What I’m thankful for

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Initially, I had a hard time coming up with a blog post. You’d think with the holiday season around the corner, it would’ve come easy to me. This is my favorite time of year, so I’m glad this post fell near Thanksgiving. From the holiday movies, to the music, the decorations…being with family, everything about the holiday season makes me smile. I decided to write about what I’m thankful for, and I don’t know why the answer didn’t come to me sooner.

Two-thousand-fourteen has been an interesting year for me. One filled with blessings, pitfalls, and some failures. My biggest blessing this year, and every year, is my family. As crazy as they make me most days, I would be lost without them. My husband, son, and my parents are the people who I’d be lost without. My husband of ten years, supported my writing career from the very beginning, and was my first reader for “Gracie’s Plan,” in it’s early stages four years ago. We still laugh over some of the things that, clearly, didn’t belong. I’m thankful for my son, and honestly, he’s the whole reason I started writing again. He’s four, and mischievous, but my life would not be the same without him. My parents were my number one fans when I started on my writing journey at fourteen, and this is something that hasn’t changed. They are the best parents a girl could ask for. I’m grateful for my best friend, who has seen me in my worst moments, have laughed and cried with, shared fights with. She is still here, and still stayed by me.

I celebrated my 32nd birthday this year, and I can honestly say I feel thankful for it. In my twenties I was so insecure about myself as a person, and it was an interesting period in my life. My best friend, who is more like a sister to me, told me you’ll grow into your own skin when you turn 30, and it was very true for me.  As I’ve celebrated more birthdays in my thirties, I feel the best I ever have in my whole life. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I’ve come a long way. I’m secure, and happy in my own skin.

This year has been rough for me, health wise. But believe it or not, the experience has made me grateful for what I have. On June 11, I suffered from Bell’s Palsy, a temporary facial paralysis that affected my right side. I’d never heard of this particular illness, so I was baffled that it had taken half my face. I couldn’t smile, couldn’t produce tears in one eye, I couldn’t blink, so I had to wear a patch, and I had great difficulty eating from the right side. This not only took a lot physically, but emotionally as well. In the beginning I was depressed, and couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without bursting into tears. I looked at a photo of myself the day before, and mourned that face.  At the time I could’ve found ten things wrong with it, but I realized, I didn’t have anything to complain about. It’s been five, going on six months now since it’s happened, and I’m happy to say I’m getting better. Facial movement is starting to return, very slowly but surely, and I’m thankful for even small improvements. When I’m completely healed, I will no longer take things like a smile, or a blink, for granted again.

This year also proved to be one in which I saw my dreams come true, when my book was published. Because next to my son, it’s my greatest achievement. It’s been quite a journey to publication, but one I’m grateful to have had. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my second manuscript as we speak, and I’d like to say those jitters don’t exist anymore, but I’d be lying. This writer submitting her work is nervous, and (figuratively) biting her nails. It feels like it’s the first time I’m submitting anything.

Last, but certainly not least, I’m thankful for the friendship I’ve found through the SoulMate Family. I’ve only met one member in person, my amazing Editor, Cheryl Yeko, and I hope to meet more in the future, but their Facebook presence has been such a blessing to me. They’re their when I have a question, or a problem. Everybody supports each other, and it’s so refreshing to see. I just cannot picture being anywhere else, because even though we’re on-line, and I can’t physically see them, their presence can still be felt.

While 2014 has had some bumpy moments, it’s also been filled with lots of blessings.

Rose Lange

http://www.roselange.com

Facebook: Rose Lange, Author

Twitter: Rose Lange @writingdiva82

 

Posted in Rose In The Garden!, Soul Mate Publishing | 6 Comments

Brrrrrr . . . it’s cold outside!

WinterDRIVEWAYThis past week, winter struck the Northeast hard and has caused— and continues to cause—hardships.

Here in the little spot of Western Pennsylvania that I call home, we got off rather lightly. Yet, because I live along the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, which are covered with trees, it’s also enviable that when such storms come through the area, branches and trees succumb to the weight of the snow and topple. In other words, I am used to periodically going without electricity.

The loss of electric means no furnace (having no heat), no light (having to use candles and flashlights), no running water (having to fetch water from the spring, or collecting roof runoff), no electric stove (having to get out the old “Bunsen burner” of a camp stove). Pretty much routine stuff when the power goes out.

Only this time, it’s bitter cold outside. Bitter-bitter cold. And sitting at the dining room table, lighting the candles, it occurred to me how much more I am dependent on electric then in the past. My desktop computer, which I do the brunt of my writing with, has an internal battery and is full of electronic components that don’t like the cold. So are my printers. My Samsung tablet, Kindle, and my laptop computer are electronics that also don’t do well in the cold. Each one is an expensive piece of equipment to have to replace or to allow to become damaged.

And just as costly is my electronic sewing-embroidery machine. The only other electronic device I own, which doesn’t need insulating, is my Cannon digital camera. It’s home is a rugged case that protects it from extremes of temperatures.

As to the cell phone? Well, we live in a dead zone and the thing is only good when we travel, so the cell phone is always stored in a drawer, which will, along with all the paper and junk in the drawer, keep it safe from the cold.

But, when the house reached fifty-four degrees, worry-wart that I am, and knowing that forty-degrees seems to be the average threshold for inviting damage to batteries and electronics, I grab heavy towels, scatter rugs, sweaters, and whatever else I can find handy. I cover the equipment to semi-insulate them against the continuing temperature drop.

And, afterwards, while sitting in front of the lighted candles, bored with reading magazines and periodically crocheting a scarf (which I wished I was wearing!), I also attempted to hand write an essay about being without electric. The pen was ice cold and my fingers soon were as frigid. Luckily, I remembered my daughter gave me a pair of gloves with a little cap that goes over the fingertips. So I fetched the gloves, used them like mittens, and I was able to stave off frozen fingers to draft this essay.

The thing is that, as I wrote, I got writer’s cramp.

That cramp made me keenly aware of just how little handwriting I actually do these days. Mostly I type, and prefer to type. You see, I can type as fast as I think (I’m an ex-executive secretary). And, so, with every stroke of the pen, I prayed the electric would come back on so I could be warm again and type, not write.

Ten hours after losing power, the outside temperature having dropped to the teens and the house to fifty degrees, the electric came back on, the furnace relit, and we had heat.

It would be hours more before the house reached its normal temperature, and I could remove the coverings to the equipment.

They say every dark cloud has a silver lining. In my frigid winter’s day without electric, the silver lining turned out to be this little essay.

Catherine

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Appreciating My Bubbling Pot

I can still recall the large and cumbersome Crock Pot that took up valuable counter space in my mother’s kitchen. It wasn’t too long before it was packed up and stashed away in the basement. So, I was a bit skeptical when I heard my friends raving about the delicious chicken cacciatore, French onion soup, and peach cobblers that emerged from more contemporary versions of those bubbling pots.

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Slow cookers have come a long way since the 1970s. In addition to saving time, they also offer an economical way to cook. Cookbook author Judith Finlayson says it best. “The slow cooker is the perfect appliance for a recession. They cook the kind of comfort food that offers the culinary equivalent of a haven in a heartless world.”

The idea of taking a few minutes each morning to throw some ingredients into a pot, select the appropriate setting, and then forget about it, is an appealing one. Especially for a writer who also happens to be a non-foodie.

On crisp fall and winter days, I treat myself to this easy-to-prepare beef stew.

Ingredients

2 pounds stewing beef
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
2 cups beef broth
3 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped

Procedure

• Cut meat into 1 inch pieces.
• In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the meat and coat with this flour mixture.
• Place coated meat in the slow cooker.
• Stir in garlic, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
• Cover and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Buon Appetito!

Posted in What's Up With Joanne! | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Musical Underscore Writing—The Stuff That Makes Your Books Sing

music underscore

photo and music by C.D. Hersh

We went to a concert the other night put on by a local symphonic group. One of the pieces the orchestra played was Dream of a Soldier by Edward Santoro, a WWII army soldier who was a musician and band director. The piece is filled with pathos and emotions—pain, suffering, joy, pride, passion—that Santoro saw reflected in the faces of the soldiers he encountered during the war.

The music reminded us of the underscores one hears in the movies. The crashing sounds of intense, emotional buildup. The rich, melodious strains that support beautiful love scenes. The dissonant, harsh minor chords that underlay pain-laden story events. We heard every emotion played so clearly on the orchestra instruments that it felt like we were being taken on an emotional rollercoaster.

If you’ve ever watched a movie you’ll realize that even though you might not consciously hear an underscore of music (unless the volume is so overwhelming that one has to stuff their fingers in their ears), the music provides a subtext that enriches the story and pulls listeners toward an emotion that the director wants us to experience.

After the concert, ever the dissecting writers that we are, we began to wonder if writers apply the musical underscore concept to novel writing. What do we use that stirs the reader like the music in a movie stirs the viewer?

To underscore something means to accentuate it, to call attention to it, to emphasis or highlight. Music underscores do this in a fashion that supports the text the actors are saying or the actions they are performing. Because it’s visual and audible the two things work together quite well

Our musical underscores are the language we use, the details in the scenes that we set, and the internal insight we provide for our readers. Some writers might call this adding depth. This depth or, musical underscore writing as we’re calling it, is the difference between a book that reads flat, versus the richness of a manuscript that has internal narrative, sensory elements, and setting. For the written word, however, providing nuances that enrich and support the words on the page isn’t as simple as adding a single element such as music, since words are more one-dimensional than movies or television. To draw our readers in we need sensory information, emotional content, inner dialogue and ramped up tension.

To give you an idea of what we mean, here is an example that illustrates musical underscore writing. This is a piece of a scene from a Turning Stone Chronicles book WIP without the musical underscore.

 

Hugh jammed the cell phone and the handgun into LJ’s free hand. “Hurry. Get to the safe room. I’ll hold them off as long as I can. Don’t come out until I, or Mike, if he gets here in time, come to get you.” He kissed the top of the baby’s head and then grabbed his wife and held her close. “I’m sorry. This is all my fault. I should have been able to protect you two better. Hidden us where he would never find you. Find the baby.”

“You did the best you could, Hugh. Don’t blame yourself.” She kissed him and then ran toward the basement staircase for the safety of the hidden, steel panic room.

Hugh shouldered the vest of explosives he’d prepared and wheeled around for one last look at his family. When LJ reached the top of the steps, she turned and gasped.

“You’ll be safe in the panic room. I swear. The explosion won’t penetrate there.”

“Come with us,” she pleaded.

“They won’t stop unless they believe us dead. There’s no other way.”

She stood absolutely still.

Hugh waved her toward the staircase. When she’d left, he picked up the kill switch and turned to face the assassins he knew advanced.

 

Great setup here. We know killers are coming for them. We know Hugh is probably a bad ass, and that help is on the way. We can figure out from his actions that he probably loves his wife and the baby and that he’s feeling guilty about what is happening. We also know from her request that LJ probably loves Hugh, and she doesn’t want him to die. This paragraph could stand on its own, but, as it reads now, there is no emotional connection that the reader can grab on to. There’s nothing to force the reader to care about the characters and want to see what happens. No crescendo swells of music to tug on the readers’ hearts. Nothing but the basic information you need to tell part of the story.

Now let’s add some musical underscoring to this scene. The original text is bolded so you can see how musical underscore writing adds depth that tugs on your hearts.

 

Hugh jammed the cell phone and the handgun into LJ’s free hand. Her flesh was as cold as the metal of the magnum pressed against her palm. For a moment he wondered if she would actually fire it. Damn! He should have seen this coming and taken her to the pistol range so they’d be more prepared. He pressed her unwilling fingers around the weapon.

“Hurry.” His voice cracked, and he struggled to keep it strong for her. “Get to the safe room. I’ll hold them off as long as I can. Don’t come out until I or Mike, if he gets here in time, come to get you.”

He kissed the top of the baby’s head and then grabbed his wife and held her close, committing the feel of her to his memory. Was she doing the same? Because if he was right, he wasn’t going to survive tonight. Gazing into her eyes, he saw the depth of her fear. The baby’s chin started trembling as he caught his mother’s anxiety. LJ started shivering, too. He pulled them tighter in his embrace, unwilling to let them go, but knowing he must.

I’m sorry. This is all my fault. I should have been able to protect you two better. Hidden us where he would never find you. Find the baby.”

“You did the best you could, Hugh. Don’t blame yourself.” She kissed him, and he felt the electricity of her passion surge through him. It gave him strength for what lay ahead. Strength to die for them. Strength to kill the men who were coming.

Reluctantly, he released her, and she ran toward the basement staircase for the safety of the hidden, steel panic room.

Hugh shouldered the vest of explosives he’d prepared and wheeled around for one last look at his family. When LJ reached the top of the steps, she turned and gasped. Her brown eyes rounded, dark pools of apprehension shining from her pale face.

“You’ll be safe in the panic room. I swear. The explosion won’t penetrate there.”

“Come with us,” she pleaded. She started toward him.

He motioned her back, the expression on her face nearly undoing in his resolve. Could they run one more time? Find someplace where they would be safe? At his hesitation her face brightened and she took another step in his direction.

Don’t, LJ. We have to make a stand here and now. They won’t stop unless they believe us dead. There’s no other way.”

She stood absolutely still as disbelief, terror, anguish, and, finally, love, swept over her face.

The emotions flooded the room, nearly choking him with their intensity. Hugh waved her toward the staircase. When she’d left, he picked up the kill switch and turned to face the assassins he knew advanced. They would not take his family. Not as long as he had breath left in his body.

 

In this version we’ve added emotions, lots of emotions, because this is a highly emotional scene. There’s no need for much setting here, because we’re not trying to set a scene. It’s obvious from the words such as basement staircase and panic room that we are probably in the couple’s home. What we want to do here, in this highly charged scene, is grab the readers’ hearts and make them turn the next page to see who survives. We want them to ask, “Will Hugh survive? Will he actually blow himself up to protect his family? Or will the cavalry arrive in time to save everyone?” We want them to wait breathlessly for the next crashing crescendo of music to carry them farther into the story.

So what’s the easiest way to tell if you’ve added musical underscores? Try writing the dialogue first. Get the basic ideas and direction of your scene in place, then go back over the scene and reread it. If it’s a scene that needs setting, add that first. Then layer in some of the senses: taste, touch, sight, smell, and auditory senses. Next add emotions. Sprinkle in inner thoughts where appropriate. Then make sure you have the tension on the page that Donald Maas advocates.

If you tend to write your musical underscores the first time around, go back and double-check that you have put the right things in the right amounts into your scene. A highly charged scene, such as a love scene, shouldn’t have a lot of back story dropped in, unless it’s relevant to something that starts or stops the emotional rollercoaster of a love scene. Don’t stop an action scene to have the character reminisce about how he got in this predicament. There will be time for that if he survives. When the setting is important to the scene, be sure and add the elements you need to create that dark and stormy night, or the peek at the rich and famous, or whatever you might be trying to set with your scene. Don’t neglect the senses, either. Smell, touch, and what we hear are three powerful senses that can transport the reader into your story in a matter of seconds. And above all, remember, you want to grab the reader, not overwhelm them with purple prose.

So, the next time you sit down to write, imagine a musical underscore for your scene, and compose the music with the things you know best—words.

 

How do you add your musical underscores in your books?

 

 

Posted in From the Desk of CD - | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

TOP TEN BOOK SIGNING DO’s & DONT’s by Beth Carter

As authors, many of us tend to market our books using social media. That’s a fantastic way to market our work especially since we can do it in our PJs from the comfort of our home. That said, I truly believe writers need to use a marketing mix. In the old days before the Internet, that meant using a variety of mediums like television, radio, billboards, print, trade shows and the like. That would be pricey for authors but book signings aren’t.

Readers want to meet authors. We want to meet readers. The best way to accomplish that is to get all gussied up and schedule book signings. Over the years, I’ve had about 25 book signings and have learned a great deal. Here’s my Top Ten List of Book Signing Do’s & Don’ts.

DO
#1 SMILE. This sounds simple but I’ve seen authors sit at their table like it’s the last place they wanted to be. Who wants to approach a writer who looks like a Grinch?

#2 OFFER FREEBIES. Often, people are hesitant to approach a stranger, so if you offer a freebie like candy or bookmarks, it’s easier to entice them to your table. Once there, you’ll have a chance to pitch your book to these potential readers.

#3 DRESS PROFESSIONALLY. This doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit and heels, but don’t dress as though you could go bowling immediately afterward. Make an effort if you want to be seen as a professional author.

#4 TARGET YOUR MARKET. You probably won’t have a successful signing if you are selling an ultra-steamy book at a church convention. If you write Young Adult, seek out teen hangouts, for example. Put some thought into your demographic and target the right group. For my children’s books, I had signings at cupcake and yogurt places! Think about your genre and the types of places where your characters hang out.

#5 ANSWER QUESTIONS about writing and writers’ groups. Many people will tell you they are aspiring novelists but don’t know the first thing about getting published. Be patient and helpful. We were all there once.

#6 CREATE AN ATTRACTIVE TABLE. For my children’s holiday book, SANTA’S SECRET, I purchased a cute Santa and a small Christmas tree. I offered red and green candy corn and Santa jelly beans. For my women’s fiction, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, I made leopard print bookmarks and purchased coconut-scented lip balm and perfume. Look for ideas to tie in with your book’s theme.

#7 PROVIDE CONTACT INFO. Make sure you have business cards and bookmarks with your email, blog address, and contact information. Some people may not decide to purchase your book on the spot but later when facing a birthday dilemma, they just might remember the nice woman/man who was selling a book. I’ve also been asked to speak to groups from people I met at book signings.

#8 PURCHASE LOCAL AUTHOR LABELS. I found some small, round gold “Local Author” labels online. Many people love supporting local authors and a small label won’t interfere with your cover art, yet will easily identify you as a local author. While you’re between customers, stick the labels on your books!

#9 PLAN AHEAD. Book your signings a month or two before your new release so you’ll have time to advertise it.

#10 TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. Promote your signings via Facebook, Twitter, email, e-vites, writers’ groups, and to friends and family. If you keep it your little secret, there will likely be a small crowd. And know that sometimes there will be a small crowd no matter how hard you market yourself but keep trying. I’ve had three signings in 20-degree weather with snow and ice, yet there were always a few hardy souls who came to those signings and purchased books.

DON’T
#1 BE AFRAID. Do not let dust gather on your books and shelve them in your home office. You worked hard on bringing your project to life. Now share it with the world!

#2 SHOW UP LATE. Be on time (this is from the Queen of Lateness). But I have yet to be late to my own signings. I know. Shock.

#3 GIVE UP. I tried for over three years to land a signing at Barnes & Noble. They finally seemed happy to have me and wanted me there twice in one month! I couldn’t believe it. Of course, we got dumped on with snow and a wintery forecast but I still sold books and B&N offered them in their store for two months.

#4 STARE AT YOUR PHONE OR TABLET. As tempting as it is during lulls, try, try, try to avoid looking down at your phone. A couple of times I couldn’t resist the temptation and as I looked up someone had been staring at my book and walked away. This happened twice. I think they thought they weren’t important to me which, of course, wasn’t the case but you know how it feels when someone stares at a screen rather than making eye contact.

#5 HAVE CHIPPED NAILS OR BAD ROOTS. After all, people are going to be staring at the top of your head and at your nails while you sign. If you don’t wear nail polish (women or men) just make sure they are clean and short.

#6 WEAR JEANS AND A SWEATSHIRT. I mentioned attire above but it’s important. You wouldn’t go to work dressed that casually, so make an effort when you are selling your work to the public. This is your career.

#7 BE RUDE if a store clerk turns you down about scheduling a signing or carrying your book. I had one store manager carry my first picture book, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE? and she told me to let her know when the second one came out. I didn’t for some dumb reason. Then, when I approached her about my third book, she declined. I smiled and thanked her for talking with me anyway. In fact, I gave her a copy.

#8 BURN BRIDGES. Similar to #7 you just never know when someone will want to carry your book or allow you to book a signing (see example #3). Always be courteous and professional.

#9 LEAVE EARLY. One year I booked two signings the same day (I was overly excited) and I left the first signing two hours early. I would never do that again. They didn’t complain but it looked bad when I disassembled my table while customers were still coming in.

#10 GIVE UP. If you have a couple of signings where you only sold a book or two (trust me, I’ve had those signings), by all means, do not give up. The very next signing you might sell over 45 books. I’ve had those, too. You just never know who is sick or on vacation, what other events are occurring, what the weather will be, and so on.

I hope my Top Ten Book Signing Do’s & Don’ts help you have successful book signings. I’d love to hear your book signing tips!

Posted in Beth's Blogging Today!, Soul Mate Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Second Time Around–Frozen with Fear.

Two years ago, I Soul Mate published my first book, Weighting for Mr. Right. I had HUGE plans to2014 11 18 Biting the computer have the entire series done by now and here I am, still struggling with book two. Why?

I got good reviews, people really loved it, most of my Amazon ratings were 4 and 5 stars, so what’s the problem?

Honestly, I have no idea. The characters work, the story is solid, and the moments are great (hot, tender, sweet, spicy, etc), so what’s my hold up?

I have no idea. I can’t seem to finish the darn thing. I keep thinking it’s not good enough. It’s not the best way to say something. Basically, I’m afraid of my own success.

Now, I didn’t have a run-away hit like the book that shalt-not-be-named (**cough, cough 50 cough, cough**), but I did finish my first book and people liked it. They really liked it.

Even my sweet mother-in-law liked it and she won’t watch Dancing with the Stars because it’s too provocative. (Seriously, that’s true. I’m not making that up.)

People wrote to me, asking about stories about my plans for characters in the book I had no plans for. Teachers stopped me in the halls at my daughters’ school, asking when the next book would be out. A friend of a friend found out about the book from another friend. So when my friend posted I’d written this “great” book, her friend said, “I love that book! How do you know the author?”

Geez! What’s it like to write a best-seller? I think I freaked out a little bit and I’m now worried my book will suck. I’m frozen with fear of disappointing my readers.

Anyone else ever have that problem? How did you deal with it?

I guess I should take a cue from Elsa in Frozen and Let it Go (don’t worry, I won’t post the video here. We’ve all heard it enough…great, now that song’s back in my head).

2014 11 18 Frozen

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | 10 Comments

50 Shades of Embarrassment

As writers, we enjoy people reading our craft. We want people to fall in love with our characters and stories as they live in the world we create. We hope they fight along side in the battles, claiming victory, and that they share in the adventure. We long to make them feel love, heartbreak, joy, and sadness. I know all of this. I agree with all of this. As I write my novels, I desire the same as any other author, and yet, it is with this notion, I am also struggling…well at least with one aspect.

For the record, I’m not one of the millions and millions of people who has read 50 Shades of Grey. Why? To be honest, the reason is I don’t really have any interest in the story. It’s just not really my cup of tea. Or I suppose I should say crack of a whip or lock of a handcuff. *wink*

With that said, though, I do envy E.L. James in one thing: her ability to write such a book and not care what people think about her…uh…explicitness.

I’ve never considered myself to be a prude, but I have to admit that when it comes to writing the sex scenes in my romance novels…well, let’s just say that a lot of tequila is usually involved. And, don’t even ask me about editing them. I usually have to have someone else do it. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what is wrong with me. It’s foolish, I know, but I still can’t seem to get past it. Whenever I start, all I do is picture all my family and friends reading it. For the love of all that is holy, they will READ IT. *Gasp* *Cringe* *Shudder*. And, what on earth will they think of me after they’ve finished? *Gasp* *Cringe* *Shudder*. Are they going to think this is from personal experience? OMGoodness, they are!! *Gasp* *Cringe* *Shudder* Nothing like letting every one into a part of your mind that you might not wish for them to see. So what’s a writer, like me, to do? Switch genres? Put on big girl panties and suck it up? Or perhaps, buy stock in Jose Cuervo? For the record, in the end with both novels, I’ve done the two latter of the three. It wasn’t easy, but I did it or at least I wiggled my way through it as best as I could. Not to mention, I slam…er…close the doors…Very. Early. On. I’m curious as to how every one else gets through those scenes? Are they easy for you? Hard? If hard, do you have any tips? ~Angela Christina Archer www.angelachristinaarcher.com www.authorangelachristinaarcher.wordpress.com Smaller In the Land of Gold      ~Looking down upon Christopher Payton, Cora Colton can’t believe she even doubts saying yes to his proposal. From a good family, wealthy, and charming, Christopher is perfect for her. However, staring down at the band of gold and diamonds, she hesitates. Something is missing, something is wrong, but she just doesn’t know what that something is. After her father’s untimely death, Cora travels to Tacoma and learns that she is now the owner of his gold claim in Dawson City, Canada. Throwing caution to the wind, she leaves her ring on the table, and departs for Canada and the adventure of a lifetime. Arriving in the canvas tent town of Skagway on edge of the Klondike trail, Cora catches the attention of Flynn O’Neill, an Irishman who has lived on the trail guiding stampeeders for a few years. A bond thrusts them together, but their pasts threaten to tear them apart—if they can even survive the hardships and death on the trail to the land of gold. IN THE LAND OF GOLD follows the voyage of stampeeders risking their lives during the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. TheWomanPaintedH2_850 The Woman on the Painted Horse     ~Alexandra Monroe is a slave smuggler, smuggling slaves north to Tennessee where they can live as free people. Her crime is sedition and her punishment, if caught, is death. The daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Montgomery, Alexandra lives a life not by her own accord, but a life she willingly accepts for her secret quest to save the lives of slaves. Her ultimate sacrifice is to marry the town’s most eligible bachelor, Thomas Ludlow. One afternoon, Alexandra comes face to face with handsome William Graysden. He captivates her, and her thoughts confuse her. Born a Creek Indian, not only is William forbidden because of his race, but also because Alexandra is a closely betrothed young woman. William and Alexandra fascinate one another, finding in each other a bond they don’t wish to ignore. After a series of events; however, William is forced to face the choice to continue the dangerous pursuit of Alexandra’s affections or forget about her. As a sweet, level one heat level, romance novel, THE WOMAN ON THE PAINTED HORSE weaves through the social disparity in Deep South 1861. A time where blackmail, money, and greed could be more powerful than love.

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