Friday, November 30, 2012

Guest Author Patricia W. Fischer

As a writer, one of the many things I’ve discovered is you always pay it forward.
Case and point: When I attended my first writer’s conference, I had great plans to sit right up front so the keynote speaker, Sharon Sala, and the agent, Paige Wheeler, would see my shining face. My thought my eagerness to learn the craft of writing would simply make their day and imprint my smile in their memory.
But I got there late and I had to sit at a table in the back. Feeling bummed, I sat quietly and stewed. My plans quickly faded while I watched, who I thought were the key note speaker and agent, walk around the room and talk to people.
Then, a lovely woman sat next to me. Her gorgeous smile and kind eyes helped me get through my frustration and nervousness of attending the conference.
“Are you pitching today?” she asked me.
Turning to face me, she nodded. “Okay, then pitch to me. Let’s practice.”
She laughed, “Sure! Why not?”
So I pitched and practiced. She gave me pointers and I tried again. We spoke through two cups of coffee and afterwards, I felt far more secure.
About that time, someone walked up to her and said, “We’ll call you up after our president speaks, Mrs. Sala.”
She smiled and I tried not to freak out. I’d been practicing with best-selling author, Sharon Sala?
I’m so proud, I didn’t say anything to make her realize I was a total moron and I’ve had the great fortune to speak with her several times since then.
With my debut romantic comedy, Weighting for Mr. Right, as a salute to her kindness, my heroine has the last name Sayla.
Since then, I’ve always extended a hand to other writers, helped where I could, and always encouraged people to keep going.
Because you just never know who you’re helping and where their amazing journey will go.

~Patricia W. Fischer

Weighting for Mr. Right is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Soul Mate Publishing.

Read on for Chapter One of Weighting for Mr. Right.

Chapter One

Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem—Eric Hoffer

January 2nd—Saturday
Ever end up in a bathroom stall, in the men’s room, wearing your wedding dress on your wedding day?
“Are you okay in there?” A low voice echoed off the white tiles that decorated the room from floor to ceiling.
I could taste the salt from my tears, as I tried to answer without sobbing ... again. “Si.” I followed it with a quick, “Yes, I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Um, because you’re in the men’s room.”
“I know.”
He cleared his throat. “You’re in drag ... that’s cool.”
“Nope, just a bad day.” I lied through sobs.
My sticky hands still bore the result of a quick get–away. When I grabbed my steering wheel during my escape, I discovered it covered with Vaseline. It certainly made gripping the wheel frustrating. With nothing to wipe my hands on, I’d turned into the first place I found.
A full service car wash.
After deciding on the quick wash, I’d handed over the keys to the attendant and made a beeline to the bathroom, but didn’t bother looking at the sign. It wasn’t until I’d locked myself in the stall, the urinals registered. But before I could leave, I’d heard a cough.
“You sure you’re okay?”
I tried to clean my palms with toilet paper, but the one–ply shredded in my hands. “Dammit. I’m fine. Just peachy.”
“Okay.” The sound of running water helped end the conversation and gave me a minute to collect my thoughts, remembering what transpired not half an hour earlier.
There I was, back in the church, the scene of my disaster.
“Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?” the man in the starched collar asked.
I answered.
The sparkle in my fiancĂ©’s eyes faded before it dawned on me that something had gone very wrong. He stared at me.
“Did you say no?”
I blinked a few times. “What?”
Glancing sideways through my veil, I saw the pastor biting his lip.
“Did you ask me something?”
“Yes. I. Did.” His enunciation of each word, with staccato precision, made my brothers snicker.
Images of the drunk sister in Sixteen Candles went through my mind as he continued. “Do you.” He pointed to me. “Megan Antonia Sayla, take this man.” He looked at, “Travis Michael Joseph Daniel Carter, to be—“
Travis’ mother cleared her throat. “The fourth.”
“Right.” The minister looked up, mumbled something, then returned to the service. “Travis Michael Joseph Daniel Carter. The fourth.” He smiled in her direction. “To be your lawfully wedded husband?”
I could feel the corners of my mouth lift as I took a deep breath, gazed into Travis’ eyes, and replied, “No.”
Yeah, I heard it that time. “Crap.”
Travis dropped my hands.
“What?” Mom screamed.
“Holy shit!” Dad stood up.
“I toll you, this not work. He not Italian.” My Italian grandmother, Nonna, crossed herself and started saying Hail Mary’s in her native tongue, as her husband, Nonno, woke momentarily, then fell back to sleep.
“Mama. Zitto, per favore.” Turning to his mother, my dad placed his hands on her shoulders and eased her back into the pew. “Be quiet.”
Mom’s Danish parents, we affectionately call her Bedste and him Morfar, began to speak to each other in their birth language, saying things like “What the hell just happened here?, Should we call the caterer?”, and “Can you freeze all that rice pudding?”
With all the sudden chaos, I don’t remember much until I ended up in this car wash bathroom talking to a total stranger. I shivered as a gust of frigid, January air whipped through the room. Looking up, I noticed a row of open windows.
The water stopped running and the automatic paper towel dispenser hummed.
“How do I get out of this?” I rubbed my arms with my hands in an attempt to get warm. “Now what do I do?”
A low, masculine chuckle brought me back to reality. “Probably need to get out of the men’s room, first.”
I leaned against the cold, tiled wall and deeply inhaled the cool, lemon–scented air. “Did you ever have one of those days you wish you could start over?”
“Are you talking on the phone or to me?”
“You.” Don’t ask what possessed me to talk to a stranger. Being in that stall, I blurted out, “I feel like I’m at confession, so just go with me on this.”
He laughed this time, his rich voice resonating. “That’s a first.”
“For me to be referred to as a priest.”
“Seems like a day of firsts. This is the first time I left a man at the altar. The first time I’ve been in the men’s room.”
“Busy day for both of us, especially me, now being a priest and all.”
Silence filled the room, again. When he said nothing else, I assumed he’d decided to leave, until I heard, “What’s troubling you, my child?”
“Seriously?” Did he really want to know? Why? Was he really a priest?
“Sure, unless you’re not Catholic. Then you’re better off going to therapy or drinking.”
I crossed myself. “Forgive me Father, it’s been six months since my last confession.”
“Is that a long time?”
“If you were a man of the cloth, you’d know that’s a horribly long time.”
I suppressed a giggle. “It can be. Most people go weekly. Daily.”
“Geez, who has time for that much guilt?”
“Apparently, Catholics.”
“I guess I only know happy, guilt–free Catholics.”
“No Catholic is guilt–free. Guilt is part of the tradition.” And I felt plenty guilty today. I twisted the beading of my wedding dress between my fingers.
“You’re Catholic?” he asked.
“More like a Cathalutheran.”
He chuckled. “What’s that?”
“Catholic dad, Lutheran mom. We combined the two to get the best of both worlds.”
“Best of both worlds? Sounds very Hannah Montana–ish.” He cleared his throat. “My niece watches the show.”
“Right. During religious holidays, we have all the traditional food, but we pretend to ignore the sin of gluttony and gossip.” I bit my lip as my heart pounded in my ears. “Hence my six month absence from confession.”
“Right. I’m supposed to say something like ‘Six months? How many sins could you have committed in six months? Come back when,’ um ... what does he say again?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Trying to remember how they did it in Zorro.”
My heart skipped a beat. “Which one? The one with Tyrone Powers or with Antonio Banderas?”
“Aren’t they the same? Girl in a box. Guy isn’t a priest. He’s making it up as he goes.”
“Yeah.”. Rarely had I met anyone who knew of the first talking Zorro movie, much less the confession scene. I smoothed down my dress. “Do you need help with the movie line? I’m pretty good at them.”
“No, wait. Next, he asked her if she’d broken any of the Ten Commandments.”
“Something like that.” The corners of my mouth rose. “Forgive me Father, I have broken the fourth commandment.”
“You killed someone?” His accent changed to the melodious sound of the Spanish actor.
“That is not the fourth commandment, Father.”
“Oh, okay. Tell me in what way you broke the most sacred of God’s commandments?”
My parents’ faces flashed across my mind, my brothers, my family. A sob rose in my throat. “I dishonored my mother and father today.”
“That’s not so bad. Maybe they deserved it.”
“What?” I shook my head as I placed my hands over my mouth in an attempt to keep from losing it, again, but tears ran down my cheeks. “No, I don’t think so.”
“Tell me more, my child.”
“I ... I don’t know what to say.” I depleted a roll of toilet paper as I tried to dry my face. After a few moments, I realized he’d been silent for a while. “You still there?”
“Yes. This is when he sees her through the screen, isn’t it?”
He cleared his throat. “I don’t think you want me looking between the stall doors.”
His chivalry surprised me. “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.”
“It’s at the end of the scene before the captain of the guards shows up and screws it up.”
“Yeah, he’s a good bad guy.”
I took a deep breath as I tried to think. He may not want to look through the doors, but I’m generally nosy. No matter what this guy looked like, I was too curious to walk away without seeing his face. Kindness from a stranger had been an unexpected gift in my chaotic day. I needed to put a face with the voice.
“You okay?” he asked.
Frigid air whipped through the room, then a wave of hot. “Um, yeah, getting there.” As I maneuvered around in the stall, to get a better look, I saw the overhead heaters had clicked on, making pockets of the stall too hot and others too cold. Figures.
Without warning, my phone screamed “Hey Mickey!.” An involuntary squeak escaped my lips and I wrestled to turn down the volume. The phone vibrated for a few moments while I got my breathing back to normal.
He laughed. “Whose ringtone is that?”
“My mom’s.” I sniffed. “She loves the 80’s.” There was nowhere to hide my phone as it jiggled again. I’d left my purse at the church, along with my wallet, my clothes, and my life.
It was amazing I’d made it out with my keys and phone.
Tears began to pool, again, as a few ran down my face.
“Ever wanted a do-over day?” I dried my face, only to pull away a makeup covered wad of paper. Ugh.
“We all do.” Pause. “I guess this is one of those days?”
An escaped giggle filled the room. “Man, you’re good.”
“I’ve heard that before.”
“Show off.” My phone vibrated, again. I ignored it.
“Bad day, huh?”
“Yeah, but I’m sure his is worse.”
I took a slow, deep breath. “Why? He’s a nice guy and I left him at the altar. He’s still there, dealing with everyone, while I’m in a car wash bathroom confessional.”
“Hard to say. Neither of you had good luck today.”
Shaking my head, I almost broke the beading off my gown, as I wrapped the lace accents around my fingers. “It’s not his fault, really. It’s mine.”
I stomped my foot. “Why? Why? That’s the sixty–four thousand dollar question, isn’t it?”
“But you didn’t answer my question.”
“You sure you’re not a priest?”
“That’s not my question.”
“I know that, but you play the guilt card so well.”
“Believe me, I’m far from being a priest.”
My stomach knotted as the image of a very hurt Travis flashed through my mind. More tears. “When the preacher asked if ‘I do’, all I could think of was ‘I don’t’ and ‘I can’t.’” I sniffed and dabbed my wet face, again. “Please don’t ask me why. I truly don’t know.”
Enough time passed that I figured he thought I was some histrionic or spoiled bride–to–be and not worth the effort of an answer.
“You said he was a nice guy.”
I rested my head against the stall door. “He was.” I hiccupped. “I mean, he is.”
“But you said no. Maybe he is a nice guy, just not the right guy.”
My heart slammed in my chest as I heard the words out loud. This guy couldn’t be more on the money. All this time I kept telling myself Travis was such a nice guy, but I never asked if he was the right one. “You sound like a chick flick movie.”
“I’ve got three sisters. I’ve been forced to watch my share of them. And Oprah.”
I liked the way his subtle, southern drawl lengthened his ‘I’s’. “I’ve got three brothers, so I’ve seen everything to do with aliens, losing your virginity in high school, the military, and superheroes.”
He chuckled. “Coming out of there anytime soon?”
“I probably should.” My tears finally slowed. After wiping my face again, and knowing I’d ruined the two–hundred dollar makeup session I had not three hours ago, I needed to look in the mirror. “All right, I’m coming out.”
“Wow. You’re coming out already? I am good.”
I could feel the corners of my mouth lift. “No. My vanity has taken over.”
“I need to look in the mirror, because I think I might resemble a drunk circus clown after smearing all this makeup.”
“That sounds ... interesting.”
“Okay, I’m coming out.” I tried to straighten my overly beaded and ridiculously poofy dress. At least I’d opted not to wear the stupid petticoat before the service, much to my mother’s dismay. If not, I’d never fit through the stall opening without getting snagged.
“Do you want me to leave?”
“Only if you don’t want to see a spazzed–out bride who probably looks like a circus freak.”
“I’ll take my chances.”
Taking a deep breath, I inhaled the lemon scented cleaner, stood up straight, and unlocked the door.
When I looked out, I saw him standing against the opposite wall with his hands stuffed in his pockets.
“You’re actually sticking around?” My hands fiddled with my phone. “Really?”
I paused as I caught a quick glimpse of him. He stood at least six–feet, brown hair, nice frame. Before I could get a better look, a glob of mascara and fake eyelashes clouded my vision. I pressed the wadded–up paper against my eye in an attempt to keep the makeup at bay. “Isn’t that a big no–no for confession? You’re not supposed to know what the confessor looks like. That’s part of the decompression process.”
He shrugged. “It’s not a secret. The priest knows who’s in the box, right?”
“You knew it was me in there, huh? Seems a bit unethical.” I dabbed at my eyes with a ball of toilet paper, clearing my line of sight for a second.
“You forget. I’m not a priest.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I got the fever...!

Okay. I admit it. I got the fever. The Powerball fever. I dropped a ten-spot yesterday on a chance at the record jackpot. And, yes. I was one of those millions of folks watching those balls drop last night, ticket in hand. Now, on some level I knew that the odds of me winning were astronomical. In fact, every time the jackpot gets up there to the levels that have lots of zeroes on the end, some statistics wiz calculates the odds of winning for us so we can see just how foolish we are to think we have a chance to win.

But someone has to win eventually. Right? And that certainly can't be your or me if we don't play. Right?

Yeah. That's the kind of rationalization that had me in line behind a woman who had $200 in cash for tickets and was buying for a number of friends--INDIVIDUALLY.

Still, I figured if I showed I really, really, really wanted it badly enough to stand in line forever, the Fates would reward me.

Not so much.

This morning I hear that two winning tickets were sold: one in Missouri and one in Arizona. I don't have any relatives in Missouri any more, but I'm  holding out hope for extended family in AZ. ;)

As a writer, "what ifs" are a part of  my psyche. In fact, I should have those words tattooed somewhere. And I know that everyone who purchased a Powerball ticket for last night's drawing had to be doing their share of "what ifs" prior to those balls dropping.

I know I spent some time considering how life would change: What if I win? What would I do first? Who would I tell? What about my job? Who would I help? What would I buy? Where would I live? Yada yada yada.

Who else purchased a Powerball ticket for yesterday's drawing and already had some of it spent in your head? What would you have done with all that loot? Would you have quit your job? Traveled? Bought a new home (or a handful)? Started a non-profit foundation? Thrown the party to end all parties?

Since I didn't pick the winning numbers yesterday, it's back to work and back to writing for me. Which brings me to a question someone asked. Kathy, they asked. What if you won the lottery? Would you still write?

I wasn't sure how to respond. I'd never really thought about how becoming "rich" would affect my writing. I've been writing for so long, it's become part of who I am, as necessary in some respects as eating and sleeping. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't give rein to the voices in my head. Probably end up in a psych ward some where.

As it happens, however, I don't have to worry about that particular "what if". And, as any math genius will happily point out, the odds of my hitting a jackpot is relatively slim.

Which, I suppose, is very good news for Tressa Jayne Turner and the gang from Grandville and all those other colorful characters who keep yackity-yakking in my head.

~Bullet Hole~

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How readers see the world

Yesterday morning, I was driving my kids to school when the trunk of the car in front of me popped open. Instead of changing lanes or trying to avoid what kind of tools or other things that might come flying at my car, I sped up a little bit so that I could see if there were any bodies in the trunk. Which means either my safety instinct is way off, or I've read one too many mysteries. Call it creative curiosity.

But it got me thinking: do readers see the world differently? Is it normal to check for bodies? Or to look up at the full moon at night and wonder just what the werewolves might be doing? Am I the only one who gets a little nervous taking the dog out at night after watching The Walking Dead?

Oh, great. Now we have television to blame as well.

Still, I think this is one of the most creative periods for books and for television as well. There are so many choices, so many people writing and telling wonderful stories. I think it does change the way we see the world, for better or for worse.

And for the record, there was nothing in the back of that black Acura I saw this morning. But next time? You never know.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And The Countdown Begins...

By Robin "Red Hot" Kaye

I'm so excited about my new series and it's coming out this month.

Hometown Girl, A novella will be released in ebook on December 3, 2012, and Back To You: Bad Boys of Red Hook will be released in Mass Market, e-book, and on audio on December 31, 2012

Here's what they have to say about Back To You...

Romantic Times Magazine:
Back To You - 4 Stars 
Set in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and featuring a wayward hometown boy and his sassy, insecure lover at its center, Kaye's tale is chock full of distinct unique characters straight out of a genuine New York neighborhood. Laced with amusing, edgy dialogue, this Bad Boys of Red Hook series starter will hook you for hours.
~Melanie Bates

Publisher's Weekly~

Kaye (Call me Wild) throws together richly drawn love-challenged characters to launch her Bad Boys of Red Hook contemporary romance series, set in an impoverished industrial Brooklyn neighborhood…. As they weave their way through old memories and new realities, Bree and Storm slowly reignite old passion. A strong sense of place makes this a solid series launch.”

So, to introduce the series, I've written a Novella that will be released in ebook only on December 3, 2012.
Here’s an excerpt:
Hometown Girl: Bad Boys of Red Hook

“I can’t believe I shaved my legs for Conan The Barbarian.” Elyse Fitzgerald whispered to her friend, Ronna. She walked down the sidewalk trailing well behind her blind date, and was in no hurry to catch up. Elyse not only shaved her legs, but other places—places no woman would ever want to nick. “What’s his name again?”
Ronna shot her a disapproving glare.
“Doug? No, Dan? Damn, that isn’t right either. I know it’s a ‘D’ name.” She snapped her fingers “Dave!”
The moment she said his name, Dave turned and Elyse had the urge to duck into the alleyway, but then realized he wasn’t turning to look for her, he was pulling the door open to the bar without gentlemaning up to wait for her. The man was a real prize.
A moment later, Elyse stepped into The Crow’s Nest—the third bar they’d hit since coming to the Red Hook section of Brooklyn that night. She’d suggested leaving the first two under the guise of finding a decent band whenever Dave became too attentive.
Ronna nudged her shoulder to get her attention. “Dave’s not that bad, and I hear he’s really good in bed. Isn’t that the point of this exercise?”
Elyse shot Ronna a skeptical look wondering why, if Ronna was such a big fan, she didn’t sleep with him. “Maybe, but I’m just not feelin’ it.”
Ronna tossed her long red hair over her shoulder and pulled her shirt down to maximize her cleavage. “Probably because you won’t let him touch you.”
Just the thought of Dave putting his meaty paws on her had Elyse stifling a shiver. She ripped her eyes away from her blind date de jour to stare at the bartender who stared right back from across the crowded bar. “No. It couldn’t be. That would be way too it’s-a-small-world-after-all-ish.”
“What are you talking about now?” Ronna hollered over the band and bar chatter.
“The bartender. I think I know him.” Elyse elbowed her way across the crowded space for a closer look and to make sure she hadn’t imagined him. Hell, it wouldn’t be the first time she thought she’d seen her schoolgirl crush during the six years since she’d last seen him. She stepped up to the bar and her mouth dropped open as she stared into the fathomless silver-gray eyes of none other than Simon Sprague. Elyse couldn’t believe her luck and was suddenly thrilled she’d shaved in all those places. Carefully.
Simon Sprague hated full moons—especially on a Saturday night when the bar was packed. Full moons raised high tides, made dogs howl, and caused people to do things they wouldn’t normally do—which was why the Romans came up with the word lunatic. There was always a marked increase in three things: crime, bar fights, and admissions to emergency rooms.
The bar’s house band, Nite Watch, kicked up the volume as Simon pushed a margarita, no salt, across the bar to the normally shy and quiet blonde auditioning for a place in his bed. The full moon was working its black magic on her, at least, and he hadn’t the time, energy, or interest so he scanned the busy restaurant and bar, keeping an eye out for problems and locking in on the dark haired, dark eyed goddess who’d just entered.
He knew her from somewhere. She looked so familiar, but then he was sure he’d never forget a woman with the face of an angel, the body of a centerfold, and the knowing gaze of a courtesan. His fingers itched to sketch her, and the rest of his body was on full alert. His mind spun trying to figure out their connection, and there was a definite connection between them. He’d make time for a girl like her.
“Simon? Are you okay?”
He blinked and turned to Bree Collins, his boss and good friend. “Yeah, I’m fine. I just thought I saw someone I knew.”
Bree was a looker, a tall, green-eyed redhead with a wicked sense of humor the biggest heart this side of the Hudson, and a temper that confirmed the redheaded Irish stereotype.
“I have the bar under control if you want to do a fact-finding mission.” She pulled a bottle of Stoli from the well and poured. “Go ahead. I dare you.”
He turned toward the end of the bar to see the woman he’d been talking about pushing past the blonde.
“I thought that was you. How are you?”
She must have stepped on the rail to lever herself up, leaned over the bar, and pulled his head close to kiss his cheek.
He sucked in a breath, her scent was soft, familiar, sexy, and subtle with a spicy kick that didn’t hit until she pulled away, taking half his functioning brain cells with her. He stared, knowing he was supposed to say something but not remembering what it was.
“How are you?” She prodded, as her eyes danced with undisguised mirth, dimples appeared right where he knew they would, and he had the urge to explore them with his tongue. Damn she was gorgeous.
Shit, he shook his head praying for his brain to reengage. “I’m great. How are you doing?” He studied each of her features hoping something would jog his memory and at the same time wondering what the hell was wrong with him that he could even for a second forget this woman’s name. Her mouth was a bit too wide for her face and broke into a beautiful smile, her lips quirked up and were full enough to make a man lose sleep wondering what she could do with them, then those dimples appeared again.
“I’m good. Finishing up my masters at Pratt, looking for a job…”
She let that hang there and he couldn’t help but think that whoever the beautiful woman was, she was looking for more than a job. Whatever else she was in the market for, he hoped he fit the bill.
“What field?”
“I have my BS in Construction Management and I’m finishing up my masters in Regional and City Planning.”
“Wow. That’s impressive.”
“It’s Pratt, not Princeton.”
She knew he’d gone to Princeton. A clue as to how he knew her, but damned if he could figure it out. “You should talk to my friend Bree over there,” he nodded to the bar manager, “she’s on Red Hook’s Revitalization Committee. I’m sure you’ll have a lot in common.” And maybe she’d introduce herself and he’d figure out how the hell he knew her. “Have a seat and tell me what I can get you.”
“I’ll take a Sixpoint Sweet Action but I can’t stay, I’m kind of with someone.”
Simon put an iced mug under the tap and poured, thrilled that she was a beer girl and not into frou-frou martinis. “Someone?” All the hot, sweaty visions he had of getting properly reacquainted with her went up in smoke.
Just then a big guy came from behind and wrapped his paws around her waist, pulling her against him. “Babe, we snagged a table close to the band just for you.”
Damn, Simon knew this guy—he was a weekend warrior, the kind who drank too much, talked too loud, and on a full moon Saturday night, that spelled trouble with a capital T.
Something clicked, something about her—damn, it was right there, yet he couldn’t reach it.
The blockhead looked from Simon to the goddess and back, shooting him a warning that failed miserably.
She pushed away and looked at him over her shoulder. “I’m just getting my drink, I’ll be there in a minute, Dave.”
Dave released her and speared Simon with another look before sauntering away.
Simon gave the bar a cursory wipe. “Dave, huh?”
Elyse levered herself up against the bar and leaned forward as if drawn by the strong pull of attraction like metal to a magnet—invisible yet powerful. “What’s that line from Casablanca? Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine. But in my case, I walked into yours.” She couldn’t decide if that was good or bad.
“Let’s hope this meeting has a happier ending. If I recall in the movie the girl left Bogey standing alone on a runway as she took off with her…date.” He looked in the direction Dave had gone. Simon seemed more put out about her date than he did about her presence, which in and of itself was reason enough to alert the media. He looked at her the way she’d spent most of her life wishing he would.
Elyse shook her head. Maybe she’d had too much to drink. Every time Dave spoke to her, she’d taken another sip of beer—her way to keep from having to make yet another excuse not to go back to his place for a little mattress mambo.
She took a draw of beer and watched Simon over the rim of her mug. It had been a long time since she’d seen him—probably since her and his sister, Melissa’s high school graduation six years ago, but then only from a distance.
She and Mel had been best friends since kindergarten and she cringed when she remembered some of the stunts they had pulled on Simon until their freshman year of high school when he left for Princeton. It was no wonder he called her Trouble—her half of the dynamic duo he dubbed Double Trouble. Her face heated as memories of her most embarrassing moment flooded her partially inebriated brain—the day she followed Simon, like a lovesick puppy, into the bathroom. Before she realized where they were, he’d had to ask her to leave. God, she’d been the biggest dork, not to mention pest.
Looking at Simon now, she had to admit she’d always had great taste in men. Simon was tall. She topped out at five foot six and he still had eight or nine inches on her. He had her definition of the perfect body—commanding height, broad shoulders, thin waist, lean but muscular—more Iron Man than Thor. His dark, thick hair was cut short on the sides and longer on top, making her fingers itch to see if it was as thick as she remembered. His deep set silver eyes and high cheekbones made his face look like something Michelangelo should have created, not Bitsy and Ralph Sprague.
Elyse had always wondered if he’d been adopted, and looking at him now, all filled out in glorious manhood, she still did. But then his sister, Mel was beautiful too.
Melissa was the kind of girl Elyse didn’t want to introduce to her dates. Not that Mel would even look twice at them, but she couldn’t help the second, third and fourth looks every straight man in the vicinity gave Melissa. The same could be said for Simon and the female population. The only female not staring at him was the other bartender.
Elyse’s friend Ronna sidled up to her. “Dave’s pissed and he’s drinking like a fish. You’d better get over there. He’s already looking for greener pastures if you know what I’m sayin’. I think he likes the cocktail server.”
“Good.” Elyse set her half-empty beer on the cardboard coaster. “Ronna, I know you went to a lot of trouble setting us up, but Dave’s not my type.” She didn’t spare Ronna a glance; she was too busy drinking in Simon’s profile and checking out the way his khakis hugged his tush.
“And you think the hot bartender is?”
“You don’t?”
“Fitz, he’s everyone’s type. Look around. He has you and every other woman drooling over him. If you really wanna do what you said you wanted to do—Dave’s a sure thing.”
“Would you keep your voice down? God, Simon is a friend of mine.” Okay, so that was stretching it, but shit. Ronna could really be a pain in the ass. Elyse looked toward the band and wondered for the fifteenth time what she was thinking to consider a date with Dave, no less having sex with him. But then she always managed to find a reason not to sleep with the men she dated, which was why she was a twenty-four year old virgin. Unfortunately, it looked like this weekend wouldn’t cure that problem.
Sure, she had all the best reasons, she was focusing on school, she was too busy to date, she wasn’t desperate but when it came right down to it, the main excuse was that not one of the men she dated made her feel one-one hundredth as much as Simon had always made her feel just by being in the same room. It was hard for a woman to consider losing her virginity to someone she felt nothing for, and so far, the only man who had ever turned her on, the only man she’d ever dreamed about, the only man she imagined in every romance she’d ever read was Simon Sprague.
He set a fresh beer in front of her and winked. “It’s on the house. Sit tight while I fill these drink orders, okay? I’ll be right back.”
Elyse nodded, turned to Ronna and smirked. “Tell Dave I ran into an old family friend, so I’ll probably be a while.”


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Guest Blogger!

Today, I have a real treat. When Mary Koppel contacted me months ago, asking for advice as she was co-authoring her first book, I tried to help, as much as anyone can second-guess the publishing business. Well, I'm happy to announce that their book is now in final edits and will be available soon. I was so intrigued by the women that I invited them to guest blog today. Read this post and you'll see why.

Hi y’all! My name is Mary Koppel. You might be wondering why I am writing on this awesome blog and not the delightful and talented Jana Deleon. Well, the wonderful Jana Deleon invited me to write because I am big fan and I have written a book!

A few months back, my co-author Laurie Brock and I started writing a book called “Where God Hides Holiness: Thoughts on Grief, Joy and the Search for Fabulous Heels.” I was also reading one of Jana Deleon’s books and wondered what advice she might have for a struggling writer. I contacted her, and she replied and offered help and support (not unlike some of her wonderful female characters who offer each other support in her novels, I might add). She said she would let me write about our soon to be released book on the blog. So here I am, typing away.

I am a big fan of women’s fiction and of Ms. Deleon’s books. I love the mystery, romance and excitement wrapped up in each of these novels. I love stepping into another woman’s life and seeing her experience from her point of view. That experience, in turn, informs and helps me in my experience of life.

I hope that you will have that same experience when you read my book. “Where God Hides Holiness: Thoughts on Grief, Joy and the Search for Fabulous Heels” is the story of three years in the life of my co-author and myself who are Episcopal priests where we struggled through heartbreak, loss, betrayal and overwhelming joy and love. Even though our book is non-fiction, our book is about our experiences as women, and I believe that our book has something that can relate to you.

I hope that you will buy my book “Where God Hides Holiness:Thoughts on Grief, Joy, and the Search for Fabulous Heels.” It is available at If you would like to learn more about it, or its authors, please look at our blog Dirty Sexy Ministry.

Thank you so much, Jana! Thank you so much readers!  

How can you not love two women with a blog called Dirty Sexy Ministry, who have a sense of humor, and a desire for fabulous shoes? Or blog posts entitled How to Date a Priest?

The book will be available soon. I hope you check it out!

Deadly DeLeon

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday!

It's the most wonderful time of the!!!!

Did you camp out last night to get a good spot in line? I didn't. I haven't done anything that crazy since my days of sleeping in a tent for weeks on end to watch Duke play Carolina in Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Go Devils!)

The only time I've ever actually ventured out for the Black Friday sales was three years ago. I went to Staples to get a cheap laptop. It wasn't anywhere near as cheap as what they were offering at Walmart and Best Buy for the same model, but I arrived at 5:58 am for the 6 am opening and was just fine. I was more than happy to pay a little more for the extra sleep. Particularly since I was almost 8 months pregnant at the time.

I'll probably do some online shopping this weekend. My best ever Cyber Monday "purchase" was last year, though. My baby boy Alex. :) He arrived at 7:11 pm, almost 2 weeks early (which was practically overdue, compared to my daughter, who was 6 weeks early, but I digress.)

Anyway, if you're battling the crowds this weekend, don't forget to get a little something for yourself. You can even download it right there in line, while you're waiting to check out. Treat yourself with one of the great reads that I've compiled for a Killer Black Friday Sale!

First up...some reads by the Killers, themselves.

Jana DeLeon is offering her entire 3-book Ghost-in-Law box set for just $1.99! It normally retails for $7.99, so this is a great deal! These books are hilarious, so try 'em out. You won't regret it.

Gemma Halliday's Spying in High Heels is just $.99 now through Cyber Monday, and her holiday short, Christmas in High Heels is free.

And I've reduced the price of the first in my YA dancer series, Codename: Dancer, to just 99 cents at Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Then on Cyber Monday, I'll be releasing my new short story collection, Short & Sweet: Four Fun & Flirty Tales. All proceeds -- that's 100% of the royalties -- from now until Christmas will be donated to relief efforts for the Hurricane Sandy survivors.

But that's not it. I put a call out on some of my writers' loops, and found some awesome discounts for your reading pleasure. So fill up those e-readers and enjoy!!!


Deadly Addiction by Kristine Cayne is 99 cents on Amazon.

The Good Daughter by Diana Layne is 99 cents on Amazon and B&N.

Deathscape by Dana Marton is 99 cents on Amazon

Sink or Swim by Stacy Juba is $1.20 at Amazon, B&N, and All Romance eBooks,

An Eye For Danger by Christine Fairchild is 99 cents at Amazon.

Guarding Susannah by Norah Wilson is 99 cents at Amazon.

Meant For Her by Amy Gamet is 99 cents on Amazon.

Volcano Watch by Toni Dwiggins is 99 cents on Amazon.


Shot Through by Heart by Niki Burnham is 99 cents at Amazon, Kobo, B&N, and Smashwords.

Feyland: The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp is 99 cents at all retailers.

Dark Before Dawn by Stacy Juba is 99 cents.

Freaks of Greenfield High is 99 cents on All Romance eBooks.

Darklandia by T.S. Welti is 99 cents on Amazon.

Eternal Spring anthology is FREE at all retailers.


Magic in the Storm by Meredith Bond is 99 cents on All Romance eBooks.

Seeking Patience by Josie Riviera is FREE on Amazon.

Seeking Catherine by Josie Riviera is 99 cents on Amazon.
Romance in the Rain anthology (novellas spanning from 1850s to the present in one family) is 99 cents at Amazon.


A Heart is a Home by K.E. Saxon is 99 cents at all retailers.

A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming by E. Ayers is 99 cents at Amazon.

A Love Song in Wyoming by E. Ayers is 99 cents at Amazon.


The Source of Magic by Cate Rowan is 99 cents at Amazon.

Welcome to Zombie Zoo by Sharon Johnson is 99 cents at Amazon.

Adrift by Erica Conroy is $1.99 at Amazon.

The Crystal Warrior by Maree Anderson is 99 cents at All Romance eBooks.

Bewitching You by Viola Estrella is 99 cents at Amazon.

Dead: A Ghost Story by Mina Khan is FREE at Amazon.

Tales From The Mist anthology is 99 cents at All Romance eBooks.

Also, the members of the Wet Noodle Posse have marked down several of their books in a variety of genres to just 99 cents. Check out some great reads by authors such as Theresa Ragan, Janet Mullany, Colleen Gleason and M.J. Frederick.

Happy reading!