buy the Books!

Here’s the one-page resource for everything you need to know about me and my books…especially how to buy them!

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Sep 15

Behind the Scenes (part 1)

I thought y’all might be interested in a quick peek behind the scenes at how the Dream Series books came to be…

The first book in the series, DREAM STUDENT, first came to life 15 years or so ago.  The genesis of the idea was a question:

Why do people in stories (TV, movies, books) become “amateur detectives?”  Most sane people, if they discover evidence of a crime, especially something as awful as a murder, would go straight to the police.  But people in stories almost never do.

My answer was: because the evidence was only in their heads.  If you were seeing the crimes in the perpetrator’s memories – or dreams – what could you do with that information?  What could you tell the police?  you would need some concrete proof, which means you’d have to find it yourself.  You’d be…an amateur detective.

Sara, and Brian, came to life right along with the idea, and, really, neither of them changed very much from the initial idea to the final book.  Beth didn’t really change, either, except that as the book went from being written in third person to being told entirely from Sara’s first person POV, we didn’t get to see anything from her point of view in the final book.

Some details changed (especially the ending, and the way that Sara and company figure out how to find the killer), but basically the story is more or less as it was fifteen years ago.

DREAM DOCTOR came from a couple of different ideas.  First was simply following up on the ending of DREAM STUDENT.  We knew that Sara was going to marry Brian, and that she was going to go to medical school.  Following her and seeing how she handled those two things was obvious.  The second idea was to turn around the plot of the first book.  In DREAM STUDENT, Sara had to track down one man who had killed several people.  DREAM DOCTOR reverses that: she has to figure out who out of several suspects is trying to kill one very dislikeable individual.  I will admit that I didn’t decide for sure who the would-be murderer was until partway through the book, which meant going back to make a few changes to support the ending.

DREAM CHILD again springs from the ending of the previous book.  We learn in DREAM DOCTOR that Sara’s going to have a baby, and the logical progression was again obvious: what if Sara’s child shared her talent?  What would it be like to have to solve a mystery seen only through dreams – but, worse, through adult dreams as witnessed by a four-year-old who has no frame of reference at all for what she’s seeing?

I didn’t work out the mechanics of the plot right away; I didn’t know exactly who was blackmailing the Congressman, or why, until the book was nearly halfway finished, but the basic idea never really changed.

That’s not true of book four, DREAM FAMILY.  The original idea for the story was that Sara would encounter her nemesis – someone else outside her family who could do what she did, but who was using that gift for selfish and harmful purposes.  But I never got there.  I wrote the prologue, and then I got the idea that somewhere in the story, Sara would find herself spending a night in jail.  I envisioned it as a minor obstacle, and something that might even be a relatively lighthearted moment.  But the moment I began to write that scene (I sometimes jump ahead and write later scenes if I have a strong idea of what they’re going to be), it changed.  The night in jail – I began with the moment of Sara’s arrest – became a nightmare for Sara, worse than anything she’d ever experienced.  And I knew, that was the story: Sara going through an experience that totally breaks her, and how (or if) she recovers from it and puts herself back together.

So there’s how the first four books came to be.  In the next installment, I’ll discuss the rest of the Dream Series…

 

Sep 14

Sneak Peek – Another Glimpse of “Dream Vacation”

It’s Sneak Peek Sunday – you can CLICK RIGHT HERE to get a look at upcoming work from a whole bunch of other fantastic authors.  And you can read on, to get a look at what’s coming next month – book eight of the Dream Series, DREAM VACATION!

Someone’s poking me, and there’s – what is that noise?  It’s grinding and groaning and it’s much too loud.

Landing gear.  And the poking is Ben.  And Lizzie.  We must be coming into Paris right now.  I – I guess I slept the whole flight.  I open my eyes, very slowly, and look over from my son to my daughter.  They’re both staring at me with concern.

“Mom, what did you mean, ‘Thank God it’s not Grace?’”

What?  I don’t understand.  I didn’t say – of course I did.  While I was sleeping, or just waking up.  I was dreaming, and I was – it all comes back.  The girl and her brother, visiting Jim Morrison’s grave and looking to buy drugs.  It was the girl, she was dreaming about buying drugs, and I saw it.  Of course I was glad it wasn’t Grace – that makes perfect sense.

“I was dreaming,” I whisper to Lizzie, and she gets it immediately.

“What was it?  What did you see?  And who?”

Who?  I never saw the girl before, or the brother, if that’s what he was.  Except, obviously I have seen her somewhere or else I wouldn’t be able to go into her dream.

She’s not from our town – her shirt said Yorktown High School.  I guess she could have been a patient at the hospital anyway, at some point.  But then why would she be dreaming about visiting a cemetery in Paris?

I laugh; it’s the only response to how slow I am.  She’s on this plane.  She has to be.  I must have seen her at the gate, back at Dulles airport, or walking past her row when we boarded the plane.

“I’ll tell you all about it later.  But look for a girl, blonde, long straight hair, a little older than Grace.”  Lizzie obediently does as I ask, and so does Ben, but none of us spot the girl.  And since we’re landing, we can’t get out of our seats.  We won’t be able to get up until we’re at the gate and ready to disembark.

Unfortunately, even then none of us have any luck.  By the time we’re able to start making our way up the aisle and out to the jetway, the girl is long gone.  She and her family must have been in the first few rows; they could be anywhere by now.

I saw her dream for a reason – I always do.  But I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it, in a foreign city with millions of people, while I’ve got my own family to worry about.  I can’t do everything, can I?

And here’s a SECOND sneak peek – this is a sample from the audiobook of WAKING DREAM, which is available now!

 

Sep 14

Book Tour! Katja Rusanen and “If I Love Me”

Author Katja Rusanen is launching her latest book, “If I Love Me”, on Tuesday, and I’m happy to be hosting a stop on her pre-launch tour.

First, a little about the author…

Katja Rusanen is a Finnish writer who has been living in Barcelona since 2004. Her debut novel “And You Must Love Me” was published in 2011, and its stand-alone sequel “But He Loves Me” came out in 2013. They are part of a transformational trilogy where she projected her own experiences and feelings onto writing. The final part of the trilogy ”If I Love Me is coming out on Tuesday, September 16th, 2014. 
Katja is a Spiritual Life Coach and writes a blog about how you can turn your wounds into wisdom and be the star of your life. She also coaches writers to maintain their motivation and to make their dream of completing their own book come true!
 Katja is also involved in charity work, she has a soft spot in her heart for the Amani Children’s Home which has her ongoing support.

If you would like to find out more about Katja, check out her website;
http://author.katjarusanen.com/

And here’s the book!
IF I LOVE ME
 
Cuban cigars, Dom Pérignon and designer handbags. Renate has found a fast track to success, but the job might not be as legitimate as it sounds. When she runs across her old party friend Madeleine, the re-encounter stirs memories that she had buried deep in her mind. Renate realizes that she can’t escape the consequences of her actions forever; it’s time to start making amends. 
In desperation she reaches out to Madeleine who surprises her in many ways, not least by introducing her to a mystical old man who claims he can decipher her soul’s plan. Renate starts a journey into the unknown, although at first her family doesn’t agree with her drastic plans, especially when Renate’s big sister reveals a secret. ”If I Love Me” is a question that keeps confronting Renate as she starts to make some life-changing choices, and discovers the power of forgiveness and love.
The book will be out on Tuesday, and you can pre-order it right now!
I’ve also got a great interview with Katja…

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
I adore Mama Karima. She is an amazing woman, who is like a fountain of wisdom. She has also a lot of character…

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading “Gyulu – The True Nature of Phenomena” by Tulku Lobsang.

What do you think makes a good story?
I like stories with many layers and a meaningful message.

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

I’m a mixture of those. I have a rough outline and then I sit down at the computer waiting to be surprised…

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
Past might be past but it’s never too late to apologize as I think it’s possible to apologize to spirits too. I’m sincerely sorry for all the hurt I might have caused in the past, I hope I have learnt my lessons and can live in more harmonious way from now on. If I need to choose someone, I think I would choose myself as I caused myself a lot of suffering by holding on to the past and sabotaging my life. Luckily I found a way out of the darkness and now I light the way the path to others through my spiritual life coaching as I now know the way.

What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read?

If I need to select one, I’d say “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. This book introduced me to the Law of Attraction, and so many good things have happened to me after reading that.

Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
My dear editor Francesca Hector! She has believed in me from the first meeting when my first novel seemed to be only a distant dream. She has helped me to grow as a writer through her constructive feedback and encouragement. It’s amazing to have such a diamond in my team.

Sep 13

Book Launch – J. Hughey and “Eruption”

I’m happy to be hosting a stop in the book launch tour for Jill Hughey’s new novel, “Eruption”

JillAuthor2pt25

J. Hughey knows what a girl wants. Independence. One or two no-matter-what-happens friends. A smokin’ hot romance. A basic understanding of geological concepts. Huh? Okay, maybe not every girl is into geology, but J. Hughey is, and in the Yellowblown™ series she combines her passion for a timeless love story with her interest in geeky stuff to help Violet Perch get a life, despite an ongoing global catastrophe.

J. Hughey also writes historical romance as Jill Hughey.

 

Follow her online:

Website:  www.jillhughey.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jillhugheyromance

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jillhughey

 

And here’s the book!

VQ_0098_JHughey_Eruption_lowres_final

J. Hughey chose the release date of her new New Adult contemporary romance to correspond with the date of the eruption of the Yellowstone volcano in her story, an event that will turn her lead character’s world on its head as the series progresses. The first book, Eruption, gives a glimpse of Violet Perch’s college life and the unavoidable changes she endures when things get seriously messed up for the North American continent. If you didn’t know North America is a continent, you’ll learn a few more geeky facts while enjoying Violet’s story. Plus, keep reading to get a chance to win some swag!

 

Here’s the blurb for Eruption, which will be on sale for 99 cents for a short time:

I’m in the middle of the perfect college semester, hundreds of miles from Mom, with an awesome roomie and my freshman crush finally becoming a sophomore reality—Hotness! I’m figuring out calculus, I’ve got both hands on the handlebars and the wind of freedom in my hair. What on earth could slow my roll?

How about if the Yellowstone volcano erupts for the first time in 630,000 years, spewing a continuous load of ash (crap) all over North America? Think that’ll put a kink in my bicycle chain?

Make that kinks, plural, because here’s a scientific fact I’ll bet you didn’t know. Nothing ruins the perfect semester like a super caldera. Now that I’ve made you smarter today, maybe you can tell me how to keep my life cruising in the right direction—no to Mom, yes to roomie, double yes to Hotness!—during a global disaster?

My lame name is Violet and, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not hanging from the side of a cinder cone on the last page of this trauma, but there’s definitely more to come. Unless, of course, humans become extinct and then there’s not. Duh.

Eruption is on sale for 99 cents. It’ll jump up to $2.99 soon so grab your copy now! http://www.amazon.com/Eruption-YellowblownTM-Book-J-Hughey-ebook/dp/B00MRHAIRO

Enjoy an excerpt from the day the eruption starts:

“You’re starting to freak me out,” I said. Boone looked like he was going to tell me someone had died, but he didn’t know anyone in my family, and surely the Dean of Students would not give him the responsibility of passing on bad news after three weeks of talking.

“Sorry,” he said. “I can’t decide if I’m freaked out or not.” He took a deep breath. “Yellowstone is erupting.”

I stared at him, not a flicker of comprehension illuminating my dim-bulb mind. Nothing. “Yellowstone? The place with the, umm, geysers?” Obviously I’d heard of Yellowstone, never been there, not sure I could place it on a map in the murky part of the U.S. between where I lived and Hollywood.

“Yeah. Yellowstone sits over a hotspot that’s been around for millions of years.”

“Instead of steaming it’s now erupting? As in lava erupting?” We’d covered igneous rocks in a very general way already so I knew hot liquefied rock below the ground was called magma and, when it erupted, became lava.

“Dr. Potter says nobody knows what it’s doing. It blew this morning. I mean explosively blew. All the local sensors went offline. Satellite pictures show a big brown cloud of dust. Like two hundred miles across.”

Boone’s voice shook a fraction. I put my hand on his forearm. He sat back so he could hold it in his.

I asked, “Do you have friends out there, or family?”

“Not close. Dr. Potter knows I’m from Nebraska. He asked me where—made me point to it on a map. He said my family might want to stockpile supplies, or better yet, leave.” He paused, prompting me to scoot to the edge of my seat. “My house is nine hundred miles away from Yellowstone, Violet.”

“Are you serious?”

“He says if it does anything close to what it’s done in the past, thirty percent of the U.S. is pretty well screwed.”

I rifled through my bag to find my tablet. “Show me,” I said. “I need to see a map or something.”

“C’mon,” he said. He took me to Dr. Potter’s office. The professor ignored us. He jabbed his finger at his cell phone to enter a text message. The screen of his laptop glowed with a cascade of open program windows, and his iPad bonged with an incoming email tone. His finger did not pause when Boone led me to an ancient roller-shade map of the US.

“Yellowstone is here. Dr. Potter drew this red circle this morning.”

That’s not coming off any time soon, I thought as I studied the thick line of scarlet Sharpie.

“The last eruption basically obliterated everything within this oval.”

“When?”

“Six hundred thirty thousand years ago,” Dr. Potter muttered. His trendy rectangular glasses sat askew on his nose. He swept his hand toward his laptop’s screen in a disgusted now-look-what-you’ve done gesture. I circled around his desk to see images more current than the one offered by the cartographic fossil on the wall.

A dark mess of chocolate pudding plopped in the midst of the whipped topping clouds of a satellite loop. The mass burgeoned over the northwestern U.S., dry pudding mix edges caught and swept east by the prevailing winds.

Anyone with a grandpa who blares Weather Watcher on the TV all day knows weather moves east.

Apparently, crap shot into the air by Yellowstone moves east, too.

 

 

Finally, if you want a chance to win some Eruption swag—your choice of a necklace, bracelet or bookmark with cover and series charms, sign up for J. Hughey’s newsletter before September 27. http://www.jillhughey.com/contact

Swag

Sep 03

Indie Author Spotlight – Rachel Brune and “Cold Run”

I’m thrilled to introduce another new face to you this morning.  She’s Rachel Brune…

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Rachel A. Brune graduated from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts in May 2000, and was immediately plunged into the low-stakes world of entry-level executive assistant-ship. Her unexpected journey out of that world and into the military is chronicled in her self-published book Echoes and Premonitions. After five years as a combat journalist, including two tours in Iraq, and a brief stint as a columnist for her hometown newspaper, she attended graduate school at the University at Albany in NY, where she earned her MA in Political Communication, and her commission as a second lieutenant in the military police corps. Although her day job has taken in her in many strange, often twisted directions, Rachel continues to write and publish short fiction. She released her first novel, Soft Target, in early 2013. She blogs her thoughts about reading and the writing life at http://www.infamous-scribbler.com.

Connect with Rachel: [Blog][Twitter][Facebook][Goodreads]

Blog: http://infamous-scribbler.com/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelabrune

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rachel-A-Brune-Author/212995402108944

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5414042.Rachel_A_Brune

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rachel-A.-Brune/e/B00CLO4DSS

 

And here’s her book, “Cold Run”

Cold Runsm

It is amazing how quickly a phone call can interrupt your life, even when you’re a werewolf. Rick Keller hangs up from the unwanted call, but the shadowy organization he once belonged to doesn’t take such an answer lightly. Waking up collared and caged by MONIKER is a quick way to learn retirement isn’t always permanent. Death will be if he doesn’t accept their assignment.

Keller and his new team follow a group of human traffickers on a thin trail across the globe. Their only hope is in a man who hasn’t had much practice being a werewolf in a really long time, a sadistic agent who loves making dog jokes, and a beautiful operative who is better with guns than relationships.

If being forced back into service wasn’t bad enough, he quickly discovers they have many new experiments to try out on their pet wolf. Even worse, MONIKER now isn’t the only one who knows his secret.

Hopefully an old dog can learn some new tricks, especially if he wants to stay alive.

 

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MBXVRB0

And all other Amazon stores.

Prime members read for free!

Goodreads- book link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22736873-cold-run

 

Rachel’s provided us with a great excerpt from the book…

“Keller.”

The man behind the weapon was a ghost, a black tactical suit concealing his form, expensive scope mounted on some sort of rifle. I howled again and lurched at him, brought down short by another surge of the change. I struggled to remain upright but found myself on my knees.

Another man appeared to the side, shining a bright, piercing strobe light at my eyes, disorienting me as I tried to turn to face the new threat, my traitorous body rendering my reactions unreliable.

I scrambled to get my feet under me, but the final throes of the change robbed the ground from me. I flailed my paws against the last remnants of my work clothes, now torn and scattered on the ground.

I heard the explosion of gases from the chamber of the first man’s rifle a split second after the bullet pierced my side. I yelped and fell sideways, trying to relieve the pressure. I rolled to all fours and lunged toward the man, intent on relieving the pain by ripping the screams from his throat.

He shot again and again as I reached him, bowling him over and aiming for the soft pieces exposed to my grip.

Instead of soft viscera beneath my teeth, the next sensation I felt came as intense pain, which slowed and disjointed my movements. I raised my head, snapping and gnarling in vain against the folds of the net suddenly enveloping me. Ignoring the second man–stupid mistake. From the burning the lines of the net raised against my hide, I could tell the wires were laced with silver filaments.

The man with the rifle scrambled away from me. I let him go, rolling on the ground, trying to escape the clutching net.

“He’s a big one.” The second man spoke the words, looking down on me from an impossible height as the pain began to outweigh the panic. I could feel the silver working against my struggling.

“He always was.” The first man hocked and spat. It smelled of Copenhagen. “It’s going to be a bitch dragging him down to the truck.”

The words made no sense. I listened, but could not understand.

“If we let you up, do you promise to be a good doggie?” The man with the rifle prodded the barrel into my side.

I growled, but it was mostly wishful thinking, the energy from the night and the change suddenly sapped by the ensilvered net. I lay on my side and simply lolled.

“Good boy.” The man kept his rifle trained at me as his partner knelt down and fiddled with the edge of the net. Grasping a loop from the edge, he pulled. The line must have been attached in some ingenious way so when he pulled on it, it contracted the net into a small, compact circle around my neck.

“Come on.” The second man jerked at my neck, holding the line as a leash. “I’m not carrying you down this hill in the dark.”

The net continued to burn against my neck as he dragged me to my feet. Head hanging, I padded after him through the snow.

 

And last, but not least, here’s a fantastic interview with Rachel…

Who is your favorite author?
Gah! So not a fair question. It depends on what I’m in the mood for. I do, however, have a lot of Bernard Cornwell, Tanya Huff, Sergei Lubyanenko, and Jim Butcher on my bookshelf (and my Kindle).
How do you describe your writing style?
Like my mom describes me – wiseass.. With, of course, a heart of gold. :D
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
Werewolves, Secret Agents. Werewolves who are secret agents.
Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?
If one of them does something really embarrassing, chances are he or she is the one channeling the author at the time.
If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?
I’d take a ride in my main character, Rick’s, body. But only if it were one of those days where he wasn’t getting his butt kicked.
What books have most influenced your life?
At various times in my life I’ve had epiphanies over A Dog of Flanders by the pseudonymic Ouida, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern, Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum (James’ note – someday I will get through this book!), Benvenuto Cellini’s Autobiography, and Marvel’s Wolverine omnibus.
If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why?
“Romeo & Juliet” – which I guess is technically a play, but I can’t read or watch it without wanting to give everyone a vigorous shaking and better communication skills.
Beatles or Monkees? Why?
Monkees. Their songs are easier to learn.
Who should play you in a film of your life?
William H. Macy.

 

Aug 31

Sneak Peek Sunday – Another Look at “Dream Vacation”

I’m one of several indie authors who are posting a sneak peek at their latest work today.  You can find a whole lot of other great authors RIGHT HERE.

And I’ve got a preview for you from my upcoming book, “Dream Vacation”.  Enjoy!

It’s four-thirty when I get back, and Grace still isn’t home.  “She called right after you left.  She said they going to stay at the mall until it closes at five and then start on home,” my mother informs me when I ask.

I start preparing dinner, and five o’clock comes and goes.  By the time everything is finished and I’m dishing up places, six o’clock has come and gone, too.  We should have heard something from Grace by now.

I call her cell phone, and it rings several times with no answer.  That’s against the rules.  One of the conditions of giving her the phone was that whenever Brian or I call, she has to pick up, no matter what she’s doing.

She’s never lied to us – not seriously, anyway.  She’s never skipped school, or broken curfew or any of the other usual teenage things.

As far as I know.

The twins come in, attracted by the smell of pot roast.  Steffy asks, “Where’s Grace?”

“That’s a good question,” I say, a lot more calmly than I feel.  I go into the living room, and pick up the Entertainment section of the newspaper with trembling hands.  It takes me just a few seconds to confirm my suspicion: there’s no Will Smith movie playing at the theater up in Beacon.

Which means Grace didn’t go there.  And I also suspect that she’s not with her friend Tammie, either.  Five minutes and a quick call over to the Meitners later, I know I’m right.

I look down at my hands to find them balled into fists.  How could she lie to me like that?  I trusted her!  I’ve trusted her just the same as all my other children – just the way my parents trusted me!  How could she betray that?

It was deliberate, too.  She planned it all out.  She knew I wouldn’t call to check up and confirm she was really going with Tammie and her brother.  And she called this afternoon, to keep up the lie.

And then something more worrisome comes into my mind.  What if something happened to her after that call?  Unless she’s actually running away from home – and no matter how distraught she is about Will Harper, that’s just inconceivable – she must have planned to be home at a reasonable hour.

But she’s not.  Why?  Where is she?  Is she not answering her phone because she can’t?  Because she’s lost it, or it’s been stolen or she’s…?

Aug 30

FInished! (Sort-of)

So the first/second draft of “Dream Vacation” is done and the book is off to my fantastic beta readers now.  We’re still very much on track for the October 31st launch….

And the audiobook of “Waking Dream” is in Amazon’s hands as they do quality control.  It should be out sometime in the next two weeks…

Aug 29

Cover Reveal – “All Who Are Lost” by Lindsey Firrest

All Who Are Lost
by Lindsey Forrest
Series: Ashmore’s Folly Trilogy: Book One
Cover
Design:
Robin Ludwig of Robin Ludwig Design, Inc
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Romance)

Expected
Release Date: October 21, 2014

 
Summary: 
 

 

One man.

Too many betrayals.

Three women.

One last chance.

 

 

 

On
a cold winter day, a woman calls a number halfway across the world.

 

 

A
man answers.

 

 

After
fourteen years, Laura St. Bride hears the voice she has never
forgotten, the voice she will remember with her last breath…

 

 

 

 

What do you do

when the love of your life

is the last person you should love?

 

 

 

 

A
great family estate in Virginia.

 

 

Three
sisters growing up in the shadow of their father’s obsessive drive to recapture
his lost muse, the woman he threw into the cold Irish sea.

 

 

The
scion of an old family, falling in love with the wrong sister, blind to the ice
at her core.

 

 

A
woman haunted by a moment of blood and violence, when she reached out and took
a man who didn’t belong to her.

 

 

A
man living a life of regret and sacrifice, given a second chance to claim the
woman he should have loved all along.
Excerpt:

 

 

I know you’re out there
somewhere….

 

 

She stared out
across a crowded London square, unknowing, unseeing, the serenity of her face
captured in the flat surface of the theatrical poster. The light noon rain ran
down in small diagonal rivers across her, crinkling the smooth plain of her
forehead and the gentle cut of her jaw. She wept, large, abandoned tears that
warred with the lovely turn of her mouth.

 

 

The Great Cat,
they called her.

 

 

Many of those who
had come to Leicester Square, hunting for half-price theater tickets,
gravitated to her, beckoned by her eyes, lured on by the legend of mist and
mystery that surrounded her. A few balked at the price of “An Intimate Evening
with Cat Courtney.” Others realized to their sorrow that they had conflicting
tickets, meals planned with in-laws, flights to catch. Three nights only,
announced the poster, and this, unfortunately, was the last night.

 

 

She smiled out at
them all, oblivious to their concerns, uncaring of the rain wetting her face.

 

 

The American
tourist who came walking into the square, his daughter by his side, did not
notice her at first. The rain had stopped for a few minutes, and other matters
engaged him: folding up a handy umbrella, glancing at his watch, reading a
guide book over his daughter’s shoulder. For one minute longer, he remained
merely a tourist on a much-needed vacation. For one minute longer, the Great
Cat never crossed his mind.

 

 

But the Great Cat
could wait, and for this man she would wait forever.

 

 

She had left him
a decade before, both of them reeling from the blood of their folly, in a
deserted cottage on a desolate shore on the other side of the world. Had she
eyes to see, she would know him instantly.

 

 

Eventually, respite
ended. Eventually, Richard Ashmore lifted his head, his eyes scanning across
the theatrical posters, in search of an evening’s entertainment suitable for a
young girl. The titles made little impression – Les Miserables, The
Graduate, Noises Off
– until he saw her and everything around her blurred
into oblivion.

 

 

He knew her too,
instantly.

 

 

Laura.

 

 

His worst
mistake.
e
“Dad?”
Julie touched her hand to his. “Do you think we can get tickets?”

 

 

“We can try.”
Richard closed his fingers around hers, a talisman to ward memory off. “Don’t
get your hopes up, Julie. Her concerts usually sell out.”

 

 

“Let’s ask over
there,” suggested his daughter, pointing across the square to the ticket kiosk.
“Maybe someone bought tickets and can’t go. Maybe someone dropped their
tickets, and someone turned them in. Maybe —”

 

 

“Maybe, maybe,
maybe,” he teased, but already he was allowing her to drag him across the
stones towards the waiting queue.

 

 

They took their
places in line. Julie was glowing with excitement, the happiest Richard had
seen her since the morning before her grandparents had died. He was less
optimistic. Others ahead of them had requested tickets, and the possibility of
stray tickets lessened as they moved up the line. He sought to cushion her
against disappointment by letting her plan the afternoon. They were only a
couple of blocks from the National Gallery, or would she prefer to hop the tube
for Harrods?

 

 

“Harrods,” said
Julie immediately. “And tea, Dad.” She leaned in against him to look at his
guidebook. “I have my birthday money from Lucy. I want to get something to wear
to the concert.”

 

 

“Keep your money,
kitten.” He wished that they had never seen the poster. Selfish, yes, but if
meeting her eyes in a poster disturbed him, how would he feel to see her again,
even in the black anonymity of an audience? Better not to know, better to go
back to an occasional evening of listening to her songs in the dark and trying
to make some sense of what had happened.

 

 

And Julie had
endured enough recently.

 

 

They were second
in line now, behind a couple attempting to get tickets to the latest Andrew
Lloyd Webber. Good luck, thought Richard, who had tried for three months. They
bought him a few minutes of reprieve while they settled for a sex comedy
instead.

 

 

“Two for Cat
Courtney,” he said, and if the gods had been with him, just this once, he would
have been told in that inimitable British way, Sorry, sir, but that show has
just sold out….

 

 

“Yes, a few
tickets have been turned in,” and his fate was sealed. He and Julie looked at
the seating chart. She sparkled as she so seldom did, and as he paid for the
tickets he thought that he would bear any pain, any guilt, to see that look on
her face.

 

 

“Those are good
seats,” said the man behind him, another American from the sound of him. “I’ve
seen her before, and she’s worth twice the price.”

 

 

Julie forgot her
usual shyness with strangers. “I can’t wait! I’ve wanted to see her for so long
—”

 

 

A woman with a
Southern accent said kindly, “You know, darlin’, you’re just the picture of
her.”

 

 

“Thank you,” said
Julie. “I’m glad I am. She’s my aunt.”

 

 

And Richard
Ashmore looked at the tickets and realized, with a shock, that it was June 9,
and he had been married for seventeen years.
e
In
his life, Richard Ashmore had made three mistakes with women. Not that three
was so unusual; no man reached his thirties without suffering the particular
pain that women could inflict and without inflicting it in return. He was
luckier than most men, perhaps, for he had erred early and grievously, and
caution had been driven into him like a bullet. He carried with him permanent
reminders of his follies: a marriage gone disastrously wrong, the painful
conscience that he had not always been the upright man his daughter loved, a
shoulder that ached in cold weather.

 

 

Ah, Diana,
unattainable once attained, a monumental mistake made in all the first flush of
adolescent desire and pride. Too young to marry, too blindly in love to
recognize the ice behind her eyes, he had turned a deaf ear to his father’s
warning that his princess was hollow at her core.

 

 

Francie,
silver-quick smile and hungry eyes, and his own need for the warmth of a
woman’s arms. The dangerous combination of a magnum of champagne on New Year’s
Eve and three years of exile from his marriage bed had erupted into a
springtime of madness. The gods had demanded their due: a marriage wrecked
beyond salvage, a family foundered, two young women cast adrift.

 

 

And the third….
Oh, but even now, all these years later, he stood before her picture, and he
still did not understand. She watched him from the poster, more animated in
flat gray and white than he had ever known her. But he knew those eyes. He knew
how they adored him, how they burned in fever and desire, how they haunted odd
moments of the day and dark pockets of the night.

 

 

Diana. Francie.
Laura the Cat.

 

 

He supposed he
had a special weakness for shuttered eyes that invited a man in with promises
implied and unkept, for wild autumn hair spread gloriously across a pillow, for
tall, elegant figures and clear, sweet voices and beguiling, destructive ways.
They all three had this and more in common, and why not? They were sisters,
after all.
e

                                                                                         

About Lindsey Forrest:

 

Lindsey
Forrest, a lead writer/editor for an international information company, writes
about income tax but prefers to dream of heroes and heroines and grand romance.
With the publication of her trilogy, she checks off the top entry on her bucket
list. She lives in north Texas with her family and cat and has a five-year plan
for becoming a full-time novelist and editor of indie fiction. When she isn’t
working or writing, she amuses herself with reading, needlepointing, tramping
around historical sites and houses, and outbidding everyone who gets in her way
on Ebay.
Follow the Author: 
  Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter      |     Amazon Author Page 
 
Pre-Order Today:
 
 
 

Aug 28

Indie Author Spotlight – Montgomery Mahaffey and “Ella Bandita & the Wanderer”

I’ve got another great indie author for you this morning.  Say hello to Montgomery Mahaffey!

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Montgomery Mahaffey is a fantasy writer who has told her stories all over the country. Alaskan winters shaped Mahaffey as a writer, and her work is built off of the myriad of personal and collective experiences formed underneath that mystical landscape. Born in the south to a family of storytellers, Mahaffey has developed her own voice that is suffused with the temperament of the wanderer instinct. Set in a world where magic is at once subtle and pervasive, her novels bring to life symbols and stories of the old fairy tales told with wry humor and passion. In 2005 she was granted the Individual Artist Project Award from the Rasmuson Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska. Ella Bandita and the Wanderer is her first novel.

You can follow her at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FreeFlyingPress
Website: http://freeflyingpress.com

 

And here’s her book!

9780990313403-Perfect.indd

They were fated to collide, Ella Bandita and the Wanderer. This complex fable about a predatory seductress and an adventurer frozen in grief explores the darkness of the human heart and the allure of erotic obsession over love. The story begins when an outcast young woman tries to kill herself. Yet a sorcerer intervenes with a last chance to change her destiny. But she must be his lover and give him her heart to transform into the immortal Ella Bandita. All his life, the Wanderer hears stories about Ella Bandita, the ruthless thief of hearts. But he never believes she lives and doesn’t recognize her when they meet. Driven by lust, he follows Ella Bandita into a battle of wills that threatens to destroy him. The Wanderer wants nothing more than to avenge himself on a woman he loathes, the vagabond seductress who stole his heart.

You can buy it at:

http://www.amazon.com/Ella-Bandita-Wanderer-Montgomery-Mahaffey/dp/0990313409/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1409084515&sr=8-2&keywords=ella+bandita

 

Montgomery has provided us with an excerpt…

The Patron found her past the wide bend in the river in the same spot where she and the Trainer used to fish. Crouched on her haunches, she wore crude trousers tied at her waist, the fine stitches of her blouse grimy, her hair in a long braid to her waist, strands tousled around her face. Although she’d grown taller and now had the curves of womanhood, she looked just as she had that season seven years ago. Scanning the trees, he almost expected to find the Trainer, but his daughter was alone.

One thing had changed. She’d never worn a holster back then, but now had one belted below her waist. He raised his brows when he saw one of his pistols at her hip. He hadn’t heard the shot when she caught the squirrel, but she was skinning the carcass with one of his daggers. So intent was she on her task she didn’t hear him approach. Her eyes grew wide when she looked up and her hand slipped, the blade slicing into her wrist.

The Patron leaped off his horse and reached her in two strides. Gripping her arm, he sunk her hand in the water. The girl resisted, but he held on tight and squeezed her wound to stop the blood flowing into the river. He brought her hand out of the icy water and pressed his scarf against the side of her wrist, pulling a handkerchief from his breast pocket. He heard her labored breathing and felt the taut muscles of her arm while tying the bandage around her wrist. The Patron glanced over, ashamed when he saw the girl pulling as far from him as possible, her eyes narrowed to slits. It had been years since he last touched her.

 

And I’ve also got a great interview with her:

Who is your favorite author? Is it possible to only have one favorite author? The immediate one who popped into mind is Jeannette Winterson: “Sexing the Cherry” and “The Passion.” Some other favorites are Isabel Allende, Tom Robbins, John Irving, Truman Capote, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Florence King, Hans Christian Andersen, and John Kennedy Toole.

How do you describe your writing style? I’m rooted in fables/folk tales/fairy tales. My stories are written in the style of oral storytelling before I expand them into novels. In parts, my writing style can be very lush and lyrical, and in other parts, staccato and abrupt. More often than I’d like, my writing is very clumsy and awkward; but I suppose that’s part of the learning curve.
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book? For the hot sex scenes that only make up 5% of the entire novel – it’s quality, not quantity that matters. ;) Seriously, the female protagonist is unusual in that she is a villainess, a little more evil than good, and a helluva lot of fun as a result.
Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself? Yes. The Wanderer. This may sound ironic because the Wanderer is a man and I’m a woman. But that’s only gender. I grew up with brothers, male cousins, and all their friends, so I’m very familiar with the masculine. Besides, the Wanderer – although very male – has a well-developed feminine side that he’s comfortable with. Over time, I’ve come to recognize that there’s more of me in the Ella Bandita character – who also has a strong masculine side to her. Obviously, I like gender-fluid dynamics – especially in the relationship between Ella Bandita and the Wanderer. It makes the tension between them vivid and delicious.
If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?That’s easy. Ella Bandita. She’s a macho slut, and I would love to taste the psychological and emotional freedom I’ve never known in my relationships. I wouldn’t want to live that way forever, because there’s a dear price to pay. But to experience that power, even if it was just for a moment or a day, would be mind-blowing.
What books have most influenced your life? I wrote my first fairy tale while I was halfway through reading the complete works of Hans Christian Andersen – and the story came out effortlessly. Later, I would find that using magic and suspending the rules of mundane reality freed me up to write the stories I wanted to tell. Jeannette Winterson’s “Sexing the Cherry” was the first novel I read that blew me away. What she did with description and words was like nothing I’d ever experienced before – and she also uses fantastical fable-like elements in her writing. I remember thinking after I read that book that I should just forget about being a writer because I would never be that good. I’ve often felt the same way while reading the early work of Truman Capote. Without realizing it, those authors made me set the bar higher, and I think I became a better writer because they intimidated me so much.
If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why? I would rewrite “Eleven Minutes” by Paulo Coelho because my experience of that novel was an exquisite mating dance that got me all excited only to culminate in disappointing sex – especially because the sex could have risen above mediocrity had there been enough foreplay. To elaborate: there is wonderful chemistry in the friendship between the prostitute Maria and the celibate artist Ralf – and their budding love story around sacred sexuality is believable. However, there is also a delicious build up of tension in the plot line of Maria being seduced into the realm of sadomasochism that would have taken her sex worker career in a heightened, more lucrative, and more dangerous arena. That was when the tension of the story started getting really good. I would have loved to have seen more scenes describing the struggle for Maria to choose between Ralf and the Sacred Sexual (love and light) and the erotic allure of BDSM (punishment and power). Such a conflict would have made Maria’s final choice more emotionally (and possibly physically) orgasmic for the reader.
Beatles or Monkees? Why? Beatles. And the why is obvious. But if I were to choose between 2 bands of genius musicians, like Beatles or Rolling Stones? The answer would be Rolling Stones because they’re gritty and raw.

Who should play you in a film of your life? Hillary Swank or Tina Fey.

 

Aug 26

Another book down (almost!)

The first draft of “Dream Vacation” is just about finished – I’ve only got about 5,000 more words to go and it’ll be done.

At the moment, it’s the shortest of the books.  It’s going to come in probably right around 80,000 words once the front matter, acknowledgements and everything else is added in (for comparison, “Dream Reunion” (book six) is currently the shortest book, at 84,000 words; “Dream Family” (book four) is the longest, at 109,000).

And the audiobook for “Waking Dream” is almost done, too.  I’m just waiting on final edits from my fantastic narrator and then it’ll be approved and in the hands of Amazon’s Quality Control people…

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