Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Foundation is Everything

In any project the foundation or starting point is the most crucial. In writing you have to have a good plot and intriguing characters. In building a house you want the foundation to hold up the walls, the floors, the roof.

Here is the journey of the foundation of our new house:

The concrete guy and my hubby built the frames for the footings for the stem wall. The county required 12 inch, we did 18 inch. This was a spot that a lot of fill dirt was used.


                       

This is the footings poured and cured with the rebar sticking up for the  stem wall.


The boards were put up for the stem walls, plastic was put down and gravel was dumped on top to make it easier to navigate under the house crawl space.





Getting the stem walls poured. I put the bolts in the cement. 





Finished stem wall. They were four feet tall because hubby doesn't like to crawl around on his hands and knees. 




After the stem wall came the back patio. The corners are rounded and it is brushed. Once the framing is done we'll color this and the front patio.





Next came the stem wall for the garage. 
The garage was poured at 5:30 AM because the cement trucks had to be somewhere else at 8.




 Last to be poured were the garage apron and the front patio. Now we are on to the floor and plumbing. Those photos will come in stages.

I hope you enjoy a peek into our house project.





Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Release: To Save a Viscount: Book Four of the Spy Series

I'd like to introduce you to Jessie Clever,

In the second grade, Jessie began a story about a duck and a lost ring.  Two harrowing pages of wide ruled notebook paper later, the ring was found.  And Jessie has been writing ever since.

Armed with the firm belief that women in the Regency era could be truly awesome heroines, Jessie began telling their stories in her Spy Series, a thrilling ride in historical espionage that showcases human faults and triumphs and most importantly, love.

Jessie makes her home in the great state of New Hampshire where she lives with her husband and two very opinionated Basset Hounds.
Her social media links are:
Facebook: / Twitter / Google+ / Pnterest

Here is the information about her latest release.


To Save a Viscount: Book Four of the Spy Series

When an assassin threatens England's spy network, Lady Margaret Folton must find the killer before it's too late.  But when Commodore John Lynwood is accidentally granted a title meant to be used as bait to lure the assassin into the War Office's trap, Margaret must face the tragedy of her past and decide which is more important: the assignment or love?

Excerpt:

London
August 1815

He had grown so accustomed to the sound of gunfire that he did not hear the shot that was meant to kill him.

This would have worried Richard Black, the Duke of Lofton, if he had had time to think on it. But as the situation inherently required immediate action, prolonged and abstract thinking on the subject was neither prudent nor wise. So he refrained. Instead, he wondered who it was that smashed into him at incredible speed, sending him tumbling backwards off the walk along the Thames and into the bitter, black water below.

He had been meeting his contact there along the water at an unholy hour, and darkness had lain all about him. The exchange had gone as planned, and he now held the knowledge that he knew would prove key to his current assignment with the War Office. But as the inky water of the Thames closed over his head, he wondered if he would ever get that information to the necessary people.

And then as the last of the light disappeared, he thought of Jane, his wife. His Jane. He did not think of her in specific instances or certain memories that lay in his mind. He thought of her in pieces. Her smell. Her laugh. The sound her hair made as she brushed it at night. The way she always laid her hand on top of his whenever they should find themselves sitting next to one another. Her amazing talents with chestnut roasters.

He would have laughed if such an action would not speed up the inevitable drowning that suddenly became all too real, flushing thoughts of Jane from his mind. His arms began to push against the water as his feet began to pulse, driving him toward the surface. Only he did not move. Whoever it was that had slammed into him still held him about the waist, dragging him deeper into the water. He began to struggle, the need for air and life and Jane surging through his veins in a way he had never felt before.

And then a hand brushed against his cheek, and slender fingers came to rest across his mouth. He wanted to open his eyes, but he knew it would do no good in the black water. But he let the feeling of his attacker’s hand brush against his skin, the shape of it press into his face, the narrowness of limb and the delicate arch of bone.

It was a woman who held him beneath the water.

And he stopped struggling.

Buy Links:
All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/1p9aExk



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

I was tagged by Maggie Jamieson to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour. How it works is she posted on her blog last Wednesday the answer tot he four following questions and then tagged two more people to answer the questions this Wednesday. And I in turn, will tag two people to answer these questions next week on their blog. 

The questions:

​1. What are you working on now?
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
3. Why do you write what you do?
4. How does your writing process work?

1. I am working on the second mystery book in the Shandra Higheagle Mysteries Series, Tarnish Remains.  Shandra is a potter who uses clay from her ranch to make gourd-shaped vases that she decorates in Native American design as a nod to her heritage. In books two she digs up a skeleton while digging up clay. 

2. My work differs from others of its genre because while I consider it a cozy mystery because of the amateur sleuth and a law officer and the murders are not gory or do I go deep internal thoughts of the killers. But I give Shandra and Detective Greer equal points of view in the story and it's told in third person rather than in one person point of view and first person. 

3. I am writing mysteries because they have always been my favorite books to read. I enjoy the intrigue and trying to outguess the sleuth. Piecing together the characters, their motives, alibis, and making a twist at the end is half the challenge and fun of writing the story.

4. For the mysteries I start out with my sleuth, Shandra Higheagle, and come up with a realistic reason she could become involved with a murder. The first book her friend was suspect for the death of a art gallery owner. The book I'm working on now the body is found on her property by her and the first suspect is her hired hand. I'd set up her helper, Crazy Lil, in the first book. Giving her an interesting but illusive past. So using her as the main suspect in this book was easy once I had her background figured out. Then I made a chart with a list of suspects. I have columns for how they know the victim, their motives, their alibis or lack of alibis, and who I believe the real killer is. With that chart I then make a six stages chart that shows in the story when each suspect is discovered and when they are discounted as the murderer. It's a lot like piecing a puzzle together only instead of pictures I move people and words around. ;) 

Those are the answers to how I write my mysteries which will be available Jan., Feb., and March 2015. 

These are the two people I tagged to continue this blog tour next week, September 17th: 

Monday, September 08, 2014

Cowboy Up! Box Set

The Magnificent Seven…

Love that movie!

A 1960 (God, is it that old, really?) western film starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, and Horst Buchholz.These seven men are hired gunmen hired to protect a small Mexican village from bandits led by Eli Wallach. The Film was directed by John Sturges.


                                                            

Okay, this group isn’t exactly warding off evil, marauding gunslingers, but we’re pretty great! A group of seven award-winning authors banded together to each bring their own special brand of storytelling!

Seven men as tough as the west…

Seven women who know how to...

Cowboy Up










Always, Cowboy by Allison Merritt

Blurb:

The past is better left behind, unless it offers a brighter future.

Brody Longtree's first love was bull riding, but he loved beauty queen Libby Dempsey equally as hard. When she turned down his marriage proposal, everything from his rodeo career to his love life went to hell. His love ran too deep for blame, so he made the best of what life threw at him. Things finally get back on track...and then she almost runs over his dog.

When her pageant dreams died in an embarrassing display of nerves, Libby made a new, cowboy-free life for herself. One where she could train other girls who want to be pageant princesses. One that doesn't give her any reason to dwell on what might have been with Brody until his dog bounds into her heart. And she bounds into Brody's bed.

Despite the differences in their lives, they mesh together, the way Brody always knew they would. No matter what, he's waiting until he's certain Libby is ready to get married before he asks again, but their relationship comes under fire when one of her friends reveals a secret about a little girl Libby is awfully attached to—a girl who's the right age to be Brody's daughter.

Excerpt:

Under that snap front western shirt, did he still sport six-pack abs? She couldn't count the number of times she'd helped him out of a similar shirt and put ice on his bruises after a ride. Or how often they'd parked at the lake and explored one another under the stars.

“Hot?” Brody asked.

“What?”

“You're flushed. We could go sit in the stands, maybe catch a breeze.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Can I ask you something, Lib?” Brody rose. His dark eyes were serious and a few lines bracketed his mouth. “Why'd you come tonight?”

Libby swallowed hard. “You asked me.”

“Really?”

“I only live an hour away and I didn't have anything else to do tonight.” Tell him you miss him.

“You used to be more honest.” He slipped his hand around her wrist. “You missed me.”

“I—” Electricity buzzed through her from his touch. “Maybe a little.”

“Maybe a lot.” He pulled her into his arms. “You wouldn't be here otherwise.”

About Allison Merritt:

A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.

Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest

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Cowboys Don’t Cry by Vickie Taylor

Blurb:

A broken cowboy with nothing left to lose…except his heart.

Dash Connaway is hell-bent down a highway to nowhere. But he can’t outrun fate. Just a few months ago, he’d had a new album shooting up the country music charts, a luxury tour bus prepped for gigs in 39 cities, and a live-in girl friend he’d been thinking of asking to marry him. Now he’s just another drifter with an old guitar, a beat-up pickup, and a dog named Bill for a bed mate…until he meets Maggie McCain.

Maggie isn’t your ordinary Oregon rancher. She’s more into organic gardening and hand-spinning yarn from the fleece of her prized alpacas than breeding stinky old cattle. She’s a nurturer, a giver, so when Dash steps into her life from nowhere, she’s ready to trade in her solitary existence on the farm in favor of a husband to grow old with and a passel of children to care for.

But when she learns the real reason for Dash’s commitment to life on the road, she’s faced with a difficult choice and a lesson in the fallacy behind the old saying “Cowboys don’t cry.” Only time will tell just how potent the healing power of love can really be.

Excerpt:

“It’s a girl,” he pronounced cradling the newborn alpaca in his arms.

The woman wiped her grimy chin with the back of her grimier hand. Tears tracked through the dirt on her cheeks. “You did it.” She pushed to her feet, but her legs looked none too steady. She picked up the rifle and leaned on it like a crutch.

Dash went to her, ready to catch her if she fell. “We did it,” he corrected.

“Yes, we did.”

He smiled and reached out to her free arm. It was meant to be a celebratory brush, a comfort…but it lingered a moment too long. The air changed.

Without warning, she swung her rifle up and rested the barrel against his chest. “Now who the hell are you, and what are you doing on my land?”

About Vickie Taylor:

Vickie Taylor published her first book in 1999 and quickly rose to the ranks of national best-selling and award-winning author. She enjoys all types of books, but especially paranormal, suspense, and western contemporary with the unifying theme being romance. Vickie always enjoys a good love story. She is the author of sixteen published novels and is a four-time nominee for the Oscar of the romance world, the Romance Writers of America Rita award. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s usually out riding horses, training search and rescue dogs, or volunteering with her local humane society. She is an avid supporter of the campaign to preserve America’s wild horses, and her latest release, Cowboys Don’t Cry is the first book in a new series featuring her beloved mustangs. Sign up for her newsletter to be notified when the next book in the series, The Horseman’s Widow, coming October, 2014, is available. Vickie loves to hear from readers and can be contacted via the methods below:

Website (where you can also sign up for her newsletter announcing new releases.) | Facebook | Twitter

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A Cowboy’s Heart by Leslie Garcia

Blurb:

Teenage lovers torn apart by betrayal. Have seventeen years changed everything—or nothing?

Star-crossed lovers in their south Texas hill country high school, torn apart by a best friend’s lie, a mother’s cold hatred, and a father’s lack of trust…

High school junior Illy Kingston turns to varsity football star and cowboy in training Gil Salas when her father, a Border Patrol agent, is killed under suspicious circumstances.

Their hormone-fueled, all or nothing affair ends when betrayal tears them apart.

Years, later, Illy returns home, at loose ends after her disastrous marriage to a reality show rock star ends with an embarrassing photo gone viral and a divorce.

When Gil and his mounted Border Patrol make an unannounced civic call at a local elementary school, Gil is shocked to see Illy lurking in the shadows, threatening to upend his existence once again.

The old passion still burns—but neither can go back to the innocence of their high school affair. Illy swore never to love a man wearing a uniform that didn’t involve jeans, a western hat, and boots. Gil has a price on his head.

And star-crossed love doesn’t usually work for cowboys, either.

Excerpt:

He stopped abruptly. Illy had told him to stop, and he hadn’t thought she meant it. The memory of her reacting to him, caressing him, wanting him, stormed back. And then, when Emma called, she’d turned off and fled in a fury.

Did she think he’d seen the picture? He’d seen it online, like the entire world had, according to all the social media. What if she thought he was just acting out what he’d seen? No matter how much the photo enraged and sickened him, he could only imagine her horror that her marriage was over, but that episode never would be.

Did she feel strange at all, being in his arms after that very public display with her ex-husband? His heart thudded dully. She must know he’d seen the picture, but what would it do to her if she knew the truth?

He closed his eyes. She was out of his life, and that was best for him. Because truth be told, he didn’t know if he could take her again and not remember the second most painful night of his life. The night he’d happened on Illy making love to her rock-star husband in public.

About Leslie Garcia:

Leslie P. GarcĂ­a grew up lost among a crowd of six siblings and a menagerie that included more than twenty horses and ponies, uncounted dogs and cats, possums, raccoons—even a lion and monkeys. Then she moved to Texas, fell in love, was disowned—and embarked on her real adventures, raising 4 children, teaching hundreds, and loving 9 grandkids through forty years of marriage. The fabric of that colorful life has always been writing. In A Cowboy Heart, Leslie celebrates two of her passions—cowboys and the ever present chance at redemption in spite of past mistakes. Leslie loves hearing from readers and can be found all over cyber space, including these places:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | E-mail: lesliegarcia2000-author@yahoo.com

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The Heartsong Cowboy by Melissa Keir

Blurb:

Can two people, one horse and the power of love cure a little girl?

Angela French blames herself for her daughter’s lack of voice. Determined to do anything to correct the situation, she seeks out Jake Kyncade, the owner of The Heartsong Ranch.

Jake Kyncade hides his own sorrows behind his no-nonsense demeanor. Helping children becomes one way to correct his past. Using equine therapy, he sets out to make a difference.

Can Jake help Angela’s dreams come true or will Jake’s past bring more heartache? Will love save them all?

Excerpt:

With Taylor asleep on the couch, Angela snuck the magazine out of her daughter’s sleeping hands before carrying her to her bed. After making sure her baby was tucked in, she turned out the lights and went to the kitchen. She sat down at the table to study the article about the horse whisperer. The photos gave off a peaceful feeling—so much so, she longed to jump into the images. Along with the horses, there were shots of children laughing and petting the animals. The article mentioned a little boy with Down’s Syndrome whose language increased after a week of animal therapy. The Heartsong Ranch. Even the name sounds encouraging. Dare I get my hopes up?

One photo in particular captured her attention. The owner, Jake Kyncade, wore jeans and a cowboy hat as he stood next to the ranch sign. She took a deep breath as butterflies circled in her abdomen. He’s sexy. Very different from Mike. Mr. Kyncade has this wounded look in his eyes. I wonder what his trauma was. I’ve gotten better at noticing it in others. Still, he’s good looking. Probably married with his own children.

About Melissa Keir:

Melissa Keir has always wanted to be an author when she wasn’t hoping for a career as a race car driver. Her love of books was instilled by her mother and grandparents who were avid readers. She’d often sneak books away from them so that she could fantasize about those strong alpha males and plucky heroines. In middle school and high school, Melissa used to write sappy love poems and shared them with her friends and still has those poems today! In college her writing changed to sarcastic musings on life as well as poems with a modern twist on fairy tales and won awards for her writing. You can find many of these musings along with her latest releases on her website and blog.

As a writer, Melissa likes to keep current on topics of interest in the world of writing. She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America, Mid-Michigan RWA Chapter, and EPIC. She is always interested in improving her writing through classes and seminars.

Melissa doesn’t believe in down time. She’s always keeping busy. Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a movie reviewer, an owner of a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature happy endings and is often seen plotting her next story.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Facebook Page | Twitter | Goodreads

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Cowboy Trouble by Autumn Piper

Blurb:

She’s decided to make some bad choices this weekend.

Susie Howell has always done what her family expects of her, but they don’t know about the divorce papers she’s just signed, or the secret torch she carries for sexy ranch hand Cash. When keeping the secret gets to her, she flees her brother’s wedding reception. Determined to live a little, she swipes the nearest truck from the ranch and heads to Sin City.

Cash Acosta has worked hard for everything he has, and nobody is taking off with his truck. When he sees it driving away, he jumps in—and becomes the unwilling passenger of a ready and willing woman he’s forbidden to touch. Hell-bent for trouble, the boss’s sister has already earmarked him as one of her “bad choices”.

And Susie intends to get what she wants.

Excerpt:

“So that’s why you’re runnin’.” Under the parking lot lights, his eyes were pitch black. He thumbed a tear from her cheek.

She tried for a more ladylike sniffle, blinked away her tears. Nodded, for lack of a better reply.

“When I hear a beautiful woman wants to make some mistakes, my gut instinct is to help her out with that.” His thumb brushed her lower lip. “Hearin’ she’s single…that’s another checkmark in the pros column.” Hypnotized, she barely breathed as he cupped her jaw in his fingers and that gaze riveted on hers. “Seein’ her cry? What choice do I have?” He bent to her, his lips hot and strong, skilled as they teased hers apart, his tongue waking feelings she’d forgotten. And Lord, it may be too soon, it may be wrong, but she wanted. Wanted Cash, his hands, his mouth, his… She grabbed onto his hard shoulders, slipped her hands up his neck, buried her fingers in that thatch of hair. And kissed him like there was no tomorrow. Of course there was. Sexy, brooding, womanizing Cash wanted her, and he’d be hers, at least for this trip.

About Autumn Piper:

Born and raised in itty-bitty Rifle, Colorado, Autumn Piper studiously avoided trouble…but is now inclined toward it, particularly in her novels. She thinks the best things in life are funny, and the runners-up, romantic.

An admitted carb addict, Autumn writes, edits, manages two teenagers, two cats, a box turtle with a huge personality, one husband and many supersize houseplants, and does the cooking and cleaning when forced to.

To sign up for Autumn’s occasional newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/105424/join

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Page

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Chasing a Cowboy by Sara Walter Ellwood

Blurb:

He’s running from heartbreak. She’s chasing after love… Their hearts will never be the same.

Paige Morgan has lived her entire life in the glare of her fraternal twin sister’s star. Although the sisters are as different as sun is from the moon, Paige fell in love with the same man as her famous swimsuit model sister. When country superstar Chase Jordan is dumped at the altar by her twin, Paige sees an opportunity to go after the one thing of her sister’s she’s always wanted. She finds Chase in Cabo San Lucas nursing his broken heart in the true country song fashion—with a bottle of Jose Cuervo—and reminds him of the desire he once felt for her. Will this singing cowboy change his tune as they set the tropical nights on fire? Or will Paige be the one singing the blues when her sister shows up wanting her man back?

Excerpt:

All of his hopes and dreams shattered on what should have been the happiest day of his life. Today, instead of settling in for their two-week vacation and only getting out of bed to eat, he was nursing a bottle of Jose Cuervo. Why had he come here? His brother was right; he could have easily eaten the cost of the trip. Chase had insisted that he had to escape for a little while, lick his wounds and come up with a plan before he had to go back on tour in a few weeks. Jack accused him of wanting to punish himself. Why else would he go to the place he and Kayla were to have their honeymoon? Had he come here to remind himself of what should have been? He shook his head, hoping to dislodge the thoughts, and turned to gaze out the other side of the bar.

A woman stood on the walkway staring at him through a pair of Aviators. Her long blonde ponytail shimmered in the sun like spun gold. He narrowed his eyes. Was he now hallucinating?

She entered the bar and headed toward him. Sitting on the stool beside him, she removed her sunglasses to reveal a pair of expressive hazel eyes. “Surprise.”

“Paige? What the hell are you doing here?”

About Sara Walter Ellwood:

Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. Sara Walter Ellwood is a multi-published author and publishes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter Signup

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Cowboy Bred, Cowboy Born by D’Ann Lindun

Blurb:

Freedom or family? Only love can make the choice.

Photographer Alannah Murphy refuses to be tied down. She watched her parents struggle to hold onto their dairy farm until it killed them. The mere thought of the same fate makes her shudder. When she meets rancher Sterling Gentry she has to face her fears, or lose him.

Sterling Gentry longs for someone to hand his ranch down to. Like his father before him, he has sacrificed everything to hold onto the land his ancestors settled. But finding Ms. Right proves harder than he imagined. Then he meets Alannah Murphy with her big city ways. How he can ever take a chance with a woman exactly like his mother, who abandoned him when he was a child?

Despite their determination to stay the course they’ve each chosen, attraction pulls them together as steadily as a nail to a magnet. Can these two find a way to mesh Alannah’s need for freedom and Gentry’s desire to hold onto his land?

Excerpt:

Still snapping photos, the woman approached him. When she came within speaking distance, she waved. “Hello.”

“Who the hell are you? And what are you doing in the middle of the road? Don’t you know better than to stand in the way when somebody’s herding stock?”

Her mouth opened and closed a couple times. “I didn’t think—”

“Hell no, you didn’t think,” Gentry shouted. “Damn it anyway.”

“I’m sorry,” she said in a small voice. “The shot was just so good…”

The shot? She’d ruined hours upon hours of exhausting work because she’d wanted a picture? Who the hell would do something so stupid?

Only a damn greenhorn.

For the first time he noticed her get-up. A straw hat only a city girl would wear, floaty pink top with tiny straps that left her bare shoulders exposed to the unforgiving Arizona sun, cut-off jean shorts and red cowboy boots. Daisy Duke personified. He shook his head in disgust.

Reality crashed over him.

The New York photographer his mother had enticed out here, hoping an article in The Cowboy magazine would bring attention to the Santa Gertrudis cattle they raised.

Damn.

About D’Ann Lindun:

Falling in love with romance novels the summer before sixth grade, D’Ann Lindun never thought about writing one until many years later when she took a how-to class at her local college. She was hooked! She began writing and never looked back. Romance appeals to her because there's just something so satisfying about writing a book guaranteed to have a happy ending. D’Ann’s particular favorites usually feature cowboys and the women who love them. This is probably because she draws inspiration from the area where she lives, Western Colorado, her husband of twenty-nine years and their daughter. Composites of their small farm, herd of horses, five Australian shepherds, a Queensland heeler, two ducks and cats of every shape and color often show up in her stories!

D’Ann loves to hear from readers! Please contact her at:

Website | Facebook Page | Twitter | Amazon Page | Email: dldauthor@frontier.net

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Buy Links for the box set, Cowboy Up! :

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / All Romance ebooks