Join me blogging today at Paranormal Romantics on Food and Fairy Tales.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Tempting Mr. Jordan
by Marin McGinnis
by Marin McGinnis
After four unsuccessful London seasons, Lady Julia Tenwick despairs of ever making a love match. With spinsterhood looming on the horizon, she and a friend set sail for America on one last adventure. When her travels take her to northern Maine, Julia meets a reclusive but handsome artist, whose rudeness masks a broken heart Julia feels compelled to mend.
Still haunted by the betrayal and death of his pregnant wife two years before, Geoffrey Jordan is determined never to risk his heart again. Certainly not with the gorgeous and impetuous aristocrat who intrudes upon his small-town solitude, and is far too similar to his late wife to tempt him to take another chance on love.
But when Julia and Geoffrey find themselves united in a reckless plan to save Julia’s friend from ruin, they discover that temptation is impossible to resist.
EXCERPTJulia pulled her cloak around her shoulders and left by the kitchen door. Soft snowflakes danced lightly around her head as she made her way toward the water. She loved the crisp air, the snow, the scents of wood smoke, salty waves, and pine. She walked around toward the lighthouse, imagining how much her brother would love it here. He’d have his sketchbook tucked under his arm, ready to pull out at a moment’s notice when the mood struck.
The snow began to fall faster, swirling around as she clambered over the large rocks at the water’s edge. The sky was streaked with red, orange, blue, and gray, and she stopped, perched, just to watch.
“Get out of the way!”
She jumped at the strident tone, nearly toppling into the water. Regaining her balance, she turned carefully, and sighed.
Geoffrey Jordan sat on a neighboring rock behind her, sketchbook in hand. His expression was darker than the sky had been when she started on this walk. Julia was unable to stop herself from stepping back in surprise. Apparently there were bears near the shore as well.
“You’re blocking my view.” The muscles of the man’s face settled into a grimace which Julia found only marginally less frightening than his scowl.
“All right, I’m sorry! I didn’t see you there.” Julia took another step back and cried out in pain as her foot slipped into a crevice between the rocks.
Geoffrey swore and tossed his sketchbook to the side. He strode over to her and held out a hand.
Given his expression, Julia considered whether it might be safer to remain where she was. Geoffrey stuck his hand out again, waving it impatiently.
Julia finally realized she was more annoyed than afraid. “How am I supposed to grab your hand when you wave it about like that?”
“Oh, for God’s sake!” He reached down with both hands and grabbed her waist, pulling her to her feet. She ignored the tingling of her skin where he touched her and focused on her anger instead.
“I don’t know why you’re so angry at me. It’s not my fault I fell. You startled me.”
“You stepped into my line of sight. And now the sunrise is nearly gone, I’ve missed it, and it’s entirely your fault.”
Julia realized his hands still rested on her hips, and she pushed them away. “You sound like a petulant child.”
He returned to his sketchbook and sat down again. He started scribbling, ignoring her. She ignored him as well and gingerly ran a hand over her throbbing ankle. Her stocking was torn, and a shallow cut showed through it. Deciding she should return home to clean the wound, thanks to this odious man, she slowly made her way across the rocks past him. She caught a glimpse of his sketch as she passed. Intrigued, she stopped and bent at the waist, looked over his shoulder.
“You’re barely drawing anything at all. What does that say?”
He scowled again, but he answered, “Scarlet.”
She pointed at the corner of the drawing. “And that?”
“Azure. I thought all proper English ladies could read.”
“Your handwriting is terrible. What does that say?” She pointed again.
She peered closer. “It does not. It looks like ‘crindle.’”
He laughed, and she turned her head to look at him. He was much less frightening when he laughed. Handsome. She blinked and unbent.
“‘Crindle’? What on earth does that mean?”
Her cheeks warmed. “Well, I don’t know, do I? It’s your drawing.”
“And it says ‘orange.’ What are you doing out here anyway?”
“I wanted to go for a walk.”
“At the crack of dawn?”
“I didn’t think I would see anyone.”
“Why didn’t you want to see anyone?”
She sighed. “Because conversation tires me, sometimes. This one in particular.”
“I don’t disagree.” He stroked his pencil across the paper a few more times, and she craned her neck to look.
“Why didn’t you just paint the sunrise? Why describe it?”
“Because the sunrise is a fleeting thing. It never lasts long enough for me to paint it, so I sketch the scene and write the names of the colors, to jog my memory when I am in my studio.”
Julia turned to look at the sky. It was gray now, with little wisps of blue and white streaked across it. All of the stunning red and orange hues were gone. She suddenly felt terrible for ruining his view.
“I am sorry I got in your way. I don’t suppose you could try again tomorrow?”
He shrugged. “A sunrise like that one is rare.”
Now she felt even worse. “Well, I am sorry.”
“Where did you think you were going? The rocks lead out into the water, and the tide will be in soon. What if you’d fallen when I wasn’t here to help? You’d have drowned.”
Shame was quickly replaced by annoyance. “I wouldn’t have fallen if you hadn’t startled me!”
“Well, it was careless.”
Julia placed both hands on her hips and stared at the insufferable man. “You haven’t a very high opinion of my intelligence, have you?”
“I have no opinion of your intelligence at all. I think you take risks that a lady shouldn’t take.”
“I was hardly doing pirouettes out here! I would have been fine if you hadn’t yelled at me.”
“I didn’t yell at you.”
“Yes, you did!”
“Fine! I’m sorry I yelled at you. Now go home, before you truly hurt yourself.” Before she could reply, he tucked his sketchbook under his arm, stood, and scrambled away across the rocks like a crab.
She watching him go, annoyed with him and herself in equal measure. Well, mostly with him. Insufferable man. She gingerly followed, lifting her skirts higher to avoid the rising water. The tide was indeed coming in.
She hated that he was right.
A northeast Ohio native, Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page. She’s dabbled with writing for a long time, but didn’t start writing in earnest until she discovered historical romance about a decade ago. Marin has three historical romance titles published with The Wild Rose Press, and is a member of RWA and its Northeast Ohio, Hearts Through History, and Kiss of Death chapters. She will serve as President of the Northeast Ohio RWA chapter in 2017. Marin lives in a drafty 100 year old house with her husband, son, and two standard poodles named Larry and Sneaky Pete.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarinMcGinnis (@MarinMcGinnis)
Monday, December 19, 2016
Happy Holidays and a Free Ebook for You.
To celebrate the holidays and thank you all for checking out my blog, I'm offering a free download of Moon, Mist & Magic; five stories, five writers, and absolutely free for you with a coupon code for Smashwords.
To claim your copy go to Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/641184
Click on Buy. All ebook formats are available.
If you don't have an account, you'll have to create one. It's easy, safe, and no spam.
At checkout enter coupon code: PX63P
Boom. That's it. Happy Holidays.
Monday, December 12, 2016
Book Review: Tune in by Mark Lewisohn
by Mark Lewisohn
(I loved this yeah, yeah, yeah.)
Not just fiction can be a saga. Sometimes you even find one in a biography. Tune In by Mark Lewisohn is such a book, an astounding piece of research detailing the early history of the Beatles. In order to fully understand who a person is you have to know where he or she came from and the effect of people and places on their decisions. The author doesn’t skimp on details. In the beginning, he delves into the Beatles’ family histories back several generations with as much enthusiasm as he describes hardscrabble life in Britain after the war and, in particular, the inhabitants of down-and-out Liverpool. The development of a unique sound appears to have as much to do with social and economic reasons as musicianship.
Different biographical threads weave together a musical tapestry, and surprising details emerge. All of the Beatles started by playing skiffle music made with an assortment of store bought and homemade instruments, the Liverpool version of a hootenanny. None of the Beatles had more than a smattering of music lessons with a teacher. John’s first stringed instrument was a banjo that he learned to play from his mother. As the banjo has four strings and the guitar six, he could only play four-stringed guitar until Paul and George showed him how. Ringo, like Paul, was naturally left-handed, but was forced to use his right by his crazy granny who thought lefties were possessed by the devil. Every time young George heard about a musician who could play a new chord, he’d track him down, knock on the door, and ask to be shown. Paul wrote the original draft of “When I’m Sixty-Four” when he was fifteen. From the birth of their signature haircuts in 1961 to the signing of manager, Brian Epstein, and the production of their first single by George Martin, this book covers it all.
Many musicians came and went with the group before the Beatles became John, Paul George, and Ringo, but they went through a lot of names too; The Quarry Men, The Quarrymen, the Beetles, the Silver Beetles, among others. What comes through loud and clear in Tuning In was the Beatles were unique. No other group had three guitarists and a drummer. No other group had all three sing lead and harmony. No other group at the time dared to write their own songs. Admiration for all the band members at overcoming great odds is evident, but Lewisohn doesn’t gloss over the darker aspects of their personalities. School always took a back seat to music. Drinking, drugs, and casual sex were part of their lives at an early age. John, who many recall as a hippie in his bed-in with Yoko, was a bit of a thug and could be callous and cruel to women.
This book is neither dull nor dry, but not for the biographically faint of heart. At over 700 pages it ends in December 1962. Ringo has been part of the group less than six months, the Beatles haven’t released their first album yet, and no one in America knows their name. Other volumes will continue the story, but this is a must-read for anyone with a deep interest in music, especially the early history of rock and roll.
I received this from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Love's in the Cards
by Becky Lower
Penny Beedle’s outlook on Christmas as her favorite holiday was destroyed by a messy breakup years earlier and a botched wedding last year—both on Christmas Eve. But since she and her sister now own a greeting card store, and the holidays are their crazy selling season, she has to put on a happy face.
Del Madison has loved Penny since kindergarten. Commissioned by a big greeting card company for a line of Christmas and Valentine’s cards, he has to emerge from behind his alter ego and unveil himself to the public. He chooses Penny Beedle’s shop for the big reveal. If he plays his cards right, he just might gain Penny as part of his life.
Penny sighed softly. Abbey made sense. They had to do everything possible to compete with the other shops, all chasing the same tourist dollars. Even if doing so meant having six-foot-tall nutcrackers flanking the door for the next six weeks. Penny’s eyes smarted with sudden tears, but she blinked them away quickly, telling herself the moisture merely came from a reaction to the cold weather. “I think we need new names for these boys, especially after last year’s debacle. I now have two reasons to despise the season.”
As she wiggled her nutcracker to his final position on one side of the entrance to their shop, Abbey grunted. “This is our make-or-break season, so your attitude has to shape up, Penny. I had hoped a year would give you enough time to get over last Christmas’s aborted wedding.”
Penny jerked her big statue a bit too hard to the left before she squared him with the frame. She bit her lip at the chastisement as she glanced at Abbey. Anyone could tell they were from the same family, with their dark hair, blue eyes, and slender builds. Often, they were mistaken for twins, even though Abbey had been born two years earlier. The only noticeable difference was Penny could sing in key, but Abbey had a tin ear.
“Even though I’m over both Max and Ricky, their betrayals still hurt. And the fact they both screwed up my Christmases makes me hate the season.”
“Well, if getting your head back on straight this year means we rename Hans and Gunther, let’s do so. What’d you have in mind?”
Penny squinted up at the lifelike plastic statues towering over them. “I don’t mind Hans, but I’ll name mine Solo, since that’s what I am.”
Abbey grinned and wrapped an arm around Penny. “Well then, may the force be with us as we head into our peak season. The weather’s finally turned cold, perfect for putting folks into the holiday gift-buying mood. Let’s get inside. I’ve got something exciting to show you.”
Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America. Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from readers. Connect with her at: