Archive | January 2014

Winter Reflections by Beverly Ovalle

From Christina: It’s been a cold, cold winter here in the midwest. Today’s guest author, Bev Ovalle, knows all about cold — and she takes it in stride. She’s here to share a few reflections on the season as well as some fantastic family photos. Enjoy!

Winter Reflections

by Beverly Ovalle

Winter has always been a season I’ve enjoyed.  Growing up in the Midwest, outdoor winter fun was always a feature.   Every winter sent us out to the pond to ice skate when I was growing up.  I may not have been great at it, but even today I still grab my skates and head out to the rink on the lake.  Snow ball fights and sledding were a daily feature whenever my brothers and I didn’t have school.  I learned the hard way not to sit at the front of a toboggan.  I was run over more than once when I fell off!  Okay, it took me a while to learn that.  I can be an incredibly slow learner!

Winter is a season of celebration for me.  Aside from Christmas, my son, daughter and husband have birthdays in December.  Their births were definitely a reason to celebrate as I always had wanted children.  My brothers are in November and January and my mom’s and mine are in February.  There are a number of birthdays in the family during the winter months and we love to celebrate, any reason for cake and ice cream!

See_what_you're_missing!

It was also the season of one the worst times in my life as I miscarried when I was three months pregnant.   I eventually learned to live with it, but that still has the ability to squeeze my heart in pain, regardless that more than a decade has passed. What I remember that winter is wandering the streets in the middle of the night as it snowed.  I couldn’t sleep much for a long time.  Wandering in the dark and quiet brought me the peace I needed.

100_1700

My best winter memory-other than the birth of my children- is Christmas Day a few years ago.  I came downstairs and my daughter said that my son had sent a special gift for Christmas.

Gift_from_Okinawa_Japan

When I went to unwrap it, my daughter told me the box was sitting on my gift, just lift it up.  My son was inside!  He was leaving in two weeks for his first deployment to Afghanistan.  I bawled like a baby I was so happy to see him.

Opened_gift_box!

Winter is a busy, busy season for me.  I work at the Post Office so it is off the charts insane.  Thank goodness most customers are pleasant and understanding of the lines.  I do my best to make sure we have as much help as possible to keep the lines flowing.  I used to carry mail and always felt like the stay puff marsh mellow man when I was all bundled up.  Lucky as slippery as it is during winter, when I fell when I was all bundled up I usually just bounced.  Snow, ice and sidewalks just don’t mix well!

Mom,_It's_not_that_cold!

Probably in self defense from the intensity of the season at work, I dislike decorating for the holidays.  Now that my children are grown, I can get away with a little tree, but my husband likes to decorate.  Unfortunately I usually have to clean it up.  I’m ruthless.  I usually have it all down my New Year’s.

Because of work I usually don’t have time for baking or preparing anything special even though I just love Christmas Cookies.  I haven’t had time for years to do more than make cookies from premade batters.  I volunteered with a children’s group at church and we always made cookies in the church basement and packaged them up for shut-ins which we handed out when we went Caroling to their homes.  It was a wonderful experience to see that happiness we brought into the lives of our elderly when a group of children came to spread Christmas cheer.

Winter here brings lots of extra work. Scraping the cars off to not just get to work, but just to get into the car!  I rarely shovel as I have my husband for that.  I have no idea of even how to turn on the snow blower.  If I have to clear snow it is with the shovel, or I call one of my son’s friends and pay them to do it.

My preferred activity is to sit inside with a hot drink; sitting in my recliner and watching the snow come down.  Too bad that is something that rarely happens.  Maybe one day.

About Beverly: 

Beverly Ovalle lives in Wisconsin with her husband of 24 years, Edmond, and two Chinese Water Dragons. Her son Nicholas is in the US Marines.  Her daughter Susannah lives nearby and is a CNA.

 Beverly has traveled around the world thanks to five years in the US Navy and has worked for the government in one capacity or another for the past 30 years. Beverly and her brothers have travelled most of the continental United States as children due to the station wagon from Hell.  Still active with veterans, she is adjutant for her local AMVETS.

 She has published two books. Dragons’ Mate with Boroughs Publishing Group came out March 2, 2013 in their Lunchbox Romance Line. Her second, Lightning Strike, was published with Secret Cravings Publishing on November 2, 2013 in Weekend Getaways.

 

Debut Author: V L Edwards

From Christina: Today, I’d like to introduce you to two of my favorite people — Vikki Vaught and her “alter ego”, V L Edwards.  Like Vikki, I fell in love with historical romances when I was young, and it’s become a lifelong love affair. For Vikki, her love of reading led to her love for writing. Here’s her story.

My Journey

by V L Edwards

I want to talk about my experience with self-publishing today and my journey that led me to publication with Secret Cravings Publishing. For most of my life, I never had a burning desire to write. Of course, in college I wrote school papers and in my thirties, I kept a journal, writing in it every day, but never thought about writing a novel until a story popped into my head and just would not leave. I kept saying to myself, “Someone needs to write that story,” for six months, but never really thought about doing it myself.

In June of 2010, I had an opportunity to take some time off from my day job. I made up my mind that I would spend at least two hours a day working on this idea that had so preyed upon my mind for so long. The story just poured out of me faster than I could type. Some days, I would be at my desk from early in the morning until late at night. Three weeks later, I had an 80,000 word manuscript and a complete story on “paper”. Of course, that’s when the real work started. I didn’t have a clue about writing, but I knew I had written an engaging story with great characters.

I found out that there was no easy way to get it published. I bought a Writer’s Market 2011. Using a suggested format from that book, I put together a query letter and started sending it out to agents listed in the book. I received lots of rejection letters. I did have one agent request the first 50 pages of my novel, but I received a “Liked it, but just didn’t love it” rejection letter. Of course, I was devastated, but refused to give up. I found some publishers on line that would take a look at three chapters of my manuscript and sent them to those publishers. Again, I received more rejection letters. While on this journey, I also stumbled across writing techniques that I knew nothing about.

I went through my manuscript and applied those techniques. Again I sent out more queries and received more rejection letters. By this time, I’d had a few friends read my manuscript and received a lot of encouragement from them. So I kept trying to find a publisher. Then one day my husband came in and told me about a company that published manuscripts for a fee. I went to the website and found out that for a fairly reasonable price, they would publish my manuscript. At last, here was a way to get my book out. I immediately signed up and went through a process to publish my novel. It was a great learning experience, but I found out later, there were less expensive ways to publish a book.

By this time, I had written two more books that were related to the first one. These books were also sensual historical romances set in Regency England and the continuation of some of the characters from my first novel. I wanted to publish them also. Even though, I hadn’t had a great deal of success with my first book, I was willing to try again. Since self-publishing that first book, I had joined Romance Writers of America and had also joined a local chapter. Through this group, I learned a lot more about writing and publishing. I found out about Amazon and Barnes & Noble publishing services. I stumbled across a free-lance editor, and for an excellent price, she would line-edit and format my additional books. Once my manuscripts were ready, I published them with Amazon first. I entered one of them with the KDP Select program and experienced some success. Using their free promotion days, I had thousands of downloads over the five days. These downloads created interest in my other books, and I actually made some money.

RWA

This has been an incredible journey and very rewarding. I’ve learned so much through this process, and I highly recommend this to other struggling authors. While I haven’t made a ton of money, I have gained confidence in my writing from the many wonderful comments I’ve received from my readers. Of course, there have been some who didn’t enjoy my books, but that’s okay. It’s all a learning process and with each comment, I’ve learned more about writing.

My first novel with Secret Cravings Publishing was released on January 3, 2014. Since it is an erotic historical romance, I chose the pen name V.L. Edwards for it.

I want to thank Christina Cole for asking me to participate on her blog today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse at my journey to publication. Good luck and happy reading and writing!

 *****

Vikki, here’s wishing you much success with To Live Again!

*****

Vikki  lives in the beautiful foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with her beloved husband, Jim, who is the most tolerant man in the world to put up with her when she’s in a writing frenzy. When she’s not writing or working her day job, you’ll find her curled up in a comfortable chair with her Kindle in hand, lost in a good book.

Her erotic historical, To Live Again, is now the #2 best-seller in the “Historical” category at Secret Cravings Publishing. It is available at the publisher’s website, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other on-line book-sellers.

Readers can visit Vikki at her website: Vikki Vaught

Readers’ Choice Award – January Titles

Now that you’ve had a chance to look over the blurbs and book covers on the “25 Words or Less” feature, what books have intrigued you?

TFLRCA January 2014

Please vote for your favorite and the book selected will be featured as a “Reader’s Choice” next month. You may vote for up to three titles, but you can only vote once. Book titles will appear in random order. Voting is now open and will run for one week. You will be able to see the results after you’ve voted.

If you’d like to review the covers and blurbs, please click HERE.

Note: Comments are closed on this post.

 

Giving Back: Reach Out and Read

Posted at TIME FOR LOVE and CHRISTINA COLE ROMANCE

A few months ago, I learned about “Reach Out and Read”, an organization promoting early childhood literacy. I knew at once that I wanted to support their work. The program works with doctors to “prescribe” books for parents and children. They encourage parents to read with their children.

REACH OUT AND READ

As an author, I know the power of words. Words bring knowledge, and reading brings joy, comfort, inspiration, and hope. Reading opens doors.

Please join me in support of Reach Out and Read. I have already pledged my monthly support, but in addition to my regular contribution, I will donate an additional dollar for each comment on this post.

I’m doing this because I want everyone to be aware of this organization and their efforts to encourage reading, and I want to call attention to the importance of early childhood literacy.

Many times I’ve told the story of my grandfather, a loving, patient man who had little formal education but who believed in and celebrated the power of words. He held me on my lap and read to me each day, pointing out each word and letting me “read” along with him.  He devoured books, magazines, and newspapers. My own voracious appetite for reading comes from him.

Too few children today receive the same loving support, the same encouragement to read, read, and read. Through supporting “Reach Out and Read”, I hope to give back in some small measure some of the joy I’ve been given through reading and writing.

I hope you’ll choose to join me in supporting Reach Out and Read. I’m not asking you to pledge money, although I hope you might choose to do that.

All I’m asking is that you show your support for early childhood literacy by leaving a comment on this post. Let me know that you’ve stopped by, that you’ve read about this program, and that you, too, believe it’s vital for children to have opportunities to read, to discover new books, to develop literacy skills.

Thank you.

Tips for Choosing Books for Children

NOTE: So far, readers from Christina Cole Romance and Time for Love have raised $35.00 from comments. Please, help me make this month’s donation go a long way toward helping.

Passion and Purpose

Recently I found a quote that truly touched me. I’d like to share it here.

Purpose and Passion

 

It’s simple, but it’s true. As we do with so many things in life, maybe we try too hard to “figure out” what we think we’re “supposed” to be doing. Or maybe we listen too much to too many voices outside of ourselves, voices telling us what we “should” do or “could” do…if only we “would”.

Living life fully begins, I think, when we stop using our head and use our heart instead, when we acknowledge our own natural rhythms, follow our own innermost desires, and listen to the voice that comes from deep within ourselves.

We must do more than live; we must dare to live passionately if we hope to find true happiness.

SHOWCASE: Author Nikki Lynn Barrett

Everybody loves a little romance, and when Nikki Lynn Barrett shared her personal memories of falling in love during the autumn, her story touched me.

Fall Memories

I wanted to learn more about Nikki and her writing so I ventured over to Amazon to check out her author page and the books she’s written. I’m glad I did.

Nikki has written a number of great, modern-day romances, stories told with an interesting and unique voice.

I quickly grabbed Baby Stetson and was caught up at once in the story of a young woman who’d been left as a baby on the steps of a bed and breakfast. That story is part of the “Love and Music in Texas” series. The second of the series, The Melody in My Head, is going on my TBR list. It was released in November, and has received several 5-star reviews. Sounds like a great read to me!

Nikki has also written two Christmas stories, The Santa Wishing Well, and On the 12th Date of Christmas.

Nikki Lynn Barrett

Nikki now lives in Arizon with her husband and son. In addition to writing, she runs a book blog, and an online used book store. Her dreams of becoming a writer began when she was young. By the time she was in fifth grade, she’d already started writing stories in her school notebooks.

You can visit Nikki’s at Nikki Lynn Barrett –  Welcome to my World. You can also email her at nikkilynnbarrett@yahoo.com. She loves to hear from readers.

Featured Title: Guardian of the Deep

Last month, readers voted Guardian of the Deep by  Flossie Benton Rogers as the title they’d most like to see featured at Time for Love.  I wanted to know more about the story, as well, so I asked Flossie to share a few thoughts.

She’ll also be giving away a copy of Guardian of the Deep. You’ll find the giveaway link below. For a chance to win, please leave a comment. You can also “tweet” about the giveaway and “like” Flossie’s official author page at Facebook for additional entries. 

“Guardian of the Deep”

Flossie Benton Rogers

 The Wytchfae world is one of parallel dimensions close to our own. The idea of intersecting realms appeals to me and is a singular opportunity to explore a variety of mythological systems and magical beings. For me as a writer, it’s a bit like the delicious dessert called trifle. Every bite is a new mouthwatering experience. This spoonful is caramel cream, while the next might be warm coconut or a succulent, pecan brownie. It’s always a surprise.  I hope readers experience it that way too.

Travel occurs among the various Wytchfae dimensions, as well as excursions to the human world. Through powerful individuals called time singers, fae beings also have the capability of time travel. In Guardian of the Deep – Wytchfae 2, hero and heroine Samael and Layla go back in time to a 1950 Montana ranch, much as we would take a vacation. This rustic location throws them out of joint, since he is a dark Guardian of an undersea realm, and she is a Succubus on the lam.

While I am hard at work on any given novel of the Wytchfae series, the main characters of a future novel in the series tend to knock on my door and introduce themselves. They are not obnoxious about it, just passionate that they wish to share their story at a later date. From that point on the characters simmer in the back of my mind until it is their time to play. I knew early on that Samael had merman characteristics befitting an undersea Guardian and that, since meeting him, Layla deplored the Succubus rules she had to live by. They are already mad about each other when the story begins, giving us a chance to explore whether their feelings for each other are strong enough to withstand all the complications that arise on that Montana ranch.

Guardian of the Deep Flossie Benton Rogers

Excerpt from Guardian of the Deep

The draperies swept open to reveal all the glory of the deep ocean. The phosphorescence of seafae lit the waters.

And there Samael glided, every bit as splendorous as the home of his heart.

Layla moved to stand at the window and watch mesmerized as Samael cavorted among his denizens. As happened when sea water covered him, his skin from chest downward shimmered in vibrant jeweled tones—cerulean, purple, and green. The flecks in his eyes sparkled, and his long dark hair with its burnished streaks streamed out behind him. The flashes of sienna undulated with each movement of his head, dazzling her with their richness. The lower half of his body had shifted to its undersea form, that of tail and fins, a brilliant hued merman in all his glory.

The sight took her breath away.

She pressed her palms against the window, and stared.

As if sensing her presence, Samael turned her way, and his lips creased into a smile.

He swam toward her.

Layla pressed her breasts to the cool partition.

With one raised brow and a wicked grin, Samael bent and put his mouth just where her nipple touched the glass pane. She swore she could feel the heat of his tongue, despite the barrier between them.

Her body’s reaction to the erotic moment shot through her like lightning, igniting her with desire for her dark Guardian.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT AND THEN CLICK HERE TO ENTER FLOSSIE’S GIVEAWAY. WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW MORNING AT 8 AM CENTRAL TIME.

GUARDIAN OF THE DEEP – GIVEAWAY!

Check out the other books in Flossie’s “Wytchfae” series at Secret Cravings Publishing. All books are 50% off today. Use Coupon Code SALE50 at checkout for your discount.