Sunday, November 30, 2014

Last day of The Naughty List Blog Hop and 99 cent sale

Last day of The Naughty List Blog Hop and 99 cent sale.


The Avid Book Collector

The Naughty List (The Naughty List is on sale now until November 30 for 99 cents at all e-retailers)


Naughty List Links

Amazon:


 B&N:


Apple ibooks

<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-naughty-list/id777416843?mt=11&uo=4" target="itunes_store">The Naughty List - L. A. Kelley</a>

 Google Play


Kobo

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Another giveaway on day six of The Naughty List Blog Hop. 

Sweet Southern Home          http://sweetsouthernhome.net/


The Naughty List (The Naughty List is on sale now until November 30 for 99 cents at all e-retailers)


Naughty List Links

Amazon:


 B&N:


Apple ibooks

<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-naughty-list/id777416843?mt=11&uo=4" target="itunes_store">The Naughty List - L. A. Kelley</a>

 Google Play


Kobo

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Review for Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan



Jim Gaffigan is a funny guy. Known for his standup routines, he often includes commentary on food. So what are his qualifications to write a book on the subject? Nothing, really, unless you count the admission that he’s a little fat.
 
Like a pound of crispy bacon the book is deliciously satisfying. Gaffigan explores why we love food, what we love, and how much more of it can we stuff into our pie holes without falling into a coma. He covers the whole gamut of eating from breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to regional cuisine, fast food, fine dining, the intricacies of airport cuisines and, oh, that hated kale.


The chapters are short and read more like an expanded collection of essays. If you have ever listened to his comedy routine, some will be familiar. I didn’t find the book less enjoyable for that as it contained plenty of new material and some more background added to the old. For those who are familiar with Gaffigan’s act, his standup includes a memorable bit on Hot Pockets that launched him to comedy circuit stardom. My favorite observation is that Hot Pockets always comes in a box of two; one to eat and regret and the other to leave in the freezer until you move. As Gaffigan says, “I’ve never eaten a Hot Pocket and then afterward thought, I’m glad I ate that. In the book he offers not just more funny riffs on Hot Pockets, but also explains how he developed the routine. He accepts its popularity as a blessing and a curse, admitting if he were to keel over today his obituary would, no doubt, describe him as the Hot Pockets’ comedian.

He expounds on our quirky eating habits around the country with the Jim Gaffigan Food Map. It’s not exactly Rand McNally, but it works. Regions are divided into areas such as Seabugland (pretty much all of the East Coast), Eating BBQland (Southeast/Parts of Midwest), Mexicanfoodland (Southwest to Texas), Coffeeland (Pacific Northwest) and others. My favorite is New Orleans as Food Anxietyland. Gaffigan admits to an angst that comes over him every time he steps into the city. Where should he eat? What should he eat? The decisions are endless. Should he go for French, Cajun, Creole, beignets? I feel your pain, bro. I, too, have agonized between a po’boy and muffaletta and ended up getting both. 

The book is great fun and loaded with pictures of his wife and family. Frankly any man with five kids deserves props for that alone. Despite his adventures in junkfoodland the Gaffigan’s sound like a very healthy, loving bunch. I’d share a meal with them anytime

*****

Excerpt from Food: A Love Story

People are nicer in the South. They are. Even when they are rude they are polite. Maybe it’s the singsong of the southern drawl, but even a “Y’all can go to hell” from a Southerner sounds friendly. “Well, thank you kindly. Y’all can go to hell, too. An’ y’all come back now, y’hear?” People in the South are nicer, but they are slower. I don’t mean they are slower intellectually, I mean they just move slower.

FIREMAN: You have to get out! Your house is on fire!

SOUTHERN GUY: All right. All right. I’ll leave. But first I have to drink me some sweet tea. Then I’ll deal with that pesky house fire.

 Biscuits and Gravy

I think I’ve identified why people in the South behave in such a nonchalant manner. It’s the biscuits and gravy. Everyone in the South seems to move like they’ve just had two helpings of biscuits and gravy. They are moving like you might after Thanksgiving dinner. You know when you are uncomfortably full but pleasantly satisfied as you drag yourself over to the couch for a nap. That is how everyone below the Mason-Dixon Line moves in everyday life. I really believe it’s the biscuits and gravy. The feeling you have after eating biscuits and gravy is identical to the feeling of chaining a bowling ball to your foot.
 
More amazingly, people in the South are eating biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Yes, breakfast. They aren’t coming home drunk late at night slurring, “I’ll eat anything.” They are waking up thinking, Time for cement!

*****

 I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Day Three of The Naughty List Blog Tour

Another giveaway on day three of The Naughty List Blog Hop. 
Fiction Zeal: http://www.fictionzeal.com/


The Naughty List (The Naughty List is on sale now until November 30 for 99 cents at all e-retailers)


Naughty List Links

Amazon:


 B&N:


Apple ibooks

<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-naughty-list/id777416843?mt=11&uo=4" target="itunes_store">The Naughty List - L. A. Kelley</a>

 Google Play


Kobo

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Another giveaway on day two of The Naughty List Blog Hop. 
Kelly P' Blog: http://kellyatx.blogspot.com/



The Naughty List (The Naughty List is on sale now until November 30 for 99 cents at all e-retailers)


Naughty List Links

Amazon:


 B&N:


Apple ibooks

<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-naughty-list/id777416843?mt=11&uo=4" target="itunes_store">The Naughty List - L. A. Kelley</a>

 Google Play


Kobo

Monday, November 24, 2014

Two Blog Hops Today! Chances to win at both.


One Enchanted Evening
Sharing Links & Wisdom


The Naughty List (The Naughty List is on sale now until November 30 for 99 cents at all e-retailers)
Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace



Naughty List Links

Amazon:


 B&N:


Apple ibooks

<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-naughty-list/id777416843?mt=11&uo=4" target="itunes_store">The Naughty List - L. A. Kelley</a>

 Google Play


Kobo

Friday, November 21, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014


Stop One on the blog tour for One Enchanted Evening. Enter to win a free copy. 

http://www.joydfanning.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Author Blair McDowell: Where Do Plots Come From?

Coming soon from Wild Rose Press...

Recently widowed, Lacey Telchev is on a whirlwind chase around Europe running from mysterious thugs, and trying to solve a mystery through clues left by her late husband. She encounters a handsome stranger along the way, but is he helping her or is he too just using her to find her husband's secret?

As writers we’re frequently reminded that we must pay attention to pacing in our stories, that we must “keep the story moving”. I like a fast-paced tale as well as the next reader, and as a writer, I know I should be getting on with the story. But I like to stop and smell the roses. I love setting a scene. I like painting verbal pictures. In Romantic Road my heroine finds herself pursued down the Romantische Strasse in Germany, through 14th century walled towns, to Salzburg, then the beautiful lake district where The Sound of Music was filmed, and finally to a terrifying climax on the shores of Hungary’s Lake Baleton.

When I describe the lakes of the Salzkammergut or the dark medieval towns of Germany or the vineyards in the countryside of Hungary, I draw on years of being in these places. The route my heroine follows is one I have driven many times. Romantic Road is almost as much about my on-going love affair with these settings as it is about the lives and loves of my characters.

As a reader, I enjoy the stories of Donna Leon, set in Venice exuding the atmosphere of that incredibly lovely city, and of Andrea Camillieri, whose Sicilian settings leave one feeling dry and dusty, yet immersed in the stark beauty of that remote part of Italy. Or M.L. Longworth’s stories set in Aix en Provence, where one can almost taste the wine. I often find myself rereading descriptive passages in these books just for the sheer joy I take in reading any really good writing.

When engaged in my own writing, description and setting are vitally important to me. I love to travel, and for years I’ve kept detailed journals that I refer to frequently as I write. When I find myself in an intriguing or particularly beautiful or historic place, somehow characters suggest themselves. And once they have, their story unfolds, often very completely, in my mind. In a sense, the setting and the characters tell me the story.

With Romantic Road, the seeds of the story first occurred to me three years ago when I spent some time in Rothenburg, on Germany’s old Roman Road, the Romantische Strasse. The tall forbidding walls surrounding the town, the fourteenth century houses crowded close together, the cobblestone streets and old fashioned lamp light, all cried out for a heroine in distress pursued by unknown assailants, and of course for the right hero to help keep her safe. It was just the kernel of an idea, but it wouldn’t leave my mind until I created a plot around it and started writing in earnest.


The following is an excerpt from Romantic Road.
******************
“Where is it? Just tell us where it is and you won’t get hurt.” The taller man loomed over her, his face expressionless, a mask.

“Where is what? What are you talking about? Who are you?” Lacy began to be annoyed. That was better than being scared. “Can I see your badges again?”

The second man stared hard at her though dead-looking flat grey eyes. “Mrs. Telchev,” he said, his voice low and menacing, “we mean you no harm. But you must tell us where he hid his manuscript.”  

They knew her name? Icy tentacles of fear slipping down Lacy’s back. She shook her head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

At that moment the red and white lights of a state police vehicle rounded the curve coming toward them. Seeing the blocked road it stopped. Two uniformed officers got out and approached the two parked cars.

“You’re blocking the road. What’s the trouble here?”

The taller man spoke.  “No trouble, Officer. Sorry about the way we’re parked. I’ll move the car immediately. The lady was pulled over here and we just stopped to see if she needed help.”

He flipped open his wallet and showed the officers the same ID he’d shown Lacy.
It seemed to mean something to the policemen.

Lacy opened her mouth to say something and then thought better of it. What could she tell the police? These men wanted a manuscript from her but she didn’t know where it was? Or what it was about? Or even if it existed. That it involved her dead husband? No. She wouldn’t say anything. Not until she knew more.



To find out more about Romantic Road or the writings of Blair McDowell visit 



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Author Hebby Roman: Writing Seat of the Pants Versus Obsessive Compulsive



Raul de Porcelos, a dedicated Knight Templar, is duty bound to bring orphaned Irish Princess Cahira O'Donnell to wed the Earl of Orkney, Raul's lord. But Cahira has a mind of her own and resists the handsome Templar, refusing to relinquish the castle and lands that her family died to protect.

Thrown together by fate, they come to know each other and a forbidden passion is kindled.  Who will be the first to surrender to desire, the warrior-princess or the warrior-monk?
Author Hebby Roman discusses seat of the pants verses the obsessive compulsive in writing.
Strange name for a blog, but what I'm asking is: which kind of writer are you, a seat of the pants type or an obsessive compulsive type? I personally know lots of authors who have brilliant story beginnings and then they go with it and let the story unravel organically. I envy those writers because for me, beginning a story is about as painful as giving birth.
I'm the second type, the obsessively organized, compulsive writer. When I started writing, I was totally freaked out about writing dialogue. I was the Czarina of telling, not showing. I avoided that scary stuff by writing a long outline of my story, detailing every twist and turn of the plot, along with the characters' reactions and feelings.

I wrote my first historical romances from long outlines, and I never had a saggy middle. Even better, my outlines helped me to know what journey the characters needed and how the book should end. Sounds pretty good but then my fellow writers convinced me that adhering to a strict outline stifled my creativity. I listened and realized my characters were feeling the "pinch." They wanted to be released from their strait-laced outline. I decided to change my approach, and I zeroed in on the characters' backstory and their life experiences. I put the h/h together and let the magic begin. I also did a high-level, general outline to direct the overall arc of the story.

For example, in THE BEST BET (my second contemporary romance), the heroine has been strongly influenced by her father to put her ambition above finding love. I leave it to my hero's unwavering patience, unconditional love, and story elements to change her mind, so she can take a chance on love.

THE BEST GAME is a story about two strong, beautiful, and charismatic individuals. The hero's a big frog in a small pond: a handsome ex-jock type and very successful salesman. The heroine is a glamorous New York model. So what's the problem? They're both so accomplished they don't trust the other person to love them for their real selves, warts and all. I had to thrust them into situations where trust could grow between them.

In my historical, featured here, THE PRINCESS AND THE TEMPLAR, I constructed it based on the concept of a medieval version of the Thornbirds, where a celibate warrior-monk, who's also bastard-born, falls in love with an Irish princess. The princess falls in love with the hero, despite his birth and vocation. But the hero feels he has to strive to win her regard and affection to overcome the difference in their ranks. Not to mention, he has to come to terms with what he will do about his vow of celibacy and his Templar Order. History intervenes in the form of the Templar purge, which helps to compel the story to its end. Again, though, you can see how the h/h's backstory propels the romance.

Backstory is key, along with a little bit of obsessiveness in the form of a general outline. When you put the two together and let your characters "talk" to you, they will lead you through the trials and tribulations they need to tackle and overcome in order to fall in love and find their happily-ever-after ending.

******

EXCERPT from The Princess and the Templar

The wind rose to a shriek, sounding like a woman in travail. The sea heaved and churned. The ship leaned sharply. Cahira felt her feet slipping. She grabbed for the rail, but her cold hands were too stiff. The rail slipped from her grasp, and she was falling.

Raul caught her in his strong arms. She placed one hand on his broad chest and felt his heart beating beneath his tunic. At the touch of her hand, his pulse leapt and raced. Realizing his response, heat suffused her. She licked her lips and removed her hand. She was steady now, but he didn’t release her. His unfathomable black gaze captured hers and they stood, clasped in each other’s arms.

He bent his head, and his lips were within inches of hers. Her heart leapt, too, plunging in a mad gallop. Was he going to kiss her again? Without thinking, she leaned closer, willing him to kiss her, craving the forbidden intimacy. But at the last moment, he drew back. Her breath stopped in her chest, and she remained perfectly still. Her shoulders sagged, but with her disappointment, came the sharp-edged stab of guilt. For surely, she was a wanton.

He possessed iron self-control. She knew because she’d felt his body’s response, sensed he wanted to kiss her as badly as she wanted him to.

She stepped back and grasped the ship’s rail. “Thank you for stopping me from going overboard.”

He reached out, and his strong fingers cupped her chin, his touch burning her chilled skin. “No need to thank me.” His ebony eyes gleamed, the darker pupils narrowing. His gaze moved over her like a caress. “Your face is as cold as fresh snow.” he murmured huskily.  Without warning, his iron control reasserted itself, and he suddenly released her, clearing his throat. “You should go to your cabin. We can talk about the journey later.” 

How dare he dismiss her? And his smooth words didn’t fool her, either. He hadn’t touched her again to learn if she was cold or not. Nay, the yearning she’d glimpsed in his eyes mirrored the throb in her own body. 


How much longer could they go on torturing each other?

*****

You can find Hebby at:
Website: http://www.hebbyroman.com
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hebby-Roman/582681221798972

You can find The Princess and the Templar at:
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE