The House of Gail

Prologue

Romance Writer’s of America does it right. A conference in Orlando with all the magic moments, including a trip to Disney. Have you ever been to a conference that had entertaining and enlightening speakers, topped off with twinkling lights and fireworks from your hotel balcony every night? It was spectacular. Until the invasion of the . . . ants!

Chapter 1

Odorous House Ants (hardened honey)

Holy cow! Ants crawling all over me, all over the car, all over our stuff. So tiny I thought they were little spiders, squishing them with my fingers, the critters were so fast, I didn’t have time to take off my shoe to swat, hand swipe was the only way. One kept wriggling. I put on my glasses and saw they were ants. Oh no, not good news. When you see one, you can be sure there are hundreds. Did they build a colony in my car? OMG, this is serious.

Chapter 2

White napkins and ant trap

Fumigate, and we all die. I didn’t have bug spray anyway. Two whole days to get home in the car with these crawly things. Google check. You need Terro Ant Traps and no matter what, don’t let the liquid in the traps spill, it’s sweet and a mess to clean up. We’d have to find a Home Depot, which would hold up our trip. Vacuum the car. If you think we could find a car wash that would vacuum the suckers up, forget it. Just go home and suffer. No more eating in the car. Kitchen ants in a car, what a dilemma.

Chapter 3

We’re home, it’s dark, now what? All the luggage, what to do? OK, I got it. Lay out a white sheet on the driveway (No taking the car into the garage), put everything in the car on the sheets and tiny black ants are now all over the sheet. Sprayed them. My neighbor appeared and said, bring the luggage up to the deck and leave overnight. They’ll scatter . . . She looked me in the eye and asked, won’t they? She didn’t really know, I didn’t know, Tom didn’t know. I can’t spray bug spray on the soft luggage, all the clothes will get damaged. We wiped everything down, should have wiped with alcohol, but didn’t think of it. Wiping with a paper towel didn’t really do it. We brought in one piece of luggage at a time. Looked okay. Next morning . .

Chapter 4

Ants on the kitchen counter from what we thought were cleaned suitcases.

Terro

Well, it’s official, now we have kitchen ants in our kitchen. Called our Terminex Pest Control. We are customers for over ten years, but no priority, they can’t get to us until Friday. This is Tuesday. You have to be kidding me. No joke. We used bleach cleaner for the counter, wow, that was a good idea anyway, great way to clean granite. Ants seemed to vanish. Put six of the Terro traps on the floor around the kitchen island, and other areas. They may be in hiding. We didn’t use any food, didn’t prepare any meals, sandwiches from Costco come in handy. It was morning when we laid out two white napkins on the counter. We put a trap on one white napkin to see them easily. It’s night now, no ants. I’ll let you know results in the morning, bugs seem to play in the night.

So, what’s happening with the car? I thought you would never ask.

Chapter 5

This car looks innocent, but something lurks behind those doors.

Detailed the car interior, about $100 (these ants are expensive). They found ants running up and down inside the door edges. They vacuumed them away. Got home with the car, sprayed indoor/outdoor bug spray on the doors, and set two Terro traps on the floor of the car. If there is a colony, they will eat the sweet stuff, bring it to their home and poof, they are gone. Colony will be dissipated.

Chapter 6

Rotting tomatoes

Why did this happen? Guess what folks? Cleaning the car, when we first got home from the RWA conference, revealed a rotten tomato, ugh. Disgusting. Shopping for produce before Florida, we never noticed that one of the tomatoes had rolled under the seat. The tomato cooked in the Florida heat. Those were happy ants. We never noticed crawly things until our trip home. Finally home, at sunset.

The End

Epilogue

It’s the next day . . . nary a sign of ants . . . God is good all the time!!!

Got home in time to witness this sunset at Trader Joe’s to pick up milk for the morning.

Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

 

 

 

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The feels, and the contract: By Rose Lange

pursuit-of-happiness-will-celebration-this-part-of-my-life-this-little-part-is-called-happinessThe email. The email that I’d been waiting on for almost two months, finally landed in my inbox on July 31, and wow. I am still feeling the high as I attempt to absorb that this is really happening. That this is not a dream, and in fact, that I did land a two-book contract. That first day, I could barely eat my lunch, and had to force myself to eat. The day after, and I am still in a great deal of shock. I’m a mixture of happy, excited, nervous, and a little fearful of this big unknown that I’m diving into. When I first opened the email and saw those words, I fell to my knees, and sobbed. My hand shook as I held onto my phone and re-read that email. The email I had been sweating over, waiting for an answer so my brain would rest had finally come. And now, dear reader, let me start from the very beginning.

It’s been nearly two years since I began writing my third book, on August 7, 2015. This book, for the first time in my writing career, lead to a sequel. Emma and Patrick in book one, lead to Mike and Sarah, in book two. The secondary characters in the first book, his brother, and her roommate, were that strong. They begged for attention, and I just knew they needed their own romance. It felt like the right time to take a risk in my writing and career.

I was nervous at first, and wasn’t sure that I could pull it off, as I’d never written or attempted to write a series before. Although in the beginning, it was a learning curve, as I got to know my characters, and they got to know me. I fumbled in the dark early on, but the further I was immersed, the more they came to life for me, and surprised me (and continue to at every turn).  Once I got my feet wet, hell, I was having a great time, and I’m as anxious to find out what happens to these two as my readers will be. Because not even I am aware of what’s around the corner. I have to say I can’t wait for you to meet these people who’ve been hanging around in my head, because it sure has been entertaining.

This coming weekend I plan on celebrating big. Lunch and shopping with a friend on Saturday, and dinner out with my family on Sunday, where I will most definitely have a beer. I gotta say I’m already anticipating, and looking forward to all this excitement coming up. As crazy as it may sound, I am looking forward to the whirlwind that is ahead of me. The input on my covers, the blurbs, the edits to follow, and (eek!) the semi-final to the final, galleys, to publication! I’m sure I’m missing something in that crazy lineup, but my head is still adjusting to the news. I am that little kid in the publishing candy store, tiptoeing up to the counter, and seeing what’s there for me.

I am exceedingly grateful, and humbled that my publisher took this leap of faith on me and my work, and I cannot wait for the kick-ass adventure to begin.

Rose Lange

http://www.roselange.com

Facebook: Rose Lange, Author

Twitter: writingdiva82

Email: rose@roselange.com

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The Write Word with Wareeze

 

The Villain

Hello again writers and readers alike. I call you friends. Thank you for joining me through this Soul Mate Publishing journey into the writing experience. I enjoy my visits with you and hope you receive some peek into the writer’s world through my posts.

We’ve discussed the flawed hero. Did I ever learn not to use such a hero again? I did. Flawed, but never damaged more than a little. If the reader hates him, he rarely recovers.

The heroine and the catalogue of requirements to reach that exalted rank were also discussed in former posts. Beauty, brains and the capabilities of Wonder Woman must be displayed so each of us can live through the written word, comfortable in our armchairs.

Now, we shall discuss the villain. He can be flawed. In fact, that attribute is almost required for believability. A little insane, bad to the bone, hardly an ounce of goodness in his entire being, but he always has his reasons for his actions. He can be smooth and charming on the outside, but insane. He can be scarred and wicked to the depth of his soul, given over to evil in all his ways, too. That’s okay with the readers. Readers want to hate the villain. Sympathy for the villain is not a good thing. Then the reader wants him to win and is disappointed when he or she receives their just deserts. The villain cannot get away scot-free. The reader doesn’t actually want such criminals roaming the earth with nothing to stop the wickedness.

I have a very evil, insane villain in A Lady’s Vanishing Choices. The scene is a little shocking so be prepared.

WW_ALadysVanishingChoices_600x900

Excerpt:

The Frenchman stared at his image in the cracked mirror and feathered his fingers through his dark, curly hair. His features remained expressionless, but he gazed deeply into his reflection, all the way to the depth of his soul and found chilled deadliness staring back at him. A wry grimace of amusement twisted one corner of his mouth upward while he inspected each feature.

He quite admired his hazel eyes ringed with thick, black lashes before allowing his gaze to drift down his naked body. Studying his athletic form from his face to his manhood, he threw his head back and preened.

After only a single look, these proper English ladies swoon with longing. He curled his lip in disdain. Not one distinguished member of the Ton bothered to search beneath the surface for the real man—a man strong enough to kill when the fierce, demanding urge overtook him. Fools, one and all. 

Squaring his jaw, he tightened his lips. Mary Rose. A problem…she made a fatal mistake, always whining for fancy silk gowns and a larger place. He’d given her a fine ring and necklace, but, no, she couldn’t be content with that. Now the little bitch demanded more. Well—he’d give her more. More than she expects.

Picking up his swordstick, he strolled over to the bed where he bound his pretty to the posts. He’d already had her several different ways for her pleasure and his own. The expectant glint in her eyes brought a grim smile to his lips. Narrowing his lids, he sat on the side of the bed where she laid spread before him, helpless and submissive. He savored each time he tied her to the bed with his hunting markers and had his way with her. Enjoying every moment of her slave to his master, he stared into her china-blue eyes.

“You’ll love this, my sweet.” Drawing his sword out of the elaborate walking stick, he raked the sharp tip down the side of her breast, eliciting a thin trickle of blood.

She moaned softly and pleaded, “Please…”

Tipping his head to the side, he admonished in a tender voice, “Mary Rose, you have displeased me.” He traced her curves to her waist with his weapon. “I afforded time and effort to train you. Time I should have used to collect Wellington’s memorandum documenting his movements.”

The tip of the blade slightly punctured the skin of her belly. She screamed and he laughed as a small amount of blood welled to the surface.

“That’s it, my sweet. Give me a little more voice,” he coaxed. “It’s only a very small cut.”

“Loose me now,” she demanded in a quavering voice as the apprehension in her eyes gave way to fear.

Her expression delighted him and he chortled. “My pet, you love to play our games. You told me so over and over again. I know my usual custom is to cut you free, but I haven’t attained my full satisfaction yet.”

Smiling into her eyes, he lovingly stroked her blonde locks over her shoulders and whispered, “Mary Rose. Wellington’s plans are important.” He scraped his blade across one pale cheek and then the other with only raw skin to show for his teasing efforts.

“No more, please,” she pleaded again. “I don’t wanna play anymore.”

“But yes, my sweet. You enjoy anything that pleases me, and it pleases me to be distracted from my burning desire to eliminate the half English dogs who betray my beloved homeland. Sending information back to England from France is despicable. I’m proud to be a Bonapartist. I am a true patriot. Vive La France.”

She shook her head. Enjoying her frantic expression, he grinned. If she kept this up, he would need her again.

“You’ve ruined everything.” He kissed her trembling lips. “I had special plans for you.” Allowing his jaw to tighten, he whispered, “Stupid little English girl. A pity. You could have worked at the Foreign Office gathering information for me.” He continued to stare deep into her eyes. “Cleaning, or perhaps working on your back. Your true calling.” Laughing with a deep ring of pleasure, he mocked, “You could have joined me in my quest. But now…” He shrugged.

Tears streaked down her cheeks. “Forgive me. Let me help you now,” she begged.

“Too late.” He watched terror fill her eyes. “That’s right, my sweet. No one, especially a woman, a woman such as you, orders me to do anything. You thought because you pleased me in bed, you could issue demands?”

Trying to control his ragged breathing, he drew the sword-stick lightly over her bindings. A small rip sounded, but her bonds held. “A jest, my sweet. Raised your hopes, I dare say. You thought I had finished with you, didn’t you?” He could hardly contain his elation as he raised his sword only to plunge the blade into her breast over and over again, several satisfying times.

The excitement running through his veins increased while he watched her struggle to draw a breath. Finally, she laid completely still, her life drained away, and he gradually rose from the bed, his breathing heavy. Soon I will be able to rid myself of every encumbrance that plagues my life and be reunited with my precious Joliet.

Stepping into his clothes, he didn’t bother to wash the spattered blood from his body. He loved the power that swamped him after the necessary kill. She had asked for her own death, the little slut, making greedy demands.

He grimaced, wrapped the lifeless girl in a blanket, and quickly exited the back door of the pokey, rented cottage. Soon all shall be over, and I can shake the dust of this pretentious country from my feet and return to the civilized nation of my birth. Keep it together, mon ami. Tu devez.

 

This was not a rape scene, rather a game played by a manipulative, insane villain, evil to his core. He thought he was a hero.

Once again, thanks for taking time to read my post.

Respectfully Yours,

Wareeze Woodson

For more information about my writing visit my website: http://www.wareezewoodson.com.

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Those of Us Left Behind

This week Romance Writers of America holds its annual conference. This year they’re in Orlando at the Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort.

Over 2000 authors will descend on the conference with dozens of personal agendas to fulfill. Some are relative newbies, some have been writing and publishing for years. No matter what their level, everyone has at least a half-dozen good reasons to attend.

Literacy signingSome authors will attend workshops, others will hang out in the lobby bars with old and new friends. Publishers will hold parties for their authors. And, both the Golden Heart and RITA awards will be given out and tearfully accepted. All in all, it will be a great five days.

On Saturday, a couple of hundred authors will gather for the Readers for Life Literacy signing. Over a thousand fans of romance will filter their way through long lines of tables just for the chance to meet their favorite authors and get an autographed book (or two).

What about those of us left behind? Those that couldn’t go this year for various reasons, be it finances, health, family obligations. What are we doing to pass the time while all our friends are posting yet another round of pictures on Facebook?

23 Eye of the PharaohHopefully, we’re writing. At least that’s what I’m planning to do. In anticipation of taking part in next year’s conference, next year’s book signing, I’m working feverishly on two projects. The first is a holiday story scheduled for December release. The second is a new project for Soul Mate Publishing and a follow up to last year’s Egyptian-themed time travel, Eye of the Pharaoh.

I’ll likely take a break long enough to watch the live feed of the Golden Heart and RITA awards ceremonies. With friends to cheer on, it will almost seem like I’m there.

As someone who’s attended 20 of the 25 conferences since I joined RWA, it’s difficult to sit on the sidelines, even for one year every so often. However, while those friends, acquaintances, and publishers are baking in the hot Florida sun … I’ll be basking in the uninterrupted word count of my imagination.

For those readers out there … if you could go to the literacy signing whose autograph would you look for first?

For the authors reading this post rather than schmoozing in Orlando, what are you doing to pass the week?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Nancy

 

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Are you ready?

Well, it’s that time of year again. When the weather’s hot, the lakes and pools are filled with laughing, splashing people, and the smell of grilled burgers and hotdogs fill the air. Awww, summertime…

I hate to interrupt such good feelings but….

In less than a month, most schools will be back in session.

And you know what that means…. Yep, time for back-to-school shopping.

There’s the school supplies (pretty spendy in itself-all of that paper, pencils, pens, crayons, glue….The list goes on and on).

And then there are the clothes. Everything from t-shirts, pants, shorts, shoes, socks. The list goes on and on. Not to mention the accessories. 

This can be a very stressful time for parents. Between juggling work and bills, now there is the added job of dragging your kid (or kids-3 in my case) to the store to try on endless items of clothing. 

At first it may be fun. “Yay! New clothes!” But after awhile they grow tired of the dressing rooms and the endless sorting through clothing. 

And most kids love to pick out their own school supplies. It’s an act which allows them choices and gives them the opportunity to express a little of their own personality. As parents we love to encourage our children to be themselves. I know I do. The difficult and frustrating part is trying to weave through the crowd with kid (or kids) in tow, digging through school supplies, getting great deals, and not lose your mind while doing it. 

In an attempt to make this going-back-to-school time a little easier, I searched around for numerous tips to help ease the stress even if it’s just a little bit. Take a look:

This of course, is not fool proof by any means but perhaps it can transform the whole going back to school shopping thing into something like this:

And maybe, just maybe by the time your kids are settled in with classmates and teachers, you won’t feel like this:


Good luck!

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A Prisoner and a Virgin Walk into a Bar…

It’s a new release. It’s the end of a series. It’s the story of a woman who’s job is to save the world, and a man who’s job is to destroy her. Good thing he’s a prisoner. Except she’s become friendly with him, which cannot possibly bode well, for, well, anybody…

Here’s a taste of PRISONER OF FATE, Book 3 in the Twisted Fate Series:

cover

The First’s pet Rakshasa lounged in the wicker chair, one cotton-covered leg crooked over the armrest, the other perched on the floor. He hummed a tune Lily didn’t recognize, while he twirled what looked like a grilled jumbo shrimp on a stick.

He abruptly stopped humming and lifted his face and sniffed the air. Lily scuttled behind a nearby pillar. She waited until her heart wasn’t beating quite so erratically, then she peeked out from behind the column.

The shifter stared directly at her with unblinking black eyes.

“Oh,” she squeaked, unnerved by the solid, steady stare.

“Chala.” His voice was deep, like that actor from the insurance commercials she saw on television.

Lily felt that intense sense of awareness sweep through her again, licking at her insides, making her feel both hot and cold at the same time. She dropped her head back and leaned against the cool pillar and gave in to the racking shiver.

“No need to hide, Chala. I cannot harm you so long as you remain outside the reach of my lovely necklace.” He chuckled at his own joke.

Lily risked another look. He still lounged on the wicker chair, although the shrimp on the end of the stick was gone. And he still watched her with that breathtaking intensity.

“I–I didn’t think you would be awake,” she stuttered.

“I wouldn’t think you would be awake,” he countered. “It is terribly late. Is it not past your bedtime, Chala?”

Lily slowly stepped out from behind the pillar and stood next to it, feeling oddly exposed. Not returning to her room to change suddenly seemed like a poor decision.

“It’s Lily,” she said. “Lily Gallow. I hate it when people call me Chala,” she said, hoping he would appreciate the show of solidarity. She had to believe he hated to be referred to as “Pet.”

“Why? Are you not a Chala? Have my senses finally gone askew, after all this time?”

“Yes, I am. But I have a name, and I prefer people use it. Just as I imagine you do.”

“Are you asking for my name, Chala?”

“Yes,” she said boldly. “You must have one. Everyone has a name.”

“The First does not,” he pointed out.

“She does,” Lily countered. “She just chooses not to use it. You, I assume, didn’t have a choice in the matter.”

He paused, watching her for several heartbeats worth of time. “No,” he said finally. “I was not given a choice.”

Lily rolled her eyes. “I take it you aren’t going to tell me.”

The shifter chuckled. “Maybe I do not remember. I have been called Pet for a thousand years, you know.”

Lily shook her head. “You remember. I’m sure of it.” She paused, and when he still did not offer his name, she asked, “What do you miss most about your freedom?”

The shifter stared at her, blinking far less frequently than most other people she’d encountered. Finally, he sighed and kicked his foot into the air.

“I haven’t had a good kill, a good steak, or a good fuck in a thousand years. I miss everything, Lily Gallow. Everything.”

Fall in love with the entire Twisted Fate series…

ofloveanddarkness-large  PrimAndProperFate  PrisonerOfFate_200x300

Of Love and Darkness – Meet Gavin, a cursed Rakshasa, and Sydney, the last remaining Chala on earth. It’s up to her to save her species. A species, by the way, that Gavin’s kind wants to destroy. Except he’s cursed and believes he’s like her. Oh, and he happens to think they’re mates. This is definitely not a match made in heaven.

Amazon US        Amazon UK        Amazon AU       Amazon CA     Free in KU

Prim and Proper Fate – After double-crossing Gavin and nearly getting him killed, Brandon now finds himself in the precarious position of actually trying to save the cursed Rakshasa, because, well, some dumbass Fate un-cursed him. Brandon reaches out to the one person he knows can help—a prissy, too-good-for-her-own britches Fate named Prim, whose body makes him think anything but proper thoughts. Prim also happens to have a secret. One that could save their kind.

Amazon US               Amazon UK       Amazon AU      Amazon CA      Free in KU

Prisoner of Fate – Lily is a 170-year-old virgin shifter who has been hiding out on a desert island for her entire life. Now that she’s joined the real world she resents her responsibilities to her species: To choose the right mate and get to work repopulating the world with Light Ones who will protect the humans. Which is the very last thing she wants to do.

And then she meets Matteo, a Rakshasa—those shifters who like to eat humans as snacks. He’s been a prisoner of the Fates for a thousand years, and she has no business befriending him.

Lily never knew she had a thing for bad boys…

Amazon US           Amazon CA         Amazon AU        Amazon UK           Free in KU

 

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Love Without “Love” – Elle Hill

eyelove

A friend of mine recently posted a challenge on Facebook:

Say “I LOVE YOU” without using any of those three words.

Easy-peasy, right? Not as much as you might think. Finding synonyms or metaphors for “love” isn’t a problem. Situating it within the dyad of me-ness and you-ness without using these words? A teensy bit more challenging.

Nonetheless, am I a romance author, or am I a romance author, amiright? I mean, if I can’t say “I love you” without actually saying it, what kind of romance am I writing? So. Rolling up my sleeves (it’s 95 degrees right now, so I actually just pushed my watch up a little bit), I committed to write down the first 20 “I ❤ U” alternatives that fluttered like wee turtledoves into my overheated noggin. You’ll notice I decided to use first-person throughout, and I didn’t use any form of “you,” such as “your” or “yours.” Okay, maybe I cheated a little bit (“Thine?” Really?), but being a romance author also means being a tiny god of the literary world I create. (In other words, I can both cheat and absolve myself. Score!)

Below are my two lists of ten, one more verbal and one more metaphorical. I’d love (Ahem. I mean “would super appreciate”) to hear yours.

Declarative:

  1. My personage cherishes thine.
  2. Treasured stands the person before me.
  3. We choose us/this every day.
  4. My being feels at home right here.
  5. Behold this part of my self that lives outside me.
  6. Adoration spills from my tongue into the space between us.
  7. My soul stumbles into the sunshine of us.
  8. Fierce and sticky like a web, my devotion trembles between us.
  9. My most fervent being encircles the wholeness of this, of us.
  10. Our souls dance.

 

Demonstrative:

  1. The ground rumbles in ecstasy beneath us.
  2. [Cheating again, but this is almost a verbatim quote from The Tithe]: “The air trembles around us. We walk through a room together, and atoms collide. Everyone here can feel the greatness of our reverence.”
  3. Lucky is the air that flows around those lips and across that tongue.
  4. Do souls exist? Will be float together through eternity like shadows of ourselves? How can we know? All we can know and feel is the painful beauty of now.
  5. Stars shine from those eyes and heat my face.
  6. Every exhalation into my mouth teaches me to breathe.*
  7. This moment dances between us, as heated and mortal as we.
  8. Warm and safe as a down comforter, we snuggle into the comfort of us.
  9. Arms like bars encircle me. Within lies freedom.
  10. [Cheating again, because I can. When Blue describes his love in The Tithe, he uses these words (more or less).]: “Happiness and pain, they’re just degrees of the same thing. It’s like being outside in the sun, and it warms. But having never known what the warmth feels like, it burns, too.”

 

* Truly, I’ve noticed I use a lot of breath-related metaphors when I write. I honestly think this is because I’m asthmatic, and breathing is something I never take for granted.

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