There are only TWO days left to enter the
Less than nine hours left before July Camp NaNo begins in my time zone! I’m ready, are you?
Okay, um… I’m ready NOW.
I know, I know. I said I was ready before but I kind of changed my project… three times. But, I’m SURE I’m ready now. And I’m just glad I had that many wips outlined enough to choose from.
So! Camp NaNo’s project will be Calla – a romantic comedy!
Calla Barrett is a modern-day Cinderella.
Okay – not really.
She’s an accomplished RN and head of nursing at Montford Jones Rehabilitation Center. Calla is attractive, intelligent, respected, and well-liked.
She’s also thirty-four, single with no prospects… and she lives with her eccentric mother, Rose, who may or may not have a mild case of dementia.
Motivated by a close friend’s wedding, and the bold heroines of her favorite novels, Calla sets a new course for herself and plans to escape the tiny farm town of Reedsville, Missouri.
No one wants Calla to leave—especially sisters Daisy, Iris, and Violet. If Calla moves away, they will have to take care of their mother. Wealthy sportsman, Birdy Ellison is determined to marry Calla… and teach her to skin a deer.
Calla Barrett’s first steps to a new life give her hope, but a newcomer’s temporary stay in Reedsville tests Calla’s determination… and her heart.
When family and friends butt in, chaos ensues, and Calla will have to pull out all the stops to get her happily-ever-after.
Determined to kill the annoying fly, Rose raced around the room swatting in its general direction, overturning her iced tea and breaking a vase in the process. The fly flew through the doorway into the kitchen with Rose in hot pursuit.
“Look at her, Cal. How could you leave her? She needs you here.” Older sister, Daisy Barrett-Newman, was close to tears.
Sitting in the corner nursing a tumbler of gin, Violet Barrett raises her glass. “She’s right, Calla.”
“And what about Vi, Cal? You know she hasn’t been herself since,” Daisy leaned towards Calla, whispering, “you know…”
Giggling, Violet sets her glass down, pops off her prosthetic leg and waves it in the air.
“The accident, Daisy, the accident. Say it with me, “Since Violet lost a leg in a car accident!””
Rolling her eyes, Daisy glared at Calla as if to say, “See?”
“It’s my turn, Daisy. I missed out on moving away for college. I had to turn down a marriage proposal-”
“Oh, he wasn’t the man for you-”
“But that was my decision to make, not my family’s. I’ve lived my entire life in this house. I want out of it and Reedsville. I want to see the world… or some of it. I want to experience new things and meet new people. I want a life. I want to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon. I want to take photos at the top of the Eiffel Tower. I want to walk into a New York pizzeria and order a slice!”
Violet pointed her fake leg at her older sister. “She’s right, Daisy.”
Daisy waved them both off. “Now you’re just sounding like one of those broads in those crazy bodice rippers you always have your head buried in.”
“Way to date yourself, sis. They haven’t been called bodice rippers in a generation.”
“Then what are they called, Miss Well-Read?”
“For your information, they’re called historical romances, and they’re just one of the literary genres I enjoy reading.”
Calla smirked, a maniacal gleam in her eyes.
“I also enjoy psychological thrillers. The kind where the ever-put-upon, loving sister snaps, has a mental break, murders her entire family, then rides off into the night… laughing.”
Daisy takes a step backward, horrified.
Rose Gentry Barrett re-enters the room carrying a white bone china dessert plate… with the dead fly lying in the center.
“Told you I’d get him.” Sitting the plate next to the spilled iced tea, Rose grabs the remote and turns on the large, flat-screen television.
The sisters watch her in silence while Rose turns to her favorite station… The Weather Channel.
“Gonna rain in Topeka!”
Lowering her voice, Daisy continues her pleading. “Cal, be reasonable.”
Defiant, Calla crosses her arms across her ample chest.
“Snaps, Daisy. Murder.”
Emptying the gin bottle into her glass, Violet continues her giggling. “I don’t want to read that book. I want to see the movie!”
I’m giving this a shot! Join me?
by Hope Ann
There is no one secret to producing a good book. Hard work, patience, more hard work, dogged determination, and did I mention hard work? Yet it is so worth it. And, the more I write, the more I value one particular asset every writer should have.
Beta readers are wonderful. Sometimes they are friends. Sometimes they are other writers. Sometimes they are people you’ve never met before but who have signed up to help you. Whatever the case, they provide an excellent new look at your own work, commenting on points you’ve missed because of your closeness to your story. If there are problems you are trying to ignore, they will be quick to point those out too.
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Don’t miss this week’s Curated Content from Story Empire! 😉
Welcome to another Friday, Story Empire fans. Craig here, and it’s been a busy week for me. I’m taking some vacation time at work to focus on some writing related projects.
One of my projects is to get your weekly selection of content links put together. I snapped this photo at the Warhawk Air Museum last winter. Museums have curated content too, and it makes for a great place to visit.
I posted about things you can do with your author blog to increase your footprint on Monday. You can check it out here, if you missed it.
Then P. H. Solomon had the Wednesday post about Scrivener backups which you can read here if you also missed it.
These are a collection of helpful posts we put together every Friday, and we might as well get to them.
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Series: In the Best Interest of the Child, Book 2
Author: Felicia Denise
Cover Design: Jenn Cunningham
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: August 2017
Olivia Chandler’s journey to wholeness continues as she enters counseling. Her therapy will not be easy, and may not be successful unless Olivia can forgive her mother. But is Sarina Chandler the only one in need of Olivia’s forgiveness?
A Halloween party brings together a surprising group of people, and Bruce introduces Olivia to his adult children. Another Bellamy has a second chance at love – if he can put his old-fashioned ways aside.
The death of someone close to Olivia has her re-thinking the value of emotional connections. She withdraws from everyone, falling back into her old habit of burying herself in work. A surprise confrontation pushes Olivia to her limits and puts her heart on the line.
Her continued avoidance of confronting Sarina Chandler pulls at the seams of Olivia’s new-found love with Bruce Bellamy. Olivia must make a decision. Save them… or surrender to her emotional demons.
“Olivia Chandler? I’m Sandra Riley, Sarina’s case manager.”
The tall woman grasped Olivia’s hand into both of her own, shaking briskly. “We’re so glad you’re here today. This is a big step forward for your mother.”
“Nice to meet you, Sandra, and honestly, it’s a big step for me too.”
“Oh, I’m sure, Olivia. Any questions for me before you visit with Sarina?”
Visit with Sarina. She made it sound so cute and homey, Olivia thought.
“Does she know I planned to be here today?”
“Yes, she does. When Sarina asked about you a few weeks ago, she said she also knew you’d have little or no reason to want to see her, but she’d always hoped you come someday.””
Olivia stared at the woman blankly, not knowing how to respond to the comment.
“I’m sure this is confusing, Olivia, and now isn’t the time for me to explain all that Sarina has gone through, but please know she is fully cognizant of her aging, of you, her late husband”, Sandra paused only for a second, “she even remembers the accident. It’s everything between the accident and a few months ago that’s fuzzy for her. It’s as though a switch was flipped off in her brain that was recently turned back on.”
Olivia frowned but didn’t ask the question on the tip of her tongue.
“May I see her now?”
“Of course! Follow me.”
The case manager’s long legs covered the distance across the sitting area in no time at all, with Olivia almost scurrying to keep up with her. Margot and Randie teased Olivia about her brisk walking pace, but she had nothing on Sandra Riley! Olivia would guess Sandra to be at least six feet tall… and light on her feet.
Reaching an unmarked door in the far corner, Sandra held it open for Olivia, who walked through and found herself standing in yet another sitting room, only this one resembled the average family room. Large, comfy chairs, throw rugs and even a flat screen television graced the area.
“Welcome to Honey Ridge East, Olivia.”
“Honey Ridge East? I don’t understand.”
Sandra pointed to a bulletin board on the wall near the door they’d just come through.
“The residents here are grouped by floor, the severity of mental disorder, and the amount of care and supervision needed. The healthiest, most independent residents reside here in Honey Ridge.”
“My mother is here… in this section?”
Olivia tried to digest the information. Her mother was healthy? Required little or no supervision? Trying to reconcile this new Sarina with the bedridden, incoherent woman she last saw five years ago was difficult for Olivia.
“How long has she lived here?”
Sandra pursed her lips, thinking. Then she nodded.
“I’m pretty sure Sarina was here for the group’s Valentine’s Day dinner dance, so that makes it eight months.” Sandra tried not to laugh at the horrified expression on Olivia’s face.
“Don’t be shocked. We also have Easter Egg hunts and 4th of July barbecues. The residents got a big kick out of the Halloween hay rides.” Sandra leaned in towards Olivia, “ And I hear Santa will visit on Christmas Eve.”
Shaking her head, Olivia was incredulous.
“What kind of mental hospital is this? I mean, um…I thought…”
The case manager guided Olivia past the sitting area while answering.
“River Ridge Meadows is a private care, private pay, voluntary commitment facility. We’re fully licensed by the state and the federal government. Insurance isn’t accepted here, and no resident is here against their will. We currently have one hundred and sixty-one residents ranging in age from seven to eighty-six. Most are from throughout the state, but there are a few from other parts of the country, and even four from Europe. River Ridge has two permanent, board certified psychiatrists, two permanent, board certified medical doctors, six psychologists, and a nursing staff of 40 which includes licensed physical therapists.
The residents here are used to a certain way of life, and we provide that here, within reason. That’s why we also have an event planner and a social activities director on staff.”
Sandra stopped at the top end of a short hallway. “But we have all the time in the world for me to tell you about River Ridge, and even give you a tour, if you like.” She nodded towards the end of the hall. “Your mother is expecting you.”
Olivia pressed her hand against her stomach, the tiny nervous tremors threatening to morph into a full-fledged earthquake. Heat enveloped her body as the familiar tang of bile crept up the back of her throat. Closing her eyes, the nervous woman tried to will the anxiety away.
You’ve come this far, Chandler, don’t you dare freak out now!
A wife, mother, daughter, sister, blogger and indie author, Felicia loves all things book-related and coffee-related. A southern girl by birth, the fifty-something, voracious reader now resides in Arizona (via Michigan and California) with her husband of thirty-three years. Their three adult children also reside in Arizona – with their dogs. Felicia frequently reminds them she is the only one of her parents’ nine children who isn’t a grandparent.
Writing has been a hobby of Felicia’s since grade school, but other than serving as editor and writing for her high school newspaper, she never publicly shared anything until the early 2000s when she began writing fan fiction. At the urging of a good friend, Felicia took on the challenge of NaNoWriMo in 2015, writing what would become her first published book, In the Best Interest of the Child, released in the fall of 2016. Her latest book, Free, a Novella, released May 30, 2017.
Sometimes serious and always sarcastic, Felicia continues her literary search for the ultimate non-alpha, non-billionaire, non-bad-boy hero with a non-sassy, non-feisty, non-bad-decision-making heroine whose relationship exemplifies true romance. Recommendations are always welcome!
Enter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card
by Ruth Bainbridge
GENRE: Suspense Thriller
June 2017. New York is suffering under the worst heatwave in centuries, but it’s the barrage of grisly murders that has city dwellers on edge. Since the homicides don’t fit a pattern, the NYPD is treating them as unrelated, but Detective Grace Jarrod isn’t so sure. Graffiti left at the crime scenes points to the crimes being linked and part of a rampage.
The delivery of a cryptogram to her precinct proves her theory correct. A group calling themselves CREEPZ takes credit for the deaths and for the war they wage. They promise not to stop until a societal revolution is achieved. Jarrod leads the investigation and goes after the madmen that strike at will and profess to kill for love. Little does she know that the group of homeless drifters is led by a genius who believes himself God.
He wasn’t much bigger than she was. With her shoes off, he was only eye level. She could get through him … she could. Like Stacy said, he was just a little punk—a creep—one of hundreds she’d encountered before. He was only trying to scare her, but it wouldn’t work. She could handle this—if only she could move her damn feet.The click of the gun being cocked echoed in her head. A shiver shimmying up her spine, the filthy stranger’s grin widened as he neared and pressed the cold steel into the center of her forehead.
“No!” she screamed.
“Ya-yo-yes, little girl with no way to go but da-da-down.”
“But why? Why?”
“Because Daniel says so-so-so. It’s adios sad buh-bye time, so maybe you oughta cry.”
“Please,” she begged as tears streamed down her face. “Please don’t kill me. I’ll give you all I have. I will!”
“Haff to blonde hair and not much more. Me and Daniel, we’re goin’ to war, but yah-yu-you? You gonna start it!”
Sharp laughter knocked all thoughts from her head as a paralysis overtook her.
The man was crazy. Deranged. With no more time to think, she lunged forward, prepared to bash into him. A loud blast stopped her in her tracks and made her ears ring.
The impact of the bullet slammed her backwards. Staggering one unwieldy step, a blinding light lit up the alley as the bullet smashed through her skull. Her brain emptied and splattered onto the back wall. Limp, a numbness overtook her.
Was this it?
Her eyes crossed as she fell. Looking upward at the blackened sky, her question went answered.
She was dead before she hit the ground.
Ruth Bainbridge was born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, and has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life. Ever since a child, she’s consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved matching wits with Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury and Edward X Delaney. In fact, she was so inspired by their brilliance that she began trying to emulate her writing idol’s achievements by composing her own short stories. However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime–on paper at least. But the empty nest syndrome happened and gave her the impetus to return to her first love–murder.
Her works include: THE CURT SAVAGE MYSTERIES (a four-part series that should be read in order); DEADSPEAK, a detective Twin Peaks; and ONLY ONE WILL FALL, the first in THE NICK CROSS MYSTERIES. CREEPZ is her eighth published work. The most intense read of the season, it’s a complex adrenaline rush that’s filled with suspense.
Ruth will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour and, (US/CANADA ONLY) Ruth is hosting an EXTRA CONTEST. The prizes are a Kindle Fire HD8 and (5) $10 gift certificates. It’s a CRYPTOGRAM CONTEST and all winners will be randomly drawn via rafflecopter.
Cryptogram Contest (US/CANADA ONLY)
“Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together”
Author: James Blake
Genre: Sociology of Sports/Minority Studies/Tennis
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Inspired by Arthur Ashe’s bestselling memoir Days of Grace, a collection of positive, uplifting stories of seemingly small acts of grace from across the sports world that have helped to bridge cultural and racial divides.
Like many people of color, James Blake has experienced the effects of racism firsthand—publicly—first at the U.S. Open, and then in front of his hotel on a busy Manhattan street, where he was tackled and handcuffed by a police officer in a case of “mistaken identity.” Though rage would have been justified, Blake faced both incidents with dignity and aplomb.
In Ways of Grace he reflects on his experiences and explores those of other sports stars and public figures who have not only overcome adversity, but have used them to unite rather than divide, including:
Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, a Pakistani Muslim and Amir Hadad, an Israeli Jew, who despite the conflicts of their countries, paired together in the 2002 Wimbledon men’s doubles draw.
Muhammad Ali, who transcended racism with a magnetic personality and a breathtaking mastery of boxing that was unparalleled.
Nelson Mandela, who spent twenty-seven years in prison for his commitment to social reform, peace, and equality yet never gave up his battle to end apartheid—a struggle that led to his eventual freedom and his nation’s transition to black majority rule.
Groundbreaking tennis legend Arthur Ashe, who was a model of courage, elegance, and poise on the court and off; a gifted player who triumphed in the all-white world of professional tennis, and became one of his generation’s greatest players.
Weaving together these and other poignant and unforgettable stories, Blake reveals how, through seemingly small acts of grace, we can confront hatred, bigotry, and injustice with virtue—and use it to propel ourselves to greater heights.
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My "bump" was in 2016, aged 48, when I suffered a stroke. This blog charts my recovery. (Header clipart licensed by pngguru.com.)