Halloween—that special time of year when people love to dress up as deranged murderers, evil demons, blood-dripping zombies, and indulge in their love of horror by wallowing in movies that pretty much scare you stupid. When it comes to experiencing the thrill of fear, some folks just seem to thrive on it.
Me? I’m a wimp, and I’m happy to proclaim it loud and proud. Sure, I loved Buffy and Angel as much as the next gal, but that’s as far as I’m prepared to go in testing the boundaries of my wimpiness. Full-on horror movies? Forget it. I saw The Exorcist on the big screen—and when I say saw I mean I pretty much watched it with my hands over my face—and it made me afraid to be alone in the house for months. And Texas Chainsaw Massacre…don’t even get me started.
Dark cellars? Avoid whenever possible. Strolls through cemeteries after dark? Please! Watching a rerun of The Ring with my stepson and his wife? In your dreams, baby. For me, the best part of Halloween is definitely the candy.
So trust me when I tell you that working on Lethal Confessions, the romantic suspense I wrote with my husband as VK Sykes, was a true challenge. That’s because hubby, who wrote the first draft, created a villain so creepy I was practically whimpering with fear while working on those parts of the book.
Nothing says terror like a serial killer, IMHO. Fortunately, the heroine of Lethal Confessions has courage to spare when it comes to tracking down creepy villains, as does the hero. It’s one of the reasons I much prefer romantic suspense to horror–in horror novels and movies evil too frequently seems to triumph, while romantic suspense and thriller novels usually see the triumph of good over evil. For wimps like me, it’s a reassurance that’s sorely needed.
How about you? Do you love to be scared–and by what–or are you a wimp like me? One person who comments will win a print or Kindle copy of Lethal Confessions (North America, only).
I’ve been on a blog tour for my most recent release, A Little Bit Scandalous, and I had set up this blog for a certain spot that I thought required original blog material, but as it turned out, they needed an interview. But I’d already taken the time to do this blog so y’all get it today. Without further ado, here are the first five…
Prologue - Monroe Grisham, Sixth Duke of Chanceworth, paced the front parlor of his country estate. If he didn’t get back to London soon he would go mad from sheer boredom. The soft butter-yellow of the room was annoyingly cheerful, and all the furniture felt small and dainty, making him keenly aware of his size. He wasn’t quite as tall as his brother, but Roe’s shoulders were broad enough to make him look as if he sat upon children’s furniture. So he found the largest piece to sit on, the settee. He’d sit in a different room, but damned if his mother hadn’t decorated them all roughly the same.
Chapter One - Caroline Jellico pulled on the trousers over her drawers and fastened them. She slipped the linen shirt over her head and straightened it, then tucked it into the waistband of the tweed pants. Her bound breasts felt strange against the strip of linen that held them tightly against her. She pulled up the suspenders and then donned the coat she knew she wouldn’t take off. Even if it proved to be hotter than Hades inside the gaming hell, she’d leave it on.
Chapter Two - Caroline swallowed the lump in her throat.
Chapter Three - The brown eyes staring back at him were rounded in surprise. Roe cocked one eyebrow. Reggie was doing her best to tempt the boy into some sort of reaction, but Grey sat stone still. “Reggie, I don’t think the boy is interested,” Roe said.
Chapter Four – Caroline did her very best to focus on her cards and the ones coming out of the deck. She felt certain she had an accurate count, but damnation if Roe wouldn’t stop talking. And damnation also that the lighting in his study was so much clearer and brighter than it had been at Rodale’s. She could see his features all the more, which meant he could see her features as well. He was still as bloody handsome as she remembered him being, if not more so. And just as cavalier.
So how about it, do y’all follow blog tours? What’s your favorite type of post on a blog, an excerpt, something personal, a recipe?
I’m happy to welcome award-winning historical romance author Diana Cosby to the Jaunty Quills for two reasons. The first is that she writes great books, and the second is that she’s involved in a very interesting and worthwhile charitable cause. She’s here to tell us about her books and this very cool project.
You had a distinguished career in the Navy and travelled all over the world. What made you pick Scotland as the setting for your novels?
Hi Vanessa, my sincere thanks for hosting me today. After writing a viking trilogy, I watched Braveheart, and was intrigued by Scotland’s fight for freedom, so I decided to research and write in this era.
What’s the basis for your bestselling MacGruder series?
The tie in for the best-selling MacGruder brother’s series is the halved stones in the grandmother’s chamber, which they believes hold magic. I’ve had a blast figuring out new and fun ways for the heroine to ‘leave’ the grandmother’s chamber with the matching half of the respective hero’s gemstone.
What can you tell us about your new book?
His Seduction is Griffin’s story, who is an English lord ‘supposedly’ loyal to King Edward I, but is secretly working for the Scottish rebels known as Wulfe. Griffin has appeared throughout the series, and I was thrilled to write his story. He’s known for his quick thinking, skill, and always being in control, so I knew I had to toss him out of his comfort zone – enter Rois. A woman who loves her father and would do anything to protect him, when she believes Griffin is a threat to her father’s life, she risks it all in a brazen confrontation with Griffin, and so the story begins. For a fun excerpt:
You’re involved in a great project with Habitat for Humanity? Can you give us some info on that?
My sincere thanks for asking. For several years I’ve volunteered for Habitat For Humanity. What a fabulous cause and, best, you work alongside potential home owners in helping make their dream of owning a home come true. Also, as the community comes together to help build the home, the family is blessed by a sincere welcome from their neighbors.
One of my dreams is to sponsor the build of an entire Habitat For Humanity home; romance readers and Habitat For Humanity are both amazing, so I thought, why not pair the two? Hence, Diana Cosby’s Romance Readers Build A Habitat For Humanity Home was born.
How it works:
As readers send contributions to Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County, the bookshelf will fill with every donation. [http://graysonhabitat.org/] The goal is to fund an entire home – $55,000. Send your donation via PayPal using the Donate link in the menu bar or donate funds the old-fashioned way—a check works just fine!
Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County
901 N. Grand Avenue
P.O. Box 2725
Sherman, TX 75091
*Total as of today: $2115.
Thanks for sharing with us your passion about this wonderful project, Diana!
What are some of your favorite charities or volunteer causes? One person who comments will win a copy of Diana’s His Captive, from her excellent MacGruder series, and also a copy of my first book, Mastering The Marquess.
Today we have a super special guest blogger. She’s a debut author and her first book just came out last month. But the coolest part is that she’s my mom! Being a writer and having a mom who is also a writer is pretty stinking cool. It’s an excellent thing to have in common with my mom and also she’s just a pretty cool gal. So without further ado, I give you Hattie Mae.
Thank you for having me. When Robyn asked if I would blog with you, I wondered what would I talk about. What’s has been on my mind is about my first book that came out in July, Under The Sassafras. I have been so excited and, I must say, proud of myself. Yet at the same time, it’s left me wondering, how? How could I put myself out there at my age? Thus my blog.
I would like to ask you what woman or women influenced you through life? Now I’m not trying to leave out the men. I myself have had strong men in my life who have helped make me who I am. My husband of 52 years for one, he’s currently sitting and reading my second book. But my mind kept going back to three women in my past that I really credit to who all played significant roles in the Hattie Mae who is here today.
My Mom would have to be the first. She married young and had me in her teens. You can say we grew up together. We were best friends that laughed, and cried together. She was a tiny woman full of sass and vinegar. She had dancing feet, a sharp tongue and laughter came easy to her. I think of her and miss her daily.
Lesson: She taught me that something worth doing is worth doing right. So I wrote a book. And then I wrote three more.
The next would be, her mother, my grandmother. She broke her wrist at the age of 70. She was riding a horse and bent over to pick up her beloved pipe that she’d dropped.
Lesson: She taught me that you are never too old to do what you love. So at the age of 70 my first book was published.
My other grandmother, she was a little Cajun woman who could hardly speak English–Cajun French was her first language. She knew her numbers but could not read or write. But she had tenacity. She made her own phone book with pictures she drew that represented the person with their phone number on the same line. She traveled across country by bus—changing in cities she didn’t know, to be at her ailing son’s bedside. When asked how she knew which bus to change to get where she was going, she simple replied—“I followed my suitcase.”
Lesson: She taught me that there is no job so hard that you can’t find a way to complete that task. So I simply follow my suitcase and write another book.
I know that I am who I am is not merely the influence of just these three remarkable women, but numerous others. My husband, my daughters, my son, and all six of my grandchildren, real friends, and even strangers I meet along the way.
What about you? Anyone come to mind?
Award-winning author, Hattie Mae was born and bred southern, cutting her teeth on cornbread and greens and running barefoot through the canals of her small Louisiana town. So when it came to writing, there was no question as to where to set her books. She’s now writing her fourth book set in Bon Amie, a busy little town nestled in the heart of Cajun country. She’s also published a short story in The Cup Of Comfort For Teachers. The love of books and writing runs in her family, Hattie’s daughter is award-winning historical romance author, Robyn DeHart.
When not writing you can usually find her playing with her grandchildren or cooking up some healthy versions of tasty southern fare. She lives in central Texas with her husband and one crazy cat. You can find out more about her and her small town romances on her website.
Nestled between the Atchafalaya Basin and Sugar Island lies Bon Amie, a friendly, quiet town, where nothing exciting ever happens. Until Joelette Benoit’s two sons find a man washed up in the murky water at the edge of the swamp.
Joelette Benoit, a widowed single mother, has sworn to never believe the promises of another sweet talking man. Fiercely independent and determined, she’s hidden away her heart, while struggling to provide for her two sons and lively mother-in-law. She swears the stranger will stay one night, and one night only, until she discovers he has no memory. Now duty-bound to aid him, Joelette decides to offer him a place to heal in exchange for his labor.
Against the colorful backdrop of life on the bayou, she watches as he immerses himself not only in her family but also in her town. She can do little to prevent her sons from bonding with the only man they’ve come to trust since the death of their father. Though she, too, is drawn to his kindness and vulnerability, she will not risk the heart of her family because without a past, this man cannot promise a future. But when his memory returns and he realizes he has blood on his hands, he knows he has unfinished business to attend to before he can claim the family he has grown to love.
Writers tend to eavesdrop by nature. We can’t help it. It’s part of our creative DNA. We’re not nosy as much as we’re curious. Listening is simply a tool of our trade. I can’t tell you how many story ideas and snippets of dialogue I’ve gleaned from overhearing other people’s conversations. Naturally, the most recent Romance Writers of America conference was a feast for the ears.
Here are six funny things I overheard while I was in Atlanta:
Only at a romance writers’ conference would you hear cleavage (and other words) bandied about so freely.
5. It’s time to deploy the prosthetic toenail. You can’t wear the Band-Aid of shame to the Harlequin party.
Every year at the conference, Harlequin throws the party of all parties. They pull out all the stops with drinks, desserts and dancing. This year’s affair at the Ritz-Carlton was sublime. So, yes, I suppose the Band-Aid of shame would not have been appropriate. The prosthetic toenail sounds questionable, too. Still, everyone seemed to have a great time. Obviously the prosthetic toenail wasn’t out of place. Or maybe I was havingtoo much fun to notice.
This goody drifted over the bathroom stall. I have no idea who she was talking to – maybe to herself; perhaps to everyone in general? At an RWA conference, Spanx is probably the one of the few things more plentiful than cleavage.
Well, gosh, we were in Georgia after all. Still, I laughed out loud and couldn’t resist saying, “Go for it, girl! You only live once! Despite my encouragement, I didn’t get a sip of white lightening.
2. That’s my stalker.
I overheard this one as I passed two women in the hotel lobby. At each RWA conference, in the midst of the thousands of delegates, it seems there are a couple of people I bump into around every corner. Usually, I know them and it’s a delight. But sometimes that person is an editor or agent or some other high-profile individual. Sometimes, you do get the urge to justify yourself, “I swear, I’m not stalking you.”
Person B: Wait, did you say new or nude?
Okay, dirty minds, she said NEW, not nude. But it did make for a good laugh, didn’t it?
Now, it’s your turn. Have you overheard or misheard anything lately? If not, tell me which authors you would most hope to see at a conference like RWA. Of course, you wouldn’t be STALKING, you’d just be curious. Like I am when I eavesdrop…er… LISTEN, right?
One person who posts today will win an RWA tote bag and some books I brought home for you from the conference. Who’s first?