Monday, March 30, 2015

Second Chances and More by Author Terry Odell


Author Terry Odell 
Years ago, I became the first outside-contracted author for The Wild Rose Press, and ended up having six stories published through them. This was back when there were no Kindles, no Nooks, and where e-books were sold via the publisher's website. Back when people didn't think e-books were "real" books.

Once I moved into writing novels, I'd discovered romantic suspense, which became my genre of choice. However, I left those stories with The Wild Rose Press, and they sat there, earning a few bucks in royalties over the years.

But with indie publishing so prominent now, I decided I'd see whether these stories would make it in today's market. I requested the rights back, and when they reverted to me, I decided that they could be combined into a single volume (which is about 85 pages long, about the length of a single novella) and offer them to people who like contemporary romance.

So, with no fanfare, no hoopla, no huge release party, I'm simply announcing that my five stories, are now bundled into a volume entitled "Second Chance Rose and Other Stories". Buy links are here.

Second Chance Rose and other stories
More about the collection:

Whether it's first love, or love revisited, there's a story in this collection of short works to warm your heart.

Hurricane Breeze
Carter Worthington the fourth is the kind of man whose schedule is laid out in fifteen minute increments, while Tiffany wouldn’t know what to do with a day planner if she owned one.

When a hurricane blows Tiffany Breeze into Carter's sheltered universe, he must decide if he's willing to leave the emotional safety of his orderly existence to experience the highs, knowing he'll also have to face the lows.

Romancing the Geek
Stephanie's lifelong dream is to design toys—sweet, cuddly toys. Instead, she's hired as a glorified typist, forced to share an office with Brad, a geek, who's happy programming computer games full of explosions.

Ignoring each other is their solution to co-existence. But when Brad has girlfriend troubles, he swallows his pride and asks Stephanie if she'll teach him how to talk to women. She agrees, but he's having trouble passing her exams.

Relationships
Amy’s ready for a weekend of solitude and pampering, but her plans turn to thoughts of a no-strings fling when she meets Greg.

Out of Sight
Sometimes being invisible is a good thing. Or is it? Alone with a captivating colleague, San­dra deals with the reality of her marriage and herself.

Second Chance Rose
Rose has had her chance at her one true love. Widowed, her home destroyed by a hurricane, she relocates across the country and discovers the special garden of the bedtime stories her mother told her as a child. When she meets Richard there, friendship blooms. But can there be second chances for true love?

***With minor modifications, these stories were previously published as stand-alone shorts by The Wild Rose Press

I'd love for you to help spread the word about Second Chance Rose. If it'll encourage you to give this book a try, I'll donate half my royalties between now and April 1st to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Some of you know my daughter was diagnosed with this disease last May, and there's no cure … yet. So, if you buy the book, you'll get to escape with five romance stories, and you'll be pitching in to help a good cause as well. 

I'm also giving away a $10 Starbucks giftcard. Contest Ends April 1st.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Running Off To a World Away or No Risk Time Travel



Chris Karlsen
by Internationally Published Author Chris Karlsen

I think I speak for most writers of time travel stories, when I say we are fascinated by the possibility. Since we can't go to the past, or ahead to the future, we live through the experience via our characters.

Speaking for myself, as much as I love certain periods of history, if the ability to go back became a reality, I'm too much of a weenie to actually go. I suspect sooner or later something terrible would happen to me. I'd get taken for a witch and wind up tied to a stake on a pile of kindling with a circle of torch-bearing villagers gathered around. Or, baring that calamity, I fear without protection, I'd fall prey to ruffians. I couldn't count on a knight or prince inviting in to his castle.  I might, if I was lucky, get a job as a tavern wench. I'd have to hope I'd make enough to feed myself and have a roof over my head. It would have to be in a tavern that didn't expect me to offer any other "services" beyond bringing tankards of ale to tables. I'd also like to squirrel away enough money to suss out an actual witch who might give me a spell to get back home.

Knights in Time Box Set
In my Knights in Time series, part of the stories are set in Medieval England. Because this is an era and place I have enjoyed reading about since I was young, I knew when I decided to write a time travel, I'd use the Middle Ages and England. I've also had the opportunity to visit England many times, which enhanced my interest in setting a story or stories there.

Certain historical figures from the time are of interest to me like Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince. I'm also drawn to dynamic events of the period. In the Knights in Time books, the heroes are all friends, warrior knights. The stories either start, or include the battle of Poitiers, a great English victory fought in 1356. The knights fight alongside the Black Prince in that battle and I gave the prince some page time.

In Journey in Time, book 2 of the series, the hero and heroine go back to the year before the battle. If they can't get back to the modern world, the hero will be sent to France to fight in the war. The heroine will be left alone and if he is killed she has no one to protect her in a time and place totally alien to her. Her terror of that future coming to pass is a core portion of the story.

What is wonderful about writing time travel is the opportunity to bring a setting to life, to see the emotions it evokes in the characters. I like to paint the scene and then see what the characters react to. Sometimes they surprise me:)

In Knight Blindness, book 3 in the series, I tried something different. I brought the knight forward in time to the present day. I didn't leave it at that. He was transported from the battlefield where he'd been blinded by an enemy French knight. Now the hero is in our world, a world he has no context for, and he cannot see what is transpiring around him. The French knight is also brought forward but with his sight intact. I wanted to show how the two different men react to this new world, how they make their way in it.

I'd describe writing time travel as the opportunity to live another life for a short time. I share my pleasures and fears through my characters. I want them to experience the various aspects of the unfamiliar place. I walk every step with them, make them take the risks, and am delighted when it all works out.  


Follow Chris Karlsen on Facebook on Twitter and visit her website 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

How A Hot Mess of Writing Became an Indie Success

Athena Grayson
by Athena Grayson

Huntress of the Star Empire is a dark-horse of a story if there ever was one, proving that, even after 18 years of doing this, writing can still surprise me.
Writing “Huntress” was a crazy decision for me to make. I had a preschool daywalker, and a new baby who loved the nightlife—in my defense, I was operating on very little sleep. I questioned my decision to work on this particular story, because at the time, there was exactly zero market for it. I was writing in a genre that wasn't high on the list for either tradpubs or e-presses. I raced down "B" storylines and "side-quests" with the supporting cast instead of sticking to one straight storyline. I knew the thing was a hot mess (in the way that a journeyman "knows" his art is breaking all the carefully-taught rules), but I was having fun and being passionate and it was keeping me sane.
Fast-forward through PTO meetings, freelance day-job work, and something called the "Indie Revolution" and I rediscovered the Huntress. I re-examined the WIP, only to discover the "hot mess" I was so sure I'd written was actually not a hot mess at all. In my sleep-deprived world, where I typed one-handed and spent many late-night hours binge-watching Xena re-runs, entire seasons of Star Trek, and Firefly backwards and forwards, I'd unconsciously incorporated the structure of long-form storytelling into the story I was half-consciously writing. Breaks came at novella-length points, and the dramatic structure followed along an episodic escalation. I realized that with the Indie Revolution, the ebook’s ability to deliver novella-length stories, and the wider variety of readers engaged in all sorts of genre-blends, the only thing stopping me from unleashing the Huntress on the world…was me.

Huntress of the Star Empire
Treska Sivekka is the best Vice Hunter in the entire Union of Civilized Worlds, but her latest bounty might put her right out of a job. She’s on the hunt for the last of the psypaths, whose psionic gifts are thought to have caused devastating alien attacks on a dozen worlds. The last psypath, Micah Ariesis, is the only remaining chink in the armor of the Union.
Acquiring her target starts Treska on a journey not back to the safety of the Civilized Worlds of the Union, but its wild edges, where she begins to question all she’s known—about the attacks, about psypaths, and about herself. As she unravels the shocking mystery of her own origins, she must question everything she believes until she finally hunts down the truth.


Huntress of the Star Empire is a sci-fi romance serial adventure, told in weekly episodes released each Thursday until the season finale. 


For more about the series, visit http://www.athenagrayson.com/huntress or sign up for the newsletter at http://bit.ly/AthenaNews and receive notification of new episode drops right to your inbox.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The New Adult Challenge

The New Adult Challenge
by Jennifer Probst

New York Best Selling Author Jennifer Probst
The genre of new adult fiction has solidified with readers as an exciting way to experience the passion of a younger type of romance. There is something about connecting with our younger selves and delving into various levels of emotions the early twenties bestows.

If I close my eyes, I see that young girl. Passionate. Immortal. Ready to dive into new experiences, yet so fearful of leaving my security of my family and friends I grew up with.  When I loved a boy, I loved with every pore of my skin and beat of my heart. The world was vivid and bright, full of pain and intensity around every corner.

It was also a time when I struggled to find my identity. Finishing up college and looking toward the future for a career that would satisfy me, yet pay my bills.

So, when I wrote Beyond Me and Chasing Me, my first venture into new adult, I needed to go back to that girl I was so I could connect with those type of feelings. As we age, we distance ourselves a bit. We fall back into roles. The world shifts from blinding color to grey patches and the occasional neon 3d image. We look at things so differently, but in order to write Quinn and James to the extent they deserved, I needed to shift back and let myself go free.

Damn. What a ride.

Chasing Me
A writer needs to bring a full range of emotion to a story in order to keep the reader engaged. With Chasing Me, Quinn and James were together, but their story was just beginning. A new relationship hits so many hurdles. Parents who disapprove of the relationship, temptations of other people, job stress, financial difficulties, the list keeps going on. Even more important, when I was younger, I realized I was my own worst enemy. I questioned and doubted my gut, just like James does throughout the book.

But at the core of the book is still a love story. Quinn and James are passionately in love, but will they be strong enough to go forward with all the obstacles of real life in their way, now that their idyllic spring break vacation is over?

That is the crux of the book. Exploration. Emotion. Conflict. It’s what makes a reader flip the pages, a careful balance of fact and fiction, pulled from the recesses of a writer’s mind.

Each story I write is a new challenge I take seriously. Writers need to grow and change. Sometimes we will fail, but with each failure, we hope we learned enough to make our next piece of work extraordinary.

I stretched myself with Chasing Me, and created a story I’m proud to share.


I hope you love reading it as much as I loved writing it!

Jennifer can be reached via her website

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How The Lottery, 3rd in the Christmas Cookie Club series, Came To Be

How The Lottery, 3rd in the Christmas Cookie Club series, Came To Be.
by Ann Pearlman 

Ann Pearlman
The economy was crashing. I was struggling as a single mom. My friends, houses underwater and incomes decreasing, fantasized about winning a lottery. Then my agent sold The Christmas Cookie Club in a three-book deal and it became an international bestseller.
I won my lottery.
Lotteries have become our chance for a way out. In our materialistic society, buying goods is fuel for the economy; we’re judged and judge ourselves partly by money and class.  So, I decided to write a sequel with the cookie club friends playing the lottery and examine the impact of wealth. 
The idea of being born under a lucky star persists. When a peer or sibling jumps ahead, we think, “How’d she get so lucky?  Why not me?”  We coax luck with magic: don’t walk under a ladder, don’t break a mirror, and wear a lucky bracelet.  Play the lottery with special numbers (birthdates, the number pocket-dialed on your cell phone) to win big.

More often we make our own fate by hard work, escalated by serendipity. Enormous luck was involved in the sale of my book.  But that doesn’t take away from years of writing dozens of hours weekly, or attending courses and workshops. 
Another kind of luck affects us all. It’s what kept me fascinated as therapist witnessing the formation of each person and the chance events that determine lives.  We’re born with talents and interests, or inabilities and difficulties.  The environment surrounds us and we’re bathed in love or abuse, sensitivity or disregard. Or the extra burden of being a minority, or an immigrant.
For women, there’s the fear of sexualized violence. Living in a college town, every decade or so a serial rapist stalks us. We’re afraid of parking structures, being alone in public. 
 As we approach adulthood, chance events impact our success and joy:  a mentor encourages talents, we get our dream job, or fall in love with the almost perfect helpmate.  
I’m awed by the vast resilience of the human spirit and how we recover and thrive in spite of horrors: rape, friends murdered, betrayal, a house fire that wipes out siblings.  These are twists of horrible luck that I’ve dealt with in my years as psychotherapist or in my own life. Positive and negative accidents craft our lives and characters. Life is unfair in both positive and negative ways.
All these threads - the positive and negative chance events in my life, selling the Christmas Cookie Club at a crucial time, my friends’ struggles --wound into my novel, The Lottery.
The Lottery
There’s the ultimate luck: the timing and way of our death. Do we have the time to satisfy our dreams? That is perhaps the most crucial question about our own lives.
Because it is as they say.  Your world is how you interpret it.  We all have enormous lucky events in our lives. The amazing fortune simply of life, breath and unique vision is a once in a forever occurrence.
You’re alive.
You’ve already won the lottery.

The Lottery is on sale from March 12-19. 

Learn more about Ann:







Thursday, March 12, 2015

FRONTIER DOCTOR: THE QUEST TO HEAL

FRONTIER DOCTOR: THE QUEST TO HEAL

By Lorrie Farrelly

Author Lorrie Farrelly
Despite a number of medical advances that came into practice during the American Civil War, such as the use of chloroform as anesthesia and new procedures in surgery, the late-19th century physician still worked under very crude conditions, especially out on the western frontier. The idea of a college-trained doctor was very new, as was the idea that disease was spread by microbes invisible to the naked eye. In western historical romance TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT, young Dr. Robert Devlin, a dedicated physician and medical lecturer, insists his students follow the then-innovative, and still often ridiculed, practices of washing hands and sterilizing instruments before treating each new patient.

Even by 1885, when Rob’s story takes place, a frontier physician’s arsenal remained largely composed of the knives, forceps, drills, and saws he could use in any setting, no matter how rough, as well as the ointments, tinctures, and powders he could carry with him in his medical bag. Some remedies are still used today, such as quinine, ipecac, willow bark, and arnica. Others are now known to be useless at best and very often harmful, including the infamous 19th century “snake oils,” touted as made from real snakes. Liniments and elixirs could contain such alarming ingredients as turpentine, mercury, ammonia, kerosene, and, of course, alcohol – often in highly toxic amounts.

Despite some advances, especially in the treatment of physical injuries and trauma, the 19th century physician was still essentially helpless against life-threatening diseases and infections. Along with the widespread scourges of tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria, typhus, yellow fever, and polio, one of the greatest dangers of the age was childbirth. From birth complications that put both mother and infant at risk, to the problems of hemorrhage, puerperal (childbed) fever, pre-eclampsia and toxemia, causes and treatments were understood poorly, or not at all. Antibiotics were unknown. Doctors were often at a loss to save even their own loved ones.

Terms of Engagement by Lorrie Farrelly
In TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT, widower Dr. Devlin, traveling with his little daughter by train across the Wyoming frontier, answers an urgent call for help. A fellow passenger, the badly injured young mother of a toddler, has suddenly collapsed. Rob saves her life, and in turn, she rescues his heart. Now, all their lives will be forever changed – if they survive the powerful, relentless, and ruthless evil that will stop at nothing to destroy them.

A Readers’ Favorite 5-Star novel, TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT is filled with passion, sacrifice, deeply-felt emotion, and page-turning suspense.

EXCERPT:

Rob knelt beside his unresponsive young patient and drew a corked glass bottle from his medical bag. The contents, thick sediments suspended in a dark, oily liquid, were tightly stoppered.
Holding his breath, he popped the cork and gently waved the bottle half an inch beneath his patient’s nose. Despite his held breath, his eyes began to sting and water from the sharp, biting odors of ammonium, camphor, cloves, and peppermint that rose from the bottle in acrid, pungent fumes.
The woman’s eyes popped open. She gasped and began to cough, wincing in pain as the spasms wracked her battered ribs and brought her shoulders up off the bench.
Instantly, Rob recorked the bottle, set it down, and took gentle hold of his patient’s shoulders to steady her. After a moment, the coughing gave way to a few wheezing breaths, and then, exhausted, she dropped her head back down onto the bench seat. Her gaze was far away and pain-clouded. She seemed to be looking at nothing.

© by Lorrie Farrelly

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