Sunday, November 23, 2014

WIP untitled–the beginning

DurangoCO-CClicenseI’m doing what I usually don’t and posting the beginning of the book I’m working on. This is an unedited excerpt that may change a bit before publication, but I’m enjoying the story and felt like sharing.

No title yet. From the second EMK Artists & Cottages book set partly in Durango, Colorado:

“You absolutely cannot put me on that story.”

“Oh, Gillian, relax. It’s just a story.”

“There’s no such thing as just a story and you know it, even if you are totally immersed in your high-brow editor job now instead of being another nobody lowlife writer like me.”

“Don’t get personal. I’m still your friend...”

“Then make someone else do it. Kevin or ... or Sally. Yes, send Sally. I’d love to see her wear her $500 Gucci shoes out in the dirt...”

“Gucci is handbags, not shoes.”

“I thought they were shoes, also.” Gillian had to pause in her rant to think a minute. “They are shoes, also. I know they are. I’ve heard her say it often enough. Anyway, send Sally.”

“Can you really imagine Sally doing that story the way it needs to be done? She’d laugh at the whole thing. That’s why I have her on pop culture stuff and not on real stuff. You wanted the real stuff, so go do it.”

“Real?” Gillian rolled her eyes and stuffed her hands into her cardigan pockets. “A big time hotshot went to live in the woods and you call that real? He’s an attention seeker. So what?”

“I don’t think so, not since he goes by a different name out there, which means he doesn’t want to be associated with his past life, which means it’s a story I want. Badly. I want this, Gilly. And I want it right. That’s why I’m sending you.”

“But ... but ... he’s a man. In the woods. Alone. What kind of friend would send a defenseless girl out to find a man alone in the woods who doesn’t want to be found?”

“Defenseless?” Karenne tossed her head back and guffawed.

“Okay, okay.”

“You? Defenseless? That’s the best thing I’ve heard in years. Come on, Gilly. That’s another reason I’m sending you. I never have to worry about you. You’d fall from a skyscraper and end up bouncing off some big fat guy and getting nothing but a scrape on your elbow. The poor guy might not be so lucky, but...”

“Real funny.” Gillian sighed and lowered into a chair across the editor’s desk. The friendship card wasn’t working this time. Maybe Karenne was right about every point she made, but still ... the woods. In the mountains. Where it was cold. And fall. And ... and dirty. With bugs and ... slithery things.

She shuddered hard.

Karenne leaned in over her desk. “I know you don’t want to do this and I know how you hate snakes and anything else that moves around outside that’s hard to see. I know, Gillian, but you need to do this. I can’t keep you in the ‘real stories’ department if you keep doing the TMZ kind of things...”

“That’s what sells. It’s what put my name out there.”

“And yet you just complained about this super bachelor millionaire recluse story, which is, I’m sorry to say, a step above your last two pieces.”

“You assigned them.”

“I wanted you to do more with them and you know that.”

Gillian sighed and let herself slump, which she rarely did. “The subjects didn’t deserve more time than I gave them and this won’t deserve much, either. So what? He got tired of ... whatever the hell you get tired of when you have a bazillion or whatever dollars and feel sorry for yourself for some ridiculous reason and went to do a Thoreau thing. So what? It’s been done.”

“Everything’s been done. You know that’s not the point. Go find your angle to make this different.” Karenne stood. “Not up for discussion. This is your assignment. Go do it. You leave first thing in the morning.” She handed a long envelope across the desk, her expression saying not to argue one minute longer.

So she didn’t argue. Gillian took the envelope she knew held her plane ticket and itinerary and forced herself not to sigh again. She half thought about stomping her foot but didn’t allow that, either. She’d worked too hard to become a professional.

And K was right. Her writing had slipped. Her interest had slipped. It just didn’t seem to matter anymore what she wrote about or how she wrote it. No one still read the actual paper and the paper’s website got few views, especially the “real stories” section. People wanted gossip. They wanted scandal. They did not want anything that made them actually think.

Why should she bother?

And yet she had to either bother, and to bother a hell of a lot better than she had recently, or she had to find a new profession. The thought of starting over, though, made her shiver all the way down her spine to her toes.

Maybe she was in a rut, but at least it was her rut and she was comfortable there.


In a rut.

What in the hell had happened to her?

She used to feel fire in her soul at the start of every new piece. The research made her near giddy. Going out and grabbing information people didn’t want found but that needed to be found was the biggest rush she’d ever had. At thirty-one, maybe that was pathetic. Still, it was something. Something she’d created.

It was something. But it was hardly enough anymore.

And now she had to go out, not only out of town, but way out of town into the middle of nowhere, into a world she’d escaped, to do a fluff piece about a rich guy and try to make it sound like a real story.

Life was just too grand at times.

While waiting for this one to come out, along with the first Artists & Cottages novel, how about checking out my Dancers & Lighthouses books? I’m doing a giveaway for the print set of the first three on my website on the NEWS page.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pieces of Light: meet Emma


Emma perused the flyer in the break room. Ballroom dance classes. No partner needed. Could she get the school to pay for the classes if she turned around and taught it to her fifth graders? She supposed not since she wasn’t a PE teacher. And how many fifth graders would want to learn ballroom dance? Most were too hooked to their booty shaking vulgar lyric stuff she’d never allow. Not at that age. Ballroom dance could be good for them. For posture. For grace. Health. She needed it for her own health, for her stamina.

The thought of doing it just for herself pulled at her, even if he’d laughed and said she was too entirely uncoordinated for dance. She didn’t think she was. And the idea of having something of her own for a change pulled at her hard. Why shouldn’t she? If she could arrange for someone to watch Patty that long...

With a sigh, Emma expected the fight of that would make it not worth the hassle.

Still, she thought about it through the rest of the day, through ten year olds giggling when they were supposed to be studying, through drumming history into their heads they’d forget through summer break.

It was nearly summer break. She should be able to insist on time off for herself at least twice a week. Maybe she would do extra tutoring to pay for someone to come sit with Patty just long enough for two classes a week. Some responsible teenager should be willing, and capable enough, and looking to make summer dough.

Deciding to ask around the break room the next day, Emma sighed a huge inaudible breath of relief as the last bell rang and told them all to have a good night and to study...

Her voice trailed off. She’d lost them. They wouldn’t hear if it she said it, so she didn’t bother.

Could she choose which ballroom dances she wanted to learn? Not the Latin dances. Too sexy to do with some stranger who also ended up there without a partner, especially if she got stuck with another woman, which she figured was entirely possible. How many single men went to ballroom classes on their own? And of those who would, how many would she want to Latin dance with? A light shudder ran through her system. Maybe she’d get a video instead and teach herself on nights she didn’t have Patty.

Pieces of Light
is part of the Dancers & Lighthouses series.
Find it HERE

Pieces of Light: meet Fillan


Fillan tried to put his mind off work and onto the trail he was hiking at a near jog. Thoughts of Ireland streamed back into his soul as he looked out over the fauna of Cape Cod. And the girl. Had she come home yet? Had she bothered to notice he was away? He left without word. It was fair, Fillan figured, since she’d done the same. Purposely or not, she’d left him. She said she’d return, but then, that was a fair time ago. Last summer. She’d gone on an adventure, she said, she needed something new, time to figure herself out. How he hated that phrase. He knew he’d rolled his eyes when she said it, which helped nothing at all, of course, but he hated that phrase.

Time to figure yourself out. What was that, anyway? You were who you were, were you not? What was to figure out? How insipid did you have to be to not know, toward your later twenties, who in the hell you were yet? Or at least think you knew. What twenty-something didn’t at least think he had himself, or herself, all figured out?

An excuse, of course. She could have just come straight out and said, “Fillan, you’re boring me to tears and I have to leave you now.” He could respect that.

Turning the corner of the wood plank raised path out along the Cape, he got a nice glimpse of the Atlantic and paused, leaned his forearms on the weathered-wood railing, and watched seagulls dip and rise and make all kinds of racket. Noisy, raucous birds. He liked them about as much as he liked the figure yourself out phrase. Scavengers. Bullies, of sorts. He liked small quieter birds.

But then, he liked quiet. Peace. Calm. Boring, he supposed. She was right, whether she said it or not.

“Get a real job, Fillan, would you? What kind of a job is teaching outdated dances to elderly women who are there only to enjoy cozying up to sexy young men who are paid to be nice to them? It’s a boy’s job,” she’d said. “Get a man’s job. It’d be good for you.”

With a sigh and rolled eyes – and why not, since she couldn’t see it – he continued his walk-jog along the boardwalk.

Maybe later he’d go into the heart of Provincetown and wander the sidewalks, the shops, see what he could find not too touristy but reminiscent of Cape Cod to take back to his family at the end of the summer when real life would continue, when he’d have to make the choice to contact her again or not, to continue his “boy job” or change his path. Granted, it didn’t pay a lot. It had taken him forever to earn plane fare to the States to jump on the opportunity to teach ... different old ladies, American old ladies, instead of Irish old ladies.

Well, but they weren’t so much. Many younger women were coming to ballroom dance recently. That show on the telly, Fillan supposed. He hadn’t watched it. The idea of it buggered him. He bet they made good money, though, with their for-television “boy job” – but of course they were getting hand-picked celebrity students, not regular people who sometimes didn’t know their right foot from their left.

If it was bringing people into ballroom again, though, it couldn’t be all bad.

Pieces of Light is part of the Dancers & Lighthouses series.
Find them HERE

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Getting Fresh

My books, that is. Getting fresh new shiny covers.

Want to see them? Of course you want to see them! Why else would you be here? (You’ll have to forgive me for the sappy start to this post: time change and age and all takes its toll.)


So they’re only partly new. I couldn’t let go of my couples and their settings fully. I like them much better this way and I hope readers will, as well.

Appearance does matter. More than size. Or … well, maybe they equally matter.

Pier Lights and Shadowed Lights are both short novels. Pieces of Light is a novella, only 100 pages, and that’s 100 mass market sized pages. Don’t let the small size fool you, though. There’s plenty of punched packed inside those few pages. Many small things are very effective and often more powerful than large sized … um, books. It’s all in how you use it.

To announce the new covers, I’ve made Pieces of Light only $0.99 at Smashwords for a short time. You do have to use coupon code VT93E to get the 34% off regular price of $1.49, and it expires on November 14th, so don’t delay! It’s well worth your 99 cents and your bit of reading time if you love romantic stories with real characters and real-life situations and settings in contemporary times.

This series is also coming in print! They will only be available through Elucidate Publishing via direct order. They are mass market sized books, but they are not mass market printed. At least, not of yet.

Along with all of the other freshness going around, will soon have a bright and shiny new website to accompany this blog.

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In other news, the first Artists & Cottages book is well underway and the second is coming into being during Nanowrimo 2014 this month. I got a good start on it yesterday and my heroine is already in quite the predicament.

Here’s the Pinterest board for the first book.
And Here is the second.

I already have thoughts for the fourth Dancers & Lighthouses novel, as well as for a first in a new series. Better get off here and get writing!

Happy November to everyone!