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Today I am so very thrilled to have Regan Taylor visiting my blog! She is the heart and soul of a romance writer…and so, so much more! Welcome, wonderful Regan Taylor!

One of the best things about writing is you get to create the ending you wish could our would happen in a real life situation.  Another is that our characters can say the things we wish we could but for whatever reason, we can’t. Know what I mean? Some of the things my characters have said are:

In WITH ALL DISPATCH Molly Tanner has woken up to find her roommate is disappeared, apparently traveled back in time:

“Not that anyone has time to pack before time traveling.” Molly laughed, just short of hysterical. “Right. Like I have so much experience with time travel. Let’s see what or who I know who’s done it? There’s Black Eagle coming here. And then there’s Black Eagle going back to his home and yup, that’s a lot of experience you have there, Molly. You’re a virtual expert. Yup, and going a little bonkers here talking to yourself.”

In WORLD IN HER HANDS Sarah Dinetti has Mr. Tall, Blond and Gorgeous and when she confides in her friend, Jan, hears about it she says:

“Well color me relieved. Seriously, Sarah, it’s time to let that chapter end. He’s dead weight in your life. It’s not like you even really have a relationship with him. He’s just there in your life, sponging off you. Cut him loose and look for some fresh meat. And even if the brother didn’t ask for your number, why don’t you get his? Call him and ask him for coffee or sex or something.”

And, in MISTAKEN BRIDE, Kendrick says the one thing I like hearing from my own Mr. Tall and Gorgeous:

“Oh yeah, she’s the one all right. She’s definitely the one I want.”

What is the most memorable line you’ve read from a character in a favorite book?

This is a stop on the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour.

Eight authors in mixed genres trading blog space for eight weeks for your enjoyment. Someone on the blog tour is giving a prize every week – this week find me, Regina Andrews, visiting Angie Dobson at http://www.loveromancesandmore.blogspot.com

 

There will be a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift certificate awarded at the end of the tour. Enjoy the blogs and leave comments for the opportunity to be the grand prize winner. One entry ticket per comment!

Want to continue the tour? Here’s a list of the blogs:

Ann Tracy Marr –

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Tracy-Marr/114711658247?ref=ts

Susan Roebuck – http://lauracea.blogspot.com

Sharon Poppen –http://poppensthoughtsonwritingandstuff.blogspot.com

Regan Taylor – http://regantaylorsworld.blogspot.com

Corinne Davies – www.daviesromance.blogspot.com

Regina Andrews – https://reginaandrews.wordpress.com

Christine London – www.christinelondon.com

Lynn Hones – lynnhones.wordpress.com

This week you can find me visiting with the fabulous Angie Dobson at http://www.loveromancesandmore.blogspot.com

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Today I am visiting with Haley Hawthorne, the main character in my Inspirational Romance novel, In Good Faith. As part of the Best Ever Summer Blog Tour, Author (and some characters!) are talking about what inspires them today. I am also appearing on Christine LOndon’s blog this week at http://www.christinelondon.blogspot.com

Let’s hear what Haley has to share with us today!

RA: Welcome, Haley and thank you for your time today.

HH: My pleasure, thank you for having me, Regina.

RA: Tell us a little about yourself.

HH: Sure! I am an Art Director at a high-powered greeting card company in Manhattan. I was orphaned at a young age, and grew up in rural Dunbar Falls. My Uncle Nelson took me in. I felt like Heidi. It was a town of  pasture lands and a clear sense of the things that matter most in life.

RA: Including God?

HH: Absolutely.

RA: Why would you ever leave there? It sounds perfect.

HH: Part of me never wanted to leave. But as UNcle Nelson always said, “A bird’s gotta fly.” He thought I should try new things. He was right.

RA: How did you change when you left?

HH: I became more confident after rising to so many challenges. The flip side of that, though was that I lost touch a little with the values that made me who I was. All the background of Dunbar Falls gave me all the research I needed for a great career in greeting cards, because there was so much caring and so much sincerity.

RA: Then?

HH: Then ironically, I lost a lot of what made me, ME, by getting caught up in the material trappings of what was all aounds me. My cards stopped selling.

RA: So what did you do?

HH: I would have kept going on that way, but Uncle Nelson died and I went back to Dunbar Falls to take care of things. That’s where I reconnected with my roots – did more research, if you will, to find myself again.

RA: What else did you find?

HH: Love, with an old friend, Aaron Carrier. Also, friends and a lot of new adventures. There’s more about that in “Act of Faith” which continues the story of “In Good Faith”.

RA: I heard that was in the wind! Very exciting 🙂 Thanks for being here today, Haley.  Talk to you again soon.

HH: Thanks, Regina! Take care.

Here’s an excerpt fom “In Good Faith” by Regina Andrews:

CHAPTER ONE

“Ms. Hawthorne, could you look at these proofs?”

“Do you have a minute to go over this copy together, Ms. Hawthorne?”

“A call for you from Grace on line three, Ms. Hawthorne!”

Haley Hawthorne tossed her long red curls over her shoulder as she swept through the Creative Area of Sterling Greeting Cards. She carried a designer bag in one hand and a steaming latté in the other.

As Senior Art Director for the largest greeting card company in the world, these early morning entrances refreshed her enough to get through the day ahead. They were her redemption. But I can remember a time when I didn’t feel like that, and it wasn’t so very long ago.

A hush fell over the flock of artists and interns following behind her as she passed. With a frown she accepted a stack of messages from the leathery, outstretched hands of her receptionist Bernice, a fixture at Sterling’s for over forty years.

“I’m already carrying too much, Bernice,” she murmured.

“There, there.” With a motherly pat, Bernice tucked the papers under Haley’s arm. “Toting a heavy load can weigh you down, Haley. Maybe it’s time to think about what you really need to carry and what you can let go.” She gave Haley a look.

“Maybe you’re right, Bernice.” As if I haven’t already tried! That’s what was keeping her awake most nights. The old Haley used to travel light and breezy, her heart and soul as free as a bird. But lately she felt heavy in her heart and she couldn’t put her finger on why. How had things changed so much?

Ignoring the chirp of her cell phone, Haley walked down the corridor to her office, glancing at the framed collections of award-winning cards on the walls and the shelves crowded with shining trophies she’d won over the years. When would she get a chance to start her own company?

The fact that all her talent was padding someone else’s profit column wasn’t the only thing bothering her these days. There was something else that had been nagging at her for some time now, an emptiness she couldn’t fill with work…or with her boyfriend, Derek, either. All she knew was that she had to get through each day.

Her young assistant, Suzie, unlatched the chrome double doors to her office for her and Haley flashed the smile that had been opening doors for her all her life.

She called over her shoulder, “I’ll get to all of you in a minute.” The entourage scattered, leaving her and Suzie in the peaceful calm of her office.

And then she saw him.

“Aaron Carrier! I can’t believe it! What are you doing here?”

She put down her bag and her coffee and reached her hands out to him after smoothing her lemon yellow designer suit.

She gave him a warm hug, then turned to her assistant.”I’ve known this guy since we were kids. He and his two brothers were like triplets, they were so alike. I’ll never forget when he insisted we start calling him Carrier, to be different from his brothers Adam and Austin. Boy, were they mad…”

With his broad, six-foot frame blocking the Manhattan skyline in the window behind him, Haley noticed how his glinting azure eyes and thick hair had grown more imposing in the ten years that had passed since she had last seen him.

He jammed his fists deep into the pockets of his jeans. “Hey. We have to talk, Haley. It’s about Nelson.”

Her heartbeat quickened. “You’ve come all the way here from Dunbar Falls to tell me something about Uncle Nelson?” She glanced at Suzie, then back at him. “It must be bad news.”

“I’ll have Bernice hold all of your calls.” Suzie hustled off in a cloud of expensive perfume, latching the door behind her with a solid ‘click’.

“Tell me what’s wrong, Carrier. Is it bad?”

“Yeah. The worst.”

“He’s -”

Carrier nodded. “Last night.” His piercing blue eyes, steely as two sapphires, searched her face. But they didn’t stop there; they burned into her soul.

“Oh,” she sank into a chair. Closing her eyes, she did something she hadn’t done in ages; she said a prayer. Bless him, Lord, and keep him in Your eternal care.

Only she wasn’t sure how much of it was for Uncle Nelson and how much of it was for her. After a moment she opened her eyes, focusing on the carpet. “How did he-?”

“In his sleep.”

“So it was peaceful.”

“You actually care?”

Startled by his tone, she looked up at him, only to find him regarding her as if he smelled a vat of rancid egg salad.

“Of course I care!”

He continued accusingly: “You haven’t seen him or been back home to Dunbar Falls in ten years.”

Her heartbeat quickened again. “Well, um,…That’s not quite exactly true. I’ve been back. I’ve seen him.”

“You have?”

She nodded as Carrier approached her so closely that she could smell his cologne. Could it be that same fantastic stuff he had been wearing that night on Johnnycake Hill? The memories flashed back into her mind, and so did her embarrassment.

“When were you back?” He looked at her in disbelief.

“Not too long ago.”

“Just that once?”

She shrugged. “Not really. More like, once in a while.”

“I don’t understand.” He looked closely at her. “Why don’t you want to tell me?” His tone eased. “We go way back.”

“I know.”

“You don’t just throw away your old childhood friends.”

“That’s not what I’m doing. Did. Things just change and people move on, that’s all. I don’t remember getting any messages from you. It goes both ways.”

“You left without saying goodbye. I knew you couldn’t wait to get out of Dunbar Falls! I respected that.”

She stood up.” I thought you came here to talk about Uncle Nelson.”

He wagged an index finger through the air towards her. “You’re trying to change the subject, Haley.”

“Carrier! Uncle Nelson died last night! That is what you came here for, isn’t it? To tell me?” Taking a deep breath, she smoothed her curls. Give me strength, Lord! “When is the service?”

“Actually, Watson’s needs to speak with you about that.”

“I’ll call them right away.” Noticing that his hand was on the doorknob, Haley suddenly felt that if she let him walk out now, she’d lose a part of herself and a part of her past forever. Help me, please, Lord! What do I say?

She quickly slipped herself between him and the door. “Listen, Uncle Nelson raised me. He understood that it was natural for me to leave. Being part-owner with his friend William Tyler, he gave me this entrée here at Sterling Cards. Nelson’s air conditioning company was a great business, but it’s black and white, Carrier, not creative.”

She waved her hand around the office. “Look at what I’ve created here! This kind of vision is what I put into my greeting cards. There’s texture, there’s color. It’s evocative and emotional. I couldn’t do this with condensing units at Hawthorne Mechanicals, as much as I loved Uncle Nelson. And I couldn’t do it in the vacuum that is Dunbar Falls. Nelson understood that.”

“You don’t have to defend your decision, or explain anything to me, Haley.”

“I know. I’m not.”

“But I know the real you. And you were running away, Haley.”

“I was headed for college,” she murmured.

“And what about Brandon Winterbottom?”

She felt the color flood her cheeks as she recalled the gang of kids laughing at her after the prom. “Ancient history. I was over him that night when he dumped me.”

“It was a pretty public dumping. And after the prom.”

“Thanks for reminding me! He dumped me in front of everyone. If it weren’t for you, I would have walked home. So thanks again, Carrier.” She changed her tone, trying to lighten things up between them and added: “Hey, I lived.”

He nodded. “And Nelson knew the way you felt about things?”

Haley’s thoughts went back to her uncle’s cozy study; their prayer times and their endless talks by the hearth with a comforting blaze crackling in the fireplace. Haley always thought of her Uncle Nelson, at seventy-five, as a spry and vigorous man who would just go on forever. What will I ever do without him?

“He never mentioned your visits or anything to me.”

“I asked him not to.”

“Why?”

Her voice was barely above a whisper. “I was too embarrassed.” All the familiar humiliation came flooding back.

“But there was nothing to be embarrassed about, Haley.”

“Maybe that’s not how I saw it,” she said. “The whole town was laughing at me that night.”

He shook her head. “I couldn’t believe it. You never even said good-bye to me. We were friends.”

“I’m sorry about that. I just had to go.”

“You wanted to go.”

“Whatever.” Her cell phone chirped again. She was grateful for the interruption. This talk with Carrier was getting way too close to her core. Glancing at the sender, she saw it was another call from Derek and muted the ringer. She couldn’t deal with him right now. Not when she was dealing with her past. “Sorry about that, too.”

“Typical big city stuff, huh?” Carrier raised an eyebrow.

“Right. Pretty empty, though, all of it. With the news you just brought me, Carrier, my big city stuff and the card industry really don’t seem that important right now.”

Reaching for her designer case, she moved from the doors. She could feel Carrier’s eyes blazing through her like a high-tech core-boring machine. Right through her impeccable facade and deep into her less than perfect heart, just like she knew he would.

Yet, for all the confusion he created in her, the heaviness she had been feeling had lifted since he had been there, too. What did that mean?

“There’s no reason to run from me now, Haley. A lot of time has passed. Things have changed for both of us.”

Her lips were parted to reply, but the look in his eyes stopped her short. His forlorn expression tugged at a very special part of her, the part that designed greeting cards so loaded with feeling that they flew off the store shelves as quickly as she could pump them out. She hadn’t felt this in a long, long time.

His expression was filling a gap in her, for he was filling her with exactly the kind of emotion that was so totally absent from her own life. How had that emptiness happened?

She shook her head. It was too much for now. Her thoughts turned back to the present, with Carrier. He was hurting from this loss, too.

She moistened her lips. “You’re right, Carrier, things have changed for both of us. This is a lot for me to digest now. I wasn’t planning on seeing you, it’s a shock. Just give me some time, that’s all. I know you’ll miss him, too.”

Something in his eyes went cold. It seemed to take forever before he answered her.

“Nelson was a phenomenal man, a pioneer in business and a trailblazing entrepreneur. But in the end, he was just another Hawthorne who never said good-bye to me,” he finally said.

 

Links to Regina Andrews’ sites:

Blog address: http://www.reginaandrews.wordpress.com

My website: http://www.reginaandrews.com

Awe-Struck Mundania link to “In Good Faith”: http://bit.ly/KSEfdv

 

 

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We’ve spent the last few days chatting with authors Barbara Robinson (left) and Nike Chillemi (right). They were nice enough to answer a few more questions!

First, Nike asked Barbara:

Barbara, Although I love Gotham (NYC), I envy you so much because you live in Florida. I know you’ve spent a good deal of time in the Keys. I love Key Largo. Do you have a favorite Key and why?

And here’s Barbara’s answer:

Key West is the only Key I’ve spent much time in, but I’ve heard Key Largo is great. I’d like to visit it one day instead of merely driving through it to get to Key West. Key West is the big tourist attraction, but I’ve heard the other Keys are pretty laid back and not as crowded. If Nike ever retires with a Florida beach house, I’d love to accept her invitation and bring the strawberry shortcake. We’d sit out on the deck and listen to the roar of the surf while we enjoy it.

Then I got up the courage to ask our authors a few questions. Here’s Nike’s answer

1. Where did you come up with the inspiration for your work? Not just this recent book, but for your writings as a whole?

Nike:  I’ve been writing for a long time. As a teen I penned the usual poetry with angst. My poor, dear parents had to suffer through me reading those truly bad poems to them.

2) How has your sense of yourself changed since you became a published author? PLEASE elaborate 🙂  (Lots of writers, especially women, would find this really interesting.)

Nike: I think I have more confidence now then I did before I was published. I doubted that I could be me, the real me and be accepted in Christian publishing. But I have been accepted, warts and all. It’s been a great blessing to me. I love my readers, who have supported me with such loyalty.

3) If you didn’t live where you live now, how would your writing be different? Please explain (if possible)

Nike: I have several places I’d love to live. Saratoga Springs, NY, Quebec City, Canada, and Montauk, NY. I’d bring a crime wave to the area to be sure. Although I don’t live in Montauk, I’ve spent quite a bit of time there and I’m plotting a contemporary story there.

4) About the adage that writers should adhere to the theory of ‘write what you know’: please share how you feel about that.

Nike: I agree whole heartedly with “write what you know.” I only write about settings that I know quite well. Sanctuary Point is a fictitious village on Long Island, NY. However, I know Long Island quite well. I write about the type of people I grew up with, or met along the way. The dialog I write are words I’ve heard before…that resonate with me.

5) If you could change one thing about the world, what would that be and why?

Nike: If I had a magic wand and could change something…I’d cause the church to get into a love mode. I’d want the entire church to start loving…as Christ commanded us to.

6) Most fun memory? Most fab writing moment? Most favorite get-away-from-it-all activity? (Okay, sorry, that was 3!)

 Nike: One of my best memories happened when we visited my grandmother and grandfather. My grandma baked bread. When it came out of the oven it smelled so good. I hurried to the kitchen and I saw my grandfather standing behind my grandmother at the stove. He had his arms around her waist and pulled her to him, holding her close. They turned around, saw me, and smiled. My grandmother gave me a slice of warm bread slathered with butter.

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What beautiful and thoughtful answers. Thank you so much, Nike, you are amazing!

And here are Barbara’s answers:

1)   Where did you come up with the inspiration for your work? Not just this recent book, but for your writings as a whole?

Barb: Life experiences provide fodder for my writing. My mother, father, friends, and family have all provided inspiration, but most of all, my inspiration is God-given.

2) How has your sense of yourself changed since you became a published author? PLEASE elaborate 🙂 (Lots of writers, especially women, would find this really interesting.)

Barb: I’m still the same old me, and I love to write just as much as before I was published. I have grown as a writer since publication though, and I hope improvement shows with each book published. Like with anything else in life, practice helps. Being published doesn’t mean you’ve arrived. You still have to work just as hard to promote, write, and market your work. I have made many new friends through writing and grown closer to God in my studying His Word and writing devotionals and Christian fiction. So, the main thing that has changed with my sense of self with publication is it’s afforded me a closer walk with God and allowed me to serve Him with my writing.

3) If you didn’t live where you live now, how would your writing be different? Please explain (if possible)

Barb: I enjoy writing about places I’ve lived or visited during vacations, so if I lived elsewhere my fiction would be set in different areas. I feel writing about places I know makes the story more realistic.

4) About the adage that writers should adhere to the theory of ‘write what you know ‘ : please share how you feel about that.

 Barb: In a way, I feel it’s true, and that’s what I do, but in another way, writing is also about discovery. It’s a process of self-discovery as well, and involves research when you decide to write about what you don’t know. I do feel people who have lived in a place and know it inside and out can do a better job of writing about those places. In fact, I feel I do a better job of writing about what I know because it comes more naturally, but that doesn’t mean I can’t write about what I don’t know. I can research and learn and have fun researching.

5) If you could change one thing about the world, what would that be and why?

Barb: I’d change the violence and evil that seems to have overtaken the world, but I’m a mere human being without the power to achieve such a task alone. Only God can accomplish such a feat, and He will when He’s ready, in His own perfect timing. It’s heartbreaking to hear of abused children and women, robbery, and murder. If I had such power, I’d change the world to a peaceful, nonviolent place, a paradise like God intended in the first place, so there would be no pain, no heartache, tears, sickness, death, and evil, only love for one another and happiness.

6) Most fun memory? Most fab writing moment? Most favorite get-away-from-it-all activity? (Okay, sorry, that was 3!)

Barb: My most fabulous writing moment was winning first prize for a short story in fiction-writing competition because it made me realize I could keep writing and write books, not just stories. Though, if I thought about this one long enough and wasn’t rushing this question, I’m sure I’d write something different, to be honest.

My most favorite get-away-from-it-all activity is spending time in a Tennessee mountaintop cabin, standing on the deck and looking out at the clouds and treetops, feeling closer to God and being filled with a deep sense of peace and contentment.

Oh Barb, thank you for your wonderfully beautiful answers, you are incredible.

 It has been such fun to visit with both of you. I feel really blessed that I got to know you better. Now friends, what questions do YOU have for Barbara and Nike?

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What an exciting day! Today I am thrilled to welcome Diane Craver as my very first guest of the New Year! An accomplished author, Diane is sharing a blurb, excerpt and review of her book , “The Proposal” with us today. Thank you for visiting, Diane, and welcome!

 

BLURB for “THE PROPOSAL:

Jacqueline Andrews hopes her boyfriend Brad’s surprise is an engagement ring for her twenty-sixth birthday. Her best friend, Tyler Jordan, wants Jacqueline to be happy but not with Brad. Tyler regrets blowing off Jacqueline’s confession of love for him before he left for college. When he returns to their small town as a physician’s assistant, he falls in love with her. He needs to win her love back. Will his hot kisses sway her? Or is she going to marry Brad?

EXCERPT:

She nodded. “To show my appreciation for the great birthday gift and for you treating everyone to dinner tonight, I’ll even make extra bars just for you to eat with lots of cream cheese frosting.”

He put his fork on his empty plate. “You can show your appreciation in another way.”

“Oh really, what way is that?”

“A thank you kiss is definitely in order.”

She shifted toward him and planted a sweet kiss on his lips. Even though, Jacqueline’s quickness in responding surprised him, he wanted more and reclaimed her lips. He loved feeling her quiver at the tenderness of his kiss. She definitely wasn’t just giving a chaste kiss to her best friend. I might be getting through to Jacqueline that we should be a couple. How would Brad take it if Jacqueline broke up with him? He did feel guilty about not speaking up in the beginning to Brad, but he couldn’t say anything when Jacqueline’s happiness was more important. He never expected their feelings for each other to escalate so fast.

“You two need to get a room,” Alex said as he put his plate on the counter.

Jacqueline blushed as she moved slightly to look at her brother. “I was just thanking Tyler for everything.”

Alex chuckled. “I don’t go around kissing people to say thank you.”

“Hey, don’t tease your sister. It’s not everyday I get a kiss that tastes like candy.”

“I heard your phone. Did Brad call?” Alex asked, leaning against the counter.

She nodded. “It was good to hear his voice. I can’t wait to see him next week.”

Alex looked amused. “The competition is on. Two guys in love with my sister. May the best man win.”

LASR REVIEW:

This charming tale of second chances holds few surprises, but don’t let that put you off. Ms. Craver packs plenty of anticipation and emotional swings and round-a-bouts into this sweet romance that would give credit to a full length novel.

Discovering you’ve made a bad judgment that has your dreams crashing and burning is not an easy discovery to handle; but with the help and support of her long-time friend, and once hoped for future, Tyler Jordan, Jacqueline Andrews has some hard decisions to make and a lot of soul searching to work through.

This is not a simple story of friends to lovers to happy ever after; there is a need to forgive, understand past actions and come to terms with their consequences. Ms. Craver does not offer her readers a perfect heroine. Indeed, Jacqueline is a heroine most women can relate to. So full of future dreams she misses plenty of signals out there for her to spot is she only removed her rose coloured spectacles.

When Brad, the man she hopes to marry, fails to fulfill Jacqueline’s hopes and dreams she discovers his agenda is so far off beam from hers, her faith in her own judgment is once again sorely tested. Tyler, her friend let her down many years ago and now she’s back to square one, or is she…?

The hero, Tyler, has a mammoth task ahead of him if he’s going to persuade Jacqueline to believe in his feelings for her now. It is the way the author takes all her characters through the multi-faceted emotions in this story that make it such a charming read, and yes, I will use the word ‘cute’ to describe The Proposal.

The characters are believable, the plot may appear simple but is not, and the conclusion, though not unexpected, still creates a sigh of satisfaction at the end.

~~~~

The Proposal sells for 99 cents on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/The-Proposal-ebook/dp/B005895S4G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1309113290&sr=1-1) and Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/69282 )

Thank you again, Diane! 

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Happy New Year, Friends!

If you’re like me, you have resolutions for 2012. Here’s a quick list of mine:

1) Be more promotionally-active! This includes follow-up, like letting you know “Light of the Heart” is up in the Predators and Editors Poll 🙂

Here’s the link: http://critters.org/predpoll/novelsf.shtml

I’m in the link called “All other Novels”

Click on “Light of the Heart” and then you will get an email in your box which you have to confirm — just by clicking — and then the voting is complete.

There are a couple of steps, but all in all, it’s pretty easy! Thank you for helping out!!!

2) Stay in touch with cyber-friends and colleagues
I can’t tell you how I cringe when I see it’s been 2 or 3 months since I’ve been in contact with my virtual friends and writing colleagues. They have been there for me through everything. I don’t know what I would have done without them! And I want to thank them for that! More than that, I vow to be there, actively, for them in 2012.

3) Branch outside the box and travel beyond the comfort zone. As a writer, especially one who is in the midst of a nine-book series, it’s easy to let all your other writing go…but then, how do you grow? Take a pledge with me now to cultivate your own garden and see what you can do that’s outside of the realm you ever imagined — writing-wise. I’ll bet it’s so cool!
Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

 

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Today I am so happy to welcome E.A. West, author of The Key to Charlotte as she celebrates the release of her new book. Welcome!

Please tell us about your latest release.

My latest release is The Key to Charlotte, an inspirational romance. The heroine, Charlotte Harris, is a mute autistic who cleans her church twice a week. Zakaria Rush is the new director of children’s ministries at Charlotte’s church. More than anything, Charlotte wants to be able to carry on a conversation in her own voice, and Zakaria longs to help her achieve that dream. But will his efforts lock away his chance for a relationship with Charlotte?

Do you have any other books?

Yes, I have three other ebooks currently available. My two other inspirational romances, Dreams Do Come True and Healing in Haven Falls, can be purchased from Pelican Book Group (http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec) and Amazon.com. Riley’s Mission, my sweet romantic suspense, is available from The Wild Rose Press (http://www.thewildrosepress.com) and Amazon.com.

What inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve been reading since I was three years old, and I have loved making up stories just as long. Writing gave me a way to share the stories I made up. It also allowed me to take my love of books in a new direction. Instead of just having a love of reading books, I discovered a love of writing books as well.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing?

I wish I had known the importance of critique groups. When I first started writing, I thought I knew how to write. My friends and family were very encouraging about my writing, so I started submitting my work. Every submission was rejected and I finally joined a critique group. At that point, I learned just how much I didn’t know about writing. My critique partners provided the constructive criticism and advice I needed to grow as a writer so my work was publishable. Although it was a bit of a shock to go from hearing my loved ones say my writing was great to receiving rejection after rejection, joining a critique group is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Without their guidance, encouragement, and honest words about my writing, I doubt I would have ever gotten anything published.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

You can learn more on my website http://eawest.mcphitty.com and my blog http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com. If you’re on Facebook, please “like” my author page for periodic updates and thoughts from my writing life http://www.facebook.com/pages/EA-West/34280264617. I’m also on Twitter http://twitter.com/eawest and ShoutLife http://www.shoutlife.com/eawest.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you, Regina, for having me on your blog today! I hope you and the readers have enjoyed this interview as much as I have.

And here’s a blurb and an excerpt:

Charlotte Harris can’t speak due to a quirk in her autistic brain, but that doesn’t stop her from communicating with others. Unfortunately, it prevents her from achieving two of her dreams–to praise God through singing and to carry on a simple conversation with her own voice.

Zakaria Rush is the new Director of Children’s Ministries at Charlotte’s church, and he can’t keep his thoughts off the partially mute blonde with a love for guitar music. Her innocence and love of the simple things in life intrigue him and make him long to give her what she wants more than anything: her voice.

Can Zakaria help Charlotte find the key to unlocking her ability to speak, or will his attempt to help her only lock away their chance for love?

 

Charlotte switched off the vacuum and breathed a sigh of relief. The silence in the small church was pure bliss. She pulled the plug from the wall and coiled the cord around the top of the vacuum, then returned it to the janitorial closet in the basement. Turning around, she pulled out her cell phone and checked for reminders.

Take the rag bucket home.

Yes, she needed to wash the rags and kitchen towels. She returned the phone to her pocket and grabbed the bucket handle. As she headed upstairs, she heard the sound of a guitar coming from the sanctuary. Was someone playing a CD? It sounded like live music, but she’d never heard anyone in the church play a guitar.

Drawn by the soothing strains of the strings, she turned right at the top of the stairs.

No one ever came in the church while she was cleaning. The entire congregation knew her schedule—Tuesday and Saturday afternoons—and they always made sure to come at a different time. Charlotte had never been sure if it was because they didn’t want to get in her way or if her parents had talked to them about the importance of routine for her. When she was little, she’d gotten upset by people showing up unannounced, but now that she was twenty‐three, she liked to think she could handle surprises a little better.

She peered through the open doorway and saw a man sitting on the edge of the platform by the plain wooden altar playing a battered acoustic guitar.

Her breath caught in her throat and her heart raced as she studied him. Not only was he a talented musician, he was gorgeous, more gorgeous than anyone she’d ever seen in this small Indiana town. His black hair was a little shaggy but stylish; his straight nose, high cheekbones, and tan complexion made her think of Native Americans and Italians; his lean build clothed in faded blue jeans, an olive green T‐shirt, and worn‐in sneakers made him look laid back. Peace filled his face as he strummed his guitar. The corners of his mouth turned up slightly, making Charlotte wonder if the sound of a guitar brought him as much joy as it did her.

Suddenly, he stopped playing and looked up at her. She tightened her grasp on the bucket handle.

He studied her with the most beautiful, warm brown eyes she’d ever seen. His smile caused her heart to flutter. “Hi there. Are you Charlotte?”

She nodded.

He didn’t seem to mind that she shifted her weight back and forth. Just as well. If she didn’t rock to release it, the nervous energy building under his gaze would make her cry.

“Pastor Ed told me I might run into you if I came this afternoon. I’m Zakaria Rush, the new director of children’s ministries.” He laid his guitar across his knees and chuckled, a deep, rich sound that warmed Charlotte clear through. “It’s a fancy title for a guy who didn’t want to grow up and found a way to turn it into a career.”

About the Author

E.A. West, author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she discovered the wonders of sharing her stories with others through writing. She picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. Her love of writing encompasses not only the romance genre but also a variety fiction and non-fiction styles.

Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small zoo of pets that includes the typical dogs and cats, and the more unusual African water frogs and a ribbon snake. Her interests are as varied as her critters. She has been known to carry on conversations about everything from politics and current events to gardening and theology. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her working on her latest knitting or crochet project.

Thank you so much for visiting today and best of luck with your writing!

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Today I am thrilled to welcome my friend and fellow Desert Breeze author, Anne Patrick, to the 2011 Summer Blog-String Fest!

I want to thank Regina for allowing me to visit today, and share a blurb and excerpt from my new release A Familiar Evil. I also want to wish her lots of luck with her Summer Blog-String Fest.

“You’re out there watching me. I can feel you. What do you want? Why did you come back here?”

Jordan Russell’s life is shattered when the monster from her childhood resurfaces, opening up scars she thought were healed. With the hope of finally finding closure Jordan leaves her cheating husband, and her career in the FBI, and returns to where her nightmare began. But what awaits her in Thorny Creek will push her to the very edge of sanity and bring her face to face with her abductor.

Excerpt –

“Excuse me. I’m looking for Chief Russell.”

Jordan’s stomach did a nosedive at the familiar voice of her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

“You found her,” Frank answered.

Jordan looked up just as Sam smiled. “Indeed I have.” He started toward her desk.

Colleen barged through the opened door. “Chief, there’s an Agent Russell here to see…oh, I guess you found her.”

“Agent Russell,” Frank repeated. He turned back to Jordan, “Isn’t Russell your married name?” He then shifted his gaze back to Sam, “That must mean you’re her husband.”

“Not for much longer.” Jordan hurried around her desk and ushered Frank out the door. “You’ll be hearing from me.” She closed the door and looked at Sam. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m here at your request.”

“I specifically requested someone from the Charlotte field office.” Anyone but him.

He looked at her with the gorgeous smile that used to make her go weak in the knees. “And they forwarded that request to Agent Haines, who assigned me.”

“We’ll see about that.” Jordan marched back to her desk, and was four digits into Haines’ cell phone number when Sam pressed his finger down on the button and disconnected the call. Eighteen and a half months of built-up rage boiled to the surface. She doubled her right fist and spun around with lighting fury.

Sam, just as quick, stopped the fist within inches of his jaw. With his free hand, he took the phone from her left hand and placed it back in its cradle. Jordan felt his hot breath on her face as he peered down at her, and was keenly aware of the heat generating from his body through the hand which tightened around her wrist.

“Let me help you, Jordan…please.”

She swallowed hard, summoned all her courage, and met his smoldering gaze. “I need a profiler who can tell me exactly what I’m up against here.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve lost your touch.”

She ignored his smirk. “I need a fresh pair of eyes who can look at this guy objectively.”

“Who hasn’t allowed themselves to get too personal?”

“I just need someone other than you,” she spat.

“Too bad, you’re stuck with me. Now, what do you say I release your hand and you don’t take my head off? Or we can continue to provide the day’s entertainment for your co-workers.”

Jordan shifted her gaze to the glass separating her office from the command center. A half dozen familiar faces scattered like rats. She twisted free from his grip, grabbed her cap from her desk and shoved it down over her head. “Fine!” She was already halfway out the door before she realized he wasn’t with her. She turned back and found him smiling at her. “Are you coming or not?”

Ebook: http://www.amazon.com/A-Familiar-Evil-ebook/dp/B004YDPWN4/
Print: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1461118514
Ebook @ Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/56559

To learn more about me and my other books please visit my website: http://www.annepatrick.weebly.com and blog: http://www.suspensebyanne.blogspot.com

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