Did I say “live blog”?

Here I am in sunny Ireland and for some reason I thought blogging would be so easy. Not from Inis Oir! This lovely island off the coast of Galway is about as isolated as one can be in the 21st. century.

It is beautiful, rock covered and nearly treeless with a wide blue sky and silver seas today, but if you don’t like the weather, stick around for five minutes and it will be sure to change.

There is a certain lethargy that takes over in a place like this. Life is contrasts between the rush of the world and the pull of the past.

This diversity is one of the themes of my novel Selkie’s Song, available soon on Amazon Kindle.

Stay tuned. Now that I have the “island internet” sorted, the idea of live blogging from the land of saints and scholars is not so daunting.Image

J.L. Bowen, author of Young Adult fiction

Welcome J.L.Bowen to my blog today.

I would like to thank Clare for allowing me to guest blog on her website.  I’m very excited to be here.  I write young adult paranormal and my first novel – Healer – has been released from Featherweight Press.

The theme of my story is about resiliency and how important for people to have faith, despite the traumas of life.  I’ve worked with adolescents and have found the students, who were able to survive abuse or neglect, developed relationships outside their home.  I wanted to offer hope.  Although Armond Costa suffers from abuse, his friends accept him and treat him as family.  Armond is able to heal any physical wound within three days and does not understand why.  He feels like a freak, but when he meets his real family unexpectedly, he life changes and he must choose from his friends and his biological family.

Here’s an excerpt from my first chapter:

I grabbed the wobbly banister and climbed the stairs two at a time to the attic.

A small stampede barged after me.  “Going somewhere, boy?” Uncle Peter’s heavy footsteps trailed me.  “You’ll never get the chance to heal.” His heavy panting echoed in the cramped stairwell.  “Not…after…I…get…through…with…you.”

“Not in three days, you won’t.” Aunt Janet gritted her teeth.  “I promise you that.”

Great, more pain.  They could at least tell me what I did.

My hand shook as I whipped open my door.  I charged towards the window.  Freedom was only six feet away.  Out of the corner of my eye, an elephant size blur barreled right for me.  I shrank, but Uncle Peter grabbed my arm and threw me.

As the room swirled, I crashed into the wall, knocking the wind out of me.  Sweet Aunt Janet stormed over to me and backs me against the wall.  “This. Is. Your. Fault.” With each word, she slapped me across the face and slammed my head like a ping-pong ball into the hard wood paneling.  She wheezed and stopped.  “Since it’s your damn fourteenth birthday tomorrow, they’re hunting you, putting us all in danger.”

If you’d like to find out who is chasing Armond and why, go onto Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) and add my book in order to win a free give away.   The offer is for one month.  Also, if you leave a comment on Clare’s blog, I will let Clare pick a lucky winner to get a free copy of my book.

I’d like to thank Clare for allowing me to stop by.

J.L. Bowen writes young adult paranormal books.  Her website is www.jlbowen.com and you can follow her on twitter @jbowen2.  She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Creative Writing.   She lives near the Rocky Mountains with her cocker spaniel, Sadie.

Horses, writing and happy endings


Shhh…. I love a happy ending.

Why am I whispering? Because I’m a mystery author and mystery authors are all about mystery, suspense, danger, and dead bodies, right?

Right. And …

Truth be told, sure — a satisfying ending is one that puts the world back to rights and has justice and right coming out on top, if sometimes a little battered in the process. But …

That happy ending can also mean two people find each other and sparks fly.

The reader in me loves sparks, too, especially happy ones. There’s nothing like passion to hook me into a story. Nothing like putting your heart on the line to keep those pages turning.

As a writer, it’s important I remember passion comes in many varied packages.

Thea Campbell, the protagonist of my series, is a passionate young woman. And not only does she have a sexy guy she’s passionate about (and would gladly throw herself in front of a speeding train for, if it meant saving his life), but she’s passionate about her family and her horse as well.

Her horse?

Yes. She has a special connection with her very special horse. You might even say a “psychic connection.” Yes, you could actually say that.

Many moons ago, when I conceived of the idea of a mystery series featuring a young woman, I gave her a horse. I know horses. In my away-from-the-computer life, I ride, teach and train dressage. I’ve been horse-crazy all my life. From the moment I could read a sentence I tracked down and read every book I could get my hands on with a horse in it. I was Alec Ramsey in the Black Stallion books, I rode with Billy and Blaze, loved Dorothy Lyons’ novels, devoured Dick Francis. I knew a horse had to be in my mysteries, and not just as scenery. The horse had to be a character, and so Blackie — short for The Black Queen’s Bishop — was born. Thea loves him, and Paul had better never, ever ask her to choose between him and Blackie. Not that he would. If you have an affinity for animals — particularly horses — you understand completely, and will recognize yourself in Thea’s heart.

The fourth of the Thea Campbell mysteries, BushWhacked, is due to be out in May and Blackie still plays a role — after all, Thea always has something to learn from him.

And, you may ask, what about the happy ending? Are sparks still flying between Thea and Paul? Even after four books?

Oh, my.

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed — either with the sparks or the “justice accomplished” happy ending.

Happy reading!

Susan can be stalked, followed, and generally run to earth for a chat at these locations:

Twitter
Website: http://www.susanschreyer.com
Blog: Writing Horses http://writinghorses.blogspot.com
Blog: Things I Learned From My Horse http://thingsilearnedfrommyhorse.blogspot.com

All four of the Thea Campbell Mysteries are available in e-book format and trade paperback at the following locations:
Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/7ma39hm
Smashwords.com: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SusanSchreyer
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/susan-schreyer
And most e-book and trade paper back retailers

Susan is giving away her ebook  Death by a Dark Horse to one of the readers who leaves a comment.

A girl. A boat. A tradition.

Rosy Again!

I have decided to try something new as part of my adventure in blogging. I’m going to post excerpts from my books in progress. Your opinions are welcome and necessary. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

Chapter One
Rosy Again

He was sitting at the bar with one hand wrapped around a pint and the other on Peg Cooley’s right thigh when the door flew open with the ferocity of a rogue wave.
“There ya are, Daly,” an all too familiar voice shouted above the music session going on in the corner.
Shane swiveled around to meet his fate in the form of Rosy Connelly. One hundred pounds of fury in a bright yellow mackintosh, green Wellingtons, soaking wet and smelling like a dead mackerel on a summer’s day.
He lifted his pint in a mock toast. “I see ya dressed for the occasion.” He sniffed the air and added, “Ah, what’s that? Eau de sea bass?”
Peg giggled at his cleverness.
Rosy dripped defiantly on the wood plank floor. “You.” She pointed her index finger into his chest. “You are gonna marry me.”
Shane tried to feign calm the way he did when the boat was in trouble on a bad sea and he didn’t want to worry the crew. “Ah, ye hear this lads,” he said, turning to the group of men propping up the bar. “She fancies a husband, now.”
“I don’t fancy a husband and I don’t fancy you, you stinkin’ bottom feeder. And stop calling me ‘Rosy’.”
“It’s your name.” Shane set his empty pint glass down with a thump. Then he smacked his forehead in a parody of recollection. “Oh, now how forgetful of me. Our little Rosy went off to University and came back…Róisín.” He knew the way he pronounced her name in Irish would irk her even more…RHO-sheen.
“That’ll do,” she snapped.
And, as he suspected she didn’t look pleased. She looked like she was about to burst into flames. Spontaneous human combustion was not entirely out of the question where any Connelly was concerned. Shane thought he shouldn’t take a chance of her igniting a conflagration that would take down the best and only pub in Ballybeg.
“Do we get to discuss this proposal or have you already reserved the church?”
“Oh, we’re gonna discuss it alright.”
Shane looked around, quickly calculating the risks of letting Rosy have her say in a public place. Not to mention in front of every man in town.
She wasn’t inclined to wait for him to weigh the odds. “Let’s take a walk.”
“It’s bucketing,” he protested.
“Ah now, just a bit of good Irish weather.” She shot him a look of disdain as she headed for the door.
“Back in a flash mates,” he shouted to his companions and gave Peg a quick kiss on her cheek.
“You’ve got some explaining to do,” he said to Rosy through clenched teeth.
“Yeah…well, it’s your own fault, Shane Daly.” She shouted over her shoulder and kept walking. “Now, you’re stuck with me.”
Shane reached out and snagged her by the back of her collar. “Hang on here. If you’re up the pole, it for sure isn’t my doing.”
A red flush crept up her neck and pinkened her cheeks. “I’m not…pregnant!” Her hand swung out making contact with his jaw. “You feckin’ fool. You think I’m stupid?”
“Ow! Stupid? No. Insane? Completely.” He dared not mention he doubted any man would have the guts to get into her knickers.
“If you had a brain bigger than your left testicle, you would have remembered that I moved Da into the care home today.”
“Oh bloody hell.” He’d promised to help. “I’m sorry, Rosy. Hey, I’ll make it up to you. I’ll go over right now and help him get settled…I’ll…”
“Pull your head out of your backside long enough to listen to me. This isn’t about your helping out for an hour here or there. This is bigger than that.”
“Well, then tell me what the hell is going on.”
“You’re just gonna marry me. That’s all.”
“Maybe you are stupid,” he suggested and moved back a step in preparation of her hitting him again. “You’re like…like…”
“Like family? Is that what you were gonna say?”
“Uh…now that ya mention it.”
This time he wasn’t quick enough. She caught him in the ribs with her fist.
“Dammit, Rosy, stop hitting me.”
“I should kill you. If I’d let you drown when you fell off Cailleach Head, I wouldn’t have to marry you now.”
“Go way outta that. A man would have to be mental to hook up with you.”
She stuck her face as close to his as possible, considering he was a whole head taller. “The Róis Aris is my boat. I’m not sharing her with the likes of you.” Rosy turned and started to walk toward the pier where her father’s fishing boat was moored.
Shane jogged to keep up. “What’s the Aris got to do with this?”

Got Cowboy?

Please welcome Helen Hardt to Clare’s Blog today. Helen is a multi-published author of romance fiction with a knack when it comes to scratching the dusty surface of a cowboy and finding the lover hidden there.
Helen is offering a free copy of her novel to one of you, so be sure to leave a comment or ask Helen a question.
Double click on the book cover to go to the publisher’s site and view Ivy League Cowboy and Helen Hardt’s other books.

Got Cowboy?

Who doesn’t love a hot cowboy? Especially one with an Ivy League brain to go with all that brawny hotness? Zach McCray is a cowboy first, though, and he stops at nothing to rope in his cowgirl. Zach stars in Ivy League Cowboy, the first in my McCray Brothers Series at Musa Publishing. If Zach leaves you panting and wanting more, check out his brothers, Dallas and Chad, in A Cowboy and a Gentleman and Rodeo Queen, respectively, also available at Musa. Enjoy the excerpt, and leave a comment to win your own copy of Ivy League Cowboy!

Dusty doesn’t fear the feisty bull…but his owner’s another story.

Dusty O’Donovan, an accomplished bull rider, isn’t afraid to ride El Diablo, a feisty stud whose owner, Zach McCray, is offering $500,000 to anyone who can stay on him for a full eight seconds. Though Zach refuses to let a woman ride his bull, he’s intrigued by the headstrong Dusty, who he last saw when he was thirteen and she was six. Sparks fly when they’re together, but will Dusty’s secrets tear them apart?

Excerpt:

Infuriating. Sexist Pig. Idiot genius who didn’t care about proper English usage.
But oh, could the man kiss.

From the first second, refusing wasn’t an option. The unimaginable sensation of his mouth pressed to hers overrode the rational part of Dusty’s brain. His lips were warm, unexpectedly soft, and laced with the robust boldness of his after dinner Irish coffee. The bewitching friction as he nibbled at her mouth enticed her lips to open.

And then it was magic. The woodsy spiciness of the coffee, the tangy storm of the Irish Whiskey, and something else… Something unique and indescribable. Zach. His tongue danced around hers, and her legs trembled beneath her. As if on cue, one strong arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her to him. Every cell in her body screamed at her to drive into him, to deepen the kiss, but she was frightened. She barely knew him. So she began to pull away.

His strength defeated hers. “Kiss me back, darlin’,” he whispered against her chin. “Please.”

It was the please that did it. Somehow, she knew instinctively that Zach McCray didn’t utter that word very often, if at all. Weak-kneed and aroused, she thrust her tongue into the moist warmth of his mouth, and she was lost.

She’d done her share of kissing in the past, but never had she felt such an adventurous surge of need and desire. The frantic necking in parked cars, the careless goodnight kisses, the lazy exploration—nothing compared to this urgency, this demand. As their tongues tangled together, she moved her hands upward, framing his face. Her fingers toyed with the roughness of his night beard, the sleekness of his jaw line. Part of her was barely cognizant of him cupping her cheeks, his thumbs caressing her, yet another part was hyper-aware of his touch, his mastery of her.

When the frenzy between them slackened slightly, he removed his lips from hers and trailed them across her cheek, down her neck, then to her ear, tracing it with his tongue, nipping the soft lobe. She kissed his neck and inhaled his scent. Cloves. And pine. The outdoors. Heavenly. Faint moans met her ears, and she realized they were coming from her throat.
“Dusty.” Zach’s voice was husky, smoke-filled.

She moaned again as his mouth found hers. Unrestrained desire took her over, and she thrust her hips against him, feeling the strength of his arousal. She imagined him inside her, filling her, pleasuring her with that gorgeous body. She had never wanted a man like this. She imagined him naked, on top of her, doing things no man had ever done to her.
She let out a disappointed rasp as he broke the kiss and headed for her ear again. “God, you’re beautiful,” he whispered. “Let’s go inside.”

“Oh yes, yes.” Dusty tunneled her fingers through his silky hair, leading him back to her mouth.

His tongue pushed into her again, then retreated. “Now, darlin’. Or I take you right here.”

The long and winding path….

The rocky path. Skellig Michael, Kerry, Ireland

The long and winding path to publishing my first novel moved at a very rapid pace for me…if I don’t count the decades when my stories waited, in my imagination, for me to sit down and put them to paper. (In my case “paper” is always virtual…I have never written more than notes and ideas on actual paper).
Four years ago I decided I really could write a novel. I bought myself a laptop, sat down, put the foot rest up on the recliner in my bedroom and started to write. I wrote for a month and came out with a book…from beginning to end about four hundred pages. It really did have a plot, a beginning, middle and an incredibly cheesy end.
Then I panicked. Was this my only story? So, I wrote three more that year. Butterfly was number four. The difference with Butterfly was that I wrote for a specific market…romance. I played by the rules. I had a definite goal—to be published. Still, Butterfly is unique, my voice, my style, my imagination. Notice I said I wrote to a goal, not a formula. If anyone tries to tell you they have a formula and if you just follow the simple rules and fill in the blanks you will have a novel…thank them but don’t write a check for their workshop. If writing were that easy everyone would be published. If your story doesn’t beg to be told, hammer on the insides of your cranium until you let it out, haunt you until you are talking to your characters out loud in public (well, this might not happen to all of us…I might just be a little crazy.) then, it won’t keep your reader up at night either.
One of the questions I am often asked by unpublished writers is something like…isn’t it a terrible feeling to have an editor tell you to change, cut or delete a scene in your book…your baby? My simple answer is “no.”
I’ll tell you why. The business of publishing is just that…a business. You may be the next James Joyce, but an agent or editor doesn’t care unless he or she can sell your work and make a profit. That, dreamers out there, is the bottom line. This fact does not have to stop you from being a great writer, a creative writer.
If you really want to be published: write the best you can, finish what you start, know your market and write to that market and, most important, do it because it is your heart’s desire.
My books are available from my website http://www.clareaustin.com Go to the “Books” page for the buy link.