Sneak Peak Saturday

It’s official – The Wild Rose Press will release A Season for Killing Blondes on Friday, June 12, 2015. In the meantime, I will provide sneak peaks on several Saturdays leading up to the release.

In today’s excerpt, Gilda Greco reconnects with Carlo Fantin, her high school crush.

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I noticed a man making his way through the crowd that had gathered outside the front window. Tall and lean with salt and pepper hair, the man sported a black leather coat and a light gray suit. When he stopped to talk with Uncle Paolo, he flashed a badge. As I approached the two men, my heart started beating faster. Carlo Fantin. How could I have forgotten my old high school crush? If anything, he looked even better now than he did back then. He hadn’t bulked up or lost his hair. He was still hunk material.

He stared, his blue eyes widening in surprise and something else I couldn’t quite define. Amusement. Anticipation. Maybe even lust. Whatever it was, he had stopped talking to Uncle Paolo and was now giving me his full attention.

He flashed the beautiful smile that had once captivated me and every other female student at Sudbury Secondary. “Hello, Gilda. It’s good to see you again. Uh, in spite of these circumstances.”

“Hi Carlo, I’m–”

“Detective Fantin.” My uncle shouted.

Before I could say anything, Aunt Amelia piped up, “We’re so glad you came, Detective. We’ll sleep better tonight knowing that you’re in charge.”

My mother and Sofia appeared at my side. All those years ago when I had fantasized about connecting with Carlo, I had envisioned many wonderful scenarios where we would bump into each other and fall in love—on the beach, dance floor, even at a bar. Never in a million years, did I think we would reconnect in these circumstances with my family in tow.



Enter the Giveaway – You could win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Spotlight on Madelyn Hill

I am happy to feature Soul Mate author Madelyn Hill and her latest release For the Love of a Gypsy.

Here’s Madelyn!

madelynhillI’ve always had a love of reading and writing, as I suspect all writers do. But in my opinion, those who actually sit down and write their story have something else. Writing is a need, an instinct in which we have to share our story or else we may go mad. I’m sure this is where the term “muse” came from, that inner voice that whispers our stories and encourages us to get them on paper.

I started writing at a young age, short stories of teenage angst. But my serious writing started after the birth of my children when I needed something just for myself, something that was mine. I’d gained inspiration in many ways, but the book Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon inspired me to start writing Scottish historicals. Historicals are truly my favorite genre to read and write. I love research and digging and digging for information and tidbits that can enhance and direct a story. Also, there is just something so romantic about Highlanders and those rogues of historical novels.

As many writers do, we seek out others like us. Almost like we are a herd that is stronger together. A local romance writers group was where I felt as if I could talk about my stories and everyone understood. It was invigorating and in a way liberating. I became actively involved and made so many great friends, friends I would have never encountered outside the group. We had a great time and traveled to conferences, held conferences, facilitated workshops, and ran contests.

I can’t tell you how much I learned during this time period. When I first started, I had no idea about POV, agents, publishing houses, and submitting. But through critique groups, workshops, and conferences, the writing process and world came to light.

When I went back to school after my youngest entered kindergarten, my writing time became limited, but no less sacred. I cut out any unnecessary time sucks and expenses. I didn’t write in a silo, I still had an awesome critique partner and with social networking, writing friends are a few clicks away.

During this time, I didn’t send to publishers, holding back for some reason and then due to the encouragement of my critique partner I sent to Soul Mate Publishing. I have loved working with SMP and I hope to continue publishing with them far into the future.

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Blurb

Can she betray the Gypsy clan who saved her for the love of a stranger?

Martine Petrulengo is stifled by the traditions of her adopted Gypsy clan. They gave her new life when she was left all alone. And now she is expected to marry in order to forge clan allegiances. When she nurses handsome and charming Lord Declan Forrester back to health, she is lured by the seductive idea of life outside of the clan—and the prospect of love with the Irishman.

Can he prove his innocence in order to claim his Gypsy?

Lord Declan Forrester trades prison bars for a loveless marriage in order to save his soul. And now he’s trying to prove his innocence not only as a traitor, but that of his wife’s murder. When the lovely and beguiling Martine saves him, he falls in love for the first time. Yet, the obstacles of his past seem insurmountable.

Martine and Declan must fight tradition, prejudice and the haunting ghosts of their past in order to fight for their love and ensure their future.

Excerpt

A rider urged his horse forward. He wore a leather doublet of a quality she’d never seen. The black hide was pierced with metal and thick stitching formed elaborate Celtic designs. Regal and rich. His breeches hugged his thighs so closely ’twas indecent, but that didn’t stop her gaze from venturing along the hard expanse of his legs. Heat crept up her neck and flushed her face like a flame.

He tipped his head in her brother’s direction. Martine gasped.

The stranger from the glen.

“We’ve business,” was all he said.

Rafe nodded, but didn’t twitch a muscle. Martine wanted to run from the confrontation, hide in her grandmother’s berth safe from the bewitching blue eyes of the intruder. But her feet stayed rooted to the ground.

Och, this man was handsome. Strong jaw, brilliant eyes, and a broad mouth composed a man so striking. His face was a composite of hard planes of granite that matched the intense glare of his eyes.

The man sighed and his comrades inched closer to his side. They dressed as he did, except their clothing lacked the obvious quality she could see stitched in the leather of his.

“The villagers are concerned with your presence, Gypsy.”

She could feel the tension in the tight line of her brother’s shoulders, taste the anger in the air that hummed about him and the stranger. His jaw clenched and he remained silent.

“I’ve come to ask you to leave.”

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Bio

Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier! A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children’s sporting events, and of course reading!

Where to find Madelyn…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Cover Reveal – A Season for Killing Blondes

I am thrilled to share this cover with you today!

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Blurb

Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.

Enter the Giveaway – You could win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Thanks to the following bloggers for participating in today’s cover reveal.

LibriAmoriMiei
Flame Resistant Undies Romance Reviews
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too!
Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
2 Girls A Book & A Glass of Wine
Author Sandra Love
Book-Lover
Em & M Books
Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews
Marie’s Cozy Corner
Southern Yankee Book Reviews
Book Partners in Crime

Coming May 2015

Spotlight on Susan Coryell

I am thrilled to spotlight author Susan Coryell and her three novels.

Here’s Susan!

susancoryelll2How’s the luck of the Irish treating you? Have you found any lucky pennies on the road lately? Four-leaf clovers? Luck is something we writers hope for in every phase of our projects: Lucky to get a good agent, lucky to grab the attention of an editor, lucky to be offered a publication contract. Well, my writing journey is a bumpy one, to say the least. Let me begin by saying I generally do not consider myself to be a lucky person. I do not win sweepstakes, I do not win drawings and once, at a fashion show, I was the only person at my table of 10 who did not win a door prize. Let’s just say, I am never surprised when this happens.

eagleI wrote my first novel, Eaglebait, about school bullies when I was teaching 7th and 8th graders. No research needed; my classroom, the school corridors and cafeteria were my lab. For once, I felt lucky when Harcourt offered a contract for a hardback version of Eaglebait. At the time Harcourt was a huge publishing company—later bought out by Houghton Mifflin. My luck ran out when my editor left immediately after editing my book, leaving no one to champion Eaglebait. Though I’d been told by the publisher that it would take two years to get through the library review system, Harcourt pulled my novel after 14 months. Sigh. I’d even managed to acquire two big awards—one national and one international in the short time it was in print, but they were done with me.

Then life intervened. A full-time working mother with three children and a husband who owned his own small business—I felt good if I had time to wash out my pantyhose, let alone write another book. So, even though I had a lot more in my writing mind, I simply had no time to create another novel.

Blessed retirement popped me right into free-lance writing in my new lake community. I loved writing for everything from my church to the local arts council. I wrote for the Chamber of Commerce, a political group and the charity home tour. I wrote for magazines and newspapers. Not much money involved, but I’d never been in the “business” for profit anyway. I was feeling very lucky!

untitledBut I finally found my muse when I looked around my beautiful Southern Virginia lake home and realized I was in an ideal setting for cozy mystery/Southern Gothic novels. Pastoral scenes and quirky small-town characters abound here, and, let’s face it, the South is ripe for drama, what with all that Civil War angst and unwillingness to accept change of any sort. A Red, Red Rose features Ashby Overton, a 20-year-old who travels from New Jersey to her ancestral estate, Overhome, where she finds mystery, history, romance and a ghost as she digs for her family roots at the historic Moore Mountain Lake horse farm. Offered a contract by L&L Dreamspell, a small indie press in Texas, I was in Seventh Heaven. But old bad luck struck again. Due to the death of one of the publishing team, Dreamspell folded, leaving 250 authors scrambling for new publishers.

Now I am counting myself one lucky author to be published by The Wild Rose Press. They are wonderful to work with—from the publisher to the editor—my experience has been a dream come true. Beneath the Stones, sequel to A Red, Red Rose released April 1st of this year. Guess what I am working on now? The third Overhome novel, of course. Wish me luck!

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Blurb

Ashby Overton has everything to look forward to, including a promising writing career and her wedding at summer’s end. But, Overhome, her beloved historic family estate in Southern Virginia, is in financial peril and it is up to Ashby to find a solution.

Interfering with Ashby’s plans is a dark paranormal force that thwarts her every effort to save Overhome. Supernatural attacks emanate from an old stone cottage on the property rumored to be a slave overseer’s abode, prior to the Civil War. As the violence escalates, Ashby begins to fear for her life. Who is this angry spirit and why is his fury focused on Ashby?

Mystery, suspense and romance flourish against a backdrop of Civil War turmoil and ancestral strife–where immortality infiltrates the ancient air breathed by all who inhabit Overhome Estate.

I’d like to add my author’s note for Beneath the Stones: The Civil War letters included in Beneath the Stones are based on actual letters written from battle fronts by family ancestors, Joseph Franklin Stover and John William Stover. After my mother-in-law’s death, the family found a nondescript box in her file cabinet. Inside we were amazed to find fifteen letters hand-written in beautiful, flowing script. Since this occurred as I was in the midst of writing Beneath the Stones, I immediately seized on the idea of using excerpts from the letters in the novel. Though, for practical reasons, I omitted many details, overall the letters reveal a haunting picture of life for the Confederate soldier. A final note: The flute mentioned in one of the letters is very likely the same flute on display at the Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox, Virginia.

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Bio

I have long been interested in Southern concerns about culture and society, as hard-felt, long-held feelings battle with modern ideas. The ghosts slipped in, to my surprise while writing cozy mystery/Southern Gothic A Red, Red Rose and its sequel Beneath the Stones.

My first published work was the award-winning young adult novel, Eaglebait. I live at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.

When not writing, I enjoy boating, kayaking, golf and yoga. My husband and I love to travel, especially when any of our seven grandchildren are involved.

Where to find Susan…

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Clean Jokes for Toastmasters

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Use one of these jokes at your next meeting.

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A man walks into a nearly empty bar and orders a drink. After a few minutes he hears a voice say “Nice shirt.” He looks around, sees no one near him, and goes back to his drink.

A short while later he hears the same voice saying, out of nowhere, “I like your hair.”

Truly perplexed, he calls the bartender over and asks, “Where is that voice coming from?”

The bartender says, “It’s the nuts.”

“The nuts?” replies the man.

“Yes,” says the bartender. “They’re complimentary.”

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A man goes to a bar and asks the bartender for three glasses of beer. He gets his three glasses of beer and sits down. He takes a sip from one glass, puts it down. He takes a sip from the second glass and puts it down, then takes a sip from the third glass and puts it down.

He carries on drinking like this, taking a sip from each glass in turn. When he’s finished he goes to the bartender and asks for refills.
The bartender asks him why he takes three glasses at a time, because he could serve him one at a time, that way the beer would stay cold and wouldn’t go flat.

The man tells him: “I have two brothers, and we used to enjoy drinking together, but now they’ve moved away, I like to remember the good times we had by drinking three glasses of beer at a time. I drink one glass for myself, and one for each brother.

The bartender, and all the regulars in the bar get it, and are used to seeing the man come in and drink three glasses of beer.

One day the man comes into the bar with a sad look on his face. He orders two glasses of beer, and proceeds to drink from the two glasses, taking a sip from one, putting it down, then taking a sip from the other.

When he’s finished he goes to the bartender and asks for refills. The bartender has noticed he’s drinking two glasses and summons the courage to say how sorry he is for the loss of a brother.

“My condolences are with you,” says the bartender, “is there anything I can do?”

The man thinks for a moment, then understands. “No, no, no, my brothers are alive and are doing fine,” says the man.”It’s just I’ve been to my doctor, he says I’ve got a medical condition, and I’ve had to give up alcohol.”