Come Join us with for Author Rue Allyn’s Speed Date Interview
Archive for July, 2011
Readers: Here is your chance to ask Author Rue Allyntwo questions. She will be around during the day to answer the questions you post. Personal and inappropriate questions may not be answered at the Authors discretion. Ask an Author two questions and be entered to win in our monthly giveaway.
Welcome Author Rue Allyn!
She will be here during the day to answer your speed date questions.
Bio–Author of erotic romance, Rue Allyn holds an advanced degree in Middle English Literature. She was introduced to erotic stories during her studies of Chaucer and his contemporaries and has been a devotee of popular erotica ever since. She is happily married to her sweetheart of many, many years. She and her husband share the home of two cats, who condescend to allow Rue to feed them and clean their litter box. They occasionally permit her to pet them but demand her love and attention as their right. She is in awe of their feline ability to dominate with half a glance or a mere twitch of tail. Insatiably curious, an avid reader and traveler Rue loves to hear from readers about your favorite books and real life adventures. http://RueAllyn.com
Blurb–In a Lake Tahoe ski chalet, a mysterious widow plots to ruin the man responsible for her husband’s death, but love turns the tables in a hazardous game of passionate high stakes.
Maggie Winters blames Carter Enterprises CEO, Alec Carter for the death of her husband. She believes that revenge is the only way to regain the joy she once had in life, including an active and adventurous sex life. Lacking resources to match those of rich and influential Alec, Maggie plots lure Alec into a sordid sex scandal which will ruin his business reputation. Just as he puts plans in place to rescue his company from the brink of disaster, Alec Carter becomes obsessed with a mystery woman who lures him into a weeklong sexual tryst. Both Maggie and Alec are unprepared when lust promises to become love. Both must learn to trust if they want the promised lifetime of love and loving.
We’ve been having some really hot temps. To go anywhere it has been an expedition to rush to get to the cool. Even with that I’ve been enjoying the summer. Going to some places to have fun. Attractions that are in my town. It has been fun to do something different. Although with the heat wave I have been trying to go more places that are inside. The sights I have seen has been inspiring for my books I am working on. So the heat wave has done me some good.
…. sensual, edgy, unexpected
Conquering Jazz – What’s a woman to do when she unwittingly makes a tantalizing proposition to her best friend?
Be brazen, bold and set some ground rules. Her offer. One night of carnal bliss. No emotion allowed.
His counter offer. A continued affair to fulfill all their sexual cravings.
His hidden agenda. Conquer to make sure their affair never ends.
Buy here at Liquid Silver Book.
More than any other question, the one I get most—okay, the one I get most after “How much do you make?” (to which I answer, “How much do you make?)—is “Where do your stories come from?”
Easy answer: From life. From the people I meet in my life. From characteristics of the people I meet in my life, which, when mixed up together, emerge into fully rounded individuals all their own.
And once they show up, the story springs from these characters.
I know it seems odd to say “they just show up,” but that’s what happens. Much as you stumble upon a fascinating personality when you poke a bit beneath the surface of a perfectly ordinary person.
Like the guy with the long, gray braid, Harley T-shirt, and iron cross tattoo (among others) I recently chatted with in a biker bar —all right, maybe he wasn’t so perfectly ordinary, but his appearance certainly led me to make certain judgments, which I won’t share with you because that iron cross adorned one big bicep and he probably has friends. He rode a bike. Check. He liked tats. Check. He baked cheesecakes for a living. Ch—wha?
Or like a woman (and now friend) in my bowling league who is nicely pleasant, pleasant-looking, has held an administrative job with the city for thirty-five years, lives in a nice, middle class neighborhood and likes to travel… yes, and yes, and yes… to places like Burning Man in Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada where she performs fire dances. Ye—huh?
(Go look up Burning Man; she’s got more guts than I do.)
If you’re looking around, if you’re curious, you’ll find lots of people like them. It’s a really cool fact: Humanity isn’t one big gray mass, we are a mix of a lot of intriguing personalities. I like to write intriguing personalities. They make for interesting stories.
Let’s take HOME BY STARLIGHT… it’s the fourth book I wrote in the Love Finds a Home series. Patsy Lee O’Malley is one of those characters. She’s the widowed sister-in-law of Lil and Alcea and Mari, the sisters I featured in my first three novels. She had only a bit part in those books. She stood on the sidelines, a mother of four. You might, as I did, describe her as sweet and gentle, malleable and easily led.
But was that all she was? Hardly. She’s also a blues lover, an artist, studies accounting, raises chickens and donkeys and children and tomatoes and is fiercely independent. As for what she was thinking through those three books as she watched her more colorful, gutsy sisters-in-law…whoa. She surprised me.
She surprised Zeke Townley, too. First seen in SING ME HOME, the unflappable former country music star with the sense of style has a wonderfully wry sense of humor and more money than Trump, so when he came back to Cordelia…
Wait… Why in Hades did he come back to Cordelia?
I ask my characters questions, same way I ask the people I encounter. People supply answers which help create characters; their answers, in turn, create story. Which, as always happens, takes off in directions I’ve never anticipated. Rather like life.So, here’s a question for you… Can you think of someone you met or know whose first impression belies an intriguing interest, job, hobby, personality? I’d love to hear about them!
_______Jerri Corgiat’s five romances in the Love Finds a Home series (Sing Me Home, Follow Me Home, Home at Last, Home by Starlight, and Take Me Home) were originally published by Penguin are now available as ebooks through Istoria Books — http://www.IstoriaBooks.com.
JERRI CORGIAT’S ROMANCES, ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN, NOW AVAILABLE AS EBOOKS Istoria Books (eBooks You Want to Read at Prices You Want to Pay) is proud to announce the e-publication of award-winning author Jerri Corgiat’s five tender romances in the Love Finds a Home series, originally published in paperback by Penguin’s Signet imprint. The first in the series, Sing Me Home, is being offered for 99 cents, as part of the Istoria Books Gift of Summer Reading Sale! Five wonderful romances. One heartwarming extended family in a small town nestled amid the stunning Missouri Ozarks. Welcome to Jerri Corgiat’s Love Finds a Home series where readers will be swept away by dazzling descriptions and keen insight into the landscape of the yearning heart.
Two of the series were featured selections of Literary Guild, Doubleday and Rhapsody book clubs when they were released in paperback by Penguin’s Signet imprint.
The series is now available for Kindle, Nook, and other eReader devices through Istoria Books. For appropriate buy buttons, go to: www.IstoriaBooks.com
ABOUT THE BOOKS
The Love Finds a Home series by Jerri Corgiat follows the extended O’Malley clan in Cordelia, Missouri as they confront both life and love challenges. Although the books are part of a series, they do not need to be read in order. Books in the series include:
ABOUT THE BOOKS
The Love Finds a Home series by Jerri Corgiat follows the extended O’Malley clan in Cordelia, Missouri as they confront both life and love challenges. Although the books are part of a series, they do not need to be read in order. Books in the series include:
- Sing Me Home— Lil O’Malley falls for the children of rehabilitated country star Jonathan Van Castle, leading her to accept his proposal for a marriage of convenience that ultimately allows him to win her heart.
- Follow Me Home — When Alcea O’Malley Addams’s husband betrays her, luxury and self-worth go out the window…until an old flame comes into town, leading her to reevaluate her past, her value and her future.
- Home at Last — Marigold (Mari) O’Malley returns home to lick her wounds after a big-city career sinks under the weight of a relationship with her boss. Her broken heart begins to mend when she reconnects with a bad boy from her past who teaches her how to trust and take chances at the same time.
- Home by Starlight — Widow Patsy O’Malley remains fiercely independent until a broken ankle and an itinerant musician (from Jonathan Van Castle’s band) both knock her off her feet.
- Take Me Home — Florida Jones thinks she has the perfect fiance and the perfect life planned until a car accident results in injuries that threaten her sight. An unlikely helpmate guides her to recovery, where she ultimately “sees” the love that is most important in her life.
ABOUT JERRI CORGIAT
Award-winning author, editor and former bookseller Jerri Corgiat lives in the Midwest with her husband, son, dog Rosie—and the true queen of the house, their cat, Princess Piggy-Britches. Their home is located in rolling woodlands reminiscent of the Ozarks, where she spent her childhood summers and where the Love Finds a Home series took root in her imagination. She is currently working on her sixth book. Her website is: http://www.jerricorgiat.com
Read an interview with Jerri Corgiat at the Istoria Books blog:
WHAT CRITICS HAVE SAID ABOUT THE LOVE FINDS A HOME BOOKS:
— “If a reader is very lucky, sometimes a new author will come on the scene and steals her heart… Jerri Corgiat is that kind of author, and Follow Me Home is that kind of incredible book.” — Affaire de Couer — “…a talented mix of plot, characters and emotional discovery. Fast-paced, with flowing phrases and realistic characters and situations…” Readers & Writers Ink Reviews
–“An intricate, well-written tale of family drama…a compelling story.” — Romantic Times Book Club –“…a powerful tale. The pages turn quickly…a superb character study of human strength.” — Diana Risso, Romance Reviews Today
From Sing Me Home by Jerri Corgiat:
OFF IN THE DISTANCE, the steep hills of the Missouri Ozarks were shrouded in blue, arcing to meet a seafoam sky, dipping into timbered hollows and fresh-water lakes—all of it way too close for Jonathan Van Castle’s comfort.
From under the brim of his Stetson, Jon stared out the tinted bus window at the rolling pastureland that marked the start of the hill-and-lake country in the southern half of the Show-Me State. His fingers, long and tipped with calluses from his guitar strings, drummed on his thigh. He’d grown up in that backwoods, and every turn of the wheels brought him closer to
Unearthed from mothballs eight weeks ago, the Van Castle Country Tour bus took the leading country rock singer in
Inside the custom-built bus, his companions were quiet. Beside him on the opposite end of a leather sofa, bass player Zeke Townley put his long legs up and locked them at the ankles. Idly, he flipped through the pages of GQ. In a set of swivel chairs nearby, several security guys played cards with the band’s stylist Sidney. Today
Several dozen of his crew and his business manager, Peter Price, had gone ahead to
Jon squirmed, and Zeke nudged him with the toe of a black boot that matched the bass guitarist’s hair, beard, and eyes. “Ants in your pants?”
“No, just the pants. Damn uncomfortable.”
Zeke eyed the fringed leather pants with the air of a man whose perfectly creased white trousers would never dare ride up.
Jon grimaced. “Got up late, and these were on the floor.” They’d left
Zeke nodded and looked out the window.
The driver took Cordelia’s outlying area of tract housing and fast food joints at an even gait. As they passed a schoolyard, some kids paused in their play, wrapped grubby fingers around a chain-link fence and gaped. No wonder. Rendered in Outlaw Purple Metallic, a pair of outsized guitars plastered the sides of the bus.
“Look familiar?” Zeke asked.
“Haven’t been through here in eighteen years.” A scared teenager on a Greyhound bound for the big time. Zeke knew all that. They’d been together ever since Jon had stepped off that bus and into a bar in
“And what changes time has wrought.” Zeke’s voice was laconic. Zeke’s middle name was laconic. “Take away the cars, plant a few hitching posts, and it’d look like it did a hundred years ago.”
The highway narrowed into a shaded street lined with gingerbreaded Victorians and airplane bungalows, all fronted with broad porches. Jon noted the padded swings, the hanging pots of fuschia and ferns, the freshly-swept walks. His mother had liked fuschia. “I always wanted a house like one of those.”
“Let’s see. A manse on twenty acres outside
Jon’s lips curved, but he didn’t comment. A home, a mansion didn’t make.
“I’ll raise you two.”
The change hit wood. The bodyguard Roy, rock-hard and squat in a seat near the driver, groaned.
Following the highway sign, the driver curved onto
The bus slowed to a judicious crawl. A get-up like this spelled money to small-town sheriffs with their eyes on the municipal coffers. Around here, money was scarce. Jon knew.
Up-in-the-Hair Beauty Salon slid by, its windows full of flounced pink curtains and steam, followed by Peg O’ My Heart Cafe. The meat loaf was on special. A few doors down was O’Neill’s Emporium. Out front an old geezer swept the sidewalk. As the bus passed, the guy propped forearms on his broom handle and watched. Merry-Go-Read Bookstore stood next to the Emporium. Except for the old guy, the square was empty. According to the driver, this month was one of the hottest
They neared the green-and-white striped awning of a parlor on the corner. Zeke’s eyes were amused. “Sin-Sational Ice Cream? The mind boggles.”
“About as clever as those last lyrics you came up with.” Jon snorted. “‘Maiden fine in my mind?’ Gimme a break.”
Zeke lazily kicked Jon’s thigh. “Let’s see. And what did you come up with? Oh, that’s right, I remember. Nothing.”
The corner of Jon’s mouth hitched, although inwardly he sighed. As the trip to
The bus braked at a stop sign.
Jon leaned toward the driver. “Stop at the park.” Zeke raised narrow eyebrows, and Jon shrugged. “I need a walk.”
“What you need is a spine. She won’t eat you.”
He wondered. “Just give me a few minutes to get the wool out of my head.”
When Jon got off the bus—alone, despite bodyguard Roy’s protests—
Jon rolled his eyes at the stylist and wondered why he kept
Still, he left his trademark blonde-and-brown ribboned hair pulled back, not tucked under.
Readers: Here is your chance to ask Author Gretchen Craig two questions. She will be around during the day to answer the questions you post. Personal and inappropriate questions may not be answered at the Authors discretion. Ask an Author two questions and be entered to win in our monthly giveaway.
Welcome Author Gretchen Craig!
She will be here during the day to answer your speed date questions.
Gretchen Craig takes her readers into the lush landscape of South Florida, the land of exotic birds, fragrant blossoms, and bright skies. In that narrow strip of land between the Atlantic and the Everglades, Gretchen grew roses in the sandy soil and orange trees in dark loam reclaimed from the swamp. In Theena’s Landing, the early settlers living among the scarlet ibis and wild orchids tamed the wilderness to make way for the storied city of Miami.
Gretchen’s award-winning novels, rich in memorable characters and historical detail, are profiled on her website at www.gretchencraig.com. Further details are available at Amazon’s author page. Visit Gretchen’s Blog at http://glcraig.wordpress.com . She’d love to hear from you.
The Miami River of the 1880s, a wilderness of tropical blooms, terrifying reptiles, and devastating storms. Three sisters must make their way in this untamed strip of land between the Everglades and Atlantic Ocean.
Aphrodite hates this hell of searing heat and stinging insects. She will capture a rich man, any rich man, and leave South Florida’s relentless sun far behind.
Hera loves the paradise of blue skies, wild orchids, and balmy breezes. She intends to live a quiet life with Jack Spode, even if she has to entrap him to keep him.
Theena, at home in the glades or on the bay, wants only to love and be loved. Fearing the taint of her mother’s scandalous past, she strives to live a life of virtue and integrity, yet she betrays Randolph, the man she should love, and covets Jack, the man she shouldn’t. From a girl too desperate to be wise she becomes, through pain and heartbreak, a woman who at last finds her honor and her dreams.
Once again, Gretchen Craig presents a page-turning historical novel of uncommon intelligence and insight. Theena and her sisters are flawed, engrossing, and totally believable characters.
e-book from Barnes and Nobel: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/theenas-landing-gretchen-craig/1030380691?ean=2940012180186&itm=2&usri=gretchen%2bcraig
excerpt link: www.gretchencraig.com
Tina Martin: So, Reggie, thanks for sitting down with me. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Reggie Howard: Well, I’m twenty-four years old, I currently live in Virginia Beach, Virginia and I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
Tina Martin: Reggie, I think our readers want to know a little more about you. Describe yourself to us. What are some of best features?
Reggie Howard: [smiles] Wow, you caught me off guard a little with this question. Ah, well, I’m not one to toot my own horn, but ya boy got it going on.
Tina Martin: [laughing] Toot, toot.
Reggie Howard: [laughing] I don’t wanna come off as egotistical or anything, but I think I’m a handsome man. I’m brown-skinned, athletic…a lot people say I resemble Trey Songz, you know, the singer.
Tina Martin: Oh, really? How nice.
Reggie Howard: Yeah, and as for my best feature, my best friend, Tiphani, says she loves my smile.
Tina Martin: I couldn’t help but notice how wide you smiled when you mentioned Tiphani. Are you sure you too are just friends?
Reggie Howard: [smiling] Yeah, I mean, Tiphani and I are close. We been through a lot together.
Tina Martin: So you’ve never had any feelings for her? Romantically?
Reggie Howard: You don’t hold anything back huh?
Tina Martin: The people wanna know, so I ask.
Reggie Howard: It’s like this, I love Tiphani. She’s…[pauses]. Besides my mother, she’s the only other person that’s been constant in my life. She understands me in ways other people, or women I should say, don’t.
Tina Martin: So no romantic feelings.
Reggie Howard: [smiles uncomfortably] She’s gonna read this interview, and I don’t want to say things that could be misconstrued so this is what I will say. I love Tiphani with every thing in me. She’s been there for me through thick and thin and I don’t want anything coming between us that could ruin our friendship.
Tina Martin: I appreciate the honesty in your answer.
Reggie Howard: Thank you.
Tina Martin: To stay on this subject just a little longer, some relationship experts say that men and women can’t be friends. I don’t know if you saw Steve Harvey’s interview on CNN, but he said that he didn’t have any female friends – that it was impossible for him to. What are your thoughts on that?
Reggie Howard: I mean, different strokes for different folks. I have no issue having a woman as a best friend.
Tina Martin: Do you have other female friends, besides Tiphani?
Reggie Howard: No, unless you consider my girlfriend, Shontay, a friend.
Tina Martin: Oh, you have a girlfriend.
Reggie Howard: Yeah. Me and Shontay have been together for a while now.
Tina Martin: How does she feel about you having a woman as a best friend?
Reggie Howard: [shrugs] She knows how important Tiphani is to me.
Tina Martin: Okay, I’m gonna ask a tough question – If it came down to it, and they both fell ill at the same time and Tiphani was in one hospital and Shontay was in another hospital across town, who would you rather be with?
Reggie Howard: [frowns] That would be Tiphani.
Tina Martin: Wow. I thought for sure you would say Shontay.
Reggie Howard: I’ve known Tiphani all my life. I’ve known Shontay for a few years.
Tina Martin: Reggie, someone reading this interview might conclude that you’re in love with Tiphani.
Reggie Howard: I love her dearly. She means a lot to me.
Tina Martin: And Shontay?
Reggie Howard: She…[pauses] She’s my girl, but she would never be to me what Tiphani is to me.
Tina Martin: Sounds like you got your hands full, Reggie.
Reggie Howard: [smiles] Looks that way.
Tina Martin: We got a few more minutes…let’s see what else we can find out about you before you go. Do you have any children?
Reggie Howard: No, but I do want children one day.
Tina Martin: Is there anything else you would like to mention before we wrap this up?
Reggie Howard: I just want to say thank you for granting me this interview and giving me the chance to shine in this story. I hope readers will feel the emotion behind my character and realize that I am only human and I make mistakes. And I hope they grow to love Tiphani as much as I do. She’s an amazing woman.
A note from Tina Martin…
After the interview, Reggie got a call from Shontay asking if they could do a movie later. He declined. Tiphani called moments later and asked if he wanted to come over for dinner. He accepted, even asked her if he had an extra suit at her place so that he could spend the night. He tells me that spending nights with Tiphani is a tradition of theirs from a very early age. I couldn’t help but wonder if Shontay knew about that tradition…
Read more of Reggie’s story in Another Man’s Treasure, available in paperback and in Ebook edition (Ebook available on Kindle for only $5). Watch the book trailer
I’ve been writing steadily for the last seven years, and often people will ask what genre I write. When I say urban fantasy, many of them will nod, smile, and move on with a vaguely puzzled expression on their face. A few will be brave and ask for a definition of the genre. But though I’ve been writing urban fantasy for a long time, it’s still sometimes a difficult thing to define. It is constantly evolving, just as the fantastical worlds in it do, and it’s the subject of great debate between authors, publishers, and readers. I think the only way to solve the debate about what urban fantasy really is would be to have Oprah Winfrey read an urban fantasy novel and promote it in her book club.
But alas, Oprah doesn’t read urban fantasy…
That’s okay. Writing a genre that is always redefining itself is fun. In case you aren’t sure what urban fantasy is exactly, here’s a brief definition: Urban fantasies are stories with otherworldly creatures in them which take place on earth. They typically occur in modern times, and usually the setting is a city or well-populated area. There can be a sprinkling of romance between characters, but it doesn’t necessarily have to have a happy ending. A mystery will unfold during the tale, keeping the reader turning the pages. Many times the story will arc over a series of books. Of course, there are exceptions to all of the things I just stated, but those are the basics. A few examples of current urban fantasy titles you may recognize are any of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris or the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.
For me, the appeal of urban fantasy is the mix of romance and plot. Ah, sweet, sweet romance! But unlike many readers, I don’t always need a happy ending. Let’s face it, friends, happy endings aren’t always realistic, and sometimes they aren’t even interesting. As a writer, you have to be aware of your feelings on this subject because it definitely affects the genre you write in. If you like the strange and unusual but need your characters to get together at the end, you’re probably writing paranormal romance. Whereas, if you like your romance, but it’s not necessarily the focus of the plot, then you’re deep in urban fantasy territory.
Typically, the romance does not drive my books. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it though. One of the greatest tricks an author can pull out of their writer’s cap is the ability to make your readers sense the underlying tension, the hint of romance, and yet never fully deliver it. Making the reader long for that hidden lust or love to come out can be a powerful plot device that enhances the mystery you are creating. Always leave them begging for just a taste more!
In my urban fantasy, Nephilim, my main characters definitely have the “hots” for each other, but it isn’t the driving point of the story. I’ve tried to weave in their lingering looks and naughty thoughts in a way that makes the reader want to see them get together, but yet, still focus on the main plot. Have I succeeded in this endeavor? Well, you be the judge and let me know what you think! Feel free to visit my website at www.maryannloesch.com or drop by my blog, Loesch’s Muse: http://www.loeschsmuse.blogspot.com.
Here’s a brief synopsis of Nephilim which is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Manic Readers, and many other online stores.
When sin stains your soul, he tattoos your skin…
Tattoo artist Nathan Ink is more than he seems. An angel living in secret on earth, he forces his clients to face their flaws by tattooing images of their sins on their bodies, but this glimpse into the soul often results in his clients’ deaths. Although Nathan avoids the other angels, when they ask him to keep an eye on Faye, a nephilim being stalked by another of her kind, he reluctantly agrees.
The angels have kept Faye in the dark about her stalker, but to keep her close to Nathan, they’ve tasked her with investigating the high mortality rate of Nathan’s clients. Despite her distaste for his methods, she finds herself fighting a growing attraction to Nathan, and discovering he’s not a rogue after all forces her to question her own mission. When Faye learns her stalker is another nephilim who intends to use her to breed a new race of hellish beings, teaming up with Nathan may be the only way to prevent a genocide.
Contains strong language and violence
Imagine taking a romantic train journey. You’d arrive at New York Grand Central Station by cab. A porter would immediately open your door, and carry your baggage for you.
The 20th Century Limited Train would roll out a red carpet for you. You’d step onto the red carpet, a porter would appear again, and lead you to your luxurious room for the next few days. In the dining car, lobster would be served on real china. You could pick out a book from the lending library. And if you’re as lucky as heroine Grace Wentworth, you’d meet a handsome aviator and detective.
My book, Splendid Summer, is the first in a series of romantic mysteries set in the Roaring Twenties and featuring Socialite Grace Wentworth, Aviator and Dectective Jack Brewster, and Jack Brewster’s magical cat Tatania. Splendid Summer will be released on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com again in August 2011.
Splendid Summer captures San Diego during the Roaring Twenties with its glorious Hotel del Coronado, Coronado Tent City, Dance Pavillion, Speakeasies, and Bathing Beauty Contests.
When Socialite Grace Wentworth’s uncle mysteriously dies, Pinkerton Detective, Aviator, and Coronado Tent City resident Jack Brewster doesn’t want a Doll’s help with his investigation. But the difference between Grace Wentworth and a pit bull is a pit bull evenutally lets go! They solve the mystery with help from Jack’s magical white cat, Tatania.
Excerpt from Splendid Summer:
“Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself?” Thomas Jefferson
When Grace saw her parents dead bodies, she knew the rest of her life would be a performance. That was the first truth. Before the grief, the anguish, and the crushing pain of separation, came the knowledge, that her mere existence would never be simply enough for anyone again. She might feel happy again. But to live life, in the company of someone for whom her mere existence meant joy, wouldn’t happen. Everyone else would require a performance of beauty, intellect or wit. She’d tap dance for the rest of her days to merely survive.
Without siblings, her parents’ will provided for guardianship to pass to her Uncle Charles and Aunt Alice. Aunt Alice hated Grace’s mother. Uncle Charles acquiesced to his hostile wife’s commands that he avoid those who loved him. Estrangement ran in Grace’s family. It ran marathons.
Still, Uncle Charles had warmly welcomed Grace, and kept her in the finest boarding schools before sending her on to Finishing School in London. She’d adored London. On the ship home from England to New York, Grace dreaded parting with her best friends, Ruth and Emily.
“She’s a few dances short of a full card.” Grace mocked Aunt Alice to Ruth and Emily. At Grand Central Terminal, people slowed to look at them, a brunette, a blonde, and a redhead. They could even make men pause on their way into the Stock Exchange.
“I don’t think your Aunt Alice knows it’s the 1920s.” Emily said.
“I don’t think she even knows it’s the 20th century.” Ruth replied.
“Thanks for coming with me to the station.” Grace said.
“ Bees Knees. I wouldn’t have missed it. Adored the attendant leaping to open the taxi and take your luggage. And you’re coming back to New York for my Debutante Ball.” Ruth said.
“You two couldn’t lose me if you tried. You’re like my only family.” Grace replied.
“That’s all wet. You know your Uncle Charles loves you.” Ruth reminded her.
The train whistle blew and attendants rolled out the red carpet with its proud logo, “20th CENTURY LIMITED.”
“I want to go too. I’ve heard Rudolph Valentino takes the 20th Century Limited.” Ruth said.
“You’ll be at my own ball in California soon. And we’ll write, won’t we?”
“Yes. We’ll make a pact. Round Robin letters” Ruth said.
Emily nodded in agreement.
Grace, feeling very regal, strolled along the red carpet and entered the train.
She stopped at the train’s lending library and reached up for a copy of Letters of Thomas Jefferson, tripping slightly. Another hand covered her own.
“Are you alright?” A deep masculine voice asked.
She looked up and saw green eyes that mirrored her own.
“Sure. Just practicing a little gymnastics.” Like a cat, she pretended she meant to do that.
“Falling for me already?” He asked.
He smiled and she noticed the dark mustache that matched his dark hair. He looked about six foot two. The hand that still held her felt strong.
“I’m Grace.” She said shyly.
“Really? I’m Jack Brewster.”
She would have slapped him but his hand caught her wrist. And she wanted to take Letters of Thomas Jefferson with her.
“Thank you.” She said, certain that everyone was staring at them, and suddenly grateful that he didn’t look like anyone who’d be at a Debutante Ball. He wore a black leather jacket over a white shirt.
“Anytime. I’m a Pinkerton Detective. I never sleep. And you’re taking the book I want.”
“Surely there’s a bedtime story for you here, Jack.”
“Miss Wentworth? Shall I show you to your suite?” The Pullman Porter bowed slightly. “Of course.” She felt grateful for the opportunity to slip away.
Her suite included a drawing room and a sleeping berth where the Porter busied himself plumping pillows. Magazines filled with advertisements lay on the drawing room’s table. She picked one up. Your Face is Your Future, proclaimed the Pearl Facial Cream advertisement that promised she’d lead a wrinkle free life if she applied it nightly. And to think she’d been wasting time on French, Piano and Etiquette lessons.
She checked her appearance in the floor length mirror. Brunette bobbed hair, alabaster skin, a nose she’d been told was adorable all her life, and red lips that didn’t require lipstick. She changed into a red dress for dinner. She brushed her hair quickly, and slipped on new May Jane pumps hoping to get to the Dining Car and never see Jack Brewster again.
In the compartment across from her, she saw him, standing by a berth. A white cat sat against his pillows, grooming a paw.
“Do you sleep with her?’
“No, we’re just good friends.” he replied.
Splendid Summer by Mary Matthews
If the 20 Century Limited still ran its vintage romantic service today, would you choose to travel by train, or would you still prefer your car or a plane? Leave a comment and let me know. I have a special prize for one commenter: A copy of Dior, by Marie-France Pochna, with beautiful pictures of vintage Dior fashion. The contest will be open until midnight on July 21, 2011. Thanks for stopping by and I wish you all a splendid summer!
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I’ve never gone along with the idea that you should write what you know—otherwise I wouldn’t have ended up writing paranormal and science fiction. But I do believe you should write the sort of things you love to read.
That doesn’t limit me much as I actually read across a wide range of genres, but if there’s no romance, I feel as if something is missing. But then I started at an early age…
I first encountered romance books at the age of eleven (up until then I’d been hooked on pony books) when I started reading Mills and Boon romances. My reasoning for this change of direction was that I was always running out of books to read, and my mother had hoards of Mills and Boons stashed all around the house.
The very first one I read was, Sea Waif, by Anne Weale, and from that moment on, I was addicted. I hungrily devoured Sarah Seale, Kay Thorpe, Charlotte Lamb, Carol Mortimer and many more through my teenage years, probably developing some totally unrealistic expectations of the future men in my life.
Obviously, I still ran out of books, there were never enough. But at that point, I discovered historical romance, and once again, I was hooked. I’ll always remember reading, The Flame and the Flower, by Katherine Woodiwiss. That was followed by Shirley Busbee and Rosemary Rogers and a whole load more. All those fantastic stories about runaway girls disguised as boys, gorgeous but totally arrogant heroes, and even the odd pirate ship thrown in. Pure escapism.
But I also had an older sister who was also an avid reader, and from her I started on science fiction and fantasy. The Lord of the Rings, Robert Heinlein’s, Glory Road and Time enough for Love. Anne Rice, who showed me the potential for vampires as heroes rather than villains.
Then adventure books, Wilbur Smith, Harold Robbins, Frank Yerby….
Roll on a few years (well maybe more than a few actually) and I’m writing now. My writing always involves romance of some sort, but also includes elements of all those other books I’ve loved so much over the years.
This is especially true of my recent release, BREAK OUT, Book 1 in the Blood Hunter series. Break Out is essentially a space opera—an adventure story based in the future. But it also has a vampire hero and a whole load of romance.
Break Out takes place in a future where earth is no longer habitable and man has fled to the stars. There they have discovered the secret to immortality. A substance called Meridian—it’s very rare, exorbitantly expensive, and available only to a select few. A new class has evolved, known as the Collective—they are super rich and immortal.
Just about everyone is desperate to earn enough money to pay for the meridian treatment. Everyone except my hero, Ricardo Sanchez, because he’s already immortal.
Do you remember the first romance you read? Did it change your life?
Blurb for Break Out:
The year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian. Unfortunately, the radioactive mineral is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super rich and immortal soon evolves. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.
Two-thousand-year-old Ricardo Sanchez, vampire and rogue pilot of the space cruiser, El Cazador, can’t resist two things: gorgeous women and impossible jobs. When beautiful Skylar Rossaria approaches him to break a prisoner out of the Collective’s maximum security prison on Trakis One, Rico jumps at the chance. Being hunted by the Collective has never been so dangerous–or so fun!
Rico pressed his comm unit. “Tannis?”
“What?” Her tone was grumpy, and he suspected what he was about to say wouldn’t cheer her up any.
“If you’re not already strapped into anything right now, you might want to consider it.”
He closed off the connection and settled back in his seat, locking his safety harness in place.
Everyone was still standing. Was no one capable of taking orders anymore?
“Sit,” he roared.
Rico gave them ten seconds to comply, then hit the new coordinates. The Cazador slowed, shuddered, but before the ship had time to come to a complete stop, he hit the boosters and sent her into overdrive. The engines shrieked as she spun and shot off in the opposite direction, the force of her speed pushing him back into his chair.
Behind him, someone crashed to the floor. They really should have listened.
It was only seconds before he saw the speck of the space cruiser on the screen. They were hurtling toward it, but he didn’t slow down. They had to do this quickly, before the other ship realized what was happening.
The ship grew bigger, definitely the same one from the attack the other day. If attack was the right word. He locked on the lasers and fired. The Cazador wasn’t powerful enough to do any real damage, but he was betting he could still wind them up.
Now was the moment they should retaliate. But he didn’t think they would. Of course, if he was wrong they would all be space dust in about two seconds, and while he liked to think he was never wrong, there was always a first time.
The other ship wouldn’t even have to shoot. They could just keep going, slam into them and El Cazador would be smashed into tiny little pieces. The bigger ship probably wouldn’t sustain more than a scratch.
He held his breath, fighting the urge change course as the image of the space cruiser filled the screen.
Mierda. He was wrong. They were going to crash.
At the last minute, the cruiser veered. The power of her back-thrust washed over El Cazador, rolling her, and for a minute, he hung upside down from the harness. He ignored the crash and subsequent yelp as someone collided with the ceiling.
When the ship righted itself, the screen was empty. Rico released his breath and assessed the place for damage. A few red buttons blinked on the console, but nothing too drastic.
Skylar was picking herself up off the floor. He should have guessed she’d be the one to disobey orders. She winced and rubbed a spot on her hip, but otherwise she appeared okay. Perhaps he would offer to kiss her bruises better… later.
If you would like to win an e-copy of Break Out please leave a comment on this post answering- what books did you enjoy most as a child or young adult?